|News||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Recommended Links||Anti-globalization movement||Tucker Carlson rejection of neoliberalism||US anti war movement||Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers|
|Economic nationalism||Bannonism as a mixture of nationalism, populism and bastard neoliberalism||Alternatives to Neoliberalism||Libertarian Philosophy||Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||Demonization of Putin||Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism|
|New American Militarism||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||Fuck the EU||US Presidential Elections of 2016||Cold War II||American Exceptionalism|
|National Security State||War is Racket||Hypocrisy of British ruling elite as the template for hypocrisy of neoliberal elite||Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak||Tulsi Gabbard||The Deep State||Neoconservatism as the USA version of Neoliberal ideology|
|Elite Theory||The Iron Law of Oligarchy||The Deep State||Class Struggle In The USA||TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates||Paleoconservatism||Non-Interventionism|
|Lewis Powell Memo||Anatol Leiven on American Messianism||The attempt to secure global hegemony||Corporatism||Disaster capitalism||Big Uncle is Watching You||IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement|
|Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources||Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'||The Real War on Reality||Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton||Nation under attack meme||Bullshit as MSM communication method|
|Neo-fascism||Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?||Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law||What's the Matter with Kansas||DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin||Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich|
|Soft propaganda||Groupthink||Nineteen Eighty-Four||Propaganda Quotes||Humor||Etc|
Why is populism booming? Because neoliberalism is collapsing...
Guardian comment 29 Nov 2018 12:13
Populism is a term 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 is an important part of the neoliberal propaganda arsenal. An effective 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 that has been a part of human history for centuries, and which in 2016 led in the USA to the election of Trump.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
GodfreyRichThe metropolitan establishment have brought this on themselves by ignoring the interests of the British working class and by promoting multiculturalism over traditional British values.
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.
Oct 28, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org
Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. Alternative social forces, like the ones behind Trump's presidential triumph, only have a limited impact on domestic and ultimately on foreign policy. A conceptual detour and a brief on history and on Trump's domestic setting when he was elected will help clarifying these theses.
Beyond the different costumes that it wears (dealing with ideology, international law, and even religion), foreign policy follows domestic policy. The domestic policy actors are the social forces at work at a given point of time, mainly the economic agents and their ambitions (in their multiple expressions), including the ruling power elite. Society's aspirations not only relate to material welfare, but also to ideological priorities that population segments may have at a given point of time.
From America's initial days until the mid 1800s, there seems to have been a broad alignment of US foreign policy with the wishes of its power elite and other social forces. America's expansionism, a fundamental bulwark of its foreign policy from early days, reflected the need to fulfill its growing population's ambitions for land and, later on, the need to find foreign markets for its excess production, initially agricultural and later on manufacturing. It can be said that American foreign policy was broadly populist at that time. The power elite was more or less aligned in achieving these expansionist goals and was able to provide convenient ideological justification through the writings of Jefferson and Madison, among others.
As the country expanded, diverging interests became stronger and ultimately differing social forces caused a significant fracture in society. The American Civil War was the climax of the conflicted interests between agricultural and manufacturing led societies. Fifty years later, a revealing manifestation of this divergence (which survived the Civil War), as it relates to foreign policy, is found during the early days of the Russian Revolution when, beyond the ideological revulsion of Bolshevism, the US was paralyzed between the agricultural and farming businesses seeking exports to Russia and the domestic extractive industries interested in stopping exports of natural resources from this country.
The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player.
Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance.
Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline.
Trump won his presidency because he was able to get support from the country's growing frustrated white population. His main social themes (bringing jobs to America by stopping the decline of its manufacturing industry, preventing further US consumer dependence on foreign imports and halting immigration) fitted well with the electors' anger. Traditional populist themes linked to foreign policy (like Russophobia) did not play a big role in the last election. But whether or not the Trump administration can align with the ruling power elite in a manner that addresses the key social and economic needs of the American people is still to be seen.
Back to foreign policy, we need to distinguish between Trump's style of government and his administration's actions. At least until now, focusing excessively on Trump's style has dangerously distracted from his true intentions. One example is the confusion about his initial stance on NATO which was simplistically seen as highly critical to the very existence of this organization. On NATO, all that Trump really cared was to achieve a "fair" sharing of expenditures with other members and to press them to honor their funding commitments.
From immigration to defense spending, there is nothing irrational about Trump's foreign policy initiatives, as they just reflect a different reading on the American people's aspirations and, consequently, they attempt to rely on supporting points within the power elite which are different from the ones used in the past.
Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. A far-reaching lesson, although still being ignored, is that China's economic might is showing that capitalism as understood in the West is not winning, much less in its American format. It also shows that democracy may not be that relevant, as it is not necessarily a corollary or a condition for economic development. Perhaps it even shows the superiority of China's economic model, but this is a different matter.
As Trump becomes more aware about his limitations, he has naturally reversed to the basic imprints of America's traditional foreign policy, particularly concerning defense. His emphasis on a further increase in defense spending is not done for prestigious or national security reasons, but as an attempt to preserve a job generating infrastructure without considering the catastrophic consequences that it may cause.
On Iran, Obama's initiative to seek normalization was an attempt to walk a fine line (and to find a less conflictive path) between supporting the US traditional Middle East allies (mainly the odd combination of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) and recognizing Iran's growing aspirations. Deep down, Obama was trying to acknowledge Iran's historical viability as a country and a society that will not disappear from the map, while Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, may not be around in a few years. Trump's Iran policy until now only represents a different weighing of priorities, although it is having far reaching consequences on America's credibility as a reliable contractual party in international affairs.
In the case of Afghanistan, Trump's decision to increase boots on the ground does not break the inertia of US past administrations. Aside from temporary containment, an increasing military presence or a change in tactics will not alter fundamentally this reality.
Concerning Russia, and regardless of what Trump has said, actions speak more than words. A continuous deterioration of relations seems inevitable.
Trump will also learn, if he has not done so already, about the growth of multipolar forces in world's events. Russia has mastered this reality for several years and is quite skillful at using it as a basic tool of its own foreign goals. Our multipolar world will expand, and Trump may even inadvertently exacerbate it through its actions (for instance in connection with the different stands taken by the US and its European allies concerning Iran).
While fulfilling the aspirations of the American people seems more difficult within the existing capitalist framework, there are also growing apprehensions coming from America's power elite as it becomes more frustrated due to its incapacity of being more effective at the world level. America's relative adolescence in world's history will become more and more apparent in the coming years.
A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions. The US has never suffered the consequences of an international conflict in its own backyard. The American Civil War, despite all the suffering that it caused, was primarily a domestic event with no foreign intervention (contrary to the wishes of the Confederation). The deep social and psychological damage caused by war is not part of America's consciousness as it is, for instance in Germany, Russia or Japan. America is insensitive to the lessons of history because it has a very short history itself.
Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination.
Oscar Silva-Valladares is a former investment banker that has lived and worked in North and Latin America, Western & Eastern Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the Philippines and Western Africa. He currently chairs Davos International Advisory, an advisory firm focused on strategic consulting across emerging markets.
- The Airwaves Are Still Heaving With Spin Two Days After US Airstrikes Against Syria - 26 September 2014
- The Real Status of Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq - 5 October 2014
- Presidents and the War Power - 8 October 2014
- The Siege Of Kobani: Obama's Syrian Fiasco In Motion - 6 October 2014
- Is Obama Misleading the World to War? Depends How You Define 'Misleading' - 26 September 2014
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:25
Thank you Max, it's a great summary of what is wrong with the foreign policy and why racism is so rampant.
There are candidates for 2020, who understand and probably share your views. Take for example Tulsi Gabbard in her recent twonhall meeting video:
Quote from her replies
"People get into a lot of conversations about political strategies I might get in trouble for saying this, but what does it matter if we beat Donald Trump, if we end up with someone who will perpetuate the very same crony capitalist policies, corporate policies, and waging more of these costly wars?"
And just to drive home this point, quote:
"This is not a joke. This is not about me. This about all of us. This is about our future. About making sure we have one."
Tulsi did get in to trouble. A day after the video posted on Twitter, it had been deleted by Twitter without explanation
Mark Dierking , April 18, 2019 at 15:53
Thanks to you any everyone that has responded for the thoughtful comments. If you are able to edit yours, a more accessible link for the Safari browser is:
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:25
Thank you Max, it's a great summary of what is wrong with the foreign policy and why racism is so rampant.
There are candidates for 2020, who understand and probably share your views. Take for example Tulsi Gabbard in her recent twonhall meeting video:
Quote from her replies
"People get into a lot of conversations about political strategies I might get in trouble for saying this, but what does it matter if we beat Donald Trump, if we end up with someone who will perpetuate the very same crony capitalist policies, corporate policies, and waging more of these costly wars?"
And just to drive home this point, quote:
"This is not a joke. This is not about me. This about all of us. This is about our future. About making sure we have one."
Tulsi did get in to trouble. A day after the video posted on Twitter, it had been deleted by Twitter without explanation
Apr 19, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
dkmich on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 12:26pm Freshman Rep. Katie Porter makes a complete fool out of Jamie Dimon on the floor of the House.snoopydawg on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 7:24pm
The version with the white board is hard to find. All the msm versions cut the white board out because a picture is worth a thousand words, and they didn't want Dimon to look as stupid as he did.I know how he could fix thaton the cusp on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 7:22pm
Hell, I can come up with a way to fix the problem. Raise the pay of his employees. See? Easy Peasy. But then his salary would go down by a couple million. Just how many millions people need to live on? Bezos will never come close to spending his over $150 billion. At the start of Trump's presidency Bezos was only worth $100 billion. I'd sure love to know what it is now.
EditedPeople like Dimon do not even comprehendCentaurea on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 8:26pm
@Centaurea what Porter is asking him about. He has never had a face to face with a renter. (Not renters of a Swiss chalet, etc...)He has had no personal relationship with anybody who buys food and clothing only when it goes on sale. He has never shopped at any store, other than some designer clothing store, although he likely always had tailors come to his home.
He doesn't talk to taxi drivers. He goes in limos.
He is as far from the existence of the 99%ers as an astronaut born and raised on the moon, a Duke of Earl behind a wall, travelling in a gilded carriage.
I call him ignorant. He has absolutely to knowledge, no education, no exposure to us.What's worseLenzabi on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 1:11pm
@on the cusp @on the cusp
is that he doesn't want to know.
Every day he makes decisions that affect all of us. Yet he has no desire to recognize and understand the consequences of his actions on his fellow human beings.
His ignorance is willful, and he no doubt believes it's justified. He's proud of himself.
That takes him beyond mere ignorance into sociopathy.Aye, but considering how fatbobswern on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 1:21pm
Aye, but considering how fat his own salary is and those at the top who have given themselves so much of the payroll pie over the decades, as they cut back on the workers wh0o help them get their fatty paychecks,,,Makes me think they are greedy and stupid.Katie Porter's been nothing less than brilliant since day one !p cook on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 3:19pm
AOC may be getting all the press, but in the long run, Katie Porter is freaking BRILLIANT!!! And, more than a few people in the House, and in the media, are beginning to come to that conclusion , as well.
This Dimon piece is overwhelmingly powerful! Very grateful for you bringing this to our attention. Thank you!I think it really highlights a housing problemUntimelyRippd on Fri, 04/19/2019 - 3:35pm
I think we all need a raise but I also think there is a real housing crisis. Rent is too high for our wages because rental supply is too low. So how do we get more rental buildings? I know Chicago back in the 1950s worked with developers increasing density by razing smaller dwellings and building the four-plus-one apartments. NYC in the 1920s and 30s had a big (huge) density push in Brooklyn and the dense development of farmland in The Bronx. Why can't we do something like that today? I don't know. I would say link that up with the infrastructure rebuild everyone is talking about on the Left. Cities hooking up with banks and developers to get it done.
Bring our troops home!It absolutely does represent a housing shortage.wokkamile on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 3:47pm
@p cook @p cook
So, here's a story about Steven Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone, acknowledging the existence of a broad "income insufficiency" problem, and advocating among other things a much higher minimum wage.
Schwarzman's plan would eliminate taxes for teachers, introduce a higher minimum wage and more technical training for people who don't go to college.
What Schwarzman did not mention is that the company he runs was singled out by a UN report for actively making housing less affordable. During the economic collapse Blackstone slurped up enormous holdings at bargain-basement prices from banks and liquidators who did what they always do when liquidating during a market crisis: Package up the assets into large blocs that cannot be purchased by individuals, and auction them off to their pals, while letting the government eat the banks' losses. Schwarzman big concern is not that folks can't afford to pay rent -- it's that they can't afford to pay the rent that Blackstone wants to collect on properties it acquired for dimes on the dollar.
I haven't seen the numbers, but I'd guess that this particular event -- the foreclosure and subsequent fire-sale of those owner-occupied homes, transforming them into rental stock owned by a very small number of Blackstone equity holders -- was one of the largest transfers of wealth in the history of history, ranking up there with Henry VIII seizing church assets, the Bolsheviks seizing aristocratic assets, the Russian oligarchs grabbing the people's assets, and the Europeans grabbing the Americas and Africa.Our side definitely needsCentaurea on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 8:30pm
more Katie Porter and AOC types. Smart, to the point, no nonsense, hold their feet to the fire reps.
First time I've heard of KP -- apparently she reps part of Orange County, formerly all GOP. Doubly good.
My other takeaway is that this isn't such a great argument for concentrating too much on raising the minimum wage to a supposed "living wage" as the wages cited left that hypothetical person still in the red. But it might be a good argument for Andrew Yang's Freedom Dividend -- everyone over 18 gets $1,000/mo. Would take care of much of the high rent issue too.$1,000/month
@wokkamile doesn't go far nowadays.
It would also give the rentier class a further excuse to increase what they charge us.
Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is
The Saker: You recently wrote an article titled " Is the USS Ship of Fools Taking on Water? " in which you discuss the high level of stupidity in modern US politics? I have a simple question for you: do you think the Empire can survive Trump and, if so, for how long?
Dmitry Orlov: I think that the American empire is very much over already, but it hasn't been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case. Some event will come along which will leave the power center utterly humiliated and unable to countenance this humiliation and make adjustments. Things will go downhill from there as everyone in government in media does their best to pretend that the problem doesn't exist. My hope is that the US military personnel currently scattered throughout the planet will not be simply abandoned once the money runs out, but I wouldn't be too surprised if that is what happens.
The Saker: Lastly, a similar but fundamentally different question: can the USA (as opposed to the Empire) survive Trump and, if so, how? Will there be a civil war? A military coup? Insurrection? Strikes? A US version of the Yellow Vests?
Dmitry Orlov: The USA, as some set of institutions that serves the interests of some dwindling number of people, is likely to continue functioning for quite some time. The question is: who is going to be included and who isn't? There is little doubt that retirees, as a category, have nothing to look forward to from the USA: their retirements, whether public or private, have already been spent. There is little doubt that young people, who have already been bled dry by poor job prospects and ridiculous student loans, have nothing to look forward to either.
But, as I've said before, the USA isn't so much a country as a country club. Membership has its privileges, and members don't care at all what life is like for those who are in the country but aren't members of the club. The recent initiatives to let everyone in and to let non-citizens vote amply demonstrates that US citizenship, by itself, counts for absolutely nothing. The only birthright of a US citizen is to live as a bum on the street, surrounded by other bums, many of them foreigners from what Trump has termed "shithole countries."It will be interesting to see how public and government workers, as a group, react to the realization that the retirements they have been promised no longer exist; perhaps that will tip the entire system into a defunct state.
And once the fracking bubble is over and another third of the population finds that it can no longer afford to drive, that might force through some sort of reset as well. But then the entire system of militarized police is designed to crush any sort of rebellion, and most people know that. Given the choice between certain death and just sitting on the sidewalk doing drugs, most people will choose the latter.
And so, Trump or no Trump, we are going to have more of the same: shiny young IT specialists skipping and whistling on the way to work past piles of human near-corpses and their excrement; Botoxed housewives shopping for fake organic produce while hungry people in the back of the store are digging around in dumpsters; concerned citizens demanding that migrants be allowed in, then calling the cops as soon as these migrants set up tents on their front lawn or ring their doorbell and ask to use the bathroom; well-to-do older couples dreaming of bugging out to some tropical gringo compound in a mangrove swamp where they would be chopped up with machetes and fed to the fish; and all of them believing that things are great because the stock market is doing so well.
At this rate, when the end of the USA finally arrives, most of the people won't be in a position to notice while the rest won't be capable of absorbing that sort of upsetting information and will choose to ignore it. Everybody wants to know how the story ends, but that sort of information probably isn't good for anyone's sanity. The mental climate in the US is already sick enough; why should we want to make it even sicker?
Chris Cosmos on April 17, 2019 , · at 11:23 am EST/EDTI love Orlov’s wit and general cynical attitude as it mirrors mine (perhaps not the wit). I think he seems to understand the Ukraine and Russia relatively well though I’m not in a position to question him on that but I do know something about the politics of NATO/EU/USA and their intentions and that Orlov gets.B.F. on April 17, 2019 , · at 5:29 pm EST/EDT
But he simply does not understand the USA. He’s been predicting collapse for some time and it has not occurred or come close to happening. Washington is filled with smart kleptocrats who understand they cannot afford to destroy the country that keeps on giving them the wealth and power they crave. Trump, can flounce around Washington and the rest of the country and do and say outrageous things and it has no effect on life whatsoever.
If anything the economy actually is “better” not as good as the cooked statistics indicate but things have improved for people I know in that area. Americans, despite the obvious propaganda nature of the media still are true-believers in the official Narrative because meaning and myth always trumps reality.
While, on the surface, people support ideas like higher minimum wage, universal health-care and other aspects of social democracy, it their masters say “no” then they’ll forgo it and take pride in their ability to endure suffering, early death, their children on heroin or meth, and so on.
Since I’m fairly “connected” to the lower/working class and its struggles in my part of the world I can assure you people almost enjoy suffering to a degree that foreigners easily miss and seldom ascribe it to the thieves and criminals who run our society. Americans strut around but feel powerless and don’t have a plan or think they can have a plan because they lack the conceptual frameworks to understand that their leadership is thoroughly rotten.
Having said that, I agree with Auslander, Americans don’t need the central government and would do better, initially, in a highly chaotic situation and establish their own order in their communities and rig up a new set of arrangements very quickly.
In some ways the fall of Washington would be the best thing to ever happen in my country.Chris CosmosAnonymous on April 17, 2019 , · at 7:08 pm EST/EDT
I am afraid you are wrong. Orlov does understand the US, just like I do, as I have lived in the US. Yes, Orlov has been predicting the collapse of the US, and it will happen. I would like to direct your attention to the following video (the second part is very interesting):
Will there be a civil war in the US, like in the 1861-1865 period ? No, I don’t think so. Will there be severe social disturbances ? Yes, these I do expect, leading to the break up of the US. The only part of the US which probably will emerge as a cohesive force will be the old South, Dixie land, which has history and tradition behind it. The US has been kicking the financial can down the road for a long time. This cannot last for ever.FB on April 17, 2019 , · at 11:45 am EST/EDT“The only part of the US which probably will emerge as a cohesive force will be the old South, Dixie land, which has history and tradition behind it. ”
Maybe, but actually I would say most regions of the USA have some kind of “old tradition” —and a lot nicer ones than that of the old racist South. I’ll take New England and the Maritimes any day over the steamy South where the kudzu creeps over I mean *everything*, the snakes proliferate, and you can’t survive the summer without AC 24/7.
Check out American Nations, by Colin Woodard.
KatherineWell…I just started in on this piece and already I have a major beef…Orlov’s notion that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was good for Russia…Anonymous on April 17, 2019 , · at 12:52 pm EST/EDT
China was [and arguably still is] an empire of diverse regions, ethnicities and religions…but how is that holding China back today, or during previous centuries of imperial glory…?
Clearly China doesn’t fit into Orlov’s idea of an empire as a ‘wealth pump’ that sucks from the periphery to enrich the center…this is true of course of exploitation-based imperial projects such as western colonialism…but is clearly not applicable to the Chinese model, which has been both the biggest and most durable empire in human history…so that is a big hole in Orlov’s ‘theory’…
It is true that the USSR was a fundamentally different kind of empire from the exploitative western colonialism…and it is also true that it ultimately did not succeed…although it managed to accomplish almost incomprehensible progress in modernization, science and technology…and industrialization…the foundations of Russian strength today rest squarely on the foundations put in place during the Stalin era…
Elsewhere on this site there is a brilliant series of essays by Ramin Mazaheri about the tumultuous cultural revolution of the 1960s…and why it was necessary…Russia also needed a cultural revolution around this time…the system needed to be rejigged to better serve the people…in living standard…fairness and justice…opportunity for social advance…etc…
But it never happened…instead the system became more sclerotic than ever…and the welfare of the people stagnated…at the very moment in time when the capitalist west, especially the United States, was able to reign in the appetites of its parasite class and provide the people with a decent share of its [largely ill-gotten, by means of global finance colonialism] gains…[during the postwar decades, the share of national wealth of the 0.1 percent fell to an all time low of about 7 percent…about a quarter of historic, and current levels]…
This was the golden age in the US…well paying jobs in industry were plentiful and the company president made perhaps ten times what the shop floor worker took home…a second household income was completely unnecessary…university education at state colleges was practically free…
The life of the Soviet citizen in the1960s was not too far behind…Stalin’s five year plans in the1930s had created an industrial powerhouse…it was Russia’s ability to produce that allowed it to prevail over Germany in the existential war…and despite the devastation of the people, cities and countryside Russia was able to quickly become a technological superpower…as an aerospace engineer I have a deep appreciation of the depth and breadth of Russian technical achievements and the basic scientific advances that made that possible…the US was laughably left in the dust, despite having skimmed the cream of Nazi Germany’s technical scientific talent…and contrary to what US propaganda would have the people believe…
... ... ...
Of course the massive Chinese empire has been adapting like this for centuries, if not millennia…Russia with the Soviet Union only needed to make similar smart adjustments…instead they threw out the baby with the bathwater…let’s see where Russia goes from here, but with people like Siluanov and Nabiullina in charge of the nation’s money, I am not optimistic…
But back to Orlov…let’s see where he goes after starting off very clumsily. .The acceleration of economic collapse in the West will be likely bring (overt) fascism and war–world war.
In particular, the AngloNazi sorry Anglosphere nations (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of course America) are a clear and present threat that should not be underestimated, discounted, or spin-doctored away.
As collapse intensifies, these Anglo American entities led by the USA will surely lash out in even more aggressive wars to maintain their unipolar world order that they have ruled over since the fall of the Soviet Union. The use of tactical nuclear weapons, bio-warfare, and other "exotic" weapons should not be ruled out.
At base, the Anglo Americans possess an inbred sense of economic entitlement. They whine like snowflakes about the foreign outsourcing of jobs or "illegal immigrants stealing our jobs" as a chauvinistic demand for a greater share of the economic spoils of imperialism.
But the Anglos studiously avoid facing the reality that their precious way of life, capitalist system, and Anglo-American world order itself are premised upon their own ruthless exploitation of the Global South and developing nations in general.
And God forbid that the Anglos lose their parasitic way of life and (horror) are compelled to live like the vast majority of humanity in the developing world from Africa to Asia to Latin America to the Middle East.
The disaffected middle classes and labor aristocracy of the Anglosphere will comprise the grassroots basis for 21st-century fascism, similar to how these socio-economic classes were the grassroots support for the German Third Reich or Mussolini's Italy in the 1930s-40s.
Trump and the MAGA hordes, as well as similar xenophobic and nationalist movements throughout the Anglosphere and Europe, are only a precursor to what is coming. They represent the grievances of the lower-middle classes within the Anglo American Empire and Europe who want a greater cut of the economic loot of empire for themselves–which necessitates an even more aggressive and militaristic grab for global resources, markets, and geopolitical power.
As Martin Lee has put it, the Beast reawakens.
Boswald Bollocksworth on April 17, 2019 · at 9:37 pm EST/EDT
He’s way too negative on the USA’s domestic prospects. Despite its absurdities, the US system is fundamentally robust and unlikely to suffer any major, sudden collapse, at least for many decades. It will certain decline further, plumbing the depths of depravity more than it has to date, but the system will chug along. The US has vacuumed up talent from all over the world, bolstering it’s economic capacity and the rents extracted by oligo. It’s day to day institutions, such as courts, post offices and the like function better now than they did in the 80s or 90s.
All the incentives are there to keep the thing together, with little real risk of some sort of succession movement or serious insurrection. The main advantages the US has on this score are it’s mass surveillance system, policing infrastructure and media. The US media can make the great bulk of the people believe absolutely anything, if given enough time.
The US capacity to meddle overseas will wither, after all how well can a submarine filled with drag queens and single mothers operate? And who’d be willing to endure shelling for a monstrosity like contemporary America?
But the domestic system is brilliantly designed, not going anywhere.
Mar 19, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Before Gina became the Chief of Staff for Rodriguez, what role did she play in the waterboarding of two AQ operatives in Thailand? It appears that she was at least witting of what was going on. Did she have the authority to decide what measures to apply to the two? Did she make such decisions?
Those are facts still to be determined. I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. But there are others who I respect that are adamant in opposing her nomination. The only thing I know for sure is that her nomination will be a bloody and divisive political battle. If it comes down to embracing waterboarding as an appropriate method to use on suspected terrorists, then a majority of Americans are supportive of that practice and will cheer the appointment of Haspel.
That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. It is true that one man's terrorist is another woman's freedom fighter.
Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes.
Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck.
Cee , 18 March 2018 at 12:55 PMPT,steve , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men.
No to her confirmation.IIRC, Haspel was the chief of staff to whom Rodriguez refers. That does not sound like a bit player. Would you say that Kelly is a bit player in the Trump admin? As you say, we should know the facts, but so far it looks like she both participated in torture and in its cover-up.tv , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
SteveIs waterboarding "torture?" It does not draw blood nor leave any physical damage. Psychological damage? These ARE admitted terrorists.BillWade , 18 March 2018 at 01:20 PMWith all the crap going on at the FBI, the last thing we need now is a divisive candidate for any top level government position (torture advocacy is divisive for many of us).Publius Tacitus -> tv... , 18 March 2018 at 01:23 PM
A woman, a lesbian, who cares as long as they are a capable and decent law-abiding individual.Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs.Apenultimate said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 March 2018 at 01:26 PM
And where do you get "admitted" terrorists from? In America, even with suspected terrorists, there is the principle of innocent until proven guilty. At least we once believed in that standard.And I very much respect you for your position on this (it is this American's view as well).Laura , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
What amazes me (and yet doesn't) is the example of Rodriguez's supposed introspection "How bad could this be?" Really?!? That just strikes me as not having any feel for the media, US citizenry, or even common sense, and just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light.PT -- Thank you. Much to consider in these times. I come down on the "no torture and waterboarding is torture" side of the debate but am also just eager for some competence and professional experience in key positions.Kooshy , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
That these positions may be mutually exclusive says a great deal about our current situation. Again, thank you, for your opinions and information.A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean.
At the end of the day that don't matter, since as a policy, and base on your own statement, this country's government will prosecut and punish for liking of torture but not torture and tortures. And, furthermore, is not even willing to do away with it, per it's elected president. Trying to show a clean, moral, democracy on the hilltop image, is a BS and a joke.
Mar 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Nothing will say more about who we are, across three American administrations -- one that demanded torture, one that covered it up, and one that seeks to promote its bloody participants -- than whether Gina Haspel becomes director of the CIA.
Haspel oversaw the torture of human beings in Thailand as the chief of a CIA black site in 2002. Since then, she's worked her way up to deputy director at the CIA. With current director Mike Pompeo slated to move to Foggy Bottom, President Donald Trump has proposed Haspel as the Agency's new head.
Haspel's victims waiting for death in Guantanamo cannot speak to us, though they no doubt remember their own screams as they were waterboarded. And we can still hear former CIA officer John Kiriakou say : "We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information."
It was Kiriakou who exposed the obsessive debate over the effectiveness of torture as false. The real purpose of torture conducted by those like Gina Haspel was to seek vengeance, humiliation, and power. We're just slapping you now, she would have said in that Thai prison, but we control you, and who knows what will happen next, what we're capable of? The torture victim is left to imagine what form the hurt will take and just how severe it will be, creating his own terror.
Haspel won't be asked at her confirmation hearing to explain how torture works, but those who were waterboarded under her stewardship certainly could.
I met my first torture victim in Korea, where I was adjudicating visas for the State Department. Persons with serious criminal records are ineligible to travel to the United States, with an exception for dissidents who have committed political crimes. The man I spoke with said that under the U.S.-supported military dictatorship of Park Chung Hee he was tortured for writing anti-government verse. He was taken to a small underground cell. Two men arrived and beat him repeatedly on his testicles and sodomized him with one of the tools they had used for the beating. They asked no questions. They barely spoke to him at all.
Though the pain was beyond his ability to describe, he said the subsequent humiliation of being left so utterly helpless was what really affected his life. It destroyed his marriage, sent him to the repeated empty comfort of alcohol, and kept him from ever putting pen to paper again. The men who destroyed him, he told me, did their work, and then departed, as if they had others to visit and needed to get on with things. He was released a few days later and driven back to his apartment by the police. A forward-looking gesture.
The second torture victim I met was while I was stationed in Iraq. The prison that had held him was under the control of shadowy U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces. Inside, masked men bound him at the wrists and ankles and hung him upside-down. He said they neither asked him questions nor demanded information. They did whip his testicles with a leather strap, then beat the bottoms of his feet and the area around his kidneys. They slapped him. They broke the bones in his right foot with a steel rod, a piece of rebar ordinarily used to reinforce concrete.
It was painful, he told me, but he had felt pain before. What destroyed him was the feeling of utter helplessness, the inability to control things around him as he once had. He showed me the caved-in portion of his foot, which still bore a rod-like indentation with faint signs of metal grooves.
Gina Haspel is the same as those who were in the room with the Korean. She is no different than those who tormented the Iraqi.
As head of a black site, Haspel had sole authority to halt the questioning of suspects, but she allowed torture to continue. New information and a redaction of earlier reporting that said Haspel was present for the waterboarding and torture of Abu Zubaydah (she was actually the station chief at the black site after those sessions) makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners there, but pay it little mind. The confusion arises from the government's refusal to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. So many records have yet to be released and those that have been are heavily redacted. Then there are the tapes of Zubaydah's waterboarding, which Haspel later pushed to have destroyed.
Arguing over just how much blood she has in her hands is a distraction from the fact that she indeed has blood on her hands.
Gina Haspel is now eligible for the CIA directorship because Barack Obama did not prosecute anyone for torture; he merely signed an executive order banning it in the future. He did not hold any truth commissions, and ensured that almost all government documents on the torture program remained classified. He did not prosecute the CIA officials who destroyed videotapes of the torture scenes.
Obama ignored the truth that sees former Nazis continue to be hunted some 70 years after the Holocaust: that those who do evil on behalf of a government are individually responsible. "I was only following orders" is not a defense of inhuman acts. The purpose of tracking down the guilty is to punish them, to discourage the next person from doing evil, and to morally immunize a nation-state.
To punish Gina Haspel "more than 15 years later for doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders, would be a travesty and a disgrace," claims one of her supporters. "Haspel did nothing more and nothing less than what the nation and the agency asked her to do, and she did it well," said Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA during the height of the Iraq war from 2006-2009.
Influential people in Congress agree. Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will soon review Haspel's nomination, said , "I know Gina personally and she has the right skill set, experience, and judgment to lead one of our nation's most critical agencies."
"She'll have to answer for that period of time, but I think she's a highly qualified person," offered Senator Lindsey Graham. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson defended Haspel's actions, saying they were "the accepted practice of the day" and shouldn't disqualify her.
His fellow Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, signaled her likely acceptance, saying , "Since my concerns were raised over the torture situation, I have met with her extensively, talked with her She has been, I believe, a good deputy director." Senator Susan Collins added that Haspel "certainly has the expertise and experience as a 30-year employee of the agency." John McCain, a victim of torture during the Vietnam War, mumbled only that Haspel would have to explain her role.
Nearly alone at present, Republican Senator Rand Paul says he will oppose Haspel's nomination. Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, have told Trump she is unsuitable and will likely also vote no.
Following World War II, the United States could have easily executed those Nazis responsible for the Holocaust, or thrown them into some forever jail on an island military base. It would have been hard to find anyone who wouldn't have supported brutally torturing them at a black site. Instead, they were put on public trial at Nuremberg and made to defend their actions as the evidence against them was laid bare. The point was to demonstrate that We were better than Them.
Today we refuse to understand what Haspel's victims, and the Korean writer, and the Iraqi insurgent, already know on our behalf: unless Congress awakens to confront this nightmare and deny Gina Haspel's nomination as director of the CIA, torture will have transformed us and so it will consume us. Gina Haspel is a torturer. We are torturers. It is as if Nuremberg never happened.
Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He tweets @WeMeantWell.
Douglas K. March 19, 2018 at 3:19 amCovering up torture is quite possibly the worst thing Obama did. (I'd put it neck-and-neck with targeted killing.) This nation desperately needs a president who will expose all of these horrors, and appoint an attorney general who will prosecute these acts as war crimes.I Don't Matter , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 amTrump likes waterboarding. He said so himself. One assumes he meant, being a whimpering coward himself, when someone else does it to someone else. But who knows? Enjoy judge Gorsuch.Mark Thomason , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am"doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders"Peter Hopkins , says: March 19, 2018 at 6:52 am
To complete the parallel, we would need to prosecute and punish those who asked her to do it, and those who told her those orders were lawful. Instead, some are doing paintings of their toes, some are promoted to be Federal judges, and some are influential professors at "liberal" law schools. Why punish *only* her?Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.Ian , says: March 19, 2018 at 7:10 amAs we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them.Bagby , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:00 amI was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. I am in full support of Mr. Van Buren's thesis. However, Pro Publica, which seems to have been the source of much reporting of Haspel's torture record, has retracted the claim that Haspel had tortured in Thailand. Mr. Van Buren quotes another source from his blog that supports the thesis that Haspel is a torturer. How does one know what to believe? Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power.Centralist , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:19 amIts because we lost our sense of what makes us who we are. We are an empire that dances for private interests. In Rome they were called families and led by patricians, they had money private guards, gladiators, and even street people supporting them. In the Modern USA they are called Interest Groups and/or Corporations. They are lead by CEOs and instead of gladiators they have Lawyers. Our being better matters less then their own squabbles which is why a torturer could reach the highest seat in intel. The majority of Americans have lost their sense of being Americans instead they are Republicans, Democrats, etc, etc. Things that once use to be part of an American have come to define us.Banger , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:09 amAmerican Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy."Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:31 am
At least this appointment along with the election of Trump shows the true face of the United States in international affairs. When we face the fact we are (a) an oligarchy and (b) a brutal Empire we might have a chance to return to something more human. Few readers, even of TAC, will want to look at our recent history of stunning brutality and lack of interest in even being in the neighborhood of following international law.CIA has purposefully refused to disclose Haspel's role for a decade+ They have selectively released information last week to discredit those criticizing her. I don't think we should play their game, letting them set the agenda. Instead, I declaim torture itself and any role she played in it, whether she poured the water or kept the books.Kurt Gayle , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:34 amDoes Peter Van Buren's criticism of the CIA's Haspel put him at risk?Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:35 am
In the 2003 film "Love Actually" the British Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) jokes with a Downing Street employee Natalie (Martine McCutcheon):
"PM: You live with your husband? Boyfriend, three illegitimate but charming children? –
"NATALIE: No, I've just split up with my boyfriend, so I'm back with my mum and dad for a while.
"PM: Oh. I'm sorry.
"NATALIE: No, it's fine. I'm well shot of him. He said I was getting fat.
"PM: I beg your pardon?
"NATALIE: He said no one's going to fancy a girl with thighs the size of big tree trunks. Not a nice guy, actually, in the end.
"PM: Right You know, being Prime Minister, I could just have him murdered.
"NATALIE: Thank you, sir. I'll think about it.
"PM: Do – the SAS are absolutely charming – ruthless, trained killers are just a phone call away."
It's just a film. It's just a joke. But the joke works because the public knows that – in reality – the security services have the skills-sets and the abilities, to do damage anyone they want to do damage to -- and to probably get away with it.
Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious.
Fast forward again to yesterday, March 17, 2018: Former CIA Director John Brennan wasn't joking when he reacted to the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- and President Donald Trump's tweeted celebration of it -- by tweeting this attack against Trump:
"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America America will triumph over you."
Obama UN Representative Samantha Power followed up on the Brennan tweet with this:
"Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan."
When public officials and former public officials -- like Shumer, Brennan and Power -- make such public statements it must necessarily have a chilling effect on public criticism of the security services.
After all, none of the three are joking. They're serious. And the American people know that they're serious.
Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of CIA operative Haspel put him at risk?New information makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners at her black site, but pay it little mind. The confusion is because the government refuses to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. Arguing over just how much blood she has on her hands is a distraction when she indeed has blood on her hands.Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:25 am
The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency. If the Agency wishes to clarify her role, as was done via trial for the various Nazis at Nuremberg, we can deal with her actions more granularly.Since we have not had any more successful attacks on the scale of 9-11, it is very easy to be scrupulous regarding rough treatment of terrorists.furbo , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:45 am
But if we had suffered a dozen or more such attacks, of increasing magnitude and maybe involving nuclear weapons, how many of you would still be condemning Mrs Haspel et al.? Or would you then be complaining they had not used water-boarding enough?
The 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, was caught weeks before 9-11. Investigators figured out he was up to no good, tried to get permission to search his computer, but were denied. The U.S. Government carefully protected his privacy rights. So are you pleased with the outcome, Mr van Buren?I'm sorry – this whole piece is a massive non sequitur. Ms. Haspel has no 'blood' on her hands as US extreme interrogation techniques (sleep deprivation, uncomfortable positions, waterboarding) didn't draw any. They are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones. US techniques might have been bad policy – won't argue – but lets not fall for a false equivalency.Sid Finster , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:59 am
Ms. Haspel was an agent of her government, acting on it's orders under it's policies and guidelines. Which leads to
Nuremberg. The Nuremberg tribunals (they were military tribunals – not trials) were conducted by a victorious military force against a defeated military force. They were widely criticized as vengeance even by such august people as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Stone and associate Justice Douglas. There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government.
And lastly there's this from a comment of the authors: "The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency." Utter nonsense. That was the mission of the Agency at that time. It's like saying a 33yr old Drone Pilot who takes out an ISIS/Al Qaida operative as well as 15 civilians is disqualified to be the Sec Def 2 decades later.
Just stop.Sally Stewart , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:11 am
If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!"
We demonize Russia at every opportunity, but I don't see Russia rewarding torturers by appointing them to high office.Douglas K. What are you talking about? Covered up? You mean Bush http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/175/end-the-use-of-torture/Stephen J. , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:12 amA lot of info below on the War criminals at large.connecticut farmer , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:49 am
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
May 26, 2015 Do We Need Present Day Nuremberg Trials? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2015/05/do-we-need-present-day-nuremberg-trials.html
March 9, 2018 Are We Seeing Government By Gangsters? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2018/03/are-we-seeing-government-by-gangsters.htmlI didn't know too much about this woman's background until I read that Rand Paul opposes her nomination. I tend to take notice whenever Rand Paul holds forth on any subject. All I can say is that if her actual record even approximates what has been alleged, then this woman is unfit for the post–Nuremberg or no Nuremberg.Winston , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:54 am"As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them." Oh, -PLEASE-, spare us the hyperbole! WE burn alive captives held in cages? WE saw off their heads?Lex Talionis , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs.All of the torturers should be brought to justice. So should all of the officials who ordered or authorized torture.bob sykes , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm
There is no statute of limitations on capital Federal crimes. For a U.S. citizen to kill via torture is a capital Federal crime, no matter where the torture took place. If statutes of limitations make it too late to prosecute some acts of torture, it is not too late to bring about some measure of justice by making torturers pariahs. As many sexual harassers have recently learned, there is no statute of limitations in the court of public opinion.The story linking her to torture has been formally retracted. She had nothing to do with torture anywhere. How about a retraction of this story and an apology.Youknowho , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:30 pmI do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them.Tyrone Slothrop , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:07 pm
Personally, I prefer that the cruelty should be, as Lincoln once put it, "unalloyed by the base metal of hypocrisy"bob sykes: you should read Pro Publica's retraction ( https://www.propublica.org/article/cia-cables-detail-its-new-deputy-directors-role-in-torture ) of the claim that Haspel was in charge of the Thai black site when Abu Zubaydeh was tortured. She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect.Near Rockaway , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:31 pm
Winston: why do you suppose "thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs"? Is it not to prepare them for the possibility of what we call torture when used by our adversaries?
furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition?"Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence?"Chris Mallory , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Evil stuff. And we're still paying for it. Keeping Haspel out of the Director's chair is a basic step toward avoiding more such needless, stupid evil.Wilfred, the problem was not that the Feds protected Zacarias Moussaoui's right to privacy. The problem is that it let any of the 20 Arab Muslims into the US in the first place. Closing our borders and mass deportations would have been the best thing to do in the aftermath of 9/11, not torture and invasions.b. , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:58 pmVery well put. Lest we forget: Bush also delivered the stern warning that "war crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished, and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders'."Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words.Chris Mallory (Mar 19 @1:47 p.m.), I agree with you. We shouldn't be letting them in.
But if someone had sneaked-a-peek at Moussaoui's laptop during the 3 weeks they had him before 9-11, we might have been able to thwart the attack altogether. (And the Press has been strangely incurious about investigating whoever it was who issued the injunction protecting Moussie's precious computer). This type of hand-wringing cost us 3,000 lives. Even more, considering the Afghan & 2nd Iraq wars would never have been launched, were it not for 9-11.
Apr 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Deep Snorkeler , 1 hour ago linkFantasy Free Economics , 1 hour ago link
No One Can Trust Trump erratic and dysfunctional, absurd and incongruous, fantastic and ludicrous - he rules from an immoral crevasse:
he sustains massive corporate profits and upper caste power.Cosmicserpent , 10 minutes ago link
It is normal that others see weakness in the U.S. before we do. The notion in the United States is that what we want to be true is true. Fantasy is a comforting mechanism but it sure is painful when everything falls apart. Our reality gap has not slammed shut but it will.
http://quillian.net/blog/victims-of-fascism/†FreeThought† , 11 minutes ago link
It's official. Trump is a cum guzzling **** for Israel's Bentoveryahoo, and the US MIC. He wishes he was Putin's bitch.Empire's Frontiers , 18 minutes ago link
What happened to "Nationalism, not globalism will be our credo"...? I voted for Trump and I got Trumpstein instead.Dr. Acula , 7 minutes ago link
An exceptionally good goy, this Trump guy.
Shalom! And get back to work.SHsparx , 30 minutes ago link
It's X-dimensional chess, where the value of X increases each day.R19 , 29 minutes ago link
I'm starting to get the feeling that maybe Trump won't run again? And so now he feels he doesn't even have to pretend anymore.ThomasEdmonds , 28 minutes ago link
Which President has been the best weapons salesman? I vote:
ObamaKekistanisUnite , 28 minutes ago link
Like a guided missile: sure of its target.warsev , 37 minutes ago link
Disappointing but not surprising. I do hope at some point his mind will be changed. Give full credit to the 16 Republicans in the House and 7 Republican Senators for supporting this resolution.evoila , 30 minutes ago link
I guess we now know fully where President Trump stands on reining in executive warmongering.jimfcarroll , 28 minutes ago link
Better buy your call options on Tulsi Gabbard. She is going to surprise da **** out of these idiots same way Trump surprised in 2016.
Never voted for a democrat in my life. She might be the first. I wont vote for Trump again after this.
Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kiza , Apr 16, 2019 5:33:36 PM | link
Trump is like a voodoo doll into which every sh**bag sticks pins. Firstly, it is irrelevant whether he was a swamp creature before election or was coopted into it after.
Secondly, Trump was transparently chosen to be the "agent of change" for the other half of the US population, just as Obama before.
Therefore, both individuals were both an admission that the change in the system is needed and that the ruling regime is into life-extension by means of "whatever it takes". Once the "change" potential is exhausted, repression must take over as the principal life extension mechanism; clearly, these methods do not have a sharp start-over points in time - they overlap.
This is where we are now, Assange was the most prominent member of the real opposition to the regime, where they try to confuse with plenty of faux opposition. Therefore, the Assange's head had to be chopped off publicly and his slowly rotting corpse will now be on display through "courts of justice" for the next couple of years as a warning to the consumers of alternative media. Go back to reading the approved "journalism" or ... To understand better one just needs to read/re-read Solzhenitsyn.
The other major ongoing life-extension activity, overlapping with repression, is the confiscation of guns from the last remaining armed Western population (lots of leftist oxen pulling that cart). Having too many guns amongst the population is bad for resolving personal conflicts peacefully, but it is even worse for the abusive, exploitative regime. Thus, taking the guns away is doing the right thing for a totally wrong reason.
It is an interesting connection of dots that Bloody Gina is Brennan's protégée and thus that Trump has truly stacked up his administration with former i.e. current enemies, But this only shows that Trump works for the same masters as his political enemies. Again, nothing new.
Therefore, where is a Western Solzhenitsyn to document artistically what transpires in a society deeply in debt and in social & moral decline?
Apr 16, 2019 | www.unz.com
Escher , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:01 pm GMT@The Alarmist Trump doesn't strike me as someone with principles or opinions of his own. He will say and do whatever his base of "deplorables" likes to hear and whatever helps him get what he wants.
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Return of the Just April 14, 2019 at 10:46 amYou're right. I see people like Robert Kagan's opinions being respectfully asked on foreign affairs, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams being hired to direct our foreign policy.Ken Zaretzke , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm
The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they're angling for war with Iran.
It's preposterous and sickening. And it can't be allowed to stand, so you can't just stand off and say you're "wrecked". Keep fighting, as you're doing. I will fight it until I can't fight anymore.Fact-bedeviled JohnT: “McCain was a problem for this nation? Sweet Jesus! There quite simply is no rational adult on the planet who buys that nonsense.”Joe Dokes , says: April 14, 2019 at 11:55 pm
McCain had close ties to the military-industrial complex. He was a backer of post-Cold War NATO. He was a neoconservative darling. He never heard of a dictator that he didn’t want to depose with boots on the ground, with the possible exception of various Saudi dictators (the oil-weaponry-torture nexus). He promoted pseudo-accountability of government in campaign finance but blocked accountability for the Pentagon and State Department when he co-chaired the United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs with John Kerry.
And, perhaps partly because of the head trauma and/or emotional wounds he suffered at the hands of Chinese-backed Commies, it’s plausible to think he was regarded by the willy-nilly plotters of the deep state as a manipulable, and thus useful, conduit of domestic subversion via the bogus Steele dossier.
Unfortunately, the episode that most defines McCain’s life is the very last one–his being a pawn of M-16 in the the deep state’s years-long attempt to derail the presidency of Donald Trump.Measuring success means determining goals. The goals of most wars is to enrich the people in charge. So, by this metric, the war was a success. The rest of it is just props and propaganda.Andrew Stergiou , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:11 am“Pyrrhic Victory” look it up the Roman Empire Won but lost if the US is invaded and the government does not defend it I would like to start my own defense: But the knee jerk politics that stirs America’s cannon fodder citizens is a painful reminder of a history of jingoist lies where at times some left and right agree at least for a short moment before the rich and powerful push their weight to have their way.Peter Smith , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:13 am
If All politics is relative Right wingers are the the left of what? Nuclear destruction? or Slavery?My goodness! I am also a veteran, but of the Vietnam war, and my father was a career officer from 1939-1961 as a paratrooper first, and later as an intelligence officer. He argued vigorously against our Vietnam involvement, and was cashiered for his intellectual honesty. A combat veteran’s views are meaningless when the political winds are blowing.Fayez Abedaziz , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:25 am
Simply put, we have killed thousands of our kids in service of the colonial empires left to us by the British and the French after WWII. More practice at incompetent strategies and tactics does not make us more competent–it merely extends the blunders and pain; viz the French for two CENTURIES against the Britsh during the battles over Normandy while the Planagenet kings worked to hold their viking-won inheritance.
At least then, kings risked their own lives. Generals fight because the LIKE it…a lot. Prior failures are only practice to the, regardless of the cost in lives of the kids we tried to raise well, and who were slaughtered for no gain.
We don’t need the empire, and we certainly shouldn’t fight for the corrupt businessmen who have profited from the never-ending conflicts. Let’s spend those trillions at home, so long as we also police our government to keep both Democrat and Republican politicians from feathering their own nests. Term limits and prosecutions will help us, but only if we are vigilant. Wars distract our attention while corruption is rampant at home.Thanks, I appreciate this article.kingdomofgodflag.info , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:19 am
I’ll make two points, my own opinion:
it’s the same story as Vietnam, the bull about how the politicians or anti-war demonstrators tied the military ‘hand,’ blah, blah.
Nonsense. Invading a nation and slaughtering people in their towns, houses…gee…what’s wrong with that, eh?
The average American has a primitive mind when it comes to such matters.
Second point I have, is that both Bushes, Clinton, Obama, Hillary and Trump should be dragged to a world court, given a fair trial and locked up for life with hard labor… oh, and Cheney too,for all those families, in half a dozen nations, especially the children overseas that suffered/died from these creeps.
And, the families of dead or maimed American troops should be apologized to and compensation paid by several million dollars to each.
The people I named above make me sick, because I have feelings and a conscience. Can you dig?Though there is a worldly justification for killing to obtain or maintain freedoms, there is no Christian justification for it. Which suggests that Christians who die while doing it, die in vain.Mark Thomason , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:43 am
America’s wars are prosecuted by a military that includes Christians. They seldom question the killing their country orders them to do, as though the will of the government is that of the will of God. Is that a safe assumption for them to make? German Christian soldiers made that assumption regarding their government in 1939. Who was there to tell them otherwise? The Church failed, including the chaplains. (The Southern Baptist Convention declared the invasion of Iraq a just war in 2003.) These wars need to be assessed by Just War criteria. Christian soldiers need to know when to exercise selective conscientious objection, for it is better to go to prison than to kill without God’s approval. If Just War theory is irrelevant, the default response is Christian Pacifism.“has gone un-investigated, unheard of, or unpunished.”Stephen J. , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:51 am
The one guy who did tell us has just been arrested for doing exactly that.
The arrest is cheered by those who fantasize about Russiagate, but it is expressly FOR telling us about these things.“Iraq Wrecked” a lot of innocent people. Millions are dead, cities reduced to rubble, homes and businesses destroyed and it was all a damned lie. And the perpetrators are Free.the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:53 am
Now there is sectarian violence too, where once there was a semblance of harmony amongst various denominations. See article link below.
“Are The Christians Slaughtered in The Middle East Victims of the Actions of Western War Criminals and Their Terrorist Supporting NATO ‘Allies’”?
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/are-christians-slaughtered-in-middle.htmlWe are a globalist open borders and mass immigration nation. We stand for nothing. To serve in this nation’s military is very stupid. You aren’t defending anything. You are just a tool of globalism. Again, we don’t secure our borders. That’s a very big give away to what’s going on.the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:57 amIf our nation’s military really was an American military concerned with our security we would have secured our border after 9/11, reduced all immigration, deported ALL muslims, and that’s it. Just secure the borders and expel Muslims! That’s all we needed to do.Kouros , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Instead we killed so many people and imported many many more Muslims! And we call this compassion. Its insane.Maybe if Talibans get back in power they will destroy the opium. You know, like they did when they were first in power…. It seems that wherever Americans get involved, drugs follow…JohnT , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm“Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” In Eisenhower’s televised farewell address January 17, 1961.Ken Zaretzke , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:10 pm
Rational thought would lead one to believe such words from a fellow with his credentials would have had a useful effect. But it didn’t. In point of fact, in the likes of Eric Prince and his supporters the notion of war as a profit center is quite literally a family affair.The military-industrial complex couldn’t accomplish this all by its lonesome self. The deep state was doing its thing. The two things overlap but aren’t the same. The deep state is not only or mainly about business profits, but about power. Power in the world means empire, which requires a military-industrial complex but is not reducible to it.
We now have a rare opportunity to unveil the workings of the deep state, but it will require a special counsel, and a lengthy written report, on the doings in the 2016 election of the FBI (Comey, Strzok, et. al.), and collaterally the CIA and DIA (Brennan and Clapper). Also the British government (M-16), John McCain, and maybe Bush and Obama judges on the FISA courts.
Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Dude-dude , 20 minutes ago link
Dear President Trump:
Tears came to my eyes - happy tears - when you were elected! A seemingly impossible feat was accomplished that day in November.
I understood when you faced tremendous resistance in your first 200 days from Demorats. It seemed you were unphased and determined - all was good.
- You called the stock market a bubble when you were campaigning, but just a few months after you won the election you called the stock market a great accomplishment of your administration. What changed? I got confused. Worse, you cursed when the Fed raised interest rates to 2.5% and the market started to crash. That doesn't sound like an awesome economy. It sounds like a highly manipulated one by central actors.
- You lobbed some Tomahawks into Syrian sand - that worried me.
- Then you lobbed a hundred or so more after a couple of Wahhabists wearing white hats, funded by Britain and the CIA, staged a fakenews chemical attack and put it on social media. Dear Donald, were these missiles close to their expiry date? Were you playing 4D chess? Some of those failed missiles flew near a major Russian base, were you at all concerned that one or two of them might malfunction and accidentally bomb the Russians? I guess not. The Russians however were concerned -- which is why they prepared to attack your fleet, along with the French and Canadian boats - just in case. But I guess it was just another day at the Oval Office.
- You said Hillary should be in jail. It is nearly three years since you said that. She's not in jail. Instead, several patriots were dragged through the mud by Mueller and/or the Democrats - all you've had to say is that it was terrible! You can't even seem to properly handle retarded people like Maxine and Nancy.
- You claimed you were winning, but you lost the lower House to the Dems in the midterms.
- You said America is leaving Syria for others to deal with -- which probably was a reference to Saudi Wahhabists and Israeli Zionists. Why are you still there protecting Al Q'aida?
- You seem to be eager to wreak havoc against Iran - was that part of the deal to bring home our troops?
- You brought NK and the rest of the world to the brink of nuclear war. Luckily NK started packing-up their nuke program. It wont be for long though. You've done nothing since, except appoint John Bolton. If I were the leader of NK I wouldn't really trust you.
- You campaigned on bringing home troops from all the useless wars. Now you're thinking of attacking Venezuela. What gives? I'm more confused.
- You said working with Russia would be a good thing - you've hit Russia fairly hard with sanctions and diplomatic retribution. Maybe we can blame the fakenews MSM and the Dems and forgive you for playing into their whims.
- You offered tax credits for corporations, they fraudulently bought back their own stocks. You offered tax credits to the people, they used most of it to pay down their overdue credit cards. Some apparently used the money as a down-payment on a new pickup that they'll either have to sell soon or risk repo - nothing changed in the long-run.
- You promised a wall paid for by Mexico....
- Why does the American military require three-quarters of a trillion dollars per year? Yet you're willing to pay even more.
- Most of all, you kept referring to Wikileaks, and its publication of the HRC emails, as proof of a corrupt DNC. Two years later, you jailed its editor. It doesn't end there. It really does look like you want to drag this Australian/Ecuadorian to America to imprison, torture, and possibly execute, someone who hasn't committed any crime (except skipping bail on a highly questionable extradition to Sweden in response to a 'she said / he said' accusation that the complainants and the Swedish prosecutors dropped, much like those lobbed at your SCOTUS pick that you vehemently and rightly criticized).
- Mr. President, if that's how you treat your allies and friends, I'd rather be your enemy. At least your enemies so far seem to get away with everything and anything. your friends on the other hand get fired or jailed or both.
- Mr. President, sir if you are a populist, you sure don't act like one surrounding yourself with the Deep State...
- I withdraw my vote...
- ... ... ...
Good night, and good luck.
Good night, and good luck.
Apr 15, 2019 | www.unz.com
neutral , says: April 11, 2019 at 11:37 am GMTThis will at least wake up those morons at places like Breitbart that Trump is nothing more than a neocon swine. I mean how much more evidence do they need to see that he is invite the world, invade the world.Colin Wright , says: Website April 13, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him.@neutral 'On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him 'Liberty Mike , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
We'll be 'conned' the same way as always; what's the alternative?@Colin Wright For one, its not reposing any confidence, faith, and trust in DJT. He is a charlatan who appeals to low IQ whites.Cagey Beast , says: April 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm GMT
Why do so many intelligent people delude themselves into rationalizing their support and vote for Trump upon the basis of the lesser of two evils loser mindset?
- Look at the labor participation numbers. Worse under Trump than under the Kenyan mulatto.
- Look at the rate the debt is increasing. Look at the total increase in the debt since the serial adulterer took office.
- Look at the surge in immigration under this congenital prevaricator.
- Look at the failure to build a wall.
- Look at his Hebrew obsequiousness.@Liberty MikeLiberty Mike , says: April 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm GMT
One doesn't have to be stupid to support Trump but it helps. The same can be said for his prominent enemies though. To unconditionally and faithfully support Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi, one would have to be stupid or totally controlled by one's emotions.
That being said, a smart person could still support Trump. A smart person could recognize Trump finishing his term as the least bad option. In 2020, this same smart person might recognize that, amazingly, a Trump second term had become the least bad option. People can scream and throw around insults or they can present an alternative to Trump.@Cagey Beast
Wouldn't a smart person recognize that his vote does not matter?
Wouldn't a smart person recognize that Stalin's maxim, "its not who votes that counts, its who counts the votes" controls?
Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option?
Cagey Beast , says: April 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm GMT@Liberty Mike Wouldn't a smart person recognize that his vote does not matter?
You and I are voting right now just by publicly engaging in politics. Voting on election day is worth it in the same way posting comments online is worth it.
Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option?
Yes. But during the election, Trump was the least bad option who sometimes seemed like a good option. That's still true today.
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
John, says: April 13, 2019 at 3:18 amWith all due respect, Iraq didn't wreck you. The US wrecked Iraq, and the US wrecked you.Uncle Billy , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:00 amThe invasion of Iraq was a mistake of historic dimensions. The "weapons of mass destruction" excuse was a lie. When I see George W. Bush smiling on TV, I want to puke. Likewise, I cannot view an image of Lyndon Johnson without revulsion. They are both responsible for much death and suffering. I have heard people try to excuse both of them, with the statement that "they meant well." The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.JohnT , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:06 am@Ken Zaretzke.Bob , says: April 13, 2019 at 9:57 am
For Christ's sake! The "Deep State"!?! With a well documented pathological liar and a seemingly endless supply of professional sycophants in our government selling our nation to the highest bidder in plain sight why in the world do you folks continue to need grand delusions of demons in the woodwork???
I have no reason to believe Comey, Clapper and Brennen have served this nation with honor and integrity in dealing with more responsibility than that required to sit safely at home and blabber about as the victim of some grand conspiracy.The war In Afghanistan would have ended 15 years ago if the sons of members of Congress were being drafted. "It's easy to send someone else's sons to war."Ken Zaretzke , says: April 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm@JohnT,Sarto , says: April 13, 2019 at 5:02 pm
You left out the phrase "anything other than" following the phrase "have served this nation with" in your last sentence.
You forgot to express your confidence in John McCain. Good luck with that. McCain's top aide flew to a foreign city to receive the Steele dossier, gave it to the senator, who then gave it to the FBI–as per Steele's script, I assume. It's another reason why we need a special counsel to look into the FBI's role. A special counsel can hardly omit the McCain piece of the puzzle, whereas a regular prosecutor can easily ignore it and cover McCain's keister.
To the extent that McCain comes out looking bad in a special counsel's report, Trump haters like you will no longer be able to talk about Trump's supposed terrible character in dissing noble John McCain, and holding it up as Exhibit A of why Trump shouldn't be president.
More than anything else concerning the FBI's election shenanigans, the McCain-Steele nexus–specifically the report written about it by a special counsel–could expose the deep state's modus operandi. Not even an inspector general's report can do that as well as a special counsel's report.Remember, 75% of Americans wanted Bush to invade Iraq. War is the force that gives America its meaning.Lee Green , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:11 pmYour book will go out of print. In 10 to 20 years it will be reprinted and sell well. It takes that long for people to remove their heads from their nether regions and be willing to contemplate the errors made.George Hoffman , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:09 pm
The real irony is that we know better. There is a vast body of literature on major cognitive errors, and the whole catalog is on display in the debacle described. Our failures of statecraft are quite analogous to the ongoing errors in my field (medicine), well described in "To Err is Human." We've made a lot of progress in medicine in addressing them, mostly though systems engineering. That's because the tendency toward these errors is a result of how human brains are wired, and if you have a human brain, no matter how smart or well educated you are, you have those tendencies. The key is to create systems that catch the errors.
Now we have to figure out how to create systems to constrain politicians, and especially the military-industrial-Congressional complex (Eisenhower's actual original term), from making those errors.I commiserate with your disillusioning journey because I went through a similar odyssey into self-awareness like yours many decades ago. I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam (31 May 1967 – 31 May 1968). It's all been downhill from there. A gradual slide down the slippy slope of history in our decline as a nation. There's not much one can really do. But at my age, I will be long gone when our country hits burns and crashes as it hits bottom.Talltale , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm"Iraq wrecked me, even though I somehow didn't expect it to. I was foolish to think that traveling to the other side of the world and spending a year seeing death and poverty, bearing witness to a war, learning how to be mortared at night and deciding it didn't matter that I might die before breakfast, wasn't going to change me. Of the military units I was embedded in, three soldiers did not come home; all died at their own hands."Craig Morris , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:59 am
Enough books and movies about those poor damaged American boys yet?
The navel gazing never stops.
Here is a thought; the unprovoked American aggression in Iraq wrecked Iraq! There is no comparison between the millions of dead, dispossessed, displaced, terrorized and radicalized Iraqis and a few thousand PTSD cases with the richest government in the world on their side.
Get over yourselves! Honestly! It's like a pimp complaining about bruised knuckles on account of hitting a woman too many times!The title of your book sounds like "Invading Iraq was a Good Idea but the Implementation was Bad and I Couldn't Fix It". Did you really think we could invade a sovereign country based on lies and win "hearts and minds" if we just did it the right way? Not possible.
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Adam E, says: April 14, 2019 at 8:50 amJust a cynical take, but implying that there are lessons to be learned from previous or present wars that should keep us from engaging in future wars presumes that the goal is to, where possible, actually avoid war.WJ , says: April 14, 2019 at 9:13 am
It also suggests a convenient, simplistic narrative that the military/DOD is incompetent and stupid, and unable to learn from previous engagements.
I wonder if the Middle East is nothing more than a live-fire laboratory for the military; if it seems as though there is no plan, no objective, no victory for these engagements, maybe that is because the only objectives and victory are to provide practical war training for our troops, test equipment and tactics, keep defense contractors employed and the Pentagon's budget inflated, and to project power and provide a convenient excuse for proximity to our 'real' enemies.
Draping these actions under a pretense of spreading 'peace and democracy' is just a pretense and, as we can see by our track record, has nothing to do with actual victory. "Victory", depending on who you ask, is measured in years of engagement and dollars spent, period.
And because it is primarily taking place in the far away and poorly understood Middle East, it is never going to be enough of an issue with voters for politicians to have to seriously contend with.This person is a crybaby. At 49 he went to a war that most rational people knew already, was an immoral, illegal waste of people, time and money. But now he wants to whine about PTSD. I have the same opinion about most soldiers who fought there also. Nobody made them volunteer for that junk war so quit whining when things get a little hard
Apr 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Paul Damascene , Apr 14, 2019 10:19:30 AM | link
You ask a question about European political class's perception and defence of European interests that is as perplexing here as it is in regard to Libya and Syria, to name just these. There was at least some coherent defence of international law and principle during Bush II's lead up to the Iraq war, but Europe's defence of law and Europe's common interests seem to have ceased at some point since then.
pretzelattack , Apr 14, 2019 10:31:57 AM | linkso many poodles, but there can only be one alpha poodle and that's the uk so far.Babyl-on , Apr 14, 2019 10:43:53 AM | link"Why are they playing this game?"
Because, like the US European government is a tool of the Global Power Elite, it is nothing more than pantomime. The West is fully owned and operated by the global elite.
In books going back to C Wright Mills' The Power Elite in 1956 to SUPERCLASS by David Rothkopf, and GIANTS: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips clearly outline just how powerful the Global Elites really are.
In SUPERCLASS we learn that this class of people actually own and control the three largest Western religions and many of the secondary ones - they all preach obedience to authority as paramount. They also own the drugs trade around the world. 95% of the world supply of opium comes out of Afghanistan under the watchful eye of the Elite through use of the US military.
There is one and only one Western empire - that of the Global Elites.
85% of the valuable assets in the world are controlled by the Global Elites.
There is no offsetting force against them, there simply does not exist today a force capable of challenging their ownership of the world.
And just as an aside to any historians out there, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-first Century shows how a critical mass of capital was had formed 500 years ago and has grown consistently at a rate greater than the general economy ever sense. He showed that before, during and after the French Revolution and later the US "revolution" the core capital of the west made profits. These revolutions, like government today, were pantomimes whilew the real power profited from the slaughter. The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf sinse August 6, 1945. The nuclear weapons belong to them.
Apr 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
popgoesthepop , 12 Apr 2019 10:26Four more years of Trump is in the works.jae426 -> gunnison , 12 Apr 2019 10:26
The fact that she lied about her ethnicity in the past in hopes of gaining a leg up will backfire spectacularly if she's the DNC nominee for POTUS. Conservatives will beat this point over and over and over.
Is the Left secretly trying to put Trump in the WH for another term? It sure looks like it.Thomas1178 -> Sheldon Hodges , 12 Apr 2019 10:25
the chances that Dems supporting a candidate who does not win the primary would boycott the election and put Trump back in the White House are vanishingly small this time around
They were warned that that would happen last time, and they still let it happen. The "Bernie bros" are back out in force, and not only have they not learnt their lesson, they feel validated by Clinton's defeat to the extent where they are even more determined that their old man should be the candidate and nobody else. These are people who abandoned the Democrats for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who managed to make Sarah Palin look intelligent. They will do it again because they are largely white, male and think just because they read liberal newspapers that means they don't have a sense of entitlement.
Both Michigan and Pennsylvania would have gone to Clinton if only 20% of Green voters hadn't lodged protest votes. These people don't want Elizabeth Warren, they don't want Kamala Harris, they don't want Beto O'Rourke, they don't want Pete Buttigieg. They want Bernie. If Bernie isn't the Democrat, they won't vote Democrat.
You can dismiss this as much as you like, but I placed a bet on Trump winning the Republican nomination when he was the joke candidate and when he won the nomination I bet on him winning the presidency. I think that would be an even safer bet this time round.That's just funny. She's been behind some of the major legislation that enacted the things that Bernie Sanders talks about. And Wall Street is scared crapless of her -- why do you think they're going after her so hard?popgoesthepop -> WishesandHorses , 12 Apr 2019 10:23She lies about her ethnicity to get ahead in life? That may have something to do with it.Sheldon Hodges , 12 Apr 2019 10:22This conjecture is entirely fiction at best but centrist neo libeberal bollocks as a certainty. Warren was and is a republican. She is a corporate bootlicker, a thrall of Hillary and has no serious attachment to truth. I regret to admit that I am a US citizen, 68 years of age. I have wittnessed Warren's shameless plagirising of Bernie Sanders' arguments and am sickened to see her lionized by people who, if honest, should know better.Thomas1178 , 12 Apr 2019 10:21The columnist is right about Warren's intellectual stature and influence, and anyone who's looked at what she's accomplished for Massachusetts (or for that matter watched her takedown of the sleazy head of Wells Fargo during the Senate hearings) knows she's tough. She also has a *workable* vision of what the Democrats could offer Americans. From affordable childcare to making college tuition affordable again to helping out working-class people like the fisherman in Massachusetts, while reigning in the banks and making sure we don't have another crash – it's the blueprint.Patrician1985 , 12 Apr 2019 10:21
There's something hysterically funny about all the people who have signed in here, clearly skipped the article, just to yell "squirrel!" – or in this case -- "oh no she filled out the optional ethnicity box and it turns out her family stories were mistaken!"
What they're missing, what Warren is laying out and the article is pointing out, is what the GOP will really be up against in the future.I don't like this argument: she may not win the primary, but it's her ideas that will dominate the conversation.SolentBound , 12 Apr 2019 10:21
It worked for Bernie supporters to console themselves.
If we elect someone, it needs to be the person who will be passionate about that idea (as opposed to lukewarm like Pelosi is on Green New Deal). We need someone who knows what it will take to get it done. What will get in the way. How to get around it.
Warren not only had the idea for CFPB. She actually set it up. Then Obama lacked the moral courage and political spine to have her lead the agency - just because Wall Street had pressured the Democrats against it.
Warren is the right candidate for the right time. She has ideas to fix the country and doesn't just rail against people. That's why even Steve Bannon is scared of her policy positions that they could be theirs.
Democrats need to stop playing pundits and go with their heart. If they vote for someone they like less but because he (why is it always a 'he' who is electable?) can win - we will end up with a candidate no one really cares about and how is that a winning strategy?Democrat primary voters need to recognise that defeating Trump is going to be very difficult.JayThomas -> Rio de Janeiro , 12 Apr 2019 10:20
Since WW II, only Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr. have failed to win re-election, in both cases to superb campaigners who captured the public's imagination and, critically, swing voters.
Which of the potential Democrat challengers is a Ronald Reagan or a Bill Clinton? Or, indeed, a Barack Obama?
For a dose of reality, Democrats could do worse than read Mike Bloomberg's piece on his decision to stay out of the race: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-05/our-highest-office-my-deepest-obligationAnd because nobody expects a politician to keep a promise, they have to find some other way to be convincing.BenjaminW , 12 Apr 2019 10:19Warren rules -- her policy ideas are creative, intelligent and moral, and the world would be an indescribably better place if people like her were ever allowed into positions of authority. That anyone on the planet would prefer to be represented by someone like Biden, never mind Trump, is utterly depressing.charlieblue , 12 Apr 2019 10:16Sadly, FOX News has already issued their proscribed talking points on Sen.Warren. You will find them listed and repeated anywhere Elizabeth's Warren's candidacy is discussed (including here). Most of it will be lies or exaggerations, claims that she received jobs and promotions based on her claims of Native American ancestry, claims that she received scholarships or some kind of preferential treatment by calling herself an "Indian". They will insist that this is an obvious character flaw, that she's a liar and some sort of cultural thief.Rio de Janeiro , 12 Apr 2019 10:13
Sadly, too many American's still imagine FOX News and it's ilk are purveyors of fact. They imagine the propaganda they are being fed about Elizabeth Warren is a truth the "mainstream media" won't mention. We saw all of this with Hillary Clinton. 30% of Republican voters still think Sec. Clinton ran a pedophile ring out of a DC pizza parlor.
If Sen.Warren, or any other rational candidate has a fair chance at running for President, if all the lies and propaganda of the right-wing media establishment are to be countered, the left and the center of US politics needs an effective counter to right-wing narrative.A presidential campaign is not about specific, detailed policy proposals. It's about a vision for the country. A vision that must be consistent with voters' feelings and expectations; and must be communicated in a clear, energetic way by an effective messenger. That's the way Reagan, Clinton, Obama and Trump won.outkast1213 -> newageblues , 12 Apr 2019 10:13
Does anybody remember Trump's healthcare policy?
People don't vote for policy manifestos. People vote for candidates that inspire and convince.The same Liz that stated as a Senator she had a better chance to effect change than as POTUS in 2016 now is a genius?GeorgeC , 12 Apr 2019 10:12If Warren is the 'intellectual powerhouse' of the Democratic party, then god help them. Not a word about 1 trillion dollar budget deficits and rising (under Trump)-but remember Obama was little better; in 15 years time the US state pension system will be bankrupt, various other states' pension schemes are also effectively bankrupt (see Illinois, Tennessee) as are various cities (Chicago), and all Warren and Trump can think of is more debt, and nor will MMT help (we know this is just deficit spending on steroids). None of these people are 'progressive' - by not tacking the key problem of runaway debt it just robs everyone by forcing a default - not an 'honest' one, but rather the route taken by all politicians, namely rapid devaluation of the currency; something that robs all people, and destroys savings. Instead all we get are jam today, and bankruptcy tomorrow.needaname100 -> Thomas1178 , 12 Apr 2019 10:11She changed her ethnicity from white to Native American at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Also, a large majority of Americans have Native American DNA....and EW has less than the average American (which is 5%)...she has 0.20. She abused a privilege and got called out.Thomas1178 -> mwesqcpa , 12 Apr 2019 10:05She's too damn smart, is the problem. Along with all her qualifications she has also a lot of very solid wins that she brought home for the people of Massachusetts as a senator, from helping fisherman to low-income students suffering from college debt -- emphasizing that she's actually helped working class people and people in student debt should be a no brainer. And yet she seems not to have a savvy political operator advising her – she sure as hell hasn't gotten out ahead of the Native American thing, and I don't know why no one is doing that for her.LydiaLysette , 12 Apr 2019 10:03"Elizabeth Warren is the intellectual powerhouse of the Democratic party"
Then they really are in trouble.....
Just take 1 point....
"She has called for abolishing the electoral college, the unfair institution the US used to elect executives "
Well that requires a constitutional amendment, that requires a two thirds majority in both houses and then ratification by three quarters of the States. The ERA was proposed in 1923 didn't get through Congress until 1972 and is still short of the 38 State ratifications to adopt it. That's an issue of direct concern to at least half the population. The idea that a procedural change to the constitution for partisan benefit is getting through the process is blatantly laughable. Particularly as there appear to be about 27 states that have enhanced importance under the current system ( http://theconversation.com/whose-votes-count-the-least-in-the-electoral-college-74280 ) and only 13 are needed to kill it.
Apr 14, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.comHARPhilby -> HARPhilby , 12 Apr 2019 08:55ABT-Anybody But Trumpmoderate_rebel_rebel , 12 Apr 2019 08:55Warren has the same foreign policy as all the others, invade, sanction, destroy. Steal oil, gold and assets. The US has become a deluded neurotic police state rife with addiction and so addled it is no longer a force for good in any sphere.
In short it is now a part of the problem and no longer a part of any workable solution. Who becomes POTUS is therefore irrelevant.
Warren is flawed ideologically and personally, US citizens need to wake up and recognise that the POTUS is an irrelevant position with no authority and that until you tackle the neocon ridden nature of US politics nothing will ever change.
There is no hope in systems, only hope in people. Politics has become irrelevant in the face of our impending extinction.
Apr 12, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
It may well not be Warren who wins the Democratic nomination, but whoever does will be campaigning on her ideas
since her initial announcement in December, Warren's campaign has rolled out a series of detailed policy proposals in quick succession, outlining structural changes to major industries, government functions, and regulatory procedures that would facilitate more equitable representation in the federal government and overhaul the economy in favor of the working class. These policy proposals have made Warren the Democratic party's new intellectual center of gravity, a formidable influence who is steadily pushing the presidential primary field to the left and forcing all of her primary challengers to define their political positions against hers.
Warren has become the Democratic party's new intellectual center of gravity
Warren herself is an anti-trust nerd, having come to the Senate from a career as an academic studying corporate and banking law. On the stump, she's most detailed in the same areas where she is most passionate, like when she talks about about breaking up huge tech companies such as Amazon and Google, and implementing a 21st-century -- version of the Glass-Steagall act that would separate commercial and investment banking (she has also called for prosecuting and jailing bank executives who break the law). But her policy agenda is broader than that, taking on pocketbook issues that have resonance with working families.
Warren outlined a huge overhaul of the childcare system that would revolutionize the quality, cost and curriculum of early childhood education, with subsidies for families and a living wage for caregivers. It's a proposal that she talks about in the context of her own career when, as a young mother and fledgling legal mind, she almost had to give up a job as a law professor because childcare for her young son was too expensive.
Warren has also proposed a housing plan that would limit huge investors' abilities to buy up homes, give incentives for localities to adopt renters' protections, and build new public housing. Crucially, and uniquely, her housing plan would also provide home ownership grants to buyers in minority communities that have historically been "redlined", a term for the racist federal housing policies that denied federally backed mortgages to black families. The provision, aimed to help black and brown families buy their first homes, is a crucial step toward amending the racial wealth gap, and it has helped sparked a broader conversation within the party about the need to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves -- a concept that Warren has also endorsed.
Taking her cues from pro-democracy and voting rights advocates such as Stacey Abrams, Warren has also taken on anti-majoritarian constitutional provisions, aiming to make American democracy more representative and less structurally hostile to a progressive agenda. She has called for abolishing the electoral college , the unfair institution the US uses to elect chief executives that makes a vote in New York count less than a vote in Wyoming, and which has resulted in two disastrous Republican presidencies in the past two decades. She has advocated eliminating the filibuster , an archaic procedural quirk of the Senate that would keep the Democrats from ever passing their agenda if they were to regain control of that body. And she has signaled a willingness to pack the courts , another move that will be necessary to implement leftist policies such as Medicare for All -- because even if the next Democratic president can pass her agenda through Congress, she will not be able to protect it from the malfeasance of a federal bench filled with conservative Trump appointees eager to strike it down.
When other candidates campaign, Warren's strong policy positions force them to define themselves against her
Warren has been the first to propose all of these policies, and it is not difficult to see other candidates falling in line behind her, issuing belated and imitative policy proposals, or being forced to position themselves to her right. Warren has promised not to go negative against other Democrats , but her campaign's intellectual project also serves a political purpose: when other candidates campaign, her strong policy positions force them to define themselves against her.
After Warren announced her childcare overhaul, senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris rolled out plans similarly designed to combat gendered economic injustice, calling for guaranteed family leave and better teacher pay , respectively. After Warren rolled out her pro-democracy agenda of eliminating the electoral college, abolishing the filibuster and packing the courts, her ideological rival Bernie Sanders was forced to come out against both eliminating the filibuster and packing the courts , damaging his reputation with a party base who knew that without these interventions, a progressive agenda will probably never be enacted. The pressure eventually forced Sanders to cave to Warren's vision and concede that he would be open to eliminating the filibuster in order to pass Medicare for All.
There's still a long time before the first contests, and it's possible that Warren will succumb to the flaws that her critics see in her campaign. In particular, she might not be able to raise enough money. She's decided not to take any Pac money and not to fundraise with wealthy donors, a position that may be as much practical as it is principled: the super-rich are not likely to donate to Warren anyway, since she has such a detailed plan, called the Ultra Millionaire Tax , to redistribute their money. She may fall victim to the seemingly unshakable controversy over her old claims of Native American ancestry, and she seems doomed to be smeared and underestimated for her sex, called cold and unlikable for her intellect and then, as with other female candidates, derided as pandering when she tries to seem more relatable.
But it would be a mistake to write Warren off as a virtuous also-ran, the kind of candidate whose intellectual and moral commitments doom her in a race dominated by the deep divisions in the electorate and the craven demagoguery of the incumbent. Elizabeth Warren does not seem to be running for president to make a point, or to position herself for a different job. Instead, she is making bold interventions in the political imagination of the party. It may well not be Warren who wins the Democratic nomination, but whoever does will be campaigning on her ideas.Moira Donegan is a Guardian US columnist
CharlesLittle -> Ken Kutner , 12 Apr 2019 11:00Thanks Ken and Thomas. I couldn't have said it better myself. Are we going to pare down the list of Democratic candidates on the basis of one or two stupid missteps? Looking through the Bible, I note that Jesus lost his temper at the money-changers and put down the hard-working Martha. So, he's out too.geejay123 -> Beaufort100 , 12 Apr 2019 10:58Ex Veteran Tulsi Gabbard has a very good chance of taking votes from Trump's base imo.Ranger69 , 12 Apr 2019 10:57
All round the best democratic candidate to declare so far.Im just glad Gabbard made it to the debate stage. More progressives the better.SoonToBeDead -> T0nyN , 12 Apr 2019 10:57Not only the USA, with everyone becoming wealthier, the need for education has declined, across the western world, being liberal or educated has become a swear word. Social media and lazy journalists are doing the rest, its all propaganda now, and permanent contradictory stories means only simple messages cut through the noise, hatred, immigrants, islamophobia, anti-semitism, etc. are classic messages that get through and stir people's emotions. Intellect doesn't win elections with a gullible electorateBaronVonAmericano -> CharlesLittle , 12 Apr 2019 10:54She really is thin in all areas but financial regulation and consumer protection.zagrebZ -> alex13 , 12 Apr 2019 10:54
An excellent Commerce/Treasury secretary, or VP. But she lacks the cohesive vision that Sanders articulates.Trump IS dumb... Or do you want me to Google a few thousand references for you?FolkSpirit -> OliversTravels , 12 Apr 2019 10:48
'Moron'; 'Child-like'; 'Idiot'; 'Can barely read'...
Sound familiar? Words about Trump from his own staff.It was a mistake and it was self-interested and it was unethical. And it was a different time before tribal groups in the US developed and enforced laws regarding membership status. Had Trump not shown disdain for her and all native Americans by calling her Pocahontas as though it were a racial slur, few would have made a big deal from this mistake.Excession77 -> HarryFlashman , 12 Apr 2019 10:42
Warren did confess without need to do so that she had purchased distressed mortgages to turn a profit as a young lawyer like so many of her ethically misguided law colleagues.
If you are or intimately know more than two attorneys you know this was and in some towns and cities still is common practice for building wealth among lawyers who have first notice when these “deals” are posted at the local Court House. Find me a “clean” lawyer anywhere if you can and I doubt you can — they write law and protect themselves and wealthy constituents mightily in doing so.
If you can help remove most of them from political office and replace them with people working professions of greater merit I stand with you. Congress needs intellectual strength and diversity of backgrounds.
Shakespeare: “First, we kill the lawyers”.Tulsi Gabbard or don't bother.garlicbreakfast , 12 Apr 2019 10:41
Unfortunately she opposes wars of choice from the position of an impressive service record in Iraq so she gets ignored in favour of the ridiculous Elizabeth Warren here and in other places. Warren's window was last time anyway when she was coming off the back of viral public speeches about inequality.Posturing as a would-be American native and supporting racial retributions is as far from qualifying as an intellectual powerhouse as it gets. She would be better than Trump, obviously, but then anybody would.BaronVonAmericano , 12 Apr 2019 10:41While I'd prefer the genders reversed, I think she would be an ideal running mate for the front-runner among the declared candidates.Sheldon Hodges -> Londonsage , 12 Apr 2019 10:41
Sanders has much more assiduously defined the moral center that any candidate for president must have: unapologetic confrontation with the oligarchy. Warren is the intellectual weapon such an administration could deploy on the specifics of banking and anti-trust.
This is all the more practical given that Warren has failed to tie race, social justice and criminal justice issues all together in her values-based worldview -- certainly not to the extent that Sanders has, his being well beyond any other candidate's efforts.Because Obama was a canny corporate move to place someone that offered such qualities as intelligence and grammar in sharp relief to GW Bush while remaining closely controlled by the oligarchy.BigDave47 , 12 Apr 2019 10:30Intellectual powerhouse?
Do you include her fraudulent and offensive claims to Native American heritage in that? As CNN has reported, as far back as 1986 she was falsely claiming "American Indian" heritage on official documents. Despite repeated calls by the leaders of the Tribal Nations, she has still failed to apologise. That's some intellectual powerhouse..
Apr 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
BMW ends pensions for workers
The era of US companies offering pensions is coming to a close.
The latest evidence: after freezing it's two UK pension plans in 2017, BMW will do the same for its remaining US plans.
Since 2011 new workers have not been offered a pension, but rather a defined contribution plan.
Workers who formerly had a pension will keep what they have accrued, but not accrue more. Current retirees receiving a pension will not be affected.
Apr 12, 2019 | www.unz.com
Grahamsno(G64) , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT@Thomm That's so true that it's almost incredible, Andrew Anglin of the daily stormer has been campaigning for Tulsi Gabbard & Andrew Yang for well over a month
He could be said to be instrumental in putting Yang on the democratic primaries and possibly Tulsi as well all the while using his weaponized memes against Trump!! I'm in disbelief.
Apr 12, 2019 | www.unz.com
Art , says: April 12, 2019 at 6:52 am GMTGood On Tulsi Gabbard.
Gabbard: Assange arrest is a threat to journalists
By Rachel Frazin – 04/11/19 06:10 PM EDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) condemned the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday, calling the arrest a threat to journalists.
"The arrest of #JulianAssange is meant to send a message to all Americans and journalists: be quiet, behave, toe the line. Or you will pay the price," Gabbard tweeted.
The Democrat's remark came hours after police in London arrested Assange, citing charges he is facing in the U.S.
Assange is accused of conspiring to hack into computers in connection with WikiLeaks's release of classified documents from former Army private and intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Think Peace -- Art
Apr 12, 2019 | www.youtube.com
At least 60 companies reported an effective federal tax rate of zero, meaning they owe nothing in federal taxes for 2018, and that tax burden then falls on the rest of us. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix that. She joins Stephanie Ruhle in her first interview since unveiling her proposal.
Patti Granros , 6 hours agoSome Person , 8 hours ago
Love Liz Warren. No BS. Policy-driven campaign! She's for the regular people, who keep this country going.Kamikapse , 7 hours ago
60 years ago every job offered health insurance, retirement plans, paid vacation, and all sorts of other benefits. It's time to have them pay a share of our societies costs, they use the same roads, breathe the same air, and drink the same water...Greg Miller , 9 hours ago
Warren has consistently amazed me with her proposals... I hope she will make it to the debates, since everyone's fawning over Bernie and Beto for their fundraising capabilities, I hope they are not trying to sink her...Kip Landingham , 6 hours ago
Warren Buffet, who saved 28 or so million on his, himself said trumps tax deal was foolish..but he also said he wouldn't turn it down, which i don't blame him on that..Google User , 1 hour ago
Senator Warren makes some excellent points (as usual): "market" implies a competitive environment, so when huge corps squeeze out competitors, it's no longer a "market". Corporations/rich individuals always say they made their profits themselves (independently of others or of any social structure systems). Really? If you were living/doing business on a mountaintop, disconnected from everyone else and any infrastructure support, you would have done just as well? That's a load of crap, and if they had any responsibility at all (as opposed to just pure greed), they'd be willing to give back a bit and contribute to the system(s) they build their wealth on.Tessmage Tessera , 7 hours ago
Elizabeth Warren you've got my attention.
The fact is that the wealthy all over the world do not want their position of privilege to be challenged. This is why Bernie Sanders has been saying (for several DECADES) that the only way to move our society forward is to build from the bottom up... not the top down. And he is 100% correct.
Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Zachary Smith , Apr 11, 2019 5:39:02 PM | link
@ Circe @164
Odd thing, but suddenly I remember how John McCain came out of nowhere back in 2008. Polling in single digits, suddenly the man is hyped like hell and becomes the candidate. Perfect foil for Obama, I suppose.
Somehow reminds me of 2016, but then Obama was an unknown, not the most hated politician in the US.
As for "why now" on the arrest of Assange, it diverts attention from a lot of other topics. Some of those will probably never re-surface.
Apr 11, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
span y apenultimate on Wed, 04/10/2019 - 7:09pm She did it, an hour ago!
Tulsi Gabbard now has enough individual donors to make it into the televised Democratic debates! Thanks to those of you who helped, either by becoming a donor, or in spirit!
Apr 11, 2019 | talkingpointsmemo.comSen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) unveiled a major plank in her platform to tax the rich on Thursday, introducing plans for a new tax on all corporations that clear $100 million in annual profits.
Warren's "real corporate profits tax" is aimed at large corporations like Amazon that have generated huge profits in recent years while almost entirely avoiding federal taxes through a series of loopholes and credits.
"Because of relentless lobbying, our corporate income tax rules are filled with so many loopholes and exemptions and deductions that even companies that tell shareholders they have made more than a billion dollars in profits can end up paying no corporate income taxes," Warren wrote in a Medium post unveiling the plan. "Let's bring in the revenue we need to invest in opportunity for all Americans. And let's make this year the last year any company with massive profits pays zero federal taxes."
The plan would institute a seven percent tax on profits over $100 million in addition to current taxes. An economic analysis released by Warren's campaign estimated that at least 1,200 companies would be forced to pay new taxes under the plan, generating a net revenue boost of at least $1 trillion for the government.
Warren's plan is aimed at large corporations -- ones that have generally paid lower tax rates than smaller companies in recent years. The GOP tax cut law nearly doubled the number of publicly held companies that paid no federal taxes from 30 to 60 in the last year alone, according to a recent study from the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
This is the latest significant tax proposal the Massachusetts senator has unveiled as part of her campaign platform, which also includes a two percent surtax on people with more than $50 million in assets and a three percent surtax on those who have $1 billion.
The plans have earned her plaudits on the left and drawn concern from some more business-friendly moderate Democrats.
But so far, they haven't proven a game-changer in the presidential race. Warren continues to struggle to siphon off a significant chunk of voters who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last election, her natural base of support. She's regularly polled in the mid- to upper-single digits in recent state and national polls, in the second tier of candidates.
And she raised just $6 million in her first quarter in the campaign, her team announced yesterday. That's not a terrible haul in a crowded field, especially since she's sworn off big donors, but it's nothing compared to the huge sums she pulled in as a Senate candidate -- and trailed even upstart South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).
She also spent almost all of that money, having built out a large staff in the early primary states with a high payroll.
And Sanders isn't giving her much room on her left: He reintroduced a sweeping Medicare for all plan on Wednesday, which she cosponsored, a move that puts pressure on Warren and other Democrats to keep up as they try to woo the progressive wing of the party base.
Apr 11, 2019 | www.unz.com
Republic , says: April 10, 2019 at 1:47 pm GMTCicero's quotation:
A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.
For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.
He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com
Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: April 10, 2019 at 8:55 am GMTI'm not sure why the author of this article seems to be surprised by the actions of Trump and his administration. The collective image of him as a blood-thirsty racist whose hatred of all peoples queer 'n' colored runs marrow and generations-deep -- think of a cross between a street corner John Galt and Ian Smith, daubed with vague overtones of Archie Bunker mingling with Clint Eastwood -- is purely an invention of the media, the left as well as that of the right.
Why or how he became the impromptu pope of white nationalism escapes me. Anyone with ears to listen and eyes to see could find for themselves that he never so much as intimated even muted sympathy for that movement, not during his campaign and certainly not as head of state, media accusations of "dog whistles" and the like notwithstanding.
But a demoralized white working and middle class were willing to believe in anything, deluding themselves into reading between the barren eruptions of his blowzy proclamations. They elevated him to messianic heights, ironically fashioning him into that which he publicly claims to despise: an Obama, a Barry in negative image, "hope and change" for the OxyContin and Breitbart set. Like his predecessor, Trump never really says anything at all. There are grand pronouncements, bilious screeds targeting perceived enemies, glib generalities, but rarely are any concrete, definitive ideas and policies ever articulated. Trump, like Obama, is merely a cipher, an empty suit upon which the dreams (or nightmares) of the beholder can effortlessly be projected, a polarizing figurehead who wields mostly ceremonial powers while others ostensibly beneath him busy themselves with the actual running of the republic.
To observe this requires no great research or expenditure of effort -- he lays it all out there for anybody to hear or read. Unfortunately, the near totality of this country's populace is effectively illiterate and poorly equipped to think critically and independently, preferring to accept the verdicts of their oleaginous talking heads at face value without ever troubling themselves to examine why. (The dubious products of the glorified diploma mills we call "higher education" are often the most gullible and dim-witted.) Trump is the dark magus of racism and bigotry -- boo! Trump is the man of sorrows who will carry aloft Western Civilization resurgent -- yay!
Just as the hysterical left was quickly shattered by the mediocrity that was Barack Obama, so too does the hysterical right now ululate the sting of Donald Trump's supposed betrayal. As with their ideological antipodes, they got what they deserved. Pity that the rest of us have to be carted along for the ride.
Amerimutt Golem , says: April 10, 2019 at 9:39 am GMTTrump is just a golem -- a creature made by you know who to destroy their enemies like Iran etc, no different from GW or FDR.anonymous  • Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:01 am GMTPolitics, at least at the national level, is a puppet show to channel and periodically blow off dissent.
“In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.
A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.”
Linh Dinh, “Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President,” published at The Unz Review, June 12, 2016.
jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:12 am GMT@Hank
We were “Trumped”. Hard to believe.
What’s so hard to believe? Many of us predicted as much.
PS: It would be more accurate to admit that his supporters have been t Rumped . He stuck it to ya and you enjoyed it. Believe it and remember it.
Yes, it would have been worse with the Cackling Hyena, but what does that tell ya?
Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com
jacques sheete says: April 10, 2019 at 10:50 am GMT
Reed was wrong here. The American voter, for the most part, still doesn't realize any of this.
In June 1922 the Zionist halter was firmly reaffixed
round the neck of American State policy, and though American voter only slowly
realized this, it became immaterial to him which party prevailed at elections.
-Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion , p 300-301
jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT@WorkingClassAntonius , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:10 am GMT
Today I switch to the Democrats.
"First the poor taxpayers, robbed by the politicians of one great party and then by those of the other, turn to a group of free-lance rogues in the middle ground -- non-partisan candidates, Liberals, reformers, or what not: the name is unimportant.
Then, flayed and pillaged by these gentry as they never were by the old-time professionals, they go back in despair to the latter, and are flayed and pillaged again."
-H.L.Mencken, Editorial , In The American Mercury, April 1924, pp. 408-412Trump is attacked relentlessly by Israel firsters (both left and right) prior to, and after his investiture as POTUS. How does he respond? How has he responded to relentless attacks on his base? The man has no spine, and no sense of gratitude or morality.
'Not worth feeding' my late grandfather would have said. Although he has made a lot of wealthy petulant people (who despise him and laugh behind his back) even wealthier.
What is needed is a billionaire who has genuine sense of noblesse oblige. Hopeless!
Anon918 , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:30 am GMTOf course Trump was a gamble. I clearly remember him saying he wanted to get out of Syria, put an end to the endless wars, and he declared himself neutral on the Israel/Palestine issue–those were the biggest reasons I voted for him. Turns out he lied big time.jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:32 am GMT
Now what? Looking at the clown car of presidential candidates just induces political nausea. No matter who gets elected it will be a government of, by, and for Jewish/Israeli/Zionist interests.
In the meantime I see no real progress on putting the brakes on illegals flooding the country. I see no economic miracles in spite of all the spin. Actual unemployment in the US was at 21.2% in March, really not much better than it has been since the 2008 crash ( http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts ), and record numbers of people are behind on mortgages and car payments, suicide and drug casualties have been skyrocketing.
Our political system is not going to bring any solutions, it has been far too corrupt for far too long.@Nicolás Palacios Navarro
Pity that the rest of us have to be carted along for the ride.
That’s the truth, but we ‘re being carted along not for the ride but for the porking.
Feb 09, 2019 | www.youtube.com
President Trump campaigned against regime change wars when he ran for President, but now he bows to the wishes of the neocons who surround him, clamoring for the regime change wars that he claimed to oppose--this time in Venezuela and Iran.
These powerful politicians dishonor the sacrifices made by every one of my brothers and sisters in uniform, their families - as they are the ones who pay the price for these wars.
In fact, every American pays the price for these wars that have cost us trillions of dollars since 9/11.
Every dollar that we spend on regime change wars or on the new cold war and this nuclear arms race is a dollar coming out of our pockets dollars that should be used to address the very real, urgent needs of our people and our communities right here at home.
- Tulsi Gabbard
Apr 09, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia want to drag the United States into war with Iran, and Trump is submitting to their wishes. The cost in money and lives will be catastrophic.
Apr 09, 2019 | www.youtube.com
John S , 1 week agodouble down , 1 week ago
She needs like 5000 more donors. Put in that dollar!
Getting my news from Jimmy and my comedy from CNN and CNBC. Go Figure.
Apr 09, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com
The start of current decade revealed the most ruthless face of a global neo-colonialism. From Syria and Libya to Europe and Latin America, the old colonial powers of the West tried to rebound against an oncoming rival bloc led by Russia and China, which starts to threaten their global domination.
Inside a multi-polar, complex terrain of geopolitical games, the big players start to abandon the old-fashioned, inefficient direct wars. They use today other, various methods like brutal proxy wars , economic wars, financial and constitutional coups, provocative operations, 'color revolutions', etc. In this highly complex and unstable situation, when even traditional allies turn against each other as the global balances change rapidly, the forces unleashed are absolutely destructive. Inevitably, the results are more than evident.
Proxy Wars - Syria/Libya
After the US invasion in Iraq, the gates of hell had opened in the Middle East. Obama continued the Bush legacy of US endless interventions, but he had to change tactics because a direct war would be inefficient, costly and extremely unpopular to the American people and the rest of the world.
The result, however, appeared to be equally (if not more) devastating with the failed US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US had lost total control of the armed groups directly linked with the ISIS terrorists, failed to topple Assad, and, moreover, instead of eliminating the Russian and Iranian influence in the region, actually managed to increase it. As a result, the US and its allies failed to secure their geopolitical interests around the various pipeline games.
In addition, the US sees Turkey, one of its most important ally, changing direction dangerously, away from the Western bloc. Probably the strongest indication for this, is that Turkey, Iran and Russia decided very recently to proceed in an agreement on Syria without the presence of the US.
Yet, the list of US failures does not end here. The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya.
Evidence from WikiLeaks has shown that the old colonial powers have started a new round of ruthless competition on Libya's resources. The usual story propagated by the Western media, about another tyrant who had to be removed, has now completely collapsed. They don't care neither to topple an 'authoritarian' regime, nor to spread Democracy. All they care about is to secure each country's resources for their big companies.
The Gaddafi case is quite interesting because it shows that the Western hypocrites were using him according to their interests .
Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed.
Economic Wars, Financial Coups – Greece/Eurozone
It would be unthinkable for the neo-colonialists to conduct proxy wars inside European soil, especially against countries which belong to Western institutions like NATO, EU, eurozone, etc. The wave of the US-made major economic crisis hit Greece and Europe at the start of the decade, almost simultaneously with the eruption of the Arab Spring revolutionary wave and the subsequent disaster in Middle East and Libya.
Greece was the easy victim for the global neoliberal dictatorship to impose catastrophic measures in favor of the plutocracy. The Greek experiment enters its seventh year and the plan is to be used as a model for the whole eurozone. Greece has become also the model for the looting of public property, as happened in the past with the East Germany and the Treuhand Operation after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
While Greece was the major victim of an economic war, Germany used its economic power and control of the European Central Bank to impose unprecedented austerity, sado-monetarism and neoliberal destruction through silent financial coups in Ireland , Italy and Cyprus . The Greek political establishment collapsed with the rise of SYRIZA in power, and the ECB was forced to proceed in an open financial coup against Greece when the current PM, Alexis Tsipras, decided to conduct a referendum on the catastrophic measures imposed by the ECB, IMF and the European Commission, through which the Greek people clearly rejected these measures, despite the propaganda of terror inside and outside Greece. Due to the direct threat from Mario Draghi and the ECB, who actually threatened to cut liquidity sinking Greece into a financial chaos, Tsipras finally forced to retreat, signing another catastrophic memorandum.
Through similar financial and political pressure, the Brussels bureaufascists and the German sado-monetarists along with the IMF economic hitmen, imposed neoliberal disaster to other eurozone countries like Portugal, Spain etc. It is remarkable that even the second eurozone economy, France, rushed to impose anti-labor measures midst terrorist attacks, succumbing to a - pre-designed by the elites - neo-Feudalism, under the 'Socialist' François Hollande, despite the intense protests in many French cities.
Germany would never let the United States to lead the neo-colonization in Europe, as it tries (again) to become a major power with its own sphere of influence, expanding throughout eurozone and beyond. As the situation in Europe becomes more and more critical with the ongoing economic and refugee crisis and the rise of the Far-Right and the nationalists, the economic war mostly between the US and the German big capital, creates an even more complicated situation.
The decline of the US-German relations has been exposed initially with the NSA interceptions scandal , yet, progressively, the big picture came on surface, revealing a transatlantic economic war between banking and corporate giants. In times of huge multilevel crises, the big capital always intensifies its efforts to eliminate competitors too. As a consequence, the US has seen another key ally, Germany, trying to gain a certain degree of independence in order to form its own agenda, separate from the US interests.
Note that, both Germany and Turkey are medium powers that, historically, always trying to expand and create their own spheres of influence, seeking independence from the traditional big powers.
Economic Wars, Constitutional Coups, Provocative Operations – Argentina/Brazil/Venezuela
A wave of neoliberal onslaught shakes currently Latin America. While in Argentina, Mauricio Macri allegedly took the power normally, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolás Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.
The special weight of these three countries in Latin America is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.
Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.
The importance of Venezuela due to its oil reserves is also significant. When Maduro tried to approach Russia in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, he must had set the alarm for the neocons in the US. Venezuela could find an alternative in Russia and BRICS, in order to breathe from the multiple economic war that was set off by the US. It is characteristic that the economic war against Russia by the US and the Saudis, by keeping the oil prices in historically low levels, had significant impact on the Venezuelan economy too. It is also known that the US organizations are funding the opposition since Chávez era, in order to proceed in provocative operations that could overthrow the Leftist governments.
The case of Venezuela is really interesting. The US imperialists were fiercely trying to overthrow the Leftist governments since Chávez administration. They found now a weaker president, Nicolás Maduro - who certainly does not have the strength and personality of Hugo Chávez - to achieve their goal.
The Western media mouthpieces are doing their job, which is propaganda as usual. The recipe is known. You present the half truth, with a big overdose of exaggeration. The establishment parrots are demonizing Socialism , but they won't ever tell you about the money that the US is spending, feeding the Right-Wing groups and opposition to proceed in provocative operations, in order to create instability. They won't tell you about the financial war conducted through the oil prices, manipulated by the Saudis, the close US ally.
Regarding Argentina, former president, Cristina Kirchner, had also made some important moves towards the stronger cooperation with Russia, which was something unacceptable for Washington's hawks. Not only for geopolitical reasons, but also because Argentina could escape from the vulture funds that sucking its blood since its default. This would give the country an alternative to the neoliberal monopoly of destruction. The US big banks and corporations would never accept such a perspective because the debt-enslaved Argentina is a golden opportunity for a new round of huge profits. It's happening right now in eurozone's debt colony, Greece.
'Color Revolutions' - Ukraine
The events in Ukraine have shown that, the big capital has no hesitation to ally even with the neo-nazis, in order to impose the new world order. This is not something new of course. The connection of Hitler with the German economic oligarchs, but also with other major Western companies, before and during the WWII, is well known.
The most terrifying of all however, is not that the West has silenced in front of the decrees of the new Ukrainian leadership, through which is targeting the minorities, but the fact that the West allied with the neo-nazis, while according to some information has also funded their actions as well as other extreme nationalist groups during the riots in Kiev.
Plenty of indications show that US organizations have 'put their finger' on Ukraine. A video , for example, concerning the situation in Ukraine has been directed by Ben Moses (creator of the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam"), who is connected with American government executives and organizations like National Endowment for Democracy, funded by the US Congress. This video shows a beautiful young female Ukrainian who characterizes the government of the country as "dictatorship" and praise some protesters with the neo-nazi symbols of the fascist Ukranian party Svoboda on them.
The same organizations are behind 'color revolutions' elsewhere, as well as, provocative operations against Leftist governments in Venezuela and other countries.
Ukraine is the perfect place to provoke Putin and tight the noose around Russia. Of course the huge hypocrisy of the West can also be identified in the case of Crimea. While in other cases, the Western officials were 'screaming' for the right of self-determination (like Kosovo, for example), after they destroyed Yugoslavia in a bloodbath, they can't recognize the will of the majority of Crimeans to join Russia.
The war will become wilder
The Western neo-colonial powers are trying to counterattack against the geopolitical upgrade of Russia and the Chinese economic expansionism.
Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. Besides, Trump has already shown his hostile feelings against China, despite his friendly approach to Russia and Putin.
We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact.
New book by David NorthA Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony 1990–2016
Jul 11, 2016 | www.wsws.org
We publish here the preface to A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony, 1990-2016 by David North. The book will be published on August 10, and is available for preorder today at Mehring Books in both softcover and hardcover .
"In the period of crisis the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom."
-- Leon Trotsky, 1928
"U.S. capitalism is up against the same problems that pushed Germany in 1914 on the path of war. The world is divided? It must be redivided. For Germany it was a question of 'organizing Europe.' The United States must 'organize' the world. History is bringing mankind face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism."
-- Leon Trotsky, 1934
This volume consists of political reports, public lectures, party statements, essays, and polemics that document the response of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) to the quarter century of US-led wars that began in 1990–91. The analyses of events presented here, although written as they were unfolding, stand the test of time. The International Committee does not possess a crystal ball. But its work is informed by a Marxist understanding of the contradictions of American and world imperialism. Moreover, the Marxist method of analysis examines events not as a sequence of isolated episodes, but as moments in the unfolding of a broader historical process. This historically oriented approach serves as a safeguard against an impressionistic response to the latest political developments. It recognizes that the essential cause of an event is rarely apparent at the moment of its occurrence.
Much of what passes for analysis in the bourgeois press consists of nothing more than equating an impressionistic description of a given event with its deeper cause. This sort of political analysis legitimizes US wars as necessary responses to one or another personification of evil, such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the "warlord" Farah Aideed in Somalia, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda, the Mullah Omar in Afghanistan, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya; and, most recently, Bashar al Assad in Syria, Kim Jong Un in Korea, and Vladimir Putin in Russia. New names are continually added to the United States' infinitely expandable list of monsters requiring destruction.
The material in this volume is the record of a very different and far more substantial approach to the examination of the foreign policy of the United States.
First, and most important, the International Committee interpreted the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989–90, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as an existential crisis of the entire global nation-state system, as it emerged from the ashes of World War II. Second, the ICFI anticipated that the breakdown of the established postwar equilibrium would lead rapidly to a resurgence of imperialist militarism. As far back as August 1990 -- twenty-six years ago -- it was able to foresee the long-term implications of the Bush administration's war against Iraq:
It marks the beginning of a new imperialist redivision of the world. The end of the postwar era means the end of the postcolonial era. As it proclaims the "failure of socialism," the imperialist bourgeoisie, in deeds if not yet in words, proclaims the failure of independence. The deepening crisis confronting all the major imperialist powers compels them to secure control over strategic resources and markets. Former colonies, which had achieved a degree of political independence, must be resubjugated. In its brutal assault against Iraq, imperialism is giving notice that it intends to restore the type of unrestrained domination of the backward countries that existed prior to World War II. [ 1 ]
This historically grounded analysis provided the essential framework for an understanding, not only of the 1990–91 Gulf War, but also of the wars that were launched later in the decade, as well as the post-9/11 "War on Terror."
In a recently published front-page article, the New York Times called attention to a significant milestone in the presidency of Barack Obama: "He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president." But with several months remaining in his term in office, he is on target to set yet another record. The Times wrote:
If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama's term -- a near-certainty given the president's recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria -- he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war. [ 2 ]
On the way to setting his record, Mr. Obama has overseen lethal military actions in a total of seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. The number of countries is growing, as the United States escalates its military operations in Africa. The efforts to suppress the Boko Haram insurgency involve a buildup of US forces in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.
Without any sense of irony, Mark Landler, author of the Times article, notes Obama's status as a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2009. He portrays the president as "trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate. . . ." Obama "has wrestled with this immutable reality [of war] from his first year in the White House . . ."
Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly."
During the Obama years, folly has clearly held the upper hand. But there is nothing that Landler's hero can do. Obama has found his wars "maddeningly hard to end."
The Times ' portrayal of Obama lacks the essential element required by genuine tragedy: the identification of objective forces, beyond his control, that frustrated and overwhelmed the lofty ideals and humanitarian aspirations of the president. If Mr. Landler wants his readers to shed a tear for this peace-loving man who, upon becoming president, made drone killings his personal specialty, and turned into something akin to a moral monster, the Times correspondent should have attempted to identify the historical circumstances that determined Obama's "tragic" fate.
But this is a challenge the Times avoids. It fails to relate Obama's war-making record to the entire course of American foreign policy over the past quarter century. Even before Obama entered office in 2009, the United States had been at war on an almost continuous basis since the first US-Iraq War of 1990–91.
The pretext for the Gulf War was Iraq's annexation of Kuwait in August 1990. But the violent US reaction to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's dispute with the emir of Kuwait was determined by broader global conditions and considerations. The historical context of the US military operation was the imminent dissolution of the Soviet Union, which was finally carried out in December 1991. The first President Bush declared the beginning of a "New World Order." [ 3 ] What Bush meant by this phrase was that the United States was now free to restructure the world in the interests of the American capitalist class, unencumbered by either the reality of the countervailing military power of the Soviet Union or the specter of socialist revolution. The dissolution of the USSR, hailed by Francis Fukuyama as the "End of History," signified for the strategists of American imperialism the end of military restraint.
It is one of the great ironies of history that the definitive emergence of the United States as the dominant imperialist power, amid the catastrophe of World War I, coincided with the outbreak of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which culminated in the establishment of the first socialist workers state in history, under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party. On April 3, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson delivered his war message to the US Congress and led the United States into the global imperialist conflict. Two weeks later, V.I. Lenin returned to Russia, which was in the throes of revolution, and reoriented the Bolshevik Party toward the fight to overthrow the bourgeois Provisional Government.
Lenin and his principal political ally, Leon Trotsky, insisted that the struggle for socialism was indissolubly linked to the struggle against war. As the historian R. Craig Nation has argued:
For Lenin there was no doubt that the revolution was the result of a crisis of imperialism and that the dilemmas which it posed could only be resolved on the international level. The campaign for proletarian hegemony in Russia, the fight against the war, and the international struggle against imperialism were now one and the same. [ 4 ]
Just as the United States was striving to establish its position as the arbiter of the world's destiny, it faced a challenge, in the form of the Bolshevik Revolution, not only to the authority of American imperialism, but also to the economic, political, and even moral legitimacy of the entire capitalist world order. "The rhetoric and actions of the Bolsheviks," historian Melvyn P. Leffler has written, "ignited fear, revulsion and uncertainty in Washington." [ 5 ]
Another perceptive historian of US foreign policy explained:
The great majority of American leaders were so deeply concerned with the Bolshevik Revolution because they were so uneasy about what President Wilson called the "general feeling of revolt" against the existing order, and about the increasing intensity of that dissatisfaction. The Bolshevik Revolution became in their minds the symbol of all the revolutions that grew out of that discontent. And that is perhaps the crucial insight into the tragedy of American diplomacy. [ 6 ]
In a desperate effort to destroy the new revolutionary regime, Wilson sent an expeditionary force to Russia in 1918, in support of counterrevolutionary forces in the brutal civil war. The intervention was an ignominious failure.
It was not until 1933 that the United States finally granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union. The diplomatic rapprochement was facilitated in part by the fact that the Soviet regime, now under Stalin's bureaucratic dictatorship, was in the process of repudiating the revolutionary internationalism that had inspired the Bolsheviks in 1917. It was abandoning the perspective of world revolution in favor of alliances with imperialist states on the basis of "collective security." Unable to secure such an alliance with Britain and France, Stalin signed the notorious Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler in August 1939. Following Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941, the exigencies of the struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan required that the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt forge a military alliance with the Soviet Union. But once Germany and Japan were defeated, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union rapidly deteriorated. The Truman administration, opposing the extension of Soviet influence into Eastern Europe, and frightened by the growth of Communist parties in Western Europe, launched the Marshall Plan in 1948 and triggered the onset of the Cold War.
The Kremlin regime pursued nationalistic policies, based on the Stalinist program of "socialism in one country," and betrayed working class and anti-imperialist movements all over the world. But the very existence of a regime that arose out of a socialist revolution had a politically radicalizing impact throughout the world. William Appleman Williams was certainly correct in his view that "American leaders were for many, many years more afraid of the implicit and indirect challenge of the revolution than they were of the actual power of the Soviet Union." [ 7 ]
In the decades that followed World War II, the United States was unable to ignore the existence of the Soviet Union. To the extent that the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, which was established in 1949, provided limited political and material support to anti-imperialist movements in the "Third World," they denied the US ruling class a free hand in the pursuit of its own interests. These limitations were demonstrated -- to cite the most notable examples -- by the US defeats in Korea and Vietnam, the compromise settlement of the Cuban missile crisis, and the acceptance of Soviet domination of the Baltic region and Eastern Europe.
The existence of the Soviet Union and an anticapitalist regime in China deprived the United States of the possibility of unrestricted access to and exploitation of the human labor, raw materials, and potential markets of a large portion of the globe, especially the Eurasian land mass. It compelled the United States to compromise, to a greater degree than it would have preferred, in negotiations over economic and strategic issues with its major allies in Europe and Asia, as well as with smaller countries that exploited the tactical opportunities provided by the US-Soviet Cold War.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, combined with the restoration of capitalism in China following the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989, was seen by the American ruling class as an opportunity to repudiate the compromises of the post-World War II era, and to carry out a restructuring of global geopolitics, with the aim of establishing the hegemony of the United States.
There was no small element of self-delusion in the grandiose American response to the breakup of the Soviet Union. The bombastic claims that the United States had won the Cold War were based far more on myth than reality. In fact, the sudden dissolution of the Soviet Union took the entire Washington foreign policy establishment by surprise. In February 1987, the Council on Foreign Relations published an assessment of US-Soviet relations, authored by two of its most eminent Sovietologists, Strobe Talbott and Michael Mandelbaum. Analyzing the discussions between Reagan and Gorbachev at meetings in Geneva and Reykjavik in 1986, the two experts concluded:
No matter how Gorbachev comes to define perestroika in practice and no matter how he modifies the official definition of security, the Soviet Union will resist pressure for change, whether it comes from without or within, from the top or the bottom. The fundamental conditions of Soviet-American relations are therefore likely to persist. This, in turn, means that the ritual of Soviet-American summitry is likely to have a long run. . . . [ 8 ]
The "long run," Talbott and Mandelbaum predicted, would continue not only during the reign of "Gorbachev's successor," but also his "successor's successor." No substantial changes in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were to be expected. The two prophets from the Council on Foreign Relations concluded:
Whoever they are, and whatever changes have occurred in the meantime, the American and Soviet leaders of the next century will be wrestling with the same great issue -- how to manage their rivalry so as to avoid nuclear catastrophe -- that has engaged the energies, in the latter half of the 1980s, of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. [ 9 ]
In contrast to the Washington experts, who foresaw nothing, the International Committee recognized that the Gorbachev regime marked a climactic stage in the crisis of Stalinism. "The crisis of Gorbachev," it declared in a statement dated March 23, 1987, "has emerged as every section of world Stalinism confronts economic convulsions and upheavals by the masses. In every case -- from Beijing to Belgrade -- the response of the Stalinist bureaucrats has been to turn ever more openly toward capitalist restorationism." [ 10 ]
The Cold War victory narrative encouraged, within the ruling elite, a disastrous overestimation of the power and potential of American capitalism. The drive for hegemony assumed the ability of the US to contain the economic and political centrifugal forces unleashed by the operation of global capitalism. Even at the height of its power, such an immense project was well beyond the capacities of the United States. But amid the euphoria generated by the end of the Soviet Union, the ruling class chose to ignore the deep-rooted and protracted crisis of American society. An objective observer, examining the conditions of both the United States and the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1990, might well have wondered which regime was in greater crisis. During the three decades that preceded the dissolution of the USSR, the United States exhibited high levels of political, social, and economic instability.
Consider the fate of the presidential administrations in power during those three decades: (1) The Kennedy administration ended tragically in November 1963 with a political assassination, in the midst of escalating social tensions and international crises; (2) Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy's successor, was unable to seek reelection in 1968, as a result of urban riots and mass opposition to the US invasion of Vietnam; (3) Richard Nixon was compelled to resign from office in August 1974, after the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee voted for his impeachment on charges related to his criminal subversion of the Constitution; (4) Gerald Ford, who became president upon Nixon's resignation, was defeated in the November 1976 election amid popular revulsion over Nixon's crimes and the US military debacle in Vietnam; (5) Jimmy Carter's one term in office was dominated by an inflationary crisis that sent the federal prime interest rate to 20 percent, a bitter three month national coal miners strike, and the aftershocks generated by the Iranian Revolution; and (6) Ronald Reagan's years in office, despite all the ballyhoo about "morning in America," were characterized by recession, bitter social tension, and a series of foreign policy disasters in the Middle East and Central America. The exposure of an illegal scheme to finance paramilitary operations in Nicaragua (the Iran-Contra crisis) brought Reagan to the very brink of impeachment. His administration was saved by the leadership of the Democratic Party, which had no desire to remove from office a president who was politically weakened and already exhibiting signs of dementia.
The one persistent factor that confronted all these administrations, from Kennedy to Reagan, was the erosion in the global economic position of the United States. The unquestioned dominance of American finance and industry at the end of World War II provided the economic underpinnings of the Bretton Woods system of dollar-gold convertibility that formed the basis of global capitalist growth and stability. By the late 1950s, the system was coming under increasing strain. It was during the Kennedy administration that unfavorable tendencies in the US balance of trade first began to arouse significant concern. On August 15, 1971, Nixon suddenly ended the Bretton Woods system of fixed international exchange rates, pegged to a US dollar convertible at the rate of $35 per ounce of gold. During the 1970s and 1980s, the decline in the exchange rate of the dollar mirrored the deterioration of the American economy.
The belligerent response of the United States to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union reflected the weakness, not the strength, of American capitalism. The overwhelming support within the ruling elite for a highly aggressive foreign policy arose from the delusion that the United States could reverse the protracted erosion of its global economic position through the deployment of its immense military power.
The Defense Planning Guidance, drafted by the Department of Defense in February 1992, unambiguously asserted the hegemonic ambitions of US imperialism:
There are other potential nations or coalitions that could, in the further future, develop strategic aims and a defense posture of region-wide or global domination. Our strategy must now refocus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor. [ 11 ]
The 1990s saw a persistent use of US military power, most notably in the first Gulf War, followed by its campaign to break up Yugoslavia. The brutal restructuring of the Balkan states, which provoked a fratricidal civil war, culminated in the US-led 1999 bombing campaign to compel Serbia to accept the secession of the province of Kosovo. Other major military operations during that decade included the intervention in Somalia, which ended in disaster, the military occupation of Haiti, the bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan, and repeated bombing attacks on Iraq.
The events of September 11, 2001 provided the opportunity to launch the "War on Terror," a propaganda slogan that provided an all-purpose justification for military operations throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and, with increasing frequency, Africa. They furnished the Bush administration with a pretext to institutionalize war as a legitimate and normal instrument of American foreign policy.
The administration of the second President Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001. In speeches that followed 9/11, Bush used the phrase "wars of the twenty-first century." In this case, the normally inarticulate president spoke with precision. The "War on Terror" was, from the beginning, conceived as an unending series of military operations all over the globe. One war would necessarily lead to another. Afghanistan proved to be a dress rehearsal for the invasion of Iraq.
The military strategy of the United States was revised in line with the new doctrine of "preventive warfare," adopted by the US in 2002. This doctrine, which violated existing international law, decreed that the United States could attack any country in the world judged to pose a potential threat -- not only of a military, but also of an economic character -- to American interests.
In a verbal sleight of hand, the Bush administration justified the invasion of Iraq as a preemptive war, undertaken in response to the imminent threat posed by the country's "weapons of mass destruction" to the national security of the United States. Of course, the threat was as non-existent as were Saddam Hussein's WMDs. In any event, the Bush administration rendered the distinction between preemptive and preventive war meaningless, by asserting the right of the United States to attack any country, regardless of the existence or non-existence of an imminent threat to American national security. Whatever the terminology employed for propaganda purposes by American presidents, the United States adheres to the illegal doctrine of preventive war.
The scope of military operations continuously widened. New wars were started while the old ones continued. The cynical invocation of human rights was used to wage war against Libya and overthrow the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The same hypocritical pretext was employed to organize a proxy war in Syria. The consequences of these crimes, in terms of human lives and suffering, are incalculable.
The last quarter century of US-instigated wars must be studied as a chain of interconnected events. The strategic logic of the US drive for global hegemony extends beyond the neocolonial operations in the Middle East and Africa. The ongoing regional wars are component elements of the rapidly escalating confrontation of the United States with Russia and China.
It is through the prism of America's efforts to assert control of the strategically critical Eurasian landmass, that the essential significance of the events of 1990–91 is being revealed. But this latest stage in the ongoing struggle for world hegemony, which lies at the heart of the conflict with Russia and China, is bringing to the forefront latent and potentially explosive tensions between the United States and its present-day imperialist allies, including -- to name the most significant potential adversary -- Germany. The two world wars of the twentieth century were not the product of misunderstandings. The past is prologue. As the International Committee foresaw in 1990–91, the American bid for global hegemony has rekindled interimperialist rivalries simmering beneath the surface of world politics. Within Europe, dissatisfaction with the US role as the final arbiter of world affairs is being openly voiced. In a provocative essay, published in Foreign Affairs , the journal of the authoritative US Council on Foreign Relations, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has bluntly challenged Washington's presumption of US global dominance:
As the United States reeled from the effects of the Iraq war and the EU struggled through a series of crises, Germany held its ground. . . .
Today both the United States and Europe are struggling to provide global leadership. The 2003 invasion of Iraq damaged the United States' standing in the world. After the ouster of Saddam Hussein, sectarian violence ripped Iraq apart, and U.S. power in the region began to weaken. Not only did the George W. Bush administration fail to reorder the region through force, but the political, economic, and soft-power costs of this adventure undermined the United States' overall position. The illusion of a unipolar world faded. [ 12 ]
In a rebuke to the United States, Steinmeier writes: "Our historical experience has destroyed any belief in national exceptionalism -- for any nation." [ 13 ]
The journalists and academics, who work within the framework of the official narrative of the defense of human rights and the "War on Terror," cannot explain the progression of conflicts, from the 1990–91 Gulf War, to the current expansion of NATO eight hundred miles eastward, and the American "pivot to Asia." On a regular basis, the United States and its allies stage war games in Eastern Europe, in close proximity to the borders of Russia, and in strategically critical waters off the coast of China. It is not difficult to conceive of a situation in which events -- either as a result of deliberate calculation or of reckless miscalculation -- erupt into a clash between nuclear-armed powers. In 2014, as the centenary of World War I approached, a growing number of scholarly papers called attention to the similarities between the conditions that precipitated the disaster of August 1914 and present-day tensions.
One parallel between today and 1914 is the growing sense among political and military strategists that war between the United States and China and/or Russia may be inevitable. As this fatalistic premise increasingly informs the judgments and actions of the key decision makers at the highest level of the state, it becomes a dynamic factor that makes the actual outbreak of war more likely. A specialist in international geopolitics has recently written:
Once war is assumed to be unavoidable, the calculations of leaders and militaries change. The question is no longer whether there will or should be a war, but when the war can be fought most advantageously. Even those neither eager for nor optimistic about war may opt to fight when operating in the framework of inevitability. [ 14 ]
Not since the end of World War II has there existed so great a danger of world war. The danger is heightened by the fact that the level of popular awareness of the threat remains very limited. What percentage of the American population, one must ask, realizes that President Barack Obama has formally committed the United States to go to war in defense of Estonia, in the event of a conflict between the small Baltic country and Russia? The media has politely refrained from asking the president to state how many human beings would die in the event of a nuclear war between the United States and either Russia or China, or both at the same time.
On the eve of World War II, Leon Trotsky warned that a catastrophe threatened the entire culture of mankind. He was proven correct. Within less than a decade, the Second World War claimed the lives of more than fifty million people. The alarm must once again be sounded. The working class and youth within the United States and throughout the world must be told the truth.
The progressive development of a globally integrated world economy is incompatible with capitalism and the nation-state system. If war is to be stopped and a global catastrophe averted, a new and powerful mass international movement, based on a socialist program, and strategically guided by the principles of revolutionary class struggle, must be built. In opposition to imperialist geopolitics, in which national states fight brutally for regional and global dominance, the International Committee counterposes the strategy of world socialist revolution. As Trotsky advised, we "follow not the war map but the map of the class struggle. . . ." [ 15 ]
In the weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were mass protests against the war policies of the United States and its allies. Millions took to the streets. But after the war began, public opposition virtually disappeared. The absence of popular protest did not signify support for the war. Rather, it reflected the repudiation, by the old middle-class protest movement, of its former Vietnam-era opposition to imperialism.
There are mounting signs of political radicalization among significant sections of the working class and youth. It is only a matter of time before this radicalization gives rise to conscious opposition to war. It is the aim of this volume to impart to the new antiwar movement a revolutionary socialist and internationalist perspective and program.
... ... ...solerso • 2 years agoThe quotes from Trotsky are glaring. These and others were used to argue against socialism in the post war decades, but all that was needed was time and the working of the forces of capitalism itself. History never ended, it is right on scheduleSteve Naidamast • 2 years ago"Landler informs his readers that Obama "went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan." He recalls a passage from Obama's 2009 speech accepting the Nobel Prize, in which the president wearily lamented that humanity needed to reconcile "two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly."peatstack • 3 years ago
Typical American philosophy... "War is peace!"...VI lenin crushed the Krondstadt rebellion that was the true 'soviet union' model and instituted a hard right revolutionary regime of ruthless dictatorial control from smolny, not a workers state. The US borgeouis (and french and english) intervened to keep russia in the war and 160 german divisions from leaving the eastern front. The threat of a workers state was not the concern of the victors. The failure of revolutionary russia to represent what this article is propping it up to be (some kind of genuine workers state) leaves me deeply suspect about the other conclusions he's bent history to. Anyone who's read "2 years in russia" by emma goldman, and "the victors dilemma" - john silverlight and any number of books on the russian civil war, it is clear that the intervention was for military tactical reasons and that the nascient state was in no ways a workers state but a totalitarian military dictatorship. Emma Goldman's disillusionment is not her falling out of love with her ideals, but her coming to terms with the reality vs the PR of Russia. Which is why this website (Wsws) advertised a book repudiating the rejection of socialism with the faiure of the soviet union as a false narrative a year or few ago.fds peatstack • 3 years agoThe historical memoir is clear, diaries, memos, news articles, and the Western soldier revolts, time to smash the revolution. Kronstadt was a tragedy, but the regime was under threat. history is messy.OL peatstack • 3 years agoOn Kronstadt : https://www.marxists.org/ar... I never found an attempt at refuting these that was more than hot air.iv_int OL • 3 years ago
I can imagine that the leadership of imperialist countries was underestimating the bolsheviks in 1917, but once the Russian revolution had given enough confidence to the German masses to make the war stop one year later, once the French black sea fleet had rebelled in 1919, etc... they were all very conscious of the risks (potential risks, not immediate threats).The evidence in favour of what Trotsky wrote about Kronstadt is simply overwhelming. A cmd above gave some basic evidence. Trotsky was absolutely right and absolutely honest on what he wrote later on ("hue and cry over Kronstadt")Larka • 3 years agoThe working class has been the victim of betrayal after betrayal by pseudo-left forces in the 20th century, which led to two catastrophic world wars and all the other conflicts that have created needless bloodshed around the world. The great task will be, when the new mass working class anti-war movement arises, to give the working class the political knowledge it needs to not fall for the traps that dissipated anti-war movements in the past. It must be made clear to the workers of the world that for us, it's do or die time - literally, as the obscene levels of social inequality and the prospect of nuclear confrontation prove.Carolyn Zaremba Larka • 3 years agoI understand this very well, having seen what happened to what I thought at the time was a powerful antiwar movement in the 1960s against the war in Vietnam. I was quite politically naive at the time and became so disillusioned with politics in general and what I then thought to be the "left" in particular, that I went off politics completely and started reading Ayn Rand.Robert Seaborne Carolyn Zaremba • 3 years ago
After being turned off by Rand's misanthropy and hatred of the working class (even though I admired her atheism), I became more or less apolitical until 1998, when I first read the World Socialist Web Site and found what I had been looking for.thank you Carolyn Zaremba,FireintheHead • 3 years ago
for this affirming comment. Me too, having all but given up on politics and following a last ditch search of the web I was rewarded with a political program and party that was more than compatible with my world view and personal values. Something I had not thought possible, thank you ICFI/SEP.There are times when even we as Marxists find ourselves scouring the past for a word that befits the character and luminosity of a moment in human understanding. In this respect David North has given new meaning to the word 'Biblical'.Eric • 3 years ago
As a word, its essence is transcendent. For whoever defines an epoch in the clearest and most profoundest way as this, is elevated to the realms of Greatness.
As the bourgeoisie now scrabbles, in fights, and drowns in the last dregs of its alchemy, a Phoenix arises out of their chaos lest the bourgeoisie commits all to the Fires of Hell ....
Most excellent words comrade David ...a most excellent call to class struggle .This is a remarkably panoramic account, grounded in both history and economics, of the unfolding of U.S. militarism and imperialist warfare over the past 30 or so years. It is without peer in anything else I have seen in terms of showing that events and tendencies - which we may have been separately aware of - were in fact part of a historical continuum growing out of economic developments and the perceived interests of the U.S. ruling class.iv_int • 3 years agoAlways interesting to read cmd. North. ''First, and most important, the International Committee interpreted the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989–90, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as an existential crisis of the entire global nation-state system, as it emerged from the ashes of World War II. Second, the ICFI anticipated that the breakdown of the established postwar equilibrium would lead rapidly to a resurgence of imperialist militarism''. This is great but we also have German militarism on the rise and we should not underestimate. The working class must be prepared for economic and even actual wars in Europe and elsewhere. The redivision of markets and resources is evident with Germany and China on the table.
Apr 08, 2019 | www.wsws.org
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared his intention of extending Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, if he is re-elected prime minister in Tuesday's general election.
In so doing, he has effectively repudiated the entire post-World War II international order and signalled that wars of conquest and territorial aggrandisement are the order of the day. Such annexations were declared illegal under the Geneva Conventions, enacted in the wake of the Second World War to prevent the repetition of similar actions carried out by Germany's Nazi regime, which set the stage for the outbreak of war in 1939.
Netanyahu's announcement will give succour to his support base among fascistic layers of the settlers and religious nationalists, driving Israel's capitalist political setup ever further toward outright apartheid, fascism and military dictatorship. It is a prelude to intensified Israeli military aggression in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and the broader Middle East.
Netanyahu told a television Channel 12 interviewer on Saturday that he would not "evacuate any community." Nor would he divide Jerusalem, a reference to Palestinian demands for East Jerusalem to serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state. He said, "I will not divide Jerusalem, I will not evacuate any community and I will make sure we control the territory west of Jordan."
He added, "A Palestinian state will endanger our existence and I withstood huge pressure over the past eight years. No prime minister has withstood such pressure. We must control our destiny."
Netanyahu made it clear that he viewed President Donald Trump's recognition of Israel's illegal annexation of Syria's Golan Heights, captured in 1967, as a green light to press on with Likud's long-held expansionist policy of a Greater Israel. He said, "Will we move ahead to the next stage? Yes. I will extend sovereignty, but I don't distinguish between the settlement blocs and the isolated ones, because each settlement is Israeli, and I will not hand it over to Palestinian sovereignty."
Speaking about the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, which he has pledged to evacuate despite international outrage, Netanyahu promised that "it will happen." He added, "I promised, and it will happen at the soonest opportunity."
Netanyahu's announcement was aimed at bolstering his position in the election, which he had called ahead of schedule in order to win political backing to ensure his immunity from prosecution on a raft of corruption charges. Facing unexpectedly strong opposition from a slate of generals assembled by the so-called Blue and White coalition, headed by former chief of staff Benny Gantz, he has leveraged Trump's support to appeal to his right-wing support base.
He has brought into his electoral coalition, and a possible share of government power should he win, outright fascist elements linked to the banned Kach Party of the late Meir Kahane, a party that was designated a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, the European Union, Japan and Israel itself.
Trump's naked interference in the Israeli elections is bound up with US imperialism's broader aim of escalating its military intervention in the Middle East to roll back the growth of Iranian influence in the wake of the successive debacles suffered by Washington in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Netanyahu's growing alliance with the House of Saud and the petro-monarchs of the Gulf has served to ensure their acquiescence -- with pro forma denunciations -- to this latest assault on the Palestinians.
But apart from Netanyahu's short-term political calculations, his announcement derives from Zionism's foundation upon exclusivist conceptions of racial, religious and linguistic hegemony to justify the establishment of a Jewish state through the violent dispossession of the indigenous Arab population, who formed the overwhelming majority of the population, making use of the horrors of the Holocaust as a rationale for the oppression of another people.
The political antecedents of Netanyahu's Likud Party, Vladimir Jabotinsky's Revisionists, who were to remain a minority tendency until the 1970s, articulated this position most clearly. Their aim was the establishment of a Jewish state on the entire land of Biblical Palestine, including Transjordan. With the Jews a minority in Palestine, such a state would necessarily mean expelling the Arab population to ensure its Jewish character.
In 1923, Jabotinsky explained, in an article titled "The Iron Wall," that the Zionist project could be achieved only against the wishes of the native population. He envisaged the need for an iron wall to protect the Jews from the native population. He said, "A voluntary reconciliation with the Arabs is out of the question either now or in the near future." Without a garrison, Zionist colonization of Palestine would be impossible, and "therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force."
The establishment of a Jewish state was viewed with sympathy by millions of people around the world, who were appalled at the catastrophe that had befallen the Jews. But the major powers excluding Britain, but including the Soviet Union, supported the establishment of a Jewish state as a means of blocking Britain's position in the Middle East. As a result, the UN voted in 1947 for the partition of Palestine, hailing the new state as a progressive entity dedicated to building a democratic and egalitarian society for the most cruelly oppressed people of Europe.
As soon as the State of Israel was declared in 1948, war broke out between the Arabs and the Jews, who were able to seize more land than was included in the 1947 partition plan, driving out some 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. Not wanting to pay the price of the concessions demanded by the superpowers, in terms of borders and refugees, Israel's Labour government did not try to make peace after the war, instead instituting a policy of "striving for peace" -- but not too fast -- which became the template for future governments. The more Israel got used to the situation of neither peace nor war, the louder grew the voices calling for the maintenance of the status quo.
After the 1967 war, when Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, Gaza from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria, the Labour government moved rapidly to annex East Jerusalem and build settlements in the occupied territories that are now home to some 700,000 Israeli Jews, many of them extreme nationalists and religious zealots who are heavily armed. Labour had, in effect, adopted the Revisionists' policy.
The war and the settlement movement spawned the growth of immensely reactionary political and social forces within Israel itself, with Menachem Begin's Likud party demanding the territories be brought under Israeli sovereignty on the grounds that they were the Biblical lands of Samaria and Judea, promised by God to the Jewish people.
In 1993, a Labour government signed an illusory peace deal, the Oslo Accords, brokered by the US, with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Ostensibly, the agreement was to usher in a Palestinian statelet. But its real purpose was to prevent the intifada that broke out in 1987 from developing into a revolutionary uprising by the Palestinian masses in the occupied territories, and to subcontract the task of suppressing the masses to the Palestinian bourgeoisie.
Instead of peace and a Palestinian state, the Oslo Accords set the stage for an expansion of the settlements and land seizures to control the access roads to these enclaves and strengthen their connection to Israel itself, with the Palestinian Authority left to police small patches of land, mostly impoverished cities, surrounded and cut off by Israeli troops.
In line with its long-held policy, the Likud Party vehemently opposed any territorial concessions to the Palestinians embodied in the Accords. Its leaders stood by as its angry supporters called Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a traitor, paving the way for his murder in 1995 by a right-wing fanatic. With none of the mainstream political parties prepared to make any fundamental changes, the fraudulent peace process was all but dead.
Netanyahu has now made explicit what has long been implicit: the incorporation of the West Bank into a Greater Israel. It can be achieved and sustained only through the imposition of military rule. To this end, his government has passed a series of measures, including the openly racist "Nation-State Law" enshrining Jewish supremacy as the legal foundation of the state, bringing the political and legal system into alignment with the reality of Jabotinsky's garrison state, based on the brutal oppression of an entire people, the Palestinians.
The so-called "centre-left" opposition in the elections, led by Gantz, has not challenged Netanyahu's annexation pledge, resorting to verbal obfuscations and calls for a "regional conference" or "secure separation," thereby signifying consent.
This marks the historic bankruptcy and culmination of the entire reactionary Zionist project and all such nationalist programs.
Apr 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs , April 07, 2019 at 06:00 AM(Liz swerves left!)
Here's how Elizabeth Warren is trying to outmaneuver Bernie Sanders
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/04/05/warren-call-for-end-senate-filibuster/S3saQJayxQNZBPTXQ85x1O/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe
Liz Goodwin - April 5, 2019
NEW YORK -- Senator Elizabeth Warren lobbed another policy grenade into the Democratic primary Friday, announcing she supports drastically changing the Senate by eliminating its legendary filibuster to give her party a better chance of implementing its ambitious agenda.
The move puts her campaign rivals on the spot to explain how they would pass their own ambitious legislative priorities if the Senate keeps its rule in place requiring a 60-vote supermajority to advance most bills.
Warren's announcement allows her to swerve to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a meaningful way at a time when she's straggling far behind him in early polls and grass-roots fund-raising.
Sanders, who popularized proposals like free college and Medicare for All among Democrats during his 2016 run for president, has been reluctant to support scrapping the filibuster. That raises questions about how he would be able to pass his sweeping proposals into law should he become president, given Democrats are extremely unlikely to have 60 seats in the Senate.
"I'm not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change," Warren told a group of activists at a conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, where she announced her opposition to the filibuster. "I'm serious about getting it done. And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate."
The appearance in New York caps off a three-week run that has seen Warren call for making it easier to send executives to jail for corporate crimes, unveil a proposal to break up farm monopolies, endorse forming a commission to study reparations for the descendants of slaves, and say she would like to abolish the Electoral College so presidents are elected by popular vote.
"Bernie Sanders, nobody's to his left on policy, but there's lots of running room on his left on procedural changes that would be necessary to enact those policies," said Brian Fallon, a former top Hillary Clinton aide and the founder of the liberal advocacy group Demand Justice.
Sanders said he's not "crazy about" the idea of getting rid of the filibuster in an interview in February, but said in a later statement that he is open to reform.
Getting rid of the Senate filibuster, which has been around since the mid-1800s, was once seen as a radical proposal that would undermine the chamber's ability to take a deliberative approach to major issues. But Democratic and Republican majorities have chipped away at it in recent years, jettisoning filibusters for Cabinet and Supreme Court nominees.
Just this week, Senate Republicans infuriated Democrats by unilaterally reducing the amount of debate time for other executive branch and judicial nominees before a filibuster could be ended.
The move to ditch the filibuster has gained currency among liberals frustrated that the Senate is more Republican than the general public because of liberals clustering on the coasts and the constitutional requirement that all states get two senators regardless of population.
President Trump and Barack Obama have complained about the filibuster, with Obama saying last year that it made it "almost impossible" to govern.
Though probably too wonky a proposal to reach the average voter, the debate over the Senate filibuster animates the Democratic activists who are watching the primary the most closely and whose support the candidates are vying to win. Those activists are unmoved by candidates who say they'll be able to persuade Republicans to sign onto their ambitious liberal legislation.
"The idea that you can win people over by inviting them over for drinks on the Truman Balcony -- that is completely out of vogue," Fallon said.
Other candidates have also called for getting rid of the filibuster, including Governor J*a*y Inslee of Washington and Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who is pondering a run. However, Warren is the first sitting senator in the race to do so. Senator Kamala Harris of California, who signed a letter in 2017 affirming the filibuster, now says she's conflicted about it.
The filibuster's defenders say it protects the rights of the minority party, and forces the majority to compromise. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who also signed the 2017 letter, has said he is concerned that getting rid of the filibuster would mean Republicans would be able to more easily pass legislation in the future over Democrats' objections.
In her speech to the National Action Network's activists, a largely black crowd, Warren framed the filibuster as a tool of "racists" who used it for decades to block civil rights legislation, including a bill to make lynching a federal crime that was first introduced in the early 1900s. The legislation finally passed this year.
"We can't sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin," she said.
After her speech, Warren told reporters that she is concerned about the bills Republicans would be able to pass without the filibuster, but that getting rid of it is worth it for Democrats. "Of course I'm worried. But I'm also worried about a minority that blocks real change that we need to make in this country," she said.
The calls to eliminate the filibuster are part of a larger debate among Democrats about reforming US democracy after they lost the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections despite winning the popular vote. Warren, along with several other Democrats, has also called to abolish the Electoral College. Warren, Harris, and former representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas are also open to the idea of the next president expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court to offset its conservative majority.
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who pushes a host of liberal policies, has been more conservative on these proposals than many of his presidential campaign rivals. He is against expanding the court, arguing it would be a slippery slope that Republicans could also take advantage of, and is still on the fence about ditching the filibuster and abolishing the Electoral College.
Warren declined to call out her Senate colleagues when asked whether she was surprised they had not endorsed the idea of ending the filibuster. "All I can do is keep running the campaign I'm running and talking about these ideas," she said.
Apr 08, 2019 | www.youtube.com
monkeygraborange , 2 days agoBlissfulXerces , 2 days ago
JOURNALISM NO LONGER EXISTS... NOW IT'S ONLY THE MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA!Flying Gabriel , 2 days ago
They are willing to damage our entire country for power. When do we end this?Shelly Kennedy , 2 days ago
Anonymous sources don't cut it anymore. You might as well say "we're making this up." Either put up or shut up.Chad Elmer , 2 days ago
Greenwald is a consistent voice of sanity from the political left. Need more such sane voices to restart cultural debate. Because as we all know, politics is downstream from culture.kim wiser , 2 days ago
"Continual attempt to remove independent thought and reasoning by big tech !"
He is right tribalism is wrong. What Covington and all the fake stories should teach us it to make sure that we look at the facts. The hard part is finding the good journalists so you can support them.
Sergio Sotelo , 2 days agoWest Kagle , 2 days ago
Why isn't anyone being prosecuted for these leaks?Will to Power , 2 days ago
. Gee.....I wonder why the big media firms are having to layoff huge numbers of their workforce? Could it be that they have destroyed their own credibility and the revenue is no longer there to support the bloated staffs they once had, because people are going elsewhere for their information?
The legal system isn't supposed to "damage" people, it is supposed to find them innocent or guilty. Shame on Mueller for appointing such disgraceful and unprofessional people.
Apr 05, 2019 | www.rt.com
US President Donald Trump, who has been relentlessly bashing everything linked to what he sees as 'socialism,' is himself no stranger to using socialist principles to support the US arms industry, Tulsi Gabbard has claimed. One could hardly suspect Trump of being a socialist in disguise.
After all, the US president has emerged as one of the most ardent critics of the leftist ideological platform. Just recently, he announced he would "go into the war with some socialists," while apparently referring to his political opponents from the Democratic Party.
But the president also seems to be quite keen on borrowing some socialist ideas when it fits his agenda, at least, according to the congresswoman from Hawaii and Democratic presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, who recently wrote in a tweet that "Trump is for socialism when it comes to taxpayers underwriting military contractors and arms manufacturers."
Trump is for socialism when it comes to taxpayers underwriting military contractors and arms manufacturers. The same money would create more jobs used for rebuilding our country's infrastructure and green economy, and it would be better for humanity. https://t.co/tcNqsNQVbN-- Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) April 5, 2019
She was referring to a piece in The Los Angeles Times, which cheerfully reported that Trump's whopping military budget helps to breathe some new life into a Pentagon-owned tank manufacturing plant somewhere in northwestern Ohio that was once on the verge of a shutdown.
While the paper hailed the fact that the Pentagon's budget increase allowed local workers to keep their jobs and encouraged a skilled workforce to move to a small town in rural Ohio, Gabbard apparently hinted that the whole story in fact described what amounted to re-distribution of money from taxpayers to a de-facto depressed area to save some jobs – a social-democratic if not outright socialist move indeed.
It is very much unclear if Trump had this Ohio plant or any other factories like it in mind when he supported the record Pentagon budget. After all, redistributing large sums of public money in favor of the booming US military industrial complex does not look very much like socialism.
In her post, Gabbard also added that the US might have had a better use for a $160 billion boost in defense spending over two years. “The same money would create more jobs used for rebuilding our country’s infrastructure and green economy, and it would be better for humanity,” she wrote.
Trump, meanwhile, seems to be pretty confident that his policies indeed “make America great again” while it is those pesky socialists that threaten to ruin everything he has achieved. “I love the idea of 'Keep America Great' because you know what it says is we've made it great now we're going to keep it great because the socialists will destroy it,” he told an audience of Republican congress members this week, while talking about the forthcoming presidential campaign.
Apr 06, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Too often caught between Randian individualism on one hand and big-government collectivism on the other, America's working-class parents need a champion.
They might well have had one in Elizabeth Warren, whose 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap , co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, was unafraid to skewer sacred cows. Long a samizdat favorite among socially conservative writers, the book recently got a new dose of attention after being spotlighted on the Right by Fox News's Tucker Carlson and on the Left by Vox's Matthew Yglesias .
The book's main takeaway was that two-earner families in the early 2000s seemed to be less, rather than more, financially stable than one-earner families in the 1970s. Whereas stay-at-home moms used to provide families with an implicit safety net, able to enter the workforce if circumstances required, the dramatic rise of the two-earner family had effectively bid up the cost of everyday life. Rather than the additional income giving families more breathing room, they argue, "Mom's paycheck has been pumped directly into the basic costs of keeping the children in the middle class."
Warren and Warren Tyagi report that as recently as the late 1970s, a married mother was roughly twice as likely to stay at home with her children than work full-time. But by 2000, those figures had almost reversed. Both parents had been pressed into the workforce to maintain adequate standards of living for their families -- the "two-income trap" of the book's title.Advertisement
What caused the trap to be sprung? Cornell University economist Francine Blau has helpfully drawn a picture of women's changing responsiveness to labor market wages during the 20th century. In her work with Laurence Kahn, Blau found that women's wage elasticities -- how responsive their work decisions were to changes in their potential wages -- used to be far more heavily driven by their husband's earning potential or lack thereof (what economists call cross-wage elasticity). Over time, Blau and Kahn found, women's responsiveness to wages -- their own or their husbands -- began to fall, and their labor force participation choices began to more closely resemble men's, providing empirical backing to the story Warren and Warren Tyagi tell.
Increasing opportunity and education were certainly one driver of this trend. In 1960, just 5.8 percent of all women over age 25 had a bachelor's degree or higher. Today, 41.7 percent of mothers aged 25 and over have a college degree. Many of these women entered careers in which they found fulfillment and meaning, and the opportunity costs, both financially and professionally, of staying home might have been quite high.
But what about the plurality of middle- and working-class moms who weren't necessarily looking for a career with a path up the corporate ladder? What was pushing them into full-time work for pay, despite consistently telling pollsters they wished they could work less?
The essential point, stressed by Warren and Warren Tyagi, was the extent to which this massive shift was driven by a desire to provide for one's children. The American Dream has as many interpretations as it does adherents, but a baseline definition would surely include giving your children a better life. Many women in America's working and middle classes entered the labor force purely to provide the best possible option for their families.The Student Loan Trap Up From Consumerism
In the search for good neighborhoods and good schools, a bidding war quickly became an arms race. There were "two words so powerful the families would pursue them to the brink of bankruptcy: safety and education ." The authors underplay the extent to which policy had explicitly sought to preserve home values, driven by their use as investment vehicles and retirement accounts, a dynamic covered expertly by William Fischel's The Homevoter Hypothesis . But their broader point is accurate -- rising house prices, aided and abetted by policy choices around land use, have made it harder for families to afford the cost of living in 21st-century America.
Another factor in the springing of the trap? Divorce. In her 2000 book about how feminism had failed women, Danielle Crittenden writes about how fear of dependency, especially in an era of no-fault divorce, had caused women to rank financial independence highly.
These two factors, along with others Warren and Warren Tyagi explore, made it difficult for families to unilaterally disarm without losing their place in the middle class. "Today's middle-class mother is trapped," they write. "She can't afford to work, and she can't afford to quit."
A quiet armistice may have been declared in the so-called "mommy wars," but the underlying pressures haven't gone away since The Two-Income Trap was published. If anything, they've gotten worse.
Warren and Warren Tyagi propose severing the link between housing and school districts through a "well-designed voucher program," calling the public education system "the heart of the problem." They correctly note that "schools in middle-class neighborhoods may be labeled 'public,'" but that parents effectively pay tuition by purchasing a home within a carefully selected school district. Breaking the cartel that ties educational outcomes to zip codes would increase choices for families and open the door to further educational pluralism.
Warren and Warren Tyagi are also unafraid to tell unpopular truths about the futility of additional funding for colleges (identifying "faith in the power of higher education [as] the new secular religion"), housing affordability ("direct subsidies are likely to add more ammunition to the already ruinous bidding wars, ultimately driving home prices even higher"), universal child care (which "would create yet another comparative disadvantage for single-income families trying to compete in the marketplace"), and usurious credit (Warren's long work on bankruptcy requires deeper treatment than this space allows, but their questioning of our over-reliance on consumer debt deserves a fuller hearing).
Warren's presidential campaign contains elements of this attempt to make life easier for families, but the shades of her vision of a pro-family economic policy seem paler than they were a decade and a half ago.
Her universal child care plan , for example, seemingly contradicts her prior stated worries about disadvantaging stay-at-home parents. While she explicitly -- and wisely -- steers clear of a subsidy-based approach, her attempt to "create a network of child care options" does less to directly support families who aren't looking for formal care. In a sense, Warren would replicate the public school experience for the under-five crowd -- if you don't want to participate, that's fine, but you'll bear the cost on your own. A true pro-family populism would seek to increase the choice set for all families, regardless of their work-life situations.
Warren's housing plan has similarly good intentions, seeking to increase the supply of affordable housing rather than simply trying to subsidize demand. Her competitive education grant would reward municipalities for relaxing restrictive zoning requirements. But while her campaign has yet to release a plan on education, it seems unlikely we'll see the kind of bold approach to educational choice she espoused in 2003. Populist sympathizers of all ideological stripes should hope I'm proven wrong.
Warren's attempt at pro-family progressive populism seems honest. If not for certain infamous biographical missteps, her personal story would be one of how America is still a land of opportunity -- the daughter of a Oklahoma department store salesman who worked her way to a law degree, a professorship, and a Senate seat. There's a congruence in her positioning of economic security as a family values issue and the resurgent interest in a pro-worker, pro-family conservative agenda. And unlike so many politicians, her personal experience seems to have instilled an understanding of why so many dual-earner families see work as a means to the end of providing a better life for their children rather than an end in itself.
A politician willing to question the sacred cows of double-income families, more money for schools, and easy credit is the kind of politician this populist moment requires. A candidate willing to call into question an economic model that prioritizes GDP growth over all else would boldly position himself or herself as being on the side of families whose vision of the American Dream involves a better life for their children, yet who are exhausted and hemmed in by costs.
How Warren needs to position her platform to navigate the vicissitudes of a Democratic Party primary will likely not be the best way to address the needs of the modern American family. But in a crowded field, an uncompromising vision of increased choice for families across all dimensions -- not just within the public school system, for example, but among all options of education -- would be an impressive accomplishment and a way of distinguishing herself from the pack. An explicit defense of parenthood as a social good would be unconventional but welcome.
Still, a marker of how far the conversation around families has shifted from the early 2000s is the extent to which Warren's and Warren Tyagi's view of parenthood as something more than an individual "lifestyle choice" would now be viewed as radical, particularly on the Left. "That may be true from the perspective of an individual choosing whether or not to have a child," they write, "but it isn't true for society at large. What happens to a nation that rewards the childless and penalizes the parents?"
What indeed. Paging the Elizabeth Warren of 2003 -- your country needs you.
Patrick T. Brown ( @PTBwrites ) is a master's of public affairs student at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
JonF April 4, 2019 at 6:22 amDoe anyone think the middle and especially upper middle class would be in favor of a school choice plan that would cause their housing values to take hit? And there's another big roadblock with a school choice program: the need for transportation. Two years ago my next door neighbors who were able to place their young son in a good school across town sold their house and moved to be closer to the school since the daily cross-town commute at rush hour was just too much.grin without a cat , says: April 4, 2019 at 7:44 amThey might well have had one in Elizabeth Warren, whose 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap, co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, was unafraid to skewer sacred cows.Chris Atwood , says: April 4, 2019 at 9:38 am
It's more recent than that. The first edition was 2003, but a second edition came out in 2016, by which time Mom probably knew she might be running for president. It's got a new introduction by the authors, so obviously it was done with their cooperation.
I haven't read either edition, so I don't know what's been changed in the new one.Great essay.Roy Fassel , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:30 am
I am struck again and again, by the unbelievable power of the forces in the political arena pushing everyone who is a Democrat because they are fiscally liberal* to ALSO become socially liberal,* and everyone who is a Republican because they are socially conservative* to ALSO become fiscally conservative.*
The net result of the laws of motion seem to systematically take the ideological space of "socially conservative, fiscally liberal" (the old New Deal) and push everyone in it either out to the usual left "fiscally liberal, socially liberal" or the usual right "socially conservative, fiscally conservative" quadrants.
This article shows how it's happening with Elizabeth Warren in one direction, and it's happened constantly with socially conservative Republicans who get yanked back to the proper quadrant anytime they try to move to a direction of economic policy that doesn't involve tax cuts for the rich and actually help their constituents.One can have all the opinions on better ways to do things for the good of society, but if those ideas are not politically viable, it creates a change in directions. Warren probably by now .realizes how complicated all of these policy issues are and the unintended consequence of these policies are always a factor and a risk. Elizabeth Warren seems to have a good grasp of complicated issues, but that never get her the support she would need to prevail in this campaign. We currently live in the age of "Fantasyland" spewed by both the Trump RINOs and the Lunatic Left. Warren is a thinker. That is not helpful these days.Sid Finster , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:55 amWhat happened is that Warren wants the Team D nomination, and Team D, like Team R, could not care less about the 99.9% of Americans who are not non-campaign bundlers or big contributors.Chris in Appalachia , says: April 4, 2019 at 11:46 am
In fact, Team D (again, just like Team R) is actively hostile to any proposal that might take money out of the pockets of the .1%, or otherwise affect the way the the economic pie is sliced.If this was the 1970s Warren would probably have supported busing. Pocahontas – leave my safe neighborhood, my children's schools, and my home equity alone. Because these well meaning social engineering schemes seldom work out as planned. As a middle class American I will probably get the short end of the stick.BradleyD , says: April 4, 2019 at 12:15 pm
Funny that policy makers never want to help families by taking a little chunk out of hedge funds and shareholders and vulture capitalists and sharing it with American workers. Talk about "the heart of the problem."My wife and I did a sort of calculation. In our state child care would be about 11,000 per child per year. Also, you can't drop them off if they are sick, so you have to use your sick days for them. Oh, and if you don't use the child care if you're on vacation, you still need to pay to hold the slot. With two kids and taxes, she has to clear well over 30k per year to about break even.EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Add in the fact you'll be missing out on their childhood, spending maybe three or so hours per day with them, is it really worth it?
The more I see the 'big tech' developments, they are basically things your pay for to let you work so you can afford to work. TaskRabbit, Fivrer, DoorDash, etc basically give you free time so you can work more."What happens to a nation that rewards the childless and penalizes the parents?"EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 1:13 pm
They become liberals, democrats, anarchists, socialists, communists . . . supporters of murdering children in the womb, efficiency advocates by way of eugenics . . . and other assorted malcontents against ordered society.This may be unfair as I have not read the book.rps , says: April 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm
But in my view, what has damaged economic sociology has been the shift in practice without any assessment what it would do to the traditional family dynamic between husbands and wives in family construction. That simply demanding that space be made for women and millions of women would seriously tighten the job market for all and disrupt the pillars upon which our nation was built, despite its problems.
Power dynamic, chivalry outran practical realities and that remains the case in increasingly stratifying civil demands.
And while I sympathetic to the complaint about bussing, that had a very little impact on the employment numbers which government and businesses and edication raced to fill the discrimination expectations with women, and primarily white women.
tired comment, but accurate nonetheless, so instead of hiring men in response to discrimination, those men were instead replaced by women, most of whom already had access via the cultural dynamics of the majority.Warren and Warren Tyagi propose severing the link between housing and school districts through a "well-designed voucher program," calling the public education system "the heart of the problem." [ ]Fran Macadam , says: April 4, 2019 at 4:34 pm
In my opinion, Warner's education voucher proposal by guaranteeing voucher dollar enrollment in the affluent zip codes ignores the heart of the education problem. Affluent zip codes do not ensure a child's academic success via 'better' teachers and educational materials. Public schools in the big cities are filled with teachers who have their masters and Ph.D's along with continuing education requirements.
Student success is fundamentally based upon parental commitment and community involvement. Are the parents committed to their children's academic success? Does the parent(s) provide a conducive and safe home environment? Does the child have a quiet space to study, do their homework and prepare for school? Does the parent(s) sit down and teach? Review the child's homework? Do the parents volunteer at the school? Are they involved with school events? Is education a top priority? Or is school a babysitting service to drop off and pick up?
Those affluent zip codes are more than a number. For the most part, they are a supportive community of families.
A child's academic success is assuredly tethered to the parental guiding hands. Simply, a child's success begins at home with parents who care about their children's future.She Woke up.Robert K U , says: April 4, 2019 at 6:47 pm
Careerism trumps sanity. In the age of #MeToo, it's got to be all about me.Probably, every conservative will agree, that the basic flaw is materialism. Thus, with materialism, personal values that cannot be sold or bought for money, are neglected in favour of the gross domestic product per capita philosophy. Such personal values are, for instance, family values, that is, children need both a mother, especially when they are below teenage, and a father, especially when they are teenagers, and perhaps most important, a father and a mother need one another. All this family thing does, however, not enter into the money economy of big government. Whence, on the side of families, those need to take quite brave choices, to choose morals above money. And on the side of the government, this needs to tax the rich and help the poor. In fact, according to the World Bank, economic growth is stimulated best, if governments help the poor directly, rather than with obscure subsidies to the economic system. However, there is also the difficulty with difficult access to regular jobs. By no doubt, abortion genosuicide decreases demand on the most simple of goods and services, causing unemployment for the poor, and driving up costs of raising children. Society then goes into socialism, with genosuicide instead of economic growth, while the money flows into pension funds of the upper middle class. Governments must simply help the poor. Humankind has always been able to produce twice the amount of good food that it needs, but bureaucratic governments keep the poor enslaved, to fill them with lie.Tim , says: April 4, 2019 at 7:19 pmWarren's academic work and cheeky refusal to fold under pressure when her nomination as Obama's consumer ('home ec.'?) finance czar was stymied by the GOP are worthy of respect. I'd like to see her make a strong run at the dem nomination, but am put off by her recent tendency to adopt silly far-left talking points and sentiments (her Native DNA, advocating for reparations, etc.). Nice try, Liz, but I'm still leaning Bernie's direction.EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:57 pm
As far as the details of the economic analysis related above, though, I am unqualified to make any judgment – haven't read the book. But one enormously significant economic development in the early 70s wasn't mentioned at all, so I assume she and her daughter passed it over as well. In his first term R. Milhouse Nixon untethered, once & for all, the value of the dollar from traditional hard currency. The economy has been coming along nicely ever since, except for one problematic aspect: with a floating currency we are all now living in an economic environment dominated by the vicissitudes of supplies and demands, are we not? It took awhile to effect the housing market, but signs of the difference it made began to emerge fairly quickly, and accelerated sharply when the tides of globalism washed lots of third world lucre up on our western shores. Now, as clearly implied by both Warren and the author of this article, young Americans whose parents may not have even been born back then – the early 70s – are probably permanently priced out of the housing market in places that used to have only a marginally higher cost of entry – i.e. urban California, where I have lived and worked for most of my nearly 60 years. In places like this even a 3-earner income may not suffice! Maybe we should bring back the gold standard, because it seems to me that as long as unfettered competition coupled to supply/demand and (EZ credit $) is the underlying dynamic of the American economy we're headed for the New Feudalism. Of course, nothing could be more conservative than that, right? What say you, TAColytes?"Maybe we should bring back the gold standard, because it seems to me that as long as unfettered competition coupled to supply/demand and (EZ credit $) is the underlying dynamic of the American economy we're headed for the New Feudalism."K squared , says: April 5, 2019 at 7:05 am
I take it you think the old one has departed.
It was in the area of how businesses and government were reciprocating unhealthy and unfair business practices is where I think her advocacy was most accurate. But she has abandoned all of that."Funny that policy makers never want to help families by taking a little chunk out of hedge funds and shareholders and vulture capitalists and sharing it with American workers."
Funny that Warren HAS brought up raising taxes on the rich.
Apr 05, 2019 | www.commondreams.org
"We can't sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind."
The 2020 presidential candidate is expected to endorse the proposal in a speech at the National Action Network Convention in New York Friday morning.
"When Democrats next have power, we should be bold and clear: We're done with two sets of rules -- one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats," Warren is expected to say. "And that means when Democrats have the White House again, if Mitch McConnell tries to do what he did to President Obama and puts small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive problems facing this country, then we should get rid of the filibuster."
"I'm not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change. I'm serious about getting it done," the speech reads. "And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate."
Getting rid of the filibuster -- the Senate procedure which allows a minority party to delay a vote by drawing out debate and block legislation from passing by requiring a "supermajority" of 60 senators to approve it -- would be a key step toward passing progressive measures, advocates say.
At the NAN Convention, Warren is expected to note that the filibuster has stopped the Senate from passing radical justice legislation for decades, including an anti-lynching bill which was first introduced a century ago but didn't pass until December 2018.
"It nearly became the law back then. It passed the House in 1922. But it got killed in the Senate -- by a filibuster. And then it got killed again. And again. And again," Warren plans to say. "More than 200 times. An entire century of obstruction because a small group of racists stopped the entire nation from doing what was right."
Advocates including Warren also say the end of the filibuster would make it easier for the Senate to pass meaningful legislation to combat the climate crisis and to further other progressive causes.
"We can't sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind," Warren's speech reads. "We can't sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin. Enough with that."
Warren joins fellow 2020 Democratic hopefuls Pete Buttigieg and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in endorsing the end of the filibuster. Her speech Friday will represent her latest push for "structural change" that she says would have far-reaching positive effects on the lives of working Americans. Since announcing her candidacy in January she has called for a tax on the wealth of the richest Americans to combat economic inequality and fund progressive programs, a universal childcare plan, and a breakup of powerful tech giants , among other proposals.
Apr 05, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
span y arendt on Tue, 04/02/2019 - 7:31pm The old politics is dead. Citizens United granted unlimited, anonymous political bribery to the transnational billionaire class. The legacy media has been conglomerated down to six companies, while the platform media companies (Google, Facebook, Twitter) have instituted censorship and banning. Sock puppets, trolls, doxers, and other slime have demolished the promise of honest intellectual internet debate.
Apr 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
whybother , 34 minutes ago link
Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate with any real substance on either side of the political divide.
Everybody else is a slimy, gutless, servile tool of the military industrial complex.
You know its true.
Apr 03, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
apenultimate on Wed, 04/03/2019 - 11:53pm
The Tulsi2020 campaign continues to gain unique donors, closing in on the magic number. As of tonight, Tulsi has 61,029 of them, and needs only 3,971 more to get into the Democratic debates. That's only 97 new donors per day through May 14.
Centaurea on Thu, 04/04/2019 - 4:39amFrom what I've heard,gulfgal98 on Thu, 04/04/2019 - 7:15am
Tulsi didn't join in the standing ovation for NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg during his warmongering speech to the US Congress on Weds. Good for her.IMHO, Michael Tracey has done the best interview>
with Tulsi Gabbard so far. Tracey has allowed Tulsi to explain the nuances of her foreign policy stands concerning regime change, war, and fighting terrorism. I do not believe any other interviewer has been able to bring out those distinctions.
I hope people will take the time to listen to Tracey's interview. It is posted on YouTube, but it is an audio interview only. Tracey does a nice introduction to both parts of the interview which was conducted over two days.
Apr 04, 2019 | www.unz.com
RobinG says: April 2, 2019 at 11:35 pm GMT 100 Words @Cloak And Dagger What do they say about Tulsi? Please note in this interview when Cenk asks her directly if she opposes the Occupation, she says Yes! A true Zio supporter (as some here have accused her!) would object to even using the word. And she addresses the Adelson question. On the conflict, her answer is pretty pablum, but probably as far as she can go strategically.
Cenk has been castigated from both sides, either as too harsh or too easy with her. IMO it's a very good interview. Can you picture for a moment, Tulsi in a debate with Trump? What are her boosters doing to prepare her for that? She's handling all the animosity with equanimity, and she'll arrive at the final contest battle-hardened.
Tulsi Gabbard Interview On TYT
Cloak And Dagger , says: April 3, 2019 at 5:56 am GMT@RobinGCloak And Dagger , says: April 3, 2019 at 6:30 am GMT
Cenk has been castigated from both sides, either as too harsh or too easy with her.
It is a good interview and she handles herself very well and her positions are well articulated. I remain wary of her, however, but I will keep an open mind and watch her in the months ahead to see where her funding comes from.@RobinG You may also be interested in this interview:
Apr 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com
Still another noted that Fascism is often linked to people who are part of a distinct ethnic or racial group, who are under economic stress, and who feel that they are being denied rewards to which they are entitled. "It's not so much what people have." she said, "but what they think they should have -- and what they fear." Fear is why Fascism's emotional reach can extend to all levels of society. No political movement can flourish without popular support, but Fascism is as dependent on the wealthy and powerful as it is on the man or woman in the street -- on those who have much to lose and those who have nothing at all.
This insight made us think that Fascism should perhaps be viewed less as a political ideology than as a means for seizing and holding power. For example, Italy in the 1920s included self-described Fascists of the left (who advocated a dictatorship of the dispossessed), of the right (who argued for an authoritarian corporatist state), and of the center (who sought a return to absolute monarchy). The German National Socialist Party (the
Nazis) originally came together ar ound a list of demands that ca- tered to anti-Semites, anti-immigrants, and anti-capitalists but also advocated for higher old-age pensions, more educational op- portunities for the poor, an end to child labor, and improved ma- ternal health care. The Nazis were racists and, in their own minds, reformers at the same time.
If Fascism concerns itself less with specific policies than with finding a pathway to power, what about the tactics of lead- ership? My students remarked that the Fascist chiefs we remem- ber best were charismatic. Through one method or another, each established an emotional link to the crowd and, like the central figure in a cult, brought deep and often ugly feelings to the sur- face. This is how the tentacles of Fascism spread inside a democ- racy. Unlike a monarchy or a military dictatorship imposed on society from above. Fascism draws energy from men and women who are upset because of a lost war, a lost job, a memory of hu- miliation, or a sense that their country is in steep decline. The more painful the grounds for resentment, the easier it is for a Fascist leader to gam followers by dangling the prospect of re- newal or by vowing to take back what has been stolen.
Like the mobilizers of more benign movements, these secular evangelists exploit the near-universal human desire to be part of a meaningful quest. The more gifted among them have an apti- tude for spectacle -- for orchestrating mass gatherings complete with martial music, incendiary rhetoric, loud cheers, and arm-
lifting salutes. To loyalists, they offer the prize of membership in a club from which others, often the objects of ridicule, are kept out. To build fervor, Fascists tend to be aggressive, militaristic, and -- when circumstances allow -- expansionist. To secure the future, they turn schools into seminaries for true believers, striv- ing to produce "new men" and "new women" who will obey without question or pause. And, as one of my students observed, "a Fascist who launches his career by being voted into office will have a claim to legitimacy that others do not."
After climbing into a position of power, what comes next: How does a Fascist consolidate authority? Here several students piped up: "By controlling information." Added another, "And that's one reason we have so much cause to worry today." Most of us have thought of the technological revolution primarily as a means for people from different walks of life to connect with one another, trade ideas, and develop a keener understanding of why men and women act as they do -- in other words, to sharpen our perceptions of truth. That's still the case, but now we are not so sure. There is a troubling "Big Brother" angle because of the mountain of personal data being uploaded into social media. If an advertiser can use that information to home in on a consumer because of his or her individual interests, what's to stop a Fascist government from doing the same? "Suppose I go to a demonstra- tion like the Women's March," said a student, "and post a photo
on social media. My name gets added to a list and that list can end up anywhere. How do we protect ourselves against that?"
Even more disturbing is the ability shown by rogue regimes and their agents to spread lies on phony websites and Facebook. Further, technology has made it possible for extremist organiza- tions to construct echo chambers of support for conspiracy theo- ries, false narratives, and ignorant views on religion and race. This is the first rule of deception: repeated often enough, almost any statement, story, or smear can start to sound plausible. The Internet should be an ally of freedom and a gateway to knowledge; in some cases, it is neither.
Historian Robert Paxton begins one of his books by assert- ing: "Fascism was the major political innovation of the twentieth century, and the source of much of its pain." Over the years, he and other scholars have developed lists of the many moving parts that Fascism entails. Toward the end of our discussion, my class sought to articulate a comparable list.
Fascism, most of the students agreed, is an extreme form of authoritarian rule. Citizens are required to do exactly what lead- ers say they must do, nothing more, nothing less. The doctrine is linked to rabid nationalism. It also turns the traditional social contract upside down. Instead of citizens giving power to the state in exchange for the protection of their rights, power begins with the leader, and the people have no rights. Under Fascism,
the mission of citizens is to serve; the government's job is to rule.
When one talks about this subject, confusion often arises about the difference between Fascism and such related concepts as totalitarianism, dictatorship, despotism, tyranny, autocracy, and so on. As an academic, I might be tempted to wander into that thicket, but as a former diplomat, I am primarily concerned with actions, not labels. To my mind, a Fascist is someone who identifies strongly with and claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use whatever means are necessary -- including violence -- to achieve his or her goals. In that conception, a Fascist will likely be a tyrant, but a tyrant need not be a Fascist.
Often the difference can be seen in who is trusted with the guns. In seventeenth-century Europe, when Catholic aristocrats did battle with Protestant aristocrats, they fought over scripture but agreed not to distribute weapons to their peasants, thinking it safer to wage war with mercenary armies. Modern dictators also tend to be wary of their citizens, which is why they create royal guards and other elite security units to ensure their personal safe- ty. A Fascist, however, expects the crowd to have his back. Where kings try to settle people down, Fascists stir them up so that when the fighting begins, their foot soldiers have the will and the firepower to strike first.
petarsimic , October 21, 2018Madeleine Albright on million Iraqis dead: "We think the price is worth It"<img src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/amazon-avatars-global/default._CR0,0,1024,1024_SX48_.png"> P. Bierre , June 11, 2018
Hypocrisy at its worst from a lady who advocated hawkish foreign policy which included the most sustained bombing campaign since Vietnam, when, in 1998, Clinton began almost daily attacks on Iraq in the so-called no-fly zones, and made so-called regime change in Iraq official U.S. policy.
In May of 1996, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Madeleine Albright, who at the time was Clinton's U.N. ambassador. Correspondent Leslie Stahl said to Albright, in connection with the Clinton administration presiding over the most devastating regime of sanctions in history that the U.N. estimated took the lives of as many as a million Iraqis, the vast majority of them children. , "We have heard that a half-million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And -- and, you know, is the price worth it?"
Madeleine Albright replied, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it.Does Albright present a comprehensive enough understanding of fascism to instruct on how best to avoid it?Anat Hadad , January 19, 2019
While I found much of the story-telling in "Fascism" engaging, I come away expecting much more of one of our nation's pre-eminent senior diplomats . In a nutshell, she has devoted a whole volume to describing the ascent of intolerant fascism and its many faces, but punted on the question "How should we thwart fascism going forward?"
Even that question leaves me a bit unsatisfied, since it is couched in double-negative syntax. The thing there is an appetite for, among the readers of this book who are looking for more than hand-wringing about neofascism, is a unifying title or phrase which captures in single-positive syntax that which Albright prefers over fascism. What would that be? And, how do we pursue it, nurture it, spread it and secure it going forward? What is it?
I think Albright would perhaps be willing to rally around "Good Government" as the theme her book skirts tangentially from the dark periphery of fascistic government. "Virtuous Government"? "Effective Government"? "Responsive Government"?
People concerned about neofascism want to know what we should be doing right now to avoid getting sidetracked into a dark alley of future history comparable to the Nazi brown shirt or Mussolini black shirt epochs. Does Albright present a comprehensive enough understanding of fascism to instruct on how best to avoid it? Or, is this just another hand-wringing exercise, a la "you'll know it when you see it", with a proactive superficiality stuck at the level of pejorative labelling of current styles of government and national leaders? If all you can say is what you don't want, then the challenge of threading the political future of the US is left unruddered. To make an analogy to driving a car, if you don't know your destination, and only can get navigational prompts such as "don't turn here" or "don't go down that street", then what are the chances of arriving at a purposive destination?
The other part of this book I find off-putting is that Albright, though having served as Secretary of State, never talks about the heavy burden of responsibility that falls on a head of state. She doesn't seem to empathize at all with the challenge of top leadership. Her perspective is that of the detached critic. For instance, in discussing President Duterte of the Philippines, she fails to paint the dire situation under which he rose to national leadership responsibility: Islamic separatists having violently taken over the entire city of Marawi, nor the ubiquitous spread of drug cartel power to the level where control over law enforcement was already ceded to the gangs in many places...entire islands and city neighborhoods run by mafia organizations. It's easy to sit back and criticize Duterte's unleashing of vigilante justice -- What was Mrs. Albright's better alternative to regain ground from vicious, well-armed criminal organizations? The distancing from leadership responsibility makes Albright's treatment of the Philippines twin crises of gang-rule and Islamist revolutionaries seem like so much academic navel-gazing....OK for an undergrad course at Georgetown maybe, but unworthy of someone who served in a position of high responsibility. Duterte is liked in the Philippines. What he did snapped back the power of the cartels, and returned a deserved sense of security to average Philippinos (at least those not involved with narcotics). Is that not good government, given the horrendous circumstances Duterte came up to deal with? What lack of responsibility in former Philippine leadership allowed things to get so out of control? Is it possible that Democrats and liberals are afraid to be tough, when toughness is what is needed? I'd much rather read an account from an average Philippino about the positive impacts of the vigilante campaign, than listen of Madame Secretary sermonizing out of context about Duterte. OK, he's not your idea of a nice guy. Would you rather sit back, prattle on about the rule of law and due process while Islamic terrorists wrest control over where you live? Would you prefer the leadership of a drug cartel boss to Duterte?
My critique is offered in a constructive manner. I would certainly encourage Albright (or anyone!) to write a book in a positive voice about what it's going to take to have good national government in the US going forward, and to help spread such abundance globally. I would define "good" as the capability to make consistently good policy decisions, ones that continue to look good in hindsight, 10, 20 or 30 years later. What does that take?
I would submit that the essential "preserving democracy" process component is having a population that is adequately prepared for collaborative problem-solving. Some understanding of history is helpful, but it's simply not enough. Much more essential is for every young person to experience team problem-solving, in both its cooperative and competitive aspects. Every young person needs to experience a team leadership role, and to appreciate what it takes from leaders to forge constructive design from competing ideas and champions. Only after serving as a referee will a young person understand the limits to "passion" that individual contributors should bring to the party. Only after moderating and herding cats will a young person know how to interact productively with leaders and other contributors. Much of the skill is counter-instinctual. It's knowing how to express ideas...how to field criticism....how to nudge people along in the desired direction...and how to avoid ad-hominem attacks, exaggerations, accusations and speculative grievances. It's learning how to manage conflict productively toward excellence. Way too few of our young people are learning these skills, and way too few of our journalists know how to play a constructive role in managing communications toward successful complex problem-solving. Albright's claim that a journalist's job is primarily to "hold leaders accountable" really betrays an absolving of responsibility for the media as a partner in good government -- it doesn't say whether the media are active players on the problem-solving team (which they have to be for success), or mere spectators with no responsibility for the outcome. If the latter, then journalism becomes an irritant, picking at the scabs over and over, but without any forward progress. When the media takes up a stance as an "opponent" of leadership, you end up with poor problem-solving results....the system is fighting itself instead of making forward progress.
"Fascism" doesn't do nearly enough to promote the teaching of practical civics 101 skills, not just to the kids going into public administration, but to everyone. For, it is in the norms of civility, their ability to be practiced, and their defense against excesses, that fascism (e.g., Antifa) is kept at bay.
Everyone in a democracy has to know the basics:
• when entering a disagreement, don't personalize it
• never demonize an opponent
• keep a focus on the goal of agreement and moving forward
• never tell another person what they think, but ask (non-rhetorically) what they think then be prepared to listen and absorb
• do not speak untruths or exaggerate to make an argument
• do not speculate grievance
• understand truth gathering as a process; detect when certainty is being bluffed; question sources
• recognize impasse and unproductive argumentation and STOP IT
• know how to introduce a referee or moderator to regain productive collaboration
• avoid ad hominem attacks
• don't take things personally that wrankle you;
• give the benefit of the doubt in an ambiguous situation
• don't jump to conclusions
• don't reward theatrical manipulation
These basics of collaborative problem-solving are the guts of a "liberal democracy" that can face down the most complex challenges and dilemmas.
I gave the book 3 stars for the great story-telling, and Albright has been part of a great story of late 20th century history. If she would have told us how to prevent fascism going forward, and how to roll it back in "hard case" countries like North Korea and Sudan, I would have given her a 5. I'm not that interested in picking apart the failure cases of history...they teach mostly negative exemplars. Much rather I would like to read about positive exemplars of great national government -- "great" defined by popular acclaim, by the actual ones governed. Where are we seeing that today? Canada? Australia? Interestingly, both of these positive exemplars have strict immigration policies.
Is it possible that Albright is just unable, by virtue of her narrow escape from Communist Czechoslovakia and acceptance in NYC as a transplant, to see that an optimum immigration policy in the US, something like Canada's or Australia's, is not the looming face of fascism, but rather a move to keep it safely in its corner in coming decades? At least, she admits to her being biased by her life story.
That suggests her views on refugees and illegal immigrants as deserving of unlimited rights to migrate into the US might be the kind of cloaked extremism that she is warning us about."Fascism is not an exception to humanity, but part of it."Matthew T , May 29, 2018
Albright's book is a comprehensive look at recent history regarding the rise and fall of fascist leaders; as well as detailing leaders in nations that are starting to mimic fascist ideals. Instead of a neat definition, she uses examples to bolster her thesis of what are essential aspects of fascism. Albright dedicates each section of the book to a leader or regime that enforces fascist values and conveys this to the reader through historical events and exposition while also peppering in details of her time as Secretary of State. The climax (and 'warning'), comes at the end, where Albright applies what she has been discussing to the current state of affairs in the US and abroad.
Overall, I would characterize this as an enjoyable and relatively easy read. I think the biggest strength of this book is how Albright uses history, previous examples of leaders and regimes, to demonstrate what fascism looks like and contributing factors on a national and individual level. I appreciated that she lets these examples speak for themselves of the dangers and subtleties of a fascist society, which made the book more fascinating and less of a textbook. Her brief descriptions of her time as Secretary of State were intriguing and made me more interested in her first book, 'Madame Secretary'. The book does seem a bit slow as it is not until the end that Albright blatantly reveals the relevance of all of the history relayed in the first couple hundred pages. The last few chapters are dedicated to the reveal: the Trump administration and how it has affected global politics. Although, she never outright calls Trump a fascist, instead letting the reader decide based on his decisions and what you have read in the book leading up to this point, her stance is quite clear by the end. I was surprised at what I shared politically with Albright, mainly in immigration and a belief of empathy and understanding for others. However, I got a slight sense of anti-secularism in the form of a disdain for those who do not subscribe to an Abrahamic religion and she seemed to hint at this being partly an opening to fascism.
I also could have done without the both-sides-ism she would occasionally push, which seems to be a tactic used to encourage people to 'unite against Trump'. These are small annoyances I had with the book, my main critique is the view Albright takes on democracy. If anything, the book should have been called "Democracy: the Answer" because that is the most consistent stance Albright takes throughout. She seems to overlook many of the atrocities the US and other nations have committed in the name of democracy and the negative consequences of capitalism, instead, justifying negative actions with the excuse of 'it is for democracy and everyone wants that' and criticizing those who criticize capitalism.
She does not do a good job of conveying the difference between a communist country like Russia and a socialist country like those found in Scandinavia and seems okay with the idea of the reader lumping them all together in a poor light. That being said, I would still recommend this book for anyone's TBR as the message is essential for today, that the current world of political affairs is, at least somewhat, teetering on a precipice and we are in need of as many strong leaders as possible who are willing to uphold democratic ideals on the world stage and mindful constituents who will vote them in.An easy read, but incredibly ignorant and one eyed in far too many instancesAvid reader , December 20, 2018
The book is very well written, easy to read, and follows a pretty standard formula making it accessible to the average reader. However, it suffers immensely from, what I suspect are, deeply ingrained political biases from the author.
Whilst I don't dispute the criteria the author applies in defining fascism, or the targets she cites as examples, the first bias creeps in here when one realises the examples chosen are traditional easy targets for the US (with the exception of Turkey). The same criteria would define a country like Singapore perfectly as fascist, yet the country (or Malaysia) does not receive a mention in the book.
Further, it grossly glosses over what Ms. Albright terms facist traits from the US governments of the past. If the author is to be believed, the CIA is holier than thou, never intervened anywhere or did anything that wasn't with the best interests of democracy at heart, and American foreign policy has always existed to build friendships and help out their buddies. To someone ingrained in this rhetoric for years I am sure this is an easy pill to swallow, but to the rest of the world it makes a number of assertions in the book come across as incredibly naive. out of 5 stars Trite and opaqueBiast much? Still a good start into the problem&amp;amp;amp;lt;img src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/amazon-avatars-global/0e64e0cb-01e4-4e58-bcae-bba690344095._CR0,0.0,333,333_SX48_.jpg"&amp;amp;amp;gt; NJ , February 3, 2019
We went with my husband to the presentation of this book at UPenn with Albright before it came out and Madeleine's spunk, wit and just glorious brightness almost blinded me. This is a 2.5 star book, because 81 year old author does not really tell you all there is to tell when she opens up on a subject in any particular chapter, especially if it concerns current US interest.
Lets start from the beginning of the book. What really stood out, the missing 3rd Germany ally, Japan and its emperor. Hirohito (1901-1989) was emperor of Japan from 1926 until his death in 1989. He took over at a time of rising democratic sentiment, but his country soon turned toward ultra-nationalism and militarism. During World War II (1939-45), Japan attacked nearly all of its Asian neighbors, allied itself with Nazi Germany and launched a surprise assault on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, forcing US to enter the war in 1941. Hirohito was never indicted as a war criminal! does he deserve at least a chapter in her book?
Oh and by the way, did author mention anything about sanctions against Germany for invading Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Poland? Up until the Pearl Harbor USA and Germany still traded, although in March 1939, FDR slapped a 25% tariff on all German goods. Like Trump is doing right now to some of US trading partners.
Next monster that deserves a chapter on Genocide in cosmic proportions post WW2 is communist leader of China Mao Zedung. Mr Dikötter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants compares to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the total worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million.
We learn that Argentina has given sanctuary to Nazi war criminals, but she forgets to mention that 88 Nazi scientists arrived in the United States in 1945 and were promptly put to work. For example, Wernher von Braun was the brains behind the V-2 rocket program, but had intimate knowledge of what was going on in the concentration camps. Von Braun himself hand-picked people from horrific places, including Buchenwald concentration camp. Tsk-Tsk Madeline.
What else? Oh, lets just say that like Madelaine Albright my husband is Jewish and lost extensive family to Holocoust. Ukrainian nationalists executed his great grandfather on gistapo orders, his great grandmother disappeared in concentration camp, grandfather was conscripted in june 1940 and decommissioned september 1945 and went through war as infantryman through 3 fronts earning several medals. his grandmother, an ukrainian born jew was a doctor in a military hospital in Saint Petersburg survived famine and saved several children during blockade. So unlike Maideline who was raised as a Roman Catholic, my husband grew up in a quiet jewish family in that territory that Stalin grabbed from Poland in 1939, in a polish turn ukrainian city called Lvov(Lemberg). His family also had to ask for an asylum, only they had to escape their home in Ukraine in 1991. He was told then "You are a nice little Zid (Jew), we will kill you last" If you think things in ukraine changed, think again, few weeks ago in Kiev Roma gypsies were killed and injured during pogroms, and nobody despite witnesses went to jail. Also during demonstrations openly on the streets C14 unit is waving swastikas and Heils. Why is is not mentioned anywhere in the book? is is because Hunter Biden sits on the board of one of Ukraine's largest natural gas companies called Burisma since May 14, 2014, and Ukraine has an estimated 127.9 trillion cubic feet of unproved technically recoverable shale gas resources? ( according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).1 The most promising shale reserves appear to be in the Carpathian Foreland Basin (also called the Lviv-Volyn Basin), which extends across Western Ukraine from Poland into Romania, and the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the East (which borders Russia).
Wow, i bet you did not know that. how ugly are politics, even this book that could have been so much greater if the author told the whole ugly story. And how scary that there are countries where you can go and openly be fascist.Interesting...yes. Useful...hmmmGderf , February 15, 2019
To me, Fascism fails for the single reason that no two fascist leaders are alike. Learning about one or a few, in a highly cursory fashion like in this book or in great detail, is unlikely to provide one with any answers on how to prevent the rise of another or fend against some such. And, as much as we are witnessing the rise of numerous democratic or quasi-democratic "strongmen" around the world in global politics, it is difficult to brand any of them as fascist in the orthodox sense.
As the author writes at the outset, it is difficult to separate a fascist from a tyrant or a dictator. A fascist is a majoritarian who rouses a large group under some national, racial or similar flag with rallying cries demanding suppression or exculcation of those excluded from this group. A typical fascist leader loves her yes-men and hates those who disagree: she does not mind using violence to suppress dissidents. A fascist has no qualms using propaganda to popularize the agreeable "facts" and theories while debunking the inconvenient as lies. What is not discussed explicitly in the book are perhaps some positive traits that separate fascists from other types of tyrants: fascists are rarely lazy, stupid or prone to doing things for only personal gains. They differ from the benevolent dictators for their record of using heavy oppression against their dissidents. Fascists, like all dictators, change rules to suit themselves, take control of state organizations to exercise total control and use "our class is the greatest" and "kick others" to fuel their programs.
Despite such a detailed list, each fascist is different from each other. There is little that even Ms Albright's fascists - from Mussolini and Hitler to Stalin to the Kims to Chavez or Erdogan - have in common. In fact, most of the opponents of some of these dictators/leaders would calll them by many other choice words but not fascists. The circumstances that gave rise to these leaders were highly different and so were their rules, methods and achievements.
The point, once again, is that none of the strongmen leaders around the world could be easily categorized as fascists. Or even if they do, assigning them with such a tag and learning about some other such leaders is unlikely to help. The history discussed in the book is interesting but disjointed, perfunctory and simplistic. Ms Albright's selection is also debatable.
Strong leaders who suppress those they deem as opponents have wreaked immense harms and are a threat to all civil societies. They come in more shades and colours than terms we have in our vocabulary (dictators, tyrants, fascists, despots, autocrats etc). A study of such tyrant is needed for anyone with an interest in history, politics, or societal well-being. Despite Ms Albright's phenomenal knowledge, experience, credentials, personal history and intentions, this book is perhaps not the best place to objectively learn much about the risks from the type of things some current leaders are doing or deeming as right.Wrong warning
Each time I get concerned about Trump's rhetoric or past actions I read idiotic opinions, like those of our second worst ever Secretary of State, and come to appreciate him more. Pejorative terms like fascism or populism have no place in a rational policy discussion. Both are blatant attempts to apply a pejorative to any disagreeing opinion. More than half of the book is fluffed with background of Albright, Hitler and Mussolini. Wikipedia is more informative. The rest has snippets of more modern dictators, many of whom are either socialists or attained power through a reaction to failed socialism, as did Hitler. She squirms mightily to liken Trump to Hitler. It's much easier to see that Sanders is like Maduro. The USA is following a path more like Venezuela than Germany.
Her history misses that Mussolini was a socialist before he was a fascist, and Nazism in Germany was a reaction to Wiemar socialism. The danger of fascism in the US is far greater from the left than from the right. America is far left of where the USSR ever was. Remember than Marx observed that Russia was not ready for a proletarian revolution. The USA with ready made capitalism for reform fits Marx's pattern much better. Progressives deny that Sanders and Warren are socialists. If not they are what Lenin called "useful idiots."
Albright says that she is proud of the speech where she called the USA the 'Indispensable Nation.' She should be ashamed. Obama followed in his inaugural address, saying that we are "the indispensable nation, responsible for world security." That turned into a policy of human rights interventions leading to open ended wars (Syria, Yemen), nations in chaos (Libya), and distrust of the USA (Egypt, Russia, Turkey, Tunisia, Israel, NK). Trump now has to make nice with dictators to allay their fears that we are out to replace them.
She admires the good intentions of human rights intervention, ignoring the results. She says Obama had some success without citing a single instance. He has apologized for Libya, but needs many more apologies. She says Obama foreign policy has had some success, with no mention of a single instance. Like many progressives, she confuses good intentions with performance. Democracy spreading by well intentioned humanitarian intervention has resulted in a succession of open ended war or anarchy.
The shorter histories of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Venezuela are much more informative, although more a warning against socialism than right wing fascism. Viktor Orban in Hungary is another reaction to socialism.
Albright ends the book with a forlorn hope that we need a Lincoln or Mandela, exactly what our two party dictatorship will not generate as it yields ever worse and worse candidates for our democracy to vote upon, even as our great society utopia generates ever more power for weak presidents to spend our money and continue wrong headed foreign policy.
The greatest danger to the USA is not fascism, but of excessively poor leadership continuing our slow slide to the bottom.
Apr 04, 2019 | www.unz.com
Anja Böttcher , says: April 3, 2019 at 7:56 am GMT@Anon You are no Christians. USAism and all radical Protestantism is abusing the surface of Christianity for satanic anti-Christianity.
There is no Christianity but what is rooted in the old and everlasting Church of which Christ is the Head in the Holy Spirit, as laid in apostle's hands and transferred by Church fathers.
Christianity is genuinely collectivist, it has nothing to do with the perverted individualism of Anglosaxon background and does not agree with the inherent nihilistic energy of capitalism.
... ... ...
Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 7, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT@Cassander There is no democracy in US. There is civil war between two dysfunctional parties. How come you did not notice? Or you just came from enchanted kingdom?Authenticjazzman , says: February 7, 2019 at 5:42 pm GMT@Ilyana_Rozumova " There is civil war between two dysfunctional parties"Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 8, 2019 at 7:40 pm GMT
Wrong again. There is in fact war between the cowardly, appeasing, Republicans, and the insane blue-haired democrats.
The Democrats are so fricking crazy, so far in outer space that any attempt at working with them is pure futility.
AJM@Authenticjazzman You are absolutely correct. I just did not wanted to go into such a details. It is not my stile.
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Christian J Chuba , Mar 31, 2019 3:08:20 PM | link
"U.S. Regime blocks international waterway" [actual story, Reuters title story] ... "Iranian fuel oil cargo sits off Malaysia as U.S. urges sanctions compliance"
I cannot stand the tone of this article, apparently the U.S. was able to coerce Singapore and Malaysia into not buying Iranian oil. The story is peppered with the usual loaded terms such as, 'evading U.S sanctions' as if they are lawful. If Iran blocked access to the Persian Guld would we hear stories about Qatar and the Saudis 'evading Iranian sanctions'?
What got my attention post this common story was this statement ...talks were to make sure Malaysian and Singaporean authorities "are alert and make important decisions about whether or not to even allow the vessels to come through their waterways."
So now it is somehow acceptable to block a merchant ship from an international waterway? WTF. This is an act of war.
Mar 31, 2019 | moonofalabama.org
psychohistorian, linkHere is an insightful read on Trump's (s) election and Russiagate that I think is not OT
Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won
The take away quote
" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."
... I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
psychohistorian , Mar 30, 2019 7:51:28 PM | linkHere is an insightful read on Trump's (s)election and Russiagate that I think is not OT
Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won
The take away quote
" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming.
Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."
As a peedupon all I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense
Mar 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Taibbi: On Russiagate & America's Refusal To Face Why Trump Won
by Tyler Durden Sat, 03/30/2019 - 15:30 261 SHARES Authored by Matt Taibbi via RollingStone.com,
Faulty coverage of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign later made foreign espionage a more plausible explanation for his ascent to power
Last weekend, I published a book chapter criticizing the Russiagate narrative, claiming it was a years-long press error on the scale of the WMD affair heading into the Iraq war.
Obviously (and I said this in detail), the WMD fiasco had a far greater real-world impact, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost and trillions in treasure wasted. Still, I thought Russiagate would do more to damage the reputation of the national news media in the end.
A day after publishing that excerpt, a Attorney General William Barr sent his summary of the report to Congress, containing a quote filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller : "[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."
Suddenly, news articles appeared arguing people like myself and Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept were rushing to judgment , calling us bullies whose writings were intended to leave reporters "cowed" and likely to " back down from aggressive coverage of Trump ."
This was baffling. One of the most common criticisms of people like Greenwald, Michael Tracey, Aaron Mate, Rania Khalek, Max Blumenthal, Jordan Chariton and many others is that Russiagate "skeptics" - I hate that term, because it implies skepticism isn't normal and healthy in this job - were really secret Trump partisans, part of a "horseshoe" pact between far left and far right to focus attention on the minor foibles of the center instead of Trump's more serious misdeeds. Even I received this label, and I once wrote a book about Trump called Insane Clown President .
A typical social media complaint:
@mtaibbi and all his deplorable followers. The truth will come out and your premature celebrations are embarrassing.
It's irritating that I even have to address this, because my personal political views shouldn't have anything to do with how I cover anything. But just to get it out of the way: I'm no fan of Donald Trump .
I had a well-developed opinion about him long before the 2016 race started. I once interned for Trump's nemesis-biographer, the late, great muckraker Wayne Barrett . The birther campaign of 2011 was all I ever needed to make a voting decision about the man.
I started covering the last presidential race in 2015 just as I was finishing up a book about the death of Eric Garner called I Can't Breathe . Noting that a birther campaign started by "peripheral political curiosity and reality TV star Donald Trump" led to 41 percent of respondents in one poll believing Barack Obama was "not even American," I wrote:
If anyone could communicate the frustration black Americans felt over Stop-and-Frisk and other neo-vagrancy laws that made black people feel like they could be arrested anywhere, it should have been Barack Obama. He'd made it all the way to the White House and was still considered to be literally trespassing by a huge plurality of the population.
So I had no illusions about Trump. The Russia story bothered me for other reasons, mostly having to do with a general sense of the public being misled, and not even about Russia.
The problem lay with the precursor tale to Russiagate, i.e. how Trump even got to be president in the first place.
The 2016 campaign season brought to the surface awesome levels of political discontent. After the election, instead of wondering where that anger came from, most of the press quickly pivoted to a new tale about a Russian plot to attack our Democracy. This conveyed the impression that the election season we'd just lived through had been an aberration, thrown off the rails by an extraordinary espionage conspiracy between Trump and a cabal of evil foreigners.
This narrative contradicted everything I'd seen traveling across America in my two years of covering the campaign. The overwhelming theme of that race, long before anyone even thought about Russia, was voter rage at the entire political system.
The anger wasn't just on the Republican side, where Trump humiliated the Republicans' chosen $150 million contender , Jeb Bush (who got three delegates, or $50 million per delegate ). It was also evident on the Democratic side, where a self-proclaimed "Democratic Socialist" with little money and close to no institutional support became a surprise contender .
Because of a series of press misdiagnoses before the Russiagate stories even began, much of the American public was unprepared for news of a Trump win. A cloak-and-dagger election-fixing conspiracy therefore seemed more likely than it might have otherwise to large parts of the domestic news audience, because they hadn't been prepared for anything else that would make sense.
This was particularly true of upscale, urban, blue-leaning news consumers, who were not told to take the possibility of a Trump White House seriously.
Priority number-one of the political class after a vulgar, out-of-work game-show host conquered the White House should have been a long period of ruthless self-examination. This story delayed that for at least two years.
It wasn't even clear Trump whether or not wanted to win. Watching him on the trail, Trump at times went beyond seeming disinterested. There were periods where it looked like South Park's " Did I offend you? " thesis was true, and he was actively trying to lose, only the polls just wouldn't let him.
Forget about the gift the end of Russiagate might give Trump by allowing him to spend 2020 peeing from a great height on the national press corps. The more serious issue has to be the failure to face the reality of why he won last time, because we still haven't done that.
... ... ...
Trump, the billionaire, denounced us as the elitists in the room. He'd call us "bloodsuckers," "dishonest," and in one line that produced laughs considering who was saying it, " highly-paid ."
He also did something that I immediately recognized as brilliant (or diabolical, depending on how you look at it). He dared cameramen to turn their cameras to show the size of his crowds.
They usually wouldn't – hey, we don't work for the guy – which thrilled Trump, who would then say something to the effect of, "See! They're very dishonest people ." Audiences would turn toward us, and boo and hiss, and even throw little bits of paper and other things our way. This was unpleasant, but it was hard not to see its effectiveness: he'd re-imagined the lifeless, poll-tested format of the stump speech, turning it into menacing, personal, WWE-style theater.
Trump was gunning for votes in both parties. The core story he told on the stump was one of system-wide corruption, in which there was little difference between Republicans and Democrats.
Perhaps just by luck, Trump was tuned in to the fact that the triumvirate of ruling political powers in America – the two parties, the big donors and the press – were so unpopular with large parts of the population that he could win in the long haul by attracting their ire, even if he was losing battles on the way.
The subtext was always: I may be crude, but these people are phonies, pretending to be upset when they're making money off my bullshit .
I thought this was all nuts and couldn't believe it was happening in a real presidential campaign. But, a job is a job. My first feature on candidate Trump was called " How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable ." The key section read:
In person, you can't miss it: The same way Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house, Donald on the stump can see his future. The pundits don't want to admit it, but it's sitting there in plain view, 12 moves ahead, like a chess game already won:
President Donald Trump
It turns out we let our electoral process devolve into something so fake and dysfunctional that any half-bright con man with the stones to try it could walk right through the front door and tear it to shreds on the first go.
And Trump is no half-bright con man, either. He's way better than average.
Traditional Democratic audiences appeared thrilled by the piece and shared it widely. I was invited on scads of cable shows to discuss ad nauseum the "con man" line. This made me nervous, because it probably meant these people hadn't read the piece, which among other things posited the failures of America's current ruling class meant Trump's insane tactics could actually work.
Trump was selling himself as a traitor to a corrupt class, someone who knew how soulless and greedy the ruling elite was because he was one of them.
The only reason most blue-state media audiences had been given for Trump's poll numbers all along was racism, which was surely part of the story but not the whole picture. A lack of any other explanation meant Democratic audiences, after the shock of election night, were ready to reach for any other data point that might better explain what just happened.
Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump."
Post-election, Russiagate made it all worse. People could turn on their TVs at any hour of the day and see anyone from Rachel Maddow to Chris Cuomo openly reveling in Trump's troubles. This is what Fox looks like to liberal audiences.
Worse, the "walls are closing in" theme -- two years old now -- was just a continuation of the campaign mistake, reporters confusing what they wanted to happen with what was happening . The story was always more complicated than was being represented.
Mar 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by US Army Major Danny Sjursen (ret.) via TruthDig.com, Still Waiting: 2020 Fever and the Quest for a Progressive Foreign Policy
The 2020 election will not turn on global issues – and more's the pity. After all, thanks to decades upon decades of accumulating executive power in an increasingly imperial presidency, it is in foreign affairs that the commander-in-chief possesses near dictatorial power. Conversely, in domestic policy, a hostile Congress can – just ask Barry Obama – effectively block most of a president's agenda.
Still, the vast majority of Americans don't give a hoot about issues of war, peace, and international diplomacy. Why should they care? It's not as though anything is asked of them as citizens. By cynically ditching the draft, Tricky Dick Nixon took the wind out of the sails of current and future antiwar movements, and permanently cleaved a gap between the U.S. people and their military.
Mothers no longer lose sleep over their teenage sons serving their country and they – along with the rest of the family – quit caring about foreign policy. Such it is, and so it will be, that the 2020 presidential election is likely to be decided by "kitchen-table" affairs like healthcare, immigration, race, and taxes.
Be that as it may, serious observers should pay plenty of attention to international strategy.
- First, because the occupant of the Oval Office makes policy almost unilaterally – including the decision of whether or not to end the human race with America's suicidal nuclear button.
- Second, because 2020 is likely to be another close contest, turning on the votes of a few hundred thousand swing state voters. As such, Trump's opponent will need to win every vote on every issue – including foreign affairs. What's more, there are still some folks who genuinely care about a potential commander-in-chief's international bonafides.
So, while Dems can't win the White House with foreign policy alone, they can lose it by ignoring these issues or – oh so typically – presenting a muddled overseas strategy.
This is serious.
Just in case there are any out there still underestimating Trump – I, for one, predict he'll win in 2020 – make no mistake, he's no pushover on foreign policy. Sure he doesn't know much – but neither does the average voter. Nonetheless, Trump is no dope. He's got the pulse of (white) voters across this country and senses that the populace is tired of spending blood and cash (but mostly its cash) on Mideast forever wars. In 2016, he (correctly) made Hillary"regime change" Clinton out to be the true hawk in the race. Trump, on the other hand, combined tough guy bravado (he'd "bomb the shit" out of ISIS) with earthy good sense (there'd be no more "stupid" Iraq invasions. And it worked.
So, with 2020 in mind, whether you're a progressive, a libertarian, or just a Trump-hater, its vital that the opposition (most likely the Dems) nominate a candidate who can hang with Trump in foreign affairs.
Mark my words: if the DNC – which apparently picks the party's candidates – backs a conventional neoliberal foreign policy nominee, Trump will wipe the floor with him or her. And, if the Dems national security platform reads like a jumbled, jargon-filled sheet full of boring (like it usually does) than Joe the proverbial plumber is going to back The Donald.
That's what has me worried. As one candidate after another enters an already crowded field, this author is left wondering whether any of them are commander-in-chief material. So far I see a huge crew (Liz, Kirsten, Kamala, Beto) that live and die by domestic policy; two potentially conventional foreign policy guys (Biden and Booker); and two other wildcards (Bernie and Tulsi). That's not a comprehensive list, but you get the point. If they want to stand a chance in 2020, the Dems had better back a nominee with a clear, alternative progressive foreign policy or get one the domestic-focused candidates up to speed and fast.
So here's how my mental math works: a progressive candidate needs to win over libertarian-minded Republicans and Independents (think Rand Paul-types) by force of their commonsense alternative to Trump's foreign policy. That means getting the troops out of the Mideast, pulling the plug from other mindless interventions and cutting runaway defense spending. Then, and only then, can the two sides begin arguing about what to do with the resultant cash surplus. That's an argument for another day, sure, but here and now our imaginary Democratic (or Third Party?) nominee needs to end the wars and curtail the excesses of empire. I know many libertarians – some still nominally Republican – who could get behind that agenda pretty quickly!
Still, there's more than a little reason for concern . Look at how "Nasty" Nancy Pelosi and the establishment Dems came down on Ilhan Omar for that representative's essentially accurate tweets criticizing the Israel Lobby. Then there's Joe Biden. Look, he's definitely running. He's also definitely been wrong time and again on foreign policy – like how he was for the Iraq War before he was against it (how'd that turn out for John Kerry in 2004?). And, for all the talk of a progressive "blue wave" in the party ranks, Biden still polls as the top choice for Democratic primary voters. Yikes.
Behind him, thankfully, is old Bernie – who sometimes shows potential in foreign affairs – the only candidate who has both backed Omar and been consistent in a career of generally antiwar votes. Still, Bernie won his household name with domestic policy one-liners – trashing Wall Street and pushing populist economic tropes. Whether he can transform into a more balanced candidate, one that can confidently compose and deliver a strong alternative foreign policy remains to be seen.
Tulsi Gabbard, though she still looks the long shot, remains intriguing given here genuine antiwar (and combat veteran) credentials. Still, she'll have her hands full overcoming problematic skeletons in her own closet: ties to Indian Hindu nationalists, opposition to the Iran deal, and sometime backing of authoritarians and Islamophobes. Then again, even Bernie has his foreign affairs flaws – such as reflexively denouncing the BDS movement and occasionally calling for regime change in Syria. Nevertheless, both Bernie and Tulsi demonstrate that there's some promise for fresh opposition foreign policy.
Here's (some) of what that would look like:
- speedily withdraw all U.S. troops from the (at least) seven shooting wars in the Greater Middle East;
- choke off excessive arms deals and expensive military handouts to Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other frenemies;
- quit bombing or enabling the bombing of impoverished civilians in places like Yemen and Gaza; begin dismantling America's "empire of bases" overseas;
- seek firm détente rather than conflict with Russia and China;
- and cut defense and war-related spending down to size.
Our imaginary candidate would need to convey this commonsense course to a war-weary American people as plainly and coherently as Trump can. No jargon, no Clintonian wonky crap – simple and to the point. Imagine it: a commonsense course for a clear-eyed country!
Less war and more investment at home. Less war and more middle-class tax cuts. Whatever. That fight will come and the progressives and independents/libertarians will fight it out. For now, though, what's essential is checking the war machine and military-industrial behemoth before its too late (it may be already!).
None of this will be easy or likely, of course. But count on this much: the establishment Democrats, media-mogul "left," and centrist DC think tanks won't save us from the imperial monster or deliver a Trump-defeating strategy in foreign affairs. The Mueller-will-save-us, Mattis-was-a-hero, reflexively anti-Trump, born-again hawks like Rachel Maddow and the other disappointing chumps at MSNBC or CNN aren't on our side. Worse yet, they're born losers when it comes to delivering elections.
All of this may be far-fetched, but is not impossible. Neither libertarians nor progressives can countenance Trump. Nor should they. One of their only true hopes for compromise rest on foreign policy and a genuine antiwar message. It can be done.
Look, on a personal note, even America's beloved and over-adulated soldiers are reachable on this issue – that's how you know the foreign policy alliance has potential! For every rah-rah war-fever cheerleader in uniform, there's an exhausted foot soldier on his Nth tour in the Mideast. There's also a huge chunk ( 40%! ) who are racial minorities – usually a reliably anti-Trump demographic. Finally, among the white men and women in uniform I've personally met a solid core of libertarians. And the data backs up my anecdotal observation – Ron Paul was highly popular among active-duty military members and their families. A progressive foreign policy alliance with the libertarian wing of Republicans and Independents would sell better with these such voters both in and out of uniform. You know the type: sick of war but just as sick of stereotypical liberal snowflakes.
So here's a plea to the "opposition" such at it is: avoid the usual mistakes – don't cede foreign affairs to the Trump and the Republicans; don't nominate anyone remotely resembling Joe Biden; don't alienate libertarians and independents with wonky or muddled international policy.
Try something new. Like winning
* * *
Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and regular contributor to antiwar.com . He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet .
Mar 31, 2019 | medium.com
At CNN's town hall event on Monday, the American people saw something we'd been told was impossible: Elizabeth Warren winning over a crowd.
The Massachusetts senator took aim at a variety of subjects: the Electoral College, Mississippi's racist state flag, the rise of white nationalism . Always, she was met with thunderous applause. Even a simple Bible verse -- from Matthew 25:35–40, about moral obligation to the poor and hungry -- prompted cheers so loud and prolonged that Warren had to pause and repeat herself in order to make her voice heard over the noise. Yet this was the same woman the media routinely frames as too wonky, too nerdy, too socially stunted. But then, Warren has always been an exceptionally charismatic candidate. We just forget that fact when she's campaigning -- due, in large part, to our deep and lingering distrust for female intelligence.
Warren is bursting with what we might call "charisma" in male candidates: She has the folksy demeanor of Joe Biden, the ferocious conviction of Bernie Sanders, the deep intelligence of fellow law professor Barack Obama. But Warren is not a man, and so those traits are framed as liabilities, rather than strengths. According to the media, Warren is an uptight schoolmarm, a " wonky professor ," a scold, a wimpy Dukakis, a wooden John Kerry, or (worse) a nerdier Al Gore.
The criticism has hit her from the left and right. The far-right Daily Caller accused her of looking weird when she drank beer ; on social media, conservatives spread vicious (and viciously ableist) rumors that Warren took antipsychotic drugs that treated "irritability caused by autism ." On the other end of the spectrum, Amber A'Lee Frost, the lone female co-host of the socialist podcast Chapo Trap House , wrote for The Baffler (and, when The Baffler retracted her article, for Jacobin) that Warren was " weak " and " not charismatic ." Frost deplored the "Type-A Tracy Flicks" who dared support "this Lisa Simpson of a dark-horse candidate."
Casting Warren as a sheltered, Ivory Tower type is odd, given that her politics and diction are not exactly elitist. Yet none of this is new; the same stereotypes were levied against Warren in 2011, during her Senate campaign.
Strangely, the first nerdification of Warren was a purely local phenomenon -- one which happened even as national media was falling in love with her. Jon Stewart publicly adored her , and her ingenuity in proposing the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a few years prior earned her respect among the rising populist wing of the party. Her fame was further catapulted when a speech -- a video of Warren speaking, seemingly off-the-cuff , in a constituent's living room -- went viral. "Nobody in this country got rich on his own, nobody," Warren proclaimed, pointing up the ways entrepreneurs benefit from publicly funded services like roads and schools and fire departments.
"First-time candidates don't usually articulate a progressive economic message quite this well," the Washington Monthly declared . The New Yorker called it " the most important political speech of this campaign season. " That enthusiasm continued throughout Warren's first Senate bid. Writing for the New York Times , Rebecca Traister noted that "the early devotion to Warren recalls the ardor once felt by many for Obama." (Obama himself famously echoed Warren's message -- "you didn't build that" -- on the 2012 campaign trail.)
Locally, Warren prompted a much different discussion, with scores of Massachusetts analysts describing her as stiff and unlikable. Boston-based Democratic analyst Dan Payne bemoaned her "know-it-all style" and wished aloud she would " be more authentic I want her to just sound like a human being, not read the script that makes her sound like some angry, hectoring schoolmarm." In a long profile for Boston magazine, reporter Janelle Nanos quoted Thomas Whalen, a political historian at Boston University, who called Warren a "flawed candidate," someone who was " desperately trying to find a message that's going to resonate. " In that same article, Nanos asked Warren point-blank about her "likability problem." Warren's response seemed to stem from deep frustration: "People tell me everywhere I go why they care that I got in this race," she said. "I can't answer the question because I literally haven't experienced what you're talking about."
By demanding that Warren disguise her exceptional talents, we are asking her to lose. Thankfully, she's not listening.
There's an element of gaslighting here: It only takes a reporter a few sources -- and an op-ed columnist a single, fleeting judgment -- to declare a candidate "unlikable." After that label has been applied, any effort the candidate makes to win people over can be cast as "inauthentic." Likability is in this way a self-reinforcing accusation, one which is amplified every time the candidate tries to tackle it. (Recall Hillary Clinton, who was asked about her "likability" at seemingly every debate or town hall for eight straight years -- then furiously accused of pandering every time she made an effort to seem more "approachable.")
It's significant that the " I hate you; please respond" line of political sabotage only ever seems to be aimed at women. It's also revealing that, when all these men talked about how Warren could win them over, their "campaign" advice sounded suspiciously close to makeover tips. In his article, Payne advised Warren to "lose the granny glasses," "soften the hair," and employ a professional voice coach to "deepen her voice, which grates on some." Payne seemed to suggest that Elizabeth Warren look like a model and sound like a man -- anything to disguise the grisly reality of a smart woman making her case.
Warren won her Senate race, and the "schoolmarm" stereotype largely vanished as her national profile grew. By 2014, grassroots activists were begging her to run for president; by mid-2016, CNN had named her " Donald Trump's chief antagonist ." She's since given a stream of incendiary interviews and handed the contemporary women's movement its most popular meme . All this should be enough to prove any candidate's "charisma." Yet, now that she's thrown her hat into the presidential ring, the firebrand has become a Poindexter once again.
The digs at Warren's "professorial" style hurt her because, on some level, they're true. Warren really is an intellectual, a scholar; moreover, she really is running an exceptionally ideas-focused campaign, regularly turning out detailed and exhaustive policy proposals at a point when most of the other candidates don't even have policy sections on their websites. What's galling is the suggestion that this is a bad thing.
Yes, male candidates have suffered from being too smart -- just ask Gore, who ran on climate change 20 years before it was trendy. But just as often, their intelligence helps them. Obama's sophistication and public reading lists endeared him to liberals. And just a few days ago, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was widely praised for learning Norwegian in order to read an author's untranslated works. Yet, Warren is dorky, a teacher's pet, a try-hard Tracy Flick, or Lisa Simpson. A "know-it-all."
The "schoolmarm" stereotype now applied to Warren has always been used to demean educated women. In the Victorian era, we called them "bluestockings" -- unmarried, unattractive women who had dared to prioritize intellectual development over finding a man. They are, in the words of one contemporary writer, " frumpy and frowly in the extreme, with no social talents ." Educators say that 21st century girls are still afraid to talk in class because of "sexist bullying" which sends the message that smart girls are unfeminine: "For girls, peers tell them 'if you are swotty and clever and answer too many questions, you are not attractive ,'" claims Mary Bousted, joint general-secretary of the U.K.'s National Education Union. Female academics still report being made to feel " unsexual, unattractive, unwomanly, and unnatural. " We can deplore all this as antiquated thinking, but even now, grown men are still demanding that Warren ditch her glasses or "soften" her hair -- to work on being prettier so as to make her intelligence less threatening.
Warren is cast as a bloodless intellectual when she focuses on policy, a scolding lecturer when she leans into her skills as a rabble-rouser; either way, her intelligence is always too much and out of place. Her eloquence is framed, not as inspiring, but as "angry" and "hectoring." Being an effective orator makes her "strident." It's not solely confined to the media, but reporters seem anxious to signal-boost anyone who complains: Anonymous male colleagues call her "irritating," telling Vanity Fair that "she projects a 'holier than thou' attitude" and that " she has a moralizing to her. " That same quality in male candidates is hailed as moral clarity.
Warren is accused, in plain language, of being uppity -- a woman who has the bad grace to be smarter than the men around her, without downplaying it to assuage their egos. But running in a presidential race is all about proving that you are smarter than the other guy. By demanding that Warren disguise her exceptional talents, we are asking her to lose. Thankfully, she's not listening. She is a smart woman, after all.
Mar 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Mar 30, 2019 5:07:46 PM | link
Thaks b, now that is a delightful question to pose on the eve of April fool's day.
My suggestion is that Cambridge Analytica and others backing Trump and the yankee imperial machine have been taking measurements of USA citizens opinions and are staggered by the results. They are panicked!
I suspect that the cool aid is not working effectively these days and that far too many people see through the charades and lies. An interesting story lurks behind this and the entire 'hate Russia' and 'monkey Mueller' episode.
The attitudes of the masses are spinning out of the manipulative hands of the deep state and the oligarchs. Do any of our comrades have a handle on this type of research and the implication for voter attitudes?
psychohistorian , Mar 30, 2019 7:51:28 PM | linkHere is an insightful read on Trump's (s)election and Russiagate that I think is not OTZachary Smith , Mar 30, 2019 10:07:37 PM | link
Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won
The take away quote
" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming.
Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."
As a peedupon all I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense@ psychohistorian #43
Thanks for the Taibbi link. I hadn't seen it, and found him to be in good form. I do think he ought to have spoken more about how bad Trump's Primary opponents were.
Most of those reporters were going to slant their stories the way their bosses wanted. Their jobs are just too nice to do otherwise. Getting Trump as Hillary's opponent had to have been a goal for the majority of them. He was the patsy who would become squished roadkill in the treads of The Most Experienced Presidential Candidate In History. More on that for people with strong stomachs:
What Hillary Clinton's Fans Love About Her 11/03/2016
Sample:Hillary Clinton is a knowledgeable, well-prepared, reasonable, experienced, even-tempered, hardworking candidate, while her opponent is a stubbornly uninformed demagogue who has been proven again and again to be a liar on matters big and small. There is no objective basis on which to equate Hillary Clinton to her opponent.The author had it half right. Turns out the voters knew quite a bit about Trump, and still preferred him to the Butcher of Libya.
Nov 23, 2016 | www.theguardian.com
Donald Trump's unorthodox US presidential transition continued on Monday when he held talks with one of the most prominent supporters of leftwing Democrat Bernie Sanders.
The president-elect's first meeting of the day at Trump Tower in New York was with Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic maverick who endorsed the socialist Sanders during his unsuccessful primary battle with Hillary Clinton.
... ... ...
At first glance Gabbard, who is from Hawaii and is the first Hindu member of the US Congress, seems an unlikely counsellor. She resigned from the Democratic National Committee to back Vermont senator Sanders and formally nominated him for president at the party convention in July, crediting him with starting a "movement of love and compassion", although by then Clinton's victory was certain.
But the Iraq war veteran has also expressed views that might appeal to Trump, criticising Obama, condemning interventionist wars in Iraq and Libya and taking a hard line on immigration. In 2014, she called for a rollback of the visa waiver programme for Britain and other European countries with what she called "Islamic extremist" populations.
In October last year she tweeted: "Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama won't bomb them in Syria. Putin did. #neverforget911." She was then among 47 Democrats who joined Republicans to pass a bill mandating a stronger screening process for refugees from Iraq and Syria coming to the US.
Dec 20, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
The president and the senator both want you to know that our system is "rigged."
... ... ...
For decades, the left sought to dethrone the idea of truth. Truth was not an absolute. It was a matter of power. Of perspective. Of narrative. "Truth is a thing of this world," wrote Michel Foucault. "Each society has its regime of truth, its 'general politics' of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true."
Then Kellyanne Conway gave us "alternative facts" and Rudy Giuliani said, " Truth isn't truth" -- and progressives rushed to defend the inviolability of facts and truth.
For decades, the left sought to dethrone reverence for the Constitution. "The Constitution," wrote progressive historian Howard Zinn, "serves the interests of a wealthy elite" and enables "the elite to keep control with a minimum of coercion, a maximum of law -- all made palatable by the fanfare of patriotism and unity."
Then Donald Trump attacked freedom of the press and birthright citizenship, and flouted the emoluments clause, and assailed the impartiality of the judiciary. And progressives rediscovered the treasure that is our Constitutional inheritance.
... ... ...
To an audience of nearly 500 new graduates and their families at the historically black college, the Massachusetts senator laid out a bleak vision of America. "The rules are rigged because the rich and powerful have bought and paid for too many politicians," she said. "The rich and powerful want us pointing fingers at each other so we won't notice they are getting richer and more powerful," she said. "Two sets of rules: one for the wealthy and the well-connected. And one for everybody else," she said.
"That's how a rigged system works," she said.
It was a curious vision coming from a person whose life story, like that of tens millions of Americans who have risen far above their small beginnings, refutes her own thesis. It was curious, also, coming from someone who presumably believes that various forms of rigging are required to un-rig past rigging. Affirmative action in college admissions and aggressive minority recruitment in corporations are also forms of "rigging."
But however one feels about various types of rigging, the echo of Trump was unmistakable. "It's being proven we have a rigged system," the president said at one of his rallies last year . "Doesn't happen so easy. But this system -- gonna be a lot of changes. This is a rigged system."
Trump's claim that the system is rigged represents yet another instance of his ideological pickpocketing of progressives. From C. Wright Mills ("The Power Elite") to Noam Chomsky ("Manufacturing Consent"), the animating belief of the far left has been, as Tom Hayden put it, that we live in a "false democracy," controlled by an unaccountable, deceitful and shadowy elite. Trump has names for it: the globalists; the deep state; the fake news. Orange, it turns out, is the new red.
Of course, Warren and Trump have very different ideas as to just who the malefactors of great wealth really are. Is it Sheldon Adelson or George Soros? The Koch brothers or the Ford Foundation? Posterity will be forgiven if it loses track of which alleged conspiracy to rig the system was of the far-right and which was of the far left.
What it will remember is that here was another era in which a president and one of his leading opponents abandoned the prouder traditions of American politics in favor of paranoid ones. Compare Warren's grim message to Bill Clinton's sunny one from his first inaugural: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."
At some point, it will be worth asking Senator Warren: Rigged compared to when? A generation ago a black president would have been unthinkable. Two generations ago, a woman on the Supreme Court. And rigged compared to what? Electoral politics in Japan, which have been dominated by a single party for decades? The class system in Brazil, dominated by a single race for centuries?
Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.Larry Bennett Cooperstown NY Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
Warren is saying the system is rigged to suppress the middle class and poor in favor of the wealthy, which is easy to substantiate. Trump is saying the system is rigged to suppress the white right, which is easy to refute. One statement is an economic fact, the other is a racist trope. There is no equivalence here. ScottW Chapel Hill, NC Dec. 20, 2018
Sen. Warren supports Medicare for All, meaningful banking/financial regulations, regulations that benefit consumers, a living wage, etc. Trump supports none of these policies--not a one. Trying to equate Trump with Warren is just stupid.
Terry Gilbert, AZ Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
Comparing Elizabeth Warren to Trump is disingenuous. Trump is just ranting and defensive, without any evidence to back up his claims. What Elizabeth Warren is saying is just a matter of paying attention. I don't need to list all the ways in which money buys everything in politics. It's always a matter of following the money. Bret Stephens conveniently avoids looking at economics. His supposed counterexamples are at best irrelevant to the issue: We've had a black President. We have women on the Supreme Court. How are those examples proof that the system isn't rigged in favor of the wealthy and corporations? No doubt he thinks Plutocracy is part of the natural order of things. He should go back to the Wall Street Journal where his myopia is more appropriate. MarnS Nevada Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
Unfortunately Bret there are no "optimists" in the GOP, including yourself being one who has bounced back and forth in your positions regarding the Trump presidency. Though you have found your way on CNN or MSNBC spouting your disappointments about the state of the nation, the fact remains is that your a hardened, right wing opinion writer who may have less of an ideal when it comes to America being a democratic nation. No, you can conveniently ignore the actions of your conservative party in there gerrymandering, in their changing the rules for governors of the Democrat persuasion, or gross deliberate voter suppression that has placed your party in power positions by, in effect, stealing elections. You are a writer with a forked tongue trying, at times in a passive manner, to separate yourself from Trump, and the evilness of the current GOP Party without understanding that the definition of "conservative" has changed to the radical. And that is documented by your writings in the WSJ. Yet, you cannot even dream about truly being on the left side of an argument other than beating your breast with the fact that the GOP has disappeared, as we have known it, in the hands of radicalism (which prior to Trump you participated in the escalation of radical conservatism), and your party can never be revived as it once was...and we all pray it never will be so.
JPM Hays, KS Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
This analysis completely ignores the outrageous, overarching influence of money and financial privilege over American politics. Equating Bill Clinton's dalliance with Trump's disrespect for all norms of decency and the truth? Please. Warren is right. Just look at the legislative obscenity of the recent tax bill and then try and equivocate they left and the right. I am not buying this false equivalency.
Patrick Schenectady Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
FYI, Foucault was offering critiques of "regimes of truth," not of truth itself. That's very different. Like most historians, he spent an impressive amount of time in archives where he collected evidence in order to write books that give truthful accounts of the past. You make a caricature of Foucault, and then of the entire left.
Rich Casagrande Slingerlands, NY Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
Please, Elizabeth Warren is nothing like Trump. She's a brilliant, honest, tireless fighter for ordinary Americans. She wants a fair shake for them, just as FDR wanted a fair shake -- a "New Deal" -- for our Country. While much of the rest of the world was turning to communism or fascism, FDR saved American capitalism by shaking it up. Oh how we could use a large dose of that today.
WDP Long Island Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
Whoa! Line by line, Mr Stephens offers statements that are way off base and should be refuted. Are you saying you disagree with Warren? Do you think the "system" in America for the last 400 years has not been generally "rigged" against African-Americans? But the gist of his column, and the main argument of conservatives these days, is that the left and the right are equally out of line; that what the right says and does may be bad, but the left does the same sort of thing and is just as bad. This is not true Bret, and you know it. The left desperately tries to find the high road, and anyone who supports Trump these days or believes in most of his policies is either someone who has abandoned morality or is a fool. And that is the truth, Bret.
Hannacroix Cambridge, MA Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
Calling out our system as "rigged" is nothing new for Sen. Warren. She's been stating that publicly since being a regular Bill Moyer's guest on his PBS program 20 years ago -- and clearly already on a "prep for national politics" stump. What undercuts her own integrity regarding "rigged" is that she chose, after much wait & anticipation, to throw her support to Hillary Clinton in the summer of 2016. Not Bernie Sanders. She knew HRC had little integrity. And it's highly likely she knew the DNC primary was rigged in favor of Clinton -- as it's widely been proven.
My point here highlights one of several reasons why Sen. Warren is unelectable in the 2020 presidential general election. This is not to compare her in any way to Trump -- he's a venal, disturbed & dangerous traitor to our country. However, if winning the WH in 2020 is the goal, Elizabeth Warren ain't got the goods to get the necessary votes across our Republic.
Longestaffe Pickering Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
There's a good case to be made that the far left exists in two separate dimensions. I offer myself in evidence. Among the policies and social changes I advocate: Medicare for all Aggressively progressive taxation.
I don't recognize any freedom to corner as much wealth as one can while other people must labor at two or three jobs just to feed their families on peanut butter.
I do think there's a bit of rigging afoot. Restrictions on the ownership of firearms comparable to those in Japan.
A society free from all forms of identity discrimination or prejudice. I'm bitterly opposed to racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia; any example you care to give, including those without short handles, such as prejudice against Muslims or transgender people.
Yes, I know I have this in common with decent conservatives, but I'm thinking of partisan realities in the US today. I should add that I don't mind the prospect of WASPS like me becoming just another minority.
But-- I can't picture myself as a socialist -- hair combed straight back, and all that.
The rigorously progressive personality type rubs me the wrong way. Leftist cant grates on every fiber of my being. Che Guevara T-shirts make the lip curl. When my knee jerks, it jerks against things like that old leftist conceit that truth is what you make it. I look at the far-left agenda and see a lot to like. I look at the far-left milieu and see didactic arrogance, frigidity, and pat attitudes. I'm a Democrat in disarray.
John Wilson Maine Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick
The so-called "left" in America (moderates anywhere else on the globe) have never varied from saying that money = power. They still say that today, and raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving their own point.
Conservatives in America (far-right extremists anywhere else on the globe) are much quieter about the influence of dough, but raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving the "left's" point.
Reality? Money in America is everything. Period. Just try to run for office, influence policy, and/or change the direction of the country as a sole, intelligent, concerned poor person and see how far you get.
Jan 21, 2017 | www.unz.com
What I found most impressive this time was the reaffirmation of America's dedication to the peaceful transfer of political power. This was the 45th time this miracle has happened. Saying this is perhaps banal, but the handover of power never fails to make me proud to be an American and thankful we had such brilliant founding fathers.
This peaceful transfer sets the United States apart from many of the world's nations, even Britain and Canada, where leaders under the parliamentary system are chosen in a process resembling a knife fight in a dark room. The US has somehow managed to retain its three branches of government in spite of the best efforts of self-serving politicians to wreck it.
Each new president inherits a sea of problems from his predecessor. Donald Trump's biggest legacy headaches and priority will be in the Mideast, a disaster area on its own but made far, far worse by the bungling of the Obama administration and its dimwitted attempts to put the US and Russia on a collision course.
Thanks to George W. Bush – who dared show his face at the inauguration – and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama, Trump inherits America's longest war, Afghanistan, with our shameful support of mass drug dealing, endemic corruption and war crimes. Add the crazy mess in Iraq and now Syria.
This week US B-2 heavy bombers attacked Libya. US forces are fighting in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and parts of Africa. For what? No one is quite sure. America's foreign wars, fueled by its $1 trillion military budget, have assumed a life of their own. Once a great power goes to war, its proponents insist, 'we can't be seen to back down or our credibility will suffer.'
Trump will struggle to find a face-saving retreat from these unnecessary conflicts and shut his ears to the siren songs of the war party and deep state which just failed to stage a 'soft' coup to block his inauguration. Waging little wars against weak nations is a multi-billion dollar national industry in the US. America has become as addicted to war as it has to debt.
If President Trump truly wants to bring some sort of peace to the explosive Mideast, he will have to reject the advice of the hardline Zionists with whom he has chosen to surround himself. Their primary interest is Greater Israel, free of Arabs, not in a Greater America. Trump is too smart not to know this. But he may also listen to his blood and guts former generals who lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Trump appears to have been gulled into believing the canard that Mideast-origin violence is caused by what he called in his inaugural speech, radical Islamic terrorism. This is a favorite device promoted by the hard right and Israel to de-legitimize any resistance to Israel's expansion and ethnic cleansing. The label of 'terrorism' serves the same purpose.
Trump should be reminded that the 9/11 attackers cited two reasons for their attack: 1. Occupation of Saudi Arabia by the US; 2. Continued US-backed occupation of Palestine. Persistent attacks on western targets that we call terrorism are, in most cases, acts of revenge for our neo-colonial actions in the Muslim world, the 'American Raj' as I term it.
Unfortunately, President Trump is unlikely to get this useful advice from the men who now surround him, with the possibly exception of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Let's hope that Tillerson and not Goldman Sachs bank ends up steering US foreign policy.
(Reprinted from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
Jan 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.comreason : January 16, 2017 at 02:25 AMJust as an aside - not really economics, but I am really worrying about what the war between the future white house team and the CIA that seems to be brewing. I don't see good solutions to this. It is sort of unprecedented in a major western country. Can you think of a similar case (where the intelligence services - and perhaps the military as well regarded there own government head as an enemy agent)?reason -> reason ... , January 16, 2017 at 03:02 AMPerhaps MI5 and Wilson?Fang__z -> reason ... , January 16, 2017 at 04:03 AMCanaris and Hitler. :pilsm -> reason ... , January 16, 2017 at 04:41 AMHenry VI Pt2: dems playing Yorksilsm -> reason ... , January 16, 2017 at 04:49 AM
put the CIA in
CIA been the neocon
payroll too long
who told you Soviets
were never going
Define unprecedented. What are your standards for a "major western nation"? Any moral standard? Do they include blowing up countries, using militarized spooks with unlimited secret funding?jonny bakho -> reason ... , January 16, 2017 at 05:03 AM
If you side with the devil what are you? In tilting with the CIA, Trump is a saint.Don't worry. Be happy. Nothing can be done now. The voters wanted someone to "shake things up." Trump will be applying creative destruction to governmentChris G -> jonny bakho... , January 16, 2017 at 05:06 AM
Obama failed to drive the NeoCons out of government. Trump may do so, but the replacement might be fundamentally more corrupt.
As with Obamacare, the idea is to destroy it and replace it with something better. Most revolutions find it easy to destroy and very much harder to build Most sane leaders recognize this difficulty and modify the existing rather than destroy and never getting around to replacement or find the replacement to be worse than the existing.
Looters on the other hand love destruction. The resulting chaos affords them more opportunity to get windfalls. Trump will give the voters the radical change they think they want. But Trump will use the destruction as an opportunity for personal gain. The public will be left with a gutted government that will need to be rebuilt before it will function againOne quibble: The destruction he applies will not be creative. It will be thorough but entirely unimaginative.reason -> jonny bakho... , January 16, 2017 at 07:24 AMI don't believe in "creative destruction", I believe in "destructive creation" which is something quite different. But that is not the point. This is not about the government as such, it is about the security apparatus in itself. It could get very nasty if that ends up either totally alienated or politicized.Chris G -> reason ... , January 16, 2017 at 05:03 AMIf I were President, provoking an organization whose specialty is covert operations and which has track record of bringing about the demise of insufficiently agreeable leaders would not be high on my to-do list.ilsm -> Chris G ... , January 16, 2017 at 05:20 AMHas the imperator surrounded himself with the wrong praetorians?Peter K. -> reason ... , January 16, 2017 at 05:37 AMWhy do you think a war is brewing? What do you think is going to happen? They'll give him bad intel like they did with Bush?ilsm -> Peter K.... , January 16, 2017 at 05:44 AMThe meme that Trump will "get US into war" is a Clinton loser-whiner meme! Delusional and misleading; the neocon Clinton would have done Putin first CIA fictional, regime change excuse the yellow press could spread.Peter K. -> ilsm... , January 16, 2017 at 05:54 AMTrump is an isolationist who repeatedly said the Iraq war was a disaster, which it was. If the CIA is going after Trump they're doing a bad job. The worst they could come up with is some unverified accounts that Trump likes pee-pee parties.reason -> Peter K.... , January 16, 2017 at 07:29 AMBecause they are already reportedly telling some of their contacts not to trust the government with information in case it ends up with hostile governments. Maybe using the word "war" is misleading. Maybe "cold war" is more accurate, but in general I mean a state of mutual distrust.
Mar 29, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
This should be the end of the Democratic party. This dismal state of affairs is their fault, from the content of the leaked emails to their handling of it. They have had choices on the way to clean up their act but, they have blankly refused at every juncture. Not one thing has changed since the emails revealed that the DNC rigs its primaries, and yet here we are in the middle of another fake primary with everyone going along with it like it's a real thing. It's weird. In a healthy democratic republic the party would be dead already, and a new one would've taken its place fueled by fresh energy and enthusiasm but the donor-class corruption is so deeply entrenched that that possibility has seemed like a fantasy.
Gregory Herr , March 27, 2019 at 19:30
As an old-fashioned labor-lefty who used to call himself a Democrat, I'd say the alienation continues unabated.
No illusions about who and what the party represents. Bad enough at home, but shit, they also drop bombs like no tomorrow and spout lines from Langley and Likud like the back of their hand.
As an armchair goof playing early guessing games, I'd say Sanders will pull at least the weight he did last time as the uninspiring field of corporatists will split Hillary's wing and the wild card Gabbard may draw support widely.
SteveK9 , March 28, 2019 at 10:03
Lifelong Democrat here that saw the writing on the wall, one year into Obama's first term (gave up on MSM during the runup to the Iraq invasion). Although, I could hardly have imagined how low the Democratic leadership would sink with Russia-gate. Gabbard is inspiring, but they are already starting to wear her down. I can't see anyone winning against imperial propaganda at this point, but I will support her as much as I can.
Gregory Herr , March 28, 2019 at 18:40
I'm sending a small donation to help her get into the Dem debates.
Mar 29, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
Skip Scott , March 26, 2019 at 08:24
I posted this on Medium when this article first came out.
Unfortunately, in every way that matters, RussiaGate has been a complete success. When Donald Trump said "wouldn't it be great to get along with Russia" RussiaGate was born. The thought of detente was his cardinal sin. That possibility has been completely demolished.
The MIC and its trillions of wasted dollars are safe. The Evil Empire's Forever War continues unabated, and even has new horizons in places such as Iran and Venezuela. Nuclear brinksmanship keeps the R&D money flowing to Lockheed Martin and the other death dealers.
Though Trump says he is a Nationalist, his every move in foreign policy shows him to be toeing the line for the interests of the PNACers, and whenever he bucks their interests, he has shown that he can be brought to heel as long as they don't trample his ego.
The DNC/RNC theater will go on, and the MSM will seek to ensure that our choice for 2020 will be corporate sponsored warmonger from column A or B.
... ... ...
The young people of today spend more time on the internet than they do watching network television, and 42 percent of registered voters didn't bother to cast a ballot in 2016. Therein lies our hope.
Gregory Herr , March 26, 2019 at 20:30
The time is ripe for leaving the Democrats, Skip. I think Tulsi should take your advice. But I've a funny feeling she'll throw the support she builds to Bernie towards a VP slot on the ticket.
Tulsi Gabbard is saying things fairly directly that Americans aren't used to hearing from their politicians. I love hearing it. But I have to say I'm bothered by her handling of the "Assad question". She could simply relate some of her experience in Syria, including her time with Assad. She could, in point of fact, refer to Assad as the President of Syria.
She could say that Syria's culture and political system are their own and that we would all do better to seek understanding of that culture before we set about trying to destroy it by arming terrorists.
She did say the CIA armed terrorists in Syria, didn't she? Come on Tulsi. Just part of the truth isn't enough truth. Tell them they ought to go to Syria themselves. Tell them the reporters aren't doing their jobs.
Tell them how utterly abhorrent and degenerate this war of terrorism against the Syrian people has been...
Skip Scott , March 28, 2019 at 08:13
I think there will be a major smear campaign against Bernie and Tulsi. Wikileaks has shown that the DNC had plans to smear Bernie as an atheist in 2016, among other things. They have Bob Parry's "Mighty Wurlitzer" and a vast toolkit.
They will say that the progressives are splintering the party, and that getting rid of Trump is all that matters, so you need to hold you nose and choose warmonger from column B.
They will say that Socialism will bankrupt the Nation, and if we don't keep bombing everyone the "terrorists" will win. Divide and conquer is the game plan.
They have retained the superdelegates for the second ballot, and they are running so many candidates that they are purposely aiming for a second ballot, where the oligarchs will once again decide for the people.
That's why a real progressive needs to split from the Dems in a dramatic fashion , go third party, and shoot for the 15% to make the debates. In the end, that's the only venue that matters.
AelfredRex , March 26, 2019 at 06:31
Next step for the MSM propaganda machine? Probably assisting the CIA in whipping up war fever against Venezuela.
They've pounded "Putin evil!" into the heads of their party fanatics long enough that shouting "Putin plus Maduro!" at them will have the most ardent Democrat voter screaming to massacre all of Caracas.
Zhu , March 26, 2019 at 01:44
US elections are like those in the Roman Empire: prestigious but meaningless.
Zhu , March 26, 2019 at 01:47
America. We are definitely a genocidal nation. In all ways we are to blame for your own problems.
Dec 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
kees_popinga , December 8, 2018 at 12:43 pm
Tucker Carlson: "Trump is not capable" Weltwoche (Anita)
Carlson is saying Trump's not "capable" of sustained focus on the sausage-making of right-wing policy.
The clickbait (out of context) headline makes it sound like a more general diss. I'm not supporting Trump here [standard disclaimer], but these gotcha headlines are tiresome.
Feb 26, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Jools Tyler , 1 day agoCindy Klenk , 1 day ago
Thank you Jimi, for calling out even Bernie when he buys the corporate bullshit, You restored my faith in you man.poofendorf , 1 day ago (edited)
Aloha! Tulsi for President! No excuses!!! Bernie is compromised. Peace, Love and Aloha #Tulsi2020Eric Anderson , 1 day ago
Here's a list of Bernie's foreign policy stances:
- Supported bombing of Yugoslavia.
- Supported Afghanistan war.
- Supported Israeli bombing of Gaza.
- Demanded that Gaddafi step down as leader of Libya and supported no-fly zone over Libya thus making way for US regime change.
- Supported CIA narrative of Assad using chemical weapons.
- Supported CIA narrative on Venezuela.
- Supported CIA narrative of Russia/collusion conspiracy theory.
- Supported CIA and MIC candidate Hillary Clinton even after getting cheated by her campaign.
- Supported CIA efforts in Ukraine.
Seriously, if you still support this clown, you are part of the problem.Vas Sagar , 18 hours ago
Aaron Maté tweets -- Do we need a new category for progressives whose progressive values stop at the US border?
There's nothing progressive about silence, tepidness, or even support for destructive policies abroad by the same forces -- & for the same interests -- that we claim to oppose at home.b cornejo , 23 hours ago
this is the bargain Bernie made to run as a Democrat..
Bernie lost credibility when he endorsed Hilary in 2016... Tulsi is the one for 2020...
pandastratton. 23 hours ago
Donate to Tulsi to get her on the debate stage!!!!
Dionysos, 19 hours ago
Jimmy I know Tulsi is the best candidate in terms of foreign policy, but Bernie is our only chance at getting a real progressive in the White House!
People are suffering economically and that is the issue where the vast majority of support lies. If stuff like this splits the progressive support and allows someone like Kamala to win in the primaries, things will get really bad.
Robert Rowland23 hours ago
Jimmy (God love ya), the Military Industrial Complex is the single most gut-wrenchingly ruthless, most awesome entity on the planet. It has the ability to kill pretty much anyone they want without repercussion. No domestic political movement, even one that holds the Whitehouse, is capable of bringing them down or even reining them in. They will eventually meet their demise through bad management in combination with a series of misfortunes resulting in defeat in all-out global war. Until then, and while we as a nation are still able, the best we common folks can hope for is this juggernaut (the true boss) to give us some measure of these desperately needed social reforms. In other words, Bernie is just being realistic.
Meanwhile, Tulsi, The Real Deal Gabbard (God bless her soul), if successful, will be on a course to join the ranks of JFK, RFK, and MLK.
Our much-vaunted democracy is a sham and our freedom isn't actually what it is represented as being. May I suggest you watch this video and view it as a metaphor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb8Rj5xkDPk
Mar 28, 2019 | www.youtube.com
George Washington , 1 week ago
I am a former Trump supporter, hardcore Trump supporter but I got off the Trump train 2 years ago after he bombed Syria. I got fooled once but I will not be fooled a second time. This country needs a real leader with real sincerity with a real heart for the American people and that's Tulsi Gabbard!!!
Mar 28, 2019 | www.youtube.com
handbanana19 , 1 week agoCarl Huffman , 1 week ago
Tulsi Gabbard has always said she does and will always put people and policy over political party. She is a legit leader.Mauel Thomas , 1 week ago
The main reason I support Tulsi is for her anti-interventionism.Raj Bodepudi , 1 week ago
The main stream media and pollsters are ignoring Tulsi. That means she is doing a lot better than they are letting on. They will not be able to ignore her forever.Valentine Xavier , 2 weeks ago
Tulsi is a Thought Leader & a Principled PractitionerBuster Friendly , 1 week ago
i love tulsi. something ive noticed a lot is her bipartisan support. both sensible thoughtful republicans and sensible thoughtful democrats (yes they both exist) seem to be for her. either way her anti war stance is something that i hope gets more coverage and people see through the blantant mainstream media smear attempts. whether you vote for her or not, it's refreshing and compelling to hear an iraq veteran take a strong stance against endless regime change war.
Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I agree that Tulsi would indeed be THE most formidable opponent against "The Donald". She offers the greatest contrast to him and in that, gives the electorate a clear defined choice. As a woman with a multi-cultural and strong religious upbringing, a Gen Xer and a veteran, she has all the qualities that "The Donald" lacks. In addition, her life long commitment to public service, as well as her well-defined policy platform, puts the icing on the cake as the best "Anti-Donald" candidate.
Apr 22, 2017 | www.youtube.com
Some Democrats have been taking a lot of heat at town halls because they refuse to get behind a 'Medicare For All' system. And it's not just that they're getting booed; their constituents are literally calling for them to retire. Dianne Feinstein has been one of the recipients of this outrage. Tulsi Gabbard, however, had overwhelming support from enthusiastic constituents at her town hall because she actually pledged to support a 'Medicare For All' system. In this segment, we juxtapose Feinstein's town halls with Gabbard's to illustrate EXACTLY how you talk with your constituents about healthcare.
- Tulsi Town Hall (Full Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQbOb...
- Feinstein Comes Out Against Single-Payer (Full Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbq6t...
- Feinstein Town Hall - TYT (Full Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9OBm...
- Feinstein Asked to Retire: http://fusion.net/dianne-feinstein-re...
- Feinstein's Donors: https://www.opensecrets.org/politicia...
Visit Our Website: http://www.humanistreport.com/
Follow Us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HumanistReport
Like Us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/humanistreport
Support the Show: http://www.humanistreport.com/support...
Become a Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/humanistreport
Download Our Podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/h...
Help Us Grow by Using These Links to Shop (We Earn Commission):
Support Us by Shopping on Amazon! Bookmark this Link:
Sign Up for a FREE 30-Day Trial to GameFly:
Try Lootcrate if You're a Geek or Gamer:
Web Hosting for Only $3.95 with HostGator:
The Humanist Report (THR) is a progressive political podcast that discusses and analyzes current news events and pressing political issues. Our analyses are guided by humanism and political progressivism. Each news story we cover is supplemented with thought-provoking, fact-based commentary that aims for the highest level of objectivity.
paul lymberopoulos , 2 months agoMark McCarty , 1 year ago
OMG Australia, Canada, UK and most other European countries can do it, BUT the mighty USA can't????? TULSI 2020Craig Holman , 1 year ago
Is Medicare "government take over of health care"? Hell no. People on Medicare visit the doctor of their choice, and the doctors are private entrepreneurs - unlike the doctors in the VA, they aren't paid a salary by the govt. Time to retire, Dianne!Edulis , 1 year ago
Ecuador is a small country without the resources we have. They have single payer system. In this country my medication, Xeralto, costs $300 a month. In Ecuador the cost is $90 a month. I practiced medicine in Canada for two years. It is the way to go. It is less expensive and provides better care.Simon Smith , 1 year ago (edited)
Watching this old fartbag talk and STILL have a seat in the senate really boils my blood, I can't watch this without my blood pressure rising which I'd get checked out if Medicare for all was a thing lolmike bengyak , 1 year ago
Tulsi will be the Bernie of the 2020 election. The problem is, the same corrupt sellouts are still in control of the DNC. So unless something changes she will be shut down in favour of people like Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Adam Schiff.D LG , 1 year ago
she is what is called a Public Servant not a low life politician, seeking either power or my! like say chris christie - old man mike begyak
I'm happy to say that my rep, Tim Ryan, was an early co-sponsor of HR676 and is a real blue color progressive. However, I'm still calling and emailing others. Don't stop at your own rep, folks. Please contact as many corporate dems as you have time for and let them know that their job is on the line. The pressure must be turned up to 100!
Apr 19, 2018 | www.youtube.com
In this video, I argue that Tulsi Gabbard could potentially make a very strong run in 2020 and that everyone who tries to dismiss her is vastly underestimating her potential.
- Patreon link: https://www.patreon.com/thersites
- Twitter link: https://twitter.com/ThersitesAthens
- Minds.com link: https://www.minds.com/ThersitestheHis...
- Steemit/dtube link: https://steemit.com/@thersites/feed
edfou5 , 4 months agoFarero Lobos , 4 months ago
Tulsi is my first choice, by a mile, for all the reasons you've mentioned. The #1 liability she has, only because of the fact that half of the American populace are ignorant intolerant lunkheads, is her faith. She's a Hindu (which easily translates as being a Krishna devotee.)Ralph P. , 11 months ago
Only one correction. Assad isn't a dictator, he's been elected president of Syria in democratic elections. And if you want to argue that the elections in Syria are rigged or that the opposition candidates don't get impartial coverage in the press Well then I'd say that's the same case of the USA and many other democracies around the world!Henry H. , 11 months ago
Tulsi Gabbard stands alone, she should form an independent party by asking the people to donate to her cause. Bernie Sanders is a deferential failed candidate that is too worried about the democratic party than winning for the people. It is too late to reform the 2 parties in charge since they are part of the cancer created by the Kakistocracy. Eventually the masses will wake up, unfortunately they are in a catatonic state allowing the current situation.Alax Martin , 11 months ago
Surprised you didn't mention her religion: Hinduism. The left doesn't care, but you mentioned that the right will have a hard time hitting her on traditional stuff... I think that's wrong in one instance, religion. If she gets the nomination, the right wing establishment will absolutely hit her on her religion, no question. I think you shoulda mentioned that in your analysis.edy kubiak , 11 months ago
Howard Dean, decided to use this occasion to taunt Trump in schoolyard fashion. "Why are you such a wimp for Assad and Putin?" Dean tweeted.aerily1 , 4 months ago
She should run independent. The democrats are corrupt liars.
I think your analysis is outstanding, many thanks! I haven't yet watched your other videos but it's my intention. I agree with you almost 100% about Tulsi but am not yet convinced Trump will be defeatable in 2020. I've been watching a lot of coverage from the conservative right and he is way more popular than people on the left understand.
Mar 28, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Nika D , 11 months agoassault and battery , 1 year ago
She and Rand Paul are the voices of reason with only a handful of others. Stop unjust wars now!
Beautiful, strong, correct woman. Please God, turn more hearts to her point of view. It's the only hope now, for your world. Please protect her.
Mar 25, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Michael Tracey (@mtracey) interviewed Democratic presidential candidate and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) in New Hampshire on March 23 and 24, 2019. They discussed topics ranging from the farce of the Trump/Russia saga, her views on identity politics, her religious background, her relationship with Bernie Sanders, and much more.
Subscribe to Michael Tracey's podcast on Patreon: https://patreon.com/mtracey
Support Tracey's ventures through PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/mctracey
Read Tracey's New York Daily News column on the collapse of the Trump/Russia narrative: https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/n...CategoryFilm & Animation
PathToAutonomy , 2 days agoDominik Fabianowski , 2 days ago
Good job Michael. This is real journalism unlike the poison peddled by MSM vipers.Scripts 2 Clips 4 Series & Flicks , 2 days ago
Enjoying this interview very much. I hope she has a good run, it will be good for the USA and the world.
Nice job, Michael. It's great to hear an interview with Tulsi w/o all the smears!
Mar 28, 2019 | www.youtube.com
"Mirek M. , 4 days agoStealieSteve , 1 day ago
Tulsi needs around 20000 more donors to be eligible for the Democratic debates. Please donate a dollar to her campaign and tell your friends and family to do the same!meeg_2005 , 1 day ago
I support BDS of Israel. They are an apartheid state and Netanyahu is guilty of crimes against humanity. These are cold hard facts.iruz29 , 1 day ago
Great answer, tulsi. Let's get her on the debate stage and bring down aipac. Everybody donate $1. We are getting closerpolara01 , 1 day ago
She will be dragged through so much mud by the establishment in the coming days, we saw a glimpse of it in Colbert show, her training will help her a lot thoughmeach TheAmericanPatriot , 3 days ago
Rod, you just gained this subscriber excellent pointing this out! Once again Tulsi is demonstrating she is on the right side of history and will even stand up to AIPEC like ilhan Omar did sure would be nice to see Bernie make a similar stand!saj h , 1 day ago
Donate to Tulsi Gabbard campaign to help her get into the debates by donating to tulsi2020.com you can donate more than once and they'll each count as a unique donation even $1 at a timeGeorge Washington , 4 days ago
Trump drained the swamp and put them in his government , he surrounds himself all kinds of human crap, the oval Office must stink to high heavenGlyne Martin , 4 days ago
AIPAC is a foreign terrorist organization that needs to be outlawed and any American that takes their bribe money to do their bidding should be arrested for treason.Dublin Bay , 9 hours ago
In other wotds, she's totally, comprehensively, completely against the lobbying zionist faction of AIPAC...A J , 6 hours ago
The more I hear Tulsi Gabbard speak the more I want her to win, and I am Irish living in Dublin, Ireland.You can tell by the reaction of the people there, what it means to them not to have foreign government dictate their foreign policyYevrah Hipstar , 1 day ago
It's absurd to ask her to return money to someone who has donated to aipac. They would probably just donate more to aipac.Joey , 14 hours ago
Really can't imagine AIPAC wanting to donate to Tulsi...Ric Pel , 1 hour ago
Trump is just looking for s big war, I think he reallys believe America can't be touched. Meaning what he did with the golden Heights. Like really that's so wrong and you did it in the open like it's not a bad thing. He's pissing off many countries and Russia is one of them. Putin isn't happy ab the golden height thing.HRivera , 3 days ago
Is there a website that list where candidates stand as far as the numbers they have and in what states? I find it hard to believe that Tulsi hasn't reached the number yet, while other less known candidates who entered after her have already blown past the needed 65K mark. If this is something that is kept hidden, who's to know if more lying and cheating is going on?
Tulsi Gabbard on AIPAC: "Our opportunity is to challenge leaders to see where we stand and the policies we are pushing forward; and the kinds of debates and discussions we need to have about our foreign policy and where our tax-payer dollars are going." My understanding: FP = The US position on Israel 's policy vis a vis settlements and military entanglements. Tax-Payer $$ = The money spent by the government in supporting the above.
This is, in my opinion, a very sane way to open the door to a healthy discussion about such an important issue which up to now has been lopsided towards the Establishment's position with little opportunity for the people to have a say in the matter.
Mar 07, 2019 | www.youtube.com
The Daily Kos has made it their personal mission to make sure Tulsi has no success - or so they said in an email just a couple of days after she announced. However, that didn't stop one of the "Kosters" from putting out a more objective poll on Kos's website. 20k people voted in this poll, and the results bode well for Tulsi.
#kamalaharris #tulsigabbard #tulsi2020
Nalu Rash , 2 weeks agoDan Extrinsic01 , 2 weeks ago (edited)
It's so frustrating what is happening to Tulsi Gabbard. She is being shut out/hidden. It's just so frustrating.
Gabbard deserves to be higher up. She should be side by side with Yang. Tho, its still makes you feel warm inside that Kamala Harris lost to her.
Feb 06, 2019 | www.youtube.com
In this segment, we look at Tulsi's savvy and brutally honest rebuttal when the Morning Show hosts allege that "Russia" is looking to help Tulsi when the 2020 Democratic Primary election
Mar 22, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Mirek M. , 4 days agochuckuc , 4 days ago
Tulsi needs about 20000 more unique donors to get to the debate stage! Tell your friends and family to donate a dollar at tulsi2020.com ! Even if she isn't their preferred candidate, they might still appreciate a strong anti-interventionist voice on the debate stage!Mia Lovely , 3 days ago
A calm, thoughtful, anti-war progressive voice that we need to hear in the coming debates. Please make a donation or buy something at Tulsi2020.com She needs another 20,000 contributors to meet the DNC requirement.illegalmonkey , 5 days ago
100% facts! Thank you Tulsi. Never stop speaking the truth.Raj Bodepudi , 4 days ago
Tulsi is one of the most genuine, no bullshit people in congress!Mok Palo , 3 days ago
She is a Thought Leader & ACTS upon her principles
Tulsi is the best thing that could ever happen to the US and then the world.
Sep 18, 2018 | lrb.co.ukOne might object that Trump, a billionaire TV star, does not resemble his followers. But this misses the powerful intimacy that he establishes with them, at rallies, on TV and on Twitter. Part of his malicious genius lies in his ability to forge a bond with people who are otherwise excluded from the world to which he belongs. Even as he cast Hillary Clinton as the tool of international finance, he said:
I do deals – big deals – all the time. I know and work with all the toughest operators in the world of high-stakes global finance. These are hard-driving, vicious cut-throat financial killers, the kind of people who leave blood all over the boardroom table and fight to the bitter end to gain maximum advantage.
With these words he brought his followers into the boardroom with him and encouraged them to take part in a shared, cynical exposure of the soiled motives and practices that lie behind wealth. His role in the Birther movement, the prelude to his successful presidential campaign, was not only racist, but also showed that he was at home with the most ignorant, benighted, prejudiced people in America. Who else but a complete loser would engage in Birtherism, so far from the Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Harvard aura that elevated Obama, but also distanced him from the masses?
The consistent derogation of Trump in the New York Times or on MSNBC may be helpful in keeping the resistance fired up, but it is counterproductive when it comes to breaking down the Trump coalition. His followers take every attack on their leader as an attack on them. 'The fascist leader's startling symptoms of inferiority', Adorno wrote, 'his resemblance to ham actors and asocial psychopaths', facilitates the identification, which is the basis of the ideal. On the Access Hollywood tape, which was widely assumed would finish him, Trump was giving voice to a common enough daydream, but with 'greater force' and greater 'freedom of libido' than his followers allow themselves. And he was bolstering the narcissism of the women who support him, too, by describing himself as helpless in the grip of his desires for them.
Adorno also observed that demagoguery of this sort is a profession, a livelihood with well-tested methods. Trump is a far more familiar figure than may at first appear. The demagogue's appeals, Adorno wrote, 'have been standardised, similarly to the advertising slogans which proved to be most valuable in the promotion of business'. Trump's background in salesmanship and reality TV prepared him perfectly for his present role. According to Adorno,
the leader can guess the psychological wants and needs of those susceptible to his propaganda because he resembles them psychologically, and is distinguished from them by a capacity to express without inhibitions what is latent in them, rather than by any intrinsic superiority.
To meet the unconscious wishes of his audience, the leader
simply turns his own unconscious outward Experience has taught him consciously to exploit this faculty, to make rational use of his irrationality, similarly to the actor, or a certain type of journalist who knows how to sell their sensitivity.
All he has to do in order to make the sale, to get his TV audience to click, or to arouse a campaign rally, is exploit his own psychology.
Using old-fashioned but still illuminating language, Adorno continued:
The leaders are generally oral character types, with a compulsion to speak incessantly and to befool the others. The famous spell they exercise over their followers seems largely to depend on their orality: language itself, devoid of its rational significance, functions in a magical way and furthers those archaic regressions which reduce individuals to members of crowds.
Since uninhibited associative speech presupposes at least a temporary lack of ego control, it can indicate weakness as well as strength. The agitators' boasting is frequently accompanied by hints of weakness, often merged with claims of strength. This was particularly striking, Adorno wrote, when the agitator begged for monetary contributions. As with the Birther movement or Access Hollywood, Trump's self-debasement – pretending to sell steaks on the campaign trail – forges a bond that secures his idealised status.
Since 8 November 2016, many people have concluded that what they understandably view as a catastrophe was the result of the neglect by neoliberal elites of the white working class, simply put. Inspired by Bernie Sanders, they believe that the Democratic Party has to reorient its politics from the idea that 'a few get rich first' to protection for the least advantaged.
Yet no one who lived through the civil rights and feminist rebellions of recent decades can believe that an economic programme per se is a sufficient basis for a Democratic-led politics.
This holds as well when it comes to trying to reach out to Trump's supporters. Of those providing his roughly 40 per cent approval ratings, half say they 'strongly approve' and are probably lost to the Democrats. But if we understand the personal level at which pro-Trump strivings operate, we may better appeal to the other half, and in that way forestall the coming emergency.
Mar 22, 2019 | twitter.com
Niko House 10:57 AM - 22 Mar 2019
Tulsi Gabbard is less than 20K individual donations away from getting on the debate stage! Help her get there by donating just $1 to her campaign!
Tulsi Gabbard 5:21 PM - 22 Mar 2019
Thank you! So far we have 44,255 unique donors of the 65,000 needed to get on the debate stage! Almost 4,000 people contributed in the last 2 days. I'm humbled by your support. Stay tuned for updates! pic.twitter.com/UOd5Ky39vf
Mar 23, 2019 | original.antiwar.com
This month marks the 20th anniversary of Operation Allied Force, NATO's 78-day air war against Yugoslavia. It was a war waged as much against Serbian civilians – hundreds of whom perished – as it was against Slobodan Milošević's forces, and it was a campaign of breathtaking hypocrisy and selective outrage. More than anything, it was a war that by President Bill Clinton's own admission was fought for the sake of NATO's credibility.
One Man's Terrorist
Our story begins not in the war-torn Balkans of the 1990s but rather in the howling wilderness of Afghanistan at the end of the 1980s as defeated Soviet invaders withdrew from a decade of guerrilla warfare into the twilight of a once-mighty empire. The United States, which had provided arms, funding and training for the mujahideen fighters who had so bravely resisted the Soviet occupation, stopped supporting the jihadis as soon as the last Red Army units rolled across the Hairatan Bridge and back into the USSR. Afghanistan descended deeper into civil war.
The popular narrative posits that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network, Washington's former mujahideen allies, turned on the West after the US stationed hundreds of thousands of infidel troops in Saudi Arabia – home to two out of three of Sunni Islam's holiest sites – during Operation Desert Shield in 1990. Since then, the story goes, the relationship between the jihadists and their former benefactors has been one of enmity, characterized by sporadic terror attacks and fierce US retribution. The real story, however, is something altogether different.
From 1992 to 1995, the Pentagon flew thousands of al-Qaeda mujahideen, often accompanied by US Special Forces, from Central Asia to Europe to reinforce Bosnian Muslims as they fought Serbs to gain their independence from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Clinton administration armed and trained these fighters in flagrant violation of United Nations accords; weapons purchased by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran were secretly shipped to the jihadists via Croatia, which netted a hefty profit from each transaction. The official Dutch inquiry into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which thousands of Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb and Serbian paramilitary forces, concluded that the United States was "very closely involved" in these arms transfers.
When the Bosnian war ended in 1995 the United States was faced with the problem of thousands of Islamist warriors on European soil. Many of them joined the burgeoning Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which mainly consisted of ethnic Albanian Kosovars from what was still southwestern Yugoslavia. Emboldened by the success of the Slovenes, Croats, Macedonians and Bosnians who had won their independence from Belgrade as Yugoslavia literally balkanized, KLA fighters began to violently expel as many non-Albanians from Kosovo as they could. Roma, Jews, Turks and, above all, Serbs were all victims of Albanian ethnic cleansing.
The United States was initially very honest in its assessment of the KLA. Robert Gelbard, the US special envoy to Bosnia, called it "without any question a terrorist group." KLA backers allegedly included Osama bin Laden and other Islamic radicals; the group largely bankrolled its activities by trafficking heroin and sex slaves. The State Department accordingly added the KLA to its list of terrorist organizations in 1998.
However, despite all its nastiness the KLA endeared itself to Washington by fighting the defiant Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milošević. By this time Yugoslavia, once composed of eight nominally autonomous republics, had been reduced by years of bloody civil war to a rump of Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. To Serbs, the dominant ethnic group in what remained of the country, Kosovo is regarded as the very birthplace of their nation. Belgrade wasn't about to let it go without a fight and everyone knew it, especially the Clinton administration. Clinton's hypocrisy was immediately evident; when Chechnya fought for its independence from Moscow and Russian forces committed horrific atrocities in response, the American president called the war an internal Russian affair and barely criticized Russian President Boris Yeltsin. But when Milošević resorted to brute force in an attempt to prevent Yugoslavia from further fracturing, he soon found himself a marked man.
Although NATO called the KLA "the main initiator of the violence" in Kosovo and blasted "what appears to be a deliberate campaign of provocation" against the Serbs, the Clinton administration was nevertheless determined to attack the Milošević regime. US intelligence confirmed that the KLA was indeed provoking harsh retaliatory strikes by Serb forces in a bid to draw the United States and NATO into the conflict. President Clinton, however, apparently wasn't listening. The NATO powers, led by the United States, issued Milošević an ultimatum they knew he could never accept: allow NATO to occupy all of Kosovo and have free reign in Serbia as well. Assistant US Secretary of State James Rubin later admitted that "publicly we had to make clear we were seeking an agreement but privately we knew the chances of the Serbs agreeing were quite small."
Wagging the Dog?
In 1997 the film Wag the Dog debuted to rave reviews. The dark comedy concerns a Washington, DC spin doctor and a Hollywood producer who fabricate a fictional war in Albania to distract American voters from a presidential sex scandal. Many observers couldn't help but draw parallels between the film and the real-life events of 1998-99, which included the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Clinton's impeachment and a very real war brewing in the Balkans. As in Wag the Dog , there were exaggerated or completely fabricated tales of atrocities, and as in the film the US and NATO powers tried to sell their war as a humanitarian intervention. An attack on Yugoslavia, we were told, was needed to avert Serb ethnic cleansing of Albanians.
There were two main problems with this. First, there was no Serb ethnic cleansing of Albanian Kosovars until after NATO began mercilessly bombing Yugoslavia. The German government issued several reports confirming this. One, from October 1998, reads, in part:
The violent actions of the Yugoslav military and police since February 1998 were aimed at separatist activities and are no proof of a persecution of the whole Albanian ethnic group in Kosovo or a part of it. What was involved in the Yugoslav violent actions and excesses since February 1998 was a selective forcible action against the military underground movement (especially the KLA) A state program or persecution aimed at the whole ethnic group of Albanians exists neither now nor earlier.
Subsequent German government reports issued through the winter of 1999 tell a similar story. "Events since February and March 1998 do not evidence a persecution program based on Albanian ethnicity," stated one report released exactly one month before the NATO bombing started. "The measures taken by the armed Serbian forces are in the first instance directed toward combating the KLA and its supposed adherents and supporters."
While Serbs certainly did commit atrocities (especially after the ferocious NATO air campaign began), these were often greatly exaggerated by the Clinton administration and the US corporate mainstream media. Clinton claimed – and the media dutifully parroted – that 600,000 Albanians were "trapped within Kosovo lacking shelter, short of food, afraid to go home or buried in mass graves." This was completely false . US diplomat David Scheffer claimed that "225,000 ethnic Albanian men are missing, presumed dead." Again, a total fabrication . The FBI, International War Crimes Tribunal and global forensics experts flocked to Kosovo in droves after the NATO bombs stopped falling; the total number of victims they found was around 1 percent of the figure claimed by the United States.
However, once NATO attacked, the Serb response was predictably furious. Shockingly, NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark declared that the ensuing Serbian atrocities against the Albanian Kosovar population had been "fully anticipated" and were apparently of little concern to Washington. Not only did NATO and the KLA provoke a war with Yugoslavia, they did so knowing that many innocent civilians would be killed, maimed or displaced by the certain and severe reprisals carried out by enraged Serb forces. Michael McGwire, a former top NATO planner, acknowledged that "to describe the bombing as a humanitarian intervention is really grotesque."
The other big problem with the US claiming it was attacking Yugoslavia on humanitarian grounds was that the Clinton administration had recently allowed – and was at the time allowing – far worse humanitarian catastrophes to rage without American intervention. More than 800,000 men, women and children were slaughtered while Cli