Populism as a social protest against neoliberalism

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

 

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

Guardian comment 29 Nov 2018 12:13
 

Populism is a term 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.[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sniffmysmellysocks

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

Oldfranky

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

Earl_Grey

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

GodfreyRich

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

MrHumbug

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

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


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[Feb 17, 2019] Carlson is saying Trump's not "capable" of sustained focus on the sausage-making of right-wing policy

Notable quotes:
"... Carlson is saying Trump's not "capable" of sustained focus on the sausage-making of right-wing policy ..."
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 17, 2019] GOP Donors Vs. GOP Voters

Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

From J.D. Vance's appearance last night on Tucker Carlson Tonight Vance has just said that the donor elites of the GOP are out of touch with the party's base. More:

CARLSON: But more broadly, what you are saying, I think is, that the Democratic Party understands what it is and who it represents and affirmatively represents them. They do things for their voters, but the Republican Party doesn't actually represent its own voters very well.

VANCE: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, look at who the Democratic Party is and look, I don't like the Democratic Party's policies.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: Most of the times, I disagree with them. But I at least admire that they recognize who their voters are and they actually just as raw cynical politics do a lot of things to serve those voters.

Now, look at who Republican voters increasingly are. They are people who disproportionately serve in the military, but Republican foreign policy has been a disaster for a lot of veterans. They are disproportionately folks who want to have more children. They are people who want to have more single earner families. They are people who don't necessarily want to go to college but they want to work in an economy where if you play by the rules, you can you actually support a family on one income.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: Have Republicans done anything for those people really in the last 15 or 20 years? I think can you point to some policies of the Trump administration. Certainly, instinctively, I think the President gets who his voters are and what he has to do to service those folks. But at the end of the day, the broad elite of the party, the folks who really call the shots, the think tank intellectuals, the people who write the policy, I just don't think they realize who their own voters are.

Now, the slightly more worrying implication is that maybe some of them do realize who their voters are, they just don't actually like those voters much.

CARLSON: Well, that's it. So I watch the Democratic Party and I notice that if there is a substantial block within it, it's this unstable coalition, all of these groups have nothing in common, but the one thing they have in common is the Democratic Party will protect them.

VANCE: Yes.

CARLSON: You criticize a block of Democratic Voters and they are on you like a wounded wombat. They will bite you. The Republicans, watch their voters come under attack and sort of nod in agreement, "Yes, these people should be attacked."

VANCE: Yes, that's absolutely right. I mean, if you talk to people who spent their lives in D.C. I know you live in D.C.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: I've spent a lot of my life here. The people who spend their time in D.C. who work on Republican campaigns, who work at conservative think tanks, now this isn't true of everybody, but a lot of them actually don't like the people who are voting for Republican candidates these days.

[Feb 17, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard explains why she will run for president

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) explains to CNN's Van Jones why she wants to run for president in 2020.
Jan 12, 2019 | www.youtube.com
charley15z 1 month ago The establishment left and blue checkmarks on Twitter are gonna go after her HARD. But I will support her, purely on her policies.

Mike Fagan 1 month ago Gabbard IS everything Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein, and Hillary Clinton isn't. Which is NOT BOUGHT. She got my vote. #Gabbard2020 #Sanders2020

Marcy Clay 1 month ago She would get independents and some Republicans to cross over. She is already being attacked by the left, and right for some old remarks that were homophobic, and for meeting with Assad. I like her better than Warren or Harris by far..

Abu Hurairah 1 month ago she is anti war. so cnn and fox will hate her. just wait....

lrein077 1 month ago I had the opportunity to meet Tulsi in person and she was the most approachable & genuine person. Congratulations Tulsi.

Jimmy Russle 1 month ago I'm a Trump supporter, but she certainly has a better resume than Trump. Her most important issue is peace among nations, I'm all on board. 27

[Feb 17, 2019] H.R. 1249, the INF Treaty Compliance Act, to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used for weapons that would breach the INF treaty

Feb 17, 2019 | twitter.com

Tulsi Gabbard ‏ Verified account @ TulsiGabbard 7h 7 hours ago

Thank you to @ RepMcGovern @ repmarkpocan & @ IlhanMN for cosponsoring H.R. 1249, the INF Treaty Compliance Act, to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used for weapons that would breach the INF treaty. This is one step Congress can & must take now toward national security and peace

[Feb 17, 2019] About TULSI 2020

Feb 17, 2019 | www.tulsi2020.com

The Cost of War

The first day Tulsi arrived at her camp in Iraq, she saw a large sign at one of the gates that read, "Is today the day?" It was a blunt reminder that today may be the day that any of the soldiers would be called to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It caused her to reflect on her own life and the reality that each of us could die at any moment.

While serving in a base in the Sunni Triangle at the height of the war, Tulsi had the heart-wrenching daily responsibility of going through the list of every injury and casualty in the entire theatre of operations, looking to see if any soldiers in her unit were on the list, so she could ensure they received the care they needed and their families were notified.

She was hit with the enduring pain and hardship of her brothers and sisters in uniform, and the stress and pressure on their families. She wondered if those who voted to send soldiers to Iraq really understood why they were there -- if lawmakers and the President reflected daily on each death, each injury, and the immeasurably high cost of war.

Having experienced first-hand the true cost of war, she made a personal vow to find a way to ensure that our country doesn't continue repeating the mistakes of the past, sending our troops into war without a clear mission, strategy, or purpose. In Congress

Serving over 6 years in Congress, and as a member of the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Tulsi has been a leading voice fighting to end regime change wars and instead focus our military efforts on defeating the terrorist groups that attacked and declared war on the United States. She has approached every issue through the lens of what will best serve the American people, secure our country, and promote peace.

She is a champion for protecting our environment, ensuring clean water and air for generations to come, investing in infrastructure and a green energy economy, healthcare for all, civil liberties and privacy, support for small businesses, criminal justice reform, sustainable agriculture, breaking up the big banks and she needs your help!

Regime change wars are bankrupting our country and our moral authority. We need to redirect those resources into a renewable, sustainable economy that works for everyone and bring about an era of peace. We must put service above self and reclaim our great democracy from the forces of hatred and division.

Will you join us?

[Feb 17, 2019] Tulsi sure is hated by the neocons and neolibral intelligentsia, but she would, more than any other candidate, actually start to heal this country

This is a very important point. She can bring a large part of Trump voters (all anti-war votes and most of promiddle class voters) and part of Sanders voters together.
Notable quotes:
"... As long as we're talking Hawaii, I have found my candidate for President: Tulsi Gabbard. I guess I'm late to the party, and she sure is hated by the intelligentsia, boy do they hate her, but she's really, really electable for President and she would, more than any other candidate, actually start to heal this country. Aloha. ..."
"... I don't believe the Democrats will nominate her. They'll use the electability canard to dismiss her candidacy, much like how Ron Paul was treated by the GOP. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Bill Herschel , 6 hours ago

As long as we're talking Hawaii, I have found my candidate for President: Tulsi Gabbard. I guess I'm late to the party, and she sure is hated by the intelligentsia, boy do they hate her, but she's really, really electable for President and she would, more than any other candidate, actually start to heal this country. Aloha.
Jack -> Bill Herschel , 6 hours ago
I don't believe the Democrats will nominate her. They'll use the electability canard to dismiss her candidacy, much like how Ron Paul was treated by the GOP.

However, she seems to have an agenda I would back.

[Feb 17, 2019] The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives

Highly recommended!
The USA state of continuous war has been a bipartisan phenomenon starting with Truman in Korea and proceeding with Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and now Syria. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these limited, never ending wars are expensive was to enrich MIC and Wall Street banksters
Notable quotes:
"... Yes the neocons have a poor track record but they've succeeded at turning our republic into an empire. The mainstream media and elites of practically all western nations are unanimously pro-war. Neither political party has defined a comprehensive platform to rebuild our republic. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

KC February 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

The one thing your accurate analysis leaves out is that the goal of US wars is never what the media spouts for its Wall Street masters. The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives, create more enemies to be fought in future wars, and to provide a rationalization for the continued primacy of the military class in US politics and culture.

Occasionally a country may be sitting on a bunch of oil, and also be threatening to move away from the petrodollar or talking about allowing an "adversary" to build a pipeline across their land.

Otherwise war is a racket unto itself. "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "
― George Orwell

Also we've always been at war with Oceania .or whatever that quote said.

Barry F Keane , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Yes the neocons have a poor track record but they've succeeded at turning our republic into an empire. The mainstream media and elites of practically all western nations are unanimously pro-war. Neither political party has defined a comprehensive platform to rebuild our republic.

Even you, Tucker Carlson, mock the efforts of Ilhan Omar for criticizing AIPAC and Elliott Abrams.

I don't personally care for many of her opinions but that's not what matters: if we elect another neocon government we won't last another generation. Like the lady asked Ben Franklin "What kind of government have you bequeathed us?", and Franklin answered "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

[Feb 17, 2019] Bill Kristol and Max Boot are not an expect in military technology, or security issues. They are experts in peddling MIC product to the US public

Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Sid , February 15, 2019 at 7:27 pm

The goal of any "peddler" is to move product. When perpetual war is the product, then any rationale that leads to more sales will do. Enemies become interchangeable. The only thing to apologize for is the lack of sales.

These two hucksters are not experts on the product itself, but rather experts at selling the product.

Pres. Eisenhower, a genuine "authority on armed conflict", warned us of such peddlers.

[Feb 17, 2019] The goal of the neocons was to exploit 9/11 to destroy countries in the Middle East that posed a threat to Israel

Notable quotes:
"... Because DC is bought and paid for by the defense industry. Constant wars are good for the bottom line, so winning is not the right strategy. Loosing doesn't work either. A constant low level set of global conflicts is perfect. ..."
"... The goal of any "peddler" is to move product. When perpetual war is the product, then any rationale that leads to more sales will do. Enemies become interchangeable. The only thing to apologize for is the lack of sales. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Janwaar Bibi February 16, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? Pundits like Max Boot and Bill Kristol got everything after 9/11 wrong but are still considered "experts."

1. The goal of the neocons was to exploit 9/11 to destroy countries in the Middle East that posed a threat to Israel. As Wesley Clarke told us a long time ago, they were going to "do" Iraq first, and after that, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon and finally Iran. Most of this has been accomplished. We are now in the end game and Iran is in their cross-hairs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

From the perspective of the neocons, everything has gone their way.

2. The only people who got everything thing wrong were useful idiots like Rod Dreher, Tucker Carlson and Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones who were too dense to see what the neocons were really up to. You did not a PhD from Harvard to see that Bush and Blair had no evidence to back up their claims that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or to figure out the true intentions of the neocons.

So why are Boot and Kristol still around? Because Iran is not yet reduced to an ash-heap, courtesy of USA!USA!USA! so they still have work to do.

Why have they paid no price? Let's all pretend like we don't know the answer to this. And don't forget to condemn Ilhan Omar for her tweets just to be on the safe side.

john , says: February 16, 2019 at 12:32 pm
It's difficult to live in a post-America America where American interests are subordinate to Israel and AIPAC and lunatics like Bolton and Pompeo, now have replaced the president in matters of foreign policy.

Trump has done a 180 and given in completely.

I like Tulsi Gabbard and hope that she might have a chance of winning the Democratic nomination in spite of the fact that she now is being attacked by members of her own party, along with the representative from Minnesota who has the courage to talk of the power of the Israel lobby that functions solely in the interest of Israel. It seems the Democrats are not so tolerant of strong women after all. And its time for everyone to stop being intimidated by the charge of anti-Semitism. When Israeli interests are not those of America and Americans.

Ksw , says: February 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm
Because DC is bought and paid for by the defense industry. Constant wars are good for the bottom line, so winning is not the right strategy. Loosing doesn't work either. A constant low level set of global conflicts is perfect.
Sid , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:27 pm
The goal of any "peddler" is to move product. When perpetual war is the product, then any rationale that leads to more sales will do. Enemies become interchangeable. The only thing to apologize for is the lack of sales.

These two hucksters are not experts on the product itself, but rather experts at selling the product.

Pres. Eisenhower, a genuine "authority on armed conflict", warned us of such peddlers.

Barry F Keane , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Yes the neocons have a poor track record but they've succeeded at turning our republic into an empire. The mainstream media and elites of practically all western nations are unanimously pro-war. Neither political party has defined a comprehensive platform to rebuild our republic.

Even you, Tucker Carlson, mock the efforts of Ilhan Omar for criticizing AIPAC and Elliott Abrams.

I don't personally care for many of her opinions but that's not what matters: if we elect another neocon government we won't last another generation. Like the lady asked Ben Franklin "What kind of government have you bequeathed us?", and Franklin answered "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

[Feb 17, 2019] Tucker correctly called out Boot and Kristol for their advocacy of war while possessing no real-world experience when it comes to fighting war. Thos MIC peddlers need to be despised and ignored. But he supported Bush administration in its push for Iraq war as well

While we should thank Tucker for this takedown of these two warmongering know-nothings, he himself is not without a blame... Also while Max Boot and Bill Kristol have Twitter feeds and occasional MSNBC appearances, neocons John Bolton and Eliott Abrams are running American foreign policy.
Iraq invasion mainly benefitted Israel and MIC
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Scott Ritter February 15, 2019 at 4:23 pm

While I was entertained by Tucker's take down of Mssr's Boot and Kristol, I can't help but recall when he was carrying the water for the Bush administration during its build up for the invasion of Iraq. I offer up my encounter with him while he co-hosted CNN's Crossfire in July 2002. My answers, and facts, have withstood the test of time. Tucker's have not, and to see him calling out Boot and Kristol for their advocacy of war while possessing no real-world experience when it comes to fighting war when Tucker did the same thing is very much like the pot calling the kettle black. http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0207/31/cf.00.html

[Feb 16, 2019] Eugene McCarthy never became President, but he changed national politics. Gabbard could have a big impact even if she does not win.

Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com
Mark Thomason , says: February 16, 2019 at 5:47 pm GMT
Eugene McCarthy never became President, but he changed national politics. Gabbard could have a big impact even if she does not win.

She could also become VP, and at her age that might well be a stepping stone.

[Feb 16, 2019] Do American people care enough about war to vote for Tulsi Gabbard

Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

HEL , says: February 16, 2019 at 6:26 pm GMT

Gabbard is going nowhere, and while it's true that the powers that be will try to bury her, they don't need to. The simple truth is this: the American public largely doesn't care about the wars and never has. There hasn't been an anti-war movement of any significance since Bush left office, and that was mostly a phony anti-war movement in the first place. It was primarily an anti-Bush movement, and the bulk of the people screaming 'no blood for oil' would've just been screaming some other anti-Bush slogan had our current path of destruction through the Mideast never occurred.

Yes, there has always been a small, independent-minded minority on both the right and left who genuinely oppose American interventionism.

The vast majority of voters, though, don't care much, don't have strong opinions and will largely just follow their leaders. Rank and file Democrats now oppose drawing down from Syria and Afghanistan and want to 'contain' Russia.

This is solely because Trump has made noises in the opposite direction, even if he hasn't done much of anything. And a good portion of the Republicans who say they want out of these wars would support them if Jeb or Rubio were in the White House.

There is a fair bit more genuine antiwar sentiment on the right now than there was 15 years ago. But it's not a dominant issue for many people on the right who didn't always oppose the wars from the get-go. And the mainstream left, again, has totally abandoned the issue.

Only a tiny proportion of the American public considers the endless wars to be the most important issue facing America today.

You don't win campaigns focusing on issues that are regarded as unimportant and where most of the voters in your party oppose you on this point. There is no real antiwar movement. Another full-scale invasion of a previously stable country would generate some serious opposition, sure, but the current slow bleed of endless occupations and occasional opportunistic attacks on already destabilizing regimes can continue forever with little pushback from the public at large.

How anyone could live through the last 15 years of American politics and not realize this is beyond me.

KenH , says: February 16, 2019 at 6:26 pm GMT
@Art

That one trick happens to the most important trick that America is facing.

No Art, that would be unchecked legal and illegal immigration and as far as I can tell Tulsi Gandhi is pretty dreadful on that subject. True, the likudniks in the diaspora don't like her because she would be bad for an expansionist Israel...

If elected Tulsi would probably become a Jew tool just like Trump has become. If not, then they'll have another special counsel ready to take her down. That's how the (((deep state))) operates.

[Feb 16, 2019] President Trump is Saudi Arabia's bitch Hawaii Rep SLAMS Trump

dailymail.co.uk

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard attacked Donald Trump for his tweet praising Saudi Arabia after the CIA report which found the country's crown prince was behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Democratic Rep. Gabbard, a National Guard veteran who did two tours in the Middle East, branded the president 'Saudi Arabia's b**ch' after he announced the U.S. would stand by the nation.

'Hey @realdonaldtrump: being Saudi Arabia's bitch is not '"America First,'" Gabbard tweeted.

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

Notable quotes:
"... Tulsi's own military experience notwithstanding, she gives every indication of being honestly anti-war. In the speech announcing her candidacy she pledged "focus on the issue of war and peace" to "end the regime-change wars that have taken far too many lives and undermined our security by strengthening terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda." She referred to the danger posed by blundering into a possible nuclear war and indicated her dismay over what appears to be a re-emergence of the Cold War. ..."
"... Gabbard has spoken at a conference of Christians United for Israel, which has defended Israel's settlement enterprise; has backed legislation that slashes funding to the Palestinians; and has cultivated ties with Boteach as well as with major GOP donor casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. She also attended the controversial address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March 2015, which many progressive Democrats boycotted. ..."
"... Nevertheless, Tulsi supported Bernie Sanders' antiwar candidacy in 2016 and appears to be completely onboard and fearless in promoting her antiwar sentiments. Yes, Americans have heard much of the same before, but Tulsi Gabbard could well be the only genuine antiwar candidate that might truly be electable in the past fifty years. ..."
"... What's her angle about immigration? This: https://votesmart.org/public-statement/1197137/rep-tulsi-gabbard-calls-on-congress-to-pass-the-dream-act#.XGXEplUza1s Not optimistic. ..."
"... What's her angle about "outsourcing" jobs overseas? This: https://www.votetulsi.com/node/25011 Not bad, but, still .. ..."
"... Regularly Americans vote for the less interventionist candidate. ..."
"... Of course, it is impossible to predict whether it will be the same with Tulsi Gabbard, but unlike these other candidates in the past , she puts her rejection of neocons and regime change wars so much into the center of her campaign that it should be assumed that she is serious – otherwise it would be complete betrayal. ..."
"... She'll be sabotaged by relentless smears and other dirty tricks. Only someone bought and owned will be allowed to be a candidate which means the MIC must continue being fed enormous amounts of money and war hysteria constantly being stoked. ..."
"... Has anyone discussed the possibility of Tulsi being "marketed" or long-game "branded" through intentional theatre as "anti-war" ? ..."
"... Any serious Democratic candidate, and to some extent any Republican, must fly through the flack of Deep State anti-populist guns. I am skeptical about Gabbard because her policy views are already too good to be true. She is "cruisin' for a bruisin'" and there is already a campaign to erase her from the debate in the manner in which Ron Paul was erased a few years back ..."
"... Gabbard is an attractive woman and on camera she comes across as aggressive and a quick-thinking, highly articulate debater. Like Trump her instinct is to meet force with counter-force rather than roll with the punches and I think that is her best chance. ..."
"... De ja vu. I remember reading these very similar (not exactly but similar) sentiments about Barack Obama back in 2008. What a load of crap that turned out to be ..."
"... Don't know much about this lady. If she is "fair dinkum" in her anti war/anti-imperialism stance her only chance to get into power & then get things done will be to gain a massive, committed popular following. ..."
Feb 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Be that as it may, what is conspicously missing from the article are some minor things:

1. What's her angle about immigration? This: https://votesmart.org/public-statement/1197137/rep-tulsi-gabbard-calls-on-congress-to-pass-the-dream-act#.XGXEplUza1s Not optimistic.

2. What's her angle about "outsourcing" jobs overseas? This: https://www.votetulsi.com/node/25011 Not bad, but, still ..

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

Si1ver1ock , says: February 14, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
I like Tulsi. but she hasn't been tested in a presidential campaign yet. At least we will have someone who could put peace on the ballot. She should write a book pulling her policies together and use it to get some publicity.
Adrian E. , says: February 14, 2019 at 9:14 pm GMT
Regularly Americans vote for the less interventionist candidate. 2008, an important reason for Obama's victory against Hillary Clinton and John McCain was that he had been against the Iraq war. 2000, George W. Bush said he was against nation building. Then, after they are elected, the neocons remain in power. Something similar again with Donald Trump who campaigned against stupid wars in the Middle East and now has surrounded himself with some of the most extreme neocons.

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

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

anonymous [241] Disclaimer , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:30 am GMT
She'll be sabotaged by relentless smears and other dirty tricks. Only someone bought and owned will be allowed to be a candidate which means the MIC must continue being fed enormous amounts of money and war hysteria constantly being stoked. She won't have a chance. Besides, the Dem party has gotten radical and out of touch with the majority of Americans so who really wants them in? There's no cause for optimism anywhere one looks.
Gg Mo , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:21 am GMT
@the grand wazoo

Has anyone discussed the possibility of Tulsi being "marketed" or long-game "branded" through intentional theatre as "anti-war" ? Greenwald himself has questionable backers and the WWF good guy/bad guy character creations (like Trump's pre-election talking points concerning illegal wars , now stuffed down the memory holes of many), all the FAKE and distracting "fights" etc etc

See Corbett/Sibel Edmonds on Greenwald

jack daniels , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:48 am GMT
@peterAUS

Any serious Democratic candidate, and to some extent any Republican, must fly through the flack of Deep State anti-populist guns. I am skeptical about Gabbard because her policy views are already too good to be true. She is "cruisin' for a bruisin'" and there is already a campaign to erase her from the debate in the manner in which Ron Paul was erased a few years back.

Gabbard is an attractive woman and on camera she comes across as aggressive and a quick-thinking, highly articulate debater. Like Trump her instinct is to meet force with counter-force rather than roll with the punches and I think that is her best chance. In that way she calls the bluff of her opponents: Just how confident are they that in the end the public will prefer war to peace? These points add up to a realistic chance of success but given the Deep State's stranglehold on the media she is definitely a long shot.

Biff , says: February 15, 2019 at 4:04 am GMT
De ja vu. I remember reading these very similar (not exactly but similar) sentiments about Barack Obama back in 2008. What a load of crap that turned out to be, but I do understand that not all politicians are cut from the same dung heap, so it is probably best to find out who is funding the little pricks while they are campaigning – for once they are elected, payback is due.

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

"Is she the real deal?"

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

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

animalogic , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:04 am GMT
@Adrian E.

Don't know much about this lady. If she is "fair dinkum" in her anti war/anti-imperialism stance her only chance to get into power & then get things done will be to gain a massive, committed popular following.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brilliant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"They Speak "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vance: Thanks, Tucker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦♦♦

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦♦♦

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Patrick Constantine February 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where were the rest of the "adults"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What's going on in Yemen?

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

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

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

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

@nietzsche1510

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Tulsi Gabbard:

https://www.tulsi2020.com/about


Grey Skeptic , 18 hours ago

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

Lakshya Sharma , 18 hours ago

People need leaders like you who address the real needs.

man , 16 hours ago

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

mattisava , 18 hours ago (edited)

#Tulsi2020 #TULSIrEVOLution #MakeAntiwarGreatAgain

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

Gabriel Arcari , 17 hours ago

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

R R , 18 hours ago

Make America honest again!!

xXRAGING- DEATHXx , 18 hours ago

A True Leader, right there. #TULSI2020

Trident , 18 hours ago

"America First" shoots missiles at Syria...

Keith Gilbertson , 14 hours ago

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

Barney Google , 16 hours ago

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

Randy Hartono , 18 hours ago

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

passane74 , 15 hours ago (edited)

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

Benjamin Henderson , 13 hours ago

Michigan loves you Tulsi

Judicial78 , 11 hours ago

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

Judith Schwartzbacker , 15 hours ago

tulsi/bernie2020.

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

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

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

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

Bob McDonnel , 1 week ago

Lol the establishment is scared of her! Go Tulsi!

Gary Purkeljc , 1 week ago (edited)

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

GoogIe+ , 6 days ago (edited)

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

Horatio Jones , 6 days ago

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

Shane Baldwin , 6 days ago

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

Ana Suri , 1 week ago

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

Jay Smathers , 6 days ago (edited)

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

jim seko , 4 days ago

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

Unlawful_Falafel , 1 week ago

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

Dakota Walker , 6 days ago

These smears only drive me to vote for her.

C.M. Butler , 1 week ago

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

linwood ellsworth , 3 days ago

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

John Theos , 6 days ago (edited)

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

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

ArgentiumTea , 4 days ago

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

Paula Laflamme , 2 days ago

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

Karl Letcher , 1 week ago (edited)

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

je suis Informaticien , 6 days ago

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

Tony Skwara , 6 days ago

I hate MSNBC

Lirrulewon , 6 days ago

She is one hot veteran if i may add

Ken Texican , 4 days ago

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

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

Feb 15, 2019 | The Jimmy Dore Show

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ScottTheAngel , 1 day ago

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

Unlawful_Falafel , 1 day ago

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

kastlerock01 , 1 day ago

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

Joe Gibbs , 1 day ago

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

Laura LeDoux , 1 day ago

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

Syncopator , 1 day ago (edited)

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

Tony Quinn , 21 hours ago

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

Sykes , 1 day ago

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

MsLuath , 1 day ago

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

[Feb 13, 2019] Tulsi rocks

Notable quotes:
"... Trump doesn't have a clue about Foreign Policy ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

David G , February 12, 2019 at 11:26 am

The inimitable CN commenting system just ate my detailed reply to your question of who else besides Gabbard has spoken up, and won't let me repost it. But the short version is that

As far as I know, everybody else is on board the regime-change express, enjoying the bar car.

Summary: Tulsi rocks.

KiwiAntz, February 12, 2019 at 7:04 am

Trump & his corrupt Administration with the Troika of morons such as Pompeo, Bolton & Abrams, are the most dangerous bunch of idiots ever to be in power?

Hopelessly inept & out of his depth, Trump doesn't have a clue about Foreign Policy & his stupid Regime change antics are going to blow up in his & his meddling Nations face!

This buffoonish Clown is really accelerating America's downfall & declining Hegemonic power & turning the World away from the corrupt US Dollar, Petrodollar system with other Countries, actively moving away from this tyranny?

... ... ...

[Feb 13, 2019] Making Globalism Great Again by C.J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Pretty biting satire
Notable quotes:
"... So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under. ..."
"... Notwithstanding what the corporate media will tell you, Americans elected Donald Trump, a preposterous, self-aggrandizing ass clown, not because they were latent Nazis, or because they were brainwashed by Russian hackers, but, primarily, because they wanted to believe that he sincerely cared about America, and was going to try to "make it great again" (whatever that was supposed to mean, exactly). ..."
"... Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. "America" is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela. ..."
"... And Venezuela is just the most recent blatant example of the empire in action. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Maybe Donald Trump isn't as stupid as I thought. I'd hate to have to admit that publicly, but it does kind of seem like he has put one over on the liberal corporate media this time. Scanning the recent Trump-related news, I couldn't help but notice a significant decline in the number of references to Weimar, Germany, Adolf Hitler, and " the brink of fascism " that America has supposedly been teetering on since Hillary Clinton lost the election.

I googled around pretty well, I think, but I couldn't find a single editorial warning that Trump is about to summarily cancel the U.S. Constitution, dissolve Congress, and proclaim himself Führer . Nor did I see any mention of Auschwitz , or any other Nazi stuff which is weird, considering that the Hitler hysteria has been a standard feature of the official narrative we've been subjected to for the last two years.

So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under.

I'm referring, of course, to Venezuela, which is one of a handful of uncooperative countries that are not playing ball with global capitalism and which haven't been "regime changed" yet. Trump green-lit the attempted coup purportedly being staged by the Venezuelan "opposition," but which is obviously a U.S. operation, or, rather, a global capitalist operation. As soon as he did, the corporate media immediately suspended calling him a fascist, and comparing him to Adolf Hitler, and so on, and started spewing out blatant propaganda supporting his effort to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country.

Overthrowing the governments of sovereign countries, destroying their economies, stealing their gold, and otherwise bringing them into the fold of the global capitalist "international community" is not exactly what most folks thought Trump meant by "Make America Great Again." Many Americans have never been to Venezuela, or Syria, or anywhere else the global capitalist empire has been ruthlessly restructuring since shortly after the end of the Cold War. They have not been lying awake at night worrying about Venezuelan democracy, or Syrian democracy, or Ukrainian democracy.

This is not because Americans are a heartless people, or an ignorant or a selfish people. It is because, well, it is because they are Americans (or, rather, because they believe they are Americans), and thus are more interested in the problems of Americans than in the problems of people in faraway lands that have nothing whatsoever to do with America. Notwithstanding what the corporate media will tell you, Americans elected Donald Trump, a preposterous, self-aggrandizing ass clown, not because they were latent Nazis, or because they were brainwashed by Russian hackers, but, primarily, because they wanted to believe that he sincerely cared about America, and was going to try to "make it great again" (whatever that was supposed to mean, exactly).

Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. "America" is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela.

The entire global capitalist empire is working in concert to force the elected president of the country out of office. The US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina have officially recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, in spite of the fact that no one elected him. Only the empire's official evil enemies (i.e., Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and other uncooperative countries) are objecting to this "democratic" coup. The global financial system (i.e., banks) has frozen (i.e., stolen) Venezuela's assets, and is attempting to transfer them to Guaido so he can buy the Venezuelan military. The corporate media are hammering out the official narrative like a Goebbelsian piano in an effort to convince the general public that all this has something to do with democracy. You would have to be a total moron or hopelessly brainwashed not to recognize what is happening.

What is happening has nothing to do with America the "America" that Americans believe they live in and that many of them want to "make great again." What is happening is exactly what has been happening around the world since the end of the Cold War, albeit most dramatically in the Middle East. The de facto global capitalist empire is restructuring the planet with virtual impunity. It is methodically eliminating any and all impediments to the hegemony of global capitalism, and the privatization and commodification of everything.

Venezuela is one of these impediments. Overthrowing its government has nothing to do with America, or the lives of actual Americans. "America" is not to going conquer Venezuela and plant an American flag on its soil. "America" is not going to steal its oil, ship it "home," and parcel it out to "Americans" in their pickups in the parking lot of Walmart.

What what about those American oil corporations? They want that Venezuelan oil, don't they? Well, sure they do, but here's the thing there are no "American" oil corporations. Corporations, especially multi-billion dollar transnational corporations (e.g., Chevron, ExxonMobil, et al.) have no nationalities, nor any real allegiances, other than to their major shareholders. Chevron, for example, whose major shareholders are asset management and mutual fund companies like Black Rock, The Vanguard Group, SSgA Funds Management, Geode Capital Management, Wellington Management, and other transnational, multi-trillion dollar outfits. Do you really believe that being nominally headquartered in Boston or New York makes these companies "American," or that Deutsche Bank is a "German" bank, or that BP is a "British" company?

And Venezuela is just the most recent blatant example of the empire in action. Ask yourself, honestly, what have the "American" regime change ops throughout the Greater Middle East done for any actual Americans, other than get a lot of them killed? Oh, and how about those bailouts for all those transnational "American" investment banks? Or the billions "America" provides to Israel? Someone please explain how enriching the shareholders of transnational corporations like Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin by selling billions in weapons to Saudi Arabian Islamists is benefiting "the American people." How much of that Saudi money are you seeing? And, wait, I've got another one for you. Call up your friendly 401K manager, ask how your Pfizer shares are doing, then compare that to what you're paying some "American" insurance corporation to not really cover you.

For the last two-hundred years or so, we have been conditioned to think of ourselves as the citizens of a collection of sovereign nation states, as "Americans," "Germans," "Greeks," and so on. There are no more sovereign nation states. Global capitalism has done away with them. Which is why we are experiencing a "neo-nationalist" backlash. Trump, Brexit, the so-called "new populism" these are the death throes of national sovereignty, like the thrashing of a suffocating fish before you whack it and drop it in the cooler. The battle is over, but the fish doesn't know that. It didn't even realize there was a battle until it suddenly got jerked up out of the water.

In any event, here we are, at the advent of the global capitalist empire. We are not going back to the 19th Century, nor even to the early 20th Century. Neither Donald Trump nor anyone else is going to "Make America Great Again." Global capitalism will continue to remake the world into one gigantic marketplace where we work ourselves to death at bullshit jobs in order to buy things we don't need, accumulating debts we can never pay back, the interest on which will further enrich the global capitalist ruling classes, who, as you may have noticed, are preparing for the future by purchasing luxury underground bunkers and post-apocalyptic compounds in New Zealand. That, and militarizing the police, who they will need to maintain "public order" you know, like they are doing in France at the moment, by beating, blinding, and hideously maiming those Gilets Jaunes (i.e., Yellow Vest) protesters that the corporate media are doing their best to demonize and/or render invisible.

Or, who knows, Americans (and other Western consumers) might take a page from those Yellow Vests, set aside their political differences (or at least ignore their hatred of each other long enough to actually try to achieve something), and focus their anger at the politicians and corporations that actually run the empire, as opposed to, you know, illegal immigrants and imaginary legions of Nazis and Russians. In the immortal words of General Buck Turgidson, "I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed," but, heck, it might be worth a try, especially since, the way things are going, we are probably going end up out there anyway.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

[Feb 13, 2019] Stephen Cohen on War with Russia and Soviet-style Censorship in the US by Russell Mokhiber

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War with Russia. ..."
"... Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate." ..."
"... "When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media." ..."
"... "And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything." ..."
"... "That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that." ..."
"... Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On stage at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. this past week was Princeton University Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen, author of the new book, War with Russia: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.

Cohen has largely been banished from mainstream media.

"I had been arguing for years -- very much against the American political media grain -- that a new US/Russian Cold War was unfolding -- driven primarily by politics in Washington, not Moscow," Cohen writes in War with Russia. "For this perspective, I had been largely excluded from influential print, broadcast and cable outlets where I had been previously welcomed."

On the stage at Busboys and Poets with Cohen was Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation magazine, and Robert Borosage, co-founder of the Campaign for America's Future.

During question time, Cohen was asked about the extent of the censorship in the context of other Americans who had been banished from mainstream American media, including Ralph Nader, whom the liberal Democratic establishment, including Borosage and Vanden Heuvel, stiff armed when he crashed the corporate political parties in the electoral arena in 2004 and 2008.

Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union.

"Until some period of time before Trump, on the question of what America's policy toward Putin's Kremlin should be, there was a reasonable facsimile of a debate on those venues that had these discussions," Cohen said. "Are we allowed to mention the former Charlie Rose for example? On the long interview form, Charlie would have on a person who would argue for a very hard policy toward Putin. And then somebody like myself who thought it wasn't a good idea."

"Occasionally that got on CNN too. MSNBC not so much. And you could get an op-ed piece published, with effort, in the New York Times or Washington Post ."

"Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times six or seven years ago. But then it stopped. And to me, that's the fundamental difference between this Cold War and the preceding Cold War."

"I will tell you off the record – no, I'm not going to do it," Cohen said. "Two exceedingly imminent Americans, who most op-ed pages would die to get a piece by, just to say they were on the page, submitted such articles to the New York Times , and they were rejected the same day. They didn't even debate it. They didn't even come back and say – could you tone it down? They just didn't want it."

"Now is that censorship? In Italy, where each political party has its own newspaper, you would say – okay fair enough. I will go to a newspaper that wants me. But here, we are used to these newspapers."

"Remember how it works. I was in TV for 18 years being paid by CBS. So, I know how these things work. TV doesn't generate its own news anymore. Their actual reporting has been de-budgeted. They do video versions of what is in the newspapers."

"Look at the cable talk shows. You see it in the New York Times and Washington Post in the morning, you turn on the TV at night and there is the video version. That's just the way the news business works now."

"The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate."

"If you are not, then you struggle to create your own alternative media. It's new in my lifetime. I know these imminent Americans I mentioned were shocked when they were just told no. It's a lockdown. And it is a form of censorship."

"When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media."

"Dissidents created what is known as samizdat – that's typescript that you circulate by hand. Gorbachev, before he came to power, did read some samizdat. But it's no match for newspapers published with five, six, seven million copies a day. Or the three television networks which were the only television networks Soviet citizens had access to."

"And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything."

"That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that."

Cohen appears periodically on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News. And that rankled one person in the audience at Busboys and Poets, who said he worried that Cohen's perspective on Russia can be "appropriated by the right."

"Trump can take that and run on a nationalistic platform – to hell with NATO, to hell with fighting these endless wars, to do what he did in 2016 and get the votes of people who are very concerned about the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia," the man said.

Cohen says that on a personal level, he likes Tucker Carlson "and I don't find him to be a racist or a nationalist."

"Nationalism is on the rise around the world everywhere," Cohen said. "There are different kinds of nationalism. We always called it patriotism in this country, but we have always been a nationalistic country."

"Fox has about three to four million viewers at that hour," Cohen said. "If I am not permitted to give my take on American/Russian relations on any other mass media, and by the way, possibly talk directly to Trump, who seems to like his show, and say – Trump is making a mistake, he should do this or do that instead -- I don't get many opportunities – and I can't see why I shouldn't do it."

"I get three and a half to four minutes," Cohen said. "I don't see it as consistent with my mission, if that's the right word, to say no. These articles I write for The Nation , which ended up in my book, are posted on some of the most God awful websites in the world. I had to look them up to find out how bad they really are. But what can I do about it?"

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Russell Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

[Feb 13, 2019] The return of W>eimar Berlin - Lawlessness, Inequality, Extremism, Divisiveness and Crime

Notable quotes:
"... the financial corruption and private pilfering using public power, money laundering and the kind of soft corruption that is rampant amongst our new elite is all there ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"He drew near and saw the city, and he wept for it saying, 'If you had only recognized the things that make for peace. But now you are blinded to them. Truly, the days will come when your enemies will set up barriers to surround you, and hem you in on every side. Then they will crush you into the earth, you and your children. And they will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the way to your salvation.'"

Luke 19:41-44

"You hypocrites! You build monuments for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of His messengers.'"

Matthew 23:29-30

...the results of the Senate GOP finding no evidence of 'collusion' with Russia by the Trump Administration to influence the results of the presidential election..

This last item is not surprising, because this entire Russian collusion meme seems as though it is an hysterical reaction to the spin put out by the Clinton political faction and their neoliberal enablers after their shocking loss in the 2016 Presidential election.

Too bad though, because the financial corruption and private pilfering using public power, money laundering and the kind of soft corruption that is rampant amongst our new elite is all there. And by there we mean on both sides of the fence -- which is why it had to take a back seat to a manufactured boogeyman.

... ... ...

There is a long road ahead before we see anything like a resolution to this troubling period in American political history.

We look back at other troubled periods and places, and either see them as discrete and fictional, a very different world apart, or through some rosy lenses of good old times which were largely benign and peaceful. We fail to see the continuity, the similarity, and the commonality of a dangerous path with ourselves. As they did with their own times gone by. Madness blinds its acolytes, because they wish it so. They embrace it to hide their shame.

We are reassured and misled by the same kinds of voices that have always served the status quo and the monied interests, the think tanks, the so-called 'institutes,' and the web sites and former con men who offer a constant stream of thinly disguised propaganda and misstatements of principle and history. We are comforted by their lies.

People want to hear these reassuring words of comfort and embrace it like a 'religion,' because they do not wish to draw the conclusions that the genuine principles of faith suggest (dare we say command in this day and age) in their daily lives. They blind themselves by adopting a kind of a schizoid approach to life, where 'religion' occupies a discrete, rarefied space, and 'political or economic philosophy' dictates another set of everyday 'practical' observances and behaviors which are more pliable, and pleasing to our hardened and prideful hearts.

We wish to strike a deal with the Lord, and a deal with the Devil -- to serve both God and Mammon as it suits us. It really is that cliché. And it is so finely woven into the fabric of our day that we cannot see it; we cannot see that it is happening to us and around us.

And so we trot on into the abyss, one exception and excuse and rationalization for ourselves at a time. And we blind ourselves with false prophets and their profane theories and philosophies.

As for truth, the truth that brings life, we would interrupt the sermon on the mount itself, saying that this sentiment was all very well and good, but what stocks should we buy for our portfolio, and what horse is going to win the fifth at Belmont? Tell us something useful, practical! Oh, and can you please fix this twinge in my left shoulder? It is ruining my golf game.

"Those among the rich who are not, in the rigorous sense, damned, can understand poverty, because they are poor themselves, after a fashion; they cannot understand destitution. Capable of giving alms, perhaps, but incapable of stripping themselves bare, they will be moved, to the sound of beautiful music, at Jesus's sufferings, but His Cross, the reality of His Cross, will horrify them. They want it all out of gold, bathed in light, costly and of little weight; pleasant to see, hanging from a woman's beautiful throat."

Léon Bloy

No surprise in this. It has always been so, especially in times of such vanity and greed as are these. Then is now. There is nothing new under the sun. And certainly nothing exceptional about the likes of us in our indulgent self-destruction.

Are you not entertained?

[Feb 13, 2019] Opinion The Empty Quarters of U.S. Politics by Paul Krugman

Notable quotes:
"... Voters support Elizabeth Warren's proposed tax on large fortunes by a three-to-one majority. Only a small minority want to see cuts in Medicaid, even though such cuts have been central to every G.O.P. health care proposal in recent years. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

Donald Trump, who ran on promises to expand health care and raise taxes on the rich , began betraying his working-class supporters the moment he took office, pushing through big tax cuts for the rich while trying to take health coverage away from millions.

... ... ...

Meanwhile, the modern Republican Party is all about cutting taxes on the rich and benefits for the poor and the middle class. And Trump, despite his campaign posturing, has turned out to be no different.

... ... ...

Polling is unambiguous here. If you define the "center" as a position somewhere between those of the two parties, when it comes to economic issues the public is overwhelmingly left of center; if anything, it's to the left of the Democrats. Tax cuts for the rich are the G.O.P.'s defining policy, but two-thirds of voters believe that taxes on the rich are actually too low, while only 7 percent believe that they're too high.

Voters support Elizabeth Warren's proposed tax on large fortunes by a three-to-one majority. Only a small minority want to see cuts in Medicaid, even though such cuts have been central to every G.O.P. health care proposal in recent years.

Why did Republicans stake out a position so far from voters' preferences? Because they could. As Democrats became the party of civil rights, the G.O.P. could attract working-class whites by catering to their social and racial illiberalism, even while pursuing policies that hurt ordinary workers.

... ... ...

In any case, if there's a real opening for an independent, that candidate will look more like George Wallace than like Howard Schultz. Billionaires who despise the conventional parties should beware of what they wish for.


Concerned Citizen Feb. 5 Times Pick

I consider myself socially conservative and economically liberal and I very bitterly reject the idea that I am a "racist". The left has to stop tossing around the word "racist" to essentially mean "anything they dislike" and "anyone they disagree with". I am not a racist, and I defy anyone to prove I am. Dr. Krugman, if you are going to call 50% of the voters in the US "racists"....well, consider what happened when your pal Hillary called us "deplorables in a basket". How'd that work out for her?

Trajan The Real Heartland Feb. 5 Times Pick

Democrats love to eat their own. We have one of the most racist presidents to ever hold office in modern times, yet some Democrats are going after Northam over some dumb stunt that happened decades ago. Is he a good leader NOW? Does he support good policies NOW? Is Northam's behavior really any worse (blackface versus sexual misconduct) than someone who just got a seat on the Supreme Court? Wow, this is like watching an episode of The Twilight Zone. Republicans have a strategic advantage because, while Democrats get all twisted up in identity politics, Republican leaders are only tightly focused on serving the rich and powerful at the expense of average Americans. No party disunity there. Democrats need to start focusing on the basic, kitchen table issues that average Americans care about, like affordable health care, affordable housing and affordable higher education. With that strong streak of self-destruction that runs through Democrats, Nancy Pelosi is needed more than ever in the people's House where badly needed legislation has to move forward.

Allright New york Feb. 5 Times Pick

A Democrat could beat Trump if he was pro-single payer, pro family, pro-union, anti-war, and for the aggressive taxing of ultra high wealth if he could just shut down the flagrant abuse of our immigration laws and border. That candidate can't win the primary though because not welcoming the infinite number of suffering illegal immigrants to share these expensive benefits or wanting law and order to immigration earns a label of "racist" in the Democratic Party. Trump will win in 2020 unless dems stop with the wild misuse of the word racist.

Patrick Wisconsin Feb. 5 Times Pick

"Racial hostility" is what I, a white male, feel from the Democrats. It's a common thread among the reluctant Trump supporters I know - they are disgusted by Trump, but they won't support the Democrats for that reason. My 66-year-old father recently said to me, for the first time, "well, you know, I'm a racist."

This man voted for Obama, but I wouldn't be surprised if he casts his vote for Trump in 2020 because the left has lost all credibility in his eyes. They call my dad a racist over and over, but he knows he's a fair person, so he's accepted that the "racist" label isn't that big of a deal.

[Feb 12, 2019] We have elections that are far more like Soviet elections than the average 'conservative' voter can allow himself to imagine. The great difference Soviet elections and ours today is who what entity owns the system, meaning which cultural values rule, dictate.

Feb 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: February 12, 2019 at 11:32 am GMT

The USSR had elections of various types. They meant nothing because the Party owned everybody.

We have elections that are far more like Soviet elections than the average 'conservative' voter can allow himself to imagine. The great difference Soviet elections and ours today is who – what entity – owns the system, meaning which cultural values rule, dictate.

Ours is the Anglo-Zionist Empire. This is the end game of the Judaizing heresies that destroyed Christendom. This nightmare is where WASP culture leads and always lead.

[Feb 12, 2019] Pelosi Mocks Ocasio-Cortez Green New Deal

It is true that "national, social, industrial and economic mobilization at a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal," is needed...
Feb 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Ocasio-Cortez is rolling out the "Green New Deal" with Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), which she says calls for a "national, social, industrial and economic mobilization at a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal," and is "a wartime-level, just economic mobilization plan to get to 100% renewable energy."

The plan also aims "to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities" and other "frontline and vulnerable communities. "

Ocasio-Cortez's plan, which has several doesn't outline specific policy proposals (they'll "work it out" we guess), and promises grandiose measures using broad brush strokes such as achieving "net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers. Everybody gets a job, clean water, healthy food, and "access to nature," whatever that means.

Where it does get slightly more specific, the resolution, obtained by NPR , mandates among other things (via NPR ):

For a deeper analysis which we noted earlier, click here .

[Feb 12, 2019] Walter Jones, Congressman Behind Freedom Fries Who Turned Anti-War Firebrand, Dies At 76

Notable quotes:
"... However, he was one of the few politicians initially supporting the Iraq invasion to later express profound public regret over his decision , and went on to become a consistent advocate for ending regime change wars and Washington's military adventurism abroad. As part of these efforts, he was an original Board Member of the Ron Paul Institute. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. died at the age of 76 on Sunday after an extended illness for which was a granted a leave of absence from Congress last year.

The Republican representative for North Carolina's 3rd congressional district since 1995 had initially been a strong supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and even became well-known for getting french fries renamed as "freedom fries" in the House cafeteria as a protest against French condemnation of the US invasion.

... ... ...

However, he was one of the few politicians initially supporting the Iraq invasion to later express profound public regret over his decision , and went on to become a consistent advocate for ending regime change wars and Washington's military adventurism abroad. As part of these efforts, he was an original Board Member of the Ron Paul Institute.

Remembering Jones as a tireless advocate of peace, Ron Paul notes that he " turned from pro-war to an antiwar firebrand after he discovered how Administrations lie us into war . His passing yesterday is deeply mourned by all who value peace and honesty over war and deception." The Ron Paul Institute has also called him "a Hero of Peace" for both his voting record and efforts at shutting down the "endless wars".

And Antiwar.com also describes Jones as having been among the "most consistently antiwar members of Congress" and a huge supporter of their work:

By 2005, Jones had reversed his position on the Iraq War. Jones called on President George W. Bush to apologize for misinforming Congress to win authorization for the war. Jones said, "If I had known then what I know today, I wouldn't have voted for that resolution."

Jones went on to become one of the most antiwar members of Congress, fighting for ending US involvement in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

Also the BBC describes Rep. Jones' "dramatic change of heart" concerning the Iraq war starting in 2005, after which he began reaching out to thousands of people who had lost loves ones in combat.

Rep. Walter Jones led an effort in the House to call French Fries "Freedom Fries" instead, but came to profoundly regret his role in supporting Bush's war.

Noting that "no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq" and that the war was justified by the Bush administration based entirely on lies and false intelligence, the BBC describes:

At the same time, Mr Jones met grieving families whose loved ones were killed in the war. This caused him to have a dramatic change of heart, and in 2005 he called for the troops to be brought home.

He spoke candidly on several occasions about how deeply he regretted supporting the war, which led to the deaths of more than 140,000 Iraqi and American people.

"I have signed over 12,000 letters to families and extended families who've lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars," he told NPR in 2017. "That was, for me, asking God to forgive me for my mistake."

In total he represented his district for 34 years, first in the North Carolina state legislature, then in Congress. He took a leave of absence last year after a number of missed House votes due to declining health.

[Feb 11, 2019] Trump has tried to turn his presidency into a personality cult rather than MAGA

Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

TheBoom , says: September 29, 2018 at 8:55 am GMT

Trump has tried to turn his presidency into a personality cult rather than MAGA. That is a mistake because Trump's campaign positions were more popular than Trump and it doesn't lift the entire party.

Every Hillary voter I meet, male or female, buys every one of the stupid narratives being pushed and are fired up to vote. The Bernie voters don't automatically buy every narrative but they despise Trump and want him out and Democrats to regain control.

I agree with Derb that the hearing may make up some of the enthusiasm gap. A lot of conservative men had to have been looking at that hearing and thinking how easy it would be for them to get similar treatment at work or school.I imagine a good number of conservative women don't want their husbands and sons to face similar inquisitions.

[Feb 11, 2019] There is no democracy in US. There is civil war between two dysfunctional parties

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"

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

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 8, 2019 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Authenticjazzman You are absolutely correct. I just did not wanted to go into such a details. It is not my stile.

[Feb 11, 2019] 'Populism' is just democracy in action and most people seem to think democracy is a good thing. So what's the problem? Apparently the masses don't want what's being shoved down their throats by undemocratic rulers so now we have this ongoing conflict.

Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

anonymous [967] Disclaimer , says: February 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT

'Populism' is just democracy in action and most people seem to think democracy is a good thing. So what's the problem? Apparently the masses don't want what's being shoved down their throats by undemocratic rulers so now we have this ongoing conflict. One can only hope that the populists get the upper hand in all this. We need a new political terminology because it seems strange to use the label "liberal" for a group of people that are such aggressive war-mongers. There doesn't seem to be much that's liberal about them.War lovers and anti-democratic, they have much in common with fascism.

[Feb 11, 2019] AOC Campaign Finance Primer Goes Viral

Notable quotes:
"... By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans. ..."
"... Quip, then Clear, Simple Statement. ..."
"... The thing that worries me is that congress might find some way to remove her or shut her up if she continues to ruffle neoliberal feathers like this. ..."
"... Fascinating as this is, I worry that AOC might get the "Rosa Luxembourg" treatment from the present day power elites. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

AOC Campaign Finance Primer Goes Viral Posted on February 10, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Wow. strengthening ethics rules for the executive branch reached such a huge audience.

This is a must-watch clip. I hesitate to add much commentary, as anything I write will likely not add all that much, and might instead only distract from the original.

Nonetheless, full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes! I will hazard adding some commentary.

I only ask that you watch the clip first. It'll only take five minutes of your time. Just something to ponder on what I hope for many readers is a lazy, relaxing Sunday. Please watch it, as my commentary will assume you've done so.

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

How to Explain What's At Stake with a Complex Subject

I've spent many, many years thinking about how business influences public policy – and trying to get people to understand some of the details of how that's done, in a variety of contexts.

Here, AOC breaks down one aspect of the problem, and clearly and succinctly explains what's the deal, in terms that've obviously resounded with people and led them to share her primer with their friends.

Quip, then Clear, Simple Statement. She opens with a self deprecating aside – perhaps a bit too self-deprecating, as she doesn't pause long enough to elicit many chuckles. Am I imagining a sense of "What's she up to?" emanating from the (sparse) crowd in that quick initial establishing shot of the hearing chamber?

And then explains what she's up to:

Let's play a lightning round game.

I'm gonna be the bad guy, which I'm sure half the room would agree with anyway, and I want to get away with as much bad things as possible, really to enrich myself and advance my interests, even if that means putting my interests ahead of the American people.

I've enlisted all of you as my co-conspirators, so you're going help me legally get away with all of this."

Framing. Turning this into a lightning round taps into popular culture. Most TV viewers know what a lightning round is, certainly far more than regularly watch congressional hearings on C-Span.

And using the Q & A format requires those summoned to testify at the hearing to affirm each of her points. This reminded me a bit of the call and response technique that some preachers employ.

By structuring this exercise in a lightning round format, each witness can only answer yes or no, allowing little room to obfuscate – I'm looking at you, Bradley A. Smith, chairman of the Institute for Free Speech (IFS). (Here's a link to the Washington Post op-ed AOC refers to: Those payments to women were unseemly. That doesn't mean they were illegal. )

AOC has no time for any waffling, "Okay green light for hush money, I can do all sorts of terrible things, It's totally legal now for me to pay people off " She's not just working from a great script – but is quick on her feet as well. Nice!

Simple Language, Complex Points

The language is simple, and sounds like the way ordinary people speak – "bad guy," Followed later by "super bad guy."

"Totally."

"Okay great."

"Fabulous."

"Okay, so, awesome."

I think it's easier for her to do this, because she's not a lawyer. Even when she's discussing questions of legality, she doesn't slip into legalese -- "super legal" isn't the sort of phrase that would trip easily from the tongues of most lawyers– even recovering ones, or those who got sidetracked into politics.

Repetition of One Point: This is All Legal

AOC channels Michael Kinsley's observation, "The scandal isn't what's illegal, the scandal is what's legal." I hesitate to repeat that saying here, as for political junkies, it's been been heard all too many times before.

AOC fleshes out the details of a message many Americans understand: the system is broken, and under the current laws, no one's going to jail for doing any of this stuff. Instead, this is standard operating procedure in Washington. And that's the case even though as this May headline for report by the Pew Research Centre's headline makes clear: Most Americans want to limit campaign spending, say big donors have greater political influence .


Brindle , February 10, 2019 at 12:24 pm

AOC has great skill in understanding how language works, it is kind of mesmerizing watching her thinking and talking on her feet -- she intertwines big narratives with smaller ones seamlessly. Just brilliant.

notabanker , February 10, 2019 at 1:47 pm

She is gifted. She has demonstrated remarkable poise in her reactions to Pelosi. She refuses to sling dirt, instead acting in deference to her power with a confidence that her own principles will eventually prevail. It's an incredibly wise approach and extremely counter-intuitive to most.

Oso , February 10, 2019 at 4:11 pm

by supporting pelosi, calling her a progressive she shows acknowledgement of her role in the system. it may be the confidence that her principles of being part of the club will prevail. if you pay any attention at all to the system you'd understand it isn't broken, it works as designed.

notabanker , February 10, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Here's the specific interview I was referring to:
https://www.msnbc.com/mtp-daily/watch/full-interview-rep-ocasio-cortez-on-the-democratic-party-green-new-deal-2020-candidates-1439077443625

Catman , February 10, 2019 at 4:15 pm

This past summer right around the time she went to Iowa with Bernie that she was on a Sunday morning talk show. The host asked a question that was pointed and would pin most pols into a corner they'd likely not want to be pinned to. AOC hesitated, thought, and said, "Yes, i'll grant that. I agree with that." or something very similar.
Her hesitation and then acceptance told me two things:
1. She knows herself and she's not frightened by it. Other pols lapse into meaningless nonsense and think defense first. AOC just moves forward aggressively because she's confident in what she believes in.
2. She knows her audience. She understands who she's talking to.
Criticism just bounces off someone like that.

Joe Well , February 10, 2019 at 12:32 pm

I had already seen the Now This video, and what is striking to me is that we have social media content producers like Now This that are willing to treat AOC seriously and give a platform for her ideas, unlike the TV news or most newspapers. Now This and AJ+ (Al Jazeera social video) specialize in making videos viral, so they are the proximate cause of this video going viral, unlike some earlier AOC videos.

Now This is owned by Group Nine Media which is an independent startup that has received millions in venture funding as well as a significant investment by Discovery Media, according to Wikipedia.

Also, Facebook's role is interesting because they are still allowing at least some left-leaning videos to go viral.

How much longer will we have these outlets before they turn into CNN, MSNBC, NYT, etc.?

Ashburn , February 10, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for this, JLS. I was very impressed with AOC when I first saw her campaign video in her race against Joe Crowley. Since that time she has become a force of nature not just in Washington but across the country and internationally. I believe she is most impressive politician I have ever seen and I am in my late sixties. She is simply thrilling to watch and I think she appeals to many outside of her progressive base. Naturally the Washington Post, with its neocon and neoliberal editorial page, will use every tool at its disposal to discredit her and any other progressive.

Hepativore , February 10, 2019 at 1:41 pm

The thing that worries me is that congress might find some way to remove her or shut her up if she continues to ruffle neoliberal feathers like this.

While it would be a very extreme measure, do you think that Congress might try to place her under Censure, and possibly even try building a case for Congressional Expulsion on bogus charges? It would be a very underhanded thing to do, but on the other hand, the neoliberals in both parties in Washington D.C. probably want to mount her head on a wall at this point.

flora , February 10, 2019 at 5:02 pm

AOC isn't beholden to the corporate donor/lobbyist/consultant owners of the Dem estab. If she isn't spending 30 hours a week dialing-for-dollars, and is free to represent her voters interests, she might give other Dems ideas, especially the younger ones . Gasp! can't have that! (/s)

https://www.businessinsider.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-slams-corruption-in-oversight-hearing-2019-2

see also dialing-for-dollars:
http://www.startribune.com/how-dialing-for-dollars-has-perverted-congress/378184931/

JohnnyGL , February 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm

I saw this one on Friday .captivating and jaw-dropping. I almost couldn't believe she just got as blunt as that.

I wonder if she's preparing anything to get a little revenge on Pelosi for the brilliantly withering scorn she dropped on the GND, turning it into the "Green Dream". I found myself laughing and annoyed at the same time.

Pelosi knows she's got a grip on the reigns of power and she's happy to rub it in the face of the new freshman class of what she sees as little more than noisemakers (not to dismiss the power of the noisemakers, they've done more than I could have anticipated).

AOC and friends have cards to play .let's see how they play them. They can't directly attack her, of course, they need her. But they can get attention, pressure and embarrass her to take various actions.

Susan the Other , February 10, 2019 at 12:59 pm

AOC is not reacting to Trump's socialism challenge. She is ignoring it as if it came from someone unqualified to be president. Imagine that. Or from masterful legislators so compromised by corruption they will only change when they get good and frightened. It might take a while because they have been too impervious to fear anything for so many decades they might not realize they are in danger. They might as well be very, very stupid. No, she's not taking the bait. Instead, she is pointing out what a corrupt thing both branches of government are, the legislature and, even worse and more dangerous, the president, and not merely because he is controlled by the military. She's playing chess for now. Checkmate will probably come from left field in the form of an economic collapse. Nothing to see here. Move along.

ambrit , February 10, 2019 at 1:54 pm

Fascinating as this is, I worry that AOC might get the "Rosa Luxembourg" treatment from the present day power elites.
Murder has become a standard operating procedure for American operatives overseas; see drone warfare as an example. The logic of Empire predicts that in general, the tactics used by the Empire overseas will be brought back to the Homeland for eventual use against domestic 'enemies.'
The 'Tinfoil Hat Cadres' can cite numerous examples of domestic killings with suspicious ties to internal politics. In the main, these 'examples' of evil are tied to individuals and smaller groups of the power elites. I fear that political murder has become normalized inside America's political classes.
Many here joke about "Mr. or Mz. 'X' better not take any small airplane flights for the foreseeable future." It may be a 'joke' to us, but it certainly is not a joke to those viewing their impending demise from 10,000 feet up in the air.

Hepativore , February 10, 2019 at 2:55 pm

They probably will not have to go to that much trouble. They can always invent a quasi-legal or illegal procedure to remove her from the senate, like the example I gave above with Censure or Expulsion. Plus, this will be officially-sanctioned by Washington D.C. and all of the major media outlets will be able to portray it as getting rid of a troublemaker who did not want to be a team player.

philnc , February 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

Freuddian slip that, " remove her from the senate"? Actually, there have been open calls from within the establishment to primary her, or most recently, to gerrymander her House district out of existence. But that would just free her up to run for US Senate. It has been suggested that possibility might cause Sen. Schumer to put the kabosh on any effort to eliminate her district. As for a primary challenge, while it certainly would mean lots of walking around money for a select group of Democratic political consultants (the Republicans seem to have slurped up all the foreign regime-change work for this cycle), given AOC's position as the first or second most popular politician in the country (right up there with Bernie), that seems like a fool's errand.

Adam Eran , February 10, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Nice to know that anyone is saying this in a public forum.

In a bit of coincidence, I heard and adviser to Jerry Brown recite the current political system's creed, saying that just because candidates get money from special interests doesn't mean they're captives to those interests. It was astonishing to hear because the speaker said this without the slightest hesitation The rest of us in the room paused for a moment.

I replied that psychological studies demonstrate that if I give you a piece of gum, not millions in campaign contributions, you're likely to be more favorably disposed to what I say.

so we agreed to disagree. Personally, I've interpreted reciting this creed as a kind of initiation the prerequisite to belong to the religion that currently governs the country, not as something the guy actually believed. Like Michael Corleone's recitation at his children's christening Sure, it's a toxic religion, but there are so many of those the cult of vengeance, for example (why else would Americans incarcerate so many people).

dk , February 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm

The context of AOC's hypothetical 100%-PAC-financed campaign:

Meet the Most Corporate PAC-Reliant Reps in Congress

Here are the eight House representatives who took more than two-thirds of their overall campaign funding in the 2018 cycle from PACs representing corporations and corporate trade associations:

https://readsludge.com/2019/01/16/meet-the-most-corporate-pac-reliant-reps-in-congress/

Wyoming , February 10, 2019 at 3:33 pm

My interpretation of the relationship between Pelosi and AOC.

I don't think at all that Pelosi is out to crush AOC. She certainly does not agree with most of AOC's policies (after all Pelosi's path to power was different and she is irrevocably wedded to it) but I think she operates on a different plane here.

Pelosi's rise to power was arduous and her success came from her brilliance in overcoming a wide range of obstacles. She is focused, smart, relentless and ruthless. She earned her power and will not give it away. (what she uses her power for is not really relevant in this discussion)

I think she recognizes in AOC a woman not that dissimilar to herself but separated by a couple of generations. She will not try and destroy her as AOC is not a meaningful threat to her and she can leverage politically from AOC's huge impact in ways only Pelois is likely to know how to do. She will make AOC earn her own power by proving she can overcome obstacles and has the smarts and fortitude to take what she wants in spite of what her opponents do to stop her (opponents come from all directions in politics) – just as she did. That kind of behavior is what Pelosi respects. She could have prevented AOC from being on the committee she used as a platform for the above exposure of corruption but she did not – and it is certain that Pelosi was aware of the potential for AOC to use it to her advantage, or not. So AOC just passed a test there will be many more. She may eventually fall, or she may be one of the rare occurrences of someone rising to prominence and changing the world. She is where she is at at 29 years old! I am sure that scares the crap out of her political opponents as anyone can see tremendous upside for her should she continue to develop. Here's wishing her luck – we need people like her more than any other kind by far.

John k , February 10, 2019 at 7:21 pm

I'd take it, but sounds wishful. Never underestimate incompetence. Pelosi is where she is not because of brilliance but because she is the bag lady.
Pelosi might have made a deal to get her support for speaker, which was more important to her.
Or she might think that AOC would quiet down once she got up on the totem pole, just as she would have done.
Seems unlikely for somebody that believes in the rich and powerful Uber alles would otherwise support somebody that wants to topple that temple.

notabanker , February 10, 2019 at 8:45 pm

AOC's appointment to Fin Svcs is an interesting one. House Oversight Environmental sub committee is useful to Pelosi to have AOC go after Trump, but I'm not sure what Pelosi gets out of the Fin Svcs committee. A quid pro quo for Speaker support makes some sense on the surface.

Interesting as well, AOC turned down an appointment to the Select GND committee and explained it as a timing issue, being asked after her previous two appointments and not having the bandwidth to take on the Select committee and do her job well.

I can read some things into that:
– AOC values those two committee assignments. She's pretty wise to not bite off more than she can chew.
– That Select committee is pretty meaningless. She got the resolution she wanted introduced.
– Did Pelosi underestimate her early and then try to bury her with work? Or did she force her to compromise either the spotlight she will have tearing people up on FS and Oversight or the content of the GND resolution?

I think you have two very savvy political women facing off here, both know it, and both are working a long term game of chess. The generational gap is a huge advantage and disadvantage for both. For now, they are going to leverage it/each other and play their roles. Sometime before the DNC convention in 2020 pieces are going to be played that changes the dynamic. The outcome of that will dictate the path post 2020 convention. The odds of a progressive House are slim. Progressive President a little better. AOC will need Pelosi especially with a Progressive Presidency. Pelosi will need her with a Progressive President. Centrist President relegates AOC to noise in terms of actual House business.

Will be interesting.

VietnamVet , February 10, 2019 at 5:24 pm

AOC is exposing the corruption of paid politics. Virginia Democrats, Donald Trump, and Jeff Bezos illuminate the dark secrets that the plutocratic system uses to keep the connected in line. This is breaking down. Oligarchs are at war. Neoliberalism is stealing life away from the little people and destroying the world. She is a noble in the good old fashion classical sense. Compare her to Adam Schiff. This is visceral. This is good versus evil.

Octopii , February 10, 2019 at 6:02 pm

Brings back fond memories of Alan Grayson's rundowns of the republican healthcare plan (if you do get sick, die quickly) and socializing losses (now we all own the red roof inn).

Wukchumni , February 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

This was my favorite Grayson grilling, watch Bernanke squirm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0NYBTkE1yQ

Clark , February 10, 2019 at 8:56 pm

AOC was even more riveting than Alan Grayson. I'd forgotten about the Bernanke grilling, although his marvelous skewering of the Fed general counsel (Alvarez, I think his name was) about where all the gazillion dollars of bailout money went was also pretty special. "Answer the question." "Congressman, I did answer the question." "No you didn't. Answer the question."

voteforno6 , February 10, 2019 at 6:39 pm

We're going to see more of this in the future remember, AOC doesn't do "call time," so she'll have plenty of opportunities to engage in hearings like this.

Kael , February 10, 2019 at 7:31 pm

She and the panel missed an important opportunity to point out that what gets you on a committee is raising money from the industry regulated by that committee. Instead they just said there is no illegality in working on related legislation.

Maybe this uniquely Article I corruption, didn't fit with her The President Is Even Worse thesis. But she has the skills to tie it to Article II, revolving door scams. I hope she does so soon.

polecat , February 10, 2019 at 8:21 pm

I know that Big Oil is a baddie nic on AOC's quiver, but why not hit at the black heart of HighFinance,, and their kin, WhiteShoeBoy Big-n-Legal who are, mostly likely, some of the biggest, and most manipulative donors around. I think loosing arrows constantly the earl cos., to the exclusion of other nefarious principals might loose some steam, especially when most of the country's citizens rely considerably on FFs as a means of fueling their ground transport, to say nothing of air travel. An example : She could hit Biden by name, with regard to his imput and substantial influence, in passing legislation that has only screwed a generation .. or few !!
So, if she's serious for change, for the better, for the Commons, she needs some specific bulleyes to aim at, many of whom are within her own party !

Richard , February 10, 2019 at 9:11 pm

It's not clear to me how this hearing happened, Can anyone enlighten? Can AOC just schedule her own hearings on her own topics, call her own witnesses? I have no idea how those committees work.

Parker Dooley , February 10, 2019 at 10:38 pm

Apologies to Barry Manilow, but --

I've been alive forever
And I wrote the very first law
I put the weasel words together
I am power and I write the laws

I write the laws that make my wealth increase
I write the laws of war and other hateful things
I write the laws that let the poor folks die
I write the laws, I write the laws

My home lies far above you
But my claws are deep into your soul
Now, when I ignore your cries
I'm young again, even though I'm very old

I write the laws that make my wealth increase
I write the laws of war and other hateful things
I write the laws that let the poor folks die
I write the laws, I write the laws

Oh my greed makes you dance
And lets you know you have no chance
And I wrote foreclosure laws so you must move
Dejection fills your heart
Well, that's a real fine place to start
It's all for me it's not for you
It's all from you, it's all for me
It's a worldwide travesty

I write the laws that make my wealth increase
I write the laws of war and other hateful things
I write the laws that let the poor folks die
I write the laws, I write the laws

I write the laws that make my wealth increase
I write the laws of war and other hateful things
I write the laws that let the poor folks die
I write the laws, I write the laws
I am power and I write the laws

[Feb 10, 2019] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Exposes the Problem of Dark Money in Politics NowThis - YouTube

Highly recommended!
Feb 10, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Published on Feb 8, 2019

'We have a system that is fundamentally broken.' -- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is explaining just how f*cked campaign finance laws really are.
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In the latest liberal news and political news, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines at a recent congressional hearing on money in politics by explaining and inquiring about political corruption. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, aka AOC, went into the issues of lobbyists and Super PACs and how the political establishment, including Donald Trump, uses big money to their advantage, to hide and obfuscate, and push crooked agendas. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is a rising star in the Democratic Party and House of Representatives.

#AlexandriaOcasioCortez #AOC #DarkMoney #politics

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Patrick NEZ , 2 days ago

Good for her. Unfortunately a number of American citizens aren't intelligent enough to realize this exact scenario is playing out right now!

Avembe , 2 days ago

OMG this lady is just a nuclear weapon by herself.

ATX World , 2 days ago

Love this feisty congresswoman. I can see why AOC is dislike by the right and even many democrats. She's in DC to work for the American ppl and not enrich herself or special interest. Love the 2018 class and hope they make changes and clean up DC.

TrueDaxian , 2 days ago

AOC is amazing, pointing out all the fundamental wrongs in our political system. I hope she stays in Congress as long as possible to spread her influence.

Lani Tuitupou , 2 days ago

True bravery and leadership in the face of corruption ! I love this woman

Michael Zinns , 2 days ago

AOC is speaking out when no one else will about the corruption in Washington. She is disliked because she is actually fighting for people. This makes me want to move to New York just so I can vote for her. Keep it up the pressure.

Aracelis Morales Garcia de Ramos , 2 days ago

She is going to be needing extra security. She's poised to take them down and we know how these things have been handled in the past. I'm loving her fearlessness but worry for her safety. May she be protected and blessed. SMIB

[Feb 10, 2019] 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.

Feb 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: February 9, 2019 at 9:35 am GMT

@NoseytheDuke Face it -- he neither believed nor understood those Stephen Miller speeches. Coming from the mouth of Donald Trump, they were lies.

Why do so many of you intelligent people still buy into the political puppet show, expecting BigGov to fix itself? Electoral politics, judicial confirmations, etc, are orchestrated conflict to keep dissidence channeled and harmlessly blown off as the Empire lurches along.

There are other columnists here at Unz who have been calling the Beltway BS for years. For example:

"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, June 12, 2016

[Feb 09, 2019] Tucker Carlson A Buckley for Our Time Intercollegiate Studies Institute Educating for Liberty

Notable quotes:
"... National Review ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Justin Raimondo is the author of ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | home.isi.org

The Bill Buckley of the paleoconservatives has arrived, and just in time for the Trump era. While Tucker Carlson's rhetorical reach may not stretch as far and wide as Buckley's, he evokes the same gaily combative spirit that young conservatives of the 1960s admired in the founder of National Review . Both emerged as symbols of a new and rising movement, an insurgency on the right that delighted in confronting and demolishing the mythology of modern liberalism -- "owning the libs" as we say nowadays -- as Buckley regularly did on his PBS-aired TV show Firing Line and as Carlson does five times a week on Fox News.

Yet that is where the resemblance ends. The "fusionism" of Buckley and National Review was a far cry from the unreconstructed America First-ism of an earlier American right, so ably reconfigured by Carlson for the twenty-first century. The original Buckley program brought together the three contending factions of the conservative movement: the anti-communists, the social conservatives, and the nascent libertarian movement. The America First coalition personified by Carlson connects the paleoconservatives, long thought to be the least influential of the right's many factions, with millions of radicalized middle Americans, the inhabitants of "flyover country" -- that is, the least influential people in the nation, the "forgotten people" Trump directly appealed to.

The revolution in conservative thought represented by Carlson sets many of what Buckley would have recognized as the central principles of modern conservatism on their head. Beyond that, however, is the fundamental difference in their respective positions: Buckley came to be part of the political class, the coastal elite that has ruled the nation since its earliest days: Carlson targets those people as the hapless captains of a "ship of fools," the title of his new book.

A decadent and self-isolated elite elected Donald Trump, says Carlson. Yes, somewhat tiresomely, Carlson launches his polemic with the eternal search for whom to "blame" for the victory of the "unappealing," "vulgar and ignorant" Trump. Once we get past this boilerplate, however, Carlson homes in on the real problem: the bicoastal oligarchy that dominates the rest of the country and is determined to hold on to power no matter what the cost.

They invaded Iraq on a pretext, bailed out Wall Street, lowered interest rates to zero, unleashed an unprecedented tide of immigration, and stood by while the country's manufacturing foundation was eaten away and the middle class collapsed. Yet still, the oligarchs felt entitled to rule, and they certainly expected to continue their rule beyond that November night in 2016, despite the fact that they were lording it over a population with which they had almost nothing in common.

In a phrase that will surely earn him howls of outrage from the guardians of political correctness, Carlson describes the "Latin Americanization" of the U.S. economy, where the income distribution curve is coming to resemble what one might find under a new form of feudalism. The Democrats, once the party of the working class, now advance the interests of the progressive bourgeoisie in D.C., New York, and Silicon Valley.

This Latin Americanization process is not defined merely by the isolation of the ruling class, its arrogance and indifference to the fate of its own people, but also by a major demographic project: the wholesale substitution of more pliable subjects for the voting population. When the East Germans of the German Democratic Republic rose up in rebellion and the communists solicited ideas to get back in the workers' good graces, the Stalinist poet/playwright Bertolt Brecht opined, "Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?" That is precisely what is happening. The American people never voted for it. Indeed, at every chance they have been given to express their opinion on mass immigration and open borders, the result has been an overwhelming and unmitigated rejection of both.

Carlson raises a question that no one else dares ask, for fear of the answer: Are we a country anymore? Or are we a sprawling borderless empire that simply expands and spreads, unbidden, like some mindless amoeba? "Again and again, we are told that these changes are entirely good," Carlson writes. "Change itself is inherently virtuous, our leaders explain. Those who oppose it are bigots." We have no common language, culture, history -- so why should we remain a country?

Our rulers cannot and will not answer this question. It violates everything they believe, everything they hold sacred: it strikes at the very heart of their worldview. Carlson points out that this country is in the midst of a disorienting, alienating, and potentially dangerous transformation that is changing the kind of country we were into something that may not be a country at all. If you oppose this, you're an enemy of diversity -- which is now our highest value.

We are not allowed to debate this: like all religious dogmas, it is beyond dispute, and any questioning of its wisdom is apt to get you run out of town on a rail. The penalty is so high because the policy is so unpopular, except with the bicoastal oligarchy, which imports cheap computer nerds from India to run their companies and Guatemalan nannies to raise their children. Mexican gardeners order their landscapes, while robbers, rapists, and drug dealers in this country illegally spread disorder in the neighborhoods on the other side of the railroad tracks. Not that the elites care: it isn't happening in the leafy suburbs they inhabit, which haven't changed since 1956.

And they wonder why the peasants with pitchforks are on the march. Not even the Bourbons were this indifferent to reality. How could they not have seen Trump and the upsurge of right-wing populism coming? How could they not have realized that, as Carlson puts it, "virtually none of their core beliefs had majority support from the population they governed. It was a strange arrangement for a democracy. In the end, it was unsustainable."

Right down the line, from immigration to foreign policy to the economic policies that enriched Silicon Valley and impoverished Middle America, the Davos crowd's agenda is the polar opposite of what most Americans want. Indeed, if a single phrase embodies the new conservative dispensation's view of the elite's policy agenda, and its conservative doppelgänger, Trump's supporters on the right often repeat it with ill-concealed contempt: Invade the world, invite the world.

This was the policy of the George W. Bush administration, and, with only slight rhetorical modifications, the mind-set that animated the Obama administration, not to mention most of the 2016 would-be Republican aspirants. Yet Americans of both parties were sick and tired of being lied to about the most disastrous war in their history, so they ignored the establishment outcries when Trump denounced the Iraq War as based on a lie. Trump was supposed to lose the South Carolina primary due to this "faux pas," but as usual the conventional wisdom was wrong: he won overwhelmingly.

Carlson's chapter on our "Foolish Wars" does something I have seen no other conservative work do: it documents the betrayal of the neoconservatives and their attempted reentry into the legions of the left. Max Boot, formerly a minor neocon known for advocating an "American empire," has now become one of many competing gurus of the NeverTrumpers and is busily trying to convince his newfound leftist comrades that he's really one of them. Carlson's mere listing of all the countries Boot has demanded we hit underscores the sheer craziness and lack of accountability that has dominated our discourse for years.

One almost feels sorry for Bill Kristol -- almost! -- as Carlson documents the trail of failed predictions ("They'll greet us as liberators!") and disastrous policies initiated by the little Lenin of the neocons. It's a virtually unbroken record of failed bets, miscalculations, and outright lies spelled out over decades -- a record that would doom any other pundit to irrelevance, instead of gifting him a prime spot on the cable networks and the op-ed pages.

Buckley made room for the neoconservatives when they defected from a pacifistic Democratic Party in the 1960s. Now Carlson is formalizing their unceremonious exit from the right by giving them a good shove. They'll land on their feet: they always do, like a hobo jumping off a boxcar. Let Tucker's book serve as a warning to the next train they try to hitch a ride on. ♦

Justin Raimondo is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (ISI Books).

[Feb 08, 2019] Snyder 'One World Religion' Looms As Pope Islam's Top Imam Sign Historic Covenant

Feb 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Snyder: 'One World Religion' Looms As Pope & Islam's Top Imam Sign Historic Covenant

by Tyler Durden Thu, 02/07/2019 - 20:45 391 SHARES Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

A historic interfaith covenant was signed in the Middle East on Monday, and the mainstream media in the United States has been almost entirely silent about it.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb is considered to be the most important imam in Sunni Islam, and he arrived at the signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi with Pope Francis "hand-in-hand in a symbol of interfaith brotherhood" . But this wasn't just a ceremony for Catholics and Muslims. According to a British news source , the signing of this covenant was done "in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths"...

The pope and the grand imam of al-Azhar have signed a historic declaration of fraternity, calling for peace between nations, religions and races, in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam , Judaism and other faiths.

Pope Francis , the leader of the world's Catholics, and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Sunni Islam's most prestigious seat of learning, arrived at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi hand-in-hand in a symbol of interfaith brotherhood.

In other words, there was a concerted effort to make sure that all of the religions of the world were represented at this gathering.

According to the official Vatican website , a tremendous amount of preparation went in to the drafting of this document, and it encourages believers from all religions "to shake hands, embrace one another, kiss one another, and even pray" with one another

The document, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, was prepared "with much reflection and prayer", the Pope said. The one great danger at this moment, he continued, is "destruction, war, hatred between us." "If we believers are not able to shake hands, embrace one another, kiss one another, and even pray, our faith will be defeated", he said. The Pope explained that the document "is born of faith in God who is the Father of all and the Father of peace; it condemns all destruction, all terrorism, from the first terrorism in history, that of Cain."

There is a lot of language about peace in this document, but it goes way beyond just advocating for peace.

Over and over again, the word "God" is used to simultaneously identify Allah and the God of Christianity. Here is just one example

We, who believe in God and in the final meeting with Him and His judgment, on the basis of our religious and moral responsibility, and through this Document, call upon ourselves, upon the leaders of the world as well as the architects of international policy and world economy, to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace; to intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood and bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline that the world is presently experiencing.

On top of that, the document also boldly declares that "the diversity of religions" that we see in the world was "willed by God"

Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept;

In essence, this is saying that it is the will of God that there are hundreds of different religions in the world and that they are all acceptable in His sight.

We know that the elite want a one world religion , but to see the most important clerics from both Catholicism and Islam make such a dramatic public push for it is absolutely stunning.

You can find the full text of the covenant that they signed on the official Vatican website . I have also reproduced the entire document below...

* * *

INTRODUCTION

Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved. Through faith in God, who has created the universe, creatures and all human beings (equal on account of his mercy), believers are called to express this human fraternity by safeguarding creation and the entire universe and supporting all persons, especially the poorest and those most in need.

This transcendental value served as the starting point for several meetings characterized by a friendly and fraternal atmosphere where we shared the joys, sorrows and problems of our contemporary world. We did this by considering scientific and technical progress, therapeutic achievements, the digital era, the mass media and communications. We reflected also on the level of poverty, conflict and suffering of so many brothers and sisters in different parts of the world as a consequence of the arms race, social injustice, corruption, inequality, moral decline, terrorism, discrimination, extremism and many other causes.

From our fraternal and open discussions, and from the meeting that expressed profound hope in a bright future for all human beings, the idea of this Document on Human Fraternity was conceived. It is a text that has been given honest and serious thought so as to be a joint declaration of good and heartfelt aspirations. It is a document that invites all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters.

DOCUMENT

In the name of God who has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and who has called them to live together as brothers and sisters, to fill the earth and make known the values of goodness, love and peace;

In the name of innocent human life that God has forbidden to kill, affirming that whoever kills a person is like one who kills the whole of humanity, and that whoever saves a person is like one who saves the whole of humanity;

In the name of the poor, the destitute, the marginalized and those most in need whom God has commanded us to help as a duty required of all persons, especially the wealthy and of means;

In the name of orphans, widows, refugees and those exiled from their homes and their countries; in the name of all victims of wars, persecution and injustice; in the name of the weak, those who live in fear, prisoners of war and those tortured in any part of the world, without distinction;

In the name of peoples who have lost their security, peace, and the possibility of living together, becoming victims of destruction, calamity and war;

In the name of human fraternity that embraces all human beings, unites them and renders them equal;

In the name of this fraternity torn apart by policies of extremism and division, by systems of unrestrained profit or by hateful ideological tendencies that manipulate the actions and the future of men and women;

In the name of freedom, that God has given to all human beings creating them free and distinguishing them by this gift;

In the name of justice and mercy, the foundations of prosperity and the cornerstone of faith;

In the name of all persons of good will present in every part of the world;

In the name of God and of everything stated thus far; Al-Azhar al-Sharif and the Muslims of the East and West, together with the Catholic Church and the Catholics of the East and West, declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path; mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.

We, who believe in God and in the final meeting with Him and His judgment, on the basis of our religious and moral responsibility, and through this Document, call upon ourselves, upon the leaders of the world as well as the architects of international policy and world economy, to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace; to intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood and bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline that the world is presently experiencing.

We call upon intellectuals, philosophers, religious figures, artists, media professionals and men and women of culture in every part of the world, to rediscover the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity and coexistence in order to confirm the importance of these values as anchors of salvation for all, and to promote them everywhere.

This Declaration, setting out from a profound consideration of our contemporary reality, valuing its successes and in solidarity with its suffering, disasters and calamities, believes firmly that among the most important causes of the crises of the modern world are a desensitized human conscience, a distancing from religious values and a prevailing individualism accompanied by materialistic philosophies that deify the human person and introduce worldly and material values in place of supreme and transcendental principles.

While recognizing the positive steps taken by our modern civilization in the fields of science, technology, medicine, industry and welfare, especially in developed countries, we wish to emphasize that, associated with such historic advancements, great and valued as they are, there exists both a moral deterioration that influences international action and a weakening of spiritual values and responsibility. All this contributes to a general feeling of frustration, isolation and desperation leading many to fall either into a vortex of atheistic, agnostic or religious extremism, or into blind and fanatic extremism, which ultimately encourage forms of dependency and individual or collective self-destruction.

History shows that religious extremism, national extremism and also intolerance have produced in the world, be it in the East or West, what might be referred to as signs of a "third world war being fought piecemeal". In several parts of the world and in many tragic circumstances these signs have begun to be painfully apparent, as in those situations where the precise number of victims, widows and orphans is unknown. We see, in addition, other regions preparing to become theatres of new conflicts, with outbreaks of tension and a build-up of arms and ammunition, and all this in a global context overshadowed by uncertainty, disillusionment, fear of the future, and controlled by narrow-minded economic interests.

We likewise affirm that major political crises, situations of injustice and lack of equitable distribution of natural resources – which only a rich minority benefit from, to the detriment of the majority of the peoples of the earth – have generated, and continue to generate, vast numbers of poor, infirm and deceased persons. This leads to catastrophic crises that various countries have fallen victim to despite their natural resources and the resourcefulness of young people which characterize these nations. In the face of such crises that result in the deaths of millions of children – wasted away from poverty and hunger – there is an unacceptable silence on the international level.

It is clear in this context how the family as the fundamental nucleus of society and humanity is essential in bringing children into the world, raising them, educating them, and providing them with solid moral formation and domestic security. To attack the institution of the family, to regard it with contempt or to doubt its important role, is one of the most threatening evils of our era.

We affirm also the importance of awakening religious awareness and the need to revive this awareness in the hearts of new generations through sound education and an adherence to moral values and upright religious teachings. In this way we can confront tendencies that are individualistic, selfish, conflicting, and also address radicalism and blind extremism in all its forms and expressions.

The first and most important aim of religions is to believe in God, to honour Him and to invite all men and women to believe that this universe depends on a God who governs it. He is the Creator who has formed us with His divine wisdom and has granted us the gift of life to protect it. It is a gift that no one has the right to take away, threaten or manipulate to suit oneself. Indeed, everyone must safeguard this gift of life from its beginning up to its natural end. We therefore condemn all those practices that are a threat to life such as genocide, acts of terrorism, forced displacement, human trafficking, abortion and euthanasia. We likewise condemn the policies that promote these practices.

Moreover, we resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood. These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings. They result from a political manipulation of religions and from interpretations made by religious groups who, in the course of history, have taken advantage of the power of religious sentiment in the hearts of men and women in order to make them act in a way that has nothing to do with the truth of religion. This is done for the purpose of achieving objectives that are political, economic, worldly and short-sighted. We thus call upon all concerned to stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism, and to refrain from using the name of God to justify acts of murder, exile, terrorism and oppression. We ask this on the basis of our common belief in God who did not create men and women to be killed or to fight one another, nor to be tortured or humiliated in their lives and circumstances. God, the Almighty, has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want His name to be used to terrorize people.

This Document, in accordance with previous International Documents that have emphasized the importance of the role of religions in the construction of world peace, upholds the following:

– The firm conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace; to defend the values of mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence; to re-establish wisdom, justice and love; and to reawaken religious awareness among young people so that future generations may be protected from the realm of materialistic thinking and from dangerous policies of unbridled greed and indifference that are based on the law of force and not on the force of law;

– Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept;

– Justice based on mercy is the path to follow in order to achieve a dignified life to which every human being has a right;

– Dialogue, understanding and the widespread promotion of a culture of tolerance, acceptance of others and of living together peacefully would contribute significantly to reducing many economic, social, political and environmental problems that weigh so heavily on a large part of humanity;

– Dialogue among believers means coming together in the vast space of spiritual, human and shared social values and, from here, transmitting the highest moral virtues that religions aim for. It also means avoiding unproductive discussions;

– The protection of places of worship – synagogues, churches and mosques – is a duty guaranteed by religions, human values, laws and international agreements. Every attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them by violent assaults, bombings or destruction, is a deviation from the teachings of religions as well as a clear violation of international law;

– Terrorism is deplorable and threatens the security of people, be they in the East or the West, the North or the South, and disseminates panic, terror and pessimism, but this is not due to religion, even when terrorists instrumentalize it. It is due, rather, to an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts and to policies linked to hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression and pride. This is why it is so necessary to stop supporting terrorist movements fuelled by financing, the provision of weapons and strategy, and by attempts to justify these movements even using the media. All these must be regarded as international crimes that threaten security and world peace. Such terrorism must be condemned in all its forms and expressions;

– The concept of citizenship is based on the equality of rights and duties, under which all enjoy justice. It is therefore crucial to establish in our societies the concept of full citizenship and reject the discriminatory use of the term minorities which engenders feelings of isolation and inferiority. Its misuse paves the way for hostility and discord; it undoes any successes and takes away the religious and civil rights of some citizens who are thus discriminated against;

– Good relations between East and West are indisputably necessary for both. They must not be neglected, so that each can be enriched by the other's culture through fruitful exchange and dialogue. The West can discover in the East remedies for those spiritual and religious maladies that are caused by a prevailing materialism. And the East can find in the West many elements that can help free it from weakness, division, conflict and scientific, technical and cultural decline. It is important to pay attention to religious, cultural and historical differences that are a vital component in shaping the character, culture and civilization of the East. It is likewise important to reinforce the bond of fundamental human rights in order to help ensure a dignified life for all the men and women of East and West, avoiding the politics of double standards;

– It is an essential requirement to recognize the right of women to education and employment, and to recognize their freedom to exercise their own political rights. Moreover, efforts must be made to free women from historical and social conditioning that runs contrary to the principles of their faith and dignity. It is also necessary to protect women from sexual exploitation and from being treated as merchandise or objects of pleasure or financial gain. Accordingly, an end must be brought to all those inhuman and vulgar practices that denigrate the dignity of women. Efforts must be made to modify those laws that prevent women from fully enjoying their rights;

– The protection of the fundamental rights of children to grow up in a family environment, to receive nutrition, education and support, are duties of the family and society. Such duties must be guaranteed and protected so that they are not overlooked or denied to any child in any part of the world. All those practices that violate the dignity and rights of children must be denounced. It is equally important to be vigilant against the dangers that they are exposed to, particularly in the digital world, and to consider as a crime the trafficking of their innocence and all violations of their youth;

– The protection of the rights of the elderly, the weak, the disabled, and the oppressed is a religious and social obligation that must be guaranteed and defended through strict legislation and the implementation of the relevant international agreements.

To this end, by mutual cooperation, the Catholic Church and Al-Azhar announce and pledge to convey this Document to authorities, influential leaders, persons of religion all over the world, appropriate regional and international organizations, organizations within civil society, religious institutions and leading thinkers. They further pledge to make known the principles contained in this Declaration at all regional and international levels, while requesting that these principles be translated into policies, decisions, legislative texts, courses of study and materials to be circulated.

Al-Azhar and the Catholic Church ask that this Document become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation, thus helping to educate new generations to bring goodness and peace to others, and to be defenders everywhere of the rights of the oppressed and of the least of our brothers and sisters.

In conclusion, our aspiration is that:

this Declaration may constitute an invitation to reconciliation and fraternity among all believers, indeed among believers and non-believers, and among all people of good will;

this Declaration may be an appeal to every upright conscience that rejects deplorable violence and blind extremism; an appeal to those who cherish the values of tolerance and fraternity that are promoted and encouraged by religions;

this Declaration may be a witness to the greatness of faith in God that unites divided hearts and elevates the human soul;

this Declaration may be a sign of the closeness between East and West, between North and South, and between all who believe that God has created us to understand one another, cooperate with one another and live as brothers and sisters who love one another.

This is what we hope and seek to achieve with the aim of finding a universal peace that all can enjoy in this life.

Abu Dhabi, 4 february 2019

NiggaPleeze , 3 minutes ago link

It's not One World Religion, for crying out loud. It's actually a great statement. The Pope is trying to protect Christians living in Muslim or Jewish lands and the Iman Muslims living in Christian or Jewish lands. If there were a Rabbi signing it, he would have wanted to protect Jews living in Christian lands (and possibly Muslim lands but frankly I think Jews are happy to have all Mideast Jews driven to Israel so I don't think they currently care much about that).

One World Religion requires the same religion for everyone. Secular humanism is the One World Religion. It is sold as actually not being a religion, the better to fool the masses. But it is entirely a religion. And the Beast will rise from Secular Humanism, as will the Mark of the Beast.

Christianity will definitely not be part of the One World Religion.

[Feb 07, 2019] Government shutdown, Venezuela Donald Trump evolves into the best propagator of neoliberal fascism that tends to become a norm

Notable quotes:
"... The imperialists want to grab the rich oil fields for the US big oil cartel ..."
"... Venezuela must not become an example for other countries in the region on social-programs policy ..."
"... Venezuela must not turn to cooperation with rival powers like China and Russia. Such a prospect may give the country the ability to minimize the effects of the economic war ..."
"... So, when Trump declared the unelected Juan Guaido as the 'legitimate president' of Venezuela, all the main neoliberal powers of the West rushed to follow the decision. ..."
"... Donald Trump is the personification of an authoritarian system that increasingly unveils its true nature. The US empire makes the Venezuelan economy 'scream hard', as it did in Chile in 1973. The country then turned into the first laboratory of neoliberalism with the help of the Chicago Boys and a brutal dictatorship. So, as the big fraud is clear now, neoliberalism is losing ground and ideological influence over countries and societies, after decades of complete dominance. ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

Even before the 2016 US presidential election, this blog supported that Donald Trump is a pure sample of neoliberal barbarism . Many almost laughed at this perception because Trump was being already promoted, more or less, as the 'terminator' of the neoliberal establishment. And many people, especially in the US, tired from the economic disasters, the growing inequality and the endless wars, were anxious to believe that this was indeed his special mission.

Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Trump sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008.

In 2017 , Trump bombed Syria for the first time, resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of the confrontation with Russia.

Indeed, a year later, Trump built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish neocons. And then, he ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neocolonial friends.

In the middle of all this 'orgy' of pro-establishment moves, Trump offered a controversial withdrawal of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan to save whatever was possible from his 'anti-interventionist' profile. And it was indeed a highly controversial action with very little value, considering all these US military bases that are still fully operational in the broader Middle East and beyond. Not to mention the various ways through which the US intervenes in the area (training proxies, equip them with heavy weapons, supporting the Saudis and contribute to war crimes in Yemen, etc.)

And then , after this very short break, Trump returned to 'business as usual' to satisfy the neoliberal establishment with a 'glorious' record. He achieved a 35-day government shutdown, which is the "longest shutdown in US history" .

Trump conducted the longest experiment on neoliberals' ultimate goal: abolishing the annoying presence of the state. And this was just a taste of what Trump is willing to do in order to satisfy all neoliberals' wet dreams.

And now, we have the Venezuela issue. Since Hugo Chavez nationalized PDVSA, the central oil and natural gas company, the US empire launched a fierce economic war against the country. Yet, while all previous US administrations were trying to replace legitimate governments with their puppets as much silently as possible through slow-motion coup operations, Trump has no problem to do it in plain sight.

And perhaps the best proof for that is a statement by one of the most warmongering figures of the neocon/neoliberal cabal, hired by Trump . As John Bolton cynically and openly admitted recently, " It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. "

Therefore, one should be very naive of course to believe that the Western imperialist gang seriously cares about the Venezuelan people and especially the poor. Here are three basic reasons behind the open US intervention in Venezuela:

  1. The imperialists want to grab the rich oil fields for the US big oil cartel, as well as the great untapped natural resources , particularly gold (mostly for the Canadian companies).
  2. Venezuela must not become an example for other countries in the region on social-programs policy, which is mainly funded by the oil production. The imperialists know that they must interrupt the path of Venezuela to real Socialism by force if necessary. Neoliberalism must prevail by all means for the benefit of the big banks and corporations.
  3. Venezuela must not turn to cooperation with rival powers like China and Russia. Such a prospect may give the country the ability to minimize the effects of the economic war. The country may find an alternative to escape the Western sanctions in order to fund its social programs for the benefit of the people. And, of course, the West will never accept the exploitation of the Venezuelan resources by the Sino-Russian bloc.

So, when Trump declared the unelected Juan Guaido as the 'legitimate president' of Venezuela, all the main neoliberal powers of the West rushed to follow the decision.

This is something we have never seen before. The 'liberal democracies' of the West - only by name - immediately, uncritically and without hesitation jumped on the same boat with Trump towards this outrageously undemocratic action. They recognized Washington's puppet as the legitimate president of a third country. A man that was never elected by the Venezuelan people and has very low popularity in the country. Even worse, the EU parliament approved this action , killing any last remnants of democracy in the Union.

Yet, it seems that the US is finding increasingly difficult to force many countries to align with its agenda. Even some European countries took some distance from the attempted constitutional coup, with Italy even trying to veto EU's decision to recognize Guaido.

Donald Trump is the personification of an authoritarian system that increasingly unveils its true nature. The US empire makes the Venezuelan economy 'scream hard', as it did in Chile in 1973. The country then turned into the first laboratory of neoliberalism with the help of the Chicago Boys and a brutal dictatorship. So, as the big fraud is clear now, neoliberalism is losing ground and ideological influence over countries and societies, after decades of complete dominance.

This unprecedented action by the Western neoliberal powers to recognize Guaido is a serious sign that neoliberalism returns to its roots and slips towards fascism. It appears now that this is the only way to maintain some level of power.

[Feb 07, 2019] I am 70 and am thinking that when I was growing up the US Democrats represented the concepts of socialism and the Republicans that of capitalism. Today I see the Democrats as representing capitalism and Republicans representing fascism.

Feb 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Feb 7, 2019 9:29:56 PM | link

I just had this insight and wanted to share it here.

I am 70 and am thinking that when I was growing up the US Democrats represented the concepts of socialism and the Republicans that of capitalism. Today I see the Democrats as representing capitalism and Republicans representing fascism.

A commenter on another thread asked me about my China socialism focus and referred to the US Interstate highway system initiated in the Eisenhower era when the marginal tax rate was in the low 90 percent range. America has and continues to embrace aspects of socialism they refuse to believe exists in America.......the effects of MSM brainwashing and propaganda. China is attempting a mixed economy favoring socialism AFAICT

[Feb 06, 2019] NYT Columnist Calls Tulsi Gabbard 'Assad Toady,' Can't Define or Spell Term

I will be very suprosed if neocons would not frame her Putin toady as well. This is how this system works. It eleiminates iundesrable cto the neoliberal cardidates with 100% efficiency. They serve as local STASI and some former STASI official might well envy neocons efficiency of silencing opponents (with much less blood and overt repression, by pure magic of neocon propaganda ).
Feb 06, 2019 | sputniknews.com
Monday to discuss current events, but things got embarrassing when she went in on Gabbard, a progressive Democrat whose foreign policy positions have turned more than a few heads.

Neocon NY Times columnist Bari Weiss smeared Tulsi Gabbard (who bravely opposed regime change and US support for Salafi-jihadist contras) as an "Assad toady," then couldn't spell/define toady or offer any evidence to prove her smear. Embarrassingly funny pic.twitter.com/m0MLaHFPiX

-- Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) January 22, 2019

​She has "monstrous ideas she's an Assad toady," Weiss tells Rogan.

US Representative Tulsi Gabbard speaks during Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 26, 2016 © AFP 2018 / Timothy A. CLARY Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Speaks the Truth on Syria, Gets Smeared by the Mainstream Media

When Rogan asks for clarification, she says, "I think that I used that word correctly." She then asks someone off camera to look up what toady means. "Like toeing the line," Rogan says, "is that what it means?" "No, I think it's like, uh " and Weiss drones off without an answer. She then attempts to spell it, and can't even do that. "T-O-A-D-I-E. I think it means what I think it means "

Rogan then reads the definition: "Toadies. The definition of toadies: A person who flatters or defers to others for self-serving reasons." "A sycophant. So I did use it right!" Weiss exclaims. "So she's an Assad sycophant? Is that what you're saying?" "Yeah, that's, proven -- known -- about her." When Rogan asks what Gabbard has said that qualifies her as a sycophant, Weiss replies: "I don't remember the details."

In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, greets supporters in Honolulu. Gabbard has announced she's running for president in 2020 © AP Photo / Marco Garcia 'Assad's Mouthpiece in Washington': Controversial Dem. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Announces 2020 Run

"We probably should say that before we say that about her -- we should probably read it, rather, right now, just so we know what she said," Rogan notes. "I think she's, like, the motherlode of bad ideas," Weiss then says. "I'm pretty positive about that, especially on Assad. But maybe I'm wrong. I don't think I'm wrong." It seems to us here at Sputnik that such claims should be made with a bit more confidence than this. So let's set the record straight.

Gabbard, who announced her presidential campaign on January 11, has drawn incredible amounts of ire from mainstream Democrats tripping over themselves for war with Syria because in January 2017, Gabbard met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and denounced the opposition rebels in the country's civil war as "terrorists." She has also expressed skepticism about accusations that Assad's government has used chemical weapons during the conflict and spoken out against cruise missile attacks by the US and its allies against the country.

A general view shows damaged buildings at al-Kalasa district of Aleppo, Syria in Aleppo, Syria, February 2, 2017 © REUTERS / Omar Sanadiki US Lawmakers Call for Syria Strategy Where Assad Leaving Post, Russian Military Pulls Out

"Initially I hadn't planned on meeting him," Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, told CNN's Jake Tapper following the meeting. "When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so, because I felt it's important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we've got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace. And that's exactly what we talked about."

"I have seen this cost of war firsthand, which is why I fight so hard for peace," Gabbard said. "And that's the reality of the situation that we're facing here. It's why I have urged and continue to urge [US President Donald] Trump to meet with people like Kim Jong Un in North Korea, because we understand what's at stake here. The only alternative to having these kinds of conversations is more war."

Moreover, in a March 2016 speech before Congress, Gabbard called Assad "a brutal dictator," noting that her opposition to what she called a "war bill" was over the legal ramifications that she feared would lead to the overthrow of Assad, which she opposes on anti-interventionist grounds.

"[T]oppling ruthless dictators in the Middle East creates even more human suffering and strengthens our enemy, groups like ISIS and other terrorist organizations, in those countries," Gabbard said at the time.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York speak to reporters about the Congressional Budget Office projection that 14 million people would lose health coverage under the House Republican bill dismantling former President Barack Obama's health care law, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March, 13, 2017. © AP Photo/ J. Scott Applewhite House Democrats Will Expand Russiagate in 2019 to Push Trump Toward War

Gabbard has been thoroughly demonized for her pro-peace views by global liberal media, as Trump has been for his moves to end the war in Syria and avoid another on the Korean Peninsula. For example, The Daily Beast's article announcing her candidacy called Gabbard "Assad's Favorite Democrat" in its headline; a Haaretz headline from last week say she had "Tea With Assad," and the Washington Post has called her "Assad's Mouthpiece in Washington." The UK Independent called her a "defender of dictators."

It's not clear what Weiss had in mind when she called Gabbard a "sycophant" and a "toady," since the congresswoman's rhetoric about Assad has consisted of skepticism and opposition to intervention, and she hasn't hesitated to call the Syrian president a "brutal dictator." What Gabbard's treatment has demonstrated is that a Democrat who steps out of line from the party's pro-regime change agenda in Syria and who condemns Muslim extremists associated with Daesh and al-Qaeda should be prepared to suffer for it in the mainstream media.

[Feb 06, 2019] Bari Weiss Has the Stupidest Take on Tulsi Gabbard Yet

Feb 06, 2019 | www.youtube.com

the op kingdom , 1 week ago (edited)

This woman had NO CLUE what she was talking about. She thought she was on a show that would just tow the party line and let her get away with wrong statements. She's just repeating what critics say with no idea of the truth. What a fool. As a woman, THIS IS WHY I WON'T JUST VOTE FOR ANY WOMAN. We are just as capable of being stupid as anyone else.

FrozenWolf150 , 1 week ago

Bari: "I think Tulsi Gabbard is an Assad toadie." Joe: "What do you mean by toadie?" Bari: "Oh, I don't know what that means." Joe: "Okay, I looked it up, and it's like a sycophant." Bari: "Then Tulsi is like an Assad sycophant." Joe: "So what do you mean by that?" Bari: "I'm not sure what sycophant means either." Joe: "I looked up the definition, it's like a suck-up." Bari: "All right, Tulsi is an Assad suck-up." Joe: "Could you explain that further?" Bari: "I don't know what suck means." Joe: "It's what you're doing right now."

Jeff Oloff , 1 week ago

Bari Weiss is a tool of Zionist war mongers that promote perpetual war. She has no thoughts of her own.

Joe Smith , 1 week ago

I hate Bari Weiss....I just don't why.

Nicholas Pniewski , 1 week ago

Tulsi also recently clarified her position of Assad and Syria on CNN, where she said she would have diplomacy rather than war

Captain Obvious , 1 week ago

"Am I crazy?" -Bari Weiis Well Bari Weiis you're either crazy or you're a yet another worthless establishment shill whose job is spread deliberate misinformation about the most genuine anti-war candidate running at a time when the entire MSM, MIC, and the neoliberal rightwing establishment (including AIPAC) is deliberately smearing her to immediately kill her campaign. And you didn't come across as crazy so...

[Feb 06, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard Rips Interventionism In First Campaign Ad

Feb 06, 2019 | www.youtube.com


Tacet the Terror , 1 week ago

Sanders/Gabbard 2020 is the only non-"lesser of two evils" choice.

kamran5461 , 1 week ago

Now you see why the establishment really hates her.

Zero Divisor , 1 week ago

Tulsi Gabbard went to Standing Rock. She has my support.

it's show buiness kiddo , 1 week ago

I wwant tulsi to defeat Kamala in the primaries. Kamala is a fake progressive and the establishment already coronated her. I can't trust her.

Voitan , 1 week ago

I'm voting Tulsi Gabbard. Uncompromising commitment to no more interventions and wars.

malena garcia , 1 week ago

I love Tulsi; her ad was great. She's the only dem I would vote for at this point. Kamala is an evil hypocrite. And Tulsi's right, love is the most powerful force in the planet.

Jurgen K , 1 week ago

Tulsi is hated by the establishment the most not Bernie , this is the reason I say Tulsi2020

Jay Smathers , 1 week ago (edited)

Wake up folks -Tulsi would not have run if Bernie was going run. Bernie will endorse her early on and she will have a much tougher fight than he did, because while Sanders caught the corporate establishment sleeping in 2016, they are now frightened and see Gabbard coming. They will use every dirty trick at their disposal to keep her from catching fire -and that begins with dividing progressives like us. Tulsi is not perfect because no one is perfect. But she is young, bright and fucking fearless compared to other politicians about putting the long term good of the American people above the moneyed interests who think they own our media and our government. This is why the establishment despises her more than even Sanders. 2020 will reveal weather or not we can retake ownership of our media and our government. That fight will require all of us - so Kyle get on the bus!

FujiFire , 1 week ago

Tulsi is an amazing candidate in her own right, but IMO she would be a perfect VP pick for Bernie. She has the amazing foreign policy cred and would really shore up Bernie's weakest areas.

D. Martin , 1 week ago (edited)

I remember Obama ripping interventionism too. And Trump.

rolled oats , 1 week ago

Tulsa Gabbard's ad doesn't mention the people who die in the countries we invade. That's 600k people in Iraq for example. A significant omission me thinks.

Wayne Chapman , 1 week ago

The Aloha Spirit Law is a big deal in Hawaii. Government officials are required to approach dignitaries from other countries or states with the spirit of aloha. "Aloha" means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. I think that's what we want in a President or a diplomat.

madara uchiha , 1 week ago

She's great and unique as she doesnt fall back to identity politics and sjwism as much as the standard left politicians. I hope she doesnt bend her ethics when the sjws come for her. I'm putting my trust in her. I hope she wins. And if she isn't in the race, i wont be voting.

David , 1 week ago (edited)

The question I would love her to address specifically is will her campaign focus on decreasing military spending like Bernie Sanders? She has a military background and the US loves war. This ad is good but it is tip toing around the MIC ( military industrial complex) She can be non interventionist but not decrease military spending is what worries me

GoLookAtJohn PodestasEmails , 1 week ago

This is why we need Gabbard on the debate stage. She will push the Overton window on revealing to the public what our military is actually doing overseas. She's also a staunch progressive. Bernie/Tulsi 2020. Their weakness match well with each other, and Tulsi was one of the first to jump ship on the sinking DNC ship when Hillary got caught cheating being the DNC. Keep small donations going into your favorite progressive candidates to hear their voice. It doesn't work any other way folks.

Geoff Daly , 1 week ago

Intervention isn't only an issue about morality. As Dwight Eisenhower put it (even though he himself was far from an anti imperialist), you can't have an endless stream of money dedicated to military endeavors AND a sufficient investment in domestic public priorities. This easily explains why we have increasingly decrepit infrastructure, increasingly worse performing education, increasingly worse performing health care, absurdly insufficient regulation between government and business (although the pay to play system certainly is the top reason) and a generally decaying public atmosphere. Beyond the fact that getting involved everywhere creates humanitarian crises, countless dead people, hopelessly destroyed countries, and so much more, even if other countries haven't in return bombed our shores from sea to sea, even if generally speaking those who consider not only the US but Americans the "enemies" haven't overwhelmed with non stop attacks, this non stop and ever growing appetite for more money for more war priorities has created the very decline we see in our country today. Until there is a change in priorities in general, these problems in the US will only continue to get worse.

Tom Pashkov , 1 week ago

Gabbard for Sec. of Defense in the Sanders/Warren administration.

Jacob Serrano , 1 week ago

Man, Tulsi made me tear up. She's my girl. This message reminds me more of the message of Jesus than many of the fundamentalists. She's not even Christian, yet represents Christ very well. I love this woman.

Ny3 43 , 1 week ago

Prepare for BAE, Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and other weapons corporations and their bum lickers to launch a viscous smear campaign against her suggesting she's somehow a Neo Nazi communist anti Semitic islamophobic islamist.

Gem Girlla , 1 day ago (edited)

Tulsi 2020 she's saying some of the same things Trump said in his 2016 campaign. Unfortunately, he didn't deliver. Per the corporate Democrates, making America better is a bad thing.

GiantOctopus0101 , 1 day ago

Tulsi can actually beat Trump...if she gets the nomination. The wars are the elephant in the room, and whoever is willing to take that on full force, can win.

[Feb 06, 2019] The modern Republican Party is all about cutting taxes on the rich and benefits for the poor and the middle class. And Trump, despite his campaign posturing, has turned out to be no different.

Feb 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

Meanwhile, the modern Republican Party is all about cutting taxes on the rich and benefits for the poor and the middle class. And Trump, despite his campaign posturing, has turned out to be no different.

Hence the failure of our political system to serve socially conservative/racist voters who also want to tax the rich and preserve Social Security. Democrats won't ratify their racism; Republicans, who have no such compunctions, will -- remember, the party establishment solidly backed Roy Moore's Senate bid -- but won't protect the programs they depend on.


Charles Pewitt , says: February 6, 2019 at 7:51 pm GMT

Paul Krugman is a baby boomer, pissant globalizer bastard, but he has made reasonable comments about immigration in the past.

Paul Krugman is a high IQ moron who has occasional bouts of clarity on the anti-worker aspects of mass legal immigration and illegal immigration. Krugman had it right in 2006 when he said that mass immigration lowers wages for workers in the USA.

Krugman in NY Times 2006:

First, the benefits of immigration to the population already here are small. The reason is that immigrant workers are, at least roughly speaking, paid their "marginal product": an immigrant worker is paid roughly the value of the additional goods and services he or she enables the U.S. economy to produce. That means that there isn't anything left over to increase the income of the people already here.

My second negative point is that immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That's just supply and demand: we're talking about large increases in the number of low-skill workers relative to other inputs into production, so it's inevitable that this means a fall in wages. Mr. Borjas and Mr. Katz have to go through a lot of number-crunching to turn that general proposition into specific estimates of the wage impact, but the general point seems impossible to deny.

Hypnotoad666 , says: February 6, 2019 at 11:05 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt I agree Paul Krugman is a high IQ moron.

However, Krugman is also a relentless partisan hack. So his expert analysis always ends up supporting the current Democrat talking points -- whatever they may be.

Here, Krugman is disparaging any move to the center as the DNC wants to keep the Dems unified on the left and keep Schultz (or anyone like him) out of the race. Of course, the real reason Schultz has massively negative polling is because the Democrat establishment has been savaging him for precisely this reason.

Likewise, to Krugman a "Racist" politician is anyone who holds the same immigration position as Krugman did in 2006, which is now anathema to the Dem's new Open Borders electoral strategy.

It's only a matter of time until Krugman starts talking up Kamala Harris as the best thing that could happen for the economy.

TG , says: February 7, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
Bottom line: Krugman – like any economist who was gifted with a fake Nobel Prize in Economics by his wealthy patrons (the Nobel Prize in Economics does not exist – check out wikipedia!) – is a whore whose only function is to protect the left flank of our corrupt and rapacious elite.

He's not a moron, and he's certainly not a liberal. His job – which pays very well mind you – is to pretend to be a sorta-kinda Keynesian New Dealer, but in reality, anything that the rich wants, he will end up defending. And even if he sorta kinda claims to be opposing something that the rich want which will impoverish the rest of us, when it comes to the bottom line, he will ruthlessly attack any opposition to these policies.

[Feb 05, 2019] A good analogy on US policy is Syria

Feb 05, 2019 | www.youtube.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9QOVk0x1Vw

JJL90 , 1 month ago (edited)

The emergency room visits are lower when you have bombed all the emergency rooms :D

So when you stop bombing the hell out of them, they can actually rebuild an emergency room, and visits go up :DDDD

[Feb 05, 2019] NYTimes Journo Melts Down On Joe Rogan s Show

Feb 05, 2019 | www.youtube.com

nywvblue , 1 day ago

Bari Weiss is the monstrous motherlode of ineptitude, it would appear.

tom burton , 15 hours ago

Bari Weiss's next column: Joe Rogan is a toady of Tulsi Gabbard.

Robert Harper , 17 hours ago

Now it is easy to understand why I stopped my nyt subscription.

Mike Honcho , 17 hours ago

Unbelievable! It's like Joe is interviewing an airhead middle school mean girl.

[Feb 05, 2019] Tucker Carlson Dismantles Pro-War Stooge

Notable quotes:
"... Tucker is an interesting thinker who doesn't tow a party line. We need more people like Jimmy and Tucker in the news. This is easily the 10th video of Jimmy taking Tucker's side ..."
Feb 05, 2019 | www.youtube.com

j g , 1 month ago

I don't agree with Jimmy Dore on much, but he and Tucker are 100% right about Syria. There is a segment of the left and right that aren't that far apart, but we keep getting manipulated to hate each other.

The Fatty McGee , 1 month ago

My boy is a marine. He was deployed to Syria and even he said that the troops never got a clear reason for being there

grwizy , 1 month ago

Creating terrorists means more money for military industrial complex.

John Donne Show , 1 month ago

MSM is cancer Propagandist on the Payroll of the Ruling Class 1% "The Fed."

Ben Briggs , 1 month ago

Jimmy, Just admit that you like and agree with Tucker. Every Tucker video has the premise of, "I disagree with 99% of what Tucker says" or "If Tucker sees this then everyone should see it." Tucker is an interesting thinker who doesn't tow a party line. We need more people like Jimmy and Tucker in the news. This is easily the 10th video of Jimmy taking Tucker's side .

clamp down , 1 month ago

come on jimmy acknowledge that tucker is doing a GREAT job, moderate conservative or not

dlhoyes , 1 month ago

Sounds like some liberals are waking up to what the conservatives have been saying for decades. We have to work together for freedoms sake.

TBG_ Dies_1st , 1 month ago

Tucker Carlson is the only one I deem worthy of my attention on Fox News. I guarantee it, I stand by that, that's a brand name.

mads max , 1 month ago

Why are we there? To destabilize and baulkanize the remaining Middle East Who are we there for? For the greater 1srae1 project. Who is isis? Massads people. What is our objective? Oil pipelines for 1srae1. Who are we going after next? Iran

dlhoyes , 1 month ago

Sounds like some liberals are waking up to what the conservatives have been saying for decades. We have to work together for freedoms sake.

TBG_ Dies_1st , 1 month ago

Tucker Carlson is the only one I deem worthy of my attention on Fox News. I guarantee it, I stand by that, that's a brand name.

mads max , 1 month ago

Why are we there? To destabilize and baulkanize the remaining Middle East Who are we there for? For the greater 1srae1 project. Who is isis? Massads people. What is our objective? Oil pipelines for 1srae1. Who are we going after next? Iran

Guardiano , 1 month ago

Jimmy Dore: the only leftist journalist with any integrity. I legitimately believe that while he's wrong all the time (to my far-right view), he's not lying.

Rio Rin , 1 month ago

Most important part in my opinion is comment about christians celebrating Christmass in Damascus. They wouldn't celebrate under Al Nusra or Isis or other wahabi supported fractions, but they are celebrating under Assad. By the way US government is in some way protecting HTS in Idlib wich is rebranded Al Nusra, Syrian ofshoot of Al Kaida so Assad army is not attacking them.

oleeb , 1 month ago

Pro war people don't just want to be there for the sake of it. They want to have US forces on the ground there for a whole host of reason all related to maintaining US hegemony wherever they can. We have forces deployed throughout the middle east because we want to be the primary hegemon in the middle east. Our primacy is threatened by no one nation but by a coalition of anti US nations particularly Iran, Syria and Syria's longstanding alliance with Russia.

Loves Chocolate , 1 month ago (edited)

I find it a shame that the western nations are vilifying Russia as Putin hates the globalists and is fighting against the terrorists. It appears that Russia should be our allies rather than Isra Hell and the Saudi regime. Putin was invited by Assad to help him rid his country of the terrorists but the US weren't asked and just illegally invaded. Out of interest why does the US support Isra hell when it has over 300 nukes but it thinks Iran is a problem? Isn't it more that Iran doesn't have a central (Rothschild) bank? Just like North Korea, Cuba and now, Russia due to paying them off and ridding his country of the Rotschilds! They don't own Russia like they do the US. Edited as I forgot to say I love Tucker and his common sense.

Jay Bui , 1 month ago (edited)

The best part by far of this was when Jimmy yelled, we are in these countries ILLEGALLY!! Jimmy I love you bc you are unbiased but for you to complain we are somewhere illegally is rich considering how much you defended ILLEGAL immigration in America. Must have been a freudian slip.

Jay Bui , 1 month ago (edited)

The best part by far of this was when Jimmy yelled, we are in these countries ILLEGALLY!! Jimmy I love you bc you are unbiased but for you to complain we are somewhere illegally is rich considering how much you defended ILLEGAL immigration in America. Must have been a freudian slip.

Reckless Abandon , 1 month ago (edited)

This guy can't admit that the Obama Administration started the Syrian civil war and created ISIS. What he really wants is to PROTECT ISIS because after Syria they were trained to attack Russia in the Caucasus. Russia is sensibly wiping out ISIS in Syria so they don't have to fight them in Chechnya. The Democrats and the neocons created Russiagate to prevent Trump from pulling out two years ago, now Trump doesn't care, because they will invent shit about him regardless.

Sergei , 1 month ago

Obama and Bush created ISIS and Russians, SAA, Iranians and Hezbollah destroyed ISIS. The US needs to GTFO of all countries it occupied.

F M , 1 month ago (edited)

You're missing a major point -- I S R A E L These neocon and establishment democrats have tightened ass cheeks because Trump's decision bypasses these Zionists' fervent wishes of keeping the US there in a proxy war as Israel's protectors.

Reactionary Hermit , 1 month ago (edited)

Tucker is slowly but surely becoming increasingly sympathetic towards the third position.He's the only figure on the MSM who thinks critically and asks uncomfortable questions. I wonder when the Zionists over at Fox News will pull the plug on him? You should have Tucker on if it's at all possible. He is actually aligned with the left somewhat on economic issues.

blaze 2017 , 1 month ago

Dont worry Lindsey Graham pranced in and convinced Trump to let us bleed and be stripped of our wealth.

nh inpg , 1 month ago

"Former Obama Campaign Adviser David Tafuri" -- Pretty much tells you all you need to know, right?

[Feb 04, 2019] The US decision to send weapons to Syria repeats a historical mistake

Highly recommended!
This was true in 2015 for Syria. Now this is true for Venezuela... So one can expect iether chemical attack opposition from Madura government or "Snipergate" in EuroMaydan style. Or may some some more sophisticated, more nasty "false flag" operation in British style like Skripal poisoning.
It will be interesting if Madura manage to survive despite the pressute...
Notable quotes:
"... Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked! ..."
"... To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya! ..."
"... This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have. ..."
"... Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad. ..."
"... In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head. ..."
"... ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources. ..."
"... The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck! ..."
"... The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department. ..."
Sep 19, 2015 | The Guardian
Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

As pretty much everyone who was paying attention predicted, the $500m program to train and arm "moderate" Syrian rebels is an unmitigated, Bay of Pigs-style disaster, with the head of US central command admitting to Congress this week that the year-old program now only has "four or five" rebels fighting inside Syria, with dozens more killed or captured.

Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong." The New York Times reported, "In effect, Mr Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment."

This bizarre "I was peer pressured into sending more weapons into the Middle East" argument by the president is possibly the most blatant example of blame shifting in recent memory, since he had every opportunity to speak out against it, or veto the bill. Instead, this is what Obama said at the time: "I am pleased that Congress...have now voted to support a key element of our strategy: our plan to train and equip the opposition in Syria."

But besides the fact that he clearly did support the policy at the time, it's ridiculous for another reason: years before Congress approved the $500m program to arm the Syrian rebels, the CIA had been running its own separate Syrian rebel-arming program since at least 2012. It was reported prominently by the New York Times at the time and approved by the president.

In fact, just before Congress voted, Senator Tom Udall told Secretary of State John Kerry, who was testifying in front of the foreign relations committee, "Everybody's well aware there's been a covert operation, operating in the region to train forces, moderate forces, to go into Syria and to be out there, that we've been doing this the last two years." In true Orwellian fashion, Kerry responded at the time: "I hate to do this. But I can't confirm or deny whatever that's been written about and I can't really go into any kind of possible program."

Also conveniently ignored by Congress and those advocating for arming the rebels was a classified study the CIA did at the time showing that arming rebel factions against sitting governments almost always ends in disaster or tragedy.

You'd think whether or not the current weapons-running program was effective – or whether any similar program ever was – would have been a key factor in the debate. But alas, the CIA program is never mentioned, not by politicians, and not by journalists. It's just been conveniently forgotten.

It is true that perhaps the best advocate for why we never should've armed the Syrian rebels to begin with came from President Obama himself. He told the New Yorker in early 2014 that "you have an opposition that is disorganized, ill-equipped, ill-trained and is self-divided. All of that is on top of some of the sectarian divisions." Critically, he cited that same above-mentioned classified study:

Very early in this process, I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn't come up with much.

He didn't mention the CIA's already-active weapons-running program. Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension. Instead, he supported Congress's measure to create yet another program that sent even more weapons to the war-torn region.

Per usual, Republicans are taking the entirely wrong lessons from this disaster, arguing that if only there was more force then everything would've worked out. Marco Rubio exclaimed during the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday that if we armed the rebels earlier – like he allegedly wanted, before voting against arming them when he had the chance – then the program would've worked out. Like seemingly everyone else in this debate, Rubio has decided to ignore the actual facts.

Sadly, instead of a debate about whether we should continue sending weapons to the Middle East at all, we'll probably hear arguments that we should double down in Syria in the coming days and get US troops more cemented into a war we can call our own (that still to this day has not been authorized by Congress). There are already reports that there are US special operations forces on the ground in Syria now, assisting Kurdish forces who are also fighting Isis.

When the vicious and tragic cycle will end is anyone's guess. But all signs point to: not anytime soon.

Oliver2014 19 Sep 2015 21:27

" Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time? "

Because the US doesn't understand the culture of the people it meddles with.

The US goes in with a messianic belief in the righteousness of its objective. This objective is framed in naive terms to convince itself and the people that it's motives are benevolent - such as "we must fight communism" or "we will bring democracy to Iraq" or "Saddam Hussein is an evil man who uses chemical weapons on his own people and hence must be ousted" or "Assad is an evil man who is fighting a civil war with his own people".

As a superpower it feels compelled to interfere in conflicts lest it be seen as impotent. When it does not interfere, as in WW2, things do indeed get out of control. So it's damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

The CIA did not understand Afghan history of fighting off invaders when it was arming the Mujaheddin and that after the Soviets were defeated it would perceive the Americans as invaders and not as liberators who were there to bring them democracy and teach them that growing poppy was bad. (Like alcohol in the 1930s, a national addiction problem cannot be solved on the supply side - as the CIA and DEA learnt in South America.)

Bush Sr. was right when he left Saddam alone after bloodying his nose for invading Kuwait because he understood that Saddam was playing a vital Tito-esque role in keeping his country and the neighborhood in check. He had no WMDs but wanted his adversaries in the region to believe otherwise. If Saddam were alive today we wouldn't have an Iraq problem, an ISIS problem, an Iran problem and a Syria problem.

Smedley Butler 19 Sep 2015 21:12

"Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension."

Maybe it's because he hasn't stuck to his guns on anything during the entire time he's been President. He always takes the path of least resistance, the easy way out, and a "conservative-lite" position that tries to satisfy everyone and actually satisfies no one.

What an utter disappointment.

DavidEG 19 Sep 2015 20:01

The Machiavellian machinations of the empire become less relevant with every passing day. It's Europeans now who are eating sweet fruits of "mission accomplished". And they may rebel, and kick out last remnants of their "unity", and sacred NATO alliance alongside.


PamelaKatz AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 18:33

Obama said the US would take 10,000 Syrian refugees. When I heard this, I thought surely a zero must be missing from this figure. And what no one has publicly mentioned is the immigration process for these few will require at least a year of investigative background checks.

PamelaKatz jvillain 19 Sep 2015 18:15

The largest manufacturers and global distributors of weaponry are the US, the UK, France, Russia and China, in that order....... also known as the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. One should read the UN Charter, which states the purpose and parameters for forming this international organization. The word 'irony' comes to mind.

ID108738 19 Sep 2015 17:36

Saddam Hussein was a friend while he gassed the Iranians, then he invaded Kuwait; as long as Bin Laden fought the Russians, he was tolerated and funded; now there's Syria. The only thing needed to take the strategy to new levels of idiocy was a compliant nincompoop as prime minister in Britain. Will they ever learn?

Toi Jon 19 Sep 2015 17:27

The US understands how to create a market for their military hardware industry but has never understood how their interference in the Middle East creates mass human misery.

Samantha Stevens 19 Sep 2015 17:09

Quite simply the US is breaking international law by doing this. Every time they do it the world ends up with another shit storm. If they cannot behave responsibly they should be removed from the security council of the UN. Same goes for the Russians and any other power abusing their position.
Syria may not have been the epitome of humanity before being destabilised but it is certainly worse now. The same is true of Iraq. In fact have the US successfully overturned any government they deem un-American (LOL) without it leading to a civil war?

Andy Freeman 19 Sep 2015 17:06

Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked!

People will call for a solution, the solution will be tighter integration in Europe, the abolition of national governments, the removal of cash to stop payments to "terrorists", more draconian spying laws, less from and eventually compulsory registration and ID for all Europeans.

Meanwhile, we'll have a few more false flag attacks supposedly caused by the refugees and more fear in the news. Open your eyes


Laurie Calhoun 19 Sep 2015 16:49

"Why he didn't stick to his guns..." Not the most felicitous metaphor in this case, but here is the answer to your question:

To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya!

Sad but true. For more details on how this works, read Daniel Klaidman's book Kill or Capture: The war on terror and the soul of the Obama presidency.


littlewoodenblock geniusofmozart 19 Sep 2015 16:39

turkey should be thrown out of NATO immediately!

littlewoodenblock 19 Sep 2015 16:36

after the libya disaster the US should have abandoned plans for regim change in syria.

and the US missed a golden opportunity to recitfy what had already become a syria disaster by allowing turkey and the ludicrous SNC to so thoroughly undermine the Geneva talks.

nnedjo -> Havingalavrov , 19 Sep 2015 15:40

The U.S and U.K's commitment should be to those in Iraq. Secure, rebuild and invest in helping that Nation come with the best solution to a, rid itself of ISIS, b, be able to stay that way, c have a government that is inclusive to the needs of the Sunni's, Shia's and Kurds

Just as I thought that you can not surpass yourself in writing stupid comments, and you are immediately reassured me.
Thus, the US and the UK spent nearly ten years in Iraq and failed to make any of this what you write, but but the whole mess practically they themselves have created. And now you're saying that if the US and UK troops returned again to Iraq they will be able to fix everything that they had previously screwed and to create an "inclusive society" of Iraq. So, if the US and UK troops set foot again on the soil of Iraq, it will be the strongest reason for Iraqi Sunnis to reject the inclusion in the Iraqi society. Iraqi officials themselves are aware of this very well, and for that reason they are the first to oppose such an intervention.
Iraq's prime minister says no to foreign troops

BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."...
Al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, welcomed the emerging international effort, but stressed that he sees no need for other nations to send troops to help fight ISIS.

"Not only is it not necessary," he said, "We don't want them. We won't allow them. Full stop."
"The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition is going to help us with is from the sky," al-Abadi said. "We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq."
He said that the Iraqi military will choose and approve targets, and that the U.S. will not take action without consulting with Baghdad first. Failure to do so, he warned, risks causing civilian casualties like in Pakistan and Yemen, where the U.S. has conducted drone strikes for years.

Well, Well, whether i notice here distrust even of Iraqi Shiites toward the US Air Force. On the other hand, they want to strengthen friendship with neighboring governments in Syria and Iran: ;

Al-Abadi, however, said that Iraq doesn't have the luxury of testy relations with Damascus, and instead pushed for some sort of coordination.

"We cannot afford to fight our neighbor, even if we disagree on many things," al-Abadi said. "We don't want to enter into problems with them. For us sovereignty of Syria is very important." The two countries, both of which are allies of Iran, appear to already be coordinating on some level, and Iraq's national security adviser met Tuesday with Assad in the Syrian capital, where the two agreed to strengthen cooperation in fighting "terrorism," according to Syria's state news agency.

The U.S. hopes to pull together a broad coalition to help defeat the extremist group, but has ruled out cooperating with neighboring Iran or Syria, both of which also view ISIS as a threat. Both countries were excluded from a conference this week in Paris that brought the U.S., France and other allies together to discuss how to address the militant threat.

Al-Abadi said that excluding Damascus and Tehran was counterproductive.

So, it is obvious that the Iraqi government is not against inclusion, but they're for such inclusion, which will exclude the US and UK of interfering in their internal affairs. I think it is a good step towards reconciliation with their Sunni brothers because they also seem to support such a thing. And if they managed to do it, maybe Ukrainians will also draw some lesson from it and be able to reconcile with their brothers Russians.


Ieuan ytrewq 19 Sep 2015 14:04

ytrewq said: "USSR and China supplied a lot of support and material to N. Vietnam."

Very true.

However the Viet Minh were formed and initially supplied by OSS (later called the CIA) forces from the US. In fact Ho Chi Min had a naive hope that the US would support him in his struggle against foreign occupation of the country after the war (French colonialism) and made several appeals to President Truman for help (all of which were ignored).

Instead of which, the US supported the French, so Ho asked around and got help from the Russians and Chinese. The rest we know.


marginline AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 13:54

The UK and France [...], they destroyed Libya.

The causality of which led to an Islamic terror attack on June 26th, 2015 ten kilometers north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia, where thirty-eight people; thirty of whom were British - were murdered.


sashasmirnoff JoJo McJoJo 19 Sep 2015 13:40

The US is always wrong, and always responsible for every bad thing that happens on Earth.

They are always wrong, and are indeed responsible for almost every geopolitical disaster, usually a result of overthrowing governments and installing their own tyrant, or else leaving a vacuum that Islamists fill.


Zaarth 19 Sep 2015 13:34

This $500m program cost less than 0.1% of the US annual defense budget. When you're dealing with sums of money as obscenely large as the US spends on its military, its inevitable that huge quantities will be wasted because you've passed the point where there's worthwhile things to spend it on. This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have.

In recent years the right has been very concerned with balancing the national budget and shrinking debt. They're willing to cut spending for social programs and research, but god forbid you take money away from the military. It just wouldn't be patriotic.


marginline -> GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 13:14

Great summary GeneralMittens. You have expressed in layman's terms the facts eluded to by journalist Mehdi Hasan when he quantified the depth of the strategic disaster the Iraq war actually was – or, as the Conservative minister Kenneth Clarke put it back in a 2013 BBC radio discussion...

the most disastrous foreign policy decision of my lifetime [ ] worse than Suez

The invasion and occupation of Iraq undermined the moral standing of the western powers; empowered Iran and its proxies; heightened the threat from al-Qaeda at home and abroad; and sent a clear signal to 'rogue' regimes that the best (the only?) means of deterring a preemptive, US-led attack was to acquire weapons of mass destruction. [ ] Iraq has been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, as the direct result of an unnecessary, unprovoked war that, according to the former chief justice Lord Bingham, was a...

serious violation of international law

This leads me to the conclusion and I apologies for flogging this dead horse yet again BUT...why are Bush and Bliar not being detained at The Hague?


Ieuan 19 Sep 2015 12:45

" I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well."

Well, they (the OSS at the time) supplied arms and training to the Viet Minh. When they were fighting the Japanese. Which worked out well, when they were only fighting the Japanese.

But when they used their expertise (and the arms they had left over) to carry on fighting the French, and later the Americans themselves, it worked out very well for the Viet Minh, not so well for the French and Americans.


GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:27

The first President Bush, who decided not to topple President Saddam Hussein after routing his military forces out of Kuwait, and instead to leave him in power for the sake of the Middle East stability is, in retrospect, probably the wisest foreign policy decision ever made by the 41st President, thanks not only to his own personal judgment but also to his foreign policy aides' wisdom. Though it is now too late for the son to learn from his father, it is still not too late for the present administration to learn a thing or two from the former senior President Bush.

twoheadednightingale 19 Sep 2015 12:25

Nice to read an article coming at the war from this angle, seems like people are finally starting to question the effectiveness US foreign policy - ie bombing for peace. However the article is fairly nieve in places - like who actually believes the president of the US has control over all its intelligence agencies? JFK told the world in april '61, not long after the CIA had set him up over the bay of pigs and months before being assassinated exactly that. So enough of the 'blame the president' bullshit, it doesn't get to the root of the problem


GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:17

The last major armament, including heavy guns, tanks and armored personnel carriers, as sent by the United States to the now notoriously incompetent Iraqi military forces is now reportedly in the hands of ISIS after these US-trained Iraqi military personnel simply abandoned their posts of defense and deserted for their own dear lives, thus leaving the centuries-old, formerly safe haven of Mosul for Iraqi Christians to the mercy of ISIS. See "60 Minutes", Sunday, September 13, 2015, "Iraq's Christians", at http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/iraqs-christians-the-shooting-at-chardon-high-king-of-crossfit.


pfox33 19 Sep 2015 12:04

The fact that Putin is coming to Assad's aid is a game-changer that the US was unprepared for. For one thing, it's highlighted how inconsequential US efforts to bolster "moderate" rebels and degrade ISIS capabilities have been.

From the time it was reported that the Russians were upgrading an airbase at Latakia to the time that it was reported that they had dispatched helicopters and jets and that the Syrians had started to take the fight to ISIS in Raqqah and Palmyra was only a matter of weeks. The CIA's program, after a year, had produced five soldiers at a cost of 500 million.

Previously the US had free reign over Syrian skies as did Israel who would bomb what they deemed to be convoys of military supplies for Hezbollah. Things aren't so free and easy now with the Russians in town. And both the Americans and Israelis now realize they have to check in with them before them they make sorties over northern Syria.

It's fairly obvious, to me anyway, that the US and Israel's only endgame was the fall of Assad and that ISIS had their tacit approval. Assad's good relations with Iran and Hezbollah meant he was a marked man. Putin, as is his wont, has complicated their plans and the results are yet to be seen.


BradfordChild TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:58

"Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US."

Actually, Gaddafi had shown an interest in engaging with the West-- happened under Bush, but was never really followed up on. Still, it was headed in a more positive direction until Obama rather arbitrarily decided that Gaddafi had to go.

The real net effect of US intervention in the Middle East has been to destabilize Europe.


Tony Page bravo7490 19 Sep 2015 11:32

I would agree but, as a former intelligence professional, I'd remind you that there's always a story behind the story. Not that it's a "good" story! But more must be going on there...


ByThePeople 19 Sep 2015 11:12

"Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?"

It depends on how you define better. To think that these ops take place with the intent to solve an issue is naive, they don't. You state yourself that the CIA freely admits it's never worked.

The reason the United States funds and arms groups in the Middle East is that 9 times out of 10, these same groups are then later labeled 'terrorists' and a new US war campaign is justified.

It's not about solving problems - unless the problem being solved is: How do we create more opportunities to half-ass justify engaging in another war effort so the US coffers can be continuously raped.

Iraq is the perfect example of succeeding in achieving this goal. Years before the Iraq war ever began, US war planners knew that a power vacuum, attracting the likes of Al-Qaeda and or ISIS would subsequently result. Thus, providing a for a second war, derived from the first seemingly pointless invasion. The Iraq plan worked fabulously as not only did the newly created enemy materialize, they also became a much more formidable enemy once they conveniently came into possession of all the military equipment we let behind.

Point is, they wouldn't continue implementing all these operations if the goal wasn't being achieved.

I will add too - McCain and Co. clamored so hard to arm the al-Assad opposition McCain might as well have claimed that if we did not, then America would be blown up in its entirety in 48 hours the same as all the other fear mongering done in a effort to continue the war efforts. Who knows, maybe he did, I try not to listen to him anymore - he needs to be put out to pasture.

TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:10

Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US.

To suggest that funding radicals to overthrow these governments is a "whoops" or something that will never work is completely wrong. The plan has worked exactly as planned: destabilize the region by promoting dissent, covertly arm and fund "rebels" through back-channels (Saudi, UAE, Turkey, etc.), create a new boogeyman (ISIS), and reforge alliances with enemies (AQ) who will then turn on us again in the future.

The goal is to flatten Syria, and it seems to be working out very well. When you consider what the ultimate outcome will be, it starts becoming fairly clear: push Russia into a corner militarily and economically, open new LNG pipelines, appease allied caliphates, and put billions of dollars into the pockets of the wealthiest people.

LeftOrRightSameShite -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 10:51

Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.

I think the problem may well be the bloated MIC in the US. Too many strategic game plans for to many, often contradictory ends.

There are no doubt there are intelligence analysts in the US MIC who have a genuine interest in collecting actual information and present it honestly. The numerous leaks show us this.

The problem is, this often good information, once it's been spun through political/economic vested interests, think tanks, cold war jar head imperialists and so forth, it (foreign policy) ends up complete fubar.

To the point where, as you rightly say imo, their foreign policy looks like nothing more than "malicious wily manipulators, deliberately buggering up the world to make money out of the consequences."


david wright 19 Sep 2015 10:49

For a full century now, from the Balfour Declaration and the secret Sykes-Picot arrangement, the currently-top 'Western' dog (UK; then US) has been meddling and futzing around in the Middle East, notionally in someone's 'National Interest.'

Oil, access to Empire (route to India etc) and 'national prestige' have been the usual excuses. The result has been unmitigated disaster.

Ignoring everything up to Gulf 1 (1991) we've a quarter century century of determined scoring of own-goals. This shows no sign of changing. This is a helter-skelter race to destruction, greatly presently aided and abetted by Asad. So far, it's lasted two-and-a-half times longer than the combined lengths of both World Wars.

One conclusion is that by any rational assessment, we don't deserve to 'win', whatever that would constitute, any more than did one side or the other in the 16th -17th century's European religious wars. An equally rational assessment is that we neither have, nor can. The final rational conclusion, that we find a way to disengage - remarkably simply, by stopping doing all the things we have been - is a fence refused by the relevant horses - again, mainly US and (as very eager, jr partner indeed) UK.All apart from the monstrous outcomes for the people in the region, we destabilize our own security then make things worse by tightening our own internal 'security' at the expense of civil liberties. This gives away, at no gain, the slow and scrabbling accretion of these, over centuries. And Cameron and co remain sufficiently delusional to want to keep on bombing, but whatever toys they have, whatever seems a good idea on the day. How can we win? the war isn't on 'terror', but ion logic. Ours. |Neither the US nor UK governments have ever shown much interest in the fates of the millions of people their casual actions have ended, or made hell. Of the multiple ironies (shall I count the ways?) attending all this is that Saddam, while a murderous thug, and no friend to his own people, was doing for us, for free, what we've been unable to do for ourselves - keep Iraq al-Quaida free. AS to his murderous propensities, clearly far fewer of his people (alone) would have been killed had we not intervened, than we have directly or indirectly killed. Much of this stems from the fact that during the same recent period (1991 on) there has been no effective counter to Western power and inclination, which has simply projectile-vomited its baneful influence. Ironic too that the reason we armed and greatly helped create al-Quaida was to destabilize Russia by getting it bogged down in Afghanistan. Thus the only real fear which limited US action, was removed when that policy was successful. We removed the brakes as the train was beginning to accelerate down the incline. Wheeee!


teaandchocolate smifee 19 Sep 2015 10:47

Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad.

As to "not having a serious mark against his name", forgive me if I laugh hysterically while crying with pain.

The least said about the moron Reagan and his jolly pal Thatcher the better. Oh how well their unregulated market shenanigans have turned out.

Crackpots the lot of them.


LethShibbo AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 10:35

Doing nothing and minding your own business is kinda the same thing.

And the civil war in Syria isn't purely a result of what happened in neighbouring Iraq.

What you're essentially saying is 'America, you've started this fire. Now let it burn.'


pansapians DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 10:28

Well of course ISIS were miffed that the U.S. was paying lip service to not arming ISIS. If you think there was ever any serious difference between the FSA and ISIS then I hear that the Queen having to sell Buckingham palace due to losses gambling on corgi races and I can get you a good deal for a cash sale


IrateHarry Havingalavrov 19 Sep 2015 10:17

Make Iraq work first..

ROFLMFAO...

Iraq has been so thoroughly screwed over by the UKUSA clusterfuck, there is no chance of it working ever again.


AndyMcCarthy LethShibbo 19 Sep 2015 10:12

Sorry, the US doesn't HAVE to make a choice, do nothing or bomb. All the US needs to do is mind it's own business.

We wouldn't be having this refugee crises if the US hadn't invaded Iraq.


Tomasgolfer 19 Sep 2015 10:10

For a little insight, see "The Red Line and the Rat Line", by Seymour M. Hersh. Published in the
London Review of Books


LeftOrRightSameShite contextandreality 19 Sep 2015 10:01

you write a article on myth that US armed rebels

The US (and the UK and France for that matter) has been openly arming and training the "rebels". The US had a vote in congress to openly do just that last year. Covertly, they've been doing it since 2012, again this has been well reported and admitted to.

The problem for the US is their so called "moderates" don't exist. They either switch allegiance once back in Syria or end up captured or killed just as quickly.
Your user name seems somewhat of a parody.


ArtofLies richardoxford 19 Sep 2015 10:00

How does that compute ?

it computes once one answers this slightly naive question from the article

Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

surely at some point people have to realise that chaos is the result the US is looking for.

IrateHarry 19 Sep 2015 09:56

Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East

Because that is the backbone business of America - making and selling deadly weapons. Deadlier the better, and no matter whom they are supplied to. If foreign governments don't buy, does not matter, just supply it to "rebels", and they will be paid for by the tax payers across the west (not just the American ones, NATO has been set up as the mechanism to tap into European tax payers as well).

The rest of the bullshit like democracy, freedom, etc are marketeers' crap.

LeftOrRightSameShite -> geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 09:53

No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

There was a report in the NY Times last year by a reporter who was kidnapped by the FSA (his mission was to find them and find out who they were) and handed straight over to Al-Nusra. Twice. He was imprisoned and tortured by them.

In his revealing report, talking of the couple of days he spent back with the "FSA", his release having been negotiated by the west, he asked the "FSA" fighters about the training they received from the US in Jordan. The reporter put it to the fighters that the training was to fight AN/IS. Their response? "We lied to the Americans about that".
The WSJ also recently reported that the CIA mission to arm/train "moderates/FSA" had gone totally tits up. Most of them reported as defecting to one of the number of more extreme groups, some having been captured or killed.

It's been clear for about 2 years now that these so called "moderates" only exist in the deluded minds of western policy makers.


JacobHowarth MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 09:51

ISIS do not control that large a number of people. Many Kurds are fleeing because of IS, that's true, but for the most part the civil war is a horror show from both sides and Syrians are - rightly - getting the hell out of there.

Or are all of those 'taking advantage of the opportunity to move to Europeans [sic] countries' proposing to do so by going to Lebanon and Jordan?


Quadspect -> kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 09:22

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/10218288/CIA-running-arms-smuggling-team-in-Benghazi-when-consulate-was-attacked.html

The suspiciously unasked questions as to motives of all parties at Benghazi, by all twelve (12) members of the Select Committee, suggests collaboration to question Hillary Clinton to make her appear responsible only for bungling security and rescue, for the sole purpose of diverting attention from Hillary Clinton's role in the CIA and the CIA operative Ambassador Stevens' arming of terrorists. The obvious question to ask would have gone to motives: "What activities were Stevens and the CIA engaged in, when they were attacked at Benghazi?"


GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 09:10

The use of religion(Islam specifically) in politics was first employed by the British in the Middle East in the early parts of the 20th century. In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head.


nnedjo 19 Sep 2015 09:09

Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong."

Yes, it seems that it has become a tradition of US presidents to boast with the fact that "they do not interfere much in their own job".

For example, in the last campaign for the GOP candidate for the US president, Jeb Bush defended his brother George for a false pretext for war in Iraq in the form of non-existent WMD, claiming that everyone else would bring the same decision on the start of the war, if the same false intelligence would be presented to him.

Thus, the president of the United States can not be held accountable for its decisions if the CIA deliver him false intelligence, or deliberately conceal the true intelligence. On the other hand, since no one has heard of any person from the CIA which is held responsible for the wrong war in Iraq, it turns out that nobody is responsible for this war.

And, to us, mere mortals, it remains only to conclude that the most powerful war machine in the world moves "without a driver", or maybe it is "driven by some automatic pilot".

So, how tragic it is, and yet we can not help laughing. :-)


mikiencolor 19 Sep 2015 09:06

It was obvious to anyone with a modicum of sense from the beginning that the "moderate" rebel training programme would be an utter disaster. But if the lessons you are taking is that nothing should be done at all, I'd submit you are taking the wrong lessons from the debacle. Doing nothing at all would have condemned tens of thousands more to genocide. Doing something saved thousands of Yezidi and saved Rojava.

Wherever the Kurds have been supported they have proved capable, trustworthy and have created functional civil societies. To broadly and undiscerningly dismiss "sending weapons to the Middle East" is disingenuous. Something must be done, and things can be done to help rather than harm if there is a sensible policy maker, and doing nothing certainly can be more immoral and evil than doing something - as I thought we'd learned from Nazi Germany.

The reality is one that neither right wing nor left wing hardliners are willing to face: the Sunni Arab jihadis are the source of most of the problems and the reason is entirely to do with their noxious genocidal and imperialistic ideology and culture. They are a source of instability, enmity and fear, and not just in the Middle East either. And they are being supported and bankrolled by Western allies in the Gulf. The world is a big place with many peoples and ways of thought, and many disagreements - but we nearly all of us seem able to find a way to coexist in this new globalised technological human civilisation. The jihadis are a barbarian throwback, a movement of violent primitivists. There is no place for jihadism in the future and they are a threat to everyone in the world.


ID0020237 -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 09:01

Insanity I believe, not madness, but what's the difference. The CIA may get it right, but after political interference and manipulation, they change their conclusions. We've seen this with the Iraq debacle and elsewhere. Just as political interference in military operations, Viet Nam for example, causes imminent failure, so it is with intelligence ignored.


GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 09:01

So basically America invades and bombs the shit out of everywhere and the europeans have to clean up the mess and deal with the resulting refugee crisis?

At some point America should be held accountable for their actions in the middle east. Whether thats taking their fair share of refugees from syria or footing the bill for this clusterfuck.

At the very least, other countries should stop enabling their warmongering.


LittleGhost 19 Sep 2015 08:58

US foreign policy in the ME proves Einstein's maxim

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 08:57

It has been 14 years since 911 and Bush's so called "war on terror". Not only barbaric wahabi terror has not been defeated it has grown its barbarism to magnitudes unimaginable previously. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been allowed to arm them to the teeth by the very states who claim to be waging "war on terror". Since Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are close allies of the west and one is a member of NATO, it follows that the west is in fact arming the wahabi terrorists who have turned the Middle East into a wasteland murdering and looting at will. Millions are now refugees, countries laid to waste and yet Mr Kerry and Hammond talk as if they have done such magnificent jobs and Russian involvement would only "complicate" things.


teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 08:56

I don't think they have the brightest people working in the CIA and the military in the USA. They are probably bullies, relics from the Cold War, jar-heads, devout 6000-year-old-world Christians, neocons and fruitcakes. Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.


smifee 19 Sep 2015 08:52

To be honest, I don't see any confusion.

Obama comes across as a (comparatively) humane person, and I am sure that his personal preference would be for there to be no violence in the middle east. As President of the USA, however, he has to set aside his personal preferences and act in the wider interests of his country.

The US set out to realign the political make up of the middle east. No doubt, they want to make sure Islam will never again be able attack US interests.

Successive Administrations have controlled the funding and arming of various factions within the Middle East to ensure that Muslims kill each other and weaken social structures. The US will fill the ensuing political vacuum and economic waste-land with local leaders loyal to 'freedom, democracy and the American Way'. The next Administration will continue to stoke up the violence, and the one after, and the one after that until the US is satisfied it has achieved its objective.

It seems almost all of us have to contain our personal views if we want to succeed in our place of work. Even the P of the USA.

GoldMoney -> celloswiss 19 Sep 2015 08:51

True, in a democracy, moderates don't need bombs and assault weapons.

Consider this - how would you feel if foreign governments were arming and funding the IRA in Northern Ireland?

What if foreign governments recognised the IRA as a legitimate opposition to the Belfast government and gave them bombs to take over the country?


MichaelGuess 19 Sep 2015 08:46

Who are the real terrorists, the group that bombs indiscriminately, the group that sells arms to both sides, the group that's lies to its "coalition" partners, the group that spies on all its friends, the group that is happy to be starting wars everywhere and then blame other parties for their lack of support.
These are the real terrorists.

MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 08:46

ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources.

Assad won 89% of the vote in a 74% turnout, how many world leaders have 65% of the population supporting them, hence why Assad hasn't fallen. Naturally the US refuted this alongside its lapdogs, the EU and the UK, as it disproves all the propaganda they've been feeding the west. RT news did an interview with Assad which was very insightful.

Putin seems to be the only one who's got his head screwed on in this situation, which is of course leading to hissy fits by the US because he's proving a stumbling block. More nations need to get behind Putin and Assad, although of course the US wont.

GoldMoney DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 07:52

Moderates do, when the simple act of protesting against the mutilation of children detained by the states secret police are met with a volley of snipers.

No such evidence has been bought to the UN security council. Even the chemical attack that the media claimed from day one was Assad's forces doing turned out to be IS rebels actions. The two human rights groups operating in Syria are western funded NGO's - hardly a neutral point of view given the US's long stated aim of removing Assad (even before 2011).

geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 07:25

This $500 million from June 2014 was for recruiting Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad - not to fight iSIS.

The White House said at the time:

"This funding request would build on the administration's longstanding efforts to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, both civilian and armed, and will enable the Department of Defense to increase our support to vetted elements of the armed opposition."

The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 07:12

The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department.

[Feb 04, 2019] It case of Venzuella coup it looks like we are dealing with a "Skripal tactic": do something so ridiculously stupid and offensive that it places all your vassals before a stark choice: either submit and pretend like you did not notice or, alternatively, dare to say something and face with wrath of Uncle Shmuel (the Neocon's version of Uncle Sam) by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... This reminds me of the gerontocrats of the Soviet Politburo in the worst stagnation years who had to appoint the likes of Chernenko to top positions. ..."
"... The one thing the Mr MAGA's administration has in common with the late Brezhevian Politburo is its total inability to get anything done. My wife refers to the folks in the White House (since Dubya came to power) as the " gang that couldn't shoot straight " and she is right (she always is!): they just can't really get anything done anymore – all their half-assed pseudo-successes are inevitably followed by embarrassing failures. ..."
Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Remember the almost universal reaction of horror when Bolton was appointed as National Security Advisor? Well, apparently, either the Neocons completely missed that, which I doubt, or they did what they always do and decided to double-down by retrieving Elliott Abrams from storage and appointing him US Special Envoy to Venezuela. I mean, yes, of course, the Neocons are stupid and sociopathic enough not to ever care about others, but in this case I think that we are dealing with a "Skripal tactic": do something so ridiculously stupid and offensive that it places all your vassals before a stark choice: either submit and pretend like you did not notice or, alternatively, dare to say something and face with wrath of Uncle Shmuel (the Neocon's version of Uncle Sam).

And it worked, in the name of "solidarity" or whatever else, the most faithful lackeys of the Empire immediate fell in line behind the latest US aggression against a sovereign nation in spite of the self-evident fact that this aggression violates every letter of the most sacred principles of international law. This is exactly the same tactic as when they make you clean toilets with a toothbrush or do push-ups in the mud during basic training: not only to condition you to total obedience, but to make you publicly give up any semblance of dignity.

...Finally, these appointments also show that the senior-Neocons are frightened and paranoid as there are still plenty of very sharp junior-Neocon folks to chose from in the US, yet they felt the need to get Abrams from conservation and place him in a key position in spite of the strong smell of naphthalene emanating from him. This reminds me of the gerontocrats of the Soviet Politburo in the worst stagnation years who had to appoint the likes of Chernenko to top positions.

The one thing the Mr MAGA's administration has in common with the late Brezhevian Politburo is its total inability to get anything done. My wife refers to the folks in the White House (since Dubya came to power) as the " gang that couldn't shoot straight " and she is right (she always is!): they just can't really get anything done anymore – all their half-assed pseudo-successes are inevitably followed by embarrassing failures.

[Feb 04, 2019] Why does everyone make Trump out to be a victim, poor ol Trump, he's being screwed by all those people he himself appointed, poor ol persecuted Trump. Sounds like our Jewish friends with all the victimization BS.

Notable quotes:
"... Why does everyone make Trump out to be a victim, poor ol Trump, he's being screwed by all those people he himself appointed, poor ol persecuted Trump. Sounds like our Jewish friends with all the victimization BS. ..."
"... I think Israel is just a capitalist creation, nothing to do with Jews, just a foothold in he middle east for Wall St to have a base to control the oil and gas there, they didn't create Israel until they discovered how much oil was there, and realized how much control over the world it would give them to control it. ..."
"... It is the love of money, the same thing the Bible warned us about. Imperialism/globalism is the latest stage of capitalism, that is what all of this is about, follow the money. ..."
Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

redmudhooch , says: January 31, 2019 at 1:30 am GMT

I heartily dislike and find despicable the socialist government of Maduro, just as I did Hugo Chavez when he was in power. I have some good friends there, one of whom was a student of mine when I taught in Argentina many years ago, and he and his family resolutely oppose Maduro. Those socialist leaders in Caracas are tin-pot dictator wannabees who have wrecked the economy of that once wealthy country; and they have ridden roughshod over the constitutional rights of the citizens. My hope has been that the people of Venezuela, perhaps supported by elements in the army, would take action to rid the country of those tyrants.

Hard to take this guy seriously when he spouts Fox News level propaganda.

Why does everyone make Trump out to be a victim, poor ol Trump, he's being screwed by all those people he himself appointed, poor ol persecuted Trump. Sounds like our Jewish friends with all the victimization BS.

Its clear that voting no longer works folks, this is an undemocratic and illegitimate "government" we have here. We let them get away with killing JFK, RFK, MLK, Vietnam, we let them get away with 9/11, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria. They've made a mess in Africa. All the refugees into Europe, all the refugees from Latin America that have already come from CIA crimes, more will come.
We wouldn't need a wall if Wall St would stop with their BS down there!

You can't just blame Jews, yes there are lots of Jews in Corporate America, bu t not all of them are, and there are lots of Jews who speak out against this. We were doing this long before Israel came into existence. You can't just blame everything one one group, I think Israel/Zionist are responsible for a lot of BS, but you can't exclude CIA, Wall St, Corporations, Banks, The MIC either. Its not just one group, its all of them. They're all evil, they're imperialists and they're all capitalists.

I think Israel is just a capitalist creation, nothing to do with Jews, just a foothold in he middle east for Wall St to have a base to control the oil and gas there, they didn't create Israel until they discovered how much oil was there, and realized how much control over the world it would give them to control it.

Those people moving to Israel are being played, just like the "Christian Zionists" here are, its a cult. Most "Jews" are atheists anyhow, and it seems any ol greedy white guy can claim to be a Jew. So how do you solve a "Jewish Problem" if anybody can claim to be a Jew? I think solving the capitalist problem would be a little easier to enforce.

All of the shills can scream about communists, socialists and marxists all they want. Capitalism is the problem always has been always will be. Its a murderous, immoral, unsustainable system that encourages greed, it is a system who's driving force is maximizing profits, and as such the State controlled or aligned with Corporations is the most advanced form of capitalism because it is the most profitable. They're raping the shit out of us, taking our money to fund their wars, so they can make more money while paying little to no taxes at all. Everything, everyone here complains about is caused by CAPITALISM, but nobody dares say it, they've been programmed since birth to think that way.

We should nationalize our oil and gas, instead of letting foreigners come in and steal it, again paying little or no taxes on it, then selling the oil they took from our country back to us. Russia and Venezuela do it, Libya did it, Iraq did it, and they used the money for the people of the country, they didn't let the capitalists plunder their wealth like the traitors running our country. We're AT LEAST $21 trillion in the hole now from this wonderful system of ours, don't you think we should try something else? Duh!

It is the love of money, the same thing the Bible warned us about. Imperialism/globalism is the latest stage of capitalism, that is what all of this is about, follow the money. Just muh opinion

Regime Change and Capitalism: https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/07/regime-change-and-capitalism/

[Feb 04, 2019] Trump logic of betrayal of his voters

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

peterAUS , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:12 pm GMT

@RVBlake

A guy on ZH explained it well, I guess:

The opposition hates me. I can do no right. The Trumptards blindly support me. I can do no wrong. There are not enough independent thinkers to make a difference as the two main sides bitterly fight each other over every minute, meaningless issue. I can pretty much do as I please without consequence ..like pay off all my buddies and pander to the jews/globalist/elites.
I'd add: and by doing the last, I could cut a deal with the real TPTBs as to for what happens after I leave White House.

[Feb 04, 2019] Trump s Revised and Rereleased Foreign Policy: The World Policeman is Back

Highly recommended!
This article from 2017 looks like it was written yesterday. Trump betrayal of his elctorate on multiple levels, essentially on all key poin of his election program mkes him "Republican Obama".
What is interesting about Trump foreign policy is his version of neoliberal "gangster capitalism" on foreign arena: might is right principle applied like universal opener. Previous administrations tried to put a lipstick on the pig. Trump does not even bother.
In terms of foreign policy, and even during the transition before Trump's inauguration, there were other, more disturbing signs of where Trump would be heading soon. When Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016, Trump seemed jubilant as if he had somehow been vindicated, and took the opportunity to slander Castro as a "brutal dictator" who "oppressed his own people" and turned Cuba into a "totalitarian island".
Notable quotes:
"... However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first". ..."
"... Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat. ..."
"... The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. ..."
"... Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding. ..."
"... AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States? ..."
"... AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing? ..."
"... AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange? ..."
"... While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them. ..."
"... Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture ..."
"... As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world . ..."
"... To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits. ..."
"... As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is ..."
"... On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. ..."
"... As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics. ..."
"... As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition. ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | zeroanthropology.net

Trump could have kept quiet, and lost nothing. Instead what he was attacking -- and the irony was missed on his fervently right wing supporters -- was someone who was a leader in the anti-globalist movement, from long before it was ever called that. Fidel Castro was a radical pioneer of independence, self-reliance, and self-determination.

Castro turned Cuba from an American-owned sugar plantation and brothel, a lurid backwater in the Caribbean, into a serious international actor opposed to globalizing capitalism. There was no sign of any acknowledgment of this by Trump, who instead chose to parrot the same people who would vilify him using similar terms (evil, authoritarian, etc.). Of course, Trump respects only corporate executives and billionaires, not what he would see as some rag-tag Third World revolutionary. Here Trump's supporters generally failed, using Castro's death as an opportunity for tribal partisanship, another opportunity to attack "weak liberals" like Obama who made minor overtures to Cuba (too little, too late).

Their distrust of "the establishment" was nowhere to be found this time: their ignorance of Cuba and their resort to stock clichés and slogans had all been furnished to them by the same establishment they otherwise claimed to oppose.

Just to be clear, the above is not meant to indicate any reversal on Trump's part regarding Cuba. He has been consistently anti-communist, and fairly consistent in his denunciations of Fidel Castro. What is significant is that -- far from overcoming the left-right divide -- Trump shores up the barriers, even at the cost of denouncing others who have a proven track record of fighting against neoliberal globalization and US interventionism. In these regards, Trump has no track record. Even among his rivals in the Republican primaries, senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul had more of an anti-interventionist track record.

However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first".

Russia

Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat.

Instead, Trump continued the sanctions, as if out of meek deference to Obama's policy, one founded on lies and antagonism toward Trump himself. Rather than repair the foul attempt to sabotage the US-Russian relationship in preparation for his presidency, Trump simply abided and thus became an accomplice. To be clear, Trump has done precisely nothing to dampen the near mass hysteria that has been manufactured in the US about alleged -- indeed imaginary -- "Russian intervention".

His comments, both during the electoral campaign and even early into his presidency, about wanting good relations with Russia, have been replaced by Trump's admissions that US relations with Russia are at a low point (Putin agreed: "I would say the level of trust [between Russia and the US] is at a workable level, especially in the military dimension, but it hasn't improved. On the contrary, it has degraded " and his spokesman called the relations " deplorable ".)

Rather than use the power of his office to calm fears, to build better ties with Russia, and to make meeting with Vladimir Putin a top priority, Trump has again done nothing , except escalating tensions. The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. Russia had actively facilitated the US' war in Afghanistan for over a decade, and was a consistent collaborator on numerous levels. It is up to thinking American officials to honestly explain what motivated them to tilt relations with Russia, because it is certainly not Russia's doing. The only explanation that makes any sense is that the US leadership grew concerned that Russia was no longer teetering on the edge of total socio-economic breakdown, as it was under the neoliberal Boris Yeltsin, but has instead resurfaced as a major actor in international affairs, and one that champions anti-neoliberal objectives of enhanced state sovereignty and self-determination.

WikiLeaks

Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding.

After finding so much use for WikiLeaks' publication of the Podesta emails, which became incorporated into his campaign speeches, and which fuelled the writing and speaking of journalists and bloggers sympathetic to Trump -- he was now effectively declaring WikiLeaks to be both an enemy and a likely target of US government action, in even more blunt terms than we heard during the past eight years under Obama. This is not mere continuity with the past, but a dramatic escalation. Rather than praise Julian Assange for his work, call for an end to the illegal impediments to his seeking asylum, swear off any US calls for extraditing and prosecuting Assange, and perhaps meeting with him in person, Trump has done all of the opposite. Instead we learn that Trump's administration may file arrest charges against Assange . Mike Pompeo , chosen by Trump to head the CIA, who had himself cited WikiLeaks as a reliable source of proof about how the Democratic National Committee had rigged its campaign, now declared WikiLeaks to be a " non-state hostile intelligence service ," along with vicious personal slander against Assange.

Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks was one that he defended in terms that were not just a deceptive rewriting of history, but one that was also fearful -- "I don't support or unsupport" WikiLeaks, was what Trump was now saying in his dash for the nearest exit. The backtracking is so obvious in this interview Trump gave to the AP , that his shoes must have left skid marks on the floor:

AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States?

TRUMP: When Wikileaks came out never heard of Wikileaks, never heard of it. When Wikileaks came out, all I was just saying is, "Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff." You know, they tried to hack the Republican, the RNC, but we had good defenses. They didn't have defenses, which is pretty bad management. But we had good defenses, they tried to hack both of them. They weren't able to get through to Republicans. No, I found it very interesting when I read this stuff and I said, "Wow." It was just a figure of speech. I said, "Well, look at this. It's good reading."

AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing?

TRUMP: No, I don't support or unsupport. It was just information .

AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange?

TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it's OK with me. I didn't know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it's OK with me.

First, Trump invents the fictitious claim that WikiLeaks was responsible for hacking the DNC, and that WikiLeaks also tried to hack the Republicans. Second, he pretends to be an innocent bystander, a spectator, in his own administration -- whatever others decide, is "OK" with him, not that he knows about their decisions, but it's all up to others. He has no power, all of a sudden.

Again, what Trump is displaying in this episode is his ultimate attachment to his class, with all of its anxieties and its contempt for rebellious, marginal upstarts. Trump shuns any sort of "loyalty" to WikiLeaks (not that they ever had a working relationship) or any form of gratitude, because then that would imply a debt and therefore a transfer of value -- whereas Trump's core ethics are those of expedience and greed (he admits that much). This move has come with a cost , with members of Trump's support base openly denouncing the betrayal. 6

NAFTA

On NAFTA , Trump claims he has not changed his position -- yet, from openly denouncing the free trade agreement and promising to terminate it, he now vows only to seek modifications and amendments, which means supporting NAFTA. He appeared to be awfully quick to obey the diplomatic pressure of Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Mexico's President, Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump's entire position on NAFTA now comes into question.

While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them.

This really deserves to be treated at length, separately from this article. However, for now, let's keep in mind that when Trump complains about Canadian softwood lumber and dairy exports to the US, his argument about NAFTA is without merit. Neither commodity is part of the NAFTA agreement.

Moreover, where dairy is concerned, the problem is US overproduction. Wisconsin alone has more dairy cows than all of Canada . There is a net surplus , in the US' favour, with respect to US dairy exports to Canada. Overall, the US has a net surplus in the trade in goods and services with Canada. Regarding Mexico, the irony of Trump's denunciations of imaginary Mexican victories is that he weakens his own criticisms of immigration.

Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture.

As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world .

To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits.

His arguments with respect to Canada are akin to those of a looter or raider. He wants to block lumber imports from Canada, at the same time as he wants to break the Canadian dairy market wide open to absorb US excess production. That approach is at the core of what defined the US as a "new empire" in the 1800s. In addition, while Trump was quick to tear up the TPP, he has said nothing about TISA and TTIP.

Mexico

Trump's argument with Mexico is also disturbing for what it implies. It would seem that any evidence of production in Mexico causes Trump concern. Mexico should not only keep its people -- however many are displaced by US imports -- but it should also be as dependent as possible on the US for everything except oil. Since Trump has consistently declared his antagonism to OPEC, ideally Mexico's oil would be sold for a few dollars per barrel.

China

Trump's turn on China almost provoked laughter from his many domestic critics. Absurdly, what figures prominently in most renditions of the story of Trump's change on China (including his own), is a big piece of chocolate cake. The missile strike on Syria was, according to Wilbur Ross, the " after-dinner entertainment ". Here, Trump's loud condemnations of China on trade issues were suddenly quelled -- and it is not because chocolate has magical properties. Instead it seems Trump has been willing to settle on selling out citizens' interests , and particularly those who voted for him, in return for China's assistance on North Korea. Let's be clear: countering and dominating North Korea is an established favourite among neoconservatives. Trump's priority here is fully "neocon," and the submergence of trade issues in favour of militaristic preferences is the one case where neoconservatives might be distinguished from the otherwise identical neoliberals.

North Korea

Where North Korea is concerned, Trump chose to manufacture a " crisis ". North Korea has actually done nothing to warrant a sudden outbreak of panic over it being supposedly aggressive and threatening. North Korea is no more aggressive than any person defending their survival can be called belligerent. The constant series of US military exercises in South Korea, or near North Korean waters, is instead a deliberate provocation to a state whose existence the US nearly extinguished. Even last year the US Air Force publicly boasted of having "nearly destroyed" North Korea -- language one would have expected from the Luftwaffe in WWII. The US continues to maintain roughly 60,000 troops on the border between North and South Korea, and continues to refuse to formally declare an end to the Korean War and sign a peace treaty . Trump then announced he was sending an "armada" to the Korean peninsula, and boasted of how "very powerful" it was. This was in addition to the US deploying the THAAD missile system in South Korea. Several of his messages in Twitter were written using highly provocative and threatening language. When asked if he would start a war, Trump glibly replied: " I don't know. I mean, we'll see ". On another occasion Trump stated, "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely". When the world's leading military superpower declares its intention to destroy you, then there is nothing you can do in your defense which anyone could justly label as "over the top". Otherwise, once again Trump posed as a parental figure, the world's chief babysitter -- picture Trump, surrounded by children taking part in the "Easter egg roll" at the White House, being asked about North Korea and responding "they gotta behave". Trump would presume to teach manners to North Korea, using the only tools of instruction that seem to be the first and last resort of US foreign policy (and the "defense" industry): bombs.

Syria

Attacking Syria , on purportedly humanitarian grounds, is for many (including vocal supporters) one of the most glaring contradictions of Trump's campaign statements about not embroiling the US in failed wars of regime change and world policing. During the campaign, he was in favour of Russia's collaboration with Syria in the fight against ISIS. For years he had condemned Obama for involving the US in Syria, and consistently opposed military intervention there. All that was consigned to the archive of positions Trump declared to now be worthless. That there had been a change in Trump's position is not a matter of dispute -- Trump made the point himself :

"I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don't change. Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I'm proud of that flexibility. And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me -- big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I've been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn't get any worse than that. And I have that flexibility, and it's very, very possible -- and I will tell you, it's already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas. You're now talking about a whole different level".

Bending to the will of the prevailing Cold War and neo-McCarthyist atmosphere in the US, rife with anti-Russian conspiracy theories, Trump found an easy opportunity to score points with the hostile media, ever so mindful as he is about approval ratings, polls, and media coverage. Some explain Trump's reversals as arising from his pursuit of public adulation -- and while the media play the key role in purveying celebrity status, they are also a stiff bastion of imperialist culture. Given his many years as a the host of a popular TV show, and as the owner of the Miss Universe Pageant, there is some logical merit to the argument. But I think even more is at work, as explained in paragraphs above. According to Eric Trump it was at the urging of Ivanka that Donald Trump decided to strike a humanitarian-militarist pose. He would play the part of the Victorian parent, only he would use missiles to teach unruly children lessons about violence. Using language typically used against him by the mainstream media, Trump now felt entitled to pontificate that Assad is "evil," an " animal ," who would have to go . When did he supposedly come to this realization? Did Assad become evil at the same time Trump was inaugurated? Why would Trump have kept so silent about "evil" on the campaign trail? Trump of course is wrong: it's not that the world changed and he changed with it; rather, he invented a new fiction to suit his masked intentions. Trump's supposed opponents and critics, like the Soros-funded organizer of the women's march Linda Sarsour, showed her approval of even more drastic action by endorsing messages by what sounded like a stern school mistress who thought that 59 cruise missiles were just a mere "slap on the wrist". Virtually every neocon who is publicly active applauded Trump, as did most senior Democrats. The loudest opposition , however, came from Trump's own base , with a number of articles featuring criticism from Trump's supporters , and one conservative publication calling him outright a " weakling and a political ingrate ".

Members of the Trump administration have played various word games with the public on intervention in Syria. From unnamed officials saying the missile strike was a "one off," to named officials promising more if there were any other suspected chemical attacks (or use of barrel bombs -- and this while the US dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan); some said that regime change was not the goal, and then others made it clear that was the ultimate goal ; and then Trump saying, "Our policy is the same, it hasn't changed. We're not going into Syria " -- even though Trump himself greatly increased the number of US troops he deployed to Syria , illegally, in an escalation of the least protested invasion in recent history. Now we should know enough not to count this as mere ambiguity, but as deliberate obfuscation that offers momentary (thinly veiled) cover for a renewal of neocon policy .

We can draw an outline of Trump's liberal imperialism when it comes to Syria, which is likely to be applied elsewhere. First, Trump's interventionist policy regarding Syria is one that continues to treat that country as if it were terra nullius , a mere playground for superpower politics. Second, Trump is clearly continuing with the neoconservative agenda and its hit list of states to be terminated by US military action, as famously confirmed by Gen. Wesley Clark. Even Trump's strategy for justifying the attack on Syria echoed the two prior Bush presidential administrations -- selling war with the infamous "incubator babies" myth and the myth of "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). In many ways, Trump's presidency is thus shaping up to be either the seventh term of the George H.W. Bush regime, or the fifth straight term of the George W. Bush regime. Third, Trump is taking ownership of an extremely dangerous conflict, with costs that could surpass anything witnessed by the war on Iraq (which also continues). Fourth, by highlighting the importance of photographs in allegedly changing his mind, Trump has placed a high market value on propaganda featuring dead babies. His actions in Syria will now create an effective demand for the pornographic trade in pictures of atrocities. These are matters of great importance to the transnational capitalist class, which demands full global penetrability, diminished state power (unless in the service of this class' goals), a uniformity of expectations and conformity in behaviour, and an emphasis on individual civil liberties which are the basis for defending private property and consumerism.

Venezuela

It is very disturbing to see how Venezuela is being framed as ripe for US intervention, in ways that distinctly echo the lead up to the US war on Libya. Just as disturbing is that Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has a clear conflict of interest regarding Venezuela, from his recent role as CEO of Exxon and its conflict with the government of Venezuela over its nationalization of oil. Tillerson is, by any definition, a clear-cut member of the transnational capitalist class. The Twitter account of the State Department has a battery of messages sternly lecturing Venezuela about the treatment of protesters, while also pontificating on the Venezuelan Constitution as if the US State Department had become a global supreme court. What is impressive is the seamless continuity in the nature of the messages on Venezuela from that account, as if no change of government happened between Obama's time and Trump's. Nikki Haley, Trump's neocon ambassador to the UN, issued a statement that read like it had been written by her predecessors, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, a statement which in itself is an unacceptable intervention in Venezuelan internal affairs. For Trump's part, from just days before the election, to a couple of weeks after his inauguration, he has sent explicit messages of support for anti-government forces in Venezuela. In February, Trump imposed sanctions on Venezuela's Vice President. After Syria and North Korea, Venezuela is seeming the likely focus of US interventionism under Trump.

NATO

Rounding out the picture, at least for now (this was just the first hundred days of Trump's presidency), was Trump's outstanding reversal on NATO -- in fact, once again he stated the reversal himself, and without explanation either: " I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete ". This came just days after the US missile strike against Syria, and just as Ivanka Trump was about to represent his government at a meeting of globalist women, the W20 . NATO has served as the transnational military alliance at the service of the transnational capitalist class, and particularly the military and political members of the TCC. 7

Saving Neoliberalism?

Has Trump saved neoliberal capitalism from its ongoing demise? Has he sustained popular faith in liberal political ideals? Are we still in the dying days of liberalism ? If there had been a centrally coordinated plan to plant an operative among the ranks of populist conservatives and independents, to channel their support for nationalism into support for the persona of the plant, and to then have that plant steer a course straight back to shoring up neoliberal globalism -- then we might have had a wonderful story of a masterful conspiracy, the biggest heist in the history of elections anywhere. A truly "rigged system" could be expected to behave that way. Was Trump designated to take the fall in a rigged game, only his huge ego got in the way when he realized he could realistically win the election and he decided to really tilt hard against his partner, Hillary Clinton? It could be the basis for a novel, or a Hollywood political comedy. I have no way of knowing if it could be true.

Framed within the terms of what we do know, there was relief by the ousted group of political elites and the liberal globalist media at the sight of Trump's reversals, and a sense that their vision had been vindicated. However, if they are hoping that the likes of Trump will serve as a reliable flag bearer, then theirs is a misguided wishful thinking. If someone so demonized and ridiculed, tarnished as an evil thug and racist fascist, the subject of mass demonstrations in the US and abroad, is the latest champion of (neo)liberalism, then we are certainly witnessing its dying days.

Is Trump Beneficial for Anti-Imperialism?

Once one is informed enough and thus prepared to understand that anti-imperialism is not the exclusive preserve of the left (a left which anyway has mostly shunned it over the last two decades), that it did not originate with the left , and that it has a long and distinguished history in the US itself , then we can move toward some interesting realizations. The facts, borne out by surveys and my own online immersion among pro-Trump social media users, is that one of the significant reasons why Trump won is due to the growth in popularity of basic anti-imperialist principles (even if not recognized under that name): for example, no more world policing, no transnational militarization, no more interventions abroad, no more regime change, no war, and no globalism. Nationalists in Europe, as in Russia, have also pushed forward a basic anti-imperialist vision. Whereas in Latin America anti-imperialism is largely still leftist, in Europe and North America the left-right divide has become blurred, but the crucial thing is that at least now we can speak of anti-imperialism gaining strength in these three major continents. Resistance against globalization has been the primary objective, along with strengthening national sovereignty, protecting local cultural identity, and opposing free trade and transnational capital. Unfortunately, some anti-imperialist writers (on the left in fact) have tended to restrict their field of vision to military matters primarily, while almost completely neglecting the economic and cultural, and especially domestic dimensions of imperialism. (I am grossly generalizing of course, but I think it is largely accurate.) Where structures such as NAFTA are concerned, many of these same leftist anti-imperialists, few as they are, have had virtually nothing to say. It could be that they have yet to fully recognize that the transnational capitalist class has, gradually over the last seven decades, essentially purchased the power of US imperialism. Therefore the TCC's imperialism includes NAFTA, just as it includes open borders, neoliberal identity politics, and drone strikes. They are all different parts of the same whole.

As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is. 8

On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. In addition to that, given that his candidacy aggravated internal divisions in the US, which have not subsided with his assumption of office, these domestic social and cultural conflicts cause a serious deficit of legitimacy, a loss of political capital. A declining economy will also deprive him of capital in the strict sense. Moreover, given the kind of persona the media have crafted, the daily caricaturing of Trump will significantly spur anti-Americanism around the world. If suddenly even Canadian academics are talking about boycotting the US, then the worm has truly turned. Trump can only rely on "hard power" (military violence), because "soft power" is almost out of the question now that Trump has been constructed as a barbarian. Incompetent and/or undermined governance will also render Trump a deficient upholder of the status quo. The fact that nationalist movements around the world are not centrally coordinated, and their fortunes are not pinned to those of Trump, establishes a well-defined limit to his influence. Trump's antagonism toward various countries -- as wholes -- has already helped to stir up a deep sediment of anti-Americanism. If Americanism is at the heart of Trump's nationalist globalism, then it is doing all the things that are needed to induce a major heart attack.

As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics.

As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition.

[Feb 03, 2019] Neoliberalism and Christianity

Highly recommended!
Money quote: " neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large, and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism."
Notable quotes:
"... ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation. ..."
"... neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large,and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism. ..."
"... They call themselves free marketers, but they realize that you cannot have neoliberalism unless you're willing to murder and assassinate everyone who promotes an alternative ..."
"... Just so long as you remember that most of the strongest and most moving condemnations of greed and money in the ancient and (today) western world are also Jewish--i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, the Gospels, Letter of James, etc. ..."
"... The history of Jewish banking after the fall or Rome is inextricable from cultural anti-judaism of Christian west and east and de facto marginalization/ghettoization of Jews from most aspects of social life. The Jewish lending of money on interest to gentiles was both necessary for early mercantilist trade and yet usury was prohibited by the church. So Jewish money lenders were essential to and yet ostracized within European economies for centuries. ..."
"... Now Christianity has itself long given up on the tradition teaching against usury of course. ..."
"... In John, for instance most of the references to what in English is translated as "the Jews" are in Greek clearly references to "the Judaeans"--and especially to the ruling elite among the southern tribe in bed with the Romans. ..."
May 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 1, 2018 2:27:06 PM | 13

Just finished reading the fascinating Michael Hudson interview I linked to on previous thread; but since we're discussing Jews and their religion in a tangential manner, I think it appropriate to post here since the history Hudson explains is 100% key to the ongoing pain us humans feel and inflict. My apologies in advance, but it will take this long excerpt to explain what I mean:

"Tribes: When does the concept of a general debt cancellation disappear historically?

"Michael: I guess in about the second or third century AD it was downplayed in the Bible. After Jesus died, you had, first of all, St Paul taking over, and basically Christianity was created by one of the most evil men in history, the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria. He gained power by murdering his rivals, the Nestorians, by convening a congress of bishops and killing his enemies. Cyril was really the Stalin figure of Christianity, killing everybody who was an enemy, organizing pogroms against the Jews in Alexandria where he ruled.

"It was Cyril that really introduced into Christianity the idea of the Trinity. That's what the whole fight was about in the third and fourth centuries AD. Was Jesus a human, was he a god? And essentially you had the Isis-Osiris figure from Egypt, put into Christianity. The Christians were still trying to drive the Jews out of Christianity. And Cyril knew the one thing the Jewish population was not going to accept would be the Isis figure and the Mariolatry that the church became. And as soon as the Christian church became the establishment rulership church, the last thing it wanted in the West was debt cancellation.

"You had a continuation of the original Christianity in the Greek Orthodox Church, or the Orthodox Church, all the way through Byzantium. And in my book And Forgive Them Their Debts, the last two chapters are on the Byzantine echo of the original debt cancellations, where one ruler after another would cancel the debts. And they gave very explicit reason for it: if we don't cancel the debts, we're not going to be able to field an army, we're not going to be able to collect taxes, because the oligarchy is going to take over. They were very explicit, with references to the Bible, references to the jubilee year. So you had Christianity survive in the Byzantine Empire. But in the West it ended in Margaret Thatcher. And Father Coughlin.

"Tribes: He was the '30s figure here in the States.

"Michael: Yes: anti-Semite, right-wing, pro-war, anti-labor. So the irony is that you have the people who call themselves fundamentalist Christians being against everything that Jesus was fighting for, and everything that original Christianity was all about."

Hudson says debt forgiveness was one of the central tenets of Judaism: " ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation. "

Looks like I'll be purchasing Hudson's book as he's essentially unveiling a whole new, potentially revolutionary, historical interpretation.

psychohistorian , May 1, 2018 3:31:50 PM | 26
@ karlof1 with the Michale Hudson link....thanks!!

Here is the quote that I really like from that interview
"
Michael: No. You asked what is the fight about? The fight is whether the state will be taken over, essentially to be an extension of Wall Street if you do not have government planning. Every economy is planned. Ever since the Neolithic (era), you've had to have (a form of) planning. If you don't have a public authority doing the planning, then the financial authority becomes the planners. So globalism is in the financial interest –Wall Street and the City of London, doing the planning, not governments. They will do the planning in their own interest. So neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large,and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism.
"

karlof1, please email me as I would like to read the book as well and maybe we can share a copy.

And yes, it is relevant to Netanyahoo and his ongoing passel of lies because humanity has been told and been living these lives for centuries...it is time to stop this shit and grow up/evolve

james , May 1, 2018 10:30:01 PM | 96
@13 / 78 karlof1... thanks very much for the links to michael hudson, alastair crooke and the bruno maraces articles...

they were all good for different reasons, but although hudson is being criticized for glossing over some of his talking points, i think the main thrust of his article is very worthwhile for others to read! the quote to end his article is quite good "The question is, who do you want to run the economy? The 1% and the financial sector, or the 99% through politics? The fight has to be in the political sphere, because there's no other sphere that the financial interests cannot crush you on."

it seems to me that the usa has worked hard to bad mouth or get rid of government and the concept of government being involved in anything.. of course everything has to be run by a 'private corp' - ie corporations must run everything.. they call them oligarchs when talking about russia, lol - but they are corporations when they are in the usa.. slight rant..

another quote i especially liked from hudson.. " They call themselves free marketers, but they realize that you cannot have neoliberalism unless you're willing to murder and assassinate everyone who promotes an alternative ." that sounds about right...

@ 84 juliania.. aside from your comments on hudsons characterization of st paul "the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria" further down hudson basically does the same with father coughlin - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin.. he gets the anti-semite tag as well.. i don't know much about either characters, so it's mostly greek to me, but i do find some of hudsons views especially appealing - debt forgiveness being central to the whole article as i read it...

it is interesting my own view on how money is so central to the world and how often times I am incapable of avoiding the observation of the disproportionate number of Jewish people in banking.. I guess that makes me anti-semite too, but i don't think of myself that way.. I think the obsession with money is killing the planet.. I don't care who is responsible for keeping it going, it is killing us...

WJ | May 1, 2018 10:48:58 PM | 100

James @96,

Just so long as you remember that most of the strongest and most moving condemnations of greed and money in the ancient and (today) western world are also Jewish--i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, the Gospels, Letter of James, etc.

The history of Jewish banking after the fall or Rome is inextricable from cultural anti-judaism of Christian west and east and de facto marginalization/ghettoization of Jews from most aspects of social life. The Jewish lending of money on interest to gentiles was both necessary for early mercantilist trade and yet usury was prohibited by the church. So Jewish money lenders were essential to and yet ostracized within European economies for centuries.

Now Christianity has itself long given up on the tradition teaching against usury of course.

WJ , May 1, 2018 8:23:40 PM | 88
Juliana @84,

I too greatly admire the work of Hudson but he consistently errs and oversimplifies whenever discussing the beliefs of and the development of beliefs among preNicene followers of the way (as Acts puts is) or Christians (as they came to be known in Antioch within roughly eight or nine decades after Jesus' death.) Palestinian Judaism in the time of Jesus was much more variegated than scholars even twenty years ago had recognized. The gradual reception and interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls in tandem with renewed research into Phili of Alexandria, the Essenes, the so-called Sons of Zadok, contemporary Galilean zealot movements styles after the earlier Maccabean resistance, the apocalyptism of post exilic texts like Daniel and (presumably) parts of Enoch--all paint a picture of a highly diverse group of alternatives to the state-Church once known as Second Temple Judaism that has been mistaken as undisputed Jewish "orthodoxy" since the advent of historical criticism.

The Gospel of John, for example, which dates from betweeen 80-120 and is the record of a much earlier oral tradition, is already explicitly binitarian, and possibly already trinitarian depending on how one understands the relationship between the Spirit or Advocate and the Son. (Most ante-Nicene Christians understood the Spirit to be *Christ's* own spirit in distributed form, and they did so by appeal to a well-developed but still largely under recognized strand in Jewish angelology.)

The "theological" development of Christianity occurred much sooner that it has been thought because it emerged from an already highly theologized strand or strands of Jewish teaching that, like Christianity itself, privileged the Abrahamic covenant over the Mosaic Law, the testament of grace over that of works, and the universal scope of revelation and salvation as opposed to any political or ethnic reading of the "Kingdom."

None of these groups were part of the ruling class of Judaean priests and levites and their hangers on the Pharisees.

In John, for instance most of the references to what in English is translated as "the Jews" are in Greek clearly references to "the Judaeans"--and especially to the ruling elite among the southern tribe in bed with the Romans.

So the anti-Judaism/Semiti of John's Gispel largely rests on a mistranslation. In any event, everything is much more complex than Hudson makes it out to be. Christian economic radicalism is alive and well in the thought of Gregory of Nysa and Basil the Great, who also happened to be Cappadocian fathers highly influential in the development of "orthodox" Trinitarianism in the fourth century.

I still think that Hudson's big picture critique of the direction later Christianity took is helpful and necessary, but this doesn't change the fact that he simplifies the origins, development, and arguably devolution of this movement whenever he tries to get specific. It is a worthwhile danger given the quality of his work in historical economics, but still one has to be aware of.

[Feb 03, 2019] Pope Francis denounces trickle-down economics by Aaron Blake

Highly recommended!
This "apostolic exhortation" is probably the most sharp critique of neoliberalism by a church leader.
Notable quotes:
"... "In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," the pope wrote. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting." ..."
"... In his exhortation, the pope also attacked economic inequality, suggesting Christians have a duty to combat it to comply with the Ten Commandments -- specifically the prohibition on killing. ..."
Nov 26, 2013 | www.washingtonpost.com

Pope Francis delivers a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world's cardinals. (Osservatore Romano/EPA)

Pope Francis has released a sharply worded take on capitalism and the world's treatment of its poor, criticizing "trickle-down" economic policies in no uncertain terms.

In the first lengthy writing of his papacy -- also known as an "apostolic exhortation" -- Francis says such economic theories naively rely on the goodness of those in charge and create a "tyranny" of the markets.

"In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," the pope wrote. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."

While popes have often warned against the negative impact of the markets, Francis's verbiage is note-worthy because of its use of the phrase "trickle-down" -- a term that came into popular usage as a description for former president Ronald Reagan's economic policies. While the term is often used pejoratively, it describes an economic theory that remains popular with conservatives in the United States today.

The theory holds that policies benefiting the wealthiest segment of society will also help the poor, by allowing money to "trickle down" from the top income levels into the lower ones. Critics, including President Obama, say the policies, usually focused on tax cuts and credits that primarily benefit upper-income Americans, concentrate wealth in the highest income levels and that the benefits rarely trickle down to the extent proponents suggest.

In his exhortation, the pope also attacked economic inequality, suggesting Christians have a duty to combat it to comply with the Ten Commandments -- specifically the prohibition on killing.

"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality," the pope wrote. "Such an economy kills."

The pope also likened the worship of money to the biblical golden calf .

"We have created new idols," Francis wrote. "The worship of the ancient golden calf ... has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose."

The pope also attacks "consumerism": "It is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric."

Here is the entire passage:

I. SOME CHALLENGES OF TODAY'S WORLD

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people's welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.

No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say "thou shalt not" to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

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

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: "Not to share one's wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs". [55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called "end of history", since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today's economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an "education" that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

[Feb 03, 2019] Evangelii Gaudium Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World (24 November 2013)

Highly recommended!
Nov 23, 2013 | w2.vatican.va

... ... ...

CHAPTER TWO: AMID THE CRISIS OF COMMUNAL COMMITMENT

50. Before taking up some basic questions related to the work of evangelization, it may be helpful to mention briefly the context in which we all have to live and work. Today, we frequently hear of a "diagnostic overload" which is not always accompanied by improved and actually applicable methods of treatment. Nor would we be well served by a purely sociological analysis which would aim to embrace all of reality by employing an allegedly neutral and clinical method. What I would like to propose is something much more in the line of an evangelical discernment. It is the approach of a missionary disciple, an approach "nourished by the light and strength of the Holy Spirit". [53]

51. It is not the task of the Pope to offer a detailed and complete analysis of contemporary reality, but I do exhort all the communities to an "ever watchful scrutiny of the signs of the times". [54] This is in fact a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse. We need to distinguish clearly what might be a fruit of the kingdom from what runs counter to God's plan. This involves not only recognizing and discerning spirits, but also – and this is decisive – choosing movements of the spirit of good and rejecting those of the spirit of evil. I take for granted the different analyses which other documents of the universal magisterium have offered, as well as those proposed by the regional and national conferences of bishops. In this Exhortation I claim only to consider briefly, and from a pastoral perspective, certain factors which can restrain or weaken the impulse of missionary renewal in the Church, either because they threaten the life and dignity of God's people or because they affect those who are directly involved in the Church's institutions and in her work of evangelization.

I. Some challenges of today's world

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people's welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.

No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say "thou shalt not" to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

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

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: "Not to share one's wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs". [55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called "end of history", since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today's economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. It serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an "education" that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Some cultural challenges

61. We also evangelize when we attempt to confront the various challenges which can arise. [56] On occasion these may take the form of veritable attacks on religious freedom or new persecutions directed against Christians; in some countries these have reached alarming levels of hatred and violence. In many places, the problem is more that of widespread indifference and relativism, linked to disillusionment and the crisis of ideologies which has come about as a reaction to any-thing which might appear totalitarian. This not only harms the Church but the fabric of society as a whole. We should recognize how in a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcends individual gain and personal ambitions.

62. In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional. What is real gives way to appearances. In many countries globalization has meant a hastened deterioration of their own cultural roots and the invasion of ways of thinking and acting proper to other cultures which are economically advanced but ethically debilitated. This fact has been brought up by bishops from various continents in different Synods. The African bishops, for example, taking up the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis , pointed out years ago that there have been frequent attempts to make the African countries "parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel. This is often true also in the field of social communications which, being run by centres mostly in the northern hemisphere, do not always give due consideration to the priorities and problems of such countries or respect their cultural make-up". [57] By the same token, the bishops of Asia "underlined the external influences being brought to bear on Asian cultures. New patterns of behaviour are emerging as a result of over-exposure to the mass media As a result, the negative aspects of the media and entertainment industries are threatening traditional values, and in particular the sacredness of marriage and the stability of the family". [58]

63. The Catholic faith of many peoples is nowadays being challenged by the proliferation of new religious movements, some of which tend to fundamentalism while others seem to propose a spirituality without God. This is, on the one hand, a human reaction to a materialistic, consumerist and individualistic society, but it is also a means of exploiting the weaknesses of people living in poverty and on the fringes of society, people who make ends meet amid great human suffering and are looking for immediate solutions to their needs. These religious movements, not without a certain shrewdness, come to fill, within a predominantly individualistic culture, a vacuum left by secularist rationalism. We must recognize that if part of our baptized people lack a sense of belonging to the Church, this is also due to certain structures and the occasionally unwelcoming atmosphere of some of our parishes and communities, or to a bureaucratic way of dealing with problems, be they simple or complex, in the lives of our people. In many places an administrative approach prevails over a pastoral approach, as does a concentration on administering the sacraments apart from other forms of evangelization.

64. The process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change. As the bishops of the United States of America have rightly pointed out, while the Church insists on the existence of objective moral norms which are valid for everyone, "there are those in our culture who portray this teaching as unjust, that is, as opposed to basic human rights. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined, not without inconsistency, to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals. In this view, the Church is perceived as promoting a particular prejudice and as interfering with individual freedom". [59] We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data – all treated as being of equal importance – and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment. In response, we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values.

65. Despite the tide of secularism which has swept our societies, in many countries – even those where Christians are a minority – the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for her solidarity and concern for those in greatest need. Again and again, the Church has acted as a mediator in finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defence of life, human and civil rights, and so forth. And how much good has been done by Catholic schools and universities around the world! This is a good thing. Yet, we find it difficult to make people see that when we raise other questions less palatable to public opinion, we are doing so out of fidelity to precisely the same convictions about human dignity and the common good.

66. The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born "of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life". [60]

67. The individualism of our postmodern and globalized era favours a lifestyle which weakens the development and stability of personal relationships and distorts family bonds. Pastoral activity needs to bring out more clearly the fact that our relationship with the Father demands and encourages a communion which heals, promotes and reinforces interpersonal bonds. In our world, especially in some countries, different forms of war and conflict are re-emerging, yet we Christians remain steadfast in our intention to respect others, to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to "bear one another's burdens" ( Gal 6:2). Today too, various associations for the defence of rights and the pursuit of noble goals are being founded. This is a sign of the desire of many people to contribute to social and cultural progress.

[Feb 02, 2019] Pope Francis Calls for a 'Christian Populism' that Hears the People

Feb 02, 2019 | www.breitbart.com

Leaving aside his frequent criticisms of populism, Pope Francis called for a "Christian populism" during a visit to Sicily this weekend, insisting that true populism must listen to and serve the people.

"Be afraid of the deafness that fails to hear the people," Francis said during his homily at Mass in Palermo Saturday. "This is the only possible populism: listening to your people, the only Christian populism: listening to and serving the people, without shouting, accusing, or stirring up contentions."

Seeming to channel John F. Kennedy, the pope invited his hearers to take initiative rather than asking what the Church and society can do for them.

https://player.powr.com/iframe.html?account=100010177&player=743&domain=breitbart.com&terms=christian%20populism%20pope%20people%20francis%20calls%20for%20hears&uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.breitbart.com%2Fnational-security%2F2018%2F09%2F17%2Fpope-francis-calls-for-a-christian-populism-that-hears-and-serves-the-people%2F&c=1549146645895

"Wait not for the Church to do something for you, but begin yourself," Francis said. "Wait not for society to do it, do it yourself."

The pope's apparent openness to populism -- or at least a version of it -- marks a significant change from earlier discourses, in which Francis condemned populism, tying its rise to selfishness and egotism.

Last year, the pontiff warned of the perils of populism in western democracies, telling the German newspaper Die Zeit that "populism is evil and ends badly, as the past century showed."

In an anti-nationalist speech in March 2017, the pope told European heads of state that there is a need "to start thinking once again as Europeans so as to avert the opposite dangers of a dreary uniformity or the triumph of particularisms."

The European Union will only be lasting and successful if the common will of Europe "proves more powerful than the will of individual nations," Francis said, advocating for a stronger, consolidated Europe against the rising tide of populist movements.

Solidarity is "the most effective antidote to modern forms of populism," Pope Francis told the European Union leaders, Francis said, while denouncing nationalism as a modern form of selfishness.

The pontiff contrasted solidarity, which draw us "closer to our neighbors," with populism, which is "the fruit of an egotism that hems people in and prevents them from overcoming and 'looking beyond' their own narrow vision."

This past June, Pope Francis went further still, insisting that populism was not the solution to Europe's immigration crisis, just as Italy's new populist government was beginning to enact measures to curb illegal immigration.

In an interview with Reuters, the pope was asked what he thought the solution is to the immigration crisis that seems to be causing Europe to crumble.

"Populism is not the solution," Francis said emphatically, adding that Europe would disappear without migrants because no one is having children.

Summing up, the pope said that "populism does not solve the problem; what solves it is welcoming, studying, settling, and prudence, because prudence is a virtue of government and the government must reach an agreement. I can receive a certain number and settle them."

On Tuesday, the Vatican and the World Council of Churches (WCC) will begin a two-day joint conference in Rome on "Migration, Xenophobia and politically motivated Populism."

The WCC is partnering with the Vatican department for Promoting Integral Human Development in organizing the conference as part of ongoing work toward "peace-building and migration."

The secretary general of the WCC, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, said the meeting would be a "very useful and significant workshop to dig a bit deeper" into the problems of xenophobia as an expression of populism, as well as its links to racism, conflict, and violence in countries around the world.

[Feb 02, 2019] In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism

The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.
Notable quotes:
"... His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women." ..."
"... The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington. ..."
"... Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece . But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left. ..."
"... Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way. ..."
"... Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor." ..."
"... Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff." ..."
"... In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night. ..."
"... It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush. ..."
"... The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy. ..."
"... "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment." ..."
"... "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government ..."
"... "What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. ..."
Jul 11, 2015 | msn.com

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay - His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women."

Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism - even as he called for a global movement against a "new colonialism" rooted in an inequitable economic order.

The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.

The last pope who so boldly placed himself at the center of the global moment was John Paul II, who during the 1980s pushed the church to confront what many saw as the challenge of that era, communism. John Paul II's anti-Communist messaging dovetailed with the agenda of political conservatives eager for a tougher line against the Soviets and, in turn, aligned part of the church hierarchy with the political right.

Francis has defined the economic challenge of this era as the failure of global capitalism to create fairness, equity and dignified livelihoods for the poor - a social and religious agenda that coincides with a resurgence of the leftist thinking marginalized in the days of John Paul II. Francis' increasingly sharp critique comes as much of humanity has never been so wealthy or well fed - yet rising inequality and repeated financial crises have unsettled voters, policy makers and economists.

Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece. But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left.

Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

"I think the pope is singing to the music that's already in the air," said Robert A. Johnson, executive director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, which was financed with $50 million from Mr. Soros. "And that's a good thing. That's what artists do, and I think the pope is sensitive to the lack of legitimacy of the system."

Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor."

Mr. Schneck, of Catholic University, said it was as if Francis were saying, "We've been talking about these things for more than one hundred years, and nobody is listening."

Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff."

Francis made his speech on Wednesday night, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, before nearly 2,000 social advocates, farmers, trash workers and neighborhood activists. Even as he meets regularly with heads of state, Francis has often said that change must come from the grass roots, whether from poor people or the community organizers who work with them. To Francis, the poor have earned knowledge that is useful and redeeming, even as a "throwaway culture" tosses them aside. He sees them as being at the front edge of economic and environmental crises around the world.

In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night.

It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush.

"I wish Francis would focus on positives, on how a free-market economy guided by an ethical framework, and the rule of law, can be a part of the solution for the poor - rather than just jumping from the reality of people's misery to the analysis that a market economy is the problem," said the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which advocates free-market economics.

Francis' sharpest critics have accused him of being a Marxist or a Latin American Communist, even as he opposed communism during his time in Argentina. His tour last week of Latin America began in Ecuador and Bolivia, two countries with far-left governments. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who wore a Che Guevara patch on his jacket during Francis' speech, claimed the pope as a kindred spirit - even as Francis seemed startled and caught off guard when Mr. Morales gave him a wooden crucifix shaped like a hammer and sickle as a gift.

Francis' primary agenda last week was to begin renewing Catholicism in Latin America and reposition it as the church of the poor. His apology for the church's complicity in the colonialist era received an immediate roar from the crowd. In various parts of Latin America, the association between the church and economic power elites remains intact. In Chile, a socially conservative country, some members of the country's corporate elite are also members of Opus Dei, the traditionalist Catholic organization founded in Spain in 1928.

Inevitably, Francis' critique can be read as a broadside against Pax Americana, the period of capitalism regulated by global institutions created largely by the United States. But even pillars of that system are shifting. The World Bank, which long promoted economic growth as an end in itself, is now increasingly focused on the distribution of gains, after the Arab Spring revolts in some countries that the bank had held up as models. The latest generation of international trade agreements includes efforts to increase protections for workers and the environment.

The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.

Mr. Piketty roiled the debate among mainstream economists, yet Francis' critique is more unnerving to some because he is not reframing inequality and poverty around a new economic theory but instead defining it in moral terms. "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment."

Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist, said that he saw Francis as making a nuanced point about capitalism, embodied by his coinage of a "social mortgage" on accumulated wealth - a debt to the society that made its accumulation possible. Mr. Hanauer said that economic elites should embrace the need for reforms both for moral and pragmatic reasons. "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government policies like a higher minimum wage.

Yet what remains unclear is whether Francis has a clear vision for a systemic alternative to the status quo that he and others criticize. "All these critiques point toward the incoherence of the simple idea of free market economics, but they don't prescribe a remedy," said Mr. Johnson, of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Francis acknowledged as much, conceding on Wednesday that he had no new "recipe" to quickly change the world. Instead, he spoke about a "process of change" undertaken at the grass-roots level.

"What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. "You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands."

[Feb 02, 2019] Alliance of Vladimir Putin and The Russian Orthodox Church Against Neoliberalism

Religion is definitely a useful tool fight neoliberalism. Actually outside of far right and religious fundamentalists almost any tool that is useful for fighting neoliberalism should be viewed positively. Currently Catholicism opposes neoliberalism more actively and probably somewhat more successfully due to the statute of Pope Francis then Orthodox Church.
Notable quotes:
"... The conflict between Russia and the West, therefore, is portrayed by both the ROC and by Vladimir Putin and his cohorts as nothing less than a spiritual/civilizational conflict. ..."
May 21, 2015 | Forbes

Amidst the geopolitical confrontation between Vladimir Putin's Russia and the US and its allies, little attention has been paid to the role played by religion either as a shaper of Russian domestic politics or as a means of understanding Putin's international actions. The role of religion has long tended to get short thrift in the study of statecraft (although it has been experiencing a bit of a renaissance of late), yet nowhere has it played a more prominent role – and perhaps nowhere has its importance been more unrecognized – than in its role in supporting the Russian state and Russia's current place in world affairs.

And while much attention has been paid to the growing authoritarianism of the Kremlin and on the support for Putin's regime on the part of the Russian oligarchs whom Putin has enriched through his crony capitalism, little has been paid to the equally critical role of the Russian Orthodox Church in helping to shape Russia's current system, and in supporting Putin's regime and publicly conflating the mission of the Russian state under Vladimir Putin's leadership with the mission of the Church. Putin's move in close coordination with the Russian Orthodox Church to sacralize the Russian national identity has been a key factor shaping the increasingly authoritarian bent of the Russian government under Putin, and strengthening his public support, and must be understood in order to understand Russia's international behavior.

The close relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian state based upon a shared, theologically-informed vision of Russian exceptionalism is not a new phenomenon. During the days of the Czar, the Russian ruler was seen as God's chosen ruler of a Russian nation tasked with representing a unique set of value embodied by Russian Orthodoxy, and was revered as "the Holy Orthodox Czar". Today, a not dissimilar vision of Russian exceptionalism is once again shared by the ROC and the Kremlin, and many Russians are beginning to see Vladimir Putin in a similar vein – a perception encouraged both by Putin and by the Church, each of which sees the other as a valuable political ally and sees their respective missions as being interrelated.

... ... ...

When Putin came to power he shrewdly noted the ROC's useful role in boosting nationalism and the fact that it shared his view of Russia's role in the world, and began to work toward strengthening the Church's role in Russian society. Early in his presidency the Russian Duma passed a law returning all church property seized during the Soviet era (which act alone made the ROC one of the largest landholders in Russia). Over the past decade and a half, Putin has ordered state-owned energy firms to contribute billions to the rebuilding of thousands of churches destroyed under the Soviets, and many of those rich oligarchs surrounding him are dedicated supporters of the ROC who have contributed to the growing influence of the church in myriad ways. Around 25,000 ROC churches have been built or rebuilt since the early 1990′s, the vast majority of which have been built during Putin's rule and largely due to his backing and that of those in his close circle of supporters. Additionally, the ROC has been given rights that have vastly increased its role in public life, including the right to teach religion in Russia's public schools and the right to review any legislation before the Russian Duma.

The glue that holds together the alliance between Vladimir Putin and the ROC, and the one that more than any other explains their mutually-supporting actions, is their shared, sacralized vision of Russian national identity and exceptionalism. Russia, according to this vision, is neither Western nor Asian, but rather a unique society representing a unique set of values which are believed to be divinely inspired. The Kremlin's chief ideologue in this regard is Alexander Dugin (see a good summary of the historical roots of Dugin's philosophy and of his impact on the Russian government here.) According to this vision of the relationship between church, state, and society, the state dominates, the ROC partnering with the state, and individuals and private organizations supporting both church and state. This has provided the ideological justification for Putin's crackdown on dissent, and the rationale behind the Church's cooperation with the Kremlin in the repression of civil society groups or other religious groups which have dissenting political views. And the ROC's hostility toward the activities in Russia of other religious groups have dovetailed with that of Putin, who views independent religious activity as a potential threat to his regime.

Internationally, Russia's mission is to expand its influence and authority until it dominates the Eurasian landmass, by means of a strong central Russian state controlling this vast territory and aligned with the ROC as the arm of the Russian nation exercising its cultural influence. This vision of Russian exceptionalism has met with broad resonance within Russia, which goes a long way to explaining Putin's sky high polling numbers. Putin has successfully been able both to transfer to himself the social trust placed by most Russians in the ROC and has also to wrap himself in the trappings of almost a patron saint of Russia. The conflict between Russia and the West, therefore, is portrayed by both the ROC and by Vladimir Putin and his cohorts as nothing less than a spiritual/civilizational conflict. If anyone thought Europe's wars over religion were finished in 1648, the current standoff with Russia illustrates that that is not the case.

[Feb 02, 2019] Pope Francis has some sensible things to say

Notable quotes:
"... Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life. ..."
"... Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies.[133] The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble. The problem of the real economy is not confronted with vigour, yet it is the real economy which makes diversification and improvement in production possible, helps companies to function well, and enables small and medium businesses to develop and create employment. ..."
"... Whenever these questions are raised, some react by accusing others of irrationally attempting to stand in the way of progress and human development. But we need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development. ..."
"... The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when "the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations",[138] can those actions be considered ethical. An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning. ..."
Dec 16, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
December 16, 2016 at 07:48 AM
I'm an environmental scientist, not an economist, but it seems to me that Pope Francis has some sensible things to say, as in the following from Laudato si:

IV. POLITICS AND ECONOMY IN DIALOGUE FOR HUMAN FULFILMENT

189. Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life. Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises after a slow, costly and only apparent recovery. The financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth. But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world. Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies.[133] The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble. The problem of the real economy is not confronted with vigour, yet it is the real economy which makes diversification and improvement in production possible, helps companies to function well, and enables small and medium businesses to develop and create employment.

190. Here too, it should always be kept in mind that "environmental protection cannot be assured solely on the basis of financial calculations of costs and benefits. The environment is one of those goods that cannot be adequately safeguarded or promoted by market forces".[134] Once more, we need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals. Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations? Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention. Moreover, biodiversity is considered at most a deposit of economic resources available for exploitation, with no serious thought for the real value of things, their significance for persons and cultures, or the concerns and needs of the poor.

191. Whenever these questions are raised, some react by accusing others of irrationally attempting to stand in the way of progress and human development. But we need to grow in the conviction that a decrease in the pace of production and consumption can at times give rise to another form of progress and development. Efforts to promote a sustainable use of natural resources are not a waste of money, but rather an investment capable of providing other economic benefits in the medium term. If we look at the larger picture, we can see that more diversified and innovative forms of production which impact less on the environment can prove very profitable. It is a matter of openness to different possibilities which do not involve stifling human creativity and its ideals of progress, but rather directing that energy along new channels.

192. For example, a path of productive development, which is more creative and better directed, could correct the present disparity between excessive technological investment in consumption and insufficient investment in resolving urgent problems facing the human family. It could generate intelligent and profitable ways of reusing, revamping and recycling, and it could also improve the energy efficiency of cities. Productive diversification offers the fullest possibilities to human ingenuity to create and innovate, while at the same time protecting the environment and creating more sources of employment. Such creativity would be a worthy expression of our most noble human qualities, for we would be striving intelligently, boldly and responsibly to promote a sustainable and equitable development within the context of a broader concept of quality of life. On the other hand, to find ever new ways of despoiling nature, purely for the sake of new consumer items and quick profit, would be, in human terms, less worthy and creative, and more superficial.

193. In any event, if in some cases sustainable development were to involve new forms of growth, then in other cases, given the insatiable and irresponsible growth produced over many decades, we need also to think of containing growth by setting some reasonable limits and even retracing our steps before it is too late. We know how unsustainable is the behaviour of those who constantly consume and destroy, while others are not yet able to live in a way worthy of their human dignity. That is why the time has come to accept decreased growth in some parts of the world, in order to provide resources for other places to experience healthy growth. Benedict XVI has said that "technologically advanced societies must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency".[135]
194. For new models of progress to arise, there is a need to change "models of global development";[136] this will entail a responsible reflection on "the meaning of the economy and its goals with an eye to correcting its malfunctions and misapplications".[137] It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress. Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster. Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress. Frequently, in fact, people's quality of life actually diminishes – by the deterioration of the environment, the low quality of food or the depletion of resources – in the midst of economic growth. In this context, talk of sustainable growth usually becomes a way of distracting attention and offering excuses. It absorbs the language and values of ecology into the categories of finance and technocracy, and the social and environmental responsibility of businesses often gets reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures.

195. The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when "the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations",[138] can those actions be considered ethical. An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning.

196. What happens with politics? Let us keep in mind the principle of subsidiarity, which grants freedom to develop the capabilities present at every level of society, while also demanding a greater sense of responsibility for the common good from those who wield greater power. Today, it is the case that some economic sectors exercise more power than states themselves. But economics without politics cannot be justified, since this would make it impossible to favour other ways of handling the various aspects of the present crisis. The mindset which leaves no room for sincere concern for the environment is the same mindset which lacks concern for the inclusion of the most vulnerable members of society. For "the current model, with its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favour an investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak or the less talented to find opportunities in life".[139]

197. What is needed is a politics which is far-sighted and capable of a new, integral and interdisciplinary approach to handling the different aspects of the crisis. Often, politics itself is responsible for the disrepute in which it is held, on account of corruption and the failure to enact sound public policies. If in a given region the state does not carry out its responsibilities, some business groups can come forward in the guise of benefactors, wield real power, and consider themselves exempt from certain rules, to the point of tolerating different forms of organized crime, human trafficking, the drug trade and violence, all of which become very difficult to eradicate. If politics shows itself incapable of breaking such a perverse logic, and remains caught up in inconsequential discussions, we will continue to avoid facing the major problems of humanity. A strategy for real change calls for rethinking processes in their entirety, for it is not enough to include a few superficial ecological considerations while failing to question the logic which underlies present-day culture. A healthy politics needs to be able to take up this challenge.

198. Politics and the economy tend to blame each other when it comes to poverty and environmental degradation. It is to be hoped that they can acknowledge their own mistakes and find forms of interaction directed to the common good. While some are concerned only with financial gain, and others with holding on to or increasing their power, what we are left with are conflicts or spurious agreements where the last thing either party is concerned about is caring for the environment and protecting those who are most vulnerable. Here too, we see how true it is that "unity is greater than conflict".[140]

[Feb 02, 2019] The Immorality and Brutal Violence of Extreme Greed

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By #SlayTheSmaugs, an elected Bernie delegate in Philly. ..."
"... #STS believes that the billionaire class are Smaugs (the greed incarnate dragon of The Hobbit), immorally hoarding wealth for no reason beyond ego gratification. To "Slay" the Smaugs, we need a confiscatory wealth tax, stronger democratic institutions to impose it, and a shared moral agreement that #GreedIsEvil to justify it. ..."
"... More; charitable foundations are not the same thing, in many cases, as true charity. Instead foundations often function as hoard preservers as well, and enrich their leadership too. ..."
"... After a certain level of accumulation money is simply ego gratifying points, it's not money any more. ..."
"... Wealth on this scale has nothing to do with financial security or luxurious living. For the trivial, it is (as per D. Trump) a game and money is how you keep score. For the serious, it has to do with power, with the ability to affect other people's lives without their consent. That is why the Smaugs' wealth is absolutely our business. It should be understood that we're talking about taking very large amounts of money and power away from very rich people, people for whom money and power are pretty much the only things they value. It will not be pretty. ..."
"... If we fail to prevent the imposition of this transnational regime there will only be three classes of humans left: kleptocrats, their favored minions, and slaves. ..."
"... A more modern similarity of the US is Rome. Vassals have been going full retard for several years now, traitors sell international competitors military secrets while the biggest merchants buy off the Senate. ..."
"... Isn't there an idiom about cutting off the head of the snake? Once you deal with the strongest opponents, it's easier to go after the others. Too big to fail is nothing short of feeding the beast. ..."
"... I disagree strongly with your premise that some sort of pure and natural meritocracy has ever existed, or could ever exist in human society. Corrupt and oppressive people will always define as "meritorious" those qualities that they themselves possess– whether wealth, "gentle birth," "technical skills," or whatever. We all possess the same merit of being human. ..."
"... Meritocracy is not the same as recognizing greater and lesser degrees of competence in various activities. It is absurd to deny that some are more skillful at some things than others. Assigning the relative "merit" to various competencies is what I find objectionable. ..."
"... Encouraging ethical behavior has nothing to do with ranking the "merit" levels of different occupations. While some occupations are inherently unethical, like that of an assassin, most can be performed in such a way as to do no harm to others, and some are nearly always beneficial to society at large. ..."
Jul 22, 2016 | Naked Capitalism

... ... ...

By #SlayTheSmaugs, an elected Bernie delegate in Philly.

#STS believes that the billionaire class are Smaugs (the greed incarnate dragon of The Hobbit), immorally hoarding wealth for no reason beyond ego gratification. To "Slay" the Smaugs, we need a confiscatory wealth tax, stronger democratic institutions to impose it, and a shared moral agreement that #GreedIsEvil to justify it.

Worshiping Wealth

When Gordon Gekko proclaimed that 'Greed is Good' in 1987, it was an obvious rejection of several millennia of teachings by traditional prophets and priests. Yet when Gekko preached greed, he was merely reinforcing the current cultural norm; greed had already been rebranded a virtue. (Still, the speech was to remind us Gekko was a bad guy). Consider that Madonna had proclaimed herself a Material Girl three years earlier, and "Living Large" was cool. Conspicuous consumption is walking the talk that greed is good.

Why had greed become good? I blame the creation of a credit-fueled culture of constant consumption that necessarily praises coveting stuff, plus the dismantling of the regulatory state that had kept Wall Street and wannabe oligarchs in check.

Our healthy cultural adoration of the self-made man, of respect for success, warped into worship of the rich. They are not the same. Wealth can be inherited, stolen through fraud and other illegal activities, or harvested from bubbles; none of these or myriad other paths to riches is due respect, much less worship. Paired with another 80's definition-government is the problem-worshiping wealth facilitates all the dysfunction in our government.

Remembering Greed is Evil

Thirty years later, the old social norm-the one that protected the many from the few, the one that demonized greed as a deadly sin-is resurgent. We have a Pope who preaches against greed, and who walks his talk . We had a Presidential candidate of a major party-Bernie Sanders-who railed against those living embodiments of greed, the Billionaire Class, and walked his talk by rejecting their money. At the convention, he has invited delegates to four workshops, one of which is "One Nation Now: Winning the Fight Against Racism and Greed". We have a late night comedian-John Oliver- ridiculing the prosperity gospel and taking on the debt industry . We have mass consciousness rising, reflected in Occupy, the label "the 99%", BLM and more.

But we need more voices insisting #GreedIsEvil. We need to teach that basic message at home, in school, and in houses of worship. We need to send the right signals in our social interactions. We need to stop coveting stuff, and start buying with a purpose: Shopping locally, buying American, buying green and clean, and buying less. We need to waste less, share more and build community. We need to re-norm-alize greed as evil, make it shameful again. Then we will have redefined ourselves as citizens, not consumers.

But make no mistake: America cannot become a just nation simply by the 99% becoming more virtuous. The cultural shift is necessary but not sufficient, for norms alone do not deliver social and economic justice. Shame will not slay the Smaugs; we need structural change in the political economy.

Extreme greed, the greed of Smaugs, is categorically different than the petit greed underlying the irrational, constant consumption and the worship of wealth. Extreme greed manifests as a hoard of wealth so great that "purchasing power" is an irrelevant concept; a hoard so great it lacks any utility other than to be sat upon as a throne, gratifying the Smaug's ego and symbolizing his power. That greed must be understood as an intolerable evil, something so base and malevolent that the full power of the state must be used against it.

This essay is my contribution to the cause of returning extreme greed to its rightful place in the pantheon of ultimate evils. Here is the thesis: extreme greed must be 'slain' by the state because extreme greed is brutally violent.

The Stealth Violence of False Scarcity and "Cutting Corners"

Greed's violence is quiet and deadly: The violence of false scarcity and of "corner cutting". Scarcity is not having enough because there just isn't enough to go round, like the nearly 50 million people who don't reliably have food during the year, including 15 million kids. False scarcity is when actually, there's plenty to go around, but people generally don't have enough because of hoarders.

It's a concentrated version of what happened to pennies in 1999. People keeping pennies in piggy banks created a shortage felt throughout New York City . If only people had broken open their piggy banks, and used their pennies, there would have been plenty of pennies in circulation, and shopkeepers wouldn't lose money by rounding purchases down. In this piece, I'm focusing on false scarcity of dollars, not pennies, and the maiming and premature death that results from false dollar scarcity. But the idea is essentially the same; there's just far fewer relevant piggy banks.

By the quiet violence of 'corner cutting', I'm referring to unsafe, even deadly, workplaces that could be safe if the employers invested in safety.

Sporadically, greed also drives overt, and sometimes profoundly bloody violence to protect the hoard. Think of employer violence against unions and union organizers, a la Henry Ford , or John D. Rockefeller . Nonetheless in this country now, the violence of greed tends to be more covert. It is that quiet violence, in both forms, I want you to hear now.

As Sanders often reminds us, in this, the richest nation in the world, nearly 50 million people are living in poverty; roughly one in seven Americans. And as Sanders explained, in a speech in West Virginia , 130,000 people die each and every year as a result of poverty. I have not read the study Sanders referred to, so I don't know how much it overlaps with the rise of suicide that accelerated after 2006 and which appears to be correlated with financial stress. Nor do I know how it overlaps with the documented increase in white mortality that also appears to correlate with financial stress. Regardless of overlap, however, each of these studies reflects the quiet violence of false scarcity. Naked Capitalism has featured many posts documenting the damage of greed; this is a recent one .

Chronic and acute financial stress from false scarcity maims, and kills. And Smaugs create false scarcity to feed money to their egos and maintain their oligarchic power.

As Lambert often says, they don't call it class warfare for nothing.

But wait, you might insist, how false is the scarcity, really? How much do a few billionaires matter? Ranting that greed is evil is all well and good, but really, can a relative handful of people be manufacturing scarcity where there is none, shortening and taking millions of lives in the process? Aren't you making your target too narrow in going after the Smaugs?

In order: Very false, a lot, yes and no.

The Falsity of Dollar Scarcity

In 2015 the Institute for Policy Studies determined that the richest 20 American billionaires had hoarded as much wealth as 152 million people had managed to scrape together combined. Think on that.

Twenty people had hoarded $732,000,000,000. America is a nation of about 300,000,000 people. That means 20 people could give a combined $2,370 to every American, and still hoard $1 billion each. I'm not suggesting that's how the redistribution should be done, but it's notable that in an era when some 200 million Americans haven't been able to save $1000 for an emergency, twenty people could give everyone over two grand while remaining fabulously wealthy.

Now, these 20 monstrous people, these full grown Smaugs, are not alone in their extreme greed. Adding in the assets of the next 380 richest Americans brings the total wealth hoarded to $2.34 trillion. That number is so large it's hard to process , so let's think this through.

First, imagine that we took all of that money with a confiscatory tax, except we again left each of the 400 people with $1 billion. They would still be obscenely rich, so don't pity them.* Our tax thus netted $1.94 trillion. Since that's still an unimaginable number, let's compare it to some recent government spending.

In December 2015, Congress funded five years' worth of infrastructure construction. Congress and President Obama were very self-congratulatory because our infrastructure is a mess, and building things involves good paying jobs. So, how much did five years of infrastructure building and job creation cost? $305 billion . That's less than the $400 billion we let the 400 Smaugs keep at the start of this thought experiment. With the $1.94 trillion we imagine confiscating, we could keep building at the 2015 pace for 32 years. Or we could spend it much faster, and create an economic boom the like of which this nation hasn't seen in generations.

Even Bernie Sanders, he of the supposedly overly ambitious, unable-to-be-paid for initiatives, only proposed spending $1 trillion on infrastructure over five years -a bit more than half what our tax would net. (Nor did this supposed radical call for a confiscatory wealth tax to fund his plan.) Sanders estimated his proposal would create 13 million good paying jobs. With nearly double the money, surely we get nearly double the jobs? Let's be conservative and say 22 million.

In sum, we could confiscate most of the wealth of 400 people-still leaving them obscenely rich with $1 billion each-and create 22 million good paying jobs over five years. But we don't; we let the Smaugs keep their hoards intact. Now consider this is only taxing 400 people; what if we taxed the richest 2,000 people more justly? What if we taxed corporations effectively? What if we stopped giving corporate welfare? A confiscatory wealth tax, however, simply isn't discussed in polite company, any more than a truly progressive income tax is, or even serious proposals to end corporate welfare. The best we can do is agree that really, someday soon, we should end the obscenity that is the carried interest loophole.

False scarcity isn't simply a failure of charity, a hoarding of wealth that should be alms for the poor. False scarcity is created through the billionaires' control of the state, of public policy. But the quiet violence of greed isn't visited on the 99% only through the failure to pay adequate taxes. Not even through the Smaugs' failure to have their corporations pay adequate wages, or benefits. Predatory lending, predatory servicing, fraudulent foreclosure, municipal bond rigging, and pension fund fleecing are just some of the many other ways immoral greed creates false scarcity.

While false scarcity has the broadest impact, it is not the only form of stealth violence used by the billionaires in their class war against the rest of us. The Ford and Rockefeller style violence of fists and guns may be rare in the U.S. these days, but a variant of it remains much too common: Unsafe workplaces, the quiet violence of "cutting corners". Whether it's the coal industry , the poultry industry , or the fracking and oil industries, or myriad other industries, unsafe workplaces kill, maim and sicken workers. Part of the political economy restructuring we must do includes transforming the workplace.

Feel the Greed

Let us remember why this stealth violence exists-why false scarcity and unsafe workplaces exist.

People who have more money than they hope to spend for the rest of their lives, no matter how many of their remaining days are "rainy"; people who have more money to pass on than their children need for a lifetime of financial security, college and retirement included; people who have more money to pass on than their grandchildren need for a similarly secure life–these people insist on extracting still more wealth from their workers, their clients, and taxpayers for no purpose beyond vaingloriously hoarding it.

Sure, some give away billions . But even so they retain billions. For what? More; charitable foundations are not the same thing, in many cases, as true charity. Instead foundations often function as hoard preservers as well, and enrich their leadership too.

In Conclusion

Greed is evil, but it comes in different intensities. Petit greed is a corrosive illness that decays societies, but can be effectively ameliorated through norms and social capital. Smaug greed is so toxic, so potent, that the state is the only entity powerful enough to put it in check. Greed, particularly Smaug greed, must be put in check because the false scarcity it manufactures, and the unsafe workplaces it creates, maim and kill people. The stealth violence of Smaug greed justifies a tax to confiscate the hoards.

#GreedIsEvil. It's time to #SlayTheSmaugs

*One of the arguments against redistribution is that is against the sacrosanct efficient market, which forbids making one person better off if the price is making someone else worse off. But money has diminishing returns as money after a certain point; the purchasing power between someone with one billion and ten billion dollars is negligible, though the difference between someone with ten thousand and a hundred thousand, or a hundred thousand and a million is huge. After a certain level of accumulation money is simply ego gratifying points, it's not money any more. Thus taking it and using it as money isn't making someone 'worse off' in an economic sense. Also, when considering whether someone is 'worse off', it's worth considering where their money comes from; how many people did they leave 'worse off' as they extracted the money? Brett , July 22, 2016 at 10:07 am

After a certain level of accumulation money is simply ego gratifying points, it's not money any more.

It quite literally isn't "money" as we regular folks know it beyond a certain point – it's tied up in share value and other assets. Which of course raises the question – when you decide to do your mass confiscation of wealth, who is going to be foolish enough to buy those assets so you actually have liquid currency to spend on infrastructure as opposed to illiquid assets? Or are you simply going to print money and spend it on them?

Thomas Hinds , July 22, 2016 at 10:33 am

Wealth on this scale has nothing to do with financial security or luxurious living. For the trivial, it is (as per D. Trump) a game and money is how you keep score. For the serious, it has to do with power, with the ability to affect other people's lives without their consent. That is why the Smaugs' wealth is absolutely our business. It should be understood that we're talking about taking very large amounts of money and power away from very rich people, people for whom money and power are pretty much the only things they value. It will not be pretty.

Ranger Rick , July 22, 2016 at 10:37 am

People become rich and stay that way because of a market failure that allows them to accumulate capital in the same way a constricted artery accumulates blood. What I'm wondering, continuing this metaphor, is what happens when all that money is released back into the market at once via a redistribution - toxic shock syndrome.

You can see what happens to markets in places where "virtual money" (capital) brushes up against the real economy: the dysfunctional housing situation in Vancouver, London, New York, and San Francisco.

It may be wiser to argue for wealth disintegration instead of redistribution.

a different chris , July 22, 2016 at 11:52 am

Yes I was thinking about that money is just something the government prints to make the system work smoothly. But that, and pretty much any view of money, obscures the problem with the insanely "wealthy".

If these people, instead of having huge bank accounts actually had huge armies the government would move to disarm them. It wouldn't re-distribute the tanks and rifles. It would be obviously removing a threat to everybody.

Now there would be the temptation to wave your hands and say you were "melting it into plowshares" but that causes an accounting problem - that is, the problem being the use of accounting itself. Destroying extreme wealth and paying for say roads is just two different things and making them sound connected is where we keep getting bogged down. Not a full-on MMT'er yet but it really has illuminated that fact.

And no, as usual l have no solutions.

John Merryman , July 22, 2016 at 12:55 pm

The western assumption is that money is a commodity, from salt to gold, to bitcoin, we assume it can be manufactured, but the underlaying reality is that it is a social contract and every asset is presumably backed by debt.
Here is an interesting link which does make the point about the contractual basis of money in a succinct fashion;
http://rs79.vrx.palo-alto.ca.us/opinions/ideas/economics/jubilee/

Since the modern commodity of money is backed by debt and largely public debt, there is enormous pressure to create as much debt as possible.
For instance, the government doesn't really budget, it just writes up these enormous bills, attaches enough goodies to get the votes and the president can only pass or veto it and with all the backing and no other method, a veto is a weak protection.

To budget is to prioritize and spend according to ability. What they could do would be to break these bills into all their various "line items," have every legislator assign a percentage value to each one, put them back together in order of preference and then the president would draw the line.
It would balance the power and reduce the tendency to overspend, but it would blow up our financial system, which if anyone notices, is based on the sanctity of government debt.

If instead of borrowing the excess money out of the system, to spend on whatever, if the government threatened to tax it out, people would quickly find other ways to store value than as money in the financial system.

Since most of us save for the same general reasons, from raising children to retirement, we could invest in these as public commons, not try to save for our exact needs. This would serve to strengthen communities and their environments, as everyone would be more dependent on those around them, not just having a private bank account as their personal umbilical cord.

We treat money as both medium of exchange and store of value. As Rick points out above, a medium is like blood in the body and it needs to be carefully regulated. Conversely, the store of value in the body is fat and while many of us do carry an excess, storing it in the circulation system is not wise. Clogged arteries, poor circulation and high blood pressure are analogous to a bloated financial system, poor circulation and QE.
Money is not a commodity, but a contract.

Julian , July 22, 2016 at 11:00 am

Do you realize that this supposed billionaire wealth does not consist of actual US dollars and that, if one were to liquidate such wealth (in order to redistribute it in "fair" equal-dollars) that number might drastically change?

The main thing these people (and indeed your pension funds) are actually hoarding are financial assets, and those, it turns out, are actually "scarce". Or, well, I don't know what else you would call trillions of bonds netting a negative interest rate and an elevated P/E stock market in a low-growth environment.

It's a bit of a pickle from a macro environment. You can't just force them to liquidate their assets, or else the whole system would collapse. It also kind of escapes the point that someone has to hold each asset. I would be excited to see what happens when you ask Bill Gates to liquidate his financial assets (in order to distribute the cash). An interesting thought, for sure. And one that would probably bring the market closer to reasonable valuations.

It is simply a wrong conclusion to say "Wealth is x, and if we distribute it, everyone would get x divided by amount of recipients in dollar terms". Now if you wanted to redistribute Bill Gates' stake in Microsoft in some "fair" way, you could certainly try but that's not really what you proposed.

Either way you can't approach wealth policy from a macro perspective like this, because as soon as you start designing macro-level policy to adjust (i.e. redistribute) this wealth, the value of it will fluctuate very wildly in dollar terms and may well leave everyone less well off in some weird feedback loop.

JTMcPhee , July 22, 2016 at 11:05 am

"The full power of the state must be used against" #extremegreed: Except, of course, "L'etat c'est moi "

Of course as a Bernie supporter, the writer knows that, knows that it is a long game to even start to move any of the hoard out of Smaug's cave, that there are dwarves with glittering eyes ready to take back and reduce to ownership and ornamentation the whole pile (maybe they might 'share" a little with the humans of Lake Town who suffered the Dragon's Fire but whose Hero drove a mystical iron arrow through the weak place in Smaug's armor, all while Sauron and Saruman are circling and plotting and growing hordes of genetically modified Orcs and Trolls and summoning the demons from below

The Elves seem to be OK with a "genteel sufficiency," their wealth being useful durable stuff like mithril armor and those lovely houses and palaces up in the trees. Humans? Grabbers and takers, in Tolkien's mythology. I would second that view - sure seems to me that almost any of us, given a 1000-Bagger like Zuckerman or Jobs or that Gates creature fell into, or Russian or Israeli or African or European oligarchs for that matter (pretty universal, and expected given Davos and Bilderberg and Koch summits) the old insatiable lambic system that drives for pleasure-to-the-max and helps our baser tribal drives and penchant for violence to manifest and "thrive" will have its due. Like 600 foot motor yachts and private-jet escape pods and pinnacles islands with Dr. No-style security provided by guns and accountants and lawyers and faux-legitimate political rulers for hire

Lots of analysis of "the problem." Not so much in the way of apparent remedies, other than maybe lots of bleeding, where the mopes will do most of it and if history is any guide, another Smaug will go on around taking all the gold and jewels and other concentrated wealth back to another pile, to sit on and not maybe even gloat over because the scales are just too large

Still hoping for the emergence of an organizing principle that is more attractive that "take whatever you can and cripple or kill anyone who objects "

Ulysses , July 22, 2016 at 11:38 am

"People who have more money than they hope to spend for the rest of their lives, no matter how many of their remaining days are "rainy"; people who have more money to pass on than their children need for a lifetime of financial security, college and retirement included; people who have more money to pass on than their grandchildren need for a similarly secure life–these people insist on extracting still more wealth from their workers, their clients, and taxpayers for no purpose beyond vaingloriously hoarding it."

These are people who are obscenely wealthy as opposed to merely wealthy. The fastest way to challenge their toxic power would be to help the latter group understand that their interests are not aligned with the former. Most millionaires (as opposed to billionaires) will eventually suffer when the last few drops of wealth remaining to the middle and working classes are extracted. Their future prosperity depends on the continued existence of a viable, mass consumer economy.

The billionaires imagine (in my view falsely) that they will thrive in a neo-feudal future– where they own everything and the vast majority of humanity exists only to serve their needs. This is the future they are attempting to build with the new TPP/TISA/TTIP regime. If we fail to prevent the imposition of this transnational regime there will only be three classes of humans left: kleptocrats, their favored minions, and slaves. Most neoliberal professionals, who imagine that they will be in that second group, are delusional. Did the pharaohs have any need for people like Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd?

a different chris , July 22, 2016 at 11:59 am

Yeah unfortunately they did. It wasn't just the pharaoh and peasants, there was a whole priestly class just to keep the workers confused.

Now the individuals themselves weren't at all necessary, they have always been easily replaceable.

FluffytheObeseCat , July 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Pharaohs didn't need a middle/professional class as large as the ones in most western democracies today. But, we are going in the pharaonic direction.

The problem our polite, right wing professional classes face is that they are increasingly too numerous for society's needs. Hence the creeping gig-i-fication of professional employment. The wage stagnation in all but the most guild-ridden (medicine) professions.

It's so reminiscent of what happened to the industrial working class in the late 70s and 80s. I still remember the "well-reasoned", literate arguments in magazine op-eds proclaiming how line workers had become "excess" in the face of Asian competition and automation. How most just needed to retrain, move to where the jobs are, tighten their belts, etc. It's identical now for lawyers, radiologists, and many layers of the teaching professions. If I weren't part of that "professional" class I'd find the Schadenfreude almost too delicious.

HotFlash , July 22, 2016 at 1:54 pm
If we fail to prevent the imposition of this transnational regime there will only be three classes of humans left: kleptocrats, their favored minions, and slaves.

Sounds about right, but you are overlooking the fact that the largest class will be The Dead. They will not need nearly so many of Us, and we will be thinned, trimmed, pruned, marooned, or otherwise made to go away permanently (quietly, for preference, I assume, but any way will do).

Ergo, the violence of ineffectual health care, toxic environment, poisonous food, dangerous working conditions and violence (for instance, guns and toxic chemicals) in our homes, schools, streets, workplaces, cities and, well, everywhere are not only a feature, but a major part of the plan.

And I'm actually feeling rather optimistic today.

Tim , July 22, 2016 at 2:23 pm

It has been extensively documented that the merely wealthy are very upset at the obscenely wealthy.

If the author is truly focusing on a tax for obscene wealth I'd like to know a specific threshold. Is it 1 Billion and up? annual limit how many times the median income before it kicks in?

#SlayTheSmaugs Post author , July 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Well, I'm happy to have a discussion about at what threshold a confiscatory wealth tax should kick in; it's the kind of conversation we have with estate taxes.

I'm thinking a one off wealth tax, followed by a prevention of the resurrection of the problem with a sharply progressive income tax. Is $1 billion the right number for this initial reclamation? maybe. It is about the very top few, not the merely wealthy.

#SlayTheSmaugs

Vatch , July 22, 2016 at 5:32 pm

$1 billion is a reasonable amount of assets for determining whether to confiscate a portion of a person's wealth in taxes. Or perhaps we could base it on a percentage of GDP. The U.S. GDP in 2015 was approximately $17.9 trillion. Anyone with $1.79 billion or more in assets would have 1% of 1% of the U.S. GDP (0.01%). That's a lot of wealth, and surely justifies a heavy tax.

Quantum Future , July 22, 2016 at 4:15 pm

To your question Ulysses

'Professionals, who imagine that they will be in that second group, are delusional. Did the pharaohs have any need of Paul Krugman'

Sure they did. Those were called Priests who told the people what the gods were thinking. And since Pharoah's concluded themselves gods. The slaves revolt by working less. Anybody notice the dropping production levels the last couple of years? Whipping the slaves didn't turn out well for the Egyptians.

A more modern similarity of the US is Rome. Vassals have been going full retard for several years now, traitors sell international competitors military secrets while the biggest merchants buy off the Senate.

Ceasar becomes more a figurehead until one leads a coup which has not happened yet. Aquiring more slaves begins to cost more than what the return in general to the society brings but the Smaugs do not care about that until the barbarians begin to revolt (See Orlando for example, the shooter former employee of DHS. Probably pissed some of his comrades were deserted by US in some manner.

Ulysses , July 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

My point was that the category of people in this priestly caste will likely be far, far smaller than the millions of credentialed neoliberal professionals currently living large in the top 10% of the developed world.

Interesting mental image– to see Paul Krugman chanting praises to the new Son of the Sun God the Donald!!

#SlayTheSmaugs , July 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Look, there's a simple way to #SlayTheSmaugs, and it's a confiscatory wealth tax coupled with a sharply progressive income tax, as part of an overall restructuring of the political economy.

Simple, is of course, not easy; indeed my proposal is currently impossible. But like Bernie I'm trying to change the terms of political debate, to normalize what would previously be dismissed as too radical to be countenanced.

I don't think the looting professional class needs to be slain, in the #SlayTheSmaugs sense. I think they can be brought to heel simply by enforcing laws and passing new ones that are already within acceptable political debate, such as one that defines corruption as using public office for private gain. I think norms matter to the looting professional class as well. Another re-norm-ilization that needs to happen is remembering what a "profession" used to be

Sylvia Demarest , July 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Friends and neighbors!! Most of this "wealth" is ephemeral, it is based on the "value of assets" like stocks, bonds, real estate, et al. If all of this "wealth" gets liquidated at the same time, values would collapse. These people are fabulously wealthy because of the incredible inflation we have seen in the "assets" they hold.

Remember, during the Great Depression the "wealth" wasn't confiscated and redistributed, it was destroyed because asset values collapsed and over 2000 banks failed wiping out customer accounts. This also collapsed the money supply causing debt defaults, businesses failures, and worker laid offs. No one had any money because there was none.

The US was on the gold standard limiting the creation of liquidity. President Roosevelt went off the gold standard so that he could work to increase the money supply. It took a long time. The result of the depression was decades of low debt, cheap housing, and hard working people who remembered the hard times. The social mood gradually changed as their children, born in more prosperous times, challenged the values of their parents.

Yves Smith , July 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Even though the bulk of what the super rich hold is in paper assets, they still hold tons of real economy assets. They've succeeded in buying enough prime and even merely good real estate (like multiple townhouses in Upper West Side blocks and then creating one monster home behind the facade) to create pricing pressure on ordinary renters and homeowners in the same cities, bidding art through the roof, owning mega-yachts and private airplanes, and most important of all, using the money directly to reshape society along their preferred lines, witness charter schools.

GlassHammer , July 22, 2016 at 12:21 pm

If you are going to fight against the "Greed is Good" mentality, you are going to have to address the habits of the average middle class household. Just take a look at the over accumulation of amenities and creature comforts. The desire to signal ones status/wealth through "stuff" is totally out of control and completely divorced from means/income.

#SlayTheSmaugs , July 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Fair, and I do propose that:

"But we need more voices insisting #GreedIsEvil. We need to teach that basic message at home, in school, and in houses of worship. We need to send the right signals in our social interactions. We need to stop coveting stuff, and start buying with a purpose: Shopping locally, buying American, buying green and clean, and buying less. We need to waste less, share more and build community. We need to re-norm-alize greed as evil, make it shameful again. Then we will have redefined ourselves as citizens, not consumers."

dots , July 22, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Isn't there an idiom about cutting off the head of the snake? Once you deal with the strongest opponents, it's easier to go after the others. Too big to fail is nothing short of feeding the beast.

Punxsutawney , July 22, 2016 at 12:45 pm

There was a time not that long ago that I would have opposed a "confiscatory wealth tax". After looking at what most of those in the .1% are doing with their wealth, and their contempt for the average person, those days are long gone. Plus it's good economics.

The only question is what is "obscene wealth". Well like pornography, I think we know it when we see it.

Alfred , July 22, 2016 at 1:48 pm

I am wondering about the distribution of all this concentrated wealth; how much of it is spread around in the equities and bond markets?

And if that amount was redistributed to the general public how much of it would return to the equities and bond market?

I'm thinking not very much which would have catastrophic effects on both markets, a complete reordering. This would undoubtedly crush the borrowing ability of our Federal government, upset the apple cart in other words. With less money invested in the equities market it would undoubtedly return to a lower more realistic valuation; fortunes would be lost with no redistribution.

Oh the unintended consequences.

#SlayTheSmaugs Post author , July 22, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Fair to ask: How do we achieve a confiscatory wealth tax without catastrophic unintended consequences? But that's a very different question than: should we confiscate the Smaug's wealth?

One mechanism might be to have a government entity created to receive the stocks, bonds and financial instruments, and then liquidate them over time. E.g. Buffett has been giving stock to foundations for them to sell for awhile now; same kind of thing could be done. But sure, let's have the "How" conversation

Quantum Future , July 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

If lobbying were outlawed at the Federal level the billionaires and multi millionaires would need to invest in something else. That signal has a multiplier effect.so your right eboit enforcement of mostly what is on the books already. A 'wall' doesnt have to be built for illegal immigrants either. Fine a couple dozen up the wazoo and the signal gets passed the game is over.

But until a few people's daughters are kidnapped or killed like in other 3rd world countries, it wont change. That is sad but reality is most people do not do anything until it effects them. I started slightly ahead of the crowd in summer of 2007 but that is because a regional banker told me as we liked discussing history to look at debt levels of 1928 and what happened next. On top of that, we are the like the British empire circa 1933 so we get the downside of that as well.

Pain tends to be the catalyst of evolution that fully awakens prey to the predators.

juliania , July 22, 2016 at 1:53 pm

"As Sanders often reminds us. . ."

I am sorry, Sir Smaug slayer. The underlying theme of your lengthy disquisition is that Sanders is the legitimate voice of the 99%, and his future complicity within the Democratic Party is thereby ameliorated by his current proposals within it. This is the true meat of your discourse ranging so far and wide – even with the suggestion early on that we the 99% need tutoring on the evils of greed.

Not so. That ship has sailed. Our Brexit is not yet upon us, but that it is coming, I have no doubt. The only question is when. To paraphrase a Hannah Sell quote on such matters. . . for decades working class people have had no representation in the halls of Congress. All of the politicians . . . without exception, have stood in the interests of the 1% and the super-rich.

Bernie Sanders included. Hannah's remarks were more upbeat – she made an exception for Jeremy Corbyn. Unfortunately, I can't do that. Bernie has folded. We need to acknowledge that.

amousie , July 22, 2016 at 2:16 pm

One of the arguments against redistribution is that is against the sacrosanct efficient market, which forbids making one person better off if the price is making someone else worse off.

I think you mean downward redistribution here since upward redistribution seems to be rather sacrosanct and definitely makes one person better off at the price of making many someones worse off to make it happen.

Tim , July 22, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Confiscatory wealth tax is too blunt an instrument to rectify the root causes discussed in this article, and you do not want a blunt impact to the effect of disincentivizing pursuit of financial success.

Further Centralization the populous' money will incite more corruption which is what allows the have's to continue lording it over the have nots.

What are alternatives?
Instead Focus on minimizing corruption,
Then it will be possible to implement fair legislation that limits the options of the greed to make decisions that results in unfair impacts on the lower class.

Increase incentives to share the wealth, (tax deductible charitable giving is an example).

We do need to encourage meritocracy whenever possible, corruption and oppression is the antithesis to that.

We need to stop incentivizing utilization of debt, that puts the haves in control of the have nots.

JTMcPhee , July 22, 2016 at 6:25 pm

"Financial success. " As long as those words go together, and make an object of desire, the fundamental problem ain't going away.

Of course the underlying fundamental problem of human appetite for pleasure and power ain't going away either. Even if a lot of wealth was taken back (NOT "confiscated") from the current crop and hopeful horde of kleptocrats

JTMcPhee , July 22, 2016 at 6:27 pm

How long before the adage "A fool and his money are soon parted" kicked in?

Ulysses , July 22, 2016 at 2:51 pm

"We do need to encourage meritocracy whenever possible, corruption and oppression is the antithesis to that."

I disagree strongly with your premise that some sort of pure and natural meritocracy has ever existed, or could ever exist in human society. Corrupt and oppressive people will always define as "meritorious" those qualities that they themselves possess– whether wealth, "gentle birth," "technical skills," or whatever. We all possess the same merit of being human.

An Egyptologist, with an Oxbridge degree and extensive publications has no merit– in any meaningful sense– inside a frozen foods warehouse. Likewise, the world's best frozen foods warehouse worker has little to offer, when addressing a conference focused on religious practices during the reign of Ramses II. Meritocracy is a neoliberal myth, intended to obscure the existence of oligarchy.

NeqNeq , July 22, 2016 at 4:03 pm

An Egyptologist, with an Oxbridge degree and extensive publications has no merit– in any meaningful sense– inside a frozen foods warehouse. Likewise, the world's best frozen foods warehouse worker has little to offer, when addressing a conference focused on religious practices during the reign of Ramses II. Meritocracy is a neoliberal myth, intended to obscure the existence of oligarchy.

I am confused.

You claim meritocracy is "a neoliberal myth, intended to obscure the existence of oligarchy", but (seemingly) appeal to meritocratic principles to claim a warehouse worker doesnt offer much to an academic conference. Can you clear up my misunderstanding?

I agree, btw, that Idealized meritocracy has never existed (nor can). Follow up question: There has never been an ideal ethical human, does that mean we should stop encouraging ethical behavior?

Ulysses , July 22, 2016 at 6:44 pm

Meritocracy is not the same as recognizing greater and lesser degrees of competence in various activities. It is absurd to deny that some are more skillful at some things than others. Assigning the relative "merit" to various competencies is what I find objectionable.

Encouraging ethical behavior has nothing to do with ranking the "merit" levels of different occupations. While some occupations are inherently unethical, like that of an assassin, most can be performed in such a way as to do no harm to others, and some are nearly always beneficial to society at large.

Someone who did nothing but drink whiskey all day, and tell funny stories in a bar, is far more beneficial to society at large than a busy, diligent economist dreaming up ways to justify the looting of the kleptocrats.

Pierre Robespierre , July 22, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Wealth Redistribution occurs when the peasants build a scaffold and frog march the aristocracy up to a blade; when massive war wipes out a generation of aristocracy in gas filled trenches or in the upcoming event.

Roland , July 22, 2016 at 10:23 pm

"Fair to ask: How do we achieve a confiscatory wealth tax without catastrophic unintended consequences?"

Answer: Do it and find out. Some things can only be determined empirically. First, do what needs doing. We can take care of the Utility afterwards.≥

Barry , July 22, 2016 at 11:00 pm

I would like to see a financial settlements tax like Scott Smith presidential candidate recommends. http://www.scottsmith2016.com/

[Feb 02, 2019] Pope Francis Makes Thinly Veiled Attack On Accusations In Bid For Christian Populism by Joshua Gill

Notable quotes:
"... "Among us is the great accuser, the one who will always accuse us in front of God to destroy us: Satan. He is the great accuser. And when I enter into this logic of accusing, cursing and looking to do evil to others, I enter into the logic of the 'Great Accuser' who is a 'Destroyer,' who doesn't know the word 'mercy," he added. ..."
Sep 15, 2018 | www.dailycaller.com

... ... ...

"The only possible populism," Francis said, is a Christian kind that "listens to and serves the people without shouting, accusing, stirring up quarrels," according to The Associated Press .

... ... ...

"Only the merciful resemble God the father. 'Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.' This is the path, the path that goes against the spirit of the world," Francis said in a Thursday homily.

"Among us is the great accuser, the one who will always accuse us in front of God to destroy us: Satan. He is the great accuser. And when I enter into this logic of accusing, cursing and looking to do evil to others, I enter into the logic of the 'Great Accuser' who is a 'Destroyer,' who doesn't know the word 'mercy," he added.

[Feb 02, 2019] In Tit-For-Tat, Russia Suspends INF Treaty; Putin Slams US Demolishing Global Security

Notable quotes:
"... This included "unprecedented steps going far beyond our obligations," Lavrov said, and noted that part of Washington's "systematic" attempts to undermine the treaty included "testing drones that matched the characteristics" of ground-based cruise missiles banned in the treaty, as well as installing "MK 41 launching systems for the defense shield in Europe that can be used to fire mid-range Tomahawk cruise missiles without any modification." ..."
"... Putin noted further in the midst of Lavrov's remarks, "This is a direct a violation of the INF." And Lavrov also added, "Such launchers have already been completed in Romania, more are scheduled to be put into service in Poland and Japan." ..."
"... Alarmingly, Putin concluded his remarks by saying Washington could be imperiling in the long term the landmark New START treaty, set to expire in 2021. ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) has effectively collapsed following the US announcing Friday that it's suspending all obligations under the treaty. Predictably Moscow's response has been swift, with President Vladimir Putin saying in a meeting with his foreign and defense ministers that Russia will now pursue missile development previously banned under its terms .

Putin said "ours will be a mirror response" in a tit-for-tat move that the Russian president ultimately blames on Washington's years-long "systematic" undermining of the agreement. "Our US partners say that they are ceasing their participation in the treaty, and we are doing the same," the Russian president said . "They say that they are doing research and testing [on new weapons] and we will do the same thing."

Crucially, however, he noted that there were no plans to deploy short and mid-range missiles to Europe unless the US does it first -- a worst nightmare scenario that has rattled European leaders ever since talk began from Trump that the 1987 treaty could be scrapped.

Putin still seemed to allow some degree space for last minute concessions as "still on the table" possibly in line with the Trump administration's desire to modernize and update a new treaty taking into account new technological and geopolitical realities, such as China's ballistic missile capabilities.

"Let's wait until our partners mature sufficiently to hold a level, meaningful conversation on this topic, which is extremely important for us, them, and the entire world," Putin said. But also lashing out during the press conference that followed the meeting with top officials Putin described :

Over many years, we have repeatedly suggested staging new disarmament talks, on all types of weapons. Over the last few years, we have seen our initiatives not supported. On the contrary, pretexts are constantly sought to demolish the existing system of international security .

Specifically he and FM Sergei Lavrov referenced not only Trump's threats to quit the agreement, which heightened in December, but accusations leveled from Washington that the Kremlin was in violation. The White House has now affirmed the bilateral historic agreement signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan will be suspended for 180 days. Lavrov insisted that Moscow "attempted to do everything we could to rescue the treaty."

This included "unprecedented steps going far beyond our obligations," Lavrov said, and noted that part of Washington's "systematic" attempts to undermine the treaty included "testing drones that matched the characteristics" of ground-based cruise missiles banned in the treaty, as well as installing "MK 41 launching systems for the defense shield in Europe that can be used to fire mid-range Tomahawk cruise missiles without any modification."

Putin noted further in the midst of Lavrov's remarks, "This is a direct a violation of the INF." And Lavrov also added, "Such launchers have already been completed in Romania, more are scheduled to be put into service in Poland and Japan."

Alarmingly, Putin concluded his remarks by saying Washington could be imperiling in the long term the landmark New START treaty, set to expire in 2021.


brane pilot , 17 minutes ago link

Putin is an island of calm in a sea of political insanity.

He knows Trump is being gamed into absurd positions by mad dog Democrat politicians seeking a geopolitical scapegoat.

I would call him a Statesman.

SpanishGoop , 40 minutes ago link

" as well as installing "MK 41 launching systems for the defense shield in Europe that can be used to fire mid-range Tomahawk cruise missiles without any modification."

US trying to get from Russia top position first-response list and get Europe on that position.

Putin is much to smart to fall for that.

needtoshit , 44 minutes ago link

Neocons should be remembered as oldcons because their bag of tricks is so well known that they don't fool anyone. Think about this Reagan era fossil who tries to arrange his little coup in Venezuela and will fall flat on his face. Think also about these Pompeo and Bolton who are so desperate that they didn't even spend the necessary time to learn the checkers rules before trying to take on Putin in his favorite chess play. No really, the level of mediocrity and the lack of strategy or even sheer preparedness of these dudes is so low that they may even be hung by their own subordinates who can't even stand that stench of fool play. Trump should be ashamed he hired these clowns to ride their one trick ponies while the titanic goes down. History will not be kind with him.

Totally_Disillusioned , 49 minutes ago link

Putin reads our CIA better than we do!

Totally_Disillusioned , 49 minutes ago link

Putin reads our CIA better than we do!

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Everything you wanted to know about scuttling an INF Treaty but were afraid to ask ( https://www.rt.com/business/450123-nord-stream-2-ready/ )

Cause when it gets completed without sabotage along the way... Those LNG delivery projects will see lots and lots of $USD heading home "FOR GOOD"!...

Which means "other arrangements" will be necessary in order to make certain that another "hostage" crisis ( https://southfront.org/u-s-opted-to-leave-inf-few-years-ago-spent-this-time-developing-forbidden-missiles/ ) "doesn't go to waste"!!!

Savvy , 1 hour ago link

Yup.

Shemp 4 Victory , 29 minutes ago link

Additionally, just last week the Russian Ministry of Defense invited foreign military attachés and journalists to inspect the new Iskander 9M729 cruise missile. This is the one that the US claims is in violation of the INF treaty. Representatives of the US and NATO were invited and expected to be there, but they never showed up.

Interestingly, the 9M729 has a heavier warhead, and thus shorter range, than the older 9M728, which the US has not claimed violates the INF treaty. See it for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyH-I3rukPU (3 min. 12 sec. - English subtitles)

Savvy , 14 minutes ago link

This is the one that the US claims is in violation of the INF treaty. Representatives of the US and NATO were invited and expected to be there, but they never showed up .

About standard to ignore what doesn't fit the agenda.

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Everything you wanted to know about scuttling an INF Treaty but were afraid to ask ( https://www.rt.com/business/450123-nord-stream-2-ready/ )

Cause when it gets completed without sabotage along the way... Those LNG delivery projects will see lots and lots of $USD heading home "FOR GOOD"!...

Which means "other arrangements" will be necessary in order to make certain that another "hostage" crisis ( https://southfront.org/u-s-opted-to-leave-inf-few-years-ago-spent-this-time-developing-forbidden-missiles/ ) "doesn't go to waste"!!!

Savvy , 1 hour ago link

Yup.

Shemp 4 Victory , 29 minutes ago link

Additionally, just last week the Russian Ministry of Defense invited foreign military attachés and journalists to inspect the new Iskander 9M729 cruise missile. This is the one that the US claims is in violation of the INF treaty. Representatives of the US and NATO were invited and expected to be there, but they never showed up.

Interestingly, the 9M729 has a heavier warhead, and thus shorter range, than the older 9M728, which the US has not claimed violates the INF treaty. See it for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyH-I3rukPU (3 min. 12 sec. - English subtitles)

Savvy , 14 minutes ago link

This is the one that the US claims is in violation of the INF treaty. Representatives of the US and NATO were invited and expected to be there, but they never showed up .

About standard to ignore what doesn't fit the agenda.

yerfej , 1 hour ago link

Instead of useless diatribe explain why you're all bent today about the INF?

Gen. Ripper , 28 minutes ago link

The INF Treaty allowed the inferior Soviet weapons to remain par to the USA, like how we've been giving the chinks $1T a year.

Now no treaty allows the USA to naturally dominate CCCP and their chinky ching Chong CCP.

[Feb 02, 2019] On importance of Christian Populisn as a countervailing force to both neoliberal globalization and neofascism

Notable quotes:
"... The humble-petit-bourgeois dream is not a bad one, and seems realistic if globalist-oligarch forces are kept in check. Europe has shown this is workable, with a number of societies over decades, with essentially zero poverty amongst legal residents. But the wrecking ball has been brought to that. ..."
"... And perhaps the contentedness of so many Europeans for so long, has left them weakened in spirit, and vulnerable to all the propaganda and manipulations now being used to destroy what they have had. Perhaps it's just one more round of the famous cycle ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

Selected comments from The iGilets-Jaunes,-i or the Contradictions of Consumer Democracy by Guillaume Durocher

A123 , says: January 29, 2019 at 6:51 pm GMT

The key missing word is "Christian".

Populism by itself cannot hold together for a lack of common values. However, Christian Populism can hold the long road by emphasising the common values of French Christians and European Christians.

Globalist mass-migration theology was an obvious attempt to suppress or replace common European Christian values. In direct opposition to the Globalist screed -- Christian Populists are rising up in France, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Austria, and elsewhere. All with a common, unifying Christian cause and true European Values.

This movement is different from those that have come before. In the past, Anti-Christian, Leftist, Socialism has managed to hijack Populist efforts. Here the Christian backbone of the movement prevents that fate.

Brabantian , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:38 am GMT
It's not true that people as a whole are driven by endless greed and 'bottomless human desire'.

In general, people understand the limits of the world, and the mass of commoners merely want something small and safe a nice little home, the ability to raise a family, a safe neighbourhood and decent schools, no worries about medical care – and stability in all of this, knowing that their little petit bourgeois lives will not be undermined or destroyed. That is it.

There may be a little 'dreaming' about wealth and expensive toys, cars, homes, apparel, but that is not very 'driven'. People are overall content with something humble, a safe, stable little corner, having 'enough' and no worries.

The problem is that people are not given this, they don't have their stable little corner in security, they see and watch what little they have being undermined. Oligarchs demand 'more', sponsoring progressive impoverishment as they extract more profit; as well as seeking control by sponsoring social turmoil, in part via waves of invited arrivals who create great difficulties for humble working class lives and stability.

The humble-petit-bourgeois dream is not a bad one, and seems realistic if globalist-oligarch forces are kept in check. Europe has shown this is workable, with a number of societies over decades, with essentially zero poverty amongst legal residents. But the wrecking ball has been brought to that.

And perhaps the contentedness of so many Europeans for so long, has left them weakened in spirit, and vulnerable to all the propaganda and manipulations now being used to destroy what they have had. Perhaps it's just one more round of the famous cycle

Hard times make strong people
Strong people make good times
Good times make weak people
Weak people make hard times

anon [393] Disclaimer , says:
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 2, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
Everybody is talking about weather

Everybody is analyzing analyzing ..and nobody is coming out in the end with solution
not even with the hint of solution.
Everything is becoming so superficial, Speeches of politicians are totally superficial now.
News station propagate superficiality.
Accusations against Trump supporters are examples of superficiality.
..
We are living in abstract world, There is no more reality.
..
And I am net even talking about comments here.
We left the reality so far behind that if we look back we do not even see it.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 2, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
Everybody is talking about weather

Everybody is analyzing analyzing ..and nobody is coming out in the end with solution
not even with the hint of solution.
Everything is becoming so superficial, Speeches of politicians are totally superficial now.
News station propagate superficiality.
Accusations against Trump supporters are examples of superficiality.
..
We are living in abstract world, There is no more reality.
..
And I am net even talking about comments here.
We left the reality so far behind that if we look back we do not even see it.

Digital Samizdat , says: February 2, 2019 at 8:59 am GMT
@anon A lot of truth in what you say. Personally, I'm ashamed to admit that I bought into the 'Red peril' nonsense when I was young. When leftists–yeah, back then it was the leftists–tried to warn us that the elites were going to bust the unions, export jobs and roll-out 'free trade', I didn't believe them. I actually couldn't then imagine that any non-communist would be so diabolical! I was a pretty naïve kid, all in all. But then, I guess most kids by nature are.
Digital Samizdat , says: February 2, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT
I detect more than a whiff of National Review in this article. How come whenever Joe Blow (or Jacques Bonhomme) wants something essential like healthcare, transportation or an affordable dwelling, he is denounced as 'greedy' for demanding a bunch of 'gibmedats', but when the big multi-national corporations want another free-trade treaty or another tax cut, this is labelled 'progress'?

I guess that's why I just can't get into conservatism.

Michael Kenny , says: February 2, 2019 at 10:43 am GMT
All of this actually helps the EU, which is not a globalist project but a regionalist alternative to globalism. Globalism was imposed on a very reluctant EU in the 1980s by a then hyperdominant US (I'm old enough to remember!) with Margaret Thatcher acting as an American Trojan horse within the EU. It has never worked precisely because it contradicts the inherent regionalist logic that underlies the whole idea of European integration.

Thus, the more the US globalist project goes under, the more the EU and similar regionalist projects in other parts of the world come to the fore.

Just as Trumpmania spawned the pro-US and pro-globalist Brexiteers in the summer of 2016, Trump's bull in a china shop blundering and the self-destruction of American power that has entailed has empowered the various protest movements we've seen in Europe, none of which are calling for the withdrawal of their countries from the EU.

People instinctively sense that Trump has defeated the notorious "TINA" argument, which in Europe meant "the US won't let us do anything else". The ongoing collapse of American power makes for a very turbulent and unstable situation in the world but fundamentally, we're all on the right track. For European integration, that doesn't mean collapse but a return to the original post-WWII project, designed to allow us to have our respective nationalisms without killing each other at regular intervals.

That concept is so alien to the American experience that it is unsurprising that Americans have difficulty in understanding it. Americans need to stop lumping themselves together with Europeans and calling us all "Westerners".

Stogumber , says: February 2, 2019 at 11:19 am GMT
@obwandiyag Contrary to obwandiyag, Durocher came over to me as the sort of sour conservative who can't deliver goods for the people and therefore reflects that, well, people oughtn't to demand so much goods.
Well, both kinds, the libertarian and the sour conservative, have a certain disregard for the average guy.
The average guy is by no means crying "me,me,me" all the time and he doesn't demand the best and the most of everything. Also, he is quite prepared too work for life, if his work is within his range of capabilities and if it doesn't develop into a kind of modern slave labour.

But he sees, and reads, that technology improves which means that life should become easier not more difficult.
And he too often sees that in fact he has to live worse than his father – or, if he is the father, he sees that his sons will live worse than he. And he asks why. And the media can give no honest explanation. (Nor can Durocher.)

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 2, 2019 at 12:04 pm GMT
In the " west " , the working people are extracted to the last cent with the all the locals IRS and varied taxes . This surplus goes to pay faraonic governement bureaucracies which live on the taxpayers and humiliate them , goes to subvention tax free oligarchs , and goes to subvention all kind of stupid utopias and a wide array of social bums national and foreign . They have killed the hen of the golden eggs . The CCCP fell in the 1990`s , our EUUSACCCP will fall in the 2020`s ?

By the way will the Cesar of the western Roman Empire Trumpo Maximo order you Microncito Napoleonis to go away like he is doing with his rebelius consul Maduro Petrolero ? After all Microncito is very mean with his subdits , and after all he is not supported by the Cesar of the eastern Roman Empire Putinos Bizantinii like Maduro Petrolero is , it would be an easy coup , and very popular .

Mike P , says: February 2, 2019 at 1:43 pm GMT
@Jewish minds Trump Zionism. Completely agree on "representative" democracy being a sham, and on the feasibility and great importance of direct democracy. Realistically, though, one still needs legal specialists who can draft workable laws and ensure their compatibility with existing laws and constitutions. Some sort of hybrid system – a lawmaking institution, be it elected or appointed – with oversight and ultimate arbitration by the citizens will probably work better in practice.

Probably just as important is the media – the kind of oligarchic concentration we have right now in the mass media is going to interfere with any kind of democracy, however much improved over the current dysfunctional and discredited system.

Johnny Walker Read , says: February 2, 2019 at 2:12 pm GMT
I'll tell you what the average Joe Blow(Yellow Vest)wants, and it is not just more "Shiny stuff".

1) He/She wants to be left alone. H/S is sick of breaking some law every time H/S merely sets foot out of their house. Police forces have become nothing more than revenue sources for the ever growing police state and have absolutely nothing to do with protecting the common man. Pulling a cell phone out of your pocket at the wrong time is enough to get you killed by tyrant with a badge.

2) H/S wants to be able to make enough money to raise a family and live comfortably. H/S is sick of watching the top 1% steal everything that is not nailed down through such scams as fractional reserve banking and stock market swindles. As the old saying goes: Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world.

3)H/S wants a REAL form "affirmative action", where every man/woman is chosen for their ability not the color of their skin or their ethnicity. A world where an an individual is judged on their ability and nothing more.

4) H/S wants to be safe in their neighborhoods as they watch them being flooded by uncivilized and criminal immigrants. All the while his and hers own government is confiscating their means of self protection through such things as gun control.

5) H/S is sick of watching programs such as Social Security and Medicare being bled dry by people who have never contributed a dime to such programs, while H/S has contributed to these programs their entire working lives.

6)H/S is sick of these never ending wars, which are started but never fought by the men in suits. They are tired of watching the blood suckers of war stealing not only the treasure of their country, but the very lives of their sons and daughters. All they are saying is give peace a chance.

So you see, it is much more than a bunch of whiny socialist wanting more free stuff.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website February 2, 2019 at 2:40 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat

I detect more than a whiff of National Review in this article.

Yeah. You could have replaced the byline with any one of Conservative, Inc.'s generic hack writers and other than Durocher's improved erudition, nobody would have known the difference.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 2, 2019 at 3:02 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny I agree . We europeans are not " westeners " ( " occidentales " , " occidentaux " ) ,we are just europeans , greco-roman europeans .

To call western europeans " westeners " is an English fraud , followed by the US , made to isolate Russia from the rest of Europe and preventing the formation of a strong continental Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok .

We europeans , produced the greco-roman culture , the Christian culture , we consider ourselves the land of Christian and greco-roman civilization . We consider ourselves the fathers of most of the Americas .

For us ,europeans , at least for old ones , the " westeners " were the half mexican people from Texas to California , the cowboys , the vaqueros . And the US easteners were the yankees .

We always liked the cowboys , the soul of north America , the roots of north America , and we always felt some uneasiness and distrust of the yankees , those excentric , warmonger , greedy , rootless ex-europeans .

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 2, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT
Durocher ,

The EU died in Pristina , in Yugoslavia , as says a french general

https://russia-insider.com/en/europe-died-when-nato-illegally-ripped-out-serbias-heart-1999-top-french-military-commander/ri25656

and was buried in Ukraina in 2014

The axe Hitler-Petain , pardon Merkel-Macron , ne tiens plus , doesn`t have any credibility

Sean , says: February 2, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT

All this shows the limits both of official Europeanism and short-sighted demotic populism. The goal of both is to distract the French from their real problems, namely their spiritual and demographic collapse. The EU as such is not the source, or even a significant cause, of France's problems.

It seems to me French problems started in earnest with the unification of Germany, and if that is any guide the greater unity of the EU under German economic power is unlikely to improve France's relative position. :- 28/11/2018 German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Wednesday proposed that France give up its permanent seat on the UN Security Council and turn it into an EU seat . France was the first country in the world to deliberately increase immigration, and did so out of fear of Germany, but I think French business are the main force behind immigration now.

Germany passes immigration law to lure non-EU skilled workers . It is silly to call for cohesion unless you halt immigration and have the strength to sacrifice for that end. France is much further down the road to dissolution than they are over the Rhine. Germany has not suffered much so mar, they can take far more immigration than France. Germany' business class has reasons for increasing immigration into Germany, which is becoming ever more powerful though building up its economic strength by abandoning ll nuclear capacity and defence against other countries, and keeping labour costs low–by any means necessary. The USA is turning away from defending Germany (which tried to claim the costs of it taking million refugees should be counted as a defence contribution). For now, Germany thinks it has enough cohesion in reserve to sacrifice some to building up its economic strength and productive capacity in particular. In the EU, France will be subjected to German priorities.

The troubles that our society is experiencing are also sometimes due and related to the fact that too many of our fellow citizens believe that they can earn without effort . . .

It is comparative. Immigrants, especially illegal immigrants and refugees, come from countries where if you don't work you starve. But those countries lack the flexibility conferred by the gentrified, relaxed and complex societies of Europe.

Going all out rather than tepidly for native demographic strength is probably a bad idea, because we don't know what national or personal qualities are going to be needed to cope with the unexpected type of challenges that will certainly be posed in our future.

Mike P , says: February 2, 2019 at 4:13 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read You are essentially right, but some of your points speak more to America than France. In particular, police tends to be a lot less trigger-happy and generally more lenient in France. Considering the scale of the French protests, I would say overall the number of people who got hurt by police is very low. I even suspect that the few really bad cases were committed not by regular police but by special agents provocateurs, trying to incite violence in order to create a pretext for cracking down.

Amusing anecdote – I spent a couple of months in Paris a goodish number of years ago. One French guy told me that he was stopped while driving drunk by police. He explained to them, "it is the last night before I will be thirty years old." Police told him, "o.k., you be careful now while driving home" and let him go.

wayfarer , says: February 2, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT

It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus

RT Rider , says: February 2, 2019 at 6:26 pm GMT
With a monetary system based on debt, and the counterfeiting and issuance of money privately controlled, it was inevitable that globalization and the elimination of state sovereignty would result. Global financial capitalism is the maximizing of profit for private gain and the socialization of losses by the state. Although, nation-states are now nothing more than subsidiaries of the global banking cartel. As debt levels grow well beyond the ability of states to service, let alone repay, the banking cartel need seamless access to other nation's resources to keep the ponzi going – hence the unified global banking cartel, always acting in concert.

The counterfeiting racket is quite ingenious. The public demanding more and more state subsidies to ensure their standards of living, as high paying jobs disappear, never to return, give the political class free rein to borrow well beyond tax levels, or their ability to ever repay. Of course, there isn't sufficient savings to fund this level of borrowing on a global scale (public and private) so it must be manufactured, or more bluntly, counterfeited. The banking cartel then takes it's skim off the top in fees, seniorage, and interest. Over time, this enormous skim has allowed them to buy whatever, and whomever, they want.

We live in an age of money illusion, where the enormous amount of phony money has corrupted every aspect of society, and disguises late-stage, economic collapse. It's just as likely the the global economy has been going nowhere in the last ten years but we can't tell because GDP, being a measure of money transactions, presents a false picture of growth, disguised by the enormous quantities of money counterfeited over the decade, and indeed since Mr. Greenspan took the helm at the Fed.

It has been very successful, however, in inflating all asset classes, other than commodities (controlled by futures derivatives trading), to increase collateral for even more debt issuance. Of course, all these assets are tightly controlled by the counterfeiters. Unfortunately, we have reached a point where even interest can't be paid, let alone principle. And the underlying asset values look to be poised for collapse. Counterfeiting more money, ie. QE, will most certainly be redeployed, but should result in collapsing currencies around the globe, as all are in the same boat.

In effect, the western world has created a neo-feudal order, with money counterfeiters being the overlords, rather than the land-holding thugs of the past.

HiHo , says: February 2, 2019 at 7:27 pm GMT
A rather sad piece from someone not quite au fait with current thinking though understandable under the circumstances.
Politics today is no longer of the 'left' or the 'right', but of globalism or nationalism. Yes, groups like Antifa cling to the old while supporting the fascist Establishment with fascist action. Odd lot those people.
Essentially you can't have a just society where usuary, share dealing and currency speculation take place. The termites that practice this sort of lifestyle need to be given a spade to dig the earth and grow their own veggies!
And democracy is just a smoke screen permitting special interest groups to over ride the popular consensus. To have it clarified by a popular vote one way or the other is a good idea, but can only work where the local culture supports the concept as in Switzerland, as opposed to California where it doesn't really work properly, since the culture is alien to that sort of concept.
Old man Le Pen's daughter is a wiley old solicitor that speaks like a fisherman's wife. The old man won't be bothered about what has happened to his party, though it is surprising things have stagnated a bit for National Rally.
The EU should not have expanded in to Eastern Europe and it should never have permitted the sort of third rate politicians such as Junkers, Moderini, the Kinnocks to have the power and the gravy they have got. The ultimate weakness is having Rothschild control all the banks and operate his money laundering business in the City of London. The EU is just another scam and the 520 million people in the EU are sick of it.
If you think the US is a poisoned chalice, the EU by comparison drank the Coudenhove-Calergi poison fifty years ago and is just about to go tits up and expire. Immigrants or no immigrants, the Austro-Japanese Richard Coudenhove-Calergi brand of pure poison has destroyed everything of worth in Europe.
This writer touches on the edges of the truth without actually pointing a finger at the cause: greed through usuary, share dealing and currency speculation. Until you deal with this cancer and the termites that promote it you will never find an answer.

HiHo

[Feb 02, 2019] European Companies Won t Dare Use SWIFT Alternative To Send Money To Iran

Notable quotes:
"... My 95 year old aunt here in NL lived thru the NAZI occupation. She said its sad that the nice decent Americans of 1945 have now become like the people we fought. ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

European Companies "Won't Dare" Use SWIFT Alternative To Send Money To Iran

by Tyler Durden Sat, 02/02/2019 - 09:55 32 SHARES

The launch of INSTEX -- "Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges" -- by France, Germany, and the UK this week to allow "legitimate trade" with Iran, or rather effectively sidestep US sanctions and bypass SWIFT after Washington was able to pressure the Belgium-based financial messaging service to cut off the access of Iranian banks last year, may be too little too late to salvage the Iran nuclear deal .

Tehran will only immediately press that more than just the current "limited humanitarian" and medical goods can be purchased on the system, in accordance with fulfilling the EU's end of the 2015 JCPOA -- something which EU officials have promised while saying INSTEX will be "expansive" -- while European companies will likely continue to stay away for fear of retribution from Washington, which has stated it's "closely following" reports of the payment vehicle while reiterating attempts to sidestep sanctions will "risk severe consequences" .

As a couple of prominent Iranian academics told Al Jazeera this week: "If [the mechanism] will permanently be restricted to solely humanitarian trade, it will be apparent that Europe will have failed to live up to its end of the bargain for Iran ," said political analyst Mohammad Ali Shabani. And another, Foad Izadi, professor at the University of Tehran, echoed what is a common sentiment among Iran's leaders: "I don't think the EU is either willing or able to stand up to Trump's threat," and continued, "The EU is not taking the nuclear deal seriously and it's not taking any action to prove to Iran otherwise... People are running out of patience."

But Iranian leadership welcomed the new mechanism as merely a small first step: "It is a first step taken by the European side... We hope it will cover all goods and items," Iranian Deputy FM Abbas Araqchi told state TV, referencing EU promises to stick to its end of the nuclear deal.

The European side also acknowledged it as a precondition to keeping the nuclear deal alive, which EU leaders sea as vital to their security and strategic interests : "We're making clear that we didn't just talk about keeping the nuclear deal with Iran alive, but now we're creating a possibility to conduct business transactions," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters on Thursday . "This is a precondition for us to meet the obligations we entered into in order to demand from Iran that it doesn't begin military uranium enrichment," Maas said.

What is INSTEX?

Technically US sanctions allow some limited humanitarian trade and limited goods; however the White House's "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran has still scared away European giants like Seimens, Maersk, Total, Daimler, Peugeot, Renault, and others.

This brings up the central question of whether skittish European countries will actually return to doing business with Iran, the entire purpose on which the new mechanism rests. The dilemma was summarized at the start of this week by outspoken Iran hawk Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who told the AP "The choice is whether to do business with Iran or the United States." He warned, "I hope our European allies choose wisely."

Thus far a number of analysts and observers have remained far less optimistic than the European sponsors of INSTEX. One particular interview with geopolitical analyst and journalist Luc Rivet, cited in Russian media, outlines the likelihood for failure of the new payment vehicle : "I don't know what companies will make use of that mechanism to sell to Iran," Rivet said, noting that countries still consider it "dangerous" to be caught working with Iran.

Addressing the current restriction of INSTEX facilitating medical and pharmaceutical goods transactions, he continued:

Who produces this equipment? You think that Siemens will sell to Iran? Never, because they sell to America many other things as well And Siemens is afraid of losing the American market.

No matter if a handful of companies resume or continue business with Iran he explained that an "incredible number of companies" won't. He added: "It's much easier for Chinese and Russian companies to make deals with Iran. The Europeans are scared in an incredible way. The companies are afraid by ricochet of being in the eye of the storm with the Americans."

He concluded, "That's very dangerous for European companies," and repeated, "I don't know anybody who will dare to go with this Instex system."

And the New York Times in asking the same question -- But Will Anyone Use It? -- concludes similarly that "given that most large companies have significant business in the United States, very few -- if any -- are likely to use the trading mechanism for fear of incurring Washington's wrath."

However, the test will be whether or not a steady trickle of small companies gives way to bigger companies. The NYT report continues :

But the financial mechanism could make it easier for smaller companies with no exposure in the United States to trade with Iran and could promote trade in medicine and food, which are not subject to sanctions. European diplomats say that, in the beginning, the concentration will be on goods that are permitted by Washington, to avoid an early confrontation .

But much could also depend on just how fierce the White House reaction will be. If the past months' Trump administration rhetoric is any indicator, it will keep large companies scared and on the sidelines.


CarmenSandiego , 8 minutes ago link

This is the first step? then a independent military? Without asking money bosses in the USA?

alter , 34 minutes ago link

Europe has had double the tariffs on American cars than we had for theirs. It's time for us to quadruple the tariff on European cars, to make up for the tariff imbalance that Europe has taken advantage of for decades.

schroedingersrat , 1 hour ago link

Multinationals surely wont use it. But its great for small businesses.

Wantoknow , 1 hour ago link

Before World War II the question was, "Who will stand up to the demands of Germany?" Now the question is, "Who will stand up to the demands of the United States?" It is clear that as far as means and methods are concerned Washington flies the swastika. History has come full circle.

The following quote from J. R. R. Tolkien makes the point, "Always after a defeat and a respite," says Gandalf, "the shadow takes another shape and grows again." The irony of our times is that the shadow has moved from Germany to the US.

Consternation and craven refusal to confront the reality of our times is again in vogue. We are walking towards madness crying, "Let the other fellow fix this!"

Good Luck

ExpatNL , 1 hour ago link

My 95 year old aunt here in NL lived thru the NAZI occupation. She said its sad that the nice decent Americans of 1945 have now become like the people we fought.

Einstein101 , 1 hour ago link

"The EU is not taking the nuclear deal seriously and it's not taking any action to prove to Iran otherwise... People are running out of patience."

So Iran is "running out of patience"? So what, what Iran will do? ...

[Feb 01, 2019] THE NEOLIBERAL MARKETIZED ECONOMY AND POLITICS

Jan 07, 2019 | cup.columbia.edu

The Origins of Neoliberalism - Modeling the Economy from Jesus to Foucault - Columbia University Press

The process of the marketization of the economy from Mill to Becker described earlier is concluded in Becker's notions of "Human Capital" and "Economics of Crime and Punishment."

Becker reformulates the ethical modes by which one governs one's self by theorizing the economic self as human capital that generates labor in return for income. Such self-government is conducted by economizing one's earning power, the form of power that one commands over one's labor. Theorizing self-government as a form of command over one's own labor, Becker inserts the power relations of the market, which Smith identified as purchasing power over other people's labor, into the ethical sphere of the relationship between a person andherself.

Becker's theory of self-government also entails a transformation of the technologies of the self into an askesis of economizing the scarce means of the marketized self that have alternative uses for the purpose ofmaximizing the earning and purchasing power one commands in the mar- ketized economy.

The marketization of the self that turned zoon oikonomikon into a power-craving homo economicus also makes him governable by the political monarch, as demonstrated in the Economic analysis of Crime and Punishment. Economic man is governed through the legal framework of the mar- ket economy. Human action is controlled by tweaking a matrix of punishments and incentives that make the governed subject, as a prudent creature who craves to maximize his economic power, freely choose the desired course of action that will ensure economic growth. At the same time that Becker's technologies of the conduct of the marketized self establish a neoliberal self-mastery, they also enable the governmental technology of conducting one self conduct in the all-encompassing and ever growing marketized economy. Although Becker seems to reverse the ageold ethical question, that is, how can a human, as a governed subject, become free in the economy, into the technological one of how one can make a free human governable, the end result is pretty much the same, as the economy is reconstituted as a sphere in which the subject is seen as free and governed.

A neoliberal interpretation of Hobbes's economic power is found in Tullock and Buchanan's use of economic theory to "deal with traditional problems of political science," that is, to trace the works of Smithian economic power that have by now been transposed onto the political sphere: Incorporat(ing) political activity as a particular form of exchange; and, as in the market relation, mutual gains to all parties are ideally expected to result from the collective relation. In a very real sense, therefore, political action is viewed essentially as a means through which the "power" of all participants may be increased, if we define "power" as the ability to command things that are desired by men. To be justified by the criteria employed here, collective action must be advantageous to all parties. (Tullock and Buchanan 1962:23)

[Feb 01, 2019] Christianity Opposes Neoliberalism by Robert Lindsay

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Russians say that the preposterous Protestant fundamentalist evangelicalism is a "pseudo-religion that represents Western egoism and noting more." This type of Protestantism is obviously anti-Christian at its very core, but this is precisely the type of bastardized and heretical Christianity that would be expected to unfold in the radical individualist atmosphere of the US. ..."
"... You may be interested to know that many Russian Orthodox Christians think the radical individualist Libertarianism so popular in the US is actually "Satanic." What they mean by that is that it is the polar opposite of the Church's teaching. ..."
"... You can have Christ or you can have Mammon. Which do you choose to worship? You surely cannot worship both. ..."
"... The modern economy is built largely on fraud; it creates money out of thin air. Who's going to pay for all of this? Why, the simple worker is going to, who produces the value behind all of this bubble. We need a fair economic system where money and capital are equivalent, and are the expression of real work. ..."
Apr 15, 2014 | robertlindsay.wordpress.com

The truth is that neoliberalism really does against the teaching of the Church, especially the Orthodox and Catholic branches of the Church which adhere more to the true religion.

The Russians say that the preposterous Protestant fundamentalist evangelicalism is a "pseudo-religion that represents Western egoism and noting more." This type of Protestantism is obviously anti-Christian at its very core, but this is precisely the type of bastardized and heretical Christianity that would be expected to unfold in the radical individualist atmosphere of the US.

You may be interested to know that many Russian Orthodox Christians think the radical individualist Libertarianism so popular in the US is actually "Satanic." What they mean by that is that it is the polar opposite of the Church's teaching.

... You can have Christ or you can have Mammon. Which do you choose to worship? You surely cannot worship both.

Moscow Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church:

The modern economy is built largely on fraud; it creates money out of thin air. Who's going to pay for all of this? Why, the simple worker is going to, who produces the value behind all of this bubble. We need a fair economic system where money and capital are equivalent, and are the expression of real work.

His Holiness Kirill Gundyaev Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

[Jan 31, 2019] Venezuela color revolution plot thickens

Notable quotes:
"... UN should be probing Washington and allies for regime-change crimes Identical condemnations