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Mar 26, 2019 | www.amazon.com>
E. Christine Hess
Joe Biden & Kerry in the limelight & under the microscope
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Biden & Kerry in the limelight & under the microscope Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2018 Verified Purchase So disappointed to read about Joe Biden's ( previously always depicted as appealing "average Joe" with lots of human compassion ) complicity via his son Hunter's mega global enrichment
And shame on Kerry! He had already married the Ketchup heiress & did NOT need to increase his greed via off spring
All so troubling!
I simply could NOT finish reading the book. The content is so devastating revealing the greed, the unbelievable abuse of our trust in our elected officials & hard earned tax dollars.
We almost need a revolution to clean out the filth! >
HUGELY important book!
5.0 out of 5 stars HUGELY important book! Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2018 This was my most anticipated book of the year, so I bought the audio version at the earliest possible moment and listened to it eagerly. It completely delivers on its promise, exposing potential new political self-dealing scandals.
Previously, Schweizer's "Clinton Cash" book contributed to Hillary Clinton's election loss. This new book could be the death knell for Joe Biden's presidential hopes, as it reveals how his son, Hunter Biden, benefited from the former Vice President's dealings with foreign countries. Schweizer is evenhanded, though, targeting politicians from both parties. Mitch McConnell could easily become the target of an ethics investigation based on this book's suggestion that McConnell has taken official acts that benefit his Chinese in-laws financially.
The book reveals a kind of self-dealing that I had not considered before by suggesting that Obama (1) used regulations in the education and energy sectors to depress the prices of certain stocks (e.g., the University of Phoenix and fossil fuel companies), at which time friends of Barack, including George Soros, bought the stocks and then (2) eased pressure, allowing the stocks to rebound and enriching anyone who invested at the stocks' low points.
For any reader who worries about the mainstream media's failure to investigate the financial dealings of Obama and other politicians, this book is a partial remedy. Highly recommended! >
Follow the money!
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow the money! Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2018 Verified Purchase I don't understand why none of the "offshore corruption" described in this book is EVER covered in ANY news, and this includes some historical corruption and convictions mentioned in the book that I somehow never heard about. The author is fair and covers corruption on both sides of the aisle. Before reading this book, I couldn't understand why folks suspect President Trump of nefarious financial swindling, but now I do because it seems to be EVERYWHERE in our government. President Trump didn't come in broke and steal money, and I don't suspect him, but the author warns of booby traps he must avoid. By the way, Schweitzer's previous book, CLINTON CASH, opened my eyes and I wish it was required reading.
Oct 10, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
w 2 play_arrow
Whodathunkit , 1 hour agoYog Soggoth , 1 hour ago
Bomb-fin-shell. Judge smacks down IRS. Says Clinton "charity" fraud investigation to move forward.
https://truepundit.com/exclusive-federal-judge-drops-massive-bomb-on-clinton-foundation-reveals-irs-cover-up-judge-blows-roof-off-protection-racket-in-moynihan-doyle-2-5-billion-case-against-clintons/Roger Casement , 1 hour ago
Hillary's father ran Chicago mob after Al Capone ...
https://brassballs.blog/home/after-capone-hillarys-father-ran-chicago-mob Hot Springs was where they all gathered before they formed Las Vegas. Nothing new under the sun Son.onemorething , 3 hours ago
https://themobmuseum.org/blog/hot-springs-is-soaked-in-mob-lore/Zionism_is_racism , 3 hours ago
anthony weiner's laptop
most important comment in your history.
Oct 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
Systemic corruption and the implosion of the social contract have consequences: It's called collapse.
Social and economic decay is so glacial that only those few who remember an earlier set-point are equipped to even notice the decline. That's the position we find ourselves in today.
Many Americans will discount the systemic corruption that characterizes the American way of life because they've known nothing but systemic corruption. They've habituated to it because they have no memory of a time when looting wasn't legalized and maximizing self-enrichment by any means available wasn't the unwritten law of the land.
If you don't yet see America as little more than an intertwined collection of skims, scams, frauds, embezzlements, lies, gaming-the-system, obfuscation of risk and exploitation of the masses by insiders, please read How Corruption is Becoming America's Operating System . (nakedcapitalism.com, via Cheryl A.)
Here on oftwominds.com, you might want to read No Wrongdoing Here, Just 6,300 Corporate Fines and Settlements . (May 2015)
When JP Morgan Chase engaged in fraud and was fined a wrist-slap $1 billion, nobody went to prison because nobody ever goes to prison for corporate fraud and criminal collusion: JPMorgan to pay almost $1 billion fine to resolve U.S. investigation into trading practices .
Simply put, corruption is cost-free in America because most of it is legal. And whatever is still illegal is never applied to the elites and insiders, except (as per Communist regime corruption) for a rare show trial where an example is made of an egregious fall-guy (think Bernie Madoff: whistleblowers' repeated attempts to expose the fraud to regulators were blown off for years. It was only when Madoff ripped off wealthy and powerful insiders did he go down.)
There are three primary sources for the complete systemic corruption of America. One is the transition from civic responsibility for the social contract and the national interest to winner-take-most legalized looting .
This transition is visible in the history of empires in the final stage of collapse. The assumption underlying the social order slides from a shared duty to the nation and fellow citizens to an obsession with evading civic duties: military service, taxes, and following the rules are all avoided by insiders and elites, and this moral/social rot then corrupts the entire social order as elites and insiders lean ever more heavily on the remaining productive class to pay the taxes and provide the military muscle to defend their wealth.
That corruption is now everywhere in America is obvious to all but those adamantly blinded by denial. The JP Morgans pay fines as a cost of doing corrupt business , while "public servants" game the system to maximize their pensions with a variety of tricks: colluding to boost the overtime of the retiring insider; finding a quack physican to sign off on a fake "heart murmur" so the insider pays no taxes on their "disability" check, and so on in an endless parade of lies, scams, skims and insider tricks .
The excuse is always the same: everybody does it. This is of course the collapse not just of the social contract but of morality in general: anything goes and winners take most . Insiders look the other way lest their own skims and scams be contested, and elites and insiders view those who aren't skimming and scamming as chumps to be pitied.
The second dynamic is that financialization has completely corrupted the American economy, and that corruption has now spread to the political and social orders. Once the financial sector conquered the real economy, it began siphoning 95% of the economy's wealth to the top .01% and their toadies, lackeys, apologists, enforcers and technocrats.
As they hollowed out the real economy, distorted incentives and made moral hazard the guiding principle of the American way of life, the recipients of financialization's domination gained the wealth to buy political power from the pathetically corruptible political class.
The corruption that we call financialization corrupted democracy and undermined the social contract by eviscerating the value of labor and creating a pay-to-play political order that's a mockery of democracy .
The third factor is the decay of America's institutions into fronts for personal gain . While Higher Education insiders are masters of self-serving PR, the truth is they're not concerned about their debt-serf "customers" (students) learning the essential skills needed in the tumultuous decades ahead--they're worried that the revenues needed to pay their enormous salaries and benefits might dry up.
"Education" is nothing but a front for the corruption of self-enrichment by the elites and insiders at the top.
The same is true of "healthcare." The concern of insiders isn't the declining health of America's populace, it's the decline in revenues as fewer "customers" come in for the financial scalping of emergency care.
"Healthcare" is nothing but a front for the corruption of self-enrichment by the elites and insiders at the top.
Thanks to the Federal Reserve's endless free money for financiers and endless federal borrow-and-blow deficits, the unstated belief is since there's endless "money", my petty frauds and skims won't even dent the feeding trough --there's always another trillion or three to skim and scam, and there will never be any limit to the feeding trough.
There is no limit until the system implodes. Then the collapse becomes limitless
Ironic, isn't it? The oh-so convenient belief that America's wealth and power are eternal and godlike in their glory fosters the crass corruption that has weakened America to the point of no return: systemic fragility and brittleness.
American Exceptionalism has been turned on its head: America is now as perniciously corrupt as any developing-world nation we smugly felt so superior to, and with extremes of wealth and income inequality that surpass even the most rapacious kleptocracies. This destabilizing "exceptionalism" is now the defining characteristic of the American economy, society and political order.
Systemic corruption and the implosion of the social contract have consequences: It's called collapse, baby, and the rot is now too deep to reverse.
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Sep 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
gepay , Sep 22 2020 19:44 utc | 11As Putin has said, the US is no longer agreement capable. As b. outlines. the US elites no longer follow the rule of law. This is even true within the US. The US inherited the role formerly played by the British Empire after WW2.
The national security apparatus of both the US and the Soviet Union kept the Cold War going. Notice how soon after JFK was assassinated Khrushchev was deposed. Gorbachev rightly stopped the Soviets superpower regime. As Dmitri Orlov points out - Empire hollowed out the Soviet Union and he sees it doing the same to the US.
Instead of bringing Russia into the Western liberal democracies (with the threat of major nuclear war now drastically reduced) the now Anglo-Zionist Empire just looted it. The life expectancy of Russians fell 7 years in a decade until rescued by Putin.
It can now be seen that the Nixon-Kissinger opening up to China was not to gain access to its large market potential but to gain access to hundreds of millions of cheap, disciplined, and educated workers. The elites starting in the 70s became greedier. Jet travel,electronic communication, and computers allowed the outsourcing of manufacture.
The spread of air conditioning allowed even the too hot south to be a location. First in the US as the factories began their march through the non union southern states onto Mexico. Management from the north could now live in air conditioned houses, drive air conditioned cars and work in air conditioned offices.
The 70s oil inflation led to stagnation as the unionized labor were powerful enough to get cost of living raises. With the globalization of labor union power in the US has been destroyed. As Eric X Li points out China's one party rule actually changes policies easier than the Western democracies.
So China's government hasn't joined in with the West in just creating wealth for the top 1% and debt for the real economy.
As b. pointed out, the Anglo Zionist policies created the mutual benefit partnership of Russia and China. The Chinese belt and road initiative appears to be intent on creating a large trading zone that could benefit those involved. The US is just using sanctions and the military to turn sovereign functioning countries that don't go along with it into failed states and their infrastructure turned to rubble
Sep 25, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
John Durham Investigating FBI Handling Of Clinton Foundation Pay-To-Play Allegations by Tyler Durden Thu, 09/24/2020 - 17:00 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print
US Attorney John Durham is investigating how the FBI handled their investigation of bribery and pay-to-play allegations against the Clinton Foundation .
Notably, former FBI Director James Comey's family supported Clinton in the 2016 US election, while the wife of his #2, Andrew McCabe, received roughly $700,000 from Clinton allies in her failed bid for Virginia state office - all while the FBI was handling the Clinton Foundation investigation.
In a Thursday report by the New York Times that mounts a robust, editorialized defense of Clintonworld ('Durham's probe is politically charged' - 'Durham is chasing down conspiracy theories,' etc) - we learn that Durham has sought documents and interviews about how the FBI handled allegations of political corruption at the Clinton Foundation .
Recall that nothing ever came of revelations that the Hillary Clinton-led State Department authorized $151 billion in Pentagon-brokered deals to 16 countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation - a 145% increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration, according to IBTimes .
American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012. - IBTimes
Then there was that $1 million check Qatar reportedly gave Bill Clinton for his birthday in 2012, which the charity confirmed it accepted . Coincidentally, we're sure, Qatar was one of the countries which gained State Department clearance to buy US weapons while Clinton was Secretary of State, "even as the department signaled them out of a range of alleged ills," according to IBTimes.
Then there was $145 million donated to the Foundation from parties linked to the Uranium One deal prior to its approval through a rubber-stamp committee .
"The committee almost never met, and when it deliberated it was usually at a fairly low bureaucratic level," Richard Perle said. Perle, who has worked for the Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations added, " I think it's a bit of a joke. " – CBS
The Clinton Foundation, meanwhile, told the NY Times that it "has regularly been subjected to baseless, politically motivated allegations, and time after time these allegations have been proven false."
Oddly, however, donations to the foundation plummeted 90% after Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election - which would be odd if it wasn't a pay-for-play enterprise.
And according to Clinton Foundation whistleblowers, the organization "operated as an unregistered foreign agent."
Via Sara Carter at SaraaCarter.com
The Clinton Foundation operated as a foreign agent 'early in its life' and 'throughout it's existence' and did not operate as a 501c3 charitable foundation as required, and is not entitled to its status as a nonprofit, alleged two highly qualified forensic investigators, accompanied by three other investigators, said in explosive testimony Thursday to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
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Doyle and Moynihan have amassed 6,000 documents in their nearly two-year investigation through their private firm MDA Analytics LLC. The documents were turned over more than a year and a half ago to the IRS, according to John Solomon, who first published the report last week in The Hill.
" The investigation clearly demonstrates that the foundation was not a charitable organization per se, but in point of fact was a closely held family partnership ," said Doyle, who formerly worked on Wall Street and has been involved with finance for the last ten years conducting investigations.
"As such it was governed in a fashion in which it sought in large measure to advance the personal interests of its principals as detailed within the financial analysis of this submission and further confirmed within the supporting documentation and evidence section."
Will Durham's inquiry into the FBI's handling of the Clinton Foundation result in anything? If recent history is any indicator, don't hold your breath.
Sep 21, 2020 | prospectmagazine.co.uk
A s the US prepares to plunge into a new cold war with China in which its chances do not look good, it's an appropriate time to examine how we went so badly wrong after "victory" in the last Cold War. Looking back 30 years from the grim perspective of 2020, it is a challenge even for those who were adults at the time to remember just how triumphant the west appeared in the wake of the collapse of Soviet communism and the break-up of the USSR itself.
Today, of the rich fruits promised by that great victory, only wretched fragments remain. The much-vaunted "peace dividend," savings from military spending, was squandered. The opportunity to use the resources freed up to spread prosperity and deal with urgent social problems was wasted, and -- even worse -- the US military budget is today higher than ever. Attempts to mitigate the apocalyptic threat of climate change have fallen far short of what the scientific consensus deems to be urgently necessary. The chance to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stabilise the Middle East was thrown away even before 9/11 and the disastrous US response. The lauded "new world order" of international harmony and co-operation -- heralded by the elder George Bush after the first Gulf War -- is a tragic joke. Britain's European dream has been destroyed, and geopolitical stability on the European continent has been lost due chiefly to new and mostly unnecessary tension with Moscow. The one previously solid-seeming achievement, the democratisation of Eastern Europe, is looking questionable, as Poland and Hungary (see Samira Shackle, p20) sink into semi-authoritarian nationalism.
Russia after the Cold War was a shambles and today it remains a weak economy with a limited role on the world stage, concerned mainly with retaining some of its traditional areas of influence. China is a vastly more formidable competitor. If the US (and the UK, if as usual we tag along) approach the relationship with Beijing with anything like the combination of arrogance, ignorance, greed, criminality, bigotry, hypocrisy and incompetence with which western elites managed the period after the Cold War, then we risk losing the competition and endangering the world.
One of the most malign effects of western victory in 1989-91 was to drown out or marginalise criticism of what was already a deeply flawed western social and economic model. In the competition with the USSR, it was above all the visible superiority of the western model that eventually destroyed Soviet communism from within. Today, the superiority of the western model to the Chinese model is not nearly so evident to most of the world's population; and it is on successful western domestic reform that victory in the competition with China will depend.
Western triumph and western failure were deeply intertwined. The very completeness of the western victory both obscured its nature and legitimised all the western policies of the day, including ones that had nothing to do with the victory over the USSR, and some that proved utterly disastrous.
As Alexander Zevin has written of the house journal of Anglo-American elites, the revolutions in Eastern Europe "turbocharged the neoliberal dynamic at the Economist , and seemed to stamp it with an almost providential seal." In retrospect, the magazine's 1990s covers have a tragicomic appearance, reflecting a degree of faith in the rightness and righteousness of neoliberal capitalism more appropriate to a religious cult.
These beliefs interacted to produce a dominant atmosphere of "there is no alternative," which made it impossible and often in effect forbidden to conduct a proper public debate on the merits of the big western presumptions, policies or plans of the era. As a German official told me when I expressed some doubt about the wisdom of rapid EU enlargement, "In my ministry we are not even allowed to think about that."
This was a sentiment I encountered again and again (if not often so frankly expressed) in western establishment institutions in that era: in economic journals if it was suggested that rapid privatisation in the former USSR would lead to massive corruption, social resentment and political reaction; in security circles, if anyone dared to question the logic of Nato expansion; and almost anywhere if it was pointed out that the looting of former Soviet republics was being assiduously encouraged and profited from by western banks, and regarded with benign indifference by western governments.
The atmosphere of the time is (nowadays notoriously) summed up in Francis Fukuyama's The End of History , which essentially predicted that western liberal capitalist democracy would now be the only valid and successful economic and political model for all time. In fact, what victory in the Cold War ended was not history but the study of history by western elites."The US claiming the right of unilateral intervention anywhere in the world was an ambition greater than that of any previous power"
A curious feature of 1990s capitalist utopian thought was that it misunderstood the essential nature of capitalism, as revealed by its real (as opposed to faith-based) history. One is tempted to say that Fukuyama should have paid more attention to Karl Marx and a famous passage in The Communist Manifesto :
"The bourgeoisie [ie capitalism] cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society All fixed, fast-frozen relations with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify the bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed "
Then again, Marx himself made exactly the same mistake in his portrayal of a permanent socialist utopia after the overthrow of capitalism. The point is that utopias, being perfect, are unchanging, whereas continuous and radical change, driven by technological development, is at the heart of capitalism -- and, according to Marx, of the whole course of human history. Of course, those who believed in a permanently successful US "Goldilocks economy" -- not too hot, and not too cold -- also managed to forget 300 years of periodic capitalist economic crises.
Though much mocked at the time, Fukuyama's vision came to dominate western thinking. This was summed up in the universally employed but absurd phrases "Getting to Denmark" (as if Russia and China were ever going to resemble Denmark) and "The path to democracy and the free market" (my italics), which became the mantra of the new and lucrative academic-bureaucratic field of "transitionology." Absurd, because the merest glance at modern history reveals multiple different "paths" to -- and away from -- democracy and capitalism, not to mention myriad routes that have veered towards one at the same time as swerving away from the other.
Accompanying this overwhelmingly dominant political and economic ideology was an American geopolitical vision equally grandiose in ambition and equally blind to the lessons of history. This was summed up in the memorandum on "Defence Planning Guidance 1994-1999," drawn up in April 1992 for the Bush Senior administration by Under-Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and subsequently leaked to the media. Its central message was:
"The US must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role "
By claiming for the US the right of unilateral intervention anywhere in the world and denying other major powers a greater role in their regions, this strategy essentially extended the Monroe Doctrine (which effectively defined the "western hemisphere" as the US sphere of influence) to the entire planet: an ambition greater than that of any previous power. The British Empire at its height knew that it could never intervene unilaterally on the continent of Europe or in Central America. The most megalomaniac of European rulers understood that other great powers with influence in their own areas of the world would always exist.
While that 1992 Washington paper spoke of the "legitimate interests" of other states, it clearly implied that it would be Washington that would define what interests were legitimate, and how they could be pursued. And once again, though never formally adopted, this "doctrine" became in effect the standard operating procedure of subsequent administrations. In the early 2000s, when its influence reached its most dangerous height, military and security elites would couch it in the terms of "full spectrum dominance." As the younger President Bush declared in his State of the Union address in January 2002, which put the US on the road to the invasion of Iraq: "By the grace of God, America won the Cold War A world once divided into two armed camps now recognises one sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America."
Triumphalism led US policymakers, and their transatlantic followers, to forget one cardinal truth about geopolitical and military power: that in the end it is not global and absolute, but local and relative. It is the amount of force or influence a state wants to bring to bear in a particular place and on a -particular issue, relative to the power that a rival state is willing and able to bring to bear. The truth of this has been shown repeatedly over the past generation. For all America's overwhelming superiority on paper, it has turned out that many countries have greater strength than the US in particular places: Russia in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia and Iran in Syria, China in the South China Sea, and even Pakistan in southern Afghanistan.
American over-confidence, accepted by many Europeans and many Britons especially, left the US in a severely weakened condition to conduct what should have been clear as far back as the 1990s to be the great competition of the future -- that between Washington and Beijing.
On the one hand, American moves to extend Nato to the Baltics and then (abortively) on to Ukraine and Georgia, and to abolish Russian influence and destroy Russian allies in the Middle East, inevitably produced a fierce and largely successful Russian nationalist reaction. Within Russia, the US threat to its national interests helped to consolidate and legitimise Putin's control. Internationally, it ensured that Russia would swallow its deep-seated fears of China and become a valuable partner of Beijing.
On the other hand, the benign and neglectful way in which Washington regarded the rise of China in the generation after the Cold War (for example, the blithe decision to allow China to join the World Trade Organisation) was also rooted in ideological arrogance. Western triumphalism meant that most of the US elites were convinced that as a result of economic growth, the Chinese Communist state would either democratise or be overthrown; and that China would eventually have to adopt the western version of economics or fail economically. This was coupled with the belief that good relations with China could be predicated on China accepting a so-called "rules-based" international order in which the US set the rules while also being free to break them whenever it wished; something that nobody with the slightest knowledge of Chinese history should
Throughout, the US establishment discourse (Democrat as much as Republican) has sought to legitimise American global hegemony by invoking the promotion of liberal democracy. At the same time, the supposedly intrinsic connection between economic change, democracy and peace was rationalised by cheerleaders such as the New York Times 's indefatigable Thomas Friedman, who advanced the (always absurd, and now flatly and repeatedly falsified) "Golden Arches theory of Conflict Prevention." This vulgarised version of Democratic Peace Theory pointed out that two countries with McDonald's franchises had never been to war. The humble and greasy American burger was turned into a world-historical symbol of the buoyant modern middle classes with too much to lose to countenance war.
Various equally hollow theories postulated cast-iron connections between free markets and guaranteed property rights on the one hand, and universal political rights and freedoms on the other, despite the fact that even within the west, much of political history can be characterised as the fraught and complex brokering of accommodations between these two sets of things.
And indeed, since the 1990s democracy has not advanced in the world as a whole, and belief in the US promotion of democracy has been discredited by US patronage of the authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India and elsewhere. Of the predominantly Middle Eastern and South Asian students whom I teach at Georgetown University in Qatar, not one -- even among the liberals -- believes that the US is sincerely committed to spreading democracy; and, given their own regions' recent history, there is absolutely no reason why they should believe this.
The one great triumph of democratisation coupled with free market reform was -- or appeared to be -- in the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, and this success was endlessly cited as the model for political and economic reform across the globe.
But the portrayal of East European reform in the west failed to recognise the central role of local nationalism. Once again, to talk of this at the time was to find oneself in effect excluded from polite society, because to do so called into question the self-evident superiority and universal appeal of liberal reform. The overwhelming belief of western establishments was that nationalism was a superstition that was fast losing its hold on people who, given the choice, could everywhere be relied on to act like rational consumers, rather than citizens rooted in one particular land.
The more excitable technocrats imagined that nation state itself (except the US of course) was destined to wither away. This was also the picture reflected back to western observers and analysts by liberal reformers across the region, who whether or not they were genuinely convinced of this, knew what their western sponsors wanted to hear. Western economic and cultural hegemony produced a sort of mirror game, a copulation of illusions in which local informants provided false images to the west, which then reflected them back to the east, and so on.
Always the nation
Yet one did not have to travel far outside the centres of Eastern European cities to find large parts of populations outraged by the moral and cultural changes ordained by the EU, the collapse of social services, and the (western-indulged) seizure of public property by former communist elites. So why did Eastern Europeans swallow the whole western liberal package of the time? They did so precisely because of their nationalism, which persuaded them that if they did not pay the cultural and economic price of entry into the EU and Nato, they would sooner or later fall back under the dreaded hegemony of Moscow. For them, unwanted reform was the price that the nation had to pay for US protection. Not surprisingly, once membership of these institutions was secured, a powerful populist and nationalist backlash set in.
Western blindness to the power of nationalism has had several bad consequences for western policy, and the cohesion of "the west." In Eastern Europe, it would in time lead to the politically almost insane decision of the EU to try to order the local peoples, with their deeply-rooted ethnic nationalism and bitter memories of outside dictation, to accept large numbers of Muslim refugees. The backlash then became conjoined with the populist reactions in Western Europe, which led to Brexit and the sharp decline of centrist parties across the EU.
More widely, this blindness to the power of nationalism led the US grossly to underestimate the power of nationalist sentiment in Russia, China and Iran, and contributed to the US attempt to use "democratisation" as a means to overthrow their regimes. All that this has succeeded in doing is to help the regimes concerned turn nationalist sentiment against local liberals, by accusing them of being US stooges.
"A stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values"
Russian liberals in the 1990s were mostly not really US agents as such, but the collapse of Communism led some to a blind adulation of everything western and to identify unconditionally with US policies. In terms of public image, this made them look like western lackeys; in terms of policy, it led to the adoption of the economic "shock therapy" policies advocated by the west. Combined with monstrous corruption and the horribly disruptive collapse of the Soviet single market, this had a shattering effect on Russian industry and the living standards of ordinary Russians.
Many liberals gave the impression of complete indifference to the resulting immiseration of the Russian population in these years. At a meeting of the Carnegie Endowment in Washington that I attended later, former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar boasted to an applauding US audience of how he had destroyed the Russian military industrial complex. The fact that this also destroyed the livelihoods of tens of millions of Russians and Ukrainians was not mentioned.
This attitude was fed by contempt on the part of the educated classes of Moscow and St Petersburg for ordinary Russians, who were dubbed Homo Sovieticus and treated as an inferior species whose loathsome culture was preventing the liberal elites from taking their rightful place among the "civilised" nations of the west. This frame of mind was reminiscent of the traditional attitude of white elites in Latin America towards the Indio and Mestizo majorities in their countries.
I vividly remember one Russian liberal journalist state his desire to fire machine guns into crowds of elderly Russians who joined Communist demonstrations to protest about the collapse of their pensions. The response of the western journalists present was that this was perhaps a little bit excessive, but to be excused since the basic sentiment was correct.
The Russian liberals of the 1990s were crazy to reveal this contempt to the people whose votes they needed to win. So too was Hillary Clinton, with her disdain for the "basket of deplorables" in the 2016 election, much of the Remain camp in the years leading up to Brexit, and indeed the European elites in the way they rammed through the Maastricht Treaty and the euro in the 1990s.
If the post-Cold War world order was a form of US imperialism, it now looks like an empire in which rot in the over-extended periphery has spread to the core. The economic and social patterns of 1990s Russia and Ukraine have come back to haunt the west, though so far thank God in milder form. The massive looting of Russian state property and the systematic evasion of taxes by Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs was only possible with the help of western banks, which transferred the proceeds to the west and the Caribbean. This crime was euphemised in the western discourse (naturally including the Economist ) as "capital flight."
Peter Mandelson qualified his famous remark that the Blair government was "intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich" with the words "as long as they pay their taxes." The whole point, however, about the filthy Russian, Ukrainian, Nigerian, Pakistani and other money that flowed to and through London was not just that so much of it was stolen, but that it was escaping taxation, thereby harming the populations at home twice over. The infamous euphemism "light-touch regulation" was in effect a charter
In a bitter form of poetic justice, however, "light-touch regulation" paved the way for the 2008 economic crisis in the west itself, and western economic elites too (especially in the US) would also seize this opportunity to move their money into tax havens. This has done serious damage to state revenues, and to the fundamental faith of ordinary people in the west that the rich are truly subject to the same laws as them.
The indifference of Russian elites to the suffering of the Russian population has found a milder echo in the neglect of former industrial regions across Britain, Western Europe and the US that did so much to produce the votes for Brexit, for Trump and for populist nationalist parties in Europe. The catastrophic plunge in Russian male life expectancy in the 1990s has found its echo in the unprecedented decline in white working-class male life expectancy in the US.
Perhaps the greatest lesson of the period after the last Cold War is that in the end, a stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values. To say this to western economists, businessmen and financial journalists in the 1990s was to receive the kindly contempt usually accorded to religious cranks. The only value recognised was shareholder value, a currency in which the crimes of the Russian oligarchs could be excused because their stolen companies had "added value." Any concern about duty to the Russian people as a whole, or the fact that tolerance of these crimes would make it grotesque to demand honesty of policemen or civil servants, were dismissed as irrelevant sentimentality.
Bringing it all back home
We in the west are living with the consequences of a generation of such attitudes. Western financial elites have mostly not engaged in outright illegality; but then again, they usually haven't needed to, since governments have made it easy for them to abide by the letter of the law while tearing its spirit to pieces. We are belatedly recognising that, as Franklin Foer wrote in the Atlantic last year: "New York, Los Angeles and Miami have joined London as the world's most desired destinations for laundered money. This boom has enriched the American elites who have enabled it -- and it has degraded the nation's political and social mores in the process. While everyone else was heralding an emergent globalist world that would take on the best values of America, [Richard] Palmer [a former CIA station chief in Moscow] had glimpsed the dire risk of the opposite: that the values of the kleptocrats would become America's own. This grim vision is now nearing fruition."
Those analysing the connection between Russia and Trump's administration have looked in the wrong place. The explanation of Trump's success is not that Putin somehow mesmerised American voters in 2016. It is that populations abandoned by their elites are liable to extreme political responses; and that societies whose economic elites have turned ethics into a joke should not be surprised if their political leaders too become scoundrels.
About this author Anatol Lieven Anatol Lieven is a professor at Georgetown University in Qatar and the author among other books of America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism and (with John Hulsman), Ethical Realism: A Vision for America's Role in the World More by this author More by Anatol Lieven Will Qatar be reduced to a Saudi client state? July 18, 2017 Why the left needs nationalism January 3, 2017 Pakistan has survived -- now can it prosper?
Sep 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,
Damning details of purposeful malfeasance by Boeing executives emerged in a Congressional investigation.FAA, Boeing Blasted Over 737 MAX Failures
On Wednesday, the Transportation Committee Blasted FAA, Boeing Over 737 MAX FailuresBoeing Purposely Hid Design Flaws
The 238-page document, written by the majority staff of the House Transportation Committee, calls into question whether the plane maker or the Federal Aviation Administration has fully incorporated essential safety lessons, despite a global grounding of the MAX fleet since March 2019.
After an 18-month investigation, the report, released Wednesday, concludes that Boeing's travails stemmed partly from a reluctance to admit mistakes and "point to a company culture that is in serious need of a safety reset."
The report provides more specifics, in sometimes-blistering language, backing up preliminary findings the panel's Democrats released six months ago , which laid out a pattern of mistakes and missed opportunities to correct them.
In one section, the Democrats' report faults Boeing for what it calls "inconceivable and inexcusable" actions to withhold crucial information from airlines about one cockpit-warning system, related to but not part of MCAS, that didn't operate as required on 80% of MAX jets.
Other portions highlight instances when Boeing officials, acting in their capacity as designated FAA representatives, part of a widely used system of delegating oversight authority to company employees, failed to alert agency managers about various safety matters .
The Financial Times has an even more damning take in its report Boeing Hid Design Flaws in Max Jets from Pilots and Regulators .In Bed With the Regulators
Boeing concealed from regulators internal test data showing that if a pilot took longer than 10 seconds to recognise that the system had kicked in erroneously, the consequences would be "catastrophic" .
The report also detailed how an alert, which would have warned pilots of a potential problem with one of their anti-stall sensors, was not working on the vast majority of the Max fleet . It found that the company deliberately concealed this fact from both pilots and regulators as it continued to roll out the new aircraft around the world.
Boeing's defense is the FAA signed off on the reviews. Lovely. Boeing coerced or bribed the FAA to sign off on the reviews now tries to hide behind the FAA.
There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing. Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution.
adr , 1 hour agoSDShack , 21 minutes ago
Remember, Boeing spent enough on stock buybacks in the past ten years to fund the development of at least seven new airframes.
Instead of developing a new and better plane, they strapped engines that didn't belong on the 737 and called it safe.Tristan Ludlow , 1 hour ago
What is really sad is they already had a perfectly functional and safe 737Max. It was the 757. Look at the specs between the 2 planes. Almost same size, capacity, range, etc. Only difference was the 757 requires longer runways, but I would think they could have adjusted the design to improve that and make it very similar to the 737Max without starting from scratch. Instead Boeing bean counters killed the 757 and gave the world this flying coffin. Now the world bean counters will kill Boeing.MFL5591 , 1 hour ago
Boeing is a critical defense contractor. They will not be held accountable and they will be rewarded with additional bailouts and contract awards.RagaMuffin , 1 hour ago
Can you imagine a congress of Criminals Like Schiff, Pelosi and Schumer prosecuting someone else for fraud? What a joke. Next up will be Bill Clinton testifying against a person on trial for Pedophilia!Manthong , 1 hour ago
Mish is half right. The FAA should join Boeing in jail. If they are not held responsible for their role, why have an FAA?Elliott Eldrich , 43 minutes ago
"There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing.
Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution."
There is only one way to stop regulator criminals like those in government.
Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their pensions and ill gotten wealth a nd hand the money out for restitution.Birdbob , 1 hour ago
"There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing.
Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution."
Ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA! Silly rabbit, jail is for poors...Dash8 , 1 hour ago
Accountability of Elite Perps ended under Oblaba's reign of "Wall Street and Technocracy Architects" .White collar criminals were granted immunity from prosecution. This was put into play by Attorney Genital Eric Holder. This was the beginning of having an orificial Attorney Genital that facilitated the District of Criminals organized crime empire ending the 3 letter agencies' interference. https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/8310187817727287761/1843903631072834621canaanav , 1 hour ago
You don't seem to understand the basic principle of aircraft design...it must not require an extraordinary response for a KNOWN problem.
Think of it this way; Ford builds a car that works great most of the time, but occasionally a wheel will fall off at highway speeds...no problem, right? ....you just guide the car to the shoulder on the 3 remaining wheels and all good.
Now, put your wife and kids in that car, after a day at work and the kids screaming in the back.
Still feel good about your opinion?Dash8 , 1 hour ago
I wrote software on the 787. You are right. This was not a known problem and the Trim Runaway procedure was already established. The issue was that the MAX needed a larger horizontal stab and MCAS would have never been needed. The FAA doesnt have the knowledge to regulate things like this. Boeing lost talent too, and gets bailouts and tax breaks to the extent that they dont care.Argon1 , 41 minutes ago
But it was a known problem, Boeing admits this.gutta percha , 1 hour ago
LGBT & Ethnicity was a more important hiring criteria than Engineering talant.Dash8 , 1 hour ago
Why is it so difficult to design and maintain reliable Angle Of Attack sensors? The engineers put in layers and layers of complicated tech to sense and react to AOA sensor failures. Why not make the sensors _themselves_ more reliable? They aren't nearly as complex as all the layers of tech BS on top of them.Argon1 , 37 minutes ago
It's not, but it costs $$....and there you have it.canaanav , 1 hour ago
Its the Shuttle Rocketdyne problem, the upper management phones down to the safety committee and complains about the cost of the delay, take off your engineer hat and put on your management hat. All of a sudden your project launches on schedule and the board claps and cheers at their ability to defy physics and save $ millions by just shouting at someone for about 60 seconds..Winston Churchill , 43 minutes ago
Each AOA sensor is already redundant internally. They have multiple channels. I believe they were hit with a maintenance stand and jammed. That said, AOA has never been a control system component. It just runs the low-speed cue on the EFIS and the stick shaker. It's an advisory-level system. Boeing tied it to Flight Controls thru MCAS. The FAA likely dictated to Boeing how they wanted the System Safety Analysis (SSA) to look, Boeing wrote it that way, the FAA bought off on it.HardlyZero , 13 minutes ago
More fundamental is why an aerodynamically stable aircraft wasn't designed in the first place,love of money.DisorderlyConduct , 1 hour ago
Yes. In reality the changed CG (Center of Gravity) due to the larger fan engine really did setup as a "new" design, so the MAX should have been treated as "new" and completely evaluated and completely tested as a completly new design. As a new design it would probably double the development and test cost and schedule...so be it.Astroboy , 1 hour ago
"Lovely. Boeing coerced or bribed the FAA to sign off on the reviews now tries to hide behind the FAA."
No - what a shoddy analysis.
The FAA conceded many of their oversight responsibilities to Boeing - who was basically given the green light to self-monitor. The FAA is the one that is in the wrong here.
Well, how the **** else was that supposed to end up? This is like the IRS letting people self-audit...highwaytoserfdom , 1 hour ago
Just as the Boeing saga is unfolding, we should expect by the end of the year other similar situations, related to drug companies, pandemia and the rest.
play_arrowLoneStarHog , 1 hour ago
It is political economy...
8. The internet was invented by the US government, not Silicon Valley
Many people think that the US is ahead in the frontier technology sectors as a result of private sector entrepreneurship. It's not. The US federal government created all these sectors.
The Pentagon financed the development of the computer in the early days and the Internet came out of a Pentagon research project. The semiconductor - the foundation of the information economy - was initially developed with the funding of the US Navy. The US aircraft industry would not have become what it is today had the US Air Force not massively subsidized it indirectly by paying huge prices for its military aircraft, the profit of which was channeled into developing civilian aircraft.
People believe that corporate executives are immune from prosecution and protected by the fact that they are within the corporation. This is false security. If true purposeful and intended criminal activities are conducted by any corporate executive, the courts can do what is called "Piercing The Corporate Veil" . It is looking beyond the corporation as a virtual person and looking at the actual individuals making and conducting the criminal activities.
Jamie Dimon should be first on this list.
Sep 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Astroboy , 1 hour ago
Just as the Boeing saga is unfolding, we should expect by the end of the year other similar situations, related to drug companies, pandemia and the rest.
Aug 21, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
hough it was quickly overshadowed by the big-ticket appearances of Barack Obama and Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren's Tuesday address to the Democratic National Convention deserves some consideration.
A probable VP nominee before the events of the summer made race the deciding factor, Warren is an able representative of what might be called the "non-socialist populist" branch of the Democratic Party. Her economic populism -- though it does have an unmistakably left-wing flavor -- has caught the eye of Tucker Carlson, who offered glowing praise of her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap ; her call for "economic nationalism" during the primary campaign earned mockery from some corners of the Left and a bit of hesitant sympathy from the Right. A few days ago in Crisis , Michael Warren Davis referred to her (tongue at least somewhat in cheek) as " reactionary senator Elizabeth Warren ."
There is some good reason for all of this.
As I watched the first half of Warren's speech (before she descended into the week's secondary theme of blaming the virus on Donald Trump) I couldn't help but think that it belonged at the Republican National Convention. Or, rather, that a GOP convention that drove home the themes addressed by Senator Warren on Tuesday would be immensely more effective than the circus I'm expecting to see next week.
Amid a weeklong hurricane of identity politics sure to drive off a good number of moderates and independents, Warren offered her party an electoral lifeline: a policy-heavy pitch gift-wrapped as the solution to a multitude of troubles facing average Americans, especially families.
It was rhetorically effective in a way that few other moments in the convention have been. Part of this is due to the format: a teleconferenced convention left most speakers looking either like bargain-bin Orwell bogeymen or like Pat Sajak presenting a tropical vacation as a prize on Wheel of Fortune. But Warren, for one reason or another, looks entirely at home in a pre-school classroom.
The content, however, is crucial too. Warren grounded her comments in experiences that have been widely shared by millions of Americans these last few months: the loss of work, the loss of vital services like childcare, the stress and anxiety that dominate pandemic-era life. She makes a straightforward case for Biden: his policies will make everyday life better for the vast majority of American families. She focuses on the example of childcare, which Biden promises to make freely available to Americans who need it. This, she claims, will give families a better go of things and make struggling parents' lives a whole lot easier.
It's hard not to be taken in. It's certainly a more compelling sales pitch than, "You're all racist. Make up for it by voting for this old white guy." It's the kind of thing that a smart campaign would spend the next three months broadcasting and repeating every chance they get. (The jury is still out as to whether Biden's campaign is a smart one.) This -- convincing common people that you're going to do right by them -- is the kind of thing that wins elections.
But there's more than a little mistruth in the pitch. Warren shares a touching story from her own experience as a young parent, half a century ago:
When I had babies and was juggling my first big teaching job down in Texas, it was hard. But I could do hard. The thing that almost sank me? Child care.
One night my Aunt Bee called to check in. I thought I was fine, but then I just broke down and started to cry. I had tried holding it all together, but without reliable childcare, working was nearly impossible. And when I told Aunt Bee I was going to quit my job, I thought my heart would break.
Then she said the words that changed my life: "I can't get there tomorrow, but I'll come on Thursday." She arrived with seven suitcases and a Pekingese named Buddy and stayed for 16 years. I get to be here tonight because of my Aunt Bee.
I learned a fundamental truth: nobody makes it on their own. And yet, two generations of working parents later, if you have a baby and don't have an Aunt Bee, you're on your own.
Are we not supposed to ask about the fundamental difference between Elizabeth Warren's experience decades ago and the experience of struggling parents now? Hint: she had a strong extended family to support her, and her kids had a broad family network to help raise them. Not too long ago, any number of people would have been involved in the raising of a single child. ("It takes a village," but not in the looney Clinton way.) Now, an American kid is lucky to have just two people helping him along the way. As we've all been reminded a hundred times, the chances that he'll be raised by only one increase astronomically in poor or black communities.
Shouldn't we be talking about that? Shouldn't we be talking about the policies that contributed to the shift? It's a complex crisis, and we can't pin it down to any one cause. But a slew of left-wing programs are certainly caught up in it. An enormous and fairly lax welfare state has reduced the necessity of family ties in day-to-day life to almost nil. Diverse economic pressures have made stay-at-home parents a near-extinct breed, and left even two-income households struggling to make ends meet. (Warren literally wrote the book on it.) Not to mention that the Democrats remain the party more forcefully supportive of abortion and more ferociously opposed to the institution of marriage (though more than a few Republicans are trying real hard to catch up).
Progressive social engineering has ravaged the American family for decades, and this proposal only offers more of the same. It's trying to outsource childcare to government-bankrolled professionals without asking the important question: Whatever happened to Aunt Bee?
Republicans need an answer. We need to be carefully considering what government has done to accelerate the decline of the family -- and what it can do to reverse it. Some of the reformers and realigners in the party have already begun this project in earnest. But it needs to be taken more seriously. It needs to be a central effort of the party's mainstream, and a constant element of the party's message. Grand, nationalistic narratives about Making America Great Again mean nothing if that revival isn't actually felt by people in their lives and in their homes.
If we're confident in our family policy -- and while it needs a good deal of work, it's certainly better than the Democrats' -- we shouldn't be afraid to take the fight to them. We should be pointing out, for instance, that Warren's claim that Biden will afford greater bankruptcy protections to common people is hardly borne out by the facts: Biden spent a great deal of time and effort in his legislative career doing exactly the opposite. We should be pointing out that dozens of Democratic policies have been hurting American families for decades, and will continue to do so if we let them. We should sell ourselves as the better choice for American families -- and be able to mean it when we say it.
If we let the Democrats keep branding themselves as the pro-family party -- a marketing ploy that has virtually no grounding in reality -- we're going to lose in November. And we're going to keep losing for a long, long time.
Aug 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
invention13 , 2 hours agoseryanhoj , 2 hours ago
When I lived in Europe it seemed like all the post offices had banks which offered basic services like checking and savings. They should do that here.Demeter55 , 46 minutes ago
They have a simple ' people's ' banking system for people that don't feel up to going to to one if the majors, and probably deal in small smounts.
The same system handles distributions from the various social schemes. Also they give low or no cost access to buy government securities, and savings schemes. It sound a bit 'Big Brover' , but in practice it feels good.
You are threatening the banksters! They need every last penny!
Aug 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
hooligan2009 , 3 hours agoponyboy99 , 3 hours ago
well well..this is my shocked face :-|
" in 2015, the Post Office Inspector General issued a blistering report about CBRE , the company that had served as sole real estate broker to the U.S.P.S. from 2011 on. The report found that CBRE had been selling and/or leasing post office properties at below-market prices, often to clients of CBRE – a company chaired by Richard Blum , the husband of California Senator Dianne Feinstein. "
now, exactly how was blum punsihed for this fraud? let me guess. his wife headed off any corruption charges via a quick phone call to her chinese buddies, who then instructed the fbi to pull their head in.STP , 2 hours ago
Feinstein's husband had the contract to rebuild Iraq's power grid. Look it up. Her home in SF cost $17 Mil fifteen years ago.Pair Of Dimes Shift , 2 hours ago
CBRE also did the property transactions for the failed California High Speed Rail project as well. What a nice bunch of juicy contracts that just happened to drop into Diane's husband's lap! It's a coincidence!
Richard Blum-Feinstein also took in some sweet Commiefornia Train to Nowhere money as well.
Aug 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Aug 12 2020 13:08 utc | 130
Do you imagine that I am ignorantly using overly broad terminology when I say that the CIA's "Mighty Wurlitzer" encompasses the whole of the capitalist mass media ? Only juveniles would think the CIA limit their influence efforts to just CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC. Country music, like hiphop music and pop music, is part of capitalist mass media. The entertainment industry is an even more important vector for programming of media consumers than is the infotainment industry.
"In reality, the IS intel agencies recruit primarily from
certain Ivy Leagueall US universities."
Fixed that for you.
Or perhaps you mean strictly recruitment of only salaried CIA personnel with federal employee identification numbers? I would have hoped that a poster here at MoA should know that there is a clear distinction between an intelligence "operator" and an intelligence "agent" . It seems it should be obvious that non-employee intelligence assets require recruitment of one form or another as well.
I think it would be wise to assume that all of the top 5% students at all major universities have been evaluated and scouted by CIA "recruiters" . Any student who looks like they might go any place where they have any influence, either through talent or connections, will have a CIA "recruiter" sniffing their ass.
Naturally, nobody should assume that the CIA "recruiter" will approach their target and announce, "Hi! I'm your friendly neighborhood CIA recruiter!" Most recruits will be unlikely to ever even realize that they have been recruited.
Ex: CIA scum: "Hey, you told me you want to do investigative journalism after you graduate, right? I know someone over at Buzzfeed who says they're looking for someone right now. I could put in a good word for you!"
Now, the "recruit" could probably get a position at Buzzfeed after graduation anyway, but when she gets a call for an interview it seems too good to be true, so she puts her education on hold and takes the job. Meanwhile her "friend" introduces her to another "friend" with inside government info (the CIA controller hands off the asset to another controller). Our cub presstitute is grateful and indebted to both, now. When they approach her later requesting favors, she will gladly deliver, but at no point will she ever realize that she is in fact a CIA agent... an off-budget asset.
The thing with Faustian bargains is that they seem like a super good deal at the time, and the CIA shame the devil with their Faustian bargaining.
The above is, of course, just one of many approaches used by the CIA for recruitment. They are good at blackmail also, of course. As well, this is no extreme accusation. If you've spent any significant amount of time on a university campus with your eyes open (most people on university campuses are deeply engrossed in their own immediate situations) then you will have noticed these recruiters, and if you are recruitment material then you will have been approached by one or more of them. If you were engrossed in your own university trials and tribulations like most students then you could have been "befriended" by one without ever even knowing it.
In any case, Clinton absolutely worked with the CIA at Oxford. Even The Atlantic admits it, but tries to downplay it, which is exactly what you would expect from one of the parts of the "Mighty Wurlitzer" . They give a little bit of the truth to make the lie easier to swallow. Due to the Clintons' later involvement in the CIA's drug running schemes, it has become important in the official narrative for the Clintons' association with the CIA to be minimized.
Do bear in mind, though, that one can never retire from being an intelligence agent so long as the agency one was managed by continues to exist, in the same way and for the same reasons that one can never retire from being a goon for the mob. Clinton was a CIA agent from his time in Oxford to the present, and at all point in between. This requires no proof beyond the admission that Clinton was once a CIA agent. For processes that have no end, all you need to know about is their starting point.
Aug 08, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Plunder, me hearties! Plunder! Yo Ho Ho and a barrel of oil!
"President Trump wants it known that -- despite his recent decision to pull back the U.S. militarily back from previously Kurdish-held territory in Syria -- he plans on " keeping the oil " in Syria and using American troops to do it.
If he follows through, he'll set a dangerous precedent -- and might commit a war crime.
Keeping Syria's oil could well constitute pillage -- theft during war -- which is banned in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the 1907 Hague Laws and Customs of War on Land, which states, "The pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited." The prohibition has a solid grounding in the laws of war and international criminal justice , and the U.S. federal code , including as a sanction for the illegal exploitation of natural resources such as oil from war zones.' washpo
"Trump's more grave rationale is his conception of oil as remuneration for U.S. military investment in the Middle East. In a speech Oct. 29, he said: "We want to keep the oil. $45 million a month? Keep the oil." It mirrors a sentiment he expressed to ABC News in 2011 about Iraqi oil, saying , "You win the war and you take it. You're not stealing anything. We're taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves. " That argument goes well beyond the notion of securing the oil -- it suggests trying to profit from it -- and therefore risks triggering responsibility for pillage. Contrary to Trump's characterization, pillage is a form of stealing.
None of this is a new line of thinking for Trump: As a private citizen in 2011, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, commenting on U.S. military involvement in Libya, he said : "I'm only interested in Libya if we take the oil. If we don't take the oil, I'm not interested." Regarding Iraq, he said : "I always heard that when we went into Iraq, we went in for the oil. I said, 'Ah, that sounds smart.' " Indeed, he sounded disappointed during his televised announcement last week of the killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when he returned to the subject of oil and lamented : "I always used to say 'If they're going into Iraq, keep the oil.' They never did. They never did."" washpo "Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said during the committee hearing that SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi informed him that a deal had been signed with an American company to "modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria", and asked Pompeo whether the administration was supportive of it.
"We are," Pompeo responded during the hearing streamed live by PBS. "The deal took a little longer ... than we had hoped, and now we're in implementation."" Reuters -------------- Barry McCaffery has commented on Twitter that if we do this we are becoming pirates. As he says, the oil belongs to Syria. I agree. pl
PirateLaddie , 06 August 2020 at 01:37 PMnbsp; Fred , 06 August 2020 at 01:37 PM
I don't know - "OrangeBeard the Pirate" just don't seem to cut it.Mark Logan , 06 August 2020 at 04:18 PM
We're watching civil war unfold in the US and these pompous asses are busy trying to sponge up Syrian oil, the trivial amount of stuff that is land-locked hundreds of miles from any territory we control or is friendly to the US? God help us who is advising the tweeter in chief? Can't Trump read an oil price chart any better than Fauci can read a Covid infection rate? Did his son-in-law tell him what a great idea that would be? Are the warrior generals who wouldn't defend this nation's capital against antifa, with the tacit consent at sedition by Esper, in agreement with this line of strategic wisdom too? Maybe Senator Graham, who just yesterday finally cornered Sally Yates into admitting under oath that the FISA warrant on Carter Page was a fraud, is covering his bases in case the left's "resistance" to the November election results in antifa marching into D.C. to bring Biden's secret choice as V.P. into power? We have less reason to be in Syria than we do to still be defending Germany and the rest of Europe from the USSR.nbsp; turcopolier , 06 August 2020 at 05:53 PM
"Bonespurs"Mark K Logan , 06 August 2020 at 06:10 PM
You too had them?nbsp; turcopolier , 06 August 2020 at 06:42 PM
No, I've never felt a need to have them. What should Trump's pirate name be?nbsp; The Twisted Genius , 06 August 2020 at 07:34 PM
Manhattan Don.Yeah, Right , 06 August 2020 at 07:36 PM
Well, with avarice as the guiding principle of the Trump administration's foreign policy, at least there's no hypocrisy. Just pure, unadulterated greed. The honesty is almost admirable. But I don't know how our Iranian policy fits into the avarice doctrine.
As far as Trump's pirate name goes, I do like the sound of "Bonespurs." I can see the flag flying from the mainmast... a skeleton foot of or on a field of sable.nbsp; turcopolier , 06 August 2020 at 07:39 PM
As an army of occupation the US military could requisition the oil, but according to the Hague Regulations it can do so only for its own needs. It can not do so for the fun and profits of the foreign state that sent that army in.
If you really, really, really squint hard then perhaps there is wriggle room under Article 55 i.e. Trump can claim that he is the usufructuary of the territory, and therefore can benefit from the pumping.
But arguing that would be a hopeless brief.
So, yeah, Trump as a medieval warlord. Perhaps he'll also reintroduce the practice of prima nocta.
I would accept the idea of Trump's inability to distinguish between government and business, but people like Jeffries and the Pomp are neocon ideologues through and through. Nothing more.
Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU1 , Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2
I put these comments on the open thread about the same time b started this one
The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."
Trump a few months back "We've kept the oil". Well, he hasn't had a problem hanging onto it and getting an American company involved.
Delta Crescent Energy. Formed beginning of 2019 and nothing else on it. I guess Trump and a few mates divvying up the spoils.
Laguerre , Aug 2 2020 15:00 utc | 6
The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2
Very likely the Kurds were under pressure from Trump, and the act wasn't voluntary. It's not even the Kurds' oil to sign a deal on (except one well). We'll see whether the operation actually succeeds. At the moment, everybody is waiting to see whether Trump is re-elected in November. Signing a piece of paper now is of no significance.
Jul 31, 2020 | www.counterpunch.orgFacebook Twitter Reddit Email
The political success of Russiagate lies in the vanishing of American history in favor of a façade of liberal virtue. Posed as a response to the election of Donald Trump, a straight line can be drawn from efforts to undermine the decommissioning of the American war economy in 1946 to the CIA's alliance with Ukrainian fascists in 2014. In 1945 the NSC (National Security Council) issued a series of directives that gave logic and direction to the CIA's actions during the Cold War. That these persist despite the 'fall of communism' suggests that it was always just a placeholder in the pursuit of other objectives.
The first Cold War was an imperial business enterprise to keep the Generals, bureaucrats, and war materiel suppliers in power and their bank accounts flush after WWII. Likewise, the American side of the nuclear arms race left former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA to put their paranoid fantasies forward as assessments of Russian military capabilities. Why, of all people, would former Nazi officers be put in charge military intelligence if accurate assessments were the goal? The Nazis hated the Soviets more than the Americans did.
The ideological binaries of Russiagate -- for or against Donald Trump, for or against neoliberal, petrostate Russia, define the boundaries of acceptable discourse to the benefit of deeply nefarious interests. The U.S. has spent a century or more trying to install a U.S.-friendly government in Moscow. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. sent neoliberal economists to loot the country as the Clinton administration, and later the Obama administration, placed NATO troops and armaments on the Russian border after a negotiated agreement not to do so . Subsequent claims of realpolitik are cover for a reckless disregard for geopolitical consequences.
The paradox of American liberalism, articulated when feminist icon and CIA asset Gloria Steinem described the CIA as ' liberal, nonviolent and honorable ,' is that educated, well-dressed, bourgeois functionaries have used the (largely manufactured) threat of foreign subversion to install right-wing nationalists subservient to American business interests at every opportunity. Furthermore, Steinem's aggressive ignorance of the actual history of the CIA illustrates the liberal propensity to conflate bourgeois dress and attitude with an imagined gentility . To the point made by Christopher Simpson , the CIA could have achieved better results had it not employed former Nazi officers, begging the question of why it chose to do so?
On the American left, Russiagate is treated as a case of bad reporting, of official outlets for government propaganda serially reporting facts and events that were subsequently disproved. However, some fair portion of the American bourgeois, the PMC that acts in supporting roles for capital, believes every word of it. Russiagate is the nationalist party line in the American fight against communism, without the communism. Charges of treason have been lodged every time that military budgets have come under attack since 1945. In 1958 the senior leadership of the Air Force was charging the other branches of the military with treason for doubting its utterly fantastical (and later disproven) estimate of Soviet ICBMs. Treason is good for business.
Shortly after WWII ended, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi military officers, including former Gestapo and SS officers responsible for murdering tens and hundreds of thousands of human beings , to run a spy operation known as the Gehlen Organization from Berlin, Germany. Given its central role in assessing the military intentions and capabilities of the Soviet Union, the Gehlen Organization was more likely than not responsible for the CIA's overstatement of Soviet nuclear capabilities in the 1950s used to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Former Nazis were also integrated into CIA efforts to install right wing governments around the world.
By the time that (Senator) John F. Kennedy claimed a U.S. 'missile gap' with the Soviets in 1958, the CIA was providing estimates of Soviet ICBMs (Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles), that were wildly inflated -- most likely provided to it by the Gehlen Organization. Once satellite and U2 reconnaissance estimates became available, the CIA lowered its own to 120 Soviet ICBMs when the actual number was four . On the one hand, the Soviets really did have a nuclear weapons program. On the other, it was a tiny fraction of what was being claimed. Bad reporting, unerringly on the side of larger military budgets, appears to be the constant.
Under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 1998, the CIA was made to partially disclose its affiliation with, and employment of, former Nazis. In contrast to the ' Operation Paperclip ' thesis that it was Nazi scientists who were brought to the U.S. to labor as scientists, the Gehlen Organization and CIC employed known war criminals in political roles. Klaus Barbie, the 'Butcher of Lyon,' was employed by the CIC, and claims to have played a role in the murder of Che Guevara . Wernher von Braun, one of the Operation Paperclip 'scientists,' worked in a Nazi concentration camp as tens of thousands of human beings were murdered.
The historical sequence in the U.S. was WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, to an economy that was heavily dependent on war production. The threatened decommissioning of the war economy in 1946 was first met with an honest assessment of Soviet intentions -- the Soviets were moving infrastructure back into Soviet territory as quickly as was practicable, then to the military budget-friendly claim that they were putting resources in place to invade Europe. The result of the shift was that the American Generals kept their power and the war industry kept producing materiel and weapons. By 1948 these weapons had come to include atomic bombs.
To understand the political space that military production came to occupy, from 1948 onward the U.S. military became a well-funded bureaucracy where charges of treason were regularly traded between the branches. Internecine battles for funding and strategic dominance were (and are) regularly fought. The tactic that this bureaucracy -- the 'military industrial complex,' adopted was to exaggerate foreign threats in a contest for bureaucratic dominance. The nuclear arms race was made a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the U.S. produced world-ending weapons non-stop for decades on end, the Soviets responded in kind.
What ties the Gehlen Organization to CIA estimates of Soviet nuclear weapons from 1948 – 1958 is 1) the Gehlen Organization was central to the CIA's intelligence operations vis-à-vis the Soviets, 2) the CIA had limited alternatives to gather information on the Soviets outside of the Gehlen Organization and 3) the senior leadership of the U.S. military had long demonstrated that it approved of exaggerating foreign threats when doing so enhanced their power and added to their budgets. Long story short, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi officers who had the ideological predisposition and economic incentive to mis-perceive Soviet intentions and misstate Soviet capabilities to fuel the Cold War.
Where this gets interesting is that American whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was working for the Rand Corporation in the late 1950s and early 1960s when estimates of Soviet ICBMs were being put forward. JFK had run (in 1960) on a platform that included closing the Soviet – U.S. ' missile gap .' The USAF (U.S. Air Force), charged with delivering nuclear missiles to their targets, was estimating that the Soviets had 1,000 ICBMs. Mr. Ellsberg, who had limited security clearance through his employment at Rand, was leaked the known number of Soviet ICBMs. The Air Force was saying 1,000 Soviet ICBMs when the number confirmed by reconnaissance satellites was four.
By 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the CIA had shifted nominal control of the Gehlen Organization to the BND, for whom Gehlen continued to work. Based on ongoing satellite reconnaissance data, the CIA was busy lowering its estimates of Soviet nuclear capabilities. Benjamin Schwarz, writing for The Atlantic in 2013, provided an account, apparently informed by the CIA's lowered estimates, where he placed the whole of the Soviet nuclear weapons program (in 1962) at roughly one-ninth the size of the U.S. effort. However, given Ellsberg's known count of four Soviet ICBMs at the time of the missile crisis, even Schwarz's ratio of 1:9 seems to overstate Soviet capabilities.
Further per Schwarz's reporting, the Jupiter nuclear missiles that the U.S. had placed in Italy prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis only made sense as first-strike weapons. This interpretation is corroborated by Daniel Ellsberg , who argues that the American plan was always to initiate the use of nuclear weapons (first strike). This made JFK's posture of equally matched contestants in a geopolitical game of nuclear chicken utterly unhinged. Should this be less than clear, because the U.S. had indicated its intention to use nuclear weapons in a first strike -- and had demonstrated the intention by placing Jupiter missiles in Italy, nothing that the U.S. offered during the Missile Crisis could be taken in good faith.
The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 was met with a promised reduction in U.S. military spending and an end to the Cold War, neither of which ultimately materialized. Following the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the Cold War entered a new phase. Cold War logic was repurposed to support the oxymoronic 'humanitarian wars' -- liberating people by bombing them. In 1995 'Russian meddling' meant the Clinton administration rigging the election of Boris Yeltsin in the Russian presidential election. Mr. Clinton then unilaterally reneged on the American agreement to keep NATO from Russia's border when former Baltic states were brought under NATO's control .
The Obama administration's 2014 incitement in Ukraine , by way of fostering and supporting the Maidan uprising and the ousting of Ukraine's democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, ties to the U.S. strategy of containing and overthrowing the Soviet (Russian) government that was first codified by the National Security Council (NSC) in 1945. The NSC's directives can be found here and here . The economic and military annexation of Ukraine by the U.S. (NATO didn't exist in 1945) comes under NSC10/2 . The alliance between the CIA and Ukrainian fascists ties to directive NSC20 , the plan to sponsor Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis in order to install them in the Kremlin to replace the Soviet government. This was part of the CIA's rationale for putting Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis on its payroll in 1948.
That Russiagate is the continuation of a scheme launched in 1945 by the National Security Council, to be engineered by the CIA with help from former Nazi officers in its employ, speaks volumes about the Cold War frame from which it emerges.
Its near instantaneous adoption by bourgeois liberals demonstrates the class basis of the right-wing nationalism it supports. That liberals appear to perceive themselves as defenders 'democracy' within a trajectory laid out by unelected military leaders more than seven decades earlier is testament to the power of historical ignorance tied to nationalist fervor. Were the former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA 'our Nazis?'
The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act came about in part because Nazi hunters kept coming across Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. who told them they had been brought here and given employment by the CIA, CIC, or some other division of the Federal government. If the people in these agencies thought that doing so was justified, why the secrecy? And if it wasn't justified, why was it done? Furthermore, are liberals really comfortable bringing fascists with direct historical ties to the Third Reich to power in Ukraine? And while there are no good choices in the upcoming U.S. election, the guy who liberals want to bring to power is lead architect of this move. Cue the Sex Pistols .
Aug 02, 2020 | theconversation.com
By securing victory in a national vote on constitutional changes , Vladimir Putin could now remain president of Russia until 2036 if he chooses to stand again. After 20 years in power, the narrative of Russia's chaotic 1990s remains core to Putin's legitimacy as the leader who restored stability .
Although the decade still divides public opinion , what's not in doubt is that it was a dangerous and exciting period. The ambiguity of the 90s is summed up by the then-popular Russian word, bespredel , the title of a 1989 prison drama meaning anarchic freedom and unaccountable authority.
... ... ...
The social impact was immense. Life expectancy fell, with up to five million excess adult deaths in Russia in 1991-2001, birth rates collapsed and both of these trends were compounded by widespread crime and trafficking . These negative effects were concentrated in periods of economic crisis in 1991-94 and 1998-99.
Sharply rising inequality and the emergence of a new wealthy class, including some leading reformers, meant that the term "democrat" had become a term of abuse as early as 1992 .
Jul 13, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Home / The State Of The Union / Michele Flournoy: Queen Of The Blob Michele Flournoy: Queen Of The Blob
This is how the elite, Ivy League-educated technocrats profit while the nation's real interests take a back seat. Michele Flournoy in 2015 CNAS/Flickr
JULY 7, 2020|
8:00 PMKELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS
Jonathan Guyer, managing editor of The American Prospect, has an unbelievably well-reported piece on the making of a Washington national security consultancy, starring two high placed Obama-era officials and one of the Imperial City's more successful denizens -- Michele Flournoy.
Flournoy may not be a household name anywhere but the Beltway, but when she met Sergio Aguirre and Nitin Chadda (Chiefs of staff to UN Ambassador Samantha Power and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter respectively) she was already trading lucratively on her stints in two Democratic administrations. In fact, according to Guyer, by 2017 she was pulling nearly a half a million dollars a year a year wearing a number of hats: senior advisor for Boston Consulting Group (where she helped increase their defense contracts to $32 million by 2016), founder and CEO of the Democratic leaning Center for a New American Security, senior fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center, and a member of various corporate boards.
Hungry to get their own consulting business going after Hillary Clinton's stunning loss in 2016, according to Guyer, Aguirre and Chadda approached Flournoy for her starpower inside the Blob. Flournoy did not want "to have a firm with her name on it alone," so they sought and added Tony Blinken, former Under Secretary of State and "right hand man" to Joe Biden for 20 years. WestExec Advisors, named after the street alongside the West Wing of the White House, was born. "The name WestExec Advisors trades on its founders' recent knowledge of the highest echelons of decision-making," writes Guyer. "It also suggests they'll be walking down WestExec toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue someday soon."
Soon the firm was raking in corporate contracts and the high sums that go with it. They weren't lobbying per se (wink, wink) but their names and connections provided the grease on the skids their clients needed to make things happen in Washington. They shrewdly partnered with a private equity group and a Google affiliate. Before long, Guyer says, they did not need to market: CEO's were telling other CEO's to give them a call. More:
The founders told executives they would share their "passion" for helping new companies navigate the complex bureaucracy of winning Pentagon contracts. They told giant defense contractors how to explain cutting-edge technologies to visitors from Congress. Their approach worked, and clients began to sign up.
One was an airline, another a global transportation company, a third a company that makes drones that can almost instantly scan an entire building's interior. WestExec would only divulge that it began working with "Fortune 100 types," including large U.S. tech; financial services, including global-asset managers; aerospace and defense; emerging U.S. tech; and nonprofits.
The Prospect can confirm that one of those clients is the Israeli artificial-intelligence company Windward.
To say that the Flournoy helped WestExec establish itself as one of the most successful of the Beltway's defense and national security consultancies is an understatement. For sure, Flournoy has often been underestimated -- she is not flamboyant, nor glamorous, and is absolutely unrecognizable outside of the Washington market because she doesn't do media (though she is popular on the think tank conference circuit ). She's a technocrat -- smart and efficient and highly bred for Washington's finely tuned managerial class. She is a courtier for sure, but she is no sop. She has staying power, quietly forging relationships with the right people and not trying too hard to make a name or express ideas that might conflict with doctrine. She no doubt learned much in two stints in the Pentagon, which typically chews up the less capable, greedier, more narcissistic neophytes (not to mention idealists). She's not exactly known as a visionary, however, and one has to wonder which hat she is wearing when she expounds on current defense threats, like this piece about beefing up the Pentagon budget to confront China .
But what does it all mean? Flournoy has been at the forefront of strategy and policy in two administrations marked by overseas interventions (Clinton from 1993 to 2000) and Obama (2009 to 2012). All of her aforementioned qualities have helped her to personally succeed and profit -- especially now, no doubt helping weapons contractors get deals on the Hill, as Guyer susses out in his piece, not to mention how well-placed she would be for an incoming Biden Administration. But has it been in the best interest of the country? I think not. For this, she is queen of the Blob.
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But elite is as elite does. She went from Beverly Hills High School to Harvard to Oxford, and then back to Harvard, before landing a political appointment in the Clinton Administration. In between government perches, she did consulting and started CNAS in hopes of creating a shadow national security council for Hillary Clinton. When Clinton didn't get the nomination, Flournoy and her colleagues supported Obama and helped populate his administration, supporting the military surge in Afghanistan and prolonging the war. She was called the "mastermind" behind Obama's Afghan strategy, which we now know was a failure, an effort at futility and prolonging the inevitable. In fact, we know now that most of the war establishment was lying through its teeth . But that hasn't stopped her from getting clients. They pay for her influence, not her ability to win wars.
Queen of the Blob, Queen of Business as Usual -- a business, as we well know from Guyer's excellent reporting, that pays off bigtime. But it has never paid off for the rest of America. But really, why should she care? She was never really with "us" to begin with.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, executive editor, has been writing for TAC since 2007, focusing on national security, foreign policy, civil liberties and domestic politics. She served for 15 years as a Washington bureau reporter for FoxNews.com, and at WTOP News in Washington from 2013-2017 as a writer, digital editor and social media strategist. She has also worked as a beat reporter at Bridge News financial wire (now part of Reuters) and Homeland Security Today, and as a regular contributor at Antiwar.com. A native Nutmegger, she got her start in Connecticut newspapers, but now resides with her family in Arlington, Va.email
Tom Sadlowski • 6 days ago
Connecticut Farmer Tom Sadlowski • 5 days ago
I wish that you would cover this equally in both parties; the near entire senior level of the political apparatus (apart from the few individuals truly invested in the best for all Americans) has become corrupted informing the policies, or lack thereof; whether implemented, ignored, or written into law.
State Dept • 6 days ago
I think that what she wrote actually applies to both parties. One is the same as the other (as Ralph Nader called 'em "The Republicrats").
And neither of 'em give a rat's ass for you, for me,or for the rest of us pilgrims.
Teddy007 • 6 days ago
We really need to get these "Blob" people out of our government. Electing Trump didn't fix the problem, and judging by this article, electing Biden won't either. Half of them people aren't even recognizably American. They're global elites, and they'll continue to use Americans and what's left of America to further their globalist agenda. With someone like Flournoy, selling powerful US technology to known spies and thieves like the Israelis, who take our tech, copy it, and sell it to enemies like China, only scratches the surface of what's going on. She should be in prison after all the damage she's done to America, not looking forward to yet another national security role in which she can get more Americans killed, wreck more foreign countries, and waste and steal more billions of taxpayer money.
Bostonian Teddy007 • 4 days ago
Ms. Flournoy is an example of the type of competent high level staffer of which the Trump Administration is devoid. Do you think that Mr. Fluornoy that those who work for her would have had anything overturned at the Supreme Court because they were too lazy to complete the paperwork?
Teddy007 Bostonian • 4 days ago
"Ms. Flournoy is an example of the type of competent high level staffer of which the Trump Administration is devoid."
I have to agree that Trump's administration is devoid of competent people, but don't forget that it was incompetents like Flournoy that got Trump elected.
Alan Vanneman • 6 days ago
If you want to ID the individual most likely for President Trump winning, look up Joel Benenson. He was Hilary Clinton's chief of strategy and was convinced that Trump could not win any of the blue wall states. Ms. Fluornoy had nothing to do with that. Mr. Fluornoy would have been the Secretary of Defense in a Hillary Clinton Administration and probably would have been more competent that the current Secretary of Defense.
kouroi Alan Vanneman • 5 days ago
You would have done better just to critique her article in Foreign Affairs. As it is, you sound like you're mad at Michele because she makes more money than you do (presumably).
stephen pickard kouroi • 5 days ago
I think that it is a bit unfair, given the fact that the odds are stack the way they are. Ms. Vlahos has dedicated many years (they are so many she only whispers the number) on issues related with foreign policy. The path she has chosen is the harder path, the ethical, and moral one, which was never going to pay. If Ms. Vlahos is incensed, I bet that it is not because of the money, but because she sees that in Washington DC, only crime and wanton murder pays. She is accusing Ms Flournoy that she is a sellout to the crime syndicate, like a cop that has started herself supporting the drug trafficking.
You should know that people believe in more things than only making money. Ms. Flournoy it seems, has decided that she wants a piece of the cake and to hell with this absurd idea of "arms to plowshares"....
kouroi stephen pickard • 5 days ago
Ms. Valhos can speak for herself. No one should project onto others their values. But it does seem that Valhos does make a point that Flournoy does not have any guiding philosophy . Except to be in a position to make a fine living from her contacts.
Could be that Flournoy is more greedy than not. She sure has the resume that would get her into any job which she wanted to interview for. And she paid her dues also.
When one looks at Valhos's resume it likewise is impressive. She too it seems to be proud of her connection to the elites. We should not condem either. We all want our children to excell. Unless Flournoy is an unindicted co conspirator, this article is just a piece of fluff. Too much time on Valhos's hands perhaps?
While I don't have anything else to do, I had hoped to read some good dirt. Alas all I got was one high achieving person carping bout another person of similar achievement. Bless them both.
johnhenry stephen pickard • 5 days ago • edited
The dirt presented is facilitating arms contracts. By peddling the need of strong military and war. Being a merchant of death, which Ms. Vlahos doesn't seem to be, disqualifies Ms. Flournoy entirely. of anything.
stephen pickard johnhenry • 4 days ago
You write like a person in-the-know, but
verypoorly for all that.
hooly • 5 days ago • edited
Not sure what you mean " poorly for it". I tend not to get wrapped around the axle . But like it when someone comments on me personally. Lost perspective in old age. Would like to know more what you mean. Unless you just want to be mean
=marco01= hooly • 5 days ago
But really, why should she care? She was never really with "us" to begin with.
That's a bit harsh don't you think? I remember that time on September 11, 2001, I was in the New York area when it happened, I even had a close acquaintance who died in the Twin Towers. I remember when America was united in its blood lust, it its ravenous quest for revenge, ... revenge on anything and anyone. When America's vengeful eye was set on the Taliban government of Afghanistan, it was off to the races. Left and Right, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, ... all were united in avenging 9/11 on the evil Taliban and Afghan tribal peoples for harboring OBL. And I'm sure both you Miss Vlahos and Miss Flournoy were united as well in wanting someone to pay ... am I right? So don't give me this BS about 'us' and 'them' okay? America is a democracy, the American people get the government they vote for, they get the President, Senators and Members of Congress they vote for, that means they also get the flunkies, hangers on and entourages of think tankers and careerists they vote for. Understand? You get what you deserve, you don't get to whine and complain when you're leaders are incompetent and corrupt okay? So don't give me this 'us and them' nonsense and absolve yourself of the blood lust you once had all those years ago on September 11, 2001.
Bureaucrat =marco01= • 7 hours ago
No, liberals were not for taking it out on the Afghan tribal peoples. We were for getting those responsible, and sorry no, we didn't include the Afghan tribal people in on that too, despite any sympathies some of them may have had for AQ.
We had no 'blood lust' and we don't believe in collective punishment.
johnhenry hooly • 5 days ago • edited
Did you just say liberals "don't believe in collective punishment"? I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not lock-step in support of the #BLM and Critical Race Theory...
But your other point about liberals being anti-war is also flawed. Just connect the foreign intervention (not just wars, but also funding to foreign opposition groups) with some humanitarian urgency (think of those Afghan women!) and liberals have always advocated for the same foreign policies than neoconservatives.
Ron Johnson • 5 days ago
"...I'm sure both you Miss Vlahos and Miss Flournoy..."
It's been decades since I've seen the word "Miss" used in print - except when I write to my granddaughter. In my profession, I write to women all the time, and although it used to be that unmarried ones were quite accepting of - and indeed expecting to receive - missives from me addressing them as such, I would be embarrassed to use that appellation when addressing adult women today in a professional or unacquainted capacity. Now, I only use it for women who wish it - old women, unmarried Catholic women and irascible old-school lesbians.
Your Time Machine needs a lube job.
Ah, yes. Highly educated, multiple degrees, cultivated....and extremely dangerous. All of that wonderful education dedicated to wanton killing and influence peddling. These people, the hidden professionals of pull, are the most difficult to fight because unlike a politician or a bureaucrat they are nearly invisible. She can only be effective if she is not seen. To her, public exposure is toxic. So expose away! Make her name known to everyone.
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tuesday for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended indefinitely, but his appeal fell flat at the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China rejected it outright and close allies of the United States were ambivalent.
The Trump administration is more isolated than ever in its Iran obsession. The ridiculous effort to invoke the so-called "snapback" provision of the JCPOA more than two years after reneging on the agreement met with failure, just as most observers predicted months ago when it was first floated as a possibility. As I said at the time, "The administration's latest destructive ploy won't find any support on the Security Council. There is nothing "intricate" about this idea. It is a crude, heavy-handed attempt to employ the JCPOA's own provisions to destroy it." It was never going to work because all of the other parties to the agreement want nothing to do with the administration's punitive approach, and U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA meant that it forfeited any rights it had when it was still part of the deal.
Opposition from Russia and China was a given, but the striking thing about the scene at the U.N. this week was that major U.S. allies joined them in rebuking the administration's obvious bad faith maneuver:
The pointedly critical tone of the debate saw Germany accusing Washington of violating international law by withdrawing from the nuclear pact, while Berlin aligned itself with China's claim that the United States has no right to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran.
The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation.
Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India:
If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000 kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.
This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo.
It has no need for expensive fighters, and it is not at all certain that their government would even be interested in acquiring them. Pompeo's presentation was a weak attempt to exaggerate the potential threat from a state that has very limited power projection, and he found no support because his serial fabrications about Iran have rendered everything he says to be worthless.
The same administration that wants to keep an arms embargo on Iran forever has no problem flooding the region with U.S.-made weapons and providing them to some of the worst governments in the world. It is these client states that are doing the most to destabilize other countries in the region right now. If the U.N. should be putting arms embargoes on any country, it should consider imposing them on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to limit their ability to wreak havoc on Yemen and Libya.
The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law.
Jun 26, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
We've embedded an SEC Risk Alert on private equity abuses at the end of this post. 1 What is remarkable about this document is that it contains a far longer and more detailed list of private abuses than the SEC flagged in its initial round of examinations of private equity firms in 2014 and 2015. Those examinations occurred in parallel with groundbreaking exposes by Gretchen Morgenson at the New York Times and Mark Maremont in the Wall Street Journal. At least some of the SEC enforcement actions in that era look to have been triggered by the press effectively getting ahead of the SEC. And the SEC even admitted the misconduct was more common at the most prominent firms.
Yet despite front-page articles on private equity abuses, the SEC engaged in wet noodle lashings. Its pattern was to file only one major enforcement action over a particular abuse. Even then, the SEC went to some lengths to spread the filings out among the biggest firms. That meant it was pointedly engaging in selective enforcement, punishing only "poster child" examples and letting other firms who'd engaged in precisely the same abuses get off scot free.
The very fact of this Risk Alert is an admission of failure by the SEC. It indicates that the misconduct it highlighted five years ago continues and if anything is even more pervasive than in the 2014-2015 era. It also confirms that its oft-stated premise then, that the abuses it found then had somehow been made by firms with integrity that would of course clean up their acts, and that now-better-informed investors would also be more vigilant and would crack down on misconduct, was laughably false.
In particular, the second section of the Risk Alert, on Fees and Expenses (starting on page 4) describes how fund managers are charging inflated or unwarranted fees and expenses. In any other line of work, this would be called theft. Yet all the SEC is willing to do is publish a Risk Alert, rather than impose fines as well as require disgorgements?
The SEC's Abject Failure
In the Risk Alert below, the itemization of various forms of abuses, such as the many ways private equity firms parcel out interests in the businesses they buy among various funds and insiders to their, as opposed to investors' benefit, alone should give pause. And the lengthy discussion of these conflicts does suggest the SEC has learned something over the years. Experts who dealt with the agency in its early years of examining private equity firms found the examiners allergic to considering, much the less pursuing, complex abuses.
Undermining legislative intent of new supervisory authority . The SEC never embraced its new responsibilities to ride herd on private equity and hedge funds.
The SEC has long maintained a division between the retail investors and so-called "accredited investors" who by virtue of having higher net worths and investment portfolios, are treated by the agency as able to afford to lose more money. The justification is that richer means more sophisticated. But as anyone who is a manager for a top sports professional or entertainer, that is often not the case. And as we've seen, that goes double for public pension funds.
Starting with the era of Clinton appointee Arthur Levitt, the agency has taken the view that it is in the business of defending presumed-to-be-hapless retail investors and has left "accredited investor" and most of all, institutional investors, on their own. This was a policy decision by the agency when deregulation was venerated; there was no statutory basis for this change in priorities.
Congress tasked the SEC with supervising the fund management activities of private equity funds with over $150 million in assets under management. All of their investors are accredited investors. In other words, Congress mandated the SEC to make sure these firms complied with relevant laws as well as making adequate disclosures of what they were going to do with the money entrusted to them. Saying one thing in the investor contracts and doing another is a vastly worse breach than misrepresentations in marketing materials, yet the SEC acted as if slap-on-the-wrist-level enforcement was adequate.
We made fun when thirteen prominent public pension fund trustees wrote the SEC asking for them to force greater transparency of private equity fees and costs. The agency's position effectively was "You are grownups. No one is holding a gun to your head to make these investments. If you don't like the terms, walk away." They might have done better if they could have positioned their demand as consistent with the new Dodd Frank oversight requirements.
Actively covering up for bad conduct . In 2014, the SEC started working at giving malfeasance a free pass. Specifically, the SEC told private equity firms that they could continue their abuses if they 'fessed up in their annual disclosure filings, the so-called Form ADV. The term of art is "enhanced disclosure". Since when are contracts like confession, that if you admit to a breach, all is forgiven? Only in the topsy-turvy world of SEC enforcement.
And the coddling of crookedness continued. From a January post :
The agency is operating in such a cozy manner with private equity firms that as one investor described it:
It's like FBI sitting down with the Mafia to tell them each year, "Don't cross these lines because that's what we are focusing on."
Specifically, as we indicated, the SEC was giving advanced warning of the issues it would focus on in its upcoming exams, in order to give investment managers the time to get their stories together and purge files. And rather than view its periodic exams as being designed to make sure private equity firms comply with the law and their representations, the agency views them as "cooperative" exercises! Misconduct is assumed to be the result of misunderstanding and error, and not design.
It's pretty hard to see conduct like this, from the SEC's Risk Alert, as being an accident:
Advisers charged private fund clients for expenses that were not permitted by the relevant fund operating agreements, such as adviser-related expenses like salaries of adviser personnel, compliance, regulatory filings, and office expenses, thereby causing investors to overpay expenses
The staff observed private fund advisers that did not value client assets in accordance with their valuation processes or in accordance with disclosures to clients (such as that the assets would be valued in accordance with GAAP). In some cases, the staff observed that this failure to value a private fund's holdings in accordance with the disclosed valuation process led to overcharging management fees and carried interest because such fees were based on inappropriately overvalued holdings .
Advisers failed to apply or calculate management fee offsets in accordance with disclosures and therefore caused investors to overpay management fees.
We're highlighting this skimming simply because it is easier for laypeople to understand than some of the other types of cheating the SEC described. Even so, industry insiders and investors complained that the description of the misconduct in this Risk Alert was too general to give them enough of a roadmap to look for it at particular funds.
Ignoring how investors continue to be fleeced . The SEC's list includes every abuse it sanctioned or mentioned in the 2014 to 2015 period, including undisclosed termination of monitoring fees, failure to disclose that investors were paying for "senior advisers/operating partners," fraudulent charges, overcharging for services provided by affiliated companies, plus lots of types of bad-faith conduct on fund restructurings and allocations of fees and expenses on transactions allocated across funds.
The SEC assumed institutional investors would insist on better conduct once they were informed that they'd been had. In reality, not only did private equity investors fail to demand better, they accepted new fund agreements that described the sort of objectionable behavior they'd been engaging in. Remember, the big requirement in SEC land is disclosure. So if a fund manager says he might do Bad Things and then proceeds accordingly, the investor can't complain about not having been warned.
Moreover, the SEC's very long list of bad acts says the industry is continuing to misbehave even after it has defined deviancy down via more permissive limited partnership agreements!
Why This Risk Alert Now?
Keep in mind what a Risk Alert is and isn't. The best way to conceptualize it is as a press release from the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. It does not have any legal or regulatory force. Risk Alerts are not even considered to be SEC official views. They are strictly the product of OCIE staff.
On the first page of this Risk Alert, the OCIE blandly states that:
This Risk Alert is intended to assist private fund advisers in reviewing and enhancing their compliance programs, and also to provide investors with information concerning private fund adviser deficiencies.
Cutely, footnotes point out that not everyone examined got a deficiency letter (!!!), that the SEC has taken enforcement actions on "many" of the abuses described in the Risk Alert, yet "OCIE continues to observe some of these practices during examinations."
Several of our contacts who met in person with the SEC to discuss private equity grifting back in 2014-2015 pressed the agency to issue a Risk Alert as a way of underscoring the seriousness of the issues it was unearthing. The staffers demurred then.
In fairness, the SEC may have regarded a Risk Alert as having the potential to undermine its not-completed enforcement actions. But why not publish one afterwards, particularly since the intent then had clearly been to single out prominent examples of particular types of misconduct, rather than tackle it systematically? 2
So why is the OCIE stepping out a bit now? The most likely reason is as an effort to compensate for the lack of enforcement actions. Recall that all the OCIE can do is refer a case to the Enforcement Division; it's their call as to whether or not to take it up.
The SEC looks to have institutionalized the practice of borrowing lawyers from prominent firms. Mary Jo White of Debevoise brought Andrew Ceresney with her from Debeviose to be her head of enforcement. Both returned to Debevoise.
Current SEC chairman Jay Clayton came from Sullivan & Cromwell, bringing with him Steven Peikin as co-head of enforcement. And the Clayton SEC looks to have accomplished the impressive task of being even weaker on enforcement than Mary Jo White. Clayton made clear his focus was on "mom and pop" investors, meaning he chose to overlook much more consequential abuses by private equity firms and hedgies. The New York Times determined that the average amount of SEC fines against corporate perps fell markedly in 2018 compared to the final 20 months of the Obama Administration. The SEC since then levied $1 billion fine against the Woodbridge Group of Companies and its one-time owner for running a Ponzi scheme that fleeced over 8,400, so that would bring the average penalty up a bit. But it still confirms that Clayton is concerned about small fry, and not deeper but just as pickable pockets.
David Sirota argues that the OCIE was out to embarrass Clayton and sabotage what Sirota depicted as an SEC initiative to let retail investors invest in private equity. Sirota appears to have missed that that horse has left the barn and is in the next county, and the SEC had squat to do with it.
The overwhelming majority of retail funds is not in discretionary accounts but in retirement accounts, overwhelmingly 401(k)s. And it is the Department of Labor, which regulates ERISA plans, and not the SEC, that decides what those go and no go zones are. The DoL has already green-lighted allowing large swathes of 401(k) funds to include private equity holdings. From a post earlier this month :
Until now, regulations have kept private equity out of the retail market by prohibiting managers from accepting capital from individuals who lack significant net worth.
Private equity firms have succeeded in storming that barricade. The Department of Labor published a June 3 information letter that allows private equity funds, or more accurately funds of funds, to be included in certain 401(k) plan offerings, namely, target date funds and balanced funds. This is significant because despite the SEC regularly calling out bad practices with target date funds, they are the strategy used to manage the majority of 401(k) assets .
Moreover, even though Sirota pointed out that Clayton had spoken out in favor of allowing retail investors more access to private equity investments, the proposed regulation on the definition of accredited investors in fact not only does not lower income or net worth requirements (save for allowing spouses to combine their holdings) it in fact solicited comments on the idea of raising the limits. From a K&L Gates write up :
Previously, the Concept Release requested comment on whether the SEC should revise the current individual income ($200,000) and net worth ($1,000,000) thresholds. In the Proposing Release, the SEC further considered these thresholds, noting that the figures have not been adjusted since 1982. The SEC concluded that it does not believe modifications to the thresholds are necessary at this time, but it has requested comments on whether the final should instead make a one-time increase to the thresholds in the account for inflation, or whether the final rule should reflect a figure that is indexed to inflation on a going-forward basis.
It is not clear how many people would be picked up by the proposed change, which was being fleshed out, that of letting some presumed sophisticated but not rich individuals, like junior hedge fund professionals and holders of securities licenses, be treated as accredited investors. In other words, despite Clayton's talk about wanting ordinary investors to have more access to private equity funds, the agency's proposed rule change falls short of that.
Moreover, if the OCIE staff had wanted to undermine even the limited liberalization of the definition of accredited investor so as to stymie more private equity investment, the time to do so would have been immediately before or while the comments period was open. It ended March 16 .
The New York Times reported that Senate Republicans deemed Clayton's odds of confirmation as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York as remote even before the Trump fired Geoffrey Berman to clear a path for Clayton. So the idea that a technical release by the OCIE would derail Clayton's confirmation is a stretch.
So again, why now? One possibility is that the timing is purely a coincidence. For instance, the SEC staffers might have been waiting until Covid-19 news overload died down a bit so their work might get a hearing (and Covid-19 remote work complications may also have delayed its release).
The second possibility is that OCIE is indeed very frustrated with the enforcement chief Peikin's inaction on private equity. The fact that Peikin's boss and protector Clayton has made himself a lame duck meant a salvo against Peikin was now a much lower risk. If any readers have better insight into the internal workings of the SEC these days, please pipe up.
1 Formally, as you can see, this Risk Alert addresses both private equity and hedge fund misconduct, but on reading the details, the citing of both types of funds reflects the degree to which hedge funds have been engaging in the buying and selling of stakes in private companies. For instance, Chatham Asset Management, which has become notorious through its ownership of American Media, which in turn owns the National Enquirer, calls itself a hedge fund. Moreover, when the SEC started examining both private equity and hedge funds under new authority granted by Dodd Frank, it described the sort of misconduct described in this Risk Alert as coming out of exams of private equity firms, and its limited round of enforcement actions then were against brand name private equity firms like KKR, Blackstone, Apollo, and TPG. Thus for convenience as well as historical reasons, we refer only to private equity firms as perps.
2 Media stories at the time, including some of our posts, provided substantial evidence that particular abuses, such as undisclosed termination of monitoring fees and failure to disclose that "senior advisers" presented as general partner "team members" were in fact consultants being separately billed to fund investments, were common practices. Yet the SEC chose to lodge only marquee enforcement actions against one prominent firm for each abuse, as if token enforcement would serve as an adequate deterrent. The message was the reverse, that the overwhelming majority of the abuses were able to keep their ill-gotten gains and not even face public embarrassment.Page 1 / 7 Zoom 100%
skippy , June 26, 2020 at 4:27 am
Peter Sellers I'll say now – ????
vlade , June 26, 2020 at 4:35 am
TBH, in the view of Calpers ignoring its advisors, I do have a little understanding of the SEC's point "you're grown ups" (the worse problem is that the advisors who leach themselves to the various accredited investors are often not worth the money.
On the same side though, fraud is a criminal offence, and it's SEC's duty to prosecute. And I believe that a lot of what PE engage in would happily fall under fraud, if SEC really wanted.
Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 11:43 am
Yes, the SEC conveniently claims a conflicted authority – 1. to regulate compliance but without an "enforcement authority", and 2. report egregious behavior to their "enforcement authority". So the SEC is less than a permissive nanny. Sort of like "access" to enforcement authority. Sounds like health care to me.
Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 4:06 pm
No, this is false. The SEC has an examination division and an enforcement division. The SEC can and does take enforcement actions that result in fines and disgorgements, see the $1 billion fine mentioned in the post. So the exam division can recommend enforcement to the enforcement division. That does not mean it will get done. Some enforcement actions originate from within the enforcement division, like insider trading cases, and the SEC long has had a tendency to prioritize insider trading cases.
The SEC cannot prosecute. It has to refer cases that it thinks are criminal to the DoJ and try to get them to saddle up.
Maritimer , June 26, 2020 at 5:04 am
Crimogenic: Producing or tending to produce crime or criminality. An additional factor is that, in the main, the criminals do not take their money and leave the gaming tables but pour it back in and the crime metastasizes.
Thus in 2008 and thereafter the criminal damage required 2-3 trillion, now 7-10 trillion.
Any economic expert who does not recognize crime as the number one problem in the criminogenic US economy I disregard. Why read all that analysis when, at the end of the run, it all just boils down to bailing out the criminals and trying to reset the criminogenic system?
(Can I get my economics degree now?)
Adam Eran , June 26, 2020 at 1:33 pm
You might add that the threat of consequences for these crimes makes the criminals extremely motivated to elect officials who will not prosecute them (e.g. Obama). They're not running for office, they're avoiding incarceration.
The Rev Kev , June 26, 2020 at 5:17 am
The SEC has been captured for years now. It was not that long ago that SEC Examination chief Andrew Bowden made a grovelling speech to these players and even asked them to give his son a job which was so wrong-
But there is no point in reforming the SEC as it was the politicians, at the beck and call of these players, that de-fanged the SEC – and it was a bipartisan effort! So it becomes a chicken-or-the-egg problem in the matter of reform. Who do you reform first?
Can't leave this comment without mentioning something about a private equity company. One of the two major internal airlines in Oz went broke due to the virus and a private equity buyer has been found to buy it. A union rep said that they will be good for jobs and that they are a good company. Their name? Bain Capital!
Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 5:44 am
We broke the story about Andrew Bowden! Give credit where credit is due!!!! Even though Taibbi points to us in his first line, linking to Rolling Stone says to those who don't bother clicking through that it was their story.
Plus we transcribed his fawning remarks.
And he resigned three weeks later.
The Rev Kev , June 26, 2020 at 5:56 am
Of course I remember that story. I was going to mention it but thought to let people see it in virtually the opening line of that story where he gives you credit. More of a jolt of recognition seeing it rather than being told about it first.
Jesper , June 26, 2020 at 6:36 am
Of the three branches of government which ones are not captured by big business? If two out of three were to captured then does it matter what the third does?
Is the executive working for the common good or for the interests of big business?
Is the legislature working for the common good or for the interests of big business?
Is the judiciary working for the common good or for the interests of big business?
In my opinion too much power has been centralised, too much of the productivity gains of the past 40 years have been monetised and therefore made possible to hoard and centralise.
SEC should (in my opinion) try to enforce more but without more support then I do not believe (it is my opinion, nothing more and nothing less) that they can accomplish much.
Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 11:57 am
The SEC is a mysterious agency which (?) must fall under the jurisdiction of the Treasury because it is a monetary regulatory agency in the business of regulating securities and exchanges. But it has no authority to do much of anything. The Treasury itself falls under the executive administration but as we have recently seen, Mnuchin himself managed to get a nice skim for his banking pals from the money Congress legislated. That's because Congress doesn't know how to effectuate a damn thing – they legislate stuff that morphs before our very eyes and goes to the grifters without a hitch. So why don't we demand that consumer protection be made into hard law with no wiggle room; that since investing is complex in this world of embedded funds and glossy prospectuses, we the consumer should not have to wade through all the nonsense to make decisions – that everything be on the table. And if PE can't manage to do that and still steal its billions then PE should be declared to be flat-out illegal.
Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 4:08 pm
Please stop spreading disinformation. This is the second time on this post.
The SEC has nada to do with the Treasury. It is an independent regulatory agency.
It however is the only financial regulator that does not keep what it kills (its own fees and fines) but is instead subject to Congressional appropriations. Andrew Levitt, for instance, complained bitterly that Joe Lieberman would regularly threaten to cut the SEC's budget for allegedly being too aggressive about enforcement. Lieberman was the Senator from Hedgistan.
Edward , June 26, 2020 at 7:16 am
More banana republic level grift. What happens when investors figure out they can't believe anything they are told?
RJMc, MD , June 26, 2020 at 8:43 am
It should be noted that out here in the countryside of northern Michigan that embezzlement (a winter sport here while the men are out ice fishing), theft and fraud are still considered punishable felonies. Perhaps that is simply a quaint holdover from a bygone time. Dudley set the tone for the C of C with his Green Book on bank deregulation. One of the subsequent heads of C of C was reported as seeing his position as "being the spiritual resource for banks". If bank regulation is treated in a farcical fashion why should be the SEC be any different?
Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 12:08 pm
I was shocked to just now learn that ERISA/the Dept of Labor is in regulatory control of allowing pension funds to buy PE fund of funds and "balanced PE funds". What VERBIAGE. Are "PE Fund of Balanced Funds" an actual category? And what distinguishes them from good old straightforward Index Funds? And also too – what is happening before our very glazed-over eyes is that PE is high grading not just the stock market but the US Treasury itself. Ordinary investors should be buying US Treasuries directly and retirement funds should too. It will be a big bite but if it knocks PE out of business it would be worth it. PE is in the business of cooking its books, ravaging struggling corporations, and boldly privatizing the goddamned Treasury. WTF?
Kouros , June 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm
I want to bring this to Yves' attention: the recent SCOTUS decision on Thole v. U.S. Bank that opens the doors wide for corporate America to steal with impunity from the pension plans: https://www.unz.com/estriker/corrupt-supreme-court-gives-green-light-to-corporations-to-steal-from-pensioners/
Glen , June 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm
Can we come up with a better descriptor for "private equity"?
I suggest "billionaire looters".
Olivier , June 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm
What about the wanton destruction of the purchased companies? If this solely about the harm done to the poor investors? If so, that is seriously wrong.
flora , June 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm
If, you know, the neoliberal "because markets" is the ruling paradigm then of course there is no harm done. The questions then become: is "because markets" a sensible paradigm? What is it a sensible paradigm of? Is "because markets" even sensible for the long term?
flora , June 26, 2020 at 3:19 pm
an aside: farewell, Olympus camera. A sad day. Farewell, OM-1 and OM-2. Film photography is really not replicated by digital photography but the larger market has gone to digital. Speed and cost vs quality. Because markets. Now the vulture swoop.
Stan Sexton , June 26, 2020 at 8:17 pm
Where is the SEC when Bain Capital (Romney) wipes out Toys-R-Us and Dianne Feinstein's husband Richard Blum wipes out Payless Shoes. They gain control of the companies, pile on massive debt and take the proceeds of the loan, and they know the company cannot service the loan and a BK is around the corner. Thousands lose their jobs. And this is legal? And we also lost Glass-Steagal and legalized stock buy-backs.The Elite are screwing the people. It's Socialism for the Rich, the Politicians and Govt Employees and Feudalism for the rest of us.
Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org
likbez 12.27.19 at 10:21 pmJohn,
I've been thinking about the various versions of and critiques of identity politics that are around at the moment. In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new.
You missed one important line of critique -- identity politics as a dirty political strategy of soft neoliberals.
See discussion of this issue by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his recent article (based on his excellent book The Great Democracy ) https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism
To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future.
When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future.
Demagogues [more correctly neoliberals -- likbez] rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.
The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy.
Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity.
Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support. The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead.
Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.
Indeed, the central anchoring assumptions of the American foreign policy establishment have been proven wrong. Foreign policymakers largely assumed that all good things would go together -- democracy, markets, and human rights -- and so they thought opening China to trade would inexorably lead to it becoming a liberal democracy. They were wrong. They thought Russia would become liberal through swift democratization and privatization. They were wrong.
They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. And to be clear, Donald Trump had nothing to do with them. All of these failures were evident prior to the 2016 election.
If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump.
Initially Clinton calculation was that trade union voters has nowhere to go anyways, and it was correct for first decade or so of his betrayal. But gradually trade union members and lower middle class started to leave Dems in droves (Demexit, compare with Brexit) and that where identity politics was invented to compensate for this loss.
So in addition to issues that you mention we also need to view the role of identity politics as the political strategy of the "soft neoliberals " directed at discrediting and the suppression of nationalism.
The resurgence of nationalism is the inevitable byproduct of the dominance of neoliberalism, resurgence which I think is capable to bury neoliberalism as it lost popular support (which now is limited to financial oligarchy and high income professional groups, such as we can find in corporate and military brass, (shrinking) IT sector, upper strata of academy, upper strata of medical professionals, etc)
That means that the structure of the current system isn't just flawed which imply that most problems are relatively minor and can be fixed by making some tweaks. It is unfixable, because the "Identity wars" reflect a deep moral contradictions within neoliberal ideology. And they can't be solved within this framework.
Jun 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Christian J. Chuba , Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78Re: the Nuremberg trials , I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace' . This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?
In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.
How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.
May 25, 2020 | logosjournal.com
Originally from: Gangster Politics Logos Journal by by Stephen Eric Bronner
Gangster politicians like to think that they are slick. They talk slang and curse a lot, grab a girl's ass (or worse), insist that they never read a book, thumb their noses at intellectual elites, boast about their high IQs, and proclaim their "street smarts." They also view themselves both as victims of their critics' malice and "great men" alone capable of curing the nation's ills.
They make their base feel the same: they are despised and yet the real Americans! Their belief in the boss is unwavering. Only he can make America great again.
Those who oppose his policies are traitors and the threats they pose are serious -- and, if they are not serious, then they must be made serious. History teaches what might become necessary in order to teach them a lesson. The Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the (staged) assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934 were the dramatic events that led Hitler and Stalin to justify attacks on enemies, renegades, and supposed traitors to the state. Gangster politicians under internal pressure pray for a crisis, or what Trump once forecast as a "major event," in order to rally the troops and clean house.
Gangster politics requires no ideology. Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.
The great man must do what must be done: if that means lying, reneging on deals, shifting gears, rejecting transparency, and whatever else, then so be it. That he can employ the double standard is a given.
Big talk takes the place of diplomacy and, if the bluster doesn't work then America alone -- or, better, the boss alone -- can rely on "fire and fury" whenever and wherever he likes.
Traditionalists employed jingoistic rhetoric and wrapped themselves in the flag. The gangster politician talks like a schoolyard bully and salutes himself.
Gangster politicians of times past had subordinates swear an oath of loyalty not to the state but to them. Yesterday's "America! Love it or leave it!" has today turned into: "Trump! Love him -- or shut up!"
May 25, 2020 | logosjournal.com
In The Communist Manifesto , Marx and Engels referred to the state as "the executive committee of the ruling class." Reflecting the collective capitalist interest in maintaining its accumulation process, capable of forging compromises among competing sectors of its own and other classes, this committee was also meant to enforce legal norms, contracts, and other rules of the game.
If necessary, indeed, it would even subordinate individual capitalist interests to the collective interests of the class. The executive committee might foster imperialist ambitions and declare war. But it might also call for redistributive legislation to foster demand even though no individual capitalist would want to pay higher taxes to cover the cost. Recalcitrant elements of the ruling class and protestors from below require punishment. Fascist states easily get carried away in that regard. Banana republics usually exhibit bureaucratic gangster tendencies. In a capitalist democracy, however, things are supposedly different: its executive committee should jail Al Capone and marginalize corruption. The lines between legal and illegal business transactions are blurring and the term "political mafia" is taking on a whole new meaning. 
Gangster politics has little in common with the interests of petty criminals, white collar crooks, 'Crips and 'Bloods, and the like. Vast sums are at stake: so, for example, roughly 82.8% of benefits from the 2017 tax bill are being funneled into the portfolios of the top 1%,  and the corporate tax rate is being dropped from 35% to 21%. The boss knows where his bread is buttered. That the godfather should get his cut goes without saying: Trump's family will make upwards of "tens of millions of dollars" from his tax legislation.  And with the "ca-ching!" (that sweet sound of the cash register) comes the "bling" (the payoffs, the hush-money, and the gifts) along with the "glitz" of the porno stars, the third-rate actresses, the models, and the rest.
Gangster politics hovers between the authoritarian and the democratic. The boss and his posse receive their perks for a reason. Gangster politics immunizes capitalist society from class contradictions that have become too acute or demands from below that have grown too onerous. Its representatives are not exactly fascists. They don't rely on paramilitary forces, concentration camps, official censorship, or explicit ideals of a racially pure society. Sleaze is the ethos of gangster politics. Its style and tone insinuate themselves into existing institutions such as the town meeting, the mass rally, media, electoral debates, and the use of legislative tricks, and legal minutiae. Gangster politicians know how to "game" the system. Their populist rhetoric is window dressing. The old "bicycle mentality" of the petty bourgeoisie holds sway, namely, push up and kick down.
Gangsters have long been identified with capitalists, cops, and state officials. Balzac noted that every great fortune hides a great crime. Upton Sinclair and Frank Norris made the connection as did Ibsen. But, perhaps most notoriously, Bert Brecht saw the gangster ethos uniting capitalists, imperialists, and militarists in a host of plays beginning with The Three Penny Opera . Contemporary films and television shows constantly depict the CIA, corrupt politicians and greedy corporate interests as interwoven. But these usually appear as either the work of rogue individuals (who must be brought into line) or an always vague and unalterable "system" that demands utter cynicism as the only appropriate response.
Gangster politics is not a structured institutional formation, as often argued,  but rather a semi-legal adaptation to legal forms of governance. It arises when the gangster's clients sense danger. Memories still linger concerning the economic crisis of 2008.  Banks are still over-extending unfavorable loans, stocks have been erratic, insider trading is the rule of the day and the "average guy" is panicking as capital becomes centralized in ever fewer hands. Production requires an ever smaller yet more educated working class; consumption is inordinately skewed to the wealthy; and the class question increasingly turns on how best to disempower working people, those living below the poverty line, women, citizens of color, and immigrants
Enforcing gerrymandering, curtailing voting rights, privatizing the prison system, access peddling, and accruing unlimited donations for electoral campaigns are effective tactics that border on the illegal. Right-wing control over an increasingly centralized media helps deflect criticisms and divide the disenfranchised and exploited. The audience has been primed. The boss' mass base detests his critics. Environmentalists, immigrants, people of color, uppity women, decadent gays and the transgendered infuriate the "good citizens" of America clinging to outworn traditions in small towns as well as evangelicals and retrograde (white) sectors of the industrial working class. They despair over loss of jobs, government "waste" and "welfare chiselers," moral decline, and (above all) the loss of their cultural privileges. They look back to a time when "men were men," "America was great!" and "happy days" followed one another non-stop.
Elites nod approvingly, though they have different priorities: de-regulation, lower taxes, fewer welfare policies, and cuts in the "costs of doing business." Oligarchic tendencies are built into capitalism and, as they expand, their exploitative impact on workers and the urban poor become more intense. That is where gangster politics enters the mainstream. Corporate elites require protection from progressive forces.  Their leaders must often choose between authoritarianism with profits as against democracy with costs. Thy always assume that they can control their enforcer. Once in office, however, the parvenu begins exercising power in his own interest. Donald Trump turned on mainstream Republicans, who pandered to the Tea Party early in the Obama presidency, just as Hitler turned on his former patron, Fritz von Papen, and his "cabinet of the barons" in 1933. It was the same with General Pinochet who was installed by the traditional conservative Eduard Frei following the fall of Salvador Allende's democratic regime in Chile in 1973. Other examples are available.
Gangster politics has its own logic. Traditionalists like to believe that the conflict is between "them and us." For the political gangster, however, the struggle is between "them and me." The only fixed rule is -- don't cross the boss! And, if only for this reason, he chooses to be feared rather than loved. He taunts his subordinates, publicly humiliates them, throws them under the bus, and perhaps even fires them a few days before their retirement. Cabinet officials and agency directors require no expertise or security clearance,  all that counts is loyalty to the boss. But, then, loyalty is a one-way street. Internal security advisers, press secretaries, cabinet secretaries, chiefs of staff, assistants, agency directors, White House attorneys, and deputies of all stripes come and go. Trump's administration has already had a turnover rate of 34%, more than triple that of the Obama presidency.  Confusion and chaos proliferate. There is a sense in which the goal of gangster politics is what Franz Neumann termed "the stateless state." It serves a concrete purpose: everyone knows who is in charge of everything.
Gangster politicians like to think that they are slick. They talk slang and curse a lot, grab a girl's ass (or worse), insist that they never read a book, thumb their noses at intellectual elites, boast about their high IQs, and proclaim their "street smarts." They also view themselves both as victims of their critics' malice and "great men" alone capable of curing the nation's ills. They make their base feel the same: they are despised and yet the real Americans! Their belief in the boss is unwavering. Only he can make America great again. Those who oppose his policies are traitors and the threats they pose are serious -- and, if they are not serious, then they must be made serious. History teaches what might become necessary in order to teach them a lesson. The Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the (staged) assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934 were the dramatic events that led Hitler and Stalin to justify attacks on enemies, renegades, and supposed traitors to the state. Gangster politicians under internal pressure pray for a crisis, or what Trump once forecast as a "major event," in order to rally the troops and clean house.
Gangster politics requires no ideology. Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.
The great man must do what must be done: if that means lying, reneging on deals, shifting gears, rejecting transparency, and whatever else, then so be it. That he can employ the double standard is a given. Big talk takes the place of diplomacy and, if the bluster doesn't work then America alone – or, better, the boss alone – can rely on "fire and fury" whenever and wherever he likes. Traditionalists employed jingoistic rhetoric and wrapped themselves in the flag. The gangster politician talks like a schoolyard bully and salutes himself. Gangster politicians of times past had subordinates swear an oath of loyalty not to the state but to them. Yesterday's "America! Love it or leave it!" has today turned into: "Trump! Love him –or shut up!"
... ,,, ,,
 Herbert Marcuse, 1974 Paris Lectures at Vincennes University eds. Peter-Erwin Jansen and Charles Reitz (Published by the Marcuse Archives).
 Dylan Matthews, "The Republican tax bill got worse: now the top 1% gets 83% of the gains,"VOX, December 18, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/18/16791174/republican-tax-bill-congress-conference-tax-policy-center
 Louis Jacobson, "How much does the Trump family have to gain from GOP tax bills?"PolitiFact, November 27, 2017,http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/nov/27/lloyd-doggett/how-much-does-trump-family-have-gain-gop-tax-bills/
 The term "gangster state" has been used often, and there are a number of different interpretations of the phenomenon ie. Katherine Hirschfeld, Gangster States: Organized Crime, Kleptocracy and Political Collapse (New York: Palgrave, 2015); Charles Tilly, "State Formation as Organized Crime" in eds. Peter Evans et. al (Bringing the State Back In (New York: Cambridge University press, 1985); Michael Hirsh, "Gangster States" in http://www.newsweek.com/gangster-state-166356Paul Craig Roberts, "Gangster State America: Where is America's Democracy?" https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/05/06/gangster-state-america-paul-craig-roberts-2/;
 Gretchen Morgenstern and Joshua Rosner, Reckles$ Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon (New York: Henry Holt, 2011).
 Note the discussion in Stephen Eric Bronner, The Bitter Taste of Hope: Ideals, Ideologies and Interests in the Age of Obama (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2017), 1ff.
 Max Greenwood, "At least 30 White House officials, Trump appointees lack full clearances: report," The Hill, February 9, 2018http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373220-at-least-30-white-house-officials-trump-appointees-lack-full#.Wn7-uVrZvb8.facebook
 Jeremy Berke, "REX TILLERSON IS OUT -- here are all the casualties of the Trump administration so far," Business Insider, March 13, 2018 http://www.businessinsider.com/who-has-trump-fired-so-far-james-comey-sean-spicer-michael-flynn-2017-7/#rob-porter-1 ; New York Times (February 13, 2018).
 Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish, "$2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Donald Trump," New York Times , March 15, 2016https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html
Stephen Eric Bronner is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of Global Relations for the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University. His most recent work is The Bitter Taste of Hope: Ideals, Ideologies and Interests in the Age of Obama.
May 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Coolie eddie parolini • 8 hours agoSelling political influence through family members is THE legal form of corruption. Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz' BHR Capital, with no experience in China or any track record of success, quickly raised up to $1.5 billion from the Bank of China shortly after Hunter Biden's trip aboard Air Force 2 to China with his father. While this isn't a case of outsourcing U.S. manufacturing, it is a present-day reminder of how the political and economic elites in both China and the U.S. collude together for their own financial gains.eddie parolini The Coolie • 7 hours ago • editedSure but then, why ignore the much more recent examples like the Trump girl being granted trademarks by China after her father became President? After.
My point is that the author only detracts from an somewhat informative article by showing his partisan biases.
The idea that one political party in the U.S. has been less deferential to China than the other is laughable. When there is a buck to be made, that buck will be made.
May 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.comUpdate (1215ET): Mitch McConnell just confirmed that Burr will step down from his position as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
It's not exactly a shock...
* * *
Although the public outrage over stock trades made by GOP Senators during the early days of the US coronavirus outbreak appears to have subsided, the DoJ's investigation into the 'controversial' stock trades has continued apace. And in the latest update, the LA Times revealed late Wednesday that FBI agents had seized the cellphone of Sen. Richard Burr during the course of the investigation.
Burr, who is best known to Americans in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Intel Committee, reportedly turned over his phone to agents after they executed a search warrant on his home in the Washington area.
The seizure is a sign of a "significant escalation" in the investigation, the paper said.
The seizure represents a significant escalation in the investigation into whether Burr violated a law preventing members of Congress from trading on insider information they have gleaned from their official work.
To obtain a search warrant, federal agents and prosecutors must persuade a judge they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The law enforcement official said the Justice Department is examining Burr's communications with his broker.
Such a warrant being served on a sitting U.S. senator would require approval from the highest ranks of the Justice Department and is a step that would not be taken lightly. Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment.
A second law enforcement official said FBI agents served a warrant in recent days on Apple to obtain information from Burr's iCloud account and said agents used data obtained from the California-based company as part of the evidence used to obtain the warrant for the senator's phone.
Notably, the leak - which reads like something the NYT or WaPo would ordinarily publish - follows a federal judge's decision to try and stop the DoJ from dismissing the charges against former Trump NSA Michael Flynn.
Was this 'leak' really intended to show the public that the DoJ remains non-partisan in the Trump era? We wouldn't be surprised. But the fact remains: If these senators broke the law, they will almost certainly face charges.
Of course, Burr wasn't the only lawmaker to get caught up in the scandal:
Others who have come under fire for stock sales include Rep Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) as well as - what's this? - powerful California Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
May 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Piotr Berman , May 9 2020 23:20 utc | 37
"The level of corruption inherent in the current setup (first adopted in Soviet NEP -- New Economic Policy) is tremendous, as the party has absolute political power and controls the major economic and financial areas while the entrepreneurs try to bribe state officials to get the leverage and/or enrich themselves at the state expense or bypass the bureaucratic limitations/inefficiencies imposed by the state, or offload some costs. So mafia style relationship between party officials and entrepreneurs is not an aberration, it is a norm. And periodic "purges" of corrupt Party officials do not solve the problem. Ecological problems in China are just one side effect of this."
As many noted, corruption in USA is in some sense smaller, because a lot of corrupted activities are legalized. Sorry for pasting a large quote from NYT
"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Ms. Kelly, an aide to Mr. Christie, wrote in an email to officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge.
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court, called the communication "an admirably concise email."
She went on to write that "the evidence the jury heard no doubt shows wrongdoing -- deception, corruption, abuse of power."
"But the federal fraud statutes at issue do not criminalize all such conduct," she wrote. "Under settled precedent, the officials could violate those laws only if an object of their dishonesty was to obtain the Port Authority's money or property."
And, she wrote, "the realignment of the toll lanes was an exercise of regulatory power -- something this court has already held fails to meet the statutes' property requirement."
It is not the first time that the justices have shown their skepticism of public corruption cases. In 2016, it unanimously overturned the conviction of Bob McDonnell, a former governor of Virginia who was accused of accepting luxury products, loans and vacations from a business executive in return for arranging meetings and urging underlings to consider the executive's requests.
A quarter of American GDP goes for defense and health care. Both areas are a veritable swamp of greed, rapacious overpricing, peddling unneeded products etc. And it is not like the remaining 75% is an oasis of honesty. An average terminal cancer patient has a better percentage of healthy cells.
May 07, 2020 | www.unz.com
Sam 12123 , says: Show Comment May 6, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMTThe OPCW is claimed to be an independent agency but we know that it suppressed the results of its own engineers when it reported that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged chemical attack in Douma. The former head of the agency has publicly asserted that when John Bolton demanded that he step down, he added, "We know where your children live." The US has a history of corruption and intimidation. Any investigation would result in finding China responsible just as Russia was found to be responsible for the airliner that was shot down over Ukraine.
Apr 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Her endorsement of Biden comes one day after former President Obama finally backed the former VP after months of remaining in the shadows.Things sure do change fast in Washington...
Just six weeks ago, Elizabeth Warren attacked Joe Biden as a "Washington insider" backed by "Washington insiders."
"Nominating a man who says we do not need any fundamental change in this country will not meet this moment," she said. pic.twitter.com/eXsByQUKIQ-- Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) April 15, 2020
Apr 15, 2020 | www.theatlantic.com
exquirentibus veritatem 4 hours ago
"American collusion with kleptocracy comes at a terrible cost for the rest of the world. All of the stolen money, all of those evaded tax dollars sunk into Central Park penthouses and Nevada shell companies, might otherwise fund health care and infrastructure. (A report from the anti-poverty group One has argued that 3.6 million deaths each year can be attributed to this sort of resource siphoning.)
Thievery tramples the possibilities of workable markets and credible democracy. It fuels suspicions that the whole idea of liberal capitalism is a hypocritical sham: While the world is plundered, self-righteous Americans get rich off their complicity with the crooks.
The Founders were concerned that venality would become standard procedure, and it has. Long before suspicion mounted about the loyalties of Donald Trump, large swaths of the American elite -- lawyers, lobbyists, real-estate brokers, politicians in state capitals who enabled the creation of shell companies -- had already proved themselves to be reliable servants of a rapacious global plutocracy.
"Richard Palmer was right: The looting elites of the former Soviet Union were far from rogue profiteers. They augured a kleptocratic habit that would soon become widespread.
One bitter truth about the Russia scandal is that by the time Vladimir Putin attempted to influence the shape of our country, it was already bending in the direction of his."
Apr 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgBrendan , Apr 8 2020 8:49 utc | 5April 7: Hospitals say feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word
April 8: US Department of Defense give 1 million masks to IDF for coronavirus use
Posted by b on April 8, 2020 at 7:43 UTC | Permalink
The Jpost article that b links to says that a million masks from China (donated by the US Department of Defense) arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night. But Israel should have already had two million masks if this report from last weekend is correct:
The shipment will include two million masks, landing in Israel on Monday morning,
So that appears to be three million masks from China, plus those seized from American hospitals. Or are they fiddling the figures and pretending that those seized masks were legally purchased in China?
Brendan , Apr 8 2020 9:53 utc | 8It appears that Mossad and others have recently acquired about two surgical masks per Israeli:Mao , Apr 8 2020 9:58 utc | 9
"5 April 2020,
(...)Last week, the Health Ministry said that security services and government ministries had managed to obtain 27 ventilators and a hoard of other medical equipment from abroad.
Hebrew media reported that the Mossad intelligence service, which has been tasked with securing medical equipment from abroad from unspecified countries amid worldwide shortages, helped obtain 25,000 N95 respiratory masks , 20,000 virus test kits, 10 million surgical masks , and 700 overalls for ambulance workers who usually carry out the initial testing for the virus.
It was the third such shipment by the Mossad over the past few weeks, aimed at addressing shortages in Israel."
https://www.timesofisrael.com/with-11-planes-israel-airlifts-huge-quantities-of-medical-equipment-from-china/Pompeo: "America remains the world's leading light of humanitarian goodness."Emily , Apr 8 2020 10:12 utc | 11
https://twitter.com/thehill/status/1247559857206628354One million masks for the IDF.Richard Steven Hack , Apr 8 2020 10:13 utc | 12
Eat your heart out US Theodore Roosevelt and Guam.
US sailors right at the bottom of the Pentagon's priorities, thats for sure.
Have one duty - die as required for Israel.
Including death by coronavirus by looks of things.....
More fool them.Bloody hell. The Pentagon procures a million masks from China, then gives them to Israel - when US doctors are running low in almost every city - not to mention that the military itself has soaring coronavirus cases it can't handle.Mao , Apr 8 2020 12:41 utc | 17
You gotta know some rich Jewish corporate billionaire was behind that crap and Kushner was just the conduit to get Trump to agree to it - probably in exchange for a big donation to Trump's campaign.
If there was ever a country that deserved to be on the end of a US bombing campaign - it's Israel - a racist, fanatical. colonialist, fascist, illegal terrorist state. Zionists - the biggest scumbags on the planet. But instead the US bombs everyone else Israel doesn't like.
But cheer up. Israel is a doomed nation. There is no way they can continue their path forever, historically speaking. I suspect they won't exist within another fifty years. They'll either be annihilated by their own nuclear weapons, or transformed into a bi-national state that is no longer primarily Jewish. And I don't particularly care which.The U.S. government's efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment.Ghost Ship , Apr 8 2020 12:41 utc | 18
Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as the nation's only underground repository for nuclear waste finished ramping down operations Wednesday to keep workers safe.
Over more than 20 years, tons of waste have been stashed deep in the salt caverns that make up the southern New Mexico site. Until recently, several shipments a week of special boxes and barrels packed with lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements were being trucked to the remote facility from South Carolina, Idaho and other spots.
That's all but grinding to a halt.
Shipments to the desert outpost will be limited for the foreseeable future while work at the country's national laboratories and defense sites shift to only those operations considered "mission critical."
Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant warned state regulators in a letter Tuesday that more time would be needed for inspections and audits and that work would be curtailed or shifts would be staggered to ensure workers keep their distance from one another.
https://apnews.com/36eec1b19f113b62fa94f2f0388e240d... ... ...Willy2 , Apr 8 2020 12:45 utc | 20
BTW, the Al Quds Post (aka Jerusalem Post to Zionists) has changed the headline on that article to "Israel brings 1 million masks from China for IDF soldiers" Looks like the "New York Purchasing and Logistics Division" is part of the Israeli Ministry Of War All The Time. So the original was a nice story but fake news. Since there was no correction attached to the new version, it could be that Washington/Tel Aviv reckoned that this was a step to far even for Trump and the new version is the fake news.- This news simply confirms again that the US, under Trump, has become more corrupt. But this is a development that already started years, decades ago before Trump became president.William Gruff , Apr 8 2020 13:00 utc | 22Willy2 @20vk , Apr 8 2020 13:26 utc | 24
I think the possibility should be considered that Trump just made preexisting corruption more visible rather than adding significantly to it. There are elaborate protocols and circuitous speech that professional politicians learn to use to obfuscate the corruption and make their own participation in that corruption seem not only acceptable but necessary or even in the public interest. Trump is either ignorant of these protocols or he just doesn't care.This is not surprising at all. Israel's economy is completely dependent on American constant aid:jared , Apr 8 2020 13:41 utc | 26
All is not what it seems: Israeli economy's relative success based on massive direct aid from the US and donations from the Jewish diaspora
Even with all this help (of which most go to the military sector), the Isreali economy can barely keep itself afloat:[...] inequality of income and wealth is huge in Israel, the second worst in the 36 nation OECD group. The relative poverty rate for Haredim and Arabs (25% of the population) is near 50%, and even for other Israelis, it is higher than the OECD average. The gap in median wage levels from skilled to unskilled; from Haredim/Arabs to others is huge - and yet the former will constitute 50% of the population by 2060.
And this mask fiasco is the lesser problem for the American working class right now. A significant portion of its people is going hungry . That magic USD 1,200 check is not coming soon:"the checks are not in the mail."
And the problem isn't just in the USA. The periphery of Western Civilization is also going to suffer:
Germany and France: the sharpest contractions in national output for 75 years.Germany's economy will shrink almost 10 per cent in the three months to June, according to the country's top economic research institutes, the sharpest decline since quarterly national accounts began in 1970 and double the size of the biggest drop in the 2008 financial crisis.
The shutdown of vast swaths of economic activity to contain the spread of the pandemic is knocking 1.5 percentage points off French growth for every two weeks that it continues, the Banque de France warned on Wednesday.
After more than three weeks in lockdown, French economic output is expected to have fallen by the sharpest rate since the second world war, the central bank said, forecasting that gross domestic product contracted 6 per cent in the first three months of the year.
However, to the matter of Israel and the virus:Nathan Mulcahy , Apr 8 2020 14:18 utc | 29
I thought they were having strangely little impact from virus.
Anyway, this is all very revealing.
You know how people always question:
Why did that woman remain in that abusive relationship?"US Department of Defense give 1 million masks to IDF for coronavirus use"Phryne's frock , Apr 8 2020 14:23 utc | 31
MIGAGet everyone you know to read "Against Our Better Judgment" by Alison Weir. Absolutely the best short, supereasy read to open eyes of those who are unaware that they are unaware, I promise. If you can afford to, buy copies to give away.red1chief , Apr 8 2020 14:34 utc | 32Very brief, "b", but one of your best posts. This is an unmitigated outrage. The arrogance of the ruling class knows no bounds, and they are acting with impunity. Seems the ruling class doesn't even care anymore how widely known it is that the US has little sovereignty.Circe , Apr 8 2020 14:41 utc | 35Is Trump charging for the masks or are they an added bonus to the 4 billion Israel already gets annually?
In 2018 Trump cut all aid to UNRWA destined for Palestine.
Screw Trump. Palestinians have started producing their own masks; up to 50,000 per day as well as protective gowns.
Apr 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Aaand Its Gone... The Biggest Support For Asset Prices by Tyler Durden Mon, 04/06/2020 - 12:15 Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,
Since the passage of "tax cuts," in late 2017, the surge in corporate share buybacks has become a point of much debate. I previously wrote that stock buybacks were setting records over the past couple of years. Jeffery Marcus of TP Analytics, recently confirmed the same:
"U.S. firms have been the biggest incremental buyer of stocks in each of the past four years, with their net purchases exceeding $2 trillion – Federal Reserve data on fund flows compiled by Goldman Sachs showed."
As John Authers previously noted:
"For much of the last decade, companies buying their own shares have accounted for all net purchases. The total amount of stock bought back by companies since the 2008 crisis even exceeds the Federal Reserve's spending on buying bonds over the same period as part of quantitative easing. Both pushed up asset prices."
In other words, between the Federal Reserve injecting a massive amount of liquidity into the financial markets, and corporations buying back their own shares, there have been effectively no other real buyers in the market.
Of course, as a corporation, you can't spend all of your cash buying back shares, so with near-zero interest rates, debt became the most logical option. As shown below, much of the debt taken on by corporations was not used for mergers, acquisitions, or capital expenditures, but the funding of share repurchases and dividend issuance.
Unsurprisingly, when you are issuing that much debt for share repurchases, there is a correlation with asset prices. Interestingly, we warned previously:
"The explosion of corporate debt in recent years will become problematic during the next bear market. As the deterioration in asset prices increases, many companies will be unable to refinance their debt, or worse, forced to liquidate. With the current debt-to-GDP ratio at historic highs, it is unlikely this will end mildly."
While that warning fell mostly on "dear ears," the debt is now being bailed out by the Fed through every possible monetary program imaginable.No, Buybacks Are Not Shareholder Friendly
Let's clear something up. Buybacks are NOT shareholder-friendly. The reason that companies spent billions on buybacks is to increase bottom-line earnings per share, which provides the "illusion" of increasing profitability to support higher share prices. Since revenue growth has remained extremely weak since the financial crisis, companies have become dependent on inflating earnings on a "per share" basis by reducing the denominator.
"As the chart below shows, while earnings per share have risen by over 270% since the beginning of 2009; revenue growth has barely eclipsed 60%."
Yes, share purchases can be good for current shareholders if the stock price rises. Still, the real beneficiaries of share purchases are insiders where changes in compensation structures have become heavily dependent on stock-based compensation. Insiders regularly liquidate shares that were "given" to them as part of their overall compensation structure to convert them into actual wealth. Via the Financial Times:
"Corporate executives give several reasons for stock buybacks but none of them has close to the explanatory power of this simple truth: Stock-based instruments make up the majority of their pay and in the short-term buybacks drive up stock prices."
That statement was supported by a study from the Securities & Exchange Commission which found the same issues:
- SEC research found that many corporate executives sell significant amounts of their own shares after their companies announce stock buybacks, Yahoo Finance reports.
Not surprisingly, as corporate share buybacks are hitting record highs, so was corporate insider selling. The misuse, and abuse, of share buybacks to manipulate earnings and reward insiders clearly became problematic .
Furthermore, share repurchases are the "least best" use of company's liquid cash . Instead of using cash to expand production, increase sales, acquire competitors, make capital expenditures, or buy into new products or services, which could provide a long-term benefit. Instead, the cash was used for a one-time boost to earnings on a per-share basis.
Now, all the companies that spent years issuing debt, and burning their cash, to buy back debt are now begging the Government for a bailout.
"Perhaps no other industry illustrates the awkward position that corporate America finds itself in more than airlines. Major airlines spent $19 billion repurchasing their own shares over the last three years. Now, with the coronavirus virtually paralyzing the global travel industry, these companies are in deep financial trouble and looking to the federal government to bail them out ." – The New York Times
And who gets the privilege to PAY for those bailouts – YOU. The U.S. Taxpayer.Loss Of Support
As we warned previously, when CEO's become concerned about their business, the first thing they will do is begin to cut back, or eliminate, stock buyback programs. To wit:
"CEO's make decisions on how they use their cash. If concerns of a recession persist, it is likely to push companies to become more conservative on the use of their cash, rather than continuing to repurchase shares. If that source of market liquidity fades, the market will have a much tougher time maintaining current levels, or going higher."
Yes, companies are indeed reacting to the "coronavirus" pandemic currently. However, they were already in the process of cutting back on repurchases in 2019. As noted recently by Jeffery Marcus:
"Birinyi Associates, the leading firm that does research on buybacks, shows below that announced buybacks have declined significantly in 2019 ' it's the biggest drop to start a year since 2009.'"
This is also because cash balances fell sharply, as corporations loaded-up on debt.
As the impact of the "economic shutdown" deepens, corporations are scrambling to protect their coffers. As noted on Friday, 75% of announced buyback programs have been cancelled.
Corporate buybacks have been the largest source of demand the last few years. 75% of announced buyback programs have been cancelled. So who is the incremental buyer with Boomers retiring in droves who hold the majority of wealth? pic.twitter.com/1IlRrruxDX-- Greg S. (@GS_CapSF) April 4, 2020
Greg's tweet has a complete table, but here is the relevant chart. There is a tremendous amount of support being extracted.
Do not dismiss the data lightly.
The chart below is the S&P 500 Buyback Index versus the Total Return index. Following the financial crisis, as companies began to lever up their balance sheets to increase stock buybacks. There was a marked outperformance by those companies leading up to the crisis.
However, while corporate buybacks have accounted for the majority of net purchases of equities in the market, the benefit of pushing asset prices higher, outside of the brief moment in 2018 when tax cuts were implemented, allowing for repatriation of cash, performance has waned. Now, those companies which engaged in leveraging up their balance sheet to engage in repurchases shares are significantly underperforming the total return index.
Without that $4 trillion in stock buybacks, not to mention the $4 trillion in liquidity from the Federal Reserve, the stock market would not have been able to rise as much as it did over the last decade.Conclusion
As I stated, CEO's make decisions on how they use their cash. With the economy shut down, layoffs in the millions, and no clear visibility about the economic recovery post-pandemic, companies are going to become vastly more conservative on the use of their cash.
Given that source of market liquidity is now gone, the market will have a much tougher time maintaining current levels, much less going higher. As noted by the Financial Times:
"The rebound in equities has sparked optimism that we may be past the worst. However, we still believe it is too early to the call the bottom. From a positioning perspective we still believe there hasn't been a full capitulation.
Hedge funds and risk-parity funds have reduced their equity exposure considerably. But institutional active funds and passive products have room for further outflows. The fiscal bill passed by the US government also allows individuals to withdraw up to $100k from their 401k, without penalty. We believe this could result in over $50bn of further outflows from the retail community. As well, over 50 companies in the S&P 500 have already suspended their share repurchase programs, which accounted for over 25% of buybacks in 2019. We believe the slowdown in buybacks could result in $300bn of lost inflows in the next two quarters." – HSBC
The bear market isn't over yet... not by a long shot.
Apr 03, 2020 | www.techdirt.com
Legal Issues from the insider-trading dept Thu, Apr 2nd 2020 12:00pm -- Mike Masnick
As we noted just a few weeks ago, two Senators -- Kelly Loeffler from Georgia and Richard Burr from North Carolina, both of whom were publicly trying to play down the risks associated with COVID-19 -- were quietly engaging in stock trades that suggested they had a different viewpoint (while five different Senators sold stock during this period, only Loeffler's and Burr's look particularly suspicious). Burr's stock sell-off was revealed first, and got the most attention, in part because he's also the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and was getting classified briefings about COVID-19. The latest news on that front is that the Justice Department has supposedly opened an investigation :
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold off a large amount of stocks before the coronavirus market crash, and now the Justice Department is looking into his statements around this time period, NPR can report.
Others have reported that the FBI has been in contact with Burr. That doesn't mean much for now, and the investigation may turn up nothing. But it's worth noting that it's happening.
The other Senator, Kelly Loeffler, has some more bad news, as new reports suggest even more stock trading that at least looks suspicious. As was noted in the original report, Loeffler had sold off a bunch of retail stock, and bought into a company that does videoconferencing. The original reports suggest that she sold off somewhere between $1.3 million and $3.1 million in stock right before the US economy went south. Turns out it was way more. The new report shows that she also sold off nearly $19 million in stock of Intercontinental Exchange, the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange. It is worth noting that Loeffler's husband is the chair and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, and the sales took place between February 26th and March 11th. That means at least some of those sales were happening while she was insisting that the US had everything under control .
Perhaps even more damning, though? Beyond buying into a videoconferencing software company, Loeffler and her husband, Jeff Sprecher, also purchased a bunch of stock in DuPont, a major supplier of the personal protective gear that hospitals are all now desperate for:
Sprecher bought $206,774 in chemical giant DuPont de Nemours in four transactions in late February and early March. DuPont has performed poorly on Wall Street lately, but the company is a major supplier of desperately needed personal protective gear as the global pandemic strains hospital and first responders.
So, to recap: they sold somewhere in the range of $20 million worth of mostly stock market and retail companies -- and bought into videoconferencing and protective health gear. All while telling the public that the government she's a part of has everything under control.
March 24, 2020 < OlderNo Respite for the Wicked, Pompeo Unleashed Written by Tom Luongo Tuesday
There are few things in this life that make me more sick to my stomach than watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking. He truly is one of the evilest men I've ever had the displeasure of covering.
Into the insanity of the over-reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo wasted no time ramping up sanctions on firms doing any business with Iran, one of the countries worse-hit by this virus to date.
It's a seemingly endless refrain, everyday, more sanctions on Chinese, Swiss and South African firms for having the temerity in these deflating times to buy oil from someone Pompeo and his gang of heartless psychopaths disapprove of.
This goes far beyond just the oil industry. Even though I'm well aware that Russia's crashing the price of oil was itself a hybrid war attack on US capital markets. One that has had, to date, devastating effect.
While Pompeo mouths the words publicly that humanitarian aid is exempted from sanctions on Iran, the US is pursuing immense pressure on companies to not do so anyway while the State Dept. bureaucracy takes its sweet time processing waiver applications.
Pompeo and his ilk only think in terms of civilizational warfare. They have become so subsumed by their big war for the moral high ground to prove American exceptionalism that they have lost any shred of humanity they may have ever had.
Because for Pompeo in times like these to stick to his talking points and for his office to continue excising Iran from the global economy when we're supposed to be coming together to fight a global pandemic is the height of soullessness.
And it speaks to the much bigger problem that infects all of our political thinking. There comes a moment when politics and gaining political advantage have to take a back seat to doing the right thing.
I've actually seen moments of that impulse from the Democratic leadership in the US Will wonders never cease?!
Thinking only in Manichean terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizing your opponents is actually costlier than reversing course right now. Because honey is always better at attracting flies than vinegar.
But, unfortunately, that is not the character of the Trump administration.
It can only think in terms of direct leverage and opportunity to hold onto what they think they've achieved. So, until President Trump is no longer consumed with coordinating efforts to control COVID-19 Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are in charge of foreign policy. They will continue the playbook that has been well established.
Maximum pressure on Iran, hurt China any way they can, hold onto what they have in Syria, stay in Iraq.
To that end Iraqi President Barham Salei nominated Pompeo's best choice to replace Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to throw Iraq's future into complete turmoil. According to Elijah Magnier, Adnan al-Zarfi is a US asset through and through .
And this looks like Pompeo's Hail Mary to retain US legal presence in Iraq after the Iraqi parliament adopted a measure to demand withdrawal of US troops from the country. Airstrikes against US bases in Iraq continue on a near daily basis and there have been reports of US base closures and redeployments at the same time.
This move looks like desperation by Pompeo et.al. to finally separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from Iraq's official military. So that airstrikes against them can be carried out under the definition of 'fighting Iranian terrorism.'
As Magnier points out in the article above if al-Zarfi puts a government together the war in Iraq will expand just as the US is losing further control in Syria after Turkish President Erdogan's disastrous attempt to remake the front in Idlib. That ended with his effective surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be .
It is sad that, to me, I see no reason to doubt Pompeo and his ilk in the US government wouldn't do something like that to spark political and social upheaval in those places most targeted by US hybrid war tactics.
But, at the same time, I can see the other side of it, a vicious strike back by China against its tormentors. And China's government does itself, in my mind, no favors threatening to withhold drug precursors and having officials run their mouths giving Americans the excuse they need to validate Trump and Pompeo's divisive rhetoric.
Remaining on the fence about this issue isn't my normal style. But everyone is dirty here and the reality may well be this is a natural event terrible people on both sides are exploiting.
And I can only go by what people do rather than what they say to assess the situation. Trump tries to buy exclusive right to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from a German firm and his administration slow-walks aid to Iran.
China sends aid to Iran and Italy by the container full. Is that to salve their conscience over its initial suppression of information about the virus? Good question. But no one covers themselves in glory by using the confusion and distraction to attempt further regime change and step up war-footing during a public health crisis, manufactured or otherwise.
While Pompeo unctuously talks the talk of compassion and charity, he cannot bring himself to actually walk the walk. Because he is a despicable, bile-filled man of uncommon depravity. His prosecuting a hybrid war during a public health crisis speaks to no other conclusion about him.
It's clear to me that nothing has changed at the top of Trump's administration. I expect COVID-19 will not be a disaster for Trump and the US. It can handle this. But the lack of humanity shown by its diplomatic corps ensures that in the long run the US will be left to fend for itself when the next crisis hits.
Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .
- Soros Plays Both Ends in Syria Refugee Chaos - 31 December 2015
- About That ISIS Plan to Attack Munich - 4 January 2016
- Do We Need the Fed? - 21 December 2015
- Obama Administration Fights To Withhold Over 2,000 Photos Of Alleged US Torture and Abuse - 18 December 2015
- Enough Already! It's Time To Send The Despicable House Of Saud To The Dustbin Of History - 6 January 2016
Mar 21, 2020 | www.rt.com
In a rare moment of bipartisanship, commenters from all sides have demanded swift punishment for US senators who dumped stock after classified Covid-19 briefings. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called for criminal prosecution. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) has received daily briefings on the threat posed by Covid-19 since January. Burr insisted to the public that America was ready to handle the virus, but sold up to $1.5 million in stocks on February 13, less than a week before the stock market nosedived, according to Senate filings . Immediately before the sale, Burr wrote an op-ed assuring Americans that their government is "better prepared than ever " to handle the virus.
Also on rt.com Liberal icon Sean Penn wants a 'compassionate' army deployment to fight Covid-19
After the sale, NPR reported that he told a closed-door meeting of North Carolina business leaders that the virus actually posed a threat "akin to the 1918 pandemic." Burr does not dispute the NPR report.
In a tweet on Saturday, former 2020 presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for criminal investigations. "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," she wrote.
"Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks."
Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated & prosecuted for insider trading (the STOCK Act). It is illegal & abuse of power. Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks. https://t.co/rbVfJxrk3r-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 21, 2020
Burr was not the only lawmaker on Capitol Hill to take precautions, it was reported. Fellow Intelligence Committee member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and her husband sold off more than a million dollars of shares in a biotech company five days later, while Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe (R) made a smaller sale around the same time. Both say their sales were routine.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) attended a Senate Health Committee briefing on the outbreak on January 24. The very same day, she began offloading stock, dropping between $1.2 and $3.1 million in shares over the following weeks. The companies whose stock she sold included airlines, retail outlets, and Chinese tech firm Tencent.
She did, however, invest in cloud technology company Oracle, and Citrix, a teleworking company whose value has increased by nearly a third last week, as social distancing measures forced more and more Americans to work from home. All of Loeffler's transactions were made with her husband, Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.
Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) have joined the clamor of voices demanding punishment. Ocasio-Cortez described the sales as "stomach churning," while Omar reached across the aisle to side with Fox News' Tucker Carlson in calling for Burr's resignation.
I am 💯 with him on this 😱 https://t.co/Gbi3i2BagY-- Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 20, 2020
"For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," Carlson said during a Friday night monolog. "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself."
As of Saturday, there are nearly 25,000 cases of Covid-19 in the US, with the death toll heading towards 300. Now both sides of the political aisle seem united in disgust at the apparent profiteering of Burr, Loeffler, and Feinstein.
Right-wing news outlet Breitbart savaged Burr for voting against the STOCK Act in 2012, a piece of legislation that would have barred members of Congress from using non-public information to profit on the stock market. At the same time, a host of Democratic figures - including former presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Kirsten Gillibrand - weighed in with their own criticism too.
"If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," Yang tweeted on Friday.
If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest.-- Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) March 20, 2020
Watchdog group Common Cause has filed complaints with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee "calling for immediate investigations" of Burr, Loeffler, Feinstein and Inhofe "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws."
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Mar 21, 2020 | www.youtube.com
Bowhead31 , 5 hours agoMaria Summers , 6 hours ago
The problem is these people no longer see themselves as public servants.shane passey , 3 hours ago
The Georgia Senator is just as guilty as the rest of them, regarding "Insider Trading".
She's a crook just like the rest of the politicians. They say they be there for the people. But they're really there to make themselves rich
Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
who make profits as well. I cannot remember exactly when insider trading for them became legal but it should be no surprise to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention that they're ALL doing it. That is one reason, at least in my semi-educated opinion, they did not go after Trump for emoluments during Shampeachment, because THEY ALL DO IT.
That goes all the way to the White House, no doubt.
Marie on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 10:28amLooks as if the crisis profiteers were on top of it:
Think about this:
Weeks before you had any inkling you were going to lose your job, was selling off millions of stocks -- and *buying* stock in a teleworking company.
-- Robert Reich (@RBReich) March 20, 2020
Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Mao , Mar 19 2020 23:25 utc | 225A group of economists and policy experts on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to immediately lift the United States' crippling sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries, warning that the economic warfare -- in addition to being cruel in itself -- is "feeding the coronavirus epidemic" by hampering nations' capacity to respond.
"This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible," Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement just hours after the Trump administration intensified sanctions against Iran, which has been devastated by COVID-19.
Mao , Mar 19 2020 23:37 utc | 229Promising to "smash" Venezuela's government during a "maximum pressure March," Trump has imposed crushing sanctions that force Venezuela to spend three times as much as non-sanctioned countries on coronavirus testing kits.
Mar 11, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
... ... ...
The 2008 crisis put in the spotlight the psychopathic level of greed, vice, apathy and short-sightedness from those who wanted to play into the City of London and Wall Street casino houses. Get rich quick and don't care who you screw in the process, after all, at the end of the day you're either a winner or a loser.
Since the general public tends to consist of decent people, there is a widespread difficulty in comprehending how entire economies of countries have been hijacked by these piranhas. That we have hit such a level of crime that even people's hard earned pensions, education, health-care, housing etc. are all being gambled away LEGALLY.
Looking upon investment bankers today, one is reminded of those sad addicts in the casino who are ruined and lose everything, except the difference is, they are given the option to sell their neighbour's family into slavery to pay off their debt.
It is no secret that much of the "finance" that goes through the City of London and Wall Street is dirty and yet despite this recognition, there appears to be an inability to address it and that at this point we are told that if we tried to address it by breaking up and regulating the "Too Big to Fail" banks, then the whole economy would come tumbling down.
That is, the world is so evidently run by criminal activity that at this point we have become dependent on its dirty money to keep afloat the world economy.
Faced with the onrushing collapse of the financial system, the greatest Ivy League trained minds of the world have run into a dead end: the bailouts into the banking system that began this past September have prevented a chain reaction meltdown for a few months, but as the liquidity runs out so too will the ideas on where the money justifying bank bailouts will come from.
With these dead ends, we have seen the lightbulb go off in the minds of a large strata of economists who have been making the case in recent years that valuable revenue can yet be generated from one more untapped stream: the decriminalisation and legalisation of vice.
Hell, the major banks have already been doing this covertly as a matter of practice for generations so why not just come out of the closet and make it official? This is where the money is at. This is where the job market is at. So let us not "bite the hand that feeds us"!
But is this truly the case? Is there really no qualitative difference how the money is generated and how it is spent as long as there is an adequate money flow?
Well it is never a good sign when beside the richest you can also find the poorest just a stone's throw away. And right beside the largest financial center in the world, the City of London, there lies the poorest borough in all of London: Tower Hamlets with a 39% poverty rate and an average family income amounting to less than £ 13, 000/year .
A City within a City
" Hell is a city much like London "
– Percy Bysshe Shelley
Although Wall Street has contributed greatly to this sad situation, this banking hub of America is best understood as the spawn of the City of London.
The City of London is over 800 years old, it is arguably older than England herself, a nd for over 400 years it has been the financial center of the world.
During the medieval period the City of London, otherwise known as the Square Mile or simply the City, was divided into 25 ancient wards headed each by an alderman. This continues today . In addition, there existed the ominously titled City of London Corporation, or simply the Corporation, which is the municipal governing body of the City. This also still continues today .
Though the Corporation's origins cannot be specifically dated, since there was never a "surviving" charter found establishing its "legal" basis, it has kept its functions to this day based on the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is a charter of rights agreed to by King John in 1215, which states that " the City of London shall have/enjoy its ancient liberties ". In other words, the legal function of the Corporation has never been questioned, reviewed, re-evaluated EVER but rather it has been left to legally function as in accordance with their "ancient liberties", which is a very grey description of function if you ask me. In other words, they are free to do as they deem fit.
And it gets worst. The Corporation is not actually under the jurisdiction of the British government. That is, the British government presently does not have the authority to undermine how the Corporation of the City chooses to govern the largest financial center in the world . The City has a separate voting system that allows for, well, corporations to vote in how their separate "government" should run. It also has its own private police force and system of private courts.
The Corporation is not just limited to functioning within the City. The City Remembrancer, which sounds more like a warped version of the ghost of Christmas past, has the role of acting as a channel of communication between the Corporation and the Sovereign (the Queen), the Royal Household and Parliament. The Remembrancer thus acts as a "reminder", some would even say "enforcer", of the will of the Corporation. This position has been held by Paul Double since 2003, it is not clear who bestows this non-elected position.
Mr. Double has the right to act as an official lobbyist in the House of Commons, and sits to the right of the Speaker's chair, with the purpose of scrutinising and influencing any legislation he deems affects the interests of the Corporation. He also appears to have the right to review any piece of legislation as it is being drafted and can even comment on it affecting its final outcome. He is the only non-elected person allowed into the House of Commons.
According to the official City of London website , the reason why the City has a separate voting system is because:
"The City is the only area in the country in which the number of workers significantly outnumbers the residents and therefore, to be truly representative of its population, offers a vote to City organisations so they can have their say on the way the City is run."
However, the workers have absolutely no say. The City's organisations they work for have a certain size vote based on the number of workers they employ, but they do not consult these workers, and many of them are not even aware that such elections take place.
If you feel like you have just walked through Alice's Looking Glass, you're not alone, but what appears to be an absurd level of madness is what has been running the largest financial center in the world since the 1600s, under the machinations of the British Empire.
Therefore the question is, if the City of London has kept its "ancient liberties" and has upheld its global financial power, is the British Empire truly gone?
Offshore Banking: Adam Smith's Invisible Hand?
Contrary to popular naïve belief, the empire on which the sun never sets (some say " because God wouldn't trust them in the dark ") never went away .
After WWII, colonisation was meant to be done away with, and many thought, so too with the British Empire. Countries were reclaiming their sovereignty, governments were being set up by the people, the system of looting and pillaging had come to an end.
It is a nice story, but could not be further from the truth.
In the 1950s, to "adapt" to the changing global financial climate, the City of London set up what are called "secrecy jurisdictions". These were to operate within the last remnants of Britain's small territories/colonies. Of Britain's 14 oversea territories, 7 are bona fide tax havens or "secrecy jurisdictions". A separate international financial market was also created to facilitate the flow of this offshore money, the Eurodollar market. Since this market has its banks outside of the UK and U.S., they are not under the jurisdiction of either country.
By 1997, nearly 90% of all international loans were made through this market.
What is often misunderstood is that the City of London's offshore finances are not contained in a system of banking secrecy but rather of trusts. The difference being that a trust ultimately plays with the concept of ownership. The idea is that you hand over your assets to a trustee and at that point, legally those assets are no longer yours anymore and you are not responsible for accounting for them. Your connection to said assets is completely hidden.
In addition, within Britain's offshore jurisdictions, there is no qualification required for who can become a trustee: anyone can set up a trust and anyone can become a trustee. There is also no registry of trusts in these territories. Thus, the only ones who know about this arrangement are the trustee and the settler.
John Christensen, an investigative economist, estimates that this capital that legally belongs to nobody could amount to as high as $50 trillion within these British territories. Not only is this not being taxed, but a significant portion of it has been stolen from sectors of the real economy.
So how does this affect "formerly" colonised countries?
There lies the rub for most developing nations. According to John Christensen, the combined external debts of Sub-Saharan African countries was $177 billion in 2008. However, the wealth that these countries' elites moved offshore, between 1970-2008, is estimated at $944 billion, 5X their foreign debt. This is not only dirty money, this is also STOLEN money from the resources and productivity of these economies. Thus, as Christensen states, "Far from being a net debtor to the world, Sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor" to offshore finance.
Put in this context, the so-called "backwardness" of Africa is not due to its incapability to produce, but rather that it has been experiencing uninterrupted looting since these regions were first colonised.
These African countries then need to borrow money, which is happily given to them at high interest rates, and accrues a level of debt that could never be repaid. These countries are thus looted twice over, leaving no money left to invest in their future, let alone to put food on the table.
Offshore havens are what make this sort of activity "legal" and rampant.
And it doesn't stop there. Worldwide, it is estimated that developing countries lose $1 trillion every year in capital flight and tax evasion. Most of this wealth goes back into the UK and U.S. through these offshore havens, and allows their currencies to stay strong whilst developing nations' currencies are kept weak.
However, developing nations are not the only ones to have suffered from this system of looting. The very economies of the UK and U.S. have also been gutted. In the 1960s and onward, the UK and U.S., to compensate for the increase in money flow out of their countries decided that it was a good idea to open their domestic markets to the trillions of dollars passing through its offshore havens.
However, such banks are not interested in putting their money into industry and manufacturing, they put their money into real estate speculation, financial speculation and foreign currency trade. And thus the financialization of British and American economies resulted, and the real jobs coming from the real economy decreased or disappeared.
Although many economists try to claim differently, the desperation has boiled over and movements like the yellow vests are reflections of the true consequences of these economic policies.
We have reached a point now where every western first world country is struggling with a much higher unemployment rate and a lower standard of living than 40 years ago. Along with increased poverty has followed increased drug use, increased suicide and increased crime.
A Stable Economy based on Freedom or Slavery?
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) report in 2017 , the UK has by far the highest rate of drug overdose in all of Europe at 31% followed by Germany at 15%. That is, the UK consists of 1/3 drug overdoses that occur in all of Europe.
The average family income in the UK is presently £28, 400. The poverty rate within the UK is ~20%.
The average family income of what was once the epicentre of world industrialisation, Detroit, has an average family income of $26, 249. The poverty rate of Detroit is ~34.5%.
What is the solution?
Reverse Margaret Thatcher's 1986 Big Bang deregulation of the banking system that destroyed the separation of commercial banking, investment banking, trusts and insurance for starters. A similar restoration of Glass-Steagall in the USA should follow suit, not only to break up the "Too Big to Fail" banking system but to restore the authority of nation states over private finance once more. IF these emergency measures were done before the markets collapse (and they will collapse), then the industrial-infrastructure revival throughout trans-Atlantic nations can still occur.
Let us end here by hearkening to the words of Clement Attlee, UK Prime Minister from 1945-1951:
" Over and over again we have seen that there is another power than that which has its seat at Westminster. The City of London, a convenient term for a collection of financial interests, is able to assert itself against the government of the country. Those who control money can pursue a policy at home and abroad contrary to that which is being decided by the people. "
Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Mar 10 2020 18:54 utc | 10
To complete the SC's double-header, here's a cool article about the impossibility of separating capitalism from mafia-style banditism:
Sugar and Spice and Everything Vice: the Empire's Sin City of London
Extra points for the headline.
Mar 09, 2020 | nymag.com
"A cannibal doesn't eat his friends."
Mar 08, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
XXYY , March 6, 2020 at 2:54 pm
"Why Elizabeth Warren lost" [Ryan Cooper, The Week].
In a press conference discussing her campaign's end, Warren said that she had not decided yet whether to endorse anyone. "I need some space around this," she said.
Astonishing and amazing that Warren, claiming to be a "progressive", did not immediately endorse Sanders, especially when the alternative is the hapless "Senator from MBNA", Joe Biden. Warren also repeatedly refused to endorse Bernie in 2016, a time when the early and enthusiastic support of a prominent woman with progressive credentials would have really helped and perhaps been decisive in the race against Hillary Clinton.
Sanders is the best shot at a progressive US president we have seen in a century, yet Warren apparently needs time to cogitate on the matter for some reason. I hope whatever she ultimately gets for herself is worth it.
False Solace , March 6, 2020 at 5:57 pm
Bernie held out on endorsing Hillary until she signed on to his free college plan. What concession will Warren demand? Something for the people or something for herself? Force Bernie to make his taxes more regressive? She's a joke.
Rory , March 6, 2020 at 9:12 pm
Let's suppose that the one unchangeable goal of the Democratic Party establishment is that Bernie Sanders must not be the party's 2020 nominee. Any other realistic candidate will do, but it must not be Bernie. Let's also suppose that by the time of the party's convention Vice President Bden's weaknesses and unfitness have become so evident that the party simply can't put him forward as its nominee.
Suppose that Senator Warren sees that and thinks of herself as a realistic choice for the party to replace Biden. A veneer of leftishness, but no real threat to Wall Street. I suspect that her entertaining that hope may explain why since suspending her campaign Senator Warren has criticized the idea of Vice President Biden being the party's nominee, but has had nothing favorable to say about Senator Sanders.
urblintz , March 6, 2020 at 3:47 pm
And here's the email I sent Warren:
"You cried yesterday because you can't be POTUS then went on CNN and trashed Bernie AGAIN (when has he ever trashed you?) by way of his supporters. BOO-HOO. You should have focused your attention on the factory floor (working women) not the glass ceiling.
Politics is a nasty game which you have proven to be expert at. You have earned every criticism in whatever form it comes, frankly. But because you can't be POTUS this time, you will take your ball and go home, so there! with the emotional maturity of a 5 year old.
DJG , March 6, 2020 at 4:26 pm
A worker wonders:
- How is it that Warren pulling out of the race is a victory for patriarchy and sexism, but Amy Klobuchar pulling out of the race is not causing grief and angst? We Midwesterners just don't get enough respect–and melodrama.
- Do we truly have to hear that Warren scared people because she is too competent? (Shades of Most Qualified Hillary.) Lying about being a Native American has a whiff of incompetence, but I'm just persnickety.
- And should we collectively be pointing out that Political Sainthood, once reserved for John McCain, now has been bestowed on Elizabeth Warren, who is starting to be inebriated with her own scent of sanctity? In short: McCain, Warren, all maverick-y all the time.
- On a positive note, is it possible that focusing on what white upper-middle-class people want, which is the status quo, kale salads, and more brunches, is somehow not a viable path to the presidency? As mentioned above, Warren started to slide when she announced Plans that involved means-testing health care and means-testing day care. At least she refrained from issuing leaf-blowers to all of us.
Matthew , March 6, 2020 at 9:44 pm
She and her dead-end supporters are giving a good run at being the most pathetic story in a primary that includes Zombie Joe Biden.
Just mind-bogglingly entitled upper and upper middle class trash. I regret ever thinking of voting for her, I regret ever hearing her name, and I look forward to the day she endorses someone so I never have to think about her again.
Matthew , March 6, 2020 at 9:47 pm
The person who read her Twitter mentions for her was on Twitter begging for Venmo donations for, I guess, her emotional trauma. Christ I hate these people.
Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
jo6pac , March 6, 2020 at 2:26 pm
What did Anita Hill ever do warren or now?
"Warren Urged by National Organization for Women Not to Endorse Sanders: He Has 'Done Next to Nothing for Women'
Eureka Springs , March 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm
There's always a tweet rebuttal for what fails us )
In 1995, Gloria Steinem, spoke of making @BernieSanders an "honorary woman" because his advocacy for women was so strong then, and has continued strong over the decades.
curlydan , March 6, 2020 at 3:33 pm
exactly. Look at the prime examples of how Biden treats women in the public sphere: treating Anita Hill like crap and nuzzling random women. And N.O.W. wants Warren to endorse Biden? Sheesh.
Titus , March 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm
And Warren wonders why she didn't get the votes. Does Warren think being a women per se means only she is capable of going something for women. How childish.
Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 2:01 am
Because when Sanders jawboned Amazon into raising wages, none of the workers who got the raised were women.
That's because to the PMC feminists of NOW -- another NGO to euthanize given how poorly they have performed as measured by their stated goals -- only PMC women are truly women. The working class is an undifferentiated mass without individual identities. That is, in fact, what the Bernie " meme conveys. No female supporter of Sanders can possibly be a real woman, and even more revealing, Sanders supporters are coded male by default, a patriarchal semiotic that would drive NOW and its ilk, er, bananas in any other context.
Rhondda , March 7, 2020 at 8:40 am
"Bernie Bros" = all Sanders supporters [coded male]. Wow, yes! -- Exactly! That's a penetrating insight, Lambert. Thank you!
Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Sanders (D)(1): "Bernie Sanders needs to find the killer instinct" [Matthew Walther, The Week ]. I've heard Useful Idiots, Dead Pundits, and the inimitable Jimmy Dore all make the same point, but Walther's prose makes the point most forcefully (as prose often does). The situation:
There is no greater contrast imaginable than the one between the popular (and frequently exaggerated) image of so-called "Bernie bros" and the almost painfully conciliatory instincts of the man they support.
This was fully in evidence on Wednesday afternoon when Sanders responded to arguably the worst defeat of his political career by chatting with journalists about how " disgusted " he is at unspecified online comments directed at Elizabeth Warren and her supporters and what a " decent guy " Joe Biden is.
He did this despite the fact that Warren, with the connivance of debate moderators, recently called him a sexist in front of an audience of millions, effectively announcing that she had no interest in making even a tacit alliance with the only other progressive candidate in the race and, one imagines, despite thinking that the former vice president's record on virtually everything -- finance, health care, race relations, the environment, foreign policy -- should render him ineligible for office.
It should go without saying that offering these pleasantries will do Sanders few if any favors.
Lambert here: This is a Presidential primary, not the Senate floor. There is no comity. Walther then gives a list of possible scorched earth tactics to use against Biden; we could all make such a list. But then:
Sanders's benevolent disposition does him credit. But the same character traits that make him an honorable politician also make him fundamentally unsuited for the difficult task of waging a successful outsider campaign for the nomination of a major political party.
Corbyn had the same problem...
Sanders really must not let Biden and the Democrat Establishment off the hook. He seems to have poor judgment about his friends. Warren was no "friend." And neither is Joe Biden.
If Sanders wants friends, he can buy a dog .
He should forget those false friends, go into the next debate, and slice Joe Biden off at the knees. Trump would. And will, if Sander loses.
His canvassers and more importantly his millions of small donors deserve no less. The race and the debate is now between two people, and only one can emerge the winner. Sanders needs to decide if he wants to be that person, and then do what it takes . (If the outcome of the Sanders campaign is a left that is a permanently institutionalized force, distinct from liberal Democrats, I would regard that as a net positive. If that is Sanders' ultimate goal, then fine. He's not going to achieve that goal by being nice to Joe Biden. Quite the reverse.)
UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): "Time To Fight Harder Than We've Ever Fought Before" [Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs ].
"Biden now has some formidable advantages going forward: Democrats who no longer see him as a failed or risky bet will finally endorse and campaign for him. He will find it easier to raise money. He will have "momentum." Bloomberg's exit will bring him new voters.
Sanders may find upcoming states even harder to win than the Super Tuesday contests. But the one thing that would guarantee a Sanders loss is giving up and going home, which is exactly what Joe Biden hopes we will now do."
Here follows a laundry list of tactics. Then: "The real thing Bernie needs in order to win, though, is external support. Labor unions, activists, lawmakers, anyone with a public platform: We need to be pressuring them to endorse Bernie.
Why hasn't Sara Nelson, head of the Flight Attendants' Union, endorsed Bernie? (Personally I have always thought she'd be a good VP.)
Now that Elizabeth Warren is clearly not going to win, will organizations like the Working Families Party and EMILY's List and people like AFT president Randi Weingarten and Medicare For All advocate Ady Barkan switch and endorse Sanders?
Where is the Sierra Club, SEIU (Bernie, after all, was one of the first national figures to push Fight for $15), the UAW, Planned Parenthood? Many progressive organizations have been sitting out the race because Warren was in it."
Good ideas in general, but Robinson is dreaming if he thinks Non-Profit Industrial Complex entities like EMILY's List and Planned Parenthood will lift a finger to help Sanders, or busines unionists like Randi Weingarten. To his credit, though, Ady Barkan switched immediately. External support, though is correct: IIRC, there are plenty of union locals to be had; the Culinary Workers should be only the first.
Warren (D)(1): "Why Elizabeth Warren lost" [Ryan Cooper, The Week ]. "Starting in November, however, she started a long decline that continued through January, when she started losing primaries . So what happened in November?
It is hard to pin down exactly what is happening in such a chaotic race, but Warren's campaign certainly made a number of strategic errors. One important factor was surely that Warren started backing away from Medicare-for-all, selling instead a bizarre two-step plan.
The idea supposedly was to pass universal Medicare with two different bills, one in her first year as president and one in the third year. Given how difficult it is to pass anything through Congress, and that there could easily be fewer Democrats in 2023 than in 2021, it was a baffling decision. Worse, Warren then released a plan for financing Medicare-for-all that was simply terrible.
Rather than levying a new progressive tax, she would turn existing employer contributions to private health insurance plans into a tax on employers, which would gradually converge to an average for all businesses but the smallest. The clear objective here was to claim that she would pay for it without levying any new taxes on the middle or working classes. But because those employer payments are still part of labor compensation, it is ultimately workers who pay them -- making Warren's plan a horribly regressive head tax (that is, an equal dollar tax on almost all workers regardless of income).
All that infuriated the left, and struck directly at Warren's branding as the candidate of technical competence. It suggested her commitment to universal Medicare was not as strong as she claimed, and that she would push classic centrist-style Rube Goldberg policies rather than clean, fair ones. (Her child care plan, with its complicated means-testing system, had a similar defect).
Claiming her plan was the only one not to raise taxes on the middle class was simply dishonest. In sum, this was a classic failed straddle that alienated the left but gained no support among anti-universal health care voters. More speculatively, this kind of hesitation and backtracking may have turned off many voters." • On #MedicareForAll, called it here on "pay for" ; and here on "transition." Warren's plans should not have been well-received, and they were not. I'm only amazed that these really technical arguments penetrated the media (let along the voters).
Warren (D)(2): "Warren Urged by National Organization for Women Not to Endorse Sanders: He Has 'Done Next to Nothing for Women'" [ Newsweek ]. • Establishment really pulling out all the stops.
* * *
"Why Southern Democrats Saved Biden" [Mara Gay, New York Times ]. (Gay was the lone member of the Times Editorial Board to endorse Sanders .) "Through Southern eyes, this election is not about policy or personality. It's about something much darker. Not long ago, these Americans lived under violent, anti-democratic governments. Now, many there say they see in President Trump and his supporters the same hostility and zeal for authoritarianism that marked life under Jim Crow .
They were deeply skeptical that a democratic socialist like Mr. Sanders could unseat Mr. Trump. They liked Ms. Warren, but, burned by Hillary Clinton's loss, were worried that too many of their fellow Americans wouldn't vote for a woman."
Well worth a read. At the same time, it's not clear why the Democrat Establishment hands control over the nomination to the political establishment in states they will never win in the general; the "firewall" in 2016 didn't work out all that well, after all. As for Jim Crow, we might do well to remember that Obama destroyed a generation of Black wealth his miserably inadequate response to the foreclosure crisis, and his pathetic stimulus package kept Black unemployment high for years longer than it should have been. And sowed the dragon's teeth of authoritarian reaction as well.
"Corporate Lobbyists Control the Rules at the DNC" [ ReadSludge ]. "Among the 447 total voting DNC members, who make up the majority of 771 superdelegates, there are scores of corporate lobbyists and consultants -- including many of the 75 at-large DNC members, who were not individually elected .
The 32-member DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee contains the following 20 individuals: a health insurance board member co-chair, three surrogates for presidential campaigns (two for Bloomberg, one for Biden), four current corporate lobbyists, two former corporate lobbyists, six corporate consultants, and four corporate lawyers."
ewmayer , March 6, 2020 at 6:03 pm
"Joe Biden is a friend of mine" is the 2020-updated version of "enough about the damn e-mails, already". No amount of ground-level organizing can make up for a candidate willing to publicly overlook what should be high-office-disqualifying fundamental character traits in his opponents out of "niceness".
Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 1:57 am
> Bernie is thinking like an organizer
That's fine, but if his organization is then put at the disposal of Joe Biden, I don't see how the organization survives. (That's why the DNC cheating meme* is important; it provides the moral cover to get out of that loyalty oath (which the Sanders campaign certainly should have had its lawyers take a look at)).
NOTE * Iowa, Texas, and California have all had major voting screw-ups, all of which impacted Sanders voters disproportionately. The campaign should sue. They have the money.)
dcblogger , March 6, 2020 at 2:15 pm
I once met an union organizer and he said he could go back to any site he had worked and be on friendly terms with everyone. Bernie is thinking like an organizer. I think that making this about Social Security is his best bet. It demolishes Biden in a way that makes the election about the American people.
pretzelattack , March 6, 2020 at 2:25 pm
he needs to go after biden on the issues in a much more forceful manner than he typically does, with lots and lots of specifics. did i mention lots of specifics? and lots of pointed references to biden's past positions, and a focus on pinning him down on his position now. he needs to ask questions biden will not be prepared for with easy scripted responses.
JohnnyGL , March 6, 2020 at 2:59 pm
Well, he's baited Biden into a spat about SS for now, so that's a positive sign.
drumlin woodchuckles , March 6, 2020 at 7:10 pm
Perhaps if Sanders can keep successfully baiting Biden with hooks baited with Biden's own past statements over and over and over again, that Sanders can then go on to practice some very well disguised passive-aggressive pointing/not-pointing to Biden's mental condition by asking Biden at every opportunity: " don't you remember that, Joe? You remember saying that, don't you Joe? Don't you remember when you said that, Joe?"
Titus , March 6, 2020 at 3:31 pm
Except 70% of Women according to Stanford finding these kind of confrontations distressing to very distressing. Tricky. One changes emotions by using emotions so the trick here is "allowing" Biden to act deranged and expressing sorrow over it. For 70% of guys they won't get the emotional content, but will understand the logic of the questions and lack of answers. It can be done, Bill Clinton and Obama were very good at this. Look you want to be president you got to play the game at the highest level. Good practice for dealing with trump.
Oh , March 6, 2020 at 3:51 pm
Timing was right for both Obama and Clinton. After the GFC voters would have gone for any Democrat because Republicans were toxic. Similarly, it was fortuitous for Clinton because Perot was running and he quit the race a couple of months before the election.
Obama got loads and loads of money from Wall Street. Neither of these guys would stand a chance in an election year when the economy was doing well.
It's easy to do a post Super Tuesday defeat analysis of Sanders but remember, everything seems to work before SC where I think the Democrats fixed the election and the same holds for Super Tuesday.
I didn't see anyone pointing out that Bernie had to be confrontational when he seems to be winning.
Mo's Bike Shop , March 6, 2020 at 8:59 pm
Wait. How many days ago was the field of candidates wide open?
If Bernard does not roast Biden on Social Security I will be disappointed. If Smokin' Joe doesn't lash out with his typical aplomb, I'll be disappointed. I'm saving myself up for bigger disappointments.
I'll be happy with the Vermont interpretation of Huey Long. I'm glad that people are finally noticing we have one Socialist Senator.
Idea for an 'own the slur' bumper sticker: "I'm tickled pink by Bernie" -- Although I don't know how the post-dial-up-modem crowd might misinterpret that?
foghorn longhorn , March 6, 2020 at 2:56 pm
This is such bs.
Trump insulted the f*ck out of mccain, mittens, jeb, cruz, pelosi, schumer and the rest of the clown posse and what did they do?
Passed every gd thing he sent to them.
Are we gonna fight or dance, it's past time to get it on.
Zagonostra , March 6, 2020 at 6:01 pm
"I admittedly don't even know what to call Pelosi and Schumer at this point, besides a simple "past their sell date".
How about corrupt, immoral dishonest, greedy, sociopaths for starters (for more accurate adjectives I recommend viewing Jimmy Dore)
Glen , March 6, 2020 at 5:22 pm
Bernie cannot say it, but I can.
I support Bernie because Bernie supports the polices I think we need to save the country: M4A, GND,$15/hr min, free college, etc. To me, being an FDR Dem like Bernie is the moderate position, we've done it before, we know it works. Biden's support of neoliberal polices that have wrecked America is the extreme position.
But the DNC does not support FDR's Democracy. They have ended up to the right of Ronald Reagan. Pelosi could have pushed a M4A bill but did not. Pelosi could have pushed any number of polices to show how Trump is failing the working and middle class, but she did not.
So if Bernie is not picked for the general, I no longer have a reason to support the Dems, and will stay home. Actually, I will probably not stay home, I will work to get Dems out of office, and in general, work to burn the party to the ground. Why? Because it is in the way, and does not support the working class or the middle class.
The Dem party has to decide – do they really support the working and middle class or not. Because only Bernie supports those polices, and the rest of the Dems running for President do not.
Mar 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
. In the spirit of charity, we should give credit where it's due: Warren really did become the " unity candidate " that she always proclaimed herself to be. She displayed an astounding capacity to bring together a polarized country around their shared distaste for her candidacy.
Compiling a complete discography of Warren's detractors would be an impossible feat, but for the sake of partisan schadenfreude, we should briefly revisit the greatest hits. These include the Native American tribal leaders who weren't particularly fond of a wealthy white Harvard professor claiming their ethnicity for personal gain (even co-authoring a cooking guide titled The Pow Wow Chow Native American Cookbook ), the Bernie Sanders supporters infuriated by Warren's cynical attempts to paint their candidate as a woman-hating misogynist, police unions offended by Warren's open dishonesty about violence in law enforcement, religious conservatives who found her contemptuous dismissal of anyone with traditionalist views of sexual morality to be in profoundly bad taste, and pro-lifers (who still comprise 34 percent of the Democratic electorate ) for whom Warren's radically pro-abortion policy objectives were unconscionable.
It's worth noting, of course, that this is just a small slice of the groups that found Warren enormously unlikeable. The senator's casual-at-best relationship with the truth ( listing herself as as "woman of color" in Harvard's faculty listing, claiming that she was fired from a teaching position for being pregnant, refusing to admit that her various spending plans would require raising taxes on the middle class, and so on) probably didn't help. And shockingly, her painfully contrived attempts at catering to the woke activist base (vocal support for reparations, pledging to let a transgender child pick her secretary of education, endorsing affirmative action for non-binary people) paired with her technocratically manicured professorial wonkiness -- she's got a plan for that! -- never caught fire in the blue-collar neighborhoods in the Midwest and South.
... ... ...
Senator Warren, we hardly knew ye.
Nate Hochman is an undergraduate student at Colorado College and a Young Voices contributor. You can follow him at Twitter @njhochman .
Mar 05, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
She can attack him from "the left" if she's on the debate stage. I've always thought she's in cahoots with Biden. We'll see soon.
wokkamile on Wed, 03/04/2020 - 11:23amShe already hurt Bernie
@Wally by not dropping out and endorsing him b/f ST, after poor showing in the first 3 contests made it clear she had no substantial and broad enough base.
My sense this morning is that Bernie might need her to get the nomination, and Biden might need her as VP to win the election.
Mar 05, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org
Season of the Switch
Revising History Before It Happens
by Mark Petrakis / March 3rd, 2020As people march off to the polls today to pick their favorite political actor of the year, I hear precious few voices openly asking what seem to me to be obvious questions, like WHO produced the movie that is their candidacy? Who directed it? Who wrote the script? Who are the investors that will be expecting to see returns on their investment, if their movie and their best actor should somehow win? And how far do the networks of wealth, influence and control extend beyond those public faces inside the campaign? None of these questions strike me as tangential; rather they are all essential.
Let's imagine for a moment that one of these actors can somehow out-thespian Trump once on stage which is HIGHLY unlikely – even for folksy Bernie – UNLESS he can somehow win himself 100% DNC buy-in and 24/7 mainstream "BLUE" media support. But assuming that he (or some "brokered" candidate) wins, it will still be their production teams (along with their extended networks) who will be making their presence felt on Day One of any new presidency. These are the people who will be calling in the favors and calling the shots.
I recall how moved I was by Obama's 2008 election. I was buoyed with hope, because I did not understand then what I understand now – that NO candidate can exist as an independent entity, disconnected from the apparatus and networks that support and produce the narratives that advance them and their agendas. I also recall the day that Obama entered the White House and instantly handed the keys to the economy (and the recovery) back to Geithner, Summers and Rubin – the same trio that had helped destroy it just a year earlier. And he did this at the same moment he was filling his cabinet with the very people "suggested" in that famous leaked letter from the CEO of Citibank. My hope departed in genie smoke at that moment, to be followed by eight years of spineless smooth talk and wobbly action, except where the agendas of Wall Street and pompous Empire were concerned.
Do you see how this works? The game is essentially rigged from the start by virtue of who is allowed to enter the race, what can and what can't be said by them and by who the media is told to shine their light on, and who to avoid. Candidates can, of course, say pretty much anything they want (short of "Building 7, WTF!!" of course) in hopes it will spark a reaction that the media can seize upon.
But just based on words, we know that NONE of these happy belief clowns will forcefully oppose existing "Regime Change" plans for Venezuela, Bolivia and Syria. We know that NONE of them will stand up to Israel – or to a Congress that is, almost to a person, in the pocket of Israel. We know too that NONE of them will bring more than an angry flyswatter to the battle with Wall Street or the corporations. We further know that NONE of them will do more than make modest cuts to military spending or god forbid, call out the secret state's fiscally unaccountable black budget operations, which by now reach into at least the 30 trillions.
Personally, I'm not FOR any candidate simply because I cannot UNSEE what it has taken me 12 years to get into focus; namely, how everyone of them are compromised by a SYSTEM that talks a lot about FIXING what's broken, but which is simply INCAPABLE of delivering anything other than what has been pre-ordained and decreed by the global order of oligarchs, which exists as the "ghost in the machine" that ultimately controls every part of the political "STATE" – at high, middle, low and especially at DEEP levels.
I will say in defense of Bernie that his production team early-on made the very unique decision to crowd-source the campaign's costs. That was a PROFOUND decision, which has paid off for him and which may well buy him a certain level of lubricated control over what is to come, even though the significance of that decision is not well appreciated because the DNC and the MSM simply refuse to discuss it in any depth.
Warren was TRYING to play the populist "people's campaign" game too, until last week when she must have been startled awake by the "Ghost of Reagan's Past" and decided to take the money and run as a Hillary proxy which (big surprise) was what she was all along anyway.
Let me just say this about Joe Biden. From his initial announcement, I never felt he was in his right mind. He seems rather to be teetering on the edge of senility and fast on his way into dementia. Also, the man has openly sold his soul so many times in his career that we shouldn't at this point expect any unbought (or even lucid) thought to ever again escape his remarkably loose lips. Joe might have run with the old skool Dems when he was a big deal on the Delaware streets, but now, like Bloomberg and Romney, he's just another Republican in a pricey blue suit.
I understand how people are feeling stressed, obsessed and desperate to get rid of Donald Trump. It's just that until we take a collective step back and see things at the level from which they actually operate and NOT at the level from which we are TOLD they operate, then we will never be successful in turning our public discourse around or in beginning to identify and eliminate the fascist and anti-human agendas that we associate with Trump, but which actually lie behind the subservient to power policies and preferences of BOTH parties.
If you are holding out hope that Bernie can slay the dragon of the existing system at its belladonna roots, then be my guest. I see too many people spending their hope on Elizabeth Warren, which will only serve to suck power away from Bernie, who is the ONLY Democratic candidate movie that has the potential to actually INSPIRE voters, just as Trump does. Bernie deserves credit too for actually CHANGING the nature of the campaign conversation and who just MIGHT even begin to change it at the national level, assuming that time, tide and tyranny allow him four years safe passage to reach his pending retirement.
In any case, after a year of endless media barrage, it is rather late now for the gods to intervene. All I would hope is that a few more of us can open our eyes to see past the silly "lesser of two evils" and "#votebluenomatterwho" memes, to the reality of how every one of these candidates serve as puppets to SOME specific mix of master control forces and thus make our choice in THAT more realistic light, rather than thinking that any of them offer "real" independent solutions or that any of their "heroic" feet are NOT already embedded knee, waist or neck-deep in the Big Muddy river of our dissolute illusions of Democracy.
– Yet Another Useful Idiot.Mark Petrakis is a long-time theater, event and media producer based in San Francisco. He first broke molds with his Cobra Lounge vaudeville shows of the 90's, hosted by his alter-ego, Spoonman. Concurrently, he took to tech when the scent was still utopian, building the first official websites for Burning Man, the Residents and multiple other local arts groups of the era. He worked as a consultant to a variety of corps and orgs, including 10 years with the Institute for the Future. He is co-founder of both long-running Anon Salon monthly gatherings and Sea of Dream NYE spectacles. Read other articles by Mark .
This article was posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 at 8:34pm and is filed under Barack Obama , Bernie Sanders , Deep State , Democrats , Donald Trump , Elections , Joe Biden , Presidential Debates , United States .
Mar 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Former DNC chairman who gave Hillary Clinton debate questions in advance during the 2016 election, exclaimed on Fox News that Biden's victory was "the most impressive 72 hours I've ever seen in U.S. politics," and told another analyst to " go to hell " for suggesting that the Democratic establishment was once again working to manipulate a nominee into frontrunner status.
The Democrats are in chaos and melting down on live TV.
Donna Brazile just told the @GOPChairwoman to "go to hell" when asked about the chaos.
Best of luck, Donna! Meanwhile, Republicans are more unified than ever! pic.twitter.com/hCwotuF9tx-- Trump War Room - Text EMPOWER to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) March 3, 2020
Mar 04, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
... Although it cannot be assumed that all her voters would have gravitated to Sanders, certainly some would have, and with an extra ten points Bernie would have won some states he lost. If she departs after coming in third in her home state, that will help Sanders going forward.
Sanders performed well below the polling. Polls had him competitive in Virginia, where he was crushed by Biden. Polls showed him winning Texas, whereas that turned into a close race.
Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
S , Mar 3 2020 8:00 utc | 107Philosopher Drucilla Cornell on Elizabeth Warren at the University of Pennsylvania (vid, 3:21):I knew Elizabeth Warren when I was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She was a right-wing Reaganite. And the University of Pennsylvania had the most progressive law school curriculum in the country. And this is Elizabeth Warren.
And I taught a first year class called income security. Elizabeth Warren said "there is no more ridiculous idea than national healthcare". That's the Elizabeth Warren I knew. She was in her 30s at this time.
She was the henchwoman of the right-wing takeover to destroy the left-wing curriculum. I taught Worker's Rights, I taught the National Labor Rights Act, which doesn't exist anymore, for the most part, it's not taught in any law school in the United States, I taught Income Security, and I taught Jurisprudence. Elizabeth was against all those things. I don't really know Elizabeth Warren personally, I just know her as a right-wing Republican. And somehow or another, God came out of the heavens and turned her into a Democrat, probably at the very moment that Derrick Bell stepped down from Harvard because he would not work anymore until they hired an African-American woman.
Now she couldn't pretend she was Black, so she pretended she was African. She was Native American. That's not what we call people who are Native Americans, because they're First Nations people. Apaches and Cherokees were nations. There's no such thing as a Native American. Elizabeth checked that box just as Derrick Bell was stepping down. She goes to Massachusetts and she becomes a Democrat.
There is no more [of a] relentless, ruthless, nihilist that I have ever met in my entire life. Not Elizabeth Warren. She's right up there with Donald Trump. So I can't really support her. She did succeed in destroying that progressive curriculum. And that progressive curriculum is, you know, it's one of those life things that you hold onto, right? So I don't trust Elizabeth Warren as far as I can throw her.
She has no policy, she doesn't understand imperialism, and she has said she's a capitalist. What she really is is a technocrat who clawed her way to Harvard. I mean, that's where you want to end up, right? If you're a law professor, you want to be at Harvard. Ok, she did that. She succeeded.
But as President of the United States I wouldn't even dream of supporting her. Because Bernie Sanders, whatever you think of him, like me, was chaining himself to schools to [de]segregate them. Was protesting against the Vietnam war. There are people who have held onto values for a lifetime, and those, Slavoj, are the people I trust.
Russ , Mar 3 2020 8:22 utc | 109S 124
Presumably Sanders always has known about Warren's record (it's never been obscure for anyone who took a few minutes to look; years ago when I focused on Wall Street and participated at the econoblogs I always knew she was a fraud), yet he's always helped propagate the fraud that she's some kind of "progressive". Same as he's always lied about Russiagate (he certainly knows it's a lie).
So according to the party line, Sanders wanted Warren to run in 2016 and only ran himself after she demurred. This can only mean he preferred for her to act as the sheepdog for Hillary, since he certainly knew she was no "progressive".
Mar 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
The Democrat establishment came together and crushed Bernie Sanders, AGAIN! Even the fact that Elizabeth Warren stayed in the race was devastating to Bernie and allowed Sleepy Joe to unthinkably win Massachusetts. It was a perfect storm, with many good states remaining for Joe!-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020
20 minutes later, Trump tweeted that it was " So selfish for Elizabeth Warren to stay in the race ," as she has "Zero chance of even coming close to winning, but hurts Bernie badly."
"So much for their wonderful liberal friendship. Will he ever speak to her again? She cost him Massachusetts (and came in third), he shouldn't!"
So selfish for Elizabeth Warren to stay in the race. She has Zero chance of even coming close to winning, but hurts Bernie badly. So much for their wonderful liberal friendship. Will he ever speak to her again? She cost him Massachusetts (and came in third), he shouldn't!-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020
Three hours later, Trump tweeted: " Wow! If Elizabeth Warren wasn't in the race, Bernie Sanders would have EASILY won Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas , not to mention various other states. Our modern day Pocahontas won't go down in history as a winner, but she may very well go down as the all time great SPOILER! "
Wow! If Elizabeth Warren wasn't in the race, Bernie Sanders would have EASILY won Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas, not to mention various other states. Our modern day Pocahontas won't go down in history as a winner, but she may very well go down as the all time great SPOILER!-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020
Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Benjamin , Mar 4 2020 3:04 utc | 100@94
Warren is a Reagan Republican. She was a Republican until she was 47 years old, which means she lived through the Reagan years thinking 'this is fine'. She only switched in the middle of the 1990s when the GOP had gone so far off the deep end that Clinton's center-right New Democrats better represented her Reaganite views. She claims it was because of abuse by banks, which doesn't make sense, since by that point it was the Democrats leading the charge on bank deregulation.
She isn't a leftist, by any definition.
She built a reputation because of the very narrow range of finance issues she's actually good on (the CFPB is the cornerstone of her entire progressive reputation). And in this election she hasn't been a candidate of the left. She's run on the veneer that she is, but like a snake she's been shedding that pretense over time, backing away from any and every progressive policy position. Her base is white suburbanite professionals, especially women who want to see one of their own be president.
The Warren-Sanders divide perfectly illustrates everything Marx ever wrote about the dangers of Liberals. They aren't the Left's friend. When the revolution comes, they'll be the first to be shot.
uncle tungsten , Mar 4 2020 3:07 utc | 101Warren is a detestable, lying, hypocrite and probably a scumbag to boot.S , Mar 4 2020 3:56 utc | 108
Jimmy Dore and Stef Zamorano do a great job here.@uncle tungsten #100:S , Mar 4 2020 4:02 utc | 109Warren is a detestable, lying, hypocrite and probably a scumbag to boot.
A scumbag or a Sumerian bag?Jokes aside, here's the correct link to the latest The Jimmy Dore Show episode on Warren: Chris Hayes Calls Out Warren On Super-Pac B.S.Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 4 2020 4:25 utc | 116Benjamin: Ronald Reagan famously used to be a Democrat, lots of people forget that. He went Republican in 1962.Circe , Mar 4 2020 5:00 utc | 121
Lots of people also don't know or realize how extremely likeable Reagan was as a person when he was young, much more so for most people than Kennedy ever was or could ever be (the Kennedy family was/is as nasty as any).
I got this link a few US election ago, Reagan was still a Democrat at this point in time: "What's My Line - Ronald Reagan (1953)" , it's only three and a half minutes long.Elizabeth Warren really hurt Sanders tonight and she's getting no delegates cause her percentages are under 15% (except in her own state that she's losing IN 3RD PLACE)! If she had gotten out of the race Bernie would be sweeping everything for Progressives!uncle tungsten , Mar 4 2020 9:51 utc | 153
It's like Warren took a sledgehammer to the Progressive Movement and said: If I can't lead it to the White House, then neither will YOU Bernie Sanders!
That's how selfish she was this week.
Thank goodness Sanders might still be able to get a majority, because BIDEN IS THE TITANIC. Biden cannot be the Nominee, he's a walking disaster and Trump will crush him!
Ugh. What a stupid Party.S #107A scumbag or a Sumerian bag?
Thats a good one. The anunaki wouldn't even shit on Warren. The ancient south American Indians would have found a fitting sacrifice for her type of lying, sleaze.
I have seen that video and watch most of his posts as he has a sharp enquiring mind. Most importantly he is comfortable to be challenged.
I discovered Robert Temple and the science of geopolymers through one of his references.
On Sanders etc I just read this excellent piece at Greanville Post . Dated March 2.
Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
SharonM , Mar 4 2020 3:34 utc | 104I just can't be sympathetic with Bernie and his voters tonight. Remember how Bernie came out to support Tulsi Gabbard when she was having such a hard time with the establishment? Neither do I. Remember how Bernie's supporters made sure Bernie would speak the truth about russiagate, or they weren't going to support him? Neither do I. Remember how Bernie made it clear in every debate and every interview that the choice is endless war or medicare for all? He didn't. Watching someone with a few leftist atoms in him being defeated in State after State by a warmongering sociopath who belongs in a hospice with bars on the windows, is like watching what he deserves.
Jackrabbit , Mar 4 2020 6:10 utc | 129Copeland @122People who casually tell you that Bernie is for the Empire--and not for the repair of society-- are people trafficking in lies.I encourage everyone to look at Bernie with a critical eye and decide for yourself.
Anyone in political life for any length of time (like Bernie) must know that USA is EMPIRE-FIRST. Empire priorities (military and intelligence focus; 'weaponized' liberalism; neoliberal graft; dollar hegemony; Jihadis as a proxy army; etc.) dictate the limits of domestic politics.
- Bernie has a history of deference to the Democratic Party and Democratic Party leaders. All of whom are 100% pro-Empire.
- 'Nice guy' Bernie doesn't do anything that threatens the establishment. HE promises revolutionary change - but that has NEVER come just from establishment Parties via the ballot box. It has come from independent Movements.
- When Bernie talks about Empire matters, he generally obfuscates or reinforces pro-Empire narratives (like Russiagate's McCarthyism).
Bernie's quixotic insurgency was doomed to fail unless Bernie attacked the Democratic Party's connection to Empire and use of identity politics to divide and conquer. Oh, and Bernie would have to threaten to leave the Democratic Party -- but then would become the independent Movement that Bernie and the Democratic Party have tried so hard to prevent!
Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Eric in Kansas , Mar 4 2020 5:00 utc | 122Okay, here's a little speculative fiction.
The setup: US national politics is gang warfare. The Crips vs. the Bloods. Two criminal enterprises with roughly the same aims and tactics, fighting for turf. With minor differences of style. Trump upsets the leadership of the Bloods in 2016, but it turns out that, outrageous as he is, he is good for business, so all the Bloods but the wimps with a weak stomach fall in behind him.
The Crips are bloated and in decline. A bunch of naïve, starry eyed nobodies mount a campaign to take the Crips legit. The old Crips are irritated that they have to take time out from grifting so as to squash the upstart pests.
That is where I see us today. But let's just suppose that the old Crips are not quite as pathetic as they look. Let's imagine that they actually learned something in 2016. It was supposed to be easy for them in 2016, and they were surprised. So they have had four years to hone their election-stealing skills. And most of the traditional election stealing organizations in this country seem largely to hate Trump.
So let's posit that the FBI & CIA, or whoever it is manages to prop up Biden, and succeed in stealing the election for him. Who would object to that?
Yes, exactly – all the Trump die-hards, and 'tribal' gang bangers would object. It could get really nasty.
And so far, I have not seen any evidence that any of the characters that would be willing to play such a gambit have any inclination to give a shit for the consequences for us little people.
Jackrabbit , Mar 4 2020 5:23 utc | 125Eric in Kansas @121: gang warfarekiwiklown , Mar 4 2020 8:32 utc | 141
Not two gangs but one Deep State political mafia with two families running a protection racket (MIC), prostitution (media propaganda, psyops), drugs (industry incentives), and gambling (overseas adventurism)...
... aka "Tammany on the Potomac."
Wikipedia describes Tammany as :The Tammany Society emerged as the center for Democratic-Republican Party politics in the city in the early 19th century. After 1854, the Society expanded its political control even further by earning the loyalty of the city's rapidly expanding immigrant community, which functioned as its base of political capital. The business community appreciated its readiness, at moderate cost, to cut through red tape and legislative mazes to facilitate rapid economic growth... Tammany Hall also served as an engine for graft and political corruption, perhaps most infamously under William M. "Boss" Tweed in the mid-19th century....
[Tweed's biographer wrote:]It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization.
!!trailertrash @6 --- Americans have been railroaded into endless squabbling about voting and democracy instead of demanding good governance. How does choosing between two similarly corrupt parties deliver good governance?
Voting in the lesser evil is still choosing evil.
What does it profit a nation to have voting every 4 years when excrement covers her sidewalks? and vets suicide themselves daily? and soldiers get raped daily by fellow soldiers?
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
AntiSpin , Mar 3 2020 21:09 utc | 51For everyone puzzling over Warren's actions and intentions, this should help -- a lot.
Woke Wonk Elizabeth Warren's Foreign Policy Team is Stacked With Pro-War Swamp Creatures
Alexander Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal – 2-26-20
"With her new list of foreign policy advisors, Warren unveiled a cast of pro-war think tankers, Cold Warriors and corporate careerists united in support of the Beltway consensus. So much for 'big, structural change'."
Mar 03, 2020 | medium.com
As I was checking the news earlier today I noticed that the coronavirus had killed another top government official in Iran, bringing the total to 3. Or at least the 3 they have released info on. There's a chance it's worse among the Iranian leadership but they don't want to cause a panic. I checked the Twitterverse after that for my daily dose of madness and surprisingly kept seeing people ask rhetorically:
Why is Tulsi Gabbard still in the primary race?
Turns out that Amy "She Hulk" Klobuchar had dropped out of the primary race apparently to suck up to Joe Biden for a VP slot. And so had Pete "Honestly I'm Not Annoying" Buttigigieididisjjd. This of course should surprise no one since the threat of Bernie Sanders to the financial criminal syndicates greasing the palms of practically all politicians and media to do their bidding have seen the writing on the wall. They realize they need candidates to drop out in order to coalesce centrist votes around one or two to stop what they perceive to be a huge problem for them in Bernie Sanders.
... ... ...
Biden and Warren are both enthusiastic supporters of neocon foreign policy which is in line with their phony support for the working class. What happened to Warren's glittering M4A plan? It turned back into a pumpkin didn't it? It was all smoke and mirrors. No surprise if you know her history. Did you see her on Pod Save America regaling us with how much she believes in crippling countries by sanctions if they dare to resist the racist Imperial Borg Assimilation Machine aka The Foreign Policy Establishment ? That doesn't sound woke to me Miss Thang .
Warren is an establishment social climber. She took off the mask and her true colors shone through when she viciously attacked Bernie Sanders as a misogynist. Yet still many people surrounding the Sander's campaign support Warren. Why is that? Big money on the left supports her, that's why. That big money also pays a lot of salaries in the liberal political job market. Have you heard of the The Democracy Alliance ?
The Democracy Alliance is a semi-anonymous donor network funded primarily by none other than Democratic mega-donor George Soros. Since its inception in 2005, it is estimated the Alliance has injected over $500 million to Democratic causes. While it isn't typical that they would endorse a candidate outright, they focus more on formulating a catalog of organizations and PACs that they recommend the network of about 100 or so millionaires and billionaires invest in. Democracy Alliance almost literally have their hands in every major left-leaning institution you have (and haven't) heard of -- John Podesta and Neera Tanden's Center for American Progress, David Brock's Media Matters, Center for Popular Democracy, Demos (we'll come back to this one), and the Working Families Party. All of these organizations are listed on the Alliance's website as recommended investments for it's members; and invest they do. Here's the rub: Democracy Alliance's membership isn't made entirely public -- but we know enough that alot of the people that have sat in the highest levels of that organization have an affinity for Elizabeth Warren.
... ... ...
Why do so many liberals or even progressives dislike Tulsi and are so eager to see her gone? Propaganda from the media. The media for a year has relentlessly promoted Red Baiting towards Tulsi because Tulsi challenges the "Washington Consensus" (unfettered elite rule over America and the world with an iron fist).
That is why we got this from Jacob Wohl after Tulsi declared her candidacy last year:
Everyone in the pro-Israel lobby (myself included) is already talking about how to make sure that Tulsi Gabbard's campaign is over before it even gets off the ground -- If you're going to bet on a Dem candidate, look elsewhere.
There are many reasons behind that. The main reason though is Tulsi trying to stop war. The Neocons and Saudis have been pushing American politicians, celebrities, media owners, think tanks, foundations and so on for years -- to destroy Syria. Supposedly because Syria is close allies with Iran.
But they are not the only ones who want Syria destroyed. Other reasons may have to do with massive profits at stake. A natural gas survey team from Norway some years ago discovered that Syria has the largest untapped deposits of natural gas in the world . After that secret discovery became known by various powerful people plans were drawn up to split up the profits after the destruction of the Syrian government. But after Syria asked Russia for help that changed their plans.
Tulsi meanwhile kept going on CNN to tell the American people that our government was waging a secret war in Syria by giving advanced weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to help them topple the government. America, Israel , and the Saudis weren't the only ones with a plan for Syria. Turkey and Qatar had their own plans. The UK and other leading EU nations had a plan as well . And the only politician in any of those countries telling the public the truth of what was going on -- was Tulsi.
... ... ...
She is not having our country become a plaything for rich a-holes who use the lives and limbs of service members for their greedy scams. Because of that the idle rich sociopaths ruling America with their political and media henchmen went after Tulsi with a full barrage of lies , media blackouts, and massive amounts of propaganda -- all to stop her message from getting out so they can create a false image of her in people's minds. Everything and anything they can throw at her, they do.
There are two politicians whom they fear. Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. Which is why Bernie Sanders has unsurprisingly been trying to stay out of the foreign policy debate, or he even goes along with the establishment for the most part. He saw what they unleashed against Tulsi. He knows from long experience that propaganda works on a lot of people. The financial elites are not naive though, they probably believe he is going along with their ridiculous foreign policy as a political strategy -- until he gains more power. They fear that if he gains that power he will, like Tulsi, not go along with their imperial stormtrooper agenda.
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org
No matter who comes away with the nomination, it has to be asked "was any of this process legitimate?". We know from a plethora of examples that US elections are not fair. They border on meaningless most of the time. The DNC's doubly so, having argued in court they have no duty to be fair.
Any result, then, you could safely assume was contrived, for one reason or another.
If the Buttigieg-Klobuchar-Biden gambit works, we end up with Trump vs. Biden. And, realistically, that means a second Trump term.
Biden is possibly senile and definitely creepy . Watching him shuffle and stutter through a Presidential campaign would be almost cruel.
Politically, he has all of Hillary's weaknesses, being a big-time establishment type with a pro-war record, without even the "I have a vagina" card to play.
He'll get massacred.
Is that the plan?
There's more than enough signs that Trump has abandoned all the policies that made him any kind of threat to the political establishment. Four years on: no wars ended, no walls built, no swamp drained. Just more of the same. He's an idiot who talked big and got co-opted. It happens.
The Senate and other institutions might talk about Trump being a criminal or an idiot or a "Nazi", but the reality is he's barely perceptibly different from any other POTUS this side of JFK.
#TheResistance was a puppet show. A weak game played for toy money. When it really counts, they're all in it together. Biden getting on the ticket would be a public admittance of that. It would mean the DNC is effectively throwing the fight. Trump is a son of a bitch, but he's their son of a bitch. And that's much better than even the idea of President Bernie.
... ... ...
falcemartello ,Does it really matter?
Empire of kaos will never move one inch to change the status quo.
The quaisi fascist state that most western /antlantacist nations have become it will make no difference
Gianbattista Vico"Their will always be an elite class" Punto e basta.
Name me one politico that made any difference to we the sheeple in the modern era.
If someone were to mention FDR I will scream.
Aldo Moro got murdered by the deep state for only suggesting to make a pact with Berlinguer the head of Il Partito Communista Italiano.
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
chu teh , Mar 4 2020 0:50 utc | 80Tonymike | Mar 3 2020 18:08 utc | 26
re ... Your house foreclosed upon by shady bank: naked capitalism, .0001% paid on interest savings: naked capitalism, poor wages: naked capitalism, dangerous workplace: naked capitalism, etc. ...
"naked capitalism" is not a clear description. Consider using "predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what it is.
Here's the Wiki dictionary definition:
1. relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others.
synonyms: predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial, ravening;
Example: "predatory birds".
2. seeking to exploit or oppress others.
synonyms: exploitative, wolfish, rapacious, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious
Example: "I could see a predatory gleam in his eyes"
Note where the word comes from:
The Latin "praedator", in English meaning "plunderer".
And "plunderer" helps the reader understand and perhaps recognize what is happening.
Every plunderer understands.
Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org
Joerg ,It is an illusion to talk of "the Left" and "the Right" anymore, because the USA have become outright criminal: A Mafia-system ruled by some syndicates.
Think of this enormous sum of 23 (I believe) trillion Dollars missing in the Pentagon. And the House even decided to not research where this money went! To this see https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1407-mark-skidmore-on-the-pentagons-missing-trillions/
Or think of the Ukraine and Joe and Hunter Biden (and other corrupt persons from the EU). Author Bill Martin mentions this above with :"dirty business in Ukraine".
But its not only about corruption. Now it's also about a murder-attempt -- as every Mafia would never hesitate to execute. And Western media doesn't report this.
This has happened: Because of Joe Biden's quid-pro-quo demand to former Ukrainian president Poroshenko (no billions of Dollars from the US, if Shokin was not fired) state prosecutor Shokin was then fired. But some months ago there had now also been a poison-attack on Shokin.
And now Shokin goes after Joe Biden -- and he must, if he wants to survive!: To this on the site https://youtube.com/channel/UCdeMVChrumySxV9N1w0Au-w There click the video "JOE BIDEN, UKRAINE AND VIKTOR SHOKIN MERCURY POISONING".
Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org
Savorywill Yes, I agree completely (though I would have to study the materials more carefully to fully understand it all). It is mentioned that one accomplishment of Trump was his take-down of the Bush dynasty for the lies spun justifying the Iraq war. It was in S. Caroline that Trump did this, in a debate of Republican candidates at the start of the election campaign in 2016. I knew nothing about Trump at the time, having lived in Japan and Australia for many years, never saw the Apprentice or even heard of him. So, when he started snipping at Jeb saying that Jeb's brother George, led America in the biggest mistake in US history by starting the war on Iraq, and the audience started booing, to which Trump replied, 'oh, those are just paid for lobbyists – I don't need them as my campaign is self-funded', it was absolutely astonishing and I could hardly believe my ears, or eyes. Yet, there it was on TV, one of the first debates of the Republican party for their candidate. I then saw that Trump was, indeed, something very different from what we had ever seen in American politics.
I was rapt when he defeated Hillary, and completely surprised as it was so unexpected. It did give me faith in America again, to some degree. Here is the woman who orchestrated the criminal destruction of Libya, and then laughed about the horrific murder of Gaddafi, who was only trying to provide a decent society for Libyan citizens and deal with the madness of the forces around him. What happened to him, and to Libya, was just so heartbreaking, and she thought it was a big joke and tried to do the same in Syria. So, I was thrilled when she got beaten. Not that everything Trump has done since then has met with my approval, but he seems to be winding down the wars as he promised and I don't mind listening to his speeches at the rallies, which I sometimes do watch. I particularly like when he went to a farming area in California and signed a bill enabling local farmers to access water, something they were unable to do because of various regulations. I never heard of any other presidents so hands-on with their involvement with such things and I thought his speech in India, recently, was incredible. I couldn't stand listening to Hillary for any more than a few minutes. Even Obama never really rang true to me. He would say things like 'change we can believe in', or 'hope for more hope', vague platitudes like that that didn't really have many specifics. I can understand Clint Eastwood's speech talking to the empty chair (representing Obama) at the Republican convention in 2012, actually. Obama seems like a media projection, or something. Hard to identify or see him as an actual person.
sharon marlowe ,"Not that everything Trump has done since then has met with my approval, but he seems to be winding down the wars as he promised"
What is "winding down the wars"? Do mean that you stopped paying attention?
Savorywill ,Seems like they are winding down, don't you think? Just today I read the the Taliban just signed an agreement to that effect, to finally finish that war going on for nearly 20 years, no closer to success since the start. The US is not overtly involved in the Syrian conflict as well as it seems to be trying to get out of Iraq.
Had Hillary won, she would have gone full bore into Syria and probably would have made matters much, much worse. She is a thorough warmonger, her track record clearly demonstrated that.
sharon marlowe ,First, an attempted assassination-by-drone on President Maduro of Venezuela happened. Then Trump dropped the largest conventional bomb on Afghanistan, with a mile-wide radius. Then Trump named Juan Guido as the new President of Venezuela in an overt coup. Then he bombed Syria over a fake chemical weapons claim. He bombed it before even an investigation was launched. Then the Trump regime orchestrated a military coup in Bolivia. Then he claimed that he was pulling out of Syria, but instead sent U.S. troops to take over Syrian oil fields. trump then assassinated Gen. Solemeni. Then he claimed that he will leave Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government asked the U.S. to leave, and Trump rejected the request. The Trump regime has tried orchestrating a coup in Iran, and a coup in Hong Kong. He expelled Russian diplomats en masse for the Skripal incident in England, before an investigation. He has sanctioned Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela. He has bombed Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Those are the things I'm aware of, but what else Trump has done in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America you can research if you wish. And now, the claim of leaving Afghanistan is as ridiculous as when he claimed to be leaving Syria and Iraq.
"winding down the wars" makes no sense.
Antonym ,Trump just signed a peace pact with the Taliban. As they are basically CIA -ISI irregulars he got the green light from Langley.
He needs this gesture for his re-election campaign.
Savorywill ,Yes, what you say is right. However, he did warn both the Syrian and Russian military of the attack in the first instance, so no casualties, and in the second attack, he announced that the missiles had been launched before they hit the target, again resulting in no casualties. When the US drone was shot down by an Iranian missile, he considered retaliation. But, when advised of likely casualties, he called it off saying that human lives are more valuable than the cost of the drone. Yes, he did authorize the assassination of the Iranian general, and that was very bad. His claims that the general had organized the placement of roadside bombs that had killed US soldiers rings rather hollow, considering those shouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place.
I am definitely not stating that he is perfect and doesn't do objectionable things. And he has authorized US forces to control the oil wells, which is against international law, but at least US soldiers are not actively engaged in fighting the Syrian government, something Hillary set in motion. However, the military does comprise a huge percentage of the US economy and there have to be reasons, and enemies, to justify its existence, so his situation as president must be very difficult, not a job I would want, that is for sure.
Petra Liverani ,The assassination (or other means of disappearance) of Soleimani seems to have been a collusion between Trump and Rouhani who wasn't a fan of the guy and the evidence shows that the crash of PS-752 was staged.
I do like this video, Seats and People, by Peekay and Meta-Scriptors
sharon marlowe ,There were at least nine people killed when Trump bombed Douma.
Only a psychopath would kill people because one of its spy drones was shot down. You don't get points for considering killing people for it and then changing your mind.
People should get over Hillary and pay attention to what Trump has been doing. Why even mention what Hillary would have done in Syria, then proceed to be an apologist for what Trump has done around the world in just three years? Trump has been quite a prolific imperialist in such a short time. A second term could well put him above Bush and Obama as the 21st century's most horrible leaders on earth.
Who has done the shit under the Trump Regime (lol Regime! You lot)
Trump – not.
Regime – yes.
If you think that the potus is the omnipotent ruler of everything he certainly seems to be having some problems with his minions in the CIA, NSA, FBI..State Dept etc.
The potus is best described (by Assad actually) as a CEO of a board of directors appointed by the shareholders who collectively determine their OWN interests.
Your gaslighting ain't succeeding round here – Regime! So desperate, so so sad 🤣
sharon marlowe ,Are you seven years old? There's no such thing as omnipotent rulers. I said Trump was the leader of the U.S. regime. That's how it's said in the real world;)
Dungroanin ,Right – and the regime of which he is the leader of has been trying to usurp him from day one, correct?
So in your world view Trump has been trying to overthrow himself?
That all the Russiagate, Ukrainegate – coupgates in short are all Trump doing it to himself!!!
Who is being childish by conflating all of that?
Koba ,He's sent more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan he strayed several coups in Latin America and was game for taking on the dprk until they got nukes and wants to bomb Iran! Winding down?!
Dungroanin ,Yeah yeah and 'he' gave Maduro 7 days to let their kid takeover in Venezuela! And built a wall. And got rid of obamacare and started a nuke war with Rocketman and and and
In 2016 Trumps role (whether he fully realised it or not) was to get rid of all the existing Republican candidates that may have stopped Hillary getting her crown.
He and the Clinton family were old friends in NY and he played golf with Bill regularly.
What you haven't identified in what you saw in 2016 is the choreographed pantomime villainy of The Donald during the debates with Hillary.
It was designed for him to lose appeal and keep GOP voters at home.
The reason Hillary lost :
The stitch up of Bernie and his supporters as revealed by the DNC email leaks which kept them from voting for her;
Her failure to campaign effectively being a cold hearted murdering bitch that couldn't empathise with a kitten;
A load of ordinary poorish Americans who got a bit pissed at being labelled 'deplorable' by her.
Simple as that.
Donald was as suprised as anyone to have actually won that night – he had to go chat to the Clintons and say "what the fuck am I supposed to do now? I have a whole load of Apprentice episodes lined up to film, and Hotels & Golf courses to build!"
Obviously he couldn't say it must be a mistake and his friends the Clintons should be allowed back into the White House as planned – that wouldn't have washed – so he ended up in the Oval Office.
As potus he would have to make decisions which no one including the Clintons could force him to do anything HE ultimately didn't want to do. No matter how many of the stooges imposed upon him tried to get away with murder.
He quickly realised there was some nasty goings on that he was supposed to rubberstamp and he rebelled against it at his inauguration speech which gave the establishment a slap across the face as Pres George W Bush quipped to his dad PresGeorge Bush
"That was some weird shit"
And all else followed the yellow brick road to right here, right now.
The Left has fallen into reactionary insanity
The other main proof for the above: they support Islamism just because the "alt-right" opposes it.
Islamism kicks all the Left's causes in the teeth: equality only for Muslims, as all the others are despicable kaffirs; misogyny to the power of 2; LGTB rights below zero; nothing against shark capitalism in the Koran.
The Iranian Left was massacred in 1988 by the Iranian Islamists.
Dungroanin ,Antzy the Bush's from Grandaddy Prescot to the CIA JFK killers and Pres George Senior to Pres Dubya to all current scions are bestties with the most extreme form of islamists in hostory the Wahhabists who enable the Saudis to control Saudi Arabia and it's wealth – they have even been referred to as the most Likudist state outside of Israel by Nuttyyahoo!
Koba ,The Jew defender has spoken! Show me this support for Islamism! Im yet to find even a mainstream or fringe left wing party support that at all! Good goy a shekel has been deposited into your account
MASTER OF UNIVE ,The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars.
Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business.
Trump is not an asset.
MASTER OF UNIVE ,Okay, I'll admit that he is a Russian Federation asset in so far as he is Putin's & Russian Federation Intelligence asset fodder that Putin can utilize at will whenever he desires but aside from being the biggest dumb arse in the Western Empire he is really an ignorant ignoramus when you drill right down to it.
I support the USA Deep State conspiracy to rid the good people of the United States of America of the Orange Oaf conundrum. The global business community would rather restore business fundamentals IMHO.
As MOU my perspective is absolute, sorry.
Like Josef Stalin I too have a reputation to uphold.
Joerg ,It is an illusion to talk of "the Left" and "the Right" anymore, because the USA have become outright criminal: A Mafia-system ruled by some syndicates.
Think of this enormous sum of 23 (I believe) trillion Dollars missing in the Pentagon. And the House even decided to not research where this money went! To this see https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1407-mark-skidmore-on-the-pentagons-missing-trillions/
Or think of the Ukraine and Joe and Hunter Biden (and other corrupt persons from the EU). Author Bill Martin mentions this above with :"dirty business in Ukraine".
But its not only about corruption. Now it's also about a murder-attempt – as every Mafia would never hesitate to execute. And Western media doesn't report this.
This has happened: Because of Joe Biden's quid-pro-quo demand to former Ukrainian president Poroshenko (no billions of Dollars from the US, if Shokin was not fired) state prosecutor Shokin was then fired. But some months ago there had now also been a poison-attack on Shokin. And now Shokin goes after Joe Biden – and he must, if he wants to survive!: To this on the site https://youtube.com/channel/UCdeMVChrumySxV9N1w0Au-w There click the video "JOE BIDEN, UKRAINE AND VIKTOR SHOKIN MERCURY POISONING".
paul ,Trump, Sanders and Corbyn were all in their own way agents of creative destruction.
Trump tapped into the popular discontent of millions of Americans who realised that the system no longer even pretended to work in their interests, and were not prepared to be diverted down the Identity Politics Rabbit Hole.
The Deep State was outraged that he had disrupted their programme by stealing Clinton's seat in the game of Musical Chairs. Being the most corrupt, dishonest and mendacious political candidate in all US history (despite some pretty stiff opposition) was supposed to be outweighed by her having a vagina. The Deplorables failed to sign up for the programme.
Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone.
For all his pandering to Adelson and the Zionist Mafia, for all his Gives to Netanyahu, Trump has failed to deliver on the Big Ticket Items. Syria was supposed to have been invaded by now, with Hillary cackling demonically over Assad's death as she did over Gaddafi, and rapidly moving on to the main event with Iran. They will not forgive him for this. They realise they are under severe time pressure. It took them a century to gain their stranglehold over America, and this is a wasting asset. America is in terminal decline, and may soon be unable to fulfil its ordained role as dumb goy muscle serving Zionist interests. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a replacement host.
paul ,Sanders was shafted in 2016 by the corrupt DNC machine, and he is being shafted again.
He will probably be sidelined in favour of some third rate hack like Buttplug, or some other synthetic, manufactured nonentity.
If he isn't, and by some miracle does secure the nomination, they will fail to support him and just allow him to be defeated by Trump. It doesn't matter.
There are millions of decent people who have long been persuaded to play the game of Lesser Evils. They will be as disenchanted as was Trump's Base by a transparently corrupt, rigged system, and finally withdraw their support.
This has to be seen as a positive development.
They can no longer paper over the cracks.
paul ,Likewise, there are more than a few crumbs of comfort to be drawn from the smearing and destruction of Corbyn.
As in America, it forced the Deep State to step out from behind the curtain and take direct control. The Zionist wire pullers had to step out into the spotlight and reveal the true extent of their domination.
The endless treachery and backstabbing of the Blairites have shown the Labour Party to be a lost cause, a dead end, a waste of time, effort and energy, and a waste of a man's rations, making way for something more worthwhile. This is another positive development.
Koba ,Paul the people playing the lesser of two evils game aren't good people. They pretend they are. That's it. In a nutshell.
Dungroanin ,Well Bill you make great points especially around the Impeachment minutiae – Eric the Schiffleur, Paul, a genuine legal expert, Schiffs shape changing and snakeeyed mesmerising , the levitation of Bolton into a Saviour? Holly shit!! Yanks eat some nasty foods no wonder there is great obesity (gratuitous I know).
BUT Bill, you will insist on working the old long con – the Left/Right imaginary one dimensional divide.
There is only a 3-D Top-Bottom construct in the world in a roughly Pyramidal 'con' shape which shifts its peaks and size in time (4D).
It is the super rich oligarch owning Pathocracy in the hidden heights and their visible representative Kings and plutocrats at the top and their circles of diminishing powers and affluence down to the majority of humans below – kept in the dirt and slavery through indenture where they can't by shear violence of slave masters and dog soldiers.
There is only that top – bottom, squashed by bought priests and philosophers and 'economists' into first a 2-D triangle and then squashed into a 1-D line that people are told is left and right. The great owners of everything having disappeared of that scale but represented by their ciphers:-
Clintons / Obama are Left – Bush's / Trump are right.
Crap – they are just pawns in the top down 4D game trying to claw up the peaks – no wonder Donald named his son Baron – it may be his way of giving the finger to the glass ceiling he aims to shatter.
Bernie is a threat to that pyramid as Jeremy was here in the UK.
They had to stop Jeremy at any cost and the Judaeo-phobic smear was massive, added to the terrorist smear in the 2017 election. Along with the he was both a Brexiteer and anti Brexiteer smear and a Commie!
It was still not quite certain so the US openly interfered in rhe UK election with Pompeo's Gauntlet to stop Corbyn – where the fuck is the concerned democratic purveyors of the US on that election interference by the Sec of State and a pressure group upon a another sovereign country ?
Where are the judges? The IG's ? The glitterati? The Intellectuals ?
They FIXED the postal ballots to make sure – even after making sure a unprecedented winter, December, short daylight, prexmas date to minimise turnout.
Yes they did.
Sanders looks like he is going to get the gauntlet but being Jewish to start with – it will be harder to throw the Judaeophobe mud at him – so the shit thrown is, COMMUNIST ! It has already started, but to make sure the election will also be rigged, whether via the delegates or by the 'hanging chard de nous jour'.
Only a massive turnout and careful independent international election inspectors would ever get near that – though they didn't stop the Bolivian coup by the CIA did they?
Anyway Trump has a trump card he will play anyday soon – a NEW YALTA – which will turn him into a giant statesman of the world stage and he'll stomp home for his second term – for these above in the Pyramid better the devil they know and give Baron a baronial peak of his own snd Donald his pound if flesh!
George Mc ,Haven't you just agreed with him here?
He thinks the left died in the 1960s, over a half century ago. It's pretty simple to identify a leftist: anti-imperialist/ anti-capitalist. The Democrats are imperialists. People who vote for the Democrats and Republicans are imperialists. This article is a confused mess, that's my whole point;)
If the Democrats and Republicans (and those who vote for them) are imperialists (which they are) then the left are indeed dead – at least as far as political representation goes. Although to be sure, that makes his point confused to say the least. He seems to be attempting to drum up support for Sanders who, by his own logic, isn't going to make a damn bit of difference (any more than Corbyn would have made had HE been elected in the UK).
George Mc ,Truth be told, I usually tend to glaze over when I see articles about Trump's impeachment. Or indeed articles about American politics in general. And I see the Corbyn fiasco as the ultimate indication that UK politics is just another rigged show. The ultimate irony being, as I've said, that Corbyn would not have made a difference even if elected anyway. The fact that the media went so ruthlessly after him is an indication that even the appearance of socialism is too much for them. But I feel that, in the spirit of "What else can we write about?", we will continue to have articles on the minutiae of shenanigans between Boris and Patel etc. It seems to me that the only hope we now have is from events outside the political system which threaten to burst the charade apart.
George Mc ,I think that if Corbyn had been elected, there would have been a severe limit as to what he could have achieved. (While of course, the media would be going into meltdown about plans for a new Auschwitz on the M1 etc.) However – I grant that the very election of such an "extreme" figure would cause a similar meltdown behind the scenes as it would lead to the deadliest thing of all: hope! It would have been a signal that an extensive part – even the majority – of the British public were sick of this neoliberal cancer. Thus, while the practical effect of a Corbyn victory would have been limited, the psychological effect (the damage done to the showbiz façade) would have been profound.
sharon marlowe ,"Truth be told, I usually tend to glaze over when I see articles about Trump's impeachment. Or indeed articles about American politics in general."
lol So do I:)
It definitely irked me that such an article appeared here. It looked like a U.S.-TV-political-pundit-monologue thing.
Dec 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Warren (D)(1): "What is happening with Elizabeth Warren?" [Chris Cilizza, CNN ].
"Less than two months ago, it looked as though Elizabeth Warren might just run away with the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination . Then that Warren wave hit a wall. Starting right around mid-October, Warren's numbers not only stopped moving upward but also began trending down
Add it all up and there's plenty of reason to believe that Warren's full-fledged support for Medicare for All -- coupled with her less-than-successful attempts to defend that position in the last two debates -- led to her current reduced status in the race."
If this were true, Sanders should drop as well. I think Cilizza should give consideration to the idea that not only did Warren botch the rollout, her plans were bad, and were seen as bad.
"Elizabeth Warren cries and tries to regain ground with voters" [Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe ]. The deck: "Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, her ideological soulmate, rolls along, tears-free." Ouch.
More: "According to the Des Moines Register, "after a long pause and with tears in her eyes, the senator from Massachusetts said 'yeah,' before telling the story of the divorce from her first husband," and how painful it was to tell her mother that her marriage was over.
To showcase the significance of the encounter, Warren tweeted out a clip."
Dead Lord. You don't tweet out your own tears to show sincerity. Have somebody else do it! Isn't anybody on her staff protecting her?
XXYY , December 3, 2019 at 3:40 pm
I think Cilizza should give consideration to the idea that not only did Warren botch the rollout, her plans were bad, and were seen as bad.
The establishment is trying mightily to salvage something useful from Warren's surprisingly rapid decline in the polls, constantly pushing the refrain that M4A was somehow the kiss of death for her.
In fact, she rose to prominence by riding on Sanders policies like Medicare for All, canceling student debt, and free college. "I'm with Bernie" was her frequent reply on several policy issues, and she co-sponsored Sanders' Medicare for All Senate bill to great effect on her own "progressive" cred.
IMO it was her later waffling, insincerity, and backtracking on M4A that caused progressives to realize not only that she was not committed to solving the most important issue identified by Dem voters, but that she may not have a fire in her belly to address the nation's other urgent crises and would likely accommodate to powerful interests in Obama-esque fashion.
Mo's Bike Shop , December 3, 2019 at 8:23 pm
Six years wait for the ACA to piss almost everyone off.
Trump as the not-Democrat has such an edge among the disaffected who are still angry enough to vote. Especially since the whole and only DNC message will be 'you can't possibly vote for Trump!!!'
The Rev Kev , December 3, 2019 at 6:38 pm
"What is happening with Elizabeth Warren?"
I think that I can answer that. Jimmy Dore put out a 5-minute video showing her in action. A protestor heckled her in front of a meeting and she went into deer-in-spotlight mode and shut down. In the end she had to be rescued by Ayanna Pressley and I was thinking – "She really wants to debate Trump? Will she shut down then too?". (Some language)
flora , December 3, 2019 at 7:34 pm
Warren seems to have a tin ear when it comes to political give and take. IMO.
Jan 21, 2020 | fair.org
Even when critical of US actions, media commentary on recent US bombings and assassinations in the Middle East is premised on the assumption that the US has the right to use violence (or the threat of it) to assert its will, anytime, anywhere. Conversely, corporate media coverage suggests that any countermeasure -- such as resistance to the US presence in Iraq -- is inherently illegitimate, criminal and/or terroristic.Iranian puppeteers
One step in this dance is depicting US military forces in Iraq as innocent bystanders under attack by sadistic Iranian puppetmasters. Media analysis of the US murder of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani consistently asserted that he was "an architect of international terrorism responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans" ( New York Times , 1/3/20 ) or "a terrorist with the blood of hundreds of Americans on his hands" ( Washington Post , 1/7/20 ). According to Leon Panetta ( Washington Post , 1/7/20 ), a former Defense secretary and CIA director,
The death of Soleimani should not be mourned, given his responsibility for the killing of thousands of innocent people and hundreds of US military personnel over the years.
There is little evidence for this contention that Iran in general or Soleimani personally is responsible for killing hundreds of Americans. When the State Department claimed last April that Iran was responsible for the deaths of 608 American servicemembers in Iraq between 2003 and 2011, investigative journalist Gareth Porter ( Truthout , 7/9/19 ) asked Navy Commander Sean Robertson for evidence, and Robertson "acknowledged that the Pentagon doesn't have any study, documentation or data to provide journalists that would support such a figure."
Porter showed that the US attribution of deaths in Iraq to Iran is an unsubstantiated government talking point from the Cheney era, one that was exposed at the time when Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno admitted that, though the US had attributed Iraqi resistance fighters' weapons to Iran, US troops found many sites in Iraq at which such weapons were being manufactured.
Gareth Porter reported in Truthout ( 7/9/19 ) that "the myth that Tehran is responsible for killing over 600 US troops in the Iraq War is merely a new variant of a propaganda line that former Vice President Dick Cheney used to attempt to justify a war against Iran more than a decade ago."
Scholar Stephen Zunes ( Progressive , 1/7/20 ) similarly demonstrated the lack of evidence for the idea that Iran is behind the killing of US forces in Iraq. Zunes noted that the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq , compiled by America's 16 intelligence agencies, downplayed Iran's role in Iraq's violence at roughly the same time that the Bush administration was saying that Iran was culpable.
As Porter pointed out, there was a much simpler explanation for American deaths in the period: The US targeted Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the Mahdi Army fought back, imposing more casualties on US troops.
That the pundits dusted off 13-year-old propaganda to rationalize killing Soleimani is a clear indication that they were desperately grasping for any imperialist apologia within reach. If the American public is led to believe that Soleimani killed hundreds of Americans, large swathes of it are likely to regard his assassination as justified, necessary, or at worst a feature of the tit-for-tat ugliness inherent to war.
The narrative also ideologically shores up the US war on Iran in the American popular consciousness by presenting Iranians as primordially violent savages out to spill the blood of Americans, notably those in the military who are in the Middle East, presumably doing nothing but minding their own business. Presenting Iran as the reason for attacks on US forces in Iraq also implies that Iraqis had little objection to the US invasion, legitimizing the US's ongoing military presence in the country. The most obvious point about the deaths of US soldiers in Iraq is that they wouldn't happen if US soldiers weren't in Iraq.When violence isn't violence
Another media dance move is to condemn anti-imperial violence while naturalizing imperialist violence. An editorial in the New York Times ( 1/3/20 ) said that Soleimani
no doubt had a role in the campaign of provocations by Shiite militias against American forces in Iraq that recently led to the death of an American defense contractor and a retaliatory American airstrike against the militia responsible for the attack.
Having US troops in Iraq, a country in which the US is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands , is not a "provocation," in the Times ' perspective; opposition to their presence is the provocation.
The December 27 attack that killed the US contractor did not occur in a vacuum. In 2018, the US was suspected of bombing affiliates of Kataib Hezbollah, the group the US blames for killing the contractor. Israel is suspected of carrying out a string of deadly bombings of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, of which Kataib Hezbollah is a key component, between July and September, a scenario at which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted .
The US reportedly confirmed that Israel was behind at least one of the bombings, and said it supports Israel's actions while denying direct participation. In any case, the US's lavish military support for Israel means that the former is effectively a party to the latter's bombing. Thus, the Kataib Hezbollah attack that killed the contractor can be seen as " retaliatory ," which complicates the notion that the subsequent US attack was as well.
Another Times editorial ( 1/4/20 ) describes Soleimani as "one of the region's most powerful and, yes, blood-soaked military commanders." At no point is Trump or any other US leader described as "blood-soaked" or anything comparable -- here, or in any of the mainstream media coverage I can find -- even as he and his predecessors are sopping with that of Afghans , Iraqis , Libyans and Syrians , to cite only a few recent cases. Evidently imperial violence is so righteous it leaves no trace behind.
Stephen Hadley, national security adviser in the George W Bush administration, wrote in the Washington Post ( 1/5/20 ):
What is clear is that one of the PMFs, Kataib Hezbollah, has been behind the escalating violence over the past several months as part of a campaign (assuredly with Iranian approval) to force out US troops. The campaign culminated in the December 31 attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad. (The head of Kataib Hezbollah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed with Soleimani.)
By expelling US forces, the Iraqi government would be falling into Kataib Hezbollah's trap: rewarding the militia's violent campaign, strengthening the Iranian-backed PMFs, weakening the Iraqi government and state sovereignty, and jeopardizing the fight against the Islamic State.
Kataib Hezbollah's actions are called "violence" twice in these three sentences, with their apex apparently being "the December 31 attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad." Remarkably, the author makes no mention of the December 29 US airstrikes on five sites in Iraq and Syria that the US says belong to Kataib Hezbollah, bombings that reportedly killed 25 and injured 55 . Those, it would seem, do not constitute "violence." Iraqis damaging the embassy of the country whose economic sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children is "violence," but the US's lethal air raids are not. And expelling foreign armies weakens state sovereignty!
"No one in Baghdad was fooled" by anti-US protests in Iraq, which were "almost certainly a Soleimani-staged operation to make it look as if Iraqis wanted America out," declared Thomas Friedman ( New York Times , 1/3/20 ). (In a 2016 poll , 93% of young Iraqis said that they perceived the US as an "enemy.")
Thomas Friedman's Times article ( 1/3/20 ) on Soleimani's murder was bad even by Thomas Friedman standards. He dismissed the protests at the US embassy:
The whole "protest" against the United States Embassy compound in Baghdad last week was almost certainly a Soleimani-staged operation to make it look as if Iraqis wanted America out when in fact it was the other way around. The protesters were paid pro-Iranian militiamen. No one in Baghdad was fooled by this.
In a way, it's what got Soleimani killed. He so wanted to cover his failures in Iraq he decided to start provoking the Americans there by shelling their forces, hoping they would overreact, kill Iraqis and turn them against the United States. Trump, rather than taking the bait, killed Soleimani instead.
That there were thousands of protesters at the US embassy and that the Iraqi security forces stood aside to allow them to demonstrate suggests that what happened at the embassy cannot be reduced to a hoax stage-managed and paid for by Iran. Furthermore, the US did kill Iraqis two days before the protests, and that's what ignited them (to say nothing of the longer term record of the US devastating Iraq ). Like Hadley, however, Friedman pretends that the US's December 27 bombings didn't happen.
In the imperial imagination, the US has the right to violently pursue its objectives wherever it wants, and any resistance is illegitimate.
Gregory Shupak teaches media studies at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. His book, The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel and the Media , is published by OR Books.
January 21, 2020 at 1:20 pmKudos to you Gregory for keeping us informed in this era of "post-truth". It takes courage to do what you are doing and I really admire it. Reply
Christian J Chuba
January 22, 2020 at 1:01 pmAnd yet their are 'fact checkers' out out the pro-Iran / anti-American media juggernaut, someone went to Tehran and reported on Soleimani's funeral, gasp, she must be denounced as a useful idiot because that was staged. All events we don't like are staged. Did Iran let people out of school or advertise the time and place of the procession? Most likely but so was JFK's funeral. In any case, who actually bothered to find out if the Iranians forced or paid people to attend Soleimani's funeral.
I do feel violated being subjected to Friedman's self-proclaimed expertise. He does not feel any need to actually validate his statements other than to say, 'no one was fooled' and voila it is so. Great work if you can get it. ReplyWhat's FAIR
FAIR is the national progressive media watchdog group, challenging corporate media bias, spin and misinformation. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. We expose neglected news stories and defend working journalists when they are muzzled. As a progressive group, we believe that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information.ContactFairness & Accuracy In Reporting
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Jan 08, 2020 | t.coSarah Abdallah @ sahouraxo 16h 16 hours ago More
Just a few years ago, CNN was praising Qassem
#Soleimani for being the driving force behind the defeat of ISIS. Today they call him a "terrorist" and expect you to believe them.
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com|
10:03 amDaniel Larison Two Iran hawks from the Senate, Bob Menendez and Lindse Graham, are proposing a "new deal" that is guaranteed to be a non-starter with Iran:
Essentially, their idea is that the United States would offer a new nuclear deal to both Iran and the gulf states at the same time. The first part would be an agreement to ensure that Iran and the gulf states have access to nuclear fuel for civilian energy purposes, guaranteed by the international community in perpetuity. In exchange, both Iran and the gulf states would swear off nuclear fuel enrichment inside their own countries forever.
Iran is never going to accept any agreement that requires them to give up domestic enrichment. As far as they are concerned, they are entitled to this under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they regard it as a matter of their national rights that they keep it. Insisting on "zero enrichment" is what made it impossible to reach an agreement with Iran for the better part of a decade, and it was only when the Obama administration understood this and compromised to allow Iran to enrich under tight restrictions that the negotiations could move forward. Demanding "zero enrichment" today in 2020 amounts to rejecting that compromise and returning to a bankrupt approach that drove Iran to build tens of thousands of centrifuges. As a proposal for negotiations, it is dead on arrival, and Menendez and Graham must know that. Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it. They want to make a bogus offer in the hopes that it will be rejected so that they can use the rejection to justify more aggressive measures.
The identity of the authors of the plan is a giveaway that the offer is not a serious diplomatic proposal. Graham is one of the most incorrigible hard-liners on Iran, and Menendez is probably the most hawkish Democratic senator in office today. Among other things, Menendez has been a booster of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), the deranged cult of Iranian exiles that has been buying the support of American politicians and officials for years. Graham has never seen a diplomatic agreement that he didn't want to destroy. When hard-liners talk about making a "deal," they always mean that they want to demand the other side's surrender.
Another giveaway that this is not a serious proposal is the fact that they want this imaginary agreement submitted as a treaty:
That final deal would be designated as a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate, to give Iran confidence that a new president won't just pull out (like President Trump did on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal).
This is silly for many reasons. The Senate doesn't ratify treaties nowadays, so any "new deal" submitted as a treaty would never be ratified. As the current president has shown, it doesn't matter if a treaty has been ratified by the Senate. Presidents can and do withdraw from ratified treaties if they want to, and the fact that it is a ratified treaty doesn't prevent them from doing this. Bush pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was ratified 88-2 in 1972. Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty just last year. The INF Treaty had been ratified with a 93-5 vote. The hawkish complaint that the JCPOA wasn't submitted as a treaty was, as usual, made in bad faith. There was no chance that the JCPOA would have been ratified, and even if it had been that ratification would not have protected it from being tossed aside by Trump. Insisting on making any new agreement a treaty is just another way of announcing that they have no interest in a diplomatic solution.
Menendez and Graham want to make the obstacles to diplomacy so great that negotiations between the U.S. and Iran can't resume. It isn't a serious proposal, and it shouldn't be taken seriously.
Feral Finster • 5 hours agoAnd even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more?
Feb 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
IronForge , Feb 20 2020 23:23 utc | 68Warren is the Reactionary, Man-hating, Pathological Liar-Victim.
Don't think America is going to Vote in Someone who Defrauded Others with Claims of being Part Native American.
Maybe Bloomberg may have been Out of Line a few times. A "Horse Faced Lesbian" - what if it were an accurate description? A "Fat Drunkard" - to someone who is correctly described - is it really that offensive?
If it were said in an inappropriate context - say for job interviews - we can see the error; but reading about Warren calling an Male Actor as "Eye Candy" puts her brand of Sexist Comments in the same Boat.
What was Fauxahontas' Native American Name, anyway?
"Doesn't like Horses"?
Feb 20, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
- Bloomberg is revealed as having said in public that all the disposable income of the poor should be taxed away so that they will not have funds with which to do mischief like buying fast food or sugary drinks.
- Bloomberg described Sanders as a Communist who cannot be elected. In this he was correct.
- Bloomberg was described by Warren as a cold-hearted and insulting man who openly scorns women, gays and minorities.
- Mayor Pete mocked Klobuchar for her inability to remember the name of the president of Mexico. She asked if he was calling her "stupid."
These six dwarves will probably persist in their quest for the brass ring all the way to the convention. In the mayhem there, the "winner" will probably have to choose one of the "losers" to be his VP running mate.
This should be fun all the way to November. pl
Feb 20, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Bill H , 20 February 2020 at 01:31 PMThe media is cheering wildly for Warren and saying that she won the debate, but I found her to be utterly repugnant. She comes across, to me, as even more shrill, harsh, angry and unlikeable than Clinton did at her worst.
Feb 15, 2020 | thehill.com
Hill.TV host Krystal Ball said Sen. Elizabeth Warren 's (D-Mass.) "campaign was lost long before this election cycle."
Ball pointed to Warren's "decision not to run in 2016 - she sat out the most critical election of our lifetime even though she knew better than I did the flaws of Hillary Clinton " Ball then slammed Warren's decision to not endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2016 noting "when her supposed friend and ally Bernie Sanders, who allegedly shares her politics and was fighting for the same values she had staked her career on got into the race and started sky-rocketing in the polls challenging Hillary for the lead, rather than making the movement choice and backing the progressive, she sat it out."
Ball claims Warren's "attempts to co-opt revolutionary rhetoric in service of an establishment campaign, like Disney doing socialism, satisfied no one and left her unable to win more than 1 county and Iowa and an embarrassing distant fourth behind Klobuchar in New Hampshire."
Click on the video above to catch Ball's full remarks.
Feb 12, 2020 | theweek.com
The 2020 presidential race was always going to be an uphill battle for Elizabeth Warren.
Almost from the get-go, political pundits fretted about Warren's electability, setting in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy now reflected in the New Hampshire primary results . Warren's disappointing showing on Tuesday comes on the heels of a stirring debate performance and a strong third place finish in the Iowa caucuses -- two wins largely ignored by mainstream media commentators, who focused almost entirely on Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, with a spare thought for Amy Klobuchar's rise and Joe Biden's descent.
Defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election is priority number one for the Democratic establishment, and a moderate candidate with the potential to sway swing voters and Republican defectors has long been billed as the wisest course. But by constructing a dichotomy between the self-described revolutionary leader Sanders and the aggressively non-threatening trifecta of moderate candidates (not to mention Bloomberg, who is suddenly the darling of cable news), the networks and pundits with the greatest persuasive power have ignored and undercut Warren's unique potential to unite the progressive left and hesitant center.
Warren seems to have unfairly inherited some of the hallmarks of Hillary Clinton's reputation. Clinton's devastating 2016 upset sparked practical questions as to whether a woman could win the presidency at all. And Warren's false claim to Native American heritage sealed a reputation for untrustworthiness that has stuck long after that conversation faded away. If Clinton, with all of her name recognition and experience, couldn't win against Trump, what hope could there be for the woman widely considered her successor?
Warren's progressive policies and folksy demeanor also framed her for many as a sort of second-tier Sanders, not far enough left for the progressives and too far left for gun-shy moderates. But it is precisely this position that makes her the most electable candidate.
Warren and Sanders are mostly aligned on their signature issues, but how they present these issues is entirely different, as are their proposed paths to achieve them. Sanders does not shy away from the word "socialist." He declares outright that his Medicare-for-All plan will raise taxes. He says billionaires should not exist. These declarations and convictions are brave and they are admirable. But they also inspire commentators like Chris Matthews to worry on-air that a Sanders administration will begin executing the wealthy in Central Park, French revolution style.
Warren takes a more measured approach in selling her policies, focusing on how she'll achieve them rather than the eventual outcome. She doesn't say billionaires should not exist, she proposes a wealth tax. Warren doesn't say "socialist," choosing instead to present the economic and social advantages to her plans without the label. The other key difference between Sanders and Warren is that, while Sanders has identified as far left for his entire political career, Warren was a committed Republican long before she became a progressive Democrat. As other commentators have noted , this history might not earn her many points with committed leftists, but it does put her in a unique position to appeal to the moderates and Republicans that candidates like Buttigieg and Klobuchar are trying to court. After all, she used to be one of them. And perhaps most importantly, polls continue to show Warren performing just as well as those candidates, if not better, in hypothetical general election matchups against Trump.
Yet the mainstream media seems determined to undermine her viability.
Sanders and Buttigieg finished neck and neck in the Iowa Caucuses (whose dubious import is a conversation for another day), with Warren close behind in third. As the dust around the disastrous vote-counting began to settle, the media centered the conversation on Sanders, Buttigieg, and Biden. For example, this headline from The Washington Post reads: "Buttigieg and Sanders take lead, Biden fades in partial results from marred Iowa caucuses," ignoring Warren's close third place finish entirely in favor of Biden's fourth.
During Friday's Democratic debate, many critics noted the relatively short speaking time given to Warren in comparison with her white male competitors. Afterwards, coverage again focused on Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Biden, and Sanders, despite Warren having the highlight of the night, when she responded to Buttigieg's embarrassing stumble on a question about race.
Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
snake , Feb 13 2020 11:16 utc | 147
Pft 85 < The Constitution of the United States of America is a corporate charter. in form and substance, it redirected the distribution of profits from shareholders to feudal lords.
What it has been doing since Lincoln was shot is to develop lordships (called monopoly possessing corporations) and making sure those lordships were vested by rule of law, war in foreign land, and other measures as needed, to make sure the feudal lords and their corporations were always profitable no matter what and to be sure that any need or want the feudal lords had need for, the USA corporation would extract from those (called Americans) that it governs. ..
When the feudal lords fail, the government is made to give the feudal lord the money it needs to keep going. until the failed feudal lord can realize by its bull shit existence to be profitable again.
Vig , Feb 13 2020 12:48 utc | 152Comment les Etats-Unis ont demandé à la communauté internationale de soutenir leur plan israélo-palestinien.or look for lefigaro.fr then international,then moyen orient.
Posted by: willie | Feb 13 2020 0:48 utc | 94
Interesting willie. Yes the best about Trump is that it makes the US system so visibly transparent: The king and his servants (acolytes) looking for personal advantage ... Hillarious. Don't you second-rate allies/acolytes use the wrong words. We better give you talking points.
Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Feb 12 2020 22:34 utc | 77Now here is a good piece on Trump gangsterism by Gordon Duff.
I guess some is Duffy but most entirely believable.
Q wont reprint this .
ben , Feb 12 2020 22:41 utc | 81Thanks for the link ut @ 77; An excerpt;Pft , Feb 12 2020 23:28 utc | 85
"Those who accept the policies of the Trump administration, cancellation of the JCPOA with Iran, seizing oil fields in Syria, endless sanctions on nation after nation, Europe blackmailed, endless threats emanating almost hourly from Trump's iPhone as "national policy" or even criminally deranged is simply not paying attention."
Excellent come back for the Qanon fantasy, which, IMO, ranks right up there with Ayn Rand's fevered dreams...Ran across this quote which is more true than not.uncle tungsten , Feb 13 2020 1:23 utc | 96
There is no America. Everything is just one vast corporation, an association of corporations. There's no Britain. There's no America. There's no Holland. There's no China. There's no Russia. It's one conglomerate of corporations. Money runs the thing."
-- Peter Finch as character Howard Beale, in the movie "Network
Its true when you consider the interlocking ownership of the elites in the major corporations and industries, which also capture governments political parties and regulatory agencies, and in China of course these local global elites make up parts of the party elite. While money is an important attribute of power, I think its a means and not an end to them. Their motivations is an ideology based on Platos Republic where they are pholisopher kings ruling the rest, and a religious idea that they, as elites may evolve to become like God and recover what was lost after the fall - as man was originally made in Gods image. Another name for it is Transhumanism which actually is idea that came from gnostic Judeo-Christian beliefs. Religion like Eugenics has not disappeared, both have just been renamed and repurposed. The Elites are Gods chosen people and the rest exist to serve.Penelope #95
Exactly Penelope, that is precisely what the Trump and establishment oligarchy want. Red herrings to mesmerise and nimble fingers to pick pockets and all backed by their 'rule of law', their thugs, their assault on humanity.
Benign neglect of the safety of citizens as part of this strategy of creating high level terror (be it actual violence or a coronavirus)is called out in this excellent analysis .
Jan 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
Special to Consortium News
Of all the preposterous assertions made since the drone assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3, the prize for bottomless ignorance must go to the bottomlessly ignorant Mike Pompeo.
Speaking after the influential Iranian general's death, our frightening secretary of state declaimed on CBS's Face the Nation , "There was sound and just and legal reason for the actions the President took, and the world is safer as a result." In appearances on five news programs on the same Sunday morning, the evangelical paranoid who now runs American foreign policy was a singer with a one-note tune. "It's very clear the world's a safer place today," Pompeo said on ABC's Jan. 5 edition of This Week.
In our late-imperial phase, we seem to have reached that moment when, whatever high officials say in matters of the empire's foreign policy, we must consider whether the opposite is in fact the case. So we have it now.
We are not safer now that Soleimani, a revered figure across much of the Middle East, has been murdered. The planet has just become significantly more dangerous, especially but not only for Americans, and this is so for one simple reason: The Trump administration, Pompeo bearing the standard, has just tipped American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness, Pompeo's nonsensical claim to legality notwithstanding .
This is a very consequential line to cross.
Hardly does it hold that Washington's foreign policy cliques customarily keep international law uppermost in their minds and that recent events are aberrations. Nothing suggests policy planners even consider legalities except when it makes useful propaganda to charge others with violating international statutes and conventions.
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Neither can the Soleimani assassination be understood in isolation: This was only the most reckless of numerous policy decisions recently taken in the Middle East. Since late last year, to consider merely the immediate past, the Trump administration has acted ever more flagrantly in violation of all international legal authorities and documents -- the UN Charter, the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice in the Hague chief among them.
Washington is into full-frontal lawlessness now.
'Keeping the Oil'
Shortly after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria last October, the president reversed course -- probably under Pentagon and State Department pressure -- and said some troops would remain to protect Syria's oilfields. "We want to keep the oil," Trump declared in the course of a Twitter storm. It soon emerged that the administration's true intent was to prevent the Assad government in Damascus from reasserting sovereign control over Syrian oilfields.
The Russians had the honesty to call this for what it was. "Washington's attempt to put oilfields there under [its] control is illegal," Sergei Lavrov said at the time. "In fact, it's tantamount to robbery," the Russian foreign minister added. (John Kiriakou, writing for Consortium News, pointed out that it is a violation of the 1907 Hague Convention. It is call pillage.)
Few outside the Trump administration, and possibly no one, has argued that Soleimani's murder was legitimate under international law. Not only was the Iranian general from a country with which the U.S. is not at war, which means the crime is murder; the drone attack was also a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty, as has been widely reported.
In response to Baghdad's subsequent demand that all foreign troops withdraw from Iraqi soil, Pompeo flatly refused even to discuss the matter with Iraqi officials -- yet another openly contemptuous violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
It gets worse. In his own response to Baghdad's decision to evict foreign troops, Trump threatened sanctions -- "sanctions like they've never seen before" -- and said Iraq would have to pay the U.S. the cost of the bases the Pentagon has built there despite binding agreements that all fixed installations the U.S. has built in Iraq are Iraqi government-owned.
At Baghdad's Throat
Trump, who seems to have oil eternally on his mind, has been at Baghdad's throat for some time. Twice since taking office three years ago, he has tried to intimidate the Iraqis into "repaying" the U.S. for its 2003 invasion with access to Iraqi oil. "We did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil," he said on the second of these occasions.
Baghdad rebuffed Trump both times, but he has been at it since, according to Adil Abdul–Mahdi, Iraq's interim prime minister. Last year the U.S. administration asked Baghdad for 50 percent of the nation's oil output -- in total roughly 4.5 million barrels daily -- in exchange for various promised reconstruction projects.
Rejecting the offer, Abdul–Mahdi signed an "oil for reconstruction" agreement with China last autumn -- whereupon Trump threatened to instigate widespread demonstrations in Baghdad if Abdul–Mahdi did not cancel the China deal. (He did not do so and, coincidentally or otherwise, civil unrest ensued.)
U.S. Army forces operating in southern Iraq, April. 2, 2003. (U.S. Navy)
Blueprints for Reprisal
If American lawlessness is nothing new, the brazenly imperious character of all the events noted in this brief résumé has nonetheless pushed U.S. foreign policy beyond a tipping point.
No American -- and certainly no American official or military personnel -- can any longer travel in the Middle East with an assurance of safety. All American diplomats, all military officers, and all embassies and bases in the region are now vulnerable to reprisals. The Associated Press reported after the Jan. 3 drone strike that Iran has developed 13 blueprints for reprisals against the U.S.
Lawlessness begets lawlessness is the operative (and obvious) principle. In a remarkable speech at the Hoover Institution last week, Pompeo termed the Soleimani assassination "the restoration of deterrence" and appeared to promise other such operations against other nations Washington considers adversaries. Ominously enough, Pompeo singled out China and Russia.
Here is a snippet from Pompeo's remarks:
"In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so . In all cases we have to do this."
Against the background of the events noted above, it is clear from this speech alone that our secretary of state is a dangerously incompetent figure when it comes to judging global events, the proper responses to them, and the probable consequences of a given response. If we are going to think about costs, the heaviest will fall on Americans in months to come.
Immediately after the U.S. drone that killed Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport, Mohammad Javad Zarif sent out a message whose importance should not be missed. "End of US's malign presence in West Asia has begun," Iran's foreign minister wrote. These few words, rendered in Twitterese, bear careful consideration given they come from an official whose nation had just sustained a critical blow.
24 hrs ago, an arrogant clown -- masquerading as a diplomat -- claimed people were dancing in the cities of Iraq.
Today, hundreds of thousands of our proud Iraqi brothers and sisters offered him their response across their soil.
End of US malign presence in West Asia has begun. pic.twitter.com/eTDRyLN11c
-- Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 4, 2020
Gradually but rather certainly now, the community of nations is losing its patience with late-phase imperial America. With exceptions such as Japan and Israel, the Baltics and Saudi Arabia, this is so across both oceans and more or less across the non–Western world. In the Middle East, the American presence will remain for the time being, but we are now in the beginning-of-the-end phase. This was Zarif's meaning. And we now know the end will come neither peaceably nor lawfully.
Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Please donate to the Winter Fund Drive.
Jeff Harrison , January 21, 2020 at 19:38
Well, there's two relevant bits here. Bullshit walks and money talks. Our money stopped talking $23T ago. What goes around, comes around. Whenever, however it comes down, it's gonna hurt.
Antiwar7 , January 21, 2020 at 13:46
Amazing how the US government is bringing back the old days: "Slave markets" See: reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-rights/executions-torture-and-slave-markets-persist-in-libya-u-n-idUSKBN1GX1JY "Pillage", as pointed out in this article.
rosemerry , January 21, 2020 at 13:28
To have such a person as the top diplomat in the USA shows how low the USA has sunk. For him to pretend to be some sort of Christian is sinister and extremely dangerous for everyone. There is NO reason for the US animosity towards Iran except subservience to Israel, which, again without real justification, claims to be terrified of Iran, which unlike Israel is NOT attacking others and has not for centuries.
Even if the USA hates Iran, it has already done inestimable damage to the Islamic Republic before this disgraceful action. Cruelty to 80 million people who have never harmed, even really threatened, the mighty USA, by tossing out a working JCPOA and installing economic "sanctions", should not be accepted by the rest of the world-giving in to blackmail encourages worse behavior, as we have already seen.
"It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. " This is exactly what should be rejected by us all. These "leaders" will not change their behavior without solidarity among "allies" like the European Union, which has already caved in and blamed Iran for the changes -Iran has explained clearly why it made- to the JCPOA which the USA has left.
Abby , January 21, 2020 at 20:15
The only difference between Trump and Obama is that Trump doesn't hide the US naked aggression as well as Obama did. So far Trump hasn't started any new wars. By this time in Obama's tenure we had started bombing more countries and accepted one coup.
dfnslblty , January 21, 2020 at 12:43
SecStae's remarks about deterrence befit a military commander, NOT a diplomat. Paranoia, grandiosity and violence begin with potus and cascade downward and about. Congress does its part in investing in machinery of war.
Cheyenne , January 21, 2020 at 11:49
The above comment shows exactly why bellicose adventurism for oil etc. is so stupid and dangerous. If we continually prance around robbing people, they're gonna unite to slap us down.
Hardly seems like anyone should need that pointed out but if anybody mentioned it to Trump or any other gung ho warhawk, he must not have been listening.
Dan Kuhn , January 21, 2020 at 13:08
Trump and Pompeo seem to have entered the Wild West stage of recent American history. I think they watch too many western movies, without understanding the underrlying plot of 100% of them. It is the bad guys take over a town, where they impose their will on the population, terrorizing everyone into obediance. They steal everything in sight and any who oppose them are summarily killed off. In the end a good guy ( In American parlance, " a good guy with a gun" shows up . The town`s people approach him and beg him to oppose the bad guys. He then proceeds to kill off the bad guys after the general population joins him in his crusade. it looks as though we are at the stage in the movie where the general population is ready to take up arms against the bad guys.
The moral of the story the bad guys, the bullies, Pompeo and Trump, are either killed or chased out of town. But perhaps the problem is that this plot is too difficult for Trump and Pompeo to understand. So they don`t quite get the peril that there gunmen and killers are now in. They don`t see the writing on the wall.
Caveman , January 21, 2020 at 11:30
It seems the only US considerations in the assassination were – will it weaken Iran, will it strengthen the American position? On that perspective, the answer is probably yes on both counts. Legal considerations do not seem to have carried any weight. In the UK we recently saw a chilling interview with Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It was clear that he saw the assassination as another nail in the coffin of the Iranian regime, simply furthering a policy objective.
Vera Gottlieb , January 21, 2020 at 11:19
What is even sadder is the world's lack of gonads to stand up to this bully nation – that has caused so much grief and still does.
Michael McNulty , January 21, 2020 at 11:01
The US government became a crime syndicate. Today its bootleg liquor is oil, the boys they send round to steal it are armies and their drive-by shootings are Warthog strafings using DU ammunition. Their drug rackets in the back streets are high-grade reefer, heroin and amphetamines, with pharmaceutical-grade chemicals on Main Street. They still print banknotes just as before; but this time it's legal but still doesn't make them enough, so to make up the shortfalls they've taken armed robbery abroad.
paul easton , January 21, 2020 at 12:55
The US Government is running a protection racket, literally. In return for US protection of their sources of oil, the NATO countries provide international support for US war crimes. But now that the (figurative) Don is visibly out of his mind, they are likely to turn to other protectors.
Gary Weglarz , January 21, 2020 at 10:34
One need not step back very far in order to look at the bigger longer range picture. What immediately comes into focus is that this is simply the current moment in what is now 500 plus years of Western colonialism/neocolonialism. When has the law EVER had anything to do with any of this?
ML , January 21, 2020 at 10:31
Pompeo reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm. He is a grotesque figure, steely-eyed, cold-blooded, fanatical, and hateful. "We lied, cheated, and stole" Pompous Maximus will get his comeuppance one of these days. I hope he plans more overseas trips for himself. He is a vile person, a psychopath proud of his psychopathy. He alone would make anyone considering conversion to Christianity, his brand of it, run screaming into the night. Repulsive man.
Michael Crockett , January 21, 2020 at 09:40
Pillage as policy. The Empire has fully embraced gangster capitalism for its modus operandi. That said, IMO, the axis of resistance has the military capability and the resolve to fight back and win. Combining China and Russia into a greater axis of resistance could further shrink the Outlaw US Empire presence in West Asia. Thank you Patrick for your keen insight and observations. The Empires days are numbered.
Sally Snyder , January 21, 2020 at 07:28
Here is an interesting article that explains how governments have changed the rules so that they can justify killing anyone who they believe may at some point in time have the potential to be involved in a terrorist plot: viableopposition.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-new.html
This rather Orwellian move gives governments the justification that they to kill any of us just because they feel that we might pose a threat and that is a very, very scary prospect. It is very reminiscent of the movie Minority Report where crimes of the future are punished in the present.
Feb 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg seemed perfect, a man who defended the principle of wine-based fundraisers with military effrontery. New York magazine made his case in a cover story the magazine's Twitter account summarized as:
"Perhaps all the Democrats need to win the presidency is a Rust Belt millennial who's gay and speaks Norwegian."
(The "Here's something random the Democrats need to beat Trump" story became an important literary genre in 2019-2020, the high point being Politico's "Can the "F-bomb save Beto?").
Buttigieg had momentum. The flameout of Biden was expected to help the ex-McKinsey consultant with "moderates." Reporters dug Pete; he's been willing to be photographed holding a beer and wearing a bomber jacket, and in Iowa demonstrated what pundits call a "killer instinct," i.e. a willingness to do anything to win.
Days before the caucus, a Buttigieg supporter claimed Pete's name had not been read out in a Des Moines Register poll, leading to the pulling of what NBC called the "gold standard" survey. The irony of such a relatively minor potential error holding up a headline would soon be laid bare.
However, Pete's numbers with black voters (he polls at zero in many states) led to multiple news stories in the last weekend before the caucus about "concern" that Buttigieg would not be able to win.
Who, then? Elizabeth Warren was cratering in polls and seemed to be shifting strategy on a daily basis. In Iowa, she attacked "billionaires" in one stop, emphasized "unity" in the next, and stressed identity at other times (she came onstage variously that weekend to Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" or to chants of "It's time for a woman in the White House"). Was she an outsider or an insider? A screwer, or a screwee? Whose side was she on?
A late controversy involving a story that Sanders had told Warren a woman couldn't win didn't help. Jaimee Warbasse planned to caucus with Warren, but the Warren/Sanders "hot mic" story of the two candidates arguing after a January debate was a bridge too far. She spoke of being frustrated, along with friends, at the inability to find anyone she could to trust to take on Trump.
"It's like we all have PTSD from 2016," she said. "There has to be somebody."
... ... ...
What happened over the five days after the caucus was a mind-boggling display of fecklessness and ineptitude. Delay after inexplicable delay halted the process, to the point where it began to feel like the caucus had not really taken place. Results were released in chunks, turning what should have been a single news story into many, often with Buttigieg "in the lead."
The delays and errors cut in many directions, not just against Sanders. Buttigieg, objectively, performed above poll expectations, and might have gotten more momentum even with a close, clear loss, but because of the fiasco he ended up hashtagged as #MayorCheat and lumped in headlines tied to what the Daily Beast called a "Clusterfuck."
Though Sanders won the popular vote by a fair margin, both in terms of initial preference (6,000 votes) and final preference (2,000), Mayor Pete's lead for most of the week with "state delegate equivalents" -- the number used to calculate how many national delegates are sent to the Democratic convention -- made him the technical winner in the eyes of most. By the end of the week, however, Sanders had regained so much ground, to within 1.5 state delegate equivalents, that news organizations like the AP were despairing at calling a winner.
This wasn't necessarily incorrect. The awarding of delegates in a state like Iowa is inherently somewhat random. If there's a tie in votes in a district awarding five delegates, a preposterous system of coin flips is used to break the odd number. The geographical calculation for state delegate equivalents is also uneven, weighted toward the rural. A wide popular-vote winner can surely lose.
But the storylines of caucus week sure looked terrible for the people who ran the vote. The results released early favored Buttigieg, while Sanders-heavy districts came out later. There were massive, obvious errors. Over 2,000 votes that should have gone to Sanders and Warren went to Deval Patrick and Tom Steyer in one case the Iowa Democrats termed a "minor error." In multiple other districts (Des Moines 14 for example), the "delegate equivalents" appeared to be calculated incorrectly, in ways that punished all the candidates, not just Sanders. By the end of the week, even the New York Times was saying the caucus was plagued with "inconsistencies and errors."
Emily Connor, a Sanders precinct captain in Boone County, spent much of the week checking results, waiting for her Bernie-heavy district to be recorded. It took a while. By the end of the week, she was fatalistic.
"If you're a millennial, you basically grew up in an era where popular votes are stolen," she said.
"The system is riddled with loopholes."
Others felt the party was in denial about how bad the caucus night looked.
"They're kind of brainwashed," said Joe Grabinski, who caucused in West Des Moines.
"They think they're on the side of the right they'll do anything to save their careers.
An example of how screwed up the process was from the start involved a new twist on the process, the so-called "Presidential Preference Cards."
In 2020, caucus-goers were handed index cards that seemed simple enough. On side one, marked with a big "1," caucus-goers were asked to write in their initial preference. Side 2, with a "2," was meant to be where you wrote in who you ended up supporting, if your first choice was not viable.
The "PPCs" were supposedly there to "ensure a recount is possible," as the Polk County Democrats put it. But caucus-goers didn't understand the cards.
Morgan Baethke, who volunteered at Indianola 4, watched as older caucus-goers struggled. Some began filling out both sides as soon as they were given them.
Therefore, Baethke says, if they do a recount, "the first preference should be accurate." However, "the second preference will be impossible to recreate with any certainty."
This is a problem, because by the end of the week, DNC chair Tom Perez -- a triple-talking neurotic who is fast becoming the poster child for everything progressives hate about modern Dems -- called for an "immediate recanvass." He changed his mind after ten hours and said he only wanted "surgical" reanalysis of problematic districts.
No matter what result emerges, it's likely many individual voters will not trust it. Between comical videos of apparently gamed coin-flips and the pooh-poohing reaction of party officials and pundits (a common theme was that "toxic conspiracy theories" about Iowa were the work of the Trumpian right and/or Russian bots), the overall impression was a clown show performance by a political establishment too bored to worry about the appearance of impartiality.
"Is it incompetence or corruption? That's the big question," asked Storey.
"I'm not sure it matters. It could be both."
Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com
Jake , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 10:49 pm GMTGlobalism requires rapacious capitalism. Globalism is billionaires and multi-millionaires getting richer while the middle classes of the entire Western world get squeezed and then squeezed more, with once stable working classes ruined.
Liberal voters fall for it because the Globalists swear they are helping all the blacks and browns of the world. Liberal academics, journalists, artists, and 'ordinary rich' people back it because they invariably despise both the white working class and the non-Liberal white middle class. Neocons (WASPs as well as Jews) practice rapacious capitalism religiously because they worship Mammon.
Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Walter , Jan 26 2020 18:35 utc | 22Hausmeister and I discussed rule by fear, "deimocracy".
That was off topic, and belongs more properly here.
And to that discussion I wish to proffer an interesting related essay>
@ steelcityscribblings.(uk)"Talking WW3 Blues" "...For me the scariest thing is not that the world is ruled by gangsters – a criminal elite with the US ruling class its top mafia family. It is that this particular family, and the lesser criminals who ride its coat-tails, are justifiably worried...."
They too are ruled by fear. Not logos, not knowledge, fear, and panic.
What can go wrong with that?
They conjure up these, the lesser gods of the wars they've made since ...you name a date... And thus themselves are ruled, as they rule the people, by war and fear and panic.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca
For the former tank commander, murder -- not simply double-tapping the target with a firearm, but blowing him into meaty chunks with a Hellfire missile -- is "real deterrence."
Pompeo said during a speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute "there was 'a bigger strategy' behind the killing of Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, Iran's elite foreign espionage and paramilitary force.
The USG Mafia Hit Strategy on steroids is not confined to threatening Iran, however. Pompeo eluded to Russia and China's leaders being assassinated.
Pompeo didn't come out and say Trump's government will steer Hellfire missiles specifically at Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, or even Kim Jung-un . The message, however, is inescapable, especially for folks opposed to neoliberal crony capitalist domination of their national economies, industries, public services, and natural resources
Iran wants a nuke to prevent an attack by the USG in collaboration with the Zionist government in Israel. Ditto, North Korea. It remembers when the USG bombed virtually every city, town, and hamlet in the country and killed a third of the population. No doubt the mullahs in Tehran vividly recall Muammar Gaddafi's fate. They also remember how the CIA colluded with the Brits to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran and installed a monarchial tyrant.
It is entirely rational to seek the most effective deterrent to foreign invasion and mass murder campaigns waged relentlessly by the crony capitalist neolib USG and its little vicious client, Israel, the racist state where only Jews are considered first-class citizens and Arabs are tortured and killed -- or at best maimed (during anti-occupation protests, Israel snipers are instructed to aim for the eyes ).
For neocons, Trumpsters, and Fox News teleprompter readers, "taking out" Soleimani in Mafia hit fashion "was a brilliant move."
. @jockowillink says President @realDonaldTrump 's gamble ordering the strike that killed Soleimani was a brilliant move that killed an enemy of America and the Iranian people on #TheBrianKilmeadeShow @foxnation @foxnewsradio https://t.co/2w4S5n3yC8Trump Threatens to Kill Iran's Spiritual Leader
-- Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) January 14, 2020
Yes, of course, murdering leaders of recalcitrant nations is considered a "brilliant move" by psychopaths. The Italian-Jewish Mafia killed opponents one-by-one or in small groups while the USG kills opponents in the thousands, even the millions. The Gambino family and Kosher Nostra founded by Arnold Rothstein (who was himself assassinated) would have loved to take out their opponents with Reaper drones and Hellfire missiles, courtesy of witless US taxpayers and debt-serfs.
State Department officials involved in U.S. embassy security were not made aware of imminent threats to four specific U.S. embassies, two State Department officials said, further undermining Trump's claims that Soleimani posed an imminent threat. https://t.co/sG9ZXyxOa3
-- Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 13, 2020
USG embassies were not and are not under threat by Iran. In Iraq, the people protesting outside the embassy are Iraqis. They want the USG and its contractors out of their country which is still reeling from Bush the Lesser's invasion, a follow-up on more than a decade of child-killing (over 500,000) sanctions and a previous invasion by Junior's father, the former CIA boss who would become president.
Corporate war propaganda media is pushing the narrative that Trump impulsively decided to slaughter Soleimani, as if it simply came to him out of the blue.
. @douglaslondon5 , who retired from CIA at the end of 2018, writes that he and his team "often struggled in persuading the president to recognize the most important threats" because of Trump's "focus on celebrity, headlines, and immediate gratification." https://t.co/1SlVDNb44l
-- Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 15, 2020
Hardly. This is simply another anti-Trump gimmick. If you look beyond this one-dimensional pre-election circus, you'll see Trump's orthodox Jewish son-in-law, Sheldon Adelson, and a cast of Zionist characters steering the president into war with Israel's enemies. Indeed, Trump is driven by a pathological need for attention and this has been successfully exploited by neocons in the service of a tiny nation based on racial and religious superiority.
The basic method Trump used to kill Soleimani was developed by the Israelis >30 years ago. Here's a screen shot from "Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations," by Israeli author Ronen Bergman, here describing Israeli developments in late 1980s pic.twitter.com/MWKifPPjPF
-- James Perloff (@jamesperloff) January 14, 2020
The neolib USG with its Israel-first neocon faction is the largest and most deadly Mafia organization in the world.
The US government has killed millions since the end of FDR's war under false pretense and has overthrown countries far and wide. It trains and enables sadistic paramilitaries, has armed crazed Wahhabi jihadists, and is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon against innocent civilians.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this articl e was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com
Agent76 , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:06 pm GMTJan 14, 2020 The Dirty American Secret You're *NOT* Supposed to Know AboutDesert Fox , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT
December 3, 1993 The CIA Drug ConnectionIs as Old as the Agency
LONDON -- The Justice Department is investigating allegations that officers of a special Venezuelan anti-drug unit funded by the CIA smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States with the knowledge of CIA officials – despite protests by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization responsible for enforcing U.S. drug laws.
http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/03/opinion/03iht-edlarry.html@Agent76 Agree, the CIA and MI6 and the Mossad are the biggest drug runners in the world.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com
SolontoCroesus , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 5:20 pm GMTZ-man , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:05 pm GMT
That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003.
Nothing to do with 9 years of sanctions on Iraq that killed a million Iraqis, "half of them children," and US control of Iraqi air space, after having killed Iraqi military in a turkey-shoot, for no really good reason other than George H W Bush seized the "unipolar moment" to become king of the world?
Maybe it's just stubbornness: I think Papa Bush is responsible for the "imperial pivot," in the Persian Gulf war aka Operation Desert Storm, 29 years and 4 days ago -- January 17, 1991.
According to Jeffrey Engel, Bush's biographer and director of the Bush library at Southern Methodist University, Gorbachev harassed Bush with phone calls, pleading with him not to go to war over Kuwait
(It's worth noting that Dennis Ross was relatively new in his role on Jim Baker's staff when Baker, Brent Skowcroft, Larry Eagleburger & like minded urged Bush to take the Imperial Pivot.)
According to Vernon Loeb, who completed the writing of King's Counsel after Jack O'Connell died, Jordan's King Hussein, in consultation with retired CIA station chief O'Connell, parlayed with Arab leaders to resolve the conflict on their own, i.e. Arab-to-Arab terms, and also pleaded with Bush to stay out, and to let the Arabs solve their own problems. Bush refused.
See above: Bush was determined to "seize the unipolar moment."
Once again insist on entering into the record: George H Bush was present at the creation of the Global War on Terror, July 4, 1979, the Jerusalem Conference hosted by Benzion and Benjamin Netanyahu and heavily populated with Trotskyites – neocons.
International Terrorism: Challenge and Response, Benjamin Netanyahu, ed., 1981.
(Wurmser became Netanyahu's acolyte)@SolontoCroesus
I think Papa Bush is responsible for the "imperial pivot," in the Persian Gulf war aka Operation Desert Storm, 29 years and 4 days ago -- January 17, 1991.
Yes I remember it well. I came back from a long trip & memorable vacation, alas I was a young man, to the television drama that was unfolding with Arthur Kent 'The Scud Stud' and others reporting from the safety of their hotel balconies filming aircaft and cruise missiles. It was surreal.
You are correct of course.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com
Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMTI've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.
I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?
Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it....Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMTRight TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."
US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.
The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.
The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems
So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)
Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have bothEveryone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.
Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.
Jan 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
A bombshell revelation from The Washington Post a day after France, Britain and Germany took unprecedented action against Iran by formally triggering the dispute resolution mechanism regulating conformity to the deal, seen as the harshest measure taken by the European signatories thus far. The European powers officially see Iran as in breach of the deal which means UN and EU punitive sanctions are now on the table.
But according to The Post , how things quickly escalated to this point is real story : " Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn't," says the report.
This came as a "shock" to all three countries, with one top European official calling it essentially "extortion" and a new level of hardball tactics from the Trump administration.
After the US leveraged the new tariffs threat according to the report, European capitals moved quick to trigger the mechanism, which involved the individual European states formally notifying the agreement's guarantor, the European Union, that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal.
This followed the Jan.6 declaration of Tehran's leadership to no longer be beholden to uranium enrichment limits. And that's where things got interesting as Washington's pressure campaign dramatically turned up the heat on Europe.
"Within days, the three countries would formally accuse Iran of violating the deal, triggering a recourse provision that could reimpose United Nations sanctions on Iran and unravel the last remaining vestiges of the Obama-era agreement," the report continues .
However, the report notes France, the UK, and Germany were already in deep discussion on moving forward with triggering the mechanism. "We didn't want to look weak, so we agreed to keep the existence of the threat a secret," a European official cited by WaPo claims.
Trump's threats of auto tariffs to gain trade concessions with the Europeans is certainly nothing new, but using the same to dictate foreign policy is, notes WaPo's diplomatic correspondent John Hudson.
Interestingly, in Wednesday's joint statement the European signatories attempted to distance their drastic action away from Washington's so-called "maximum pressure" campaign. "Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran," they said .
The statement also underscored Europe hopes to use the mechanism "to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA" and in the words of one official quoted in The Guardian to prevent nuclear advancement to the point that the Iranians "learn something that it is not possible for them to unlearn" .
Now that the mechanism has been enacted, the clock starts on 65 days of intensive negotiations before UN sanctions would be reimposed if no resolution is reached. Specifically a blanket arms embargo would be imposed among other measures, and certainly it would mark the deal's final demise, given the Europeans are Iran's last hope for being equal partners in the deal.
Also interesting is that in the hours before The Washington Post report was published, Iranian FM Zarif charged that the EU investigation into Iran's alleged non-compliance meant Europe is allowing itself to be bulled by the United States .
Indeed the new revelation of the secret threats attempting to dictate Europe's course appear to confirm precisely Zarif's words to reporters earlier on Wednesday : "They say 'We are not responsible for what the United States did.' OK, but you are independent" he began. And then added a stinging rebuke: "Europe, EU, is the largest global economy. So why do you allow the United States to bully you around?"
Jan 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
elley Vlahos comments on the president's willingness to send more U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia:
It is time to claw back from this toxic relationship, and the first place to start is to transform our current mission of paternalistic "power projection" to one of "national defense." Who cares what the House of Saud wants to buy -- it's not what the American taxpayer pays for, and amen to Amash for putting it in such bald terms.
Trump's statement that he will send more troops to Saudi Arabia in exchange for payment sums up his foreign policy worldview quite well. He has no objection to sending U.S. troops to other countries, and he doesn't mind putting them in harm's way, as long as he thinks someone will pay for it. Trump is not interested in whether a particular mission makes the U.S. more secure, and he certainly doesn't think strategically about what the U.S. should be trying to accomplish. He just wants to get someone to fork over some cash. The absurd thing is that the cash is never forthcoming, but Trump keeps sending the troops to these places anyway.
We saw the same mercenary attitude during the campaign when he talked about setting up a "big, beautiful safe zone" in Syria, which he assured us would be paid for by Arab client states. We have seen it several times when he talks about "taking the oil" from this or that country to compensate the U.S. for our military interventions. As long as the Saudis and Emiratis are paying customers for weapons that they use to kill Yemenis, Trump will happily put their preferences and interests first.
Oddly enough for a self-proclaimed nationalist, the president has no notion of the national interest, but sees everything in narrow terms of wealth that can be extracted from others. This is why he talks about NATO as if it were a protection racket and shakes down South Korea for more money, and it is why he thinks it is acceptable to keep U.S. forces in Syria illegally so that they can control Syrian oil fields. It is why he insists that Iraq pay us for the cost of the installations that the U.S. built during the occupation of their country. It is also one reason why he relies so heavily on economic warfare in his attempt to coerce other states to do what he wants, because he seems to think that everyone is just as preoccupied with getting money as he is.
Contrary to the common assumption that Trump espouses some sort of "Jacksonian" foreign policy, this is an approach that ignores national honor and interest and focuses solely on lucre. Trump resembles nothing so much as a minor German prince from the 17th or 18th century who hires out his soldiers to fight the wars of other countries. This is what a mercenary foreign policy looks like, and it has nothing to do with making the U.S. more secure
Barlaam of Weimerica • 16 hours agoEven granted that Trump doesn't meet the low bar of Jacksonianism in foreign policy, I'm weary of even that much - all the talk of national honour seems to amount to little more than doing incredibly stupid and wicked things, and then persisting in them, because to do otherwise would cause a loss of face or credibility.FL_Cottonmouth Barlaam of Weimerica • 12 hours ago"Credibility" to the neocons is nothing more than "street cred." They're like gangsters.David Naas • 15 hours agoTrue believers will not be suaded by mere "facts". (When "fact" has become a synonym for "fake news".) Nor even if their little noses are rubbed in the Trumpoo. Not even when Trump's daily circus empowers the Left and discourages the old conservatives.Antiphon David Naas • 14 hours ago
We are begging for a national trauma and we will get it.lol - blow me down with that argument: Trumpoo and "old conservatives".HenionJD • 15 hours ago
Mmkay...Hey, so long as they're not hauling our kids away to die in some forsaken "s**thole" who cares where our "killing machines" our sent?FL_Cottonmouth HenionJD • 12 hours agoThe old English and American republicans were exactly right about the dangers of a "standing army" (that is, the professionionalization of the military). I'm for reinstating the draft not as a means of bolstering our ranks but as a means of mobilizing a permanent antiwar movement.FL_Cottonmouth • 13 hours ago • editedI've never liked applying the term "Jacksonian" to foreign policy because the Jackson presidency didn't have much of a foreign policy (unlike, say, his protégé James K. Polk ). Most of what gets passed off as "Jacksonian" in terms of foreign policy is really just Gen. Jackson's military policy during the Creek War, the War of 1812, and the annexation of Spanish Florida. In other words, "Jacksonian foreign policy" is just another for "militarized foreign policy."Taras77 • 8 hours ago • edited
Indeed, I can only imagine how outraged Jackson would be with the imperialism that "conservative" pundits are justifying in his name. Jackson was fiercely loyal to the ideal of the citizen-soldier/militiaman - and to the men themselves - and would have been furious if foreign influence in the government turned them into mercenaries. Knowing Jackson, the men responsible for such treachery might not have lived for very much longer.
To the extent that Jackson even addressed foreign policy, he (like John Quincy Adams) echoed the wisdom of the Founding Fathers:If we turn to our relations with foreign powers, we find our condition equally gratifying. Actuated by the sincere desire to do justice to every nation and to preserve the blessings of peace, our intercourse with them has been conducted on the part of this Government in the spirit of frankness; and I take pleasure in saying that it has generally been met in a corresponding temper. Difficulties of old standing have been surmounted by friendly discussion and the mutual desire to be just, and the claims of our citizens, which had been long withheld, have at length been acknowledged and adjusted and satisfactory arrangements made for their final payment; and with a limited, and I trust a temporary, exception, our relations with every foreign power are now of the most friendly character, our commerce continually expanding, and our flag respected in every quarter of the world.
While I am thus endeavoring to press upon your attention the principles which I deem of vital importance in the domestic concerns of the country, I ought not to pass over without notice the important considerations which should govern your policy toward foreign powers. It is unquestionably our true interest to cultivate the most friendly understanding with every nation and to avoid by every honorable means the calamities of war, and we shall best attain this object by frankness and sincerity in our foreign intercourse, by the prompt and faithful execution of treaties, and by justice and impartiality in our conduct to all. But no nation, however desirous of peace, can hope to escape occasional collisions with other powers, and the soundest dictates of policy require that we should place ourselves in a condition to assert our rights if a resort to force should ever become necessary. Our local situation, our long line of seacoast, indented by numerous bays, with deep rivers opening into the interior, as well as our extended and still increasing commerce, point to the Navy as our natural means of defense. It will in the end be found to be the cheapest and most effectual, and now is the time, in a season of peace and with an overflowing revenue, that we can year after year add to its strength without increasing the burdens of the people. It is your true policy, for your Navy will not only protect your rich and flourishing commerce in distant seas, but will enable you to reach and annoy the enemy and will give to defense its greatest efficiency by meeting danger at a distance from home. It is impossible by any line of fortifications to guard every point from attack against a hostile force advancing from the ocean and selecting its object, but they are indispensable to protect cities from bombardment, dockyards and naval arsenals from destruction, to give shelter to merchant vessels in time of war and to single ships or weaker squadrons when pressed by superior force. Fortifications of this description can not be too soon completed and armed and placed in a condition of the most perfect preparation. The abundant means we now possess can not be applied in any manner more useful to the country, and when this is done and our naval force sufficiently strengthened and our militia armed we need not fear that any nation will wantonly insult us or needlessly provoke hostilities. We shall more certainly preserve peace when it is well understood that we are prepared for War.
To the extent that Jackson is even endorsing war rather than peace and trade, it is in the context of national defense - literally defending our national borders from attack, not defending our military bases on/within the borders of foreign countries from attack.To add to the many outrages of the day coming out of this admin, now sending the troops as mercenaries for hire to saudi takes it down to a new low, these lows being set almost every week.
The murder of Iranian general must put a new low on the military as well as the drone operators are now in a place not good, assassins of someone outside of a war and/or combat. It hearkens back to obama's killing program and its probable continuation by trump.
Not good programs to be affiliated with for the US military for anyone with a conscience.
Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani's assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency .
The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani's assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.
Here is the reconstruction of the story:
[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast:
Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.
The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:
This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.
Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.
I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.
After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party".
Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.
I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.
We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia's reaction , that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:
The Kingdom's statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom's view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.
Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the US operation:
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.
And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly , the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:
Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: 'Please spare us the pain of going through another war'.
What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the US or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq's efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.
It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh's reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt , when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.
This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran's retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone's throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran's regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.
When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written .
The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the US dollar.
The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.
This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington's global power.
Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.
Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington's numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.
The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing's economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.
Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping's 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.
The US is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.
Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose. The US cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.
The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world's oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump's feet, ending his chances for re-election.
To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.
Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the US can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the US dollar.
Soleimani's death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump's electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .
Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani's assassination to Osama bin Laden's), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.
The assassination of Soleimani is the US lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the US and Israel's determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.
Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.
Washington's friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.
Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago linkNoob678 , 8 minutes ago link
Very good article, straight to the point. In fact its much worse. I know is hard to swallow for my US american brother and sisters.
But as sooner you wake up and see the reality as it is, as better chances the US has to survive with honor. Stop the wars around the globe and do not look for excuses. Isnt it already obvious what is going on with the US war machine? How many more examples some people need to wake up?Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link
For those who love to connect the dots:
Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something
Not all said in video above is accurate but the recent events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are all related to prevent China from overtaking the zionist hegemonic world and to recolonize China (at least the parasite is trying to hop to China as new host).
Trade war, Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet ..... the concerted efforts from all zionist controlled media (ZeroHedge included) to slander, smearing, fake news against China should tell you what the Zionists agenda are :)
Trump Threatens to Kill Iraqi PM if He Doesn't Cancel China Oil Deal - MoA
The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:
Abdul Mahdi continued:
"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found George W. Bush guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.
... ... ..TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link
When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?
I think Israel's fear is loss of regional goals if Iran becomes untouchableStalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link
Empire is lashing out of desperation because we've crossed peak Empire.
Things are going downhill and will get more volatile as we go.
Buckle up folks because the final act will be very nasty.
Unfortunately, this article makes a lot of sense. The US is losing influence and lashing out carelessly. I hope the rest of the world realizes how detached majority of the citizens within the states are from the federal government. The Federal government brings no good to our nation. None. From the mis management of our once tax revenues to the corrupt Congress who accepts bribes from the highest bidder, it's a rats best that is not only harmful to its own people, but the world at large. USD won't go down without a fight it seems... All empires end with a bang. Be ready
Jan 08, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
This is a must read This was just a rumor earlier today, but apparently enough people know about it and it's being confirmed.
Iraqi Prime Minister Was Forced To Resign After Trump Threatened His Life
On January 5th, the Iraqi parliament voted on a resolution to expel US troops from the country. In attendance was, caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who, according to reports provided insight into why specifically Iraq was in this situation, and predominantly spoke about threats that came his way from US President Donald Trump and the US policy towards the country.
The following is the summary of reports regarding Abdul-Mehdi's comments during the January 5 vote of the Iraqi Parliament. These reports have been nor officially confirmed nor denied by the Prime Minister office.
Abdul-Mehdi adressed the US hostile actions against the country. For example, the politician reportedly said that the US refused to complete the infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless it is promised 50% of oil revenues. The Prime Minister refused to make the concession.
Then, when the Prime Minister visited China and reached an important agreement to undertake construction of the projects instead of the US, President Donald Trump allegedly called him, telling him to rescind the agreement with China, otherwise there would be massive demonstrations against him, that would force him out of his seat.
HINT : A 50-person Iraqi delegation visited China in 2019 and that protests began on October 1st, observed a religious holiday, and then ramped up once again on October 25th. The flames of the protests were further fanned by mainstream media outlets.
Then, when massive demonstrations materialized against Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Trump once again allegedly called him. The US President allegedly threatened to position US marine snipers "atop the highest buildings," who will target and kill protesters and security forces alike in an attempt to pressure the Prime Minister.
Instead of complying, Adel Abdul-Mahdi refused and handed in his resignation and the US still attempt to pressure him in cancelling the supposed deal with China.
Later on, when the Iraqi Minister of Defense publicly said that a third side was targeting both protesters and security forces alike, Abdul-Mahdi allegedly received a new call from Trump who threatened to kill both him and the Minister of Defense if they kept talking about this "third side".
There is more...
Also this threadreader tweet on the same subject.
Assad said that he finds Trumps brutal honesty refreshing. Instead of hiding behind nicely worded threats Trump just comes out and tells people what he means. up 19 users have voted. --
America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery
Jan 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kali , Jan 7 2020 19:07 utc | 20This is how a MAFIA BOSS operates. Trump made an offer Abdul Mahdi couldn't refuse. Trump is a GODFATHER and his clique is literally a gangster MAFIA using extortion and OPERATING A PROTECTION RACKET.
Trump had already asked Iraqi Prime Ministers -twice- if the U.S. could get Iraq's oil as reward for invading and destroying their country. The requests were rejected. Now we learn that Trump also uses gangster methods (ar) to get the oil of Iraq. The talk by the Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi happened during the recent parliament session in Iraq (machine translation):Al-Halbousi, Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, blocked the speech of Mr. Abdul Mahdi in the scheduled session to discuss the decision to remove American forces from Iraq.
At the beginning of the session, Al-Halbousi left the presidential seat and sat next to Mr. Abdul-Mahdi, after his request to cut off the live broadcast of the session, a public conversation took place between the two parties. The voice of Adel Abdul Mahdi was raised.
Mr. Abdul Mahdi spoke with an angry tone, saying:
"The Americans are the ones who destroyed the country and wreaked havoc on it. They are those who refuse to complete building the electrical system and infrastructure projects. They have bargained for the reconstruction of Iraq in exchange for giving up 50% of Iraqi oil imports, so I refused and decided to go to China and concluded an important and strategic agreement with it, and today Trump is trying to cancel this important agreement."
The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:
Abdul Mahdi continued:
"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."
The reliable Based Cat in Iraq seems to confirm the timeline:TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat - 4:00 UTC · Jan 7, 2020
Yes a 50-person delegation visited China in 2019 and then the protests started on October 1st until the Arbaeen dates, then picked up again on Oct 25th. I'm skeptical about the 3rd party but the timing itself was interesting. The flames were fanned by Gulf media and Al-Hurra.
Tom_LX , Jan 7 2020 19:20 utc | 21AriusArmenian , Jan 7 2020 19:30 utc | 24A scandal is developing as one consequence of Trump's evil deed after Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi revealed the gangster methods U.S. President Trump used in his attempts to steal Iraq's oil.
Well well well, looks like Trump has been studying Cheney's map lately now that he is not fixated on Kim and accusations of being Putin's Puddle.
What is described by the PM is typical behavior of a gangster threatening a weaker opponent. Trump had better get some LSD to get him back in touch with Reality.MoA has done great reporting but this report is astounding.
It is stunning.
But it is the standard operating procedure of US elites. Trump is nothing unusual except for his persona. He gives away the game. Clinton/Bush/Obama/Trump, they are all power mad, vindictive, and vile. The elites that run the two major parties are together in pushing forward to war behind their political posturing.
Feb 08, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
up 10 users have voted.
"Would you take @MikeBloomberg 's money?" @ewarren : "SURE!"
The very same night Elizabeth Warren's big message is "I don't take billionaires' money!" Liz has the political instincts of Hilary Clinton. Trump will crush her.
-- Clark Feels The Bern (@Clarknt67) February 8, 2020
Raggedy Ann on Sat, 02/08/2020 - 4:50pmShe is so fake.
I can hardly stand to listen to nor look at her. Sheesh!
We got this from 2 faced Liz.
"Would you take @MikeBloomberg 's money?" @ewarren : "SURE!"
The very same night Elizabeth Warren's big message is "I don't take billionaires' money!" Liz has the political instincts of Hilary Clinton. Trump will crush her.
-- Clark Feels The Bern (@Clarknt67) February 8, 2020
Feb 08, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Most of the candidates' responses were predictable. Biden's North Korea policy would be every bit as unrealistic as Trump's, but he shows even less willingness to negotiate. Bloomberg's positions were unsurprisingly the most hawkish of the bunch. If there was an option for using force, he was for it. All of the candidates were unfortunately in agreement with defining Russia as an enemy.
One of the weirder questions asked the candidates whether they would consider using force to "preempt" a nuclear or missile test by either Iran or North Korea. Only Yang and Warren said no. It isn't clear how many of them were serious and how many were just making fun of the absurdity of the question, but it is disturbing that most of the candidates asked about this would entertain taking military action against another country because of a test. Maybe it doesn't need to be said because it is so obvious, but using force to stop a nuclear or missile test is not "preemption" in any sense of the term. A test is not an attack to be preempted, and taking military action to prevent a test would be nothing less than an unprovoked, illegal act of aggression. To her credit, Warren recognizes how dangerous such an attack would be:
No. Using force against a nuclear power or high-risk adversary carries immense risk for broader conflict. Using force when not necessary can be dangerously counterproductive. Again, I will only use force if there is a vital national security interest at risk, a strategy with clear and achievable objectives, and an understanding and acceptance of the long-term costs.
In general, Warren's answers were the most substantive and careful. She not only answered the questions that were put to her, but she gave some explanation of why she took that position and why it was the appropriate thing to do. She correctly rejected Trump's regime change policy in Venezuela, and acknowledged that "Trump's reckless actions have only further worsened the suffering of the Venezuelan people." On North Korea, she remained open to continuing direct talks with Kim Jong-un, but qualified that by saying, "I would be willing to meet with Kim if it advances substantive negotiations, but not as a vanity project." Her negotiating position was similarly reasonable: "A pragmatic approach to diplomacy requires give and take on both sides, not demands that one side unilaterally disarm first." Both Warren and Sanders correctly criticized Trump for the illegal assassination of Soleimani, and they recognized that the president's escalation had put Americans at greater risk. When asked about taking military action against Iran, Warren rejected the idea of a war with Iran and said the following:
I want to end America's wars in the Middle East, not start a new one with Iran. The litmus test I will use for any military action against Iran is the same that I will use as I consider any military action anywhere in the world. I will not send our troops into harm's way unless there is a vital national security interest at risk, a strategy with clear and achievable objectives, and an understanding and acceptance of the long-term costs. We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily.
The most revealing set of responses came from Pete Buttigieg in that he gave very few responses and had remarkably little to say about his plans. He failed to answer most of the questions he was asked. Of the 36 individual questions included in the 11 sections, he answered only 17 by my count, and many of those were recycled clips from previous speeches, interviews, and debate statements. Despite leaning heavily on his military service in Afghanistan in his campaigning, he failed to answer all of the questions asked about Afghanistan and the U.S. war there. Buttigieg's failure to respond to most of these questions underscores the former mayor's lack of foreign policy experience and knowledge, and it shows that after almost a year his campaign still doesn't have their foreign policy worked out.
Sanders and Warren have set themselves apart from the field in having the most credible foreign policy visions and the strongest commitments to bringing our many unnecessary wars to an end. Biden remains wedded to too many outdated and unworkable policies, and just on foreign policy alone Bloomberg is running in the wrong party's primary. Buttigieg is the least formally qualified top presidential candidate on the Democratic side, and his inability or unwillingness to answer most of these questions shows that. If the moderators bother to ask them about foreign policy, the candidates will have another opportunity to address these issues in the debate tonight, and Buttigieg won't be able to get away with saying nothing.
MPC • a day agoI don't trust Warren on this, her flimsiness and pandering and propensity to outright lie remind me too much of Romney (who speak of the devil got a backbone for once this week!).=marco01= MPC • a day ago
Bernie is definitely the best bet for a softer foreign policy.Warren is one of the most honest politicians. Check her Politifact file, she does far better than even Bernie. Of course neither compares to Trump, his Politifact file is a Pants on Fire dumpster fire.Tom Riddle =marco01= • 21 hours ago
The one thing, and it's only one thing, that causes you to say this is the controversy over her ancestry. But I don't believe she lied, she was raised with the family lore that she had native ancestry and she believed that family lore.If I had a dollar for every white midwesterner who told me that they had Native ancenstry, I wouldn't be typing comments on disqus, that's for sure. My personal internet comment typer would be doing the typing for me as I dictated from my throne of mammon.=marco01= Tom Riddle • 16 hours agoSure, but that was her family lore. Apparently it was spoken a lot of when she was growing up.Tom Riddle =marco01= • 14 hours ago
Her DNA test puts her Native ancestor from around the time of the Revolution, it's easy to see how that could start a family legend.Im not even really disagreeing. Even if she was wrong, I find it wild that these attacks on her are playing well in Trumpville, since white midwesterners (my people) falsely claiming Native heritage is a most common genre.=marco01= Tom Riddle • 3 hours agoAs we've seen with their support of Trump, conservatives don't seem to have much of a problem with hypocrisy.cka2nd • 20 hours ago • edited
They'll gleefully attack someone for something they are even more guilty of.I wonder why Gabbard failed to respond to the survey (as per a note on the bottom of the Times' page). A missed chance on her part.Wally • 8 hours agoThis is why I'm voting for Warren in my states primary next month. I just hope she's still in the race!cka2nd Wally • 5 hours agoMy guess is that after South Carolina it will be Sanders vs. Bloomberg vs. one of the other more mainstream Dems, either Mayor Pete, Warren (she's been tacking to the mainstream, right on economics and "left" on wokeness) or Biden, in that order. A fall-off in funding will knock everyone else out of the race (or a failure to move the voting needle if Steyer is self-funding).
Feb 08, 2020 | www.unz.com
... Biden's fundraising has fallen off, and it is unlikely major donors are going to send cash to a candidate who just ran fourth in Iowa and could run fourth or fifth in New Hampshire.
...Klobuchar is now in the second tier in New Hampshire, behind Sanders and Buttigieg, but right alongside Biden and Warren. A third-, fourth- or fifth-place finish would be near-fatal for them all.
...As for Warren, in her battle with Sanders to emerge as the champion of the progressive wing of the party, her third-place finish in Iowa, and her expected third-place finish in New Hampshire, at best, would seem to settle that issue for this election.
Buck Ransom , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 1:38 am GMTUncle Joe's presidential road show may be a bore and a bust, but the upcoming expose of Biden & Son International, Inc. should provide a dumpster-load of drama and comedy all summer long. I wonder how many special guest appearances there will be by the Kerrys, the Clintons, the Obamas and other nice folks Joe knows from DC.Prester John , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 5:29 pm GMT@Buck Ransom That reminds me. Obama was Biden's putative "boss" during the Ukrainian transaction. What did he know and when did he know it?follyofwar , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 5:46 pm GMT@anon IMHO, Bloomberg is ... just one year younger than Bernie, so this is his final rodeo too.Servant of Gla'aki , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT
...After the Iowa deep state operation, (it was NOT incompetence), it is clear that the PTB will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to ensure that Socialist Sanders is not the nominee. Remember, he already has a heart condition. Just sayin'.
The very part-time mayor of South Bend will soon be yesterday's news after South Carolina. Unlike suburban whites, blacks have too much common sense to vote for a homosexual.@BingoBoingoanon  Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 9:22 pm GMT
Mayor Pete's their attempt to groom a new one young, but he seems just as unelectable.
Blacks, men in particular, simply won't vote for Pete Buttigieg. They'll stay home in droves, and more than a few will vote for Trump.
If Buttigieg is the nominee, Election night will look like a Republican landslide straight out of the 1980s.@follyofwar If it ends up Bloomberg vs Trump what we've got in this country will have transmogrified further from an oligarchy to a full blown aristocracy–certainly a plutocracy–where only billionaires can afford to play king. That race won't be Dems vs GOPers, as both gentlemen have posed as one before switching to the other for simple expedience. Who will be the veep candidates? A Rockefeller and a Rothschild?KenH , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:31 pm GMTBootyjudge is just a short, gay and white version of Obama. But he typifies a government bureaucrat in that he's politically left wing, sexually deviant and hates normal, everyday Americans especially if their skin is white.Zach , says: Show Comment Next New Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:57 pm GMT
The DNC knows that if Biden were to win the nomination he'll commit so many gaffes, like burbling about corn pop, his hairy legs and enjoying kids sitting on his lap, among other things, that Trump would have a field day on Twitter and easily win a second term.
So it's shaping up to be a contest between orange Jebulus vs. anal Pete. By the time the presidential debates arrive both candidates will be vowing to crush white nationalism and improve the lives of black and brown people. White people need not apply.
Nevertheless, Trump's cult like almost all white base will cheer madly for a man who claims to represent them in words only, but almost never in deeds.@Adrian E. Everyone seems to forget that Sanders will be 79 in 2021...
Feb 07, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Last month, American military forces physically blocked Russian troops from proceeding down a road near the town of Rmelan, Syria. U.S. troops were acting on orders of President Trump, who said back in October that Washington would be "protecting" oil fields currently under control of the anti-Assad, Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces.
Meanwhile, the Russians are acting on behalf of Syrian president Bashar Assad, who says the state is ultimately in control of those fields. While no shots were fired in this case, the next time Moscow's forces might not go so quietly.
U.S. officials offered few details about the January stand-off, but General Alexus Grynkewich, deputy commander of the anti-ISIS campaign, said: "We've had a number of different engagements with the Russians on the ground." Late last month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported: "Tensions have continued to increase significantly in recent days between U.S. and Russian forces in the northeastern regions of Syria."
Stationed in Syria illegally, with neither domestic nor international legal authority, American personnel risked life and limb to occupy another nation's territory and steal its resources. What is the Trump administration doing?
American policy in Syria has long been stunningly foolish, dishonest, and counterproductive. When the Arab Spring erupted in 2011, Washington first defended Assad. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even called him a "reformer." Then she decided that he should be ousted and demanded that the rest of the world follow Washington's new policy.
Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ian2 , Feb 6 2020 20:02 utc | 65It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.
I honestly can't see Sanders getting the nomination with all the corruption openly being displayed. I would be pleasantly surprised if Sanders did manage to get it, but he still have to deal with the ELECTORAL COLLEGE (EC). The Electors have the final say. Yes, one can point out that some States have laws forcing Electors to vote what the populace wants, but that is being challenged in court. The debate on whether such laws are unconstitutional or not, remains to be seen. It's too late now to deal with the EC for this election, but people need to be more active in politics at the State level as that's where Electors are (s)elected.
IF Sanders is genuine then he should prepare to run as an independent just to get the EC attention.
ben , Feb 6 2020 22:01 utc | 79RR @ 14;
Everything in the U$A today, is driven by the unofficial Party of $, and it's reach transcends both Dems & repubs. It's cadre is the majority of the D.C. "rule makers", so we get what they want, not what "we the people" want or need.
They own the banks, MSM media, and even our voting systems.
IMO, to assume one party is to blame for conditions in the U$A is a bit naive.
Question is, can anything the masses do, change the system? Or is rank and file America just along for the ride?
I'm assuming us peons will get what the party of $ wants this November also.
P.S. If any blame is given, it needs to go to the American public, because " you get the kind of Gov. you deserve" through your inactions...
It's a lot like living, death is certain, but until that occurs, I'll move forward trying to mitigate current paradigms.
Feb 05, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
Diplomacy, accommodation, compromise, mutuality, the perspectives of others: It is already clear these are among the defining features of 21 st century statecraft. Jealous of its dissipating preeminence, the U.S. proves indifferent to all such considerations. There is no longer even the pretense of deriving authority by way of example, so radical is Washington's preference for coercive might alone. The paradox is not difficult to grasp: In displays of unadorned power we also find the limits of power. The Trump administration's conduct of foreign policy -- primarily but not only in the Mideast -- makes failure and an American comeuppance inevitable.
... ... ...
Many years ago, during the first term of George W. Bush, Karl Rove gave an interview in which he asserted that the U.S. was no longer bound by "discernible reality," as the White House aide put it. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," Rove explained. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out."
Rove Warning Overlooked
This singularly arrogant remark was much noted at the time but was thought to reflect only the kookier extremes of the Bush II administration. What a misinterpretation that has proven to be. Rove was effectively warning us that the U.S. had already begun its fundamental shift toward sheer power as the instrument of its foreign policies. This is plain in hindsight.
... These policies share two features. They rest on power alone -- in this they are Karl Rove's dream made flesh -- and they are bound to fail, if they are not already failing.
It is evident now that the European allies will defy U.S. efforts to sabotage NordStream 2 and keep Huawei out of 5–G. London announced last week that it will allow Huawei to participate in its 5–G development program. Germany made a similar decision last autumn.
In the Middle East, it is equally clear that Iran has no intention of buckling under U.S. sanctions and military threats. U.S. influence in the region has already begun to decline since the drone assassination of a top Iranian general on Iraqi soil early last month. The Pentagon now faces popular Iraqi demands to withdraw its troops.
And now the Mideast -- Israel and Palestine. The Trump administration sacrificed all claim to "honest broker" status when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017 -- a unilateral move that prompted the Palestinians to stop talking to the U.S. about the plan Jared Kushner was by then developing. Of all that is wrong with the new Trump–Kushner plan, the absence of Palestinian input more or less assures that it will prove dead on arrival.
Power alone is power blind. Power blind is certain to fail, for it cannot see its way.
Feb 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Daniel McAdams via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,
There is a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs. Needless to say it's even worse when they believe they can create their own reality and invent outcomes out of whole cloth.
Things seldom go as planned in these circumstances.
President Trump was sold a bill of goods on the assassination of Iran's revered military leader, Qassim Soleimani, likely by a cabal around Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the long-discredited neocon David Wurmser. A former Netanyahu advisor and Iraq war propagandist, Wurmser reportedly sent memos to his mentor, John Bolton, while Bolton was Trump's National Security Advisor (now, of course, he's the hero of the #resistance for having turned on his former boss) promising that killing Soleimani would be a cost-free operation that would catalyze the Iranian people against their government and bring about the long-awaited regime change in that country. The murder of Soleimani – the architect of the defeat of ISIS – would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the [Iranian] regime depends for stability and survival," wrote Wurmser.
As is most often the case with neocons, he was dead wrong.
The operation was not cost-free. On the contrary. Assassinating Soleimani on Iraqi soil resulted in the Iraqi parliament – itself the product of our "bringing democracy" to the country – voting to expel US forces even as the vote by the people's representatives was roundly rejected by the people who brought the people the people's representatives. In a manner of speaking.
Trump's move had an effect opposite to the one promised by neocons. It did not bring Iranians out to the street to overthrow their government – it catalyzed opposition across Iraq's various political and religious factions to the continued US military presence and further tightened Iraq's relationship with Iran. And short of what would be a catastrophic war initiated by the US (with little or no support from allies), there is not a thing Trump can do about it.
Iran's retaliatory attack on two US bases in Iraq was initially sold by President Trump as merely a pin-prick. No harm, no foul, no injuries. This despite the fact that he must have known about US personnel injured in the attack. The reason for the lie was that Trump likely understands how devastating it would be to his presidency to escalate with Iran. So the truth began to trickle out slowly – 11 US military members were injured, but it was just "like a headache." Now we know that 50 US troops were treated for traumatic brain injury after the attack. This may not be the last of it – but don't count on the mainstream media to do any reporting.
The Iranian FARS news agency reported at the time of the attack that US personnel had been injured and the response by the US government was to completely take that media outlet off the Internet by order of the US Treasury !
Last week the US House voted to cancel the 2002 authorization for war on Iraq and to prohibit the use of funds for war on Iran without Congressional authorization. It is a significant, if largely symbolic, move to rein in the oft-used excuse of the Iraq war authorization for blatantly unrelated actions like the assassination of Soleimani and Obama's thousands of airstrikes on Syria and Iraq .
President Trump has argued that prohibiting funds for military action against Iran actually makes war more likely, as he would be restricted from the kinds of military-strikes-short-of-war like his attack on Syria after the alleged chemical attack in Douma in 2018 (claims which have recently fallen apart ). The logic is faulty and reflects again the danger of believing one's own propaganda. As we have seen from the Iranian military response to the Soleimani assassination, Trump's military-strikes-short-of-war are having a ratchet-like effect rather than a pressure-release or deterrent effect.
As the financial and current events analysis site ZeroHedge put it recently:
[S]ince last summer's "tanker wars", Trump has painted himself into a corner on Iran, jumping from escalation to escalation (to this latest "point of no return big one" in the form of the ordered Soleimani assassination) -- yet all the while hoping to avoid a major direct war. The situation reached a climax where there were "no outs" (Trump was left with two 'bad options' of either back down or go to war).
The Iranians have little to lose at this point and America's European allies are, even if impotent, fed up with the US obsession with Saudi Arabia and Israel as a basis for its Middle East policy.
So why open this essay with a photo of Trump celebrating his dead-on-arrival "Deal of The Century" for Israel and Palestine? Because this is once again a gullible and weak President Trump being led by the nose into the coming Middle East conflagration. Left without even a semblance of US sympathy for their plight, the Palestinians after the roll-out of this "peace" plan will again see that they have no friends outside Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. As Israel continues to flirt with the idea of simply annexing large parts of the West Bank, it is clear that the brakes are off of any Israeli reticence to push for maximum control over Palestinian territory. So what is there to lose?
Trump believes he's advancing peace in the Middle East, while the excellent Mondoweiss website rightly observes that a main architect of the "peace plan," Trump's own son-in-law Jared Kushner, "taunts Palestinians because he wants them to reject his 'peace plan.'" Rejection of the plan is a green light to a war of annihilation on the Palestinians.
It appears that the center may not hold, that the self-referential echo chamber that passes for Beltway "expert" analysis will again be caught off guard in the consequence-free profession that is neocon foreign policy analysis. "Gosh we didn't see that coming!" But the next day they are back on the teevee stations as great experts.
Minamoto , 23 minutes ago linkfrancis scott falseflag , 41 minutes ago link
It is hard to believe that Trump has any confidence in Jared Kushner. Yet, he does enough to go public with a one-sided plan developed without Palestinian input.Ruler , 1 hour ago link
a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs.
The same is true of the economists and financial analysts who live in the bubble of the NSYE and the echo chamber of Manhattan. All of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs.Bokkenrijder , 1 hour ago link
The problem all incompetent leaders have, is seeing how their opponents see them.RafterManFMJ , 1 hour ago link
If Trump continues to be 'dumb' enough to consistently hire these people and consistently listen to them, and if his supporters continue to be dumb enough to consistently believe all the lies and excuses, then Trump and his supporters are 100% involved in the neoCON.
Dude, it's 666D chess!
The Real John Bolton
Feb 04, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Furthermore, first generation immigrants don't want to replicate their culture, they want the American dream. Their grandchildren might want to "identify" as hispanic, etc., but not their parents or grandparents. Identity politics only plays in the white middle classes.
Posted by: walrus | 02 February 2020 at 04:57 PM
Jan 31, 2020 | www.youtube.com
Charles Hull , 2 weeks agoKarinda Tiweyang , 6 days ago
🤔 If she doesn't want to be called a liar, on national TV, she should stop lying, on national TV.Flagrus , 1 week ago
"Sexist, not SEXY, sexist" hahahhaha why was this necessary. Still funny af.
That moment when a fox News treats Bernie fairer and more honest than his own party.
Jan 30, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
DNC In Disarray After Chairman's Secret Golden Parachute Revealed by Tyler Durden Thu, 01/30/2020 - 17:20 0 SHARES The perpetually broke , deck-stacking DNC has been thrown into disarray just days before the Iowa caucus after Buzzfeed revealed that a cadre of top officials at the Democratic National Committee approved, then concealed a 'generous exit package for the party chair, Tom Perez, and two top lieutenants,' which has left Democrats 'confounded over the weekend by the optics and timing of the decision on the eve of the presidential primary."
The proposal, put forward as an official DNC resolution during a meeting of the party's budget and finance committee last Friday, would have arranged for Perez and two of his top deputies, CEO Seema Nanda and deputy CEO Sam Cornale, to each receive a lump-sum bonus equaling four months' salary within two weeks of the time they eventually leave their roles .
Senior DNC officers, including members of Perez's own executive committee, learned of the compensation package after its approval, through the rumor mill, setting off a furious exchange of emails and texts over the weekend to determine what had been proposed, and by whom . - Buzzfeed
And while four-months salary might be more of a 'bronze parachute', Perez rejected the "extra compensation" package for himself and his two lieutenants in an email to officials .
Perez says he will serve through the end of the 2020 election, while all three officials have denied having any prior knowledge of, or involvement in the pay package resolution .
"One-hundred percent of our resources are going towards beating Donald Trump," said DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa, who added "DNC leadership will not accept any extra compensation recommended by the budget committee, which didn't operate at the direction of DNC leadership. The resolution was crafted by the budget committee and did not involve the Chair, CEO, or Deputy CEO."
Taking the fall for the resolution are two members of the DNC's budget and finance committee - Daniel Halpern and Chris Korge, who described it as the first step in a "smooth transition" for Perez.
Halperin, an anti-minimum wage lobbyist , was appointed by Perez in 2017. He previously chaired Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's 2009 moyoral campaign, and was a trustee for Barack Obama's 2008 inaugural committee.
Chris Korge is a Florida attorney hired in May of 2019. He was one of the top fundraisers for Andrew Gillum, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and served as the co-chairman for the Kerry Edwards campaign in 2004.
For years, the 64-year-old attorney, developer and one-time county hall lobbyist has been an important fundraiser for Democrats. He has raised millions for both Hillary and Bill Clinton, served as national co-chairman for Kerry Edwards Victory in 2004 and this year was co-chairman of Miami's unsuccessful bid to bring the Democratic convention to South Florida next summer. - Miami Herald
According to Buzzfeed , Halpern and Korge both said the resolution was above-board and a common business practice.
The resolution, which only applies to the 2021 transition, states that the outgoing chair, CEO, and deputy CEO will help facilitate donor and "stakeholder" relations, and convey "institutional knowledge" to the next chair, but is less specific about the requirements of the transition than the details of the compensation package: a lump sum of four months' pay, paid within two weeks, unless either Perez, Nanda, or Cornale is terminated for "gross misconduct."
On Tuesday, Halpern said the resolution was meant to serve only as a "nonbinding" starting point to ensure "continuity" between Perez's tenure and the next party chair . - Buzzfeed
Top Democrats within the DNC's leadership speaking on condition of anonymity said that they were shocked to learn of the compensation package on the eve of a presidential primary , amid a massive fundraising defecit .
"I think it is completely short-sighted and really stupid," said one senior official.
The package would have paid Perez around $69,000, Nanda around $61,000, and Cornale $39,000.
Wakesetter , 5 minutes ago linkNeitherStirredNorShaken , 6 minutes ago link
Money must be tight if $70K is a issue. The internal polling for the DNC is a train wreck. Panic.pHObuk0wrEHob71Suwr2 , 16 minutes ago link
The infighting is indicative of the ongoing DNC implosion. These parties, like the entire world's governments, were terminated long ago. NOBODY wants or needs the fake drama bullsh*t. If it's not on one side or the other it's on both to distract everybody. Like the ongoing fake impeachment fraud. Chump was finished day one on the job. And even if not certainly the public conspiring with both parties to commit sedition and treason after Parkland ensured it.Walter Melon , 17 minutes ago link
Tom Perez - member of the Obama Transition Project's Agency Review Working Group responsible for the justice, health and human services, veterans affairs, and housing and urban development agencies. He is Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation under Governor Martin O'Malley.
He worked in a variety of civil rights positions at the Department of Justice, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under Attorney General Janet Reno.
He also served as Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Secretary Donna Shalala, and as Special Counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy. From 2001 until 2007, he was Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Maryland School of Law, and is an adjunct faculty member at the George Washington School of Public Health.5fingerdiscount , 20 minutes ago link
Golden parachutes for a few years' work.
Even if it is only 4 months, apparently his annual salary of $276,000 wasn't enough for him to save up anything.
All meals paid for, all suits paid for, all transportation paid for ...
That's not even a parachute.
That's like jumping into the air and landing on the ground.
Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
lizabeth Warren wrote an article outlining in general terms how she would bring America's current foreign wars to an end. Perhaps the most significant part of the article is her commitment to respect Congress' constitutional role in matters of war:
We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily. The United States should not fight and cannot win wars without deep public support. Successive administrations and Congresses have taken the easy way out by choosing military action without proper authorizations or transparency with the American people. The failure to debate these military missions in public is one of the reasons they have been allowed to continue without real prospect of success [bold mine-DL].
On my watch, that will end. I am committed to seeking congressional authorization if the use of force is required. Seeking constrained authorizations with limited time frames will force the executive branch to be open with the American people and Congress about our objectives, how the operation is progressing, how much it is costing, and whether it should continue.
Warren's commitment on this point is welcome, and it is what Americans should expect and demand from their presidential candidates. It should be the bare minimum requirement for anyone seeking to be president, and any candidate who won't commit to respecting the Constitution should never be allowed to have the powers of that office. The president is not permitted to launch attacks and start wars alone, but Congress and the public have allowed several presidents to do just that without any consequences. It is time to put a stop to illegal presidential wars, and it is also time to put a stop to open-ended authorizations of military force. Warren's point about asking for "constrained authorizations with limited time frames" is important, and it is something that we should insist on in any future debate over the use of force. The 2001 and 2002 AUMFs are still on the books and have been abused and stretched beyond recognition to apply to groups that didn't exist when they were passed so that the U.S. can fight wars in countries that don't threaten our security. Those need to be repealed as soon as possible to eliminate the opening that they have provided the executive to make war at will.
Michael Brendan Dougherty is unimpressed with Warren's rhetoric:
But what has Warren offered to do differently, or better? She's made no notable break with the class of experts who run our failing foreign policy. Unlike Bernie Sanders, and like Trump or Obama, she hasn't hired a foreign-policy staff committed to a different vision. And so her promise to turn war powers back to Congress should be considered as empty as Obama's promise to do the same. Her promise to bring troops home would turn out to be as meaningless as a Trump tweet saying the same.
We shouldn't discount Warren's statements so easily. When a candidate makes specific commitments about ending U.S. wars during a campaign, that is different from making vague statements about having a "humble" foreign policy. Bush ran on a conventional hawkish foreign policy platform, and there were also no ongoing wars for him to campaign against, so we can't say that he ever ran as a "dove." Obama campaigned against the Iraq war and ran on ending the U.S. military presence there, and before his first term was finished almost all U.S. troops were out of Iraq. It is important to remember that he did not campaign against the war in Afghanistan, and instead argued in support of it. His subsequent decision to commit many more troops there was a mistake, but it was entirely consistent with what he campaigned on. In other words, he withdrew from the country he promised to withdraw from, and escalated in the country where he said the U.S. should be fighting. Trump didn't actually campaign on ending any wars, but he did talk about "bombing the hell" out of ISIS, and after he was elected he escalated the war on ISIS. His anti-Iranian obsession was out in the open from the start if anyone cared to pay attention to it. In short, what candidates commit to doing during a campaign does matter and it usually gives you a good idea of what a candidate will do once elected.
If Warren and some of the other Democratic candidates are committing to ending U.S. wars, we shouldn't assume that they won't follow through on those commitments because previous presidents proved to be the hawks that they admitted to being all along. Presidential candidates often tell us exactly what they mean to do, but we have to be paying attention to everything they say and not just one catchphrase that they said a few times. If voters want a more peaceful foreign policy, they should vote for candidates that actually campaign against ongoing wars instead of rewarding the ones that promise and then deliver escalation. But just voting for the candidates that promise an end to wars is not enough if Americans want Congress to start doing its job by reining in the executive. If we don't want presidents to run amok on war powers, there have to be political consequences for the ones that have done that and there needs to be steady pressure on Congress to take back their role in matters of war. Voters should select genuinely antiwar candidates, but then they also have to hold those candidates accountable once they're in office.
Jan 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) defended her plan to pay off college loans after being confronted by a father in Iowa in an exchange that went viral.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is confronted by a father who worked double shifts to pay for his daughters education and wants to know if he will get his money back. pic.twitter.com/t2GGbAnG08-- Eddie Donovan (@EddieDonovan) January 21, 2020
The father approached Warren, a leading Democratic presidential contender, after a campaign event in Grimes.
"My daughter's getting out of school, I saved all my money, so she doesn't have any student debt. Am I going to get my money back?" the man asked Warren.
"Of course not," Warren replied.
" So, we end up paying for people who didn't save any money, then those who did the right thing get screwed, " the father told her.
He then described a friend who makes more money but didn't save up while he worked double shifts to save up to pay for his daughter's college.
The father became upset, accusing Warren of laughing.
"We did the right thing and we get screwed," he added before walking off.
In an appearance on "CBS This Morning" on Friday, Warren was asked about the exchange.
Last night, a father who saved for his daughter's college education approached @SenWarren and challenged her proposed student loan forgiveness plan. @TonyDokoupil asks the senator for her response: pic.twitter.com/jLUXPqChC6-- CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 24, 2020
"Look, we build a future going forward by making it better. By that same logic what would we have done? Not started Social Security because we didn't start it last week for you or last month for you," Warren said.
Pressed on whether she was saying "tough luck" to people like the father, she said "No." She then recounted how she got to go to college despite coming from a poor family.
"There was a $50 a semester option for me. I was able to go to college and become a public school teacher because America had invested in a $50 a semester option for me. Today that's not available," she said.
"We don't build an America by saddling our kids with debt. We build an America by saying we're going to open up those opportunities for kids to be able to get an education without getting crushed by student loan debt."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) campaigns in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 19, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
One of Warren's plans is to cancel student loans. According to her website , on her first day as president she would cancel student loan debt as well as give free tuition to public colleges and technical schools and ban for-profit colleges from getting aid from the federal government.
"I'll direct the Secretary of Education to use their authority to begin to compromise and modify federal student loans consistent with my plan to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for 95% of student loan borrowers (about 42 million people)," Warren wrote.
"I'll also direct the Secretary of Education to use every existing authority available to rein in the for-profit college industry, crack down on predatory student lending, and combat the racial disparities in our higher education system."
Sounds an awful lot like the dad above is right those that did the "right thing" are gonna get "screwed."
csmith , 1 minute ago linkmtndds , 2 minutes ago link
Warren's debt forgiveness plan will turbo-boost the increases in college costs. It is the EXACTLY backwards remedy for out-of-control college costs.moron counter , 7 minutes ago link
Warren you bitch, I paid back my student loans responsibly by working my *** off (140k) and now you want to give others a free ride? I sure hope that I get a refund for all that money I paid back.chelydra , 12 minutes ago link
Obama did this kinds thing with housing. I got outbid by 100k on a house. The other bidder who got it didn't make his house payments so Obama restructured his loan knocking off 100k from his loan and giving him a 1% interest rate on it. He again didn't make his payments and got it restructured again but I didn't hear the terms of that one.Imagine That , 12 minutes ago link
If student loan debt is such a crisis, force every university to use their precious endowment funds to underwrite those loans AND let those loans get discharged in bankruptcy. Maybe then those schools would start to question whether having a dozen "Diversity Deans" each being paid $100k+ salaries is really worth the expense (among other things).FightingDinosaur , 15 minutes ago link
A scholarship system awarding free tuition to the top 5% of college applicants (NOT biased by race, gender, etc) who apply to the U.S.'s best STEM programs, hell yes! Free tuition for future Democrat voters, f^%k that!Centurion9.41 , 13 minutes ago link
The pissed off dad in this story has only one person to be pissed off at: himself, for being stupid. Understand something about college degrees: 90% of them, including majors like accounting, are not worth the paper they are printed on. Anyone who works double shifts to pay for anyone's college degree, even their own, is stupid. Look at why college costs so much: go to any state, and you'll see that 70% or more of the highest paid state employees are employed by public colleges and universities. You need to play these sons of bitches at their game, use their funny money to pay for the degree, and walk away. If you play the way these sons of bitches tell you to play, you get what you deserve.
I used their funny money to get a degree that wasn't worth the paper it was printed on and walked away. I don't give a **** if the sons of bitches grab my tax refund. Why? Because I have my withholdings set up so they get next to nothing in April. It costs the sons of bitches more to print up the garnishment letter and send it to me than what they're stealing from me. Guess what I use for an address? P.O. Box (can't serve a summons to a ghost).
If you're going to do what stupid, pissed off dad did, and work double shifts, you need to be trading out of all that funny money you're being paid for those double shifts, and trading into personal economic leverage (gold first, then silver). Instead of having bedrock to build multi-generational wealth, he has a daughter with a degree in pouring coffee, and nothing else to show for it. He only has himself to blame for drinking the Kool Aid. I can grab overtime every Saturday at my job if I want it, and every last penny of that OT is traded out of funny money and into gold ASAP.
Understand the US real estate market: the only reason it did not die five years ago was because we welcomed rich foreigners to come in and buy real estate to protect their wealth. We've stopped doing that, we have an over-abundance of domestic sellers and a severe shortage of domestic buyers. It's also where history says you need to be if you want to build multi-generational wealth. Warren actually needs to go further than what she's proposing. Not only does she need to discharge 100% of those balances by EO, she also needs to refund all those tax refunds stolen under false pretenses. Anything less, and we are guaranteed, for the next 40 years, to have a real estate market and economy which resembles Japan since 1989.
Why do I buy gold? So I can play people like Warren at their game. I'll take whatever loan discharge she gives me, and have lots of leverage in reserve to take advantage of what will be a once in a lifetime real estate fire sale.gatorengineer , 13 minutes ago link
Here's an idea...
Make those who want to be bailed out have to pay the bailout back by working every non-holiday Saturday (at the minimum wage rate) for the government and citizens (e.g who need work done around the house, take care of the elderly - in the bathroom) until the debt is paid back. AND let those who have not taken the debt relief supervise them - getting paid by the government at the same rate, minimum wage. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞southpaw47 , 18 minutes ago link
For a decent college it's between 35-70k a year.... Why? 300k a year library professors, if it weren't for tenure the problem would largely he self correcting as rntrillments drop...Snaffew , 27 minutes ago link
My how times have changed. My son was a college grad circa 1996. He did the JUCO thing for 1 1/2 years , worked a part time job for the duration, and picked up an A S while making the President's list. I aid, out of pocket all educational expenses while he lived at home and provided for a nice lifestyle while he was in school. As promised, he finished his education, out of state, which I paid for all along the way. 2 more years, he graduated, on the Pres list, and picked up his B S. No student debt, in his words, was one of the the greatest gifts. Today he is debt free, (so am I ), and he is a very happy , financially secure ( until the world goes upside down) mature adult. Hey Lizzie, send me a check.Balance-Sheet , 11 minutes ago link
They are all ignoring the real problem...the Federal mandated system of the guaranteed student loan program. Anyone with a pulse can get a guaranteed student loan, thus creating a massive rise in college admissions. The colleges are guaranteed the money for these loans, while the lender (the US gov't) is not guaranteed to be paid back by the students receiving these loans,. this created a fool proof, risk free ability for colleges and universities across the country to jack up their tuition costs at over a 5:1 ratio of income growth over the last 25 years. The problem is the program itself, students need to earn their ability to enroll in college through hard work and good grades. Currently, any moron with a high school diploma can go to college on a guaranteed student loan program and the colleges are more than willing to take on any idiot that wants to go to school despite their aspirations, work ethics, intelligence, achievements, etc. The universities have been given a blank check to expand their campuses, drastically inflate the salaries and pensions of professors and administrators of these schools all at the expense of this guaranteed "free" money from the government that only achieved an immense amount of the population going to overpriced schools in order to get a diploma in useless pursuits like african american studies, philosophy, creative writing, music, criminal justice, arts, basket weaving, etc.. The skyrocketing costs of colleges and student debt is the direct result of this miserably failed system of the guaranteed student loan. The majority of which have no business going to higher education because they don't have the aptitude, work ethic and intelligence necessary to actually receive a degree in anything that benefits the economy and themselves going forward. 30 years ago the average state college admission was roughly $4k a year for a good state school, today it is roughly $20k or far more. Meanwhile, the average income has gone up a meaningless amount. Get rid of the guaranteed student loan program and make the colleges responsible for accepting the responsibility of the loans for their students. I guarantee enrollment will decrease and costs will decline making it much more affordable for the truly responsible and aspiring student to achieve their dreams of a degree without a $250k loan needed for completion nor the lifelong strain of debt on their future incomes. The colleges are raping the system the same as all these shoestring companies take advantage of the medicaid system and give hovarounds and walking canes, and hearing aids for free because the gov't reimburses them at wildly inflated prices under some federally passed mandate. The system is the problem, eliminating the debt will only exacerbate it and cost taxpayers trillions more each and every year as "free" college will now entice every moron with a heartbeat the ability to go to outrageously priced schools with no skin in the game on the taxpayer's dime. Elizabeth Warren is an idiot....someone needs to have a sit down with her and discuss this rationale in her luxurious, state of the art TeePee.bkwaz4 , 25 minutes ago link
While you are correct corrupting academics with huge payoffs is how you secure their votes and the votes of most of the 'students' for decades to come.
Any group or industry can be paid off and you might think of the system as a set of interlocking payoffs until you get out to the margins and the fringes where the cash and benefits are a lot thinner.johnduncan78 , 25 minutes ago link
Everyone who continues to pay taxes to these neo-Bolsheviks is going to get screwed. The only alternative is to stop funding these criminals completely.Lie_Detector , 27 minutes ago link
What a sorry presidential canditate! She flat out LIED about being native american to get FREE college. And now this. Where has America gone????????? Socialism sems to be what most want nowadays. It has NEVER EVER worked anywhere in the world at any time! If yoou think therwise, just name ONE countryn it has worked in ! What a lying bunch the democrats are..........................Resist-Socialist-Dem-Lies , 24 minutes ago link
Warren Defends Plan To Cancel Student Debt
So all if us have to pay for it. Why did I have to pay for University and College in the 1970's if I wanted to further my education and now that I am older I have to foot the bill for the young people of today? Pay DOUBLE? (just to buy votes for traitors?)
I think NOT! Take your theft from the people, to buy votes of everyone from young people to illegal criminals to outright criminals in prison to dead people and resign before we decide to arrest you.
Democrats, HANG IT UP! We are NOT paying for YOUR illegitimate votes.Lie_Detector , 22 minutes ago link
Notice too how all their "we're going to wipe out your debt!" promises never seem to include the big "endowments" of these fascist colleges that jacked up tuition 1000% over what it used to cost.
No, those creepy commie profs and their freaky administrators get to keep their big TAX FREE endowments AND their big salaries.
Big Gov by Sanders/Warren don't seem to think that's obscene.moron counter , 27 minutes ago link
You are absolutely correct. 45 years ago you could almost work part time and actually PAY your way through college. Today you almost need a physicians salary to pay for these OVERPRICED sewers filled with leftist propaganda.
It's obvious that Warren doesn't teach economics or even math. They weren't smart enough when they took out the loans and they are not good with paying their bills so move the goal posts to bail them out. Has anyone given the thought that maybe they shouldn't have gone to college at all. Sounds like they will all work for the government anyways.
Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
occupatio , Jan 27 2020 23:46 utc | 81Review of history: Bullies have a limited life as do Reserve Currencies all things end.
Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 27 2020 20:14 utc | 49
There's a recent Foreign Affairs piece that also compares the US to Athens in abusing its financial clout and thereby alienating allies.
The Twilight of America's Financial Empire
occupatio , Jan 27 2020 23:47 utc | 82proper link:
Jan 27, 2020 | warontherocks.comend of history " and America's " unipolar moment ." And both camps have undergone a serious reckoning after the Afghanistan, Iraq, and forever wars, as well as the global financial crisis calling into question neoliberal economic policies -- namely, deregulation, liberalization, privatization, and austerity. Prominent foreign policy advocates have quite publicly engaged in soul-searching as they confronted these changes, and debates about the future of foreign policy abound.
The emergence of a distinctively progressive approach to foreign policy is perhaps the most interesting -- and most misunderstood -- development in these debates. In speeches and articles, politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders have outlined an approach to foreign policy that does not fall along the traditional fault-lines of realist versus idealist or neoconservative versus liberal internationalist (disclosure: I have been a longtime advisor to Sen. Warren). Their speeches come alongside an increasing number of articles exploring the contours of a progressive foreign policy. Even those who might not consider themselves progressive are sounding similar themes .
From this body of work, it is now possible to sketch out the framework of a distinctively progressive approach to foreign policy. While its advocates, like those in other foreign policy camps, discuss a wide range of issues -- from climate change to reforming international institutions -- at the moment, five themes mark this emerging approach as a specific framework for foreign policy.
First, progressive foreign policy breaks the silos between domestic and foreign policy and between international economic policy and foreign policy. It places far greater emphasis on how foreign policy impacts the United States at home -- and particularly on how foreign policy (including international economic policy) has impacted the domestic economy. To be sure, there have always been analysts and commentators who recognized these interrelationships. But progressive foreign policy places this at the center of its analysis rather than seeing it as peripheral. The new progressive foreign policy takes the substance of both domestic and international economic policies seriously, and its adherents will not support economic policies on foreign policy grounds if they exacerbate economic inequality at home. For example, the argument that trade deals must be ratified on national security grounds even though they have problematic distributional consequences does not carry much weight for progressives who believe that an equitable domestic economy is the foundation of national power.
Second, progressive foreign policy holds that one of the important threats to American democracy at home is nationalist oligarchy (or, alternatively, authoritarian capitalism ) abroad. Countries like Russia and China are not simply authoritarian governments, and neither can their resurgence and assertion of power be interpreted as merely great power competition. The reason is that their economic systems integrate economic and political power. Crony/state capitalism is not a bug, it is the central feature. In a global society, economic interrelationships weaponize economic power into political power . China, for example, already uses its economic power as leverage in political disputes with other Asian countries. Its growing share of global GDP is one of the most consequential facts of the 21st century. As a result of these dynamics, progressives are also highly skeptical of a foreign policy based on the premise that the countries of the world will all become neoliberal democracies. Instead, they take seriously the risks that come from economic integration with nationalist oligarchies.
Third, the new progressive foreign policy values America's alliances and international agreements, but not because it thinks that such alliances and rules can convert nationalist oligarchies into liberal democracies. Rather, alliances should be based on common values or common goals, and, going forward, they will be critical to balancing and countering the challenges from nationalist oligarchies. Progressives are thus far more skeptical of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia and far more interested in reinforcing and deepening ties with allies like Japan -- and are concerned about the erosion of alliances like NATO from within.
Jan 27, 2020 | newrepublic.com
This shouldn't have been too much of a surprise, as neoliberal policies had already wreaked havoc around the world. Looking back at the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the economist Joseph Stiglitz comments that "excessively rapid financial and capital market liberalization was probably the single most important cause of the crisis"; he also notes that after the crisis, the International Monetary Fund's policies "exacerbated the downturns."
Neoliberals pushed swift privatization in Russia after the Cold War, alongside a restrictive monetary policy. The result was a growing barter economy, low exports, and asset-stripping, as burgeoning oligarchs bought up state enterprises and then moved their money out of the country.
... ... ...
Rising economic inequality and the creation of monopolistic megacorporations also threaten democracy. In study after study, political scientists have shown that the U.S. government is highly responsive to the policy preferences of the wealthiest people, corporations, and trade associations -- and that it is largely unresponsive to the views of ordinary people. The wealthiest people, corporations, and their interest groups participate more in politics, spend more on politics, and lobby governments more. Leading political scientists have declared that the U.S. is no longer best characterized as a democracy or a republic but as an oligarchy -- a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.
The neoliberal embrace of individualism and opposition to "the collective society," as Margaret Thatcher put it, also had perverse consequences for social and political life. Humans are social animals. But neoliberalism rejects both the medieval approach of having fixed social classes based on wealth and power and the modern approach of having a single, shared civic identity based on participation in a democratic community. The problem is that amid neoliberalism's individualistic rat race, people still need to find meaning somewhere in their lives. And so there has been a retreat to tribalism and identity groups, with civic associations replaced by religious, ethnic, or other cultural affiliations.
To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future. When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future. Demagogues rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.
The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity. Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support.
The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead. Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.
Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com
Miro23 , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 8:38 am GMTMLK , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 4:53 pm GMT
So what happened following the dissolution of the Soviet Union?
The United States dispatched a cabal of cutthroat economists to Moscow to assist in the "shock therapy" campaign that collapsed the social safety net, savaged pensions, increased unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and alcoholism by many orders of magnitude, accelerated the slide to privatization that fueled a generation of voracious oligarchs, and sent the real economy plunging into an excruciating long-term depression.
Basically the NWO mafia saw that there was an opportunity to loot the place and they did it – gaining ownership – and stripping everything of value out of the place.
If the US public had the sense to realize it, it's the same as is currently happening to them.panzerfaust , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 5:04 pm GMT
At the same time Washington's agents were busy looting Moscow, NATO was moving its troops, armored divisions and missile sites closer to Russia's border in clear violation of promises that were made to Mikhail Gorbachev not to move its military "one inch east".
Yeah, yeah . . . This reminds me of that line from Animal House: "Face it Kent, you fucked up. You trusted us."
This was small beer in term's of betrayals the Russians have endured. What I've always liked about them is that they aren't bellyachers, like the Iranians are at the moment.
Ignore Western Media on Putin. He remains The Indispensable Man for Russia so he isn't going anywhere for the moment. I'm sure he'd love to become the Russian version of Deng but that's going to take a lot of preparatory work for him to get there.@Huxley Very true and this idea that man sets himself at the top of the creation is exactly the philosophy of "Human Rights", the Masonic model imposed through the UN to the whole world.NPleeze , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm GMT
This ideology was launched by Freemasonry during the "Enlightenment", in the 18th century. It produced the Masonic French Revolution, the Masonic US republic and later the concept of "democracy".
Published in 1899 by Don Felix Sarda Y Salvany: Liberalism is a sin. This is from a Catholic priest, but we all share the same enemy.
http://www.liberalismisasin.com/@9/11 Inside job What cult of personality? There isn't one. People mostly like the decisions he makes, not because he makes them, but because they agree with them.Anonymous  Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 8:17 pm GMT
As to Chabad Lubavitch, Putin is a politician – he mingles with Christians, Jews and Muslims. As evil as Chabad Lubavitch is, Putin also mingles with the Saudi Barbarians. It's hardly proof they control him.
Go find something real, you are making a fool of yourself spreading baseless propaganda. Next you will tell us about the $583 trillion he has stashed away, so he can use it, secretly, after he retires from his life-long dictatorship.@Tucker Well said. The US and Israel are by far the most blatantly thuggish players on the international political stage... Must be a coincidence .
Jan 22, 2019 | angrybearblog.com
likbez , January 25, 2020 3:10 pm
While I agree that the removal of Trump might be slightly beneficial (Pence-Pompeo duo initially will run scared), this Kabuki theater with Schiff in a major role is outright silly.
Adam Schiff physically resembles a typical prosperity theology preacher -- a classic modern American snake oil salesman. And with his baseless accusations and the fear to touch real issues , he is even worse than that -- he looks outright silly even for the most brainwashed part of the USA electorate ;-)
As he supported the Iraq war, he has no right to occupy any elected office. He probably should be prosecuted as a war criminal.
Realistically Schiff should be viewed as yet another intelligence agency stooge, a neocon who is funded by military contractors such as Northrop Grumman, which sells missiles to Ukraine.
The claim that Trump is influenced by Russia is a lie. His actions indicate that he is an agent of influence for Israel, not so much for Russia. Several of his actions were more reckless and more hostile to Russia than the actions of the Obama administration. Anyway, his policies toward Russia are not that different from Hillary's policies. Actually, Pompeo, in many ways, continues Hillary's policies.
The claim that the withdrawal of military aid from Ukraine somehow influences the balance of power in the region was a State department concocted scam from the very beginning. How sniper rifles and anti-tank missiles change the balance of power on the border with the major nuclear power, who has probably second or third military in the world.? They do not.
They (especially sniper rifles) will definitely increase casualties of Ukrainian separatists (and will provoke Russian reaction to compensate for this change of balance and thus increase casualties of the Ukrainian army provoking the escalation spiral ), but that's about it. So more people will die in the conflict while Northrop Grumman rakes the profits.
They also increase the danger of the larger-scale conflict in the region, which is what the USA neocons badly wants to impose really crushing sanctions on Russia. The danger of WWIII and the cost of support of the crumbling neoliberal empire with its outsize military expenditures (which now is more difficult to compensate with loot) somehow escapes the US neocon calculations. But they are completely detached from reality in any case.
I think Russia can cut Ukraine into Western and Eastern parts anytime with relative ease and not much resistance. Putin has an opportunity to do this in 2014 (risking larger sanctions) as he could establish government in exile out of Yanukovich officials and based on this restore the legitimate government in Eastern and southern region with the capital in Kharkiv, leaving Ukrainian Taliban to rot in their own brand of far-right nationalism where the Ukraine identity is defined negatively via rabid Russophobia.
His calculation probably was that sanctions would slow down the Russia recovery from Western plunder during Yeltsin years and, as such, it is not worth showing Western Ukrainian nationalists what level of support in Southern and Eastern regions that they actually enjoy.
My impression is that they are passionately hated by over 50% of the population of this region. And viewed as an occupying force, which is trying to colonize the space (which is a completely true assessment). They are viewed as American stooges, who they are (the country is controlled from the USA embassy in any case).
And Putin's assessment might be wrong, as sanctions were imposed anyways, and now Ukraine does represent a threat to Russia and, as such, is a huge source of instability in the region, which was the key idea of "Nulandgate" as the main task was weakening Russia. In this sense, Euromaidan coup d'état was the major success of the Obama administration, which was a neocon controlled administration from top to bottom.
Also unclear what Dems are trying to achieve. If Pelosi gambit, cynically speaking, was about repeating Mueller witch hunt success in the 2018 election, that is typical wishful thinking. Mobilization of the base works both ways.
So what is the game plan for DemoRats (aka "neoliberal democrats" or "corporate democrats" -- the dominant Clinton faction of the Democratic Party) is completely unclear.
I doubt that they will gain anything from impeachment Kabuki theater, where both sides are afraid to discuss real issues like Douma false flag and other real Trump crimes.
Most Democratic candidates such as Warren, Biden, and Klobuchar will lose from this impeachment theater. Candidates who can gain, such as Major Pete and Bloomberg does not matter that much.
Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Danny , Jan 24 2020 15:11 utc | 25It's amazing all the money in the State Department and other intelligence agencies should be attracting the best minds. Yet a bunch of us sitting here watching this from our boring office jobs realize how genuinely stupid US foreign policy has been.
A separate Sunni state in West Iraq would be doomed. We need to leave these people alone, we've made enough foolish mistakes and this will get a lot of people killed. That's along with US troops being put in harms way for ridiculous reasons like stealing Syrian oil and now occupying Iraq against their parliaments wishes.
Back in the day you told someone you were American and they wanted to shake your hand and ask you about this place or that. Now they want to spit in our faces
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgTrailer Trash , Jan 23 2020 18:30 utc | 44>This is the most critical U.S. election in our lifetime
> Posted by: Circe | Jan 23 2020 17:46 utc | 36
Hmmm, I've been hearing the same siren song every four years for the past fifty. How is it that people still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?
Bureaucracies are reactionary and conservative by nature, so any new and more repressive policy Trumpy wants is readily adapted, as shown by the continuing barbarity of ICE and the growth of prisons and refugee concentration camps. Policies that go against the grain are easily shrugged off and ignored using time-tested passive-aggressive tactics.
One of Trump's insurmountable problems is that he has no loyal organization behind him whose members he can appoint throughout the massive Federal bureaucracy. Any Dummycrat whose name is not "Biden" has the same problem. Without a real mass-movement political party to pressure reluctant bureaucrats, no politician of any name or stripe will ever substantially change the direction of US policy.
But the last thing Dummycrats want is a real mass movement, because they might not be able to control it. Instead Uncle Sam will keep heading towards the cliff, which may be coming into view...
Per/Norway , Jan 23 2020 19:31 utc | 62The amount of TINA worshipers and status quo guerillas is starting to depress me.Piotr Berman , Jan 23 2020 20:19 utc | 82
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE to believe A politician will/can change anything and give your consent to war criminals and traitors?
NO person(s) WILL EVER get to the top in imperial/vassal state politics without being on the rentier class side, the cognitive dissonans in voting for known liars, war criminals and traitors would kill me or fry my brain. TINA is a lie and "she" is a real bitch that deserves to be thrown on the dump off history, YOUR vote is YOUR consent to murder, theft and treason.
DONT be a rentier class enabler STOP voting and start making your local communities better and independent instead.
NorwayThe amount of TINA worshipers and status quo guerillas is starting to depress me. <- Norway
Of course, There Is Another Way, for example, kvetching. We can boldly show that we are upset, and pessimistic. One upset pessimists reach critical mass we will think about some actions.
But being upset and pessimistic does fully justify inactivity. In particular, given the nature of social interaction networks, with spokes and hubs, dominating the network requires the control of relatively few nodes. The nature of democracy always allows for leverage takeover, starting from dominating within small to the entire nation in few steps. As it was nicely explained by Prof. Overton, there is a window of positions that the vast majority regards as reasonable, non-radical etc. One reason that powers to be invest so much energy vilifying dissenters, Russian assets of late, is to keep them outside the Overton window.
Having a candidate elected that the curators of Overton window hate definitely shakes the situation with the potential of shifting the window. There were some positive symptoms after Trump was elected, but negatives prevail. "Why not we just kill him" idea entered the window, together with "we took their oil because we have guts and common sense".
From that point of view, visibility of Tulsi and election of Sanders will solve some problems but most of all, it will make big changes in Overton window.
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgTrailer Trash , Jan 23 2020 18:30 utc | 44
For example, Trump managed to speed up the process od destruction of the USA-centered neoliberal empire considerably. Especially by lauching the trade war with China. He also managed to discredit the USA foreign policy as no other president before him. Even Bush II.>This is the most critical U.S. election in our lifetime
> Posted by: Circe | Jan 23 2020 17:46 utc | 36
Hmmm, I've been hearing the same siren song every four years for the past fifty. How is it that people still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?
Bureaucracies are reactionary and conservative by nature, so any new and more repressive policy Trumpy wants is readily adapted, as shown by the continuing barbarity of ICE and the growth of prisons and refugee concentration camps. Policies that go against the grain are easily shrugged off and ignored using time-tested passive-aggressive tactics.
One of Trump's insurmountable problems is that he has no loyal organization behind him whose members he can appoint throughout the massive Federal bureaucracy. Any Dummycrat whose name is not "Biden" has the same problem. Without a real mass-movement political party to pressure reluctant bureaucrats, no politician of any name or stripe will ever substantially change the direction of US policy.
But the last thing Dummycrats want is a real mass movement, because they might not be able to control it. Instead Uncle Sam will keep heading towards the cliff, which may be coming into view...
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Sasha , Jan 23 2020 23:09 utc | 116In a day like yesterday....US merits to remain in Iraq getting 50% oil revenues while contributing zero to rebuilt the country they previosuly destroyed and funding and spreading chaos, unrest and terrorism...On this day in 1991, the US bombed an infant formula production plant in Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm. The US lied, calling it a biological weapons facility, but in actuality, "it was the only source of infant formula food for children one year and younger in Iraq."
Lurker in the Dark , Jan 23 2020 23:29 utc | 119This is already a hot war the US is prosecuting against Iran.
Jan 23, 2020 | americantruthtoday.com
This, however, is an outright lie. If Democrats truly valued America over their own partisan interests, they wouldn't have forced a hoax impeachment through government, despite the overwhelming opposition against it. Moreover, if "country over party" mattered to Democrats, then they wouldn't have commenced talks about impeachment since before the inception of Trump's presidency.
A new year and new decade may be upon us, but this doesn't mean that Democrats are any less terrified of seeing their impeachment sham die in the Senate.
As a matter of fact, 2020 Democrat and Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent New Year's Eve raging against her Republican colleagues and making baseless accusations against Trump, per reports from Washington Examiner.
Reviewing Warren's Tirade Against Senate Republicans The 2020 socialist's remarks about Republican members of the Senate came during her New Year's Eve address in Boston, Massachusetts. Warren lamented over the reality that Democrats will not be able to bully or intimidate Republicans into voting for a partisan-driven, unfounded sham. This blows Warren's far-left, unwell mind, so she opted to blast GOP senators as " fawning, spineless defenders" of President Trump's supposed "crimes."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks in Boston: "[President Trump] has tried to squeeze foreign governments to advance his own political fortunes. Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress have turned into fawning spineless defenders of his crimes." pic.twitter.com/sGyLqsA8C7-- The Hill (@thehill) January 1, 2020
Shortly thereafter, Warren followed up with the lie that ramming the weakest and thinnest impeachment through government "brought no joy" to House Democrats. This, of course, just isn't accurate; House Rep. Rashida Tlaib posted a gleeful livestream prior to the "impeachment" where she bragged about being "on [her] way to the United States House floor" in order to "impeach President Trump."
Finally, Warren declared that conservative senators need to "choose truth over politics" or else President Trump will attempt to "cheat his way" via the 2020 election.
Misplaced Outrage As per usual with Democrats, the outrage is misplaced and misguided. If Warren is so eager for a trial, then she should be directed this animosity towards House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who continues to hoard the impeachment articles.
f left-wing Congress members truly believed they had a solid case against the president, they'd be more than eager for the Senate to receive the articles and begin conducting a trial; instead, however, raging at President Trump and Senate Republicans is easier than acknowledge the true reality here.
Democrats forced the weakest, thinnest, and fastest impeachment through the House. The president did absolutely nothing wrong and will be acquitted either when the Senate holds a trial or by default if Pelosi keeps hoarding the articles.
Apr 20, 2019 | www.nbcnews.com
On impeachment, Warren just stole the show from her dodging Democratic rivals By Jonathan Allen
Analysis: The Massachusetts senator's forceful call to begin the process of removing Trump set her apart from the crowded primary field.
While most fellow 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls ducked and dived to find safe ground -- and party elders solemnly warned against over-reach -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren stepped boldly out into the open late Friday and called on the House to begin an impeachment process against President Donald Trump based on special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
The Massachusetts senator and 2020 Democratic presidential contender slammed Trump for having "welcomed" the help of a "hostile" foreign government and having obstructed the probe into an attack on an American election.
"To ignore a President's repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country," Warren tweeted. "The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States."
It was a rare moment in a crowded and unsettled primary: A seized opportunity for a candidate to cut through the campaign trail cacophony and define the terms of a debate that will rage throughout the contest.
Jan 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Arch Mangle , Jan 21 2020 14:04 utc | 3The Wikipedia article on the Douma attack makes no mention of the recent OPCW leaks:
It's clear to me that Wikipedia is nothing but a tool for the concealment of truth.
somebody , Jan 22 2020 12:39 utc | 96Posted by: Walter | Jan 22 2020 12:30 utc | 95
Of course. Intelligence services wordwide and their governments knew this as soon as they saw the image.
But Western main stream media does not report on it.
Jan 22, 2020 | www.wsws.org
CNN and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat from Massachusetts, with powerful establishment support, combined to stage a provocation this week aimed at slowing down or derailing the campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
Through CNN, the Massachusetts senator's camp first alleged that Sanders told her in December 2018 a woman could not win a presidential election, an allegation Sanders strenuously refuted. At the Democratic debate on Tuesday night, CNN's moderator acted as though the claim was an indisputable reality, leading to a post-debate encounter between Warren and Sanders, which the network just happened to record and circulate widely.
This is a political stink bomb, borrowed from the #MeToo playbook, typical of American politics in its putrefaction. Unsubstantiated allegations are turned into "facts," these "facts" become the basis for blackening reputations and damaging careers and shifting politics continuously to the right. Anyone who denies the allegations is a "sexist" who refuses "to believe women."
The Democratic establishment is fearful of Sanders, not so much for his nationalist-reformist program and populist demagogy, but for what his confused but growing support portends: the movement to the left by wide layers of the American population. The US ruling elite seems convinced, like some wretched, self-deluded potentate of old, that if it can simply stamp out the unpleasant "noise," the rising tide of disaffection will dissipate.
CNN's operation began Monday when it posted a "bombshell" article by M.J. Lee with the headline, "Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren in private 2018 meeting that a woman can't win, sources say."
The article animatedly begins, "The stakes were high when Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren met at Warren's apartment in Washington, DC, one evening in December 2018." Among other things, the CNN piece reported, the pair "discussed how to best take on President Donald Trump, and Warren laid out two main reasons she believed she would be a strong candidate: She could make a robust argument about the economy and earn broad support from female voters. Sanders responded that he did not believe a woman could win."
Lee continues, "The description of that meeting is based on the accounts of four people: two people Warren spoke with directly soon after the encounter, and two people familiar with the meeting." In reality, the story is based on the account of one individual with a considerable interest in cutting into Sanders' support, i.e., Elizabeth Warren. As the New York Times primly noted, "Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders were the only people in the room."
The absurd CNN article goes on, "After publication of this story, Warren herself backed up this account of the meeting, saying in part in a statement Monday, 'I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.'" In other words, Warren "backed up" what could only have been her own account insofar as she was the only person there besides Sanders!
After a pro forma insertion of Sanders' categorical denial that he ever made such a statement, in which he reasonably observed, "Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016," Lee plowed right ahead as though his comments were not worth responding to. She carries on, "The conversation also illustrates the skepticism among not only American voters but also senior Democratic officials that the country is ready to elect a woman as president" and, further, "The revelation that Sanders expressed skepticism that Warren could win the presidency because she is a woman is particularly noteworthy now, given that Warren is the lone female candidate at the top of the Democratic field."
This is one of the ways in which the sexual misconduct witch-hunt has poisoned American politics, although by no means the only one. Warren's claims about a private encounter simply "must be believed."
During the Democratic candidates' debate itself Tuesday night, moderator Abby Phillips addressed Sanders in the following manner: "Let's now turn to an issue that's come up in the last 48 hours [because Warren and CNN generated it]. Sen. Sanders, CNN reported yesterday that -- and Sen. Sanders, Sen. Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that? " (emphasis added). Sanders denied once again that he had said any such thing. Phillips persisted, "Sen. Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you're saying that you never told Sen. Warren that a woman could not win the election?" Sanders confirmed that. Insultingly, Phillips immediately turned to Warren and continued, "Sen. Warren, what did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?" This was all clearly prepared ahead of time, a deliberate effort to embarrass Sanders and portray him as a liar and a male chauvinist.
Following the debate, Warren had the audacity to confront the Vermont senator, refuse to shake his hand and assert, "I think you called me a liar on national TV." When Sanders seemed startled by her remark, she repeated it. CNN managed to capture the sound and preserve it for widespread distribution.
The WSWS gives no support to Sanders, a phony "socialist" whose efforts are aimed at channeling working-class anger at social inequality, poverty and war back into the big business Democratic Party. He is only the latest in a long line of figures in American political history devoted to maintaining the Democrats' stranglehold over popular opposition and blocking the development of a broad-based socialist movement.
Nonetheless, the CNN-Warren "dirty tricks" operation is an obvious hatchet job and an attack from the right. Accordingly, the New York Times and other major outlets have been gloating and attempting to make something out of it since Tuesday night. The obvious purpose is to "raise serious questions" about Sanders and dampen support for him, among women especially. It should be recalled that in 2016 Sanders led Hillary Clinton among young women by 30 percentage points.
Michelle Cottle, a member of the Times editorial board (in "Why Questions on Women Candidates Strike a Nerve," January 15), asserted that the issue raised by the Warren-Sanders clash was "not about Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren. Not really. And Ms. Warren was right to try to shift the focus to the bigger picture -- even if some critics will sneer that she's playing 'the gender card.'"
Cottle's "bigger picture," it turned out, primarily involved smearing Sanders. The present controversy, she went on, "has resurfaced some of Mr. Sanders's past women troubles. His 2016 campaign faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment, pay inequities and other gender-based mistreatment. Asked early last year if he knew about the complaints, Mr. Sanders's reaction was both defensive and dismissive: 'I was a little bit busy running around the country'."
After Cottle attempted to convince her readers, on the basis of dubious numbers, that Americans were perhaps too backward to elect a female president, she continued, again, taking as good coin Warren's allegations, "This less-than-inspiring data -- along with from-the-trail anecdotes about the gender-based voter anxiety that Ms. Warren and Ms. [Amy] Klobuchar have been facing -- help explain why Mr. Sanders's alleged remarks struck such a nerve. Women candidates and their supporters aren't simply outraged that he could be so wrong. They're worried that he might be right." The remarks he denies making have nonetheless "outraged" Cottle and others.
The Times more and more openly expresses fears about a possible Sanders' nomination. Op-ed columnist David Leonhardt headlined his January 14 piece, "President Bernie Sanders," and commented, "Sanders has a real shot of winning the Democratic nomination. Only a couple of months after he suffered a mild heart attack, that counts as a surprise." Leonhardt downplays Sanders' socialist credentials, observing that "while he [Sanders] would probably fail to accomplish his grandest goals (again, like Medicare for all), he would also move the country in a positive direction. He might even move it to closer to a center-left ideal than a more moderate candidate like Biden would."
On Thursday, right-wing Times columnist David Brooks argued pathetically against the existence of "class war" in "The Bernie Sanders Fallacy." He ridiculed what he described as "Bernie Sanders's class-war Theyism: The billionaires have rigged the economy to benefit themselves and impoverish everyone else." According to Brooks, Sanders is a Bolshevik who believes that "Capitalism is a system of exploitation in which capitalist power completely dominates worker power." Accusing Sanders of embracing such an ABC socialist proposition is all nonsense, but it reveals something about what keeps pundits like Brooks up at night.
The Times is determined, as the WSWS has noted more than once, to exclude anything from the 2020 election campaign that might arouse or encourage the outrage of workers and young people. The past year of global mass protest has only deepened and strengthened that determination.
The Times , CNN and other elements of the media and political establishment, and behind them powerful financial-corporate interests, don't want Sanders and they don't necessarily want Warren either, who engaged in certain loose talk about taxing the billionaires, before retreating in fright. They want a campaign dominated by race, gender and sexual orientation -- not class and not social inequality. The #MeToo-style attack on Sanders reflects both the "style" and the right-wing concerns of these social layers.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
none , January 21, 2020 at 12:46 am
Warren will never endorse Bernie. She is not a progressive and the Republican in her is back in operation. But, there is a new Jeep named after her:
Henry Moon Pie , January 21, 2020 at 1:41 am
But we already had the Tin Lizzie.
ambrit , January 21, 2020 at 6:30 am
I can't resist. What we have here is an old fashioned "Lizzie-Faire Capitalist."
John Zelnicker , January 21, 2020 at 10:28 am
January 21, 2020 at 6:30 am
-- -- -
"Strike three! A sizzling fast ball over the middle of the plate, while the batter just looked dumbfounded"
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:
In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.
Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:
One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com
... ... ...
After the feed was cut, MPs who were present wrote down Abdul-Mahdi's remarks, which were then given to the Arabic news outlet Ida'at . Per that transcript , Abdul-Mahdi stated that:
The Americans are the ones who destroyed the country and wreaked havoc on it. They have refused to finish building the electrical system and infrastructure projects. They have bargained for the reconstruction of Iraq in exchange for Iraq giving up 50% of oil imports. So, I refused and decided to go to China and concluded an important and strategic agreement with it. Today, Trump is trying to cancel this important agreement. "
Abdul-Mahdi continued his remarks, noting that pressure from the Trump administration over his negotiations and subsequent dealings with China grew substantially over time, even resulting in death threats to himself and his defense minister:
After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened [that there would be] massive demonstrations to topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, whereby a third party [presumed to be mercenaries or U.S. soldiers] would target both the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from atop the highest buildings and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement."
"I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement. When the defense minister said that those killing the demonstrators was a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened myself and the defense minister in the event that there was more talk about this third party."
Very few English language outlets reported on Abdul-Mahdi's comments. Tom Luongo, a Florida-based Independent Analyst and publisher of The Gold Goats 'n Guns Newsletter, told MintPress that the likely reasons for the "surprising" media silence over Abdul-Mahdi's claims were because "It never really made it out into official channels " due to the cutting of the video feed during Iraq's Parliamentary session and due to the fact that "it's very inconvenient and the media -- since Trump is doing what they want him to do, be belligerent with Iran, protected Israel's interests there."
"They aren't going to contradict him on that if he's playing ball," Luongo added, before continuing that the media would nonetheless "hold onto it for future reference .If this comes out for real, they'll use it against him later if he tries to leave Iraq." "Everything in Washington is used as leverage," he added.
Given the lack of media coverage and the cutting of the video feed of Abdul-Mahdi's full remarks, it is worth pointing out that the narrative he laid out in his censored speech not only fits with the timeline of recent events he discusses but also the tactics known to have been employed behind closed doors by the Trump administration, particularly after Mike Pompeo left the CIA to become Secretary of State.
For instance, Abdul-Mahdi's delegation to China ended on September 24, with the protests against his government that Trump reportedly threatened to start on October 1. Reports of a "third side" firing on Iraqi protesters were picked up by major media outlets at the time, such as in this BBC report which stated:
Reports say the security forces opened fire, but another account says unknown gunmen were responsible .a source in Karbala told the BBC that one of the dead was a guard at a nearby Shia shrine who happened to be passing by. The source also said the origin of the gunfire was unknown and it had targeted both the protesters and security forces . (emphasis added)"
U.S.-backed protests in other countries, such as in Ukraine in 2014, also saw evidence of a " third side " shooting both protesters and security forces alike.
After six weeks of intense protests , Abdul-Mahdi submitted his resignation on November 29, just a few days after Iraq's Foreign Minister praised the new deals, including the "oil for reconstruction" deal, that had been signed with China. Abdul-Mahdi has since stayed on as Prime Minister in a caretaker role until Parliament decides on his replacement.
Abdul-Mahdi's claims of the covert pressure by the Trump administration are buttressed by the use of similar tactics against Ecuador, where, in July 2018, a U.S. delegation at the United Nations threatened the nation with punitive trade measures and the withdrawal of military aid if Ecuador moved forward with the introduction of a UN resolution to "protect, promote and support breastfeeding."
The New York Times reported at the time that the U.S. delegation was seeking to promote the interests of infant formula manufacturers. If the U.S. delegation is willing to use such pressure on nations for promoting breastfeeding over infant formula, it goes without saying that such behind-closed-doors pressure would be significantly more intense if a much more lucrative resource, e.g. oil, were involved.
Regarding Abdul-Mahdi's claims, Luongo told MintPress that it is also worth considering that it could have been anyone in the Trump administration making threats to Abdul-Mahdi, not necessarily Trump himself. "What I won't say directly is that I don't know it was Trump at the other end of the phone calls. Mahdi, it is to his best advantage politically to blame everything on Trump. It could have been Mike Pompeo or Gina Haspel talking to Abdul-Mahdi It could have been anyone, it most likely would be someone with plausible deniability .This [Mahdi's claims] sounds credible I firmly believe Trump is capable of making these threats but I don't think Trump would make those threats directly like that, but it would absolutely be consistent with U.S. policy."
Luongo also argued that the current tensions between U.S. and Iraqi leadership preceded the oil deal between Iraq and China by several weeks, "All of this starts with Prime Minister Mahdi starting the process of opening up the Iraq-Syria border crossing and that was announced in August. Then, the Israeli air attacks happened in September to try and stop that from happening, attacks on PMU forces on the border crossing along with the ammo dump attacks near Baghdad This drew the Iraqis' ire Mahdi then tried to close the air space over Iraq, but how much of that he can enforce is a big question."
As to why it would be to Mahdi's advantage to blame Trump, Luongo stated that Mahdi "can make edicts all day long, but, in reality, how much can he actually restrain the U.S. or the Israelis from doing anything? Except for shame, diplomatic shame To me, it [Mahdi's claims] seems perfectly credible because, during all of this, Trump is probably or someone else is shaking him [Mahdi] down for the reconstruction of the oil fields [in Iraq] Trump has explicitly stated "we want the oil."'
As Luongo noted, Trump's interest in the U.S. obtaining a significant share of Iraqi oil revenue is hardly a secret. Just last March, Trump asked Abdul-Mahdi "How about the oil?" at the end of a meeting at the White House, prompting Abdul-Mahdi to ask "What do you mean?" To which Trump responded "Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil," which was widely interpreted as Trump asking for part of Iraq's oil revenue in exchange for the steep costs of the U.S.' continuing its now unwelcome military presence in Iraq.
With Abdul-Mahdi having rejected Trump's "oil for reconstruction" proposal in favor of China's, it seems likely that the Trump administration would default to so-called "gangster diplomacy" tactics to pressure Iraq's government into accepting Trump's deal, especially given the fact that China's deal was a much better offer. While Trump demanded half of Iraq's oil revenue in exchange for completing reconstruction projects (according to Abdul-Mahdi), the deal that was signed between Iraq and China would see around 20 percen t of Iraq's oil revenue go to China in exchange for reconstruction. Aside from the potential loss in Iraq's oil revenue, there are many reasons for the Trump administration to feel threatened by China's recent dealings in Iraq.
The Iraq-China oil deal – a prelude to something more?
When Abdul-Mahdi's delegation traveled to Beijing last September, the "oil for reconstruction" deal was only one of eight total agreements that were established. These agreements cover a range of areas, including financial, commercial, security, reconstruction, communication, culture, education and foreign affairs in addition to oil. Yet, the oil deal is by far the most significant.
Per the agreement, Chinese firms will work on various reconstruction projects in exchange for roughly 20 percent of Iraq's oil exports, approximately 100,00 barrels per day, for a period of 20 years. According to Al-Monitor , Abdul-Mahdi had the following to say about the deal: "We agreed [with Beijing] to set up a joint investment fund, which the oil money will finance," adding that the agreement prohibits China from monopolizing projects inside Iraq, forcing Bejing to work in cooperation with international firms.
The agreement is similar to one negotiated between Iraq and China in 2015 when Abdul-Mahdi was serving as Iraq's oil minister. That year, Iraq joined China's Belt and Road Initiative in a deal that also involved exchanging oil for investment, development and construction projects and saw China awarded several projects as a result. In a notable similarity to recent events, that deal was put on hold due to "political and security tensions" caused by unrest and the surge of ISIS in Iraq, that is until Abdul-Mahdi saw Iraq rejoin the initiative again late last year through the agreements his government signed with China last September.Chinese President Xi Jinping, center left, meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, center right, in Beijing, Sept. 23, 2019. Lintao Zhang | AP
Notably, after recent tensions between the U.S. and Iraq over the assassination of Soleimani and the U.S.' subsequent refusal to remove its troops from Iraq despite parliament's demands, Iraq quietly announced that it would dramatically increase its oil exports to China to triple the amount established in the deal signed in September. Given Abdul-Mahdi's recent claims about the true forces behind Iraq's recent protests and Trump's threats against him being directly related to his dealings with China, the move appears to be a not-so-veiled signal from Abdul-Mahdi to Washington that he plans to deepen Iraq's partnership with China, at least for as long as he remains in his caretaker role.
Iraq's decision to dramatically increase its oil exports to China came just one day after the U.S. government threatened to cut off Iraq's access to its central bank account, currently held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an account that currently holds $35 billion in Iraqi oil revenue. The account was set up after the U.S. invaded and began occupying Iraq in 2003 and Iraq currently removes between $1-2 billion per month to cover essential government expenses. Losing access to its oil revenue stored in that account would lead to the " collapse " of Iraq's government, according to Iraqi government officials who spoke to AFP .
Though Trump publicly promised to rebuke Iraq for the expulsion of U.S. troops via sanctions, the threat to cut off Iraq's access to its account at the NY Federal Reserve Bank was delivered privately and directly to the Prime Minister, adding further credibility to Abdul-Mahdi's claims that Trump's most aggressive attempts at pressuring Iraq's government are made in private and directed towards the country's Prime Minister.
Though Trump's push this time was about preventing the expulsion of U.S. troops from Iraq, his reasons for doing so may also be related to concerns about China's growing foothold in the region. Indeed, while Trump has now lost his desired share of Iraqi oil revenue (50 percent) to China's counteroffer of 20 percent, the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq may see American troops replaced with their Chinese counterparts as well, according to Tom Luongo.
"All of this is about the U.S. maintaining the fiction that it needs to stay in Iraq So, China moving in there is the moment where they get their toe hold for the Belt and Road [Initiative]," Luongo argued. "That helps to strengthen the economic relationship between Iraq, Iran and China and obviating the need for the Americans to stay there. At some point, China will have assets on the ground that they are going to want to defend militarily in the event of any major crisis. This brings us to the next thing we know, that Mahdi and the Chinese ambassador discussed that very thing in the wake of the Soleimani killing."
Indeed, according to news reports, Zhang Yao -- China's ambassador to Iraq -- " conveyed Beijing's readiness to provide military assistance" should Iraq's government request it soon after Soleimani's assassination. Yao made the offer a day after Iraq's parliament voted to expel American troops from the country. Though it is currently unknown how Abdul-Mahdi responded to the offer, the timing likely caused no shortage of concern among the Trump administration about its rapidly waning influence in Iraq. "You can see what's coming here," Luongo told MintPress of the recent Chinese offer to Iraq, "China, Russia and Iran are trying to cleave Iraq away from the United States and the U.S. is feeling very threatened by this."
Russia is also playing a role in the current scenario as Iraq initiated talks with Moscow regarding the possible purchase of one of its air defense systems last September, the same month that Iraq signed eight deals, including the oil deal with China. Then, in the wake of Soleimani's death, Russia again offered the air defense systems to Iraq to allow them to better defend their air space. In the past, the U.S. has threatened allied countries with sanctions and other measures if they purchase Russian air defense systems as opposed to those manufactured by U.S. companies.
The U.S.' efforts to curb China's growing influence and presence in Iraq amid these new strategic partnerships and agreements are limited, however, as the U.S. is increasingly relying on China as part of its Iran policy, specifically in its goal of reducing Iranian oil export to zero. China remains Iran's main crude oil and condensate importer, even after it reduced its imports of Iranian oil significantly following U.S. pressure last year. Yet, the U.S. is now attempting to pressure China to stop buying Iranian oil completely or face sanctions while also attempting to privately sabotage the China-Iraq oil deal. It is highly unlikely China will concede to the U.S. on both, if any, of those fronts, meaning the U.S. may be forced to choose which policy front (Iran "containment" vs. Iraq's oil dealings with China) it values more in the coming weeks and months.
Furthermore, the recent signing of the "phase one" trade deal with China revealed another potential facet of the U.S.' increasingly complicated relationship with Iraq's oil sector given that the trade deal involves selling U.S. oil and gas to China at very low cost , suggesting that the Trump administration may also see the Iraq-China oil deal result in Iraq emerging as a potential competitor for the U.S. in selling cheap oil to China, the world's top oil importer.
The Petrodollar and the Phantom of the Petroyuan
In his televised statements last week following Iran's military response to the U.S. assassination of General Soleimani, Trump insisted that the U.S.' Middle East policy is no longer being directed by America's vast oil requirements. He stated specifically that:
Over the last three years, under my leadership, our economy is stronger than ever before and America has achieved energy independence. These historic accomplishments changed our strategic priorities. These are accomplishments that nobody thought were possible. And options in the Middle East became available. We are now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. We are independent, and we do not need Middle East oil . (emphasis added)"
Yet, given the centrality of the recent Iraq-China oil deal in guiding some of the Trump administration's recent Middle East policy moves, this appears not to be the case. The distinction may lie in the fact that, while the U.S. may now be less dependent on oil imports from the Middle East, it still very much needs to continue to dominate how oil is traded and sold on international markets in order to maintain its status as both a global military and financial superpower.
Indeed, even if the U.S. is importing less Middle Eastern oil, the petrodollar system -- first forged in the 1970s -- requires that the U.S. maintains enough control over the global oil trade so that the world's largest oil exporters, Iraq among them, continue to sell their oil in dollars. Were Iraq to sell oil in another currency, or trade oil for services, as it plans to do with China per the recently inked deal, a significant portion of Iraqi oil would cease to generate a demand for dollars, violating the key tenet of the petrodollar system.Chinese representatives speak to defense personnel during a weapons expo organized by the Iraqi defense ministry in Baghdad, March, 2017. Karim Kadim | AP
As Kei Pritsker and Cale Holmes noted in an article last year for MintPress :
The takeaway from the petrodollar phenomenon is that as long as countries need oil, they will need the dollar. As long as countries demand dollars, the U.S. can continue to go into massive amounts of debt to fund its network of global military bases, Wall Street bailouts, nuclear missiles, and tax cuts for the rich."
Thus, the use of the petrodollar has created a system whereby U.S. control of oil sales of the largest oil exporters is necessary, not just to buttress the dollar, but also to support its global military presence. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the issue of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq and the issue of Iraq's push for oil independence against U.S. wishes have become intertwined. Notably, one of the architects of the petrodollar system and the man who infamously described U.S. soldiers as "dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy", former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, has been advising Trump and informing his China policy since 2016.
This take was also expressed by economist Michael Hudson, who recently noted that U.S. access to oil, dollarization and U.S. military strategy are intricately interwoven and that Trump's recent Iraq policy is intended "to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control of the region's oil reserves," and, as Hudson says, "to back Saudi Arabia's Wahabi troops (ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America's foreign legion) to support U.S. control of Near Eastern oil as a buttress of the U.S. dollar."
Hudson further asserts that it was Qassem Soleimani's efforts to promote Iraq's oil independence at the expense of U.S. imperial ambitions that served one of the key motives behind his assassination.
America opposed General Suleimani above all because he was fighting against ISIS and other U.S.-backed terrorists in their attempt to break up Syria and replace Assad's regime with a set of U.S.-compliant local leaders – the old British "divide and conquer" ploy. On occasion, Suleimani had cooperated with U.S. troops in fighting ISIS groups that got "out of line" meaning the U.S. party line. But every indication is that he was in Iraq to work with that government seeking to regain control of the oil fields that President Trump has bragged so loudly about grabbing. (emphasis added)"
Hudson adds that " U.S. neocons feared Suleimani's plan to help Iraq assert control of its oil and withstand the terrorist attacks supported by U.S. and Saudi's on Iraq. That is what made his assassination an immediate drive."
While other factors -- such as pressure from U.S. allies such as Israel -- also played a factor in the decision to kill Soleimani, the decision to assassinate him on Iraqi soil just hours before he was set to meet with Abdul-Mahdi in a diplomatic role suggests that the underlying tensions caused by Iraq's push for oil independence and its oil deal with China did play a factor in the timing of his assassination. It also served as a threat to Abdul-Mahdi, who has claimed that the U.S. threatened to kill both him and his defense minister just weeks prior over tensions directly related to the push for independence of Iraq's oil sector from the U.S.
It appears that the ever-present role of the petrodollar in guiding U.S. policy in the Middle East remains unchanged. The petrodollar has long been a driving factor behind the U.S.' policy towards Iraq specifically, as one of the key triggers for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was Saddam Hussein's decision to sell Iraqi oil in Euros opposed to dollars beginning in the year 2000. Just weeks before the invasion began, Hussein boasted that Iraq's Euro-based oil revenue account was earning a higher interest rate than it would have been if it had continued to sell its oil in dollars, an apparent signal to other oil exporters that the petrodollar system was only really benefiting the United States at their own expense.
Beyond current efforts to stave off Iraq's oil independence and keep its oil trade aligned with the U.S., the fact that the U.S. is now seeking to limit China's ever-growing role in Iraq's oil sector is also directly related to China's publicly known efforts to create its own direct competitor to the petrodollar, the petroyuan.
Since 2017, China has made its plans for the petroyuan -- a direct competitor to the petrodollar -- no secret, particularly after China eclipsed the U.S. as the world's largest importer of oil.
As CNBC noted at the time:
The new strategy is to enlist the energy markets' help: Beijing may introduce a new way to price oil in coming months -- but unlike the contracts based on the U.S. dollar that currently dominate global markets, this benchmark would use China's own currency. If there's widespread adoption, as the Chinese hope, then that will mark a step toward challenging the greenback's status as the world's most powerful currency .The plan is to price oil in yuan using a gold-backed futures contract in Shanghai, but the road will be long and arduous."
If the U.S. continues on its current path and pushes Iraq further into the arms of China and other U.S. rival states, it goes without saying that Iraq -- now a part of China's Belt and Road Initiative -- may soon favor a petroyuan system over a petrodollar system, particularly as the current U.S. administration threatens to hold Iraq's central bank account hostage for pursuing policies Washington finds unfavorable.
It could also explain why President Trump is so concerned about China's growing foothold in Iraq, since it risks causing not only the end of the U.S. military hegemony in the country but could also lead to major trouble for the petrodollar system and the U.S.' position as a global financial power. Trump's policy aimed at stopping China and Iraq's growing ties is clearly having the opposite effect, showing that this administration's "gangster diplomacy" only serves to make the alternatives offered by countries like China and Russia all the more attractive.
anonymous  Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 18, 2020 at 5:54 am GMT
One can see how all these recent wars and military actions have a financial motive at their core. Yet the mass of gullible Americans actually believe the reasons given, to "spread democracy" and other wonderful things. Only a small number can see things for what they really are. It's very frustrating to deal with the stupidity of the average person on a daily basis.John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment January 18, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT
This is not Trump's policy, it is American policy and the variation is in how he implements it. Any other person would have fallen in line with it as well. US policy has it's own inner momentum that can't change course. The US depends upon continuation of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. Were that to be lost the US likely would descend into chaos without end. When the USSR came apart it was eventually able to downsize into the Russian state. We don't have that here; there is no core ethnicity with it's own territory left anymore, it's just a jumble. For the US it's a matter of survival.
Yes, but we also have this
It is reported this morning (CNN) that Trump bragged about the killing to a crowd at a big fundraising dinner.
Just sick, official state murder for campaign donations.
That's what America is reduced to.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com
UncommonGround , says: Show Comment January 19, 2020 at 12:54 pm GMTThere were brutal sanctions against Iraq in the 90s. After that the country was devastated by the invasion of 2003. Hostility against Iran has been continuous. It's no suprise that things are not going well in the region and that American politics failed. But this was to be expected.Franklin Ryckaert , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 7:10 am GMT
Good relations with Iran were possible. Even recently Iran thought that the nuclear agreement could lead to better relations with the West. Iran should be our best ally in the region because the middle classes there feel close to the West and are very friendly with Westerners who visit the country. We could have had better results if we had tryed a more reasonable politics. But it seems that there were other forces that wanted conflict with Iran and the destruction of Iraq independently of the interests of the US which would have gained from a more reasonable position. We can say the same about Russia.
After wars and sanctions the only way to hold everything together is through military means. There was as doctrine which promoted unbridled militarism and the use of force (wasn't there a saying that "Americans are from Mars, Europeans from Venus"?). Everybody who didn't submit to our rules and interests was viewed as an enemy, military force was seen as the solution to everything.
This is not functioning well. Americans have been decieved by this militaristic doctrine, this is not going to work. Russia has challenged this, a part of Europe isn't very happy, in South America you can only run the system ressorting to radical politicians like Bolsonaro who destroy the environment and create more poverty, in other places this politics created instability and enemies. I think it should be the time for the American elites to discuss seriously the ways that the country has been following simply because there are better ways to have better results.@anonymous Yes, for the American Empire to exist (and expand) it needs the Petro-dollar, because only if it is widely used in the world can its collapse be prevented. But why is the dollar so shaky? Because it is no real money, based on real value, but created out of thin air as debt and it can only function in an ever expanding pyramid scheme.Miro23 , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 8:11 am GMT
The origin of this fraud is the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913. And yes that was mainly a Jewish creation. Nobody, not even Ron Paul, dares to mention that.Truth Jihad , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 1:43 pm GMT
Iraq's decision to dramatically increase its oil exports to China came just one day after the U.S. government threatened to cut off Iraq's access to its central bank account, currently held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an account that currently holds $35 billion in Iraqi oil revenue. The account was set up after the U.S. invaded and began occupying Iraq in 2003 and Iraq currently removes between $1-2 billion per month to cover essential government expenses. Losing access to its oil revenue stored in that account would lead to the "collapse" of Iraq's government, according to Iraqi government officials who spoke to AFP.
A very revealing article.
It doesn't make sense for any country to hold reserves in the US. The Zio-Glob CIA gangsters are ready to defraud or smash up any country that challenges their petrodollar system. Witness Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, Iran and their hostility to Russia and China.Iraqi officials say around $35 billion of the country's oil revenues are held at the US Federal Reserve, which means Washington's threat to restrict access could be a major problemGreg Bacon , says: Website Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 1:55 pm GMT
You don't need to twist yourself into a pretzel to figure out why Trump whacked –the Mafia term–Soleimani.
Jared the Snake's Tel Aviv masters told him they wanted Zion Don to pull the trigger and their will was done.
I voted for a President Trump and instead, got President Shecky, beholden to Jew and Israeli interests who has bent over backwards to please the Israeli terrorists, but who will now go back to his old shtick; pretending to be MAGA or KAG until he gets re-elected, then it will be gloves off and most likely, another War for Israel and Wall Street in 2021.
Having an Israeli-Firster in the WH isn't unusual, but when you have a vain simpleton who doesn't understand foreign policy or is so damned lazy, he lets a slumlord take care of it is a prescription for a major disaster.
Jan 06, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca
In my last post, I said it was time to close down this blog, mostly due to its ineffectiveness, short reach, and choir preaching. I wrote that I might as well pound sand for all the good it did.
A few days later, Trump killed a high level Iranian military leader and I have decided a post is in order, never mind that a round of tiddlywinks will have about the same influence as a post here. The wars just keep on coming, no matter what we do.
Let's turn to social media where dimwits, neocon partisans, and clueless Democrats are running wild after corporate Mafia boss and numero uno Israeli cheerleader Donald Trump ordered a hit on Gen. Qasem Soleimani and others near Baghdad's international airport on Thursday.
Let's begin with this teleprompter reader and "presenter" from Al Jazeera:
"This is what happens when you put a narcissistic, megalomaniacal, former reality TV star with a thin skin and a very large temper in charge of the world's most powerful military You know who else attacks cultural sites? ISIS. The Taliban." – me on Trump/Iran on MSNBC today: pic.twitter.com/YCRARB2anv
-- Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) January 5, 2020
It is interesting how the memory of such people only goes back to the election of Donald Trump.
The US began targeting Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This included "freezing" -- polite-speak for theft -- around $12 billion in Iranian assets, including gold, property, and bank holdings. After Obama agreed to return this filched property and money as part of the nuke deal (minus any real nukes), neocons said he gave away US taxpayer money to international terrorists. This warped lie became part of the narrative, yet another state-orchestrated fake news "alternative fact."
Here's another idiot. He was the boss of the DNC for a while and unsuccessfully ran for president.
Nice job trump and Pompeo you dimwits. You've completed the neocon move to have Iraq become a satellite of Iran. You have to be the dumbest people ever to run the US government. You can add that to being the most corrupt. Get these guys out of here. https://t.co/gQHhHSeiJQ
-- Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) January 5, 2020
Once again, history is lost in a tangle of lies and omission. Centuries before John Dean thought it might be a good idea to run for president, Persians and Shias in what is now Iraq and Iran were crossing the border -- later drawn up by invading Brits and French -- in pilgrimages to the shrines of Imam Husayn and Abbas in Karbala. We can't expect an arrogant sociopath like Mr. Dean to know about Ashura, Shia pilgrimages, the Remembrance of Muharram, and events dating back to 680 AD.
Shias from Iran pilgrimage to other Iraqi cities as well, including An-Najaf, Samarra, Mashhad, and Baghdad (although the latter is more important to Sunnis).
Corporate fake news teleprompter reader Stephanopoulos said the Geneva Conventions (including United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347) outlaw the targeting of cultural sites, which Trump said he will bomb.
Trump said there are 52 different sites; the number is not arbitrary, it is based on the 52 hostages, many of them CIA officers, taken hostage during Iran's revolution against the US-installed Shah and his brutal secret police sadists.
Pompeo said Trump won't destroy Iran's cultural and heritage sites. Pompeo, as a dedicated Zionist operative, knows damn well the US will destroy EVERYTHING of value in Iran, same as it did in Iraq and later Libya and Syria. This includes not only cultural sites, but civilian infrastructure -- hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, and mosques.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Geneva Conventions outlaws attacks on cultural objects & places of worship. Why is Trump threatening Iran w/ war crimes?
POMPEO: We'll behave lawfully
S: So to be clear, Trump's threat wasn't accurate?
P: Every target that we strike will be a lawful target pic.twitter.com/zOGTpfYmbaInvoking the United Nations' Historic "Uniting for Peace" Resolution 377 Before Trump Embroils Us in War with Iran
-- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 5, 2020
Although I believe Jill Stein is living in a Marxian fantasy world, I agree with her tweet in regard to the Zionist hit on Soleimani:
Now THIS is grounds for #impeachment – treachery unleashing the unthinkable for Americans & people the world over: Trump asked Iraqi prime minister to mediate with #Iran then assassinated Soleimani – on a mediation mission. https://t.co/f0F9FEMALD
-- Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) January 5, 2020
Trump should be impeached -- tried and imprisoned -- not in response to some dreamed-up and ludicrous Russian plot or even concern about the opportunist Hunter Biden using his father's position to make millions in uber-corrupt Ukraine, but because he is a war criminal responsible for killing women and children.
As for the planned forever military occupation of Iraq, USA Today reports:
Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told lawmakers that a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops, including U.S. ones, was required "for the sake of our national sovereignty." About 5,000 American troops are in various parts of Iraq.
-- Iraqi lawmakers voted to oust U.S. troops
-- U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS has paused operations
-- Hundreds of thousands mourned General Suleimani in Iran
-- President Trump said the U.S. has 52 possible targets in Iran in case of retaliation https://t.co/pmUuAQdKlc
-- The New York Times (@nytimes) January 5, 2020
No way in hell will Sec. State Pompeo and his Zionist neocon handlers allow this to happen without a fight. However, it shouldn't be too difficult for the Iraqis to expel 5,000 brainwashed American soldiers from the country, bombed to smithereens almost twenty years ago by Bush the Neocon Idiot Savant.
Never mind Schumer's pretend concern about another war. This friend of Israel from New York didn't go on national television and excoriate Obama and his cutthroat Sec. of State Hillary Clinton for killing 30,000 Libyans.
I'm concerned President Trump's impulsive foreign policy is dragging America into another endless war in the Middle East that will make us less safe.
Congress must assert itself.
President Trump does not have authority for war with Iran. pic.twitter.com/tra71uY9Ao
-- Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 5, 2020
Meanwhile, it looks like social media is burning the midnight oil in order to prevent their platforms being used to argue against Trump's latest Zionist-directed insanity.
It is absolutely crazy that Twitter is auto-locking the accounts of anyone who posts this "No war on Iran" image, and forcing them to delete the anti-war tweet in order to unlock their account.
Will @TwitterSupport say what's going on? Very screwed up https://t.co/zGTvVfNNqt
-- Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) January 5, 2020
More lies from The Washington Post, the CIA's crown jewel of propaganda:
Trump faces Iran crisis with fewer experienced advisers and strained relations with traditional allies https://t.co/Xi3vKw9Bw9
-- Steven Ginsberg (@stevenjay) January 5, 2020
This is complete and utter bullshit, but I'm sure the American people will gobble it down without question. Trump's advisers are neocons and they are seriously experienced in the art of promoting and engineering assassination, cyber-attacks, invasions, and mass murder.
Newsmax scribbler John Cardillo thinks he has it all figure out.
"In mid-October Soleimani instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran "
That's why we hit him https://t.co/56XKm9Kqwe
-- John Cardillo (@johncardillo) January 5, 2020
Imagine this, however improbable and ludicrous: Iran invades America and assassinates General Hyten or General McConville, both top members of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now imagine the response by the "exceptional nation."
We can't leave out the Christian Zionist from Indiana, Mike Pence. Mike wants you to believe Iran was responsible for 9/11, thus stirring up the appropriate animosity and consensus for mass murder.
Neither Iran nor Soleimani were linked to the terror attack in the "9/11 Commission Report." Pence didn't even get the number of hijackers right. https://t.co/QtQZm2Yyh9
-- HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) January 5, 2020
Finally, here is the crown jewel of propaganda -- in part responsible for the death of well over a million Iraqis -- The New York Times showing off its rampant hypocrisy.
The editorial board writes, "It is crucial that influential Republican senators like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell remind President Trump of his promise to keep America out of foreign quagmires" https://t.co/2swusvBWbg
-- The New York Times (@nytimes) January 5, 2020
Never mind Judith Miller, the Queen of NYT pro-war propaganda back in the day, spreading neocon fabricated lies about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. America -- or rather the United States (the government) -- is addicted to quagmires and never-ending war. This is simply more anti-Trump bullshit by the NYT editorial board. The newspaper loves war waged in the name of Israel, but only if jumpstarted by Democrats.
Trump the fool, the fact-free reality TV president will eventually unleash the dogs of war against Iran, much to the satisfaction of Israel, its racist Zionists, Israel-first neocons in America, and the chattering pro-war class of "journalists," and "foreign policy experts" (most former Pentagon employees).
Expect more nonsense like that dispensed by the robot Mike Pence, the former tank commander now serving as Sec. of State, and any number of neocon fellow travelers, many with coveted blue checkmarks on Twitter while the truth-tellers are expelled from the conversation and exiled to the political wilderness.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Jeff W , January 21, 2020 at 1:41 am
" if she does anything less than help elect the last and only progressive with a chance, she damages them both to Biden's benefit "
If Elizabeth Warren's candidacy becomes unviable, the pressure on her to combine her delegates with those of Sanders -- from those supporting Bernie Sanders and those legitimately concerned with Joe Biden's chances against Trump* -- will be enormous . And, if , instead, Warren helps nominate Biden and Biden then goes on to lose to Donald Trump -- as I'm all but certain he will -- it will be all too clear just who played a pivotal role in helping to make that match-up even possible.
I have no confidence in Elizabeth Warren "doing the right thing"; she might be susceptible to the pressure and to the ignominy attached to doing the disastrously wrong thing.
*Donald Trump, for his part, is reportedly " privately obsessed " with Sanders, not, it seems, with Biden.
rusti , January 21, 2020 at 2:07 am
In Sanders' case, his surge in the polls coincided with his emergence as the chief apologist for the Iranian regime. We needed to point out that he would be dangerous as president since he made clear he would appease terrorists and terror-sponsoring nations.
If this is really representative of a line of attack that the Trump campaign plans to use on him, that would be great. I can't imagine anything that would resonate less with voters. But I was a bit surprised to see this in a Bernie fundraising mail:
The wise course would have been to stick with that nuclear agreement, enforce its provisions, and use that diplomatic channel with Iran to address our other concerns with Iran, including their support of terrorism.
What groups are they referring to when they say this? Hezbollah, which is part of Parliament in Lebanon? Iraqi PMF that are loosely integrated with the Iraqi army?
Bill Carson , January 21, 2020 at 2:15 am
Yep, Warren is a political novice, and she's extremely naive. That Massachusetts senate seat was practically handed to her on a silver platter. She has no idea that she was played in '16 and she's being played now.
Arizona Slim , January 21, 2020 at 8:22 am
From a recent episode of the Jimmy Dore Show, it's the cringe-worthy Warren "Selfie" Gimmick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5JWIiVMj6g If this doesn't scream "political novice," I don't know what will.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Massinissa , January 21, 2020 at 12:49 pm
"Willingness to compromise" = willingness to give obeisance to most of exploitative corporate capitalism.
Amit Chokshi , January 21, 2020 at 5:52 am
Warren has a track record of lying: lied about her dad being a janitor, hers kids going to public school, getting fired for being pregnant, and obviously the Native American heritage.
As pointed here on NC she's great at grandstanding when bank CEOs are in front of her and doing nothing following that.
My gut is she is going to endorse Joe Biden and prob got a tease of VP or some other role and all she had to do was kamikaze into Bernie with this. It's backfiring but at this rate and given she's too deep into it now when she drops out she'll prob back Biden as she hasn't shown the integrity to back a guy like Berni.
Yves Smith Post author , January 21, 2020 at 5:57 am
I don't see how she is anyone's VP. She is too old. You want someone under 60, better 50, particularly for an old presidential candidate. Treasury Secretary is a more powerful position. The big appeal of being VP is maybe it positions you later to be President but that last worked out for Bush the Senior.
Arizona Slim , January 21, 2020 at 8:24 am
And Bush the Senior lost his re-election bid.
pebird , January 21, 2020 at 9:41 am
Because he asked us to read his lips. And he didn't think we were lip readers.
Oh , January 21, 2020 at 10:57 am
She may be looking to be the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. /s
Sue E Greenwald , January 21, 2020 at 8:19 am
She's toxic now. No one will want her has VP. Sanders supporters despise her, she comes from a small, Democratic state and she's loaded with baggage. She brings nothing to a ticket. She torpedoed any hopes or plans she might have had in that regard.
jackiebass , January 21, 2020 at 6:40 am
I've watched Bernie for years. Even long before he decided to run for president. He is the same today as he was then. Bernie isn't afraid to advocate for something , even though he will get a lot of backlash. I also believe he is sincere in his convictions. If he says something he believes in it.Something you can't say for the other candidates. Bernie is by far my first choice.
After that it would be Warren. Bernie is labeled as a socialist. Actually he is a real Roosevelt democrat. As a life long democrat, I can't support or vote for a Wall Street candidate. Unlike one of the other commenters, I will never vote for Trump but instead wold vote for a third party candidate. Unfortunate the DNC will do anything to prevent Bernie from being candidate. Progressive democrats need to get out and support a progressive or the nomination will again be stolen by a what I call a light republican.
Robert Hahl , January 21, 2020 at 7:26 am
What is great about Bernie is that he is so sure-footed. It was visible in the hot-mic trap Warren set for him where she got nothing, it actually hurt her.
Anonymous Coward , January 21, 2020 at 3:05 pm
The most impressive thing I have witnessed about Bernie is that he can extemporaneously recall and explain exactly why he voted as he did on every piece of legislation that he has cast a vote on. in. his. life. It is a remarkable talent.
Howard , January 21, 2020 at 6:48 am
The outcome of the upcoming Iowa Caucus is too hard to predict. All the candidates are very close. Sanders needs to turnout young and working class voters to win. By many reports, Warren has an excellent ground game in IA and The NY Times endorsement has given a path for her to pick up Klobuchar voters after round one of the caucus.
Biden is a mystery to me. How the heck is he even running. Obama pleaded with him not to. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me if he finishes in the top two. Buttigieg is the wild card. I think the "electability" argument will hurt him as he can't win after NH.
ALM , January 21, 2020 at 7:51 am
According to a recent poll, Elizabeth Warren is one of the most unpopular senators with voters in her own state as measured against approval rates of all other senators in their states. I find this very surprising for someone with a national profile. What do voters in Massachusetts not like about her?
As for me, I find it more and more difficult to trust Warren because she takes the bait and yields to pressure during a primary when the pressure to back down, moderate, and abandon once championed policy positions and principles is a great deal less than it is during the general election. Warren has gone from Medicare4All to a public option to, in the recent debate, tweaks to the ACA. Despite her roll-out of an ambitious $10 trillion Green New Deal plan, Warren is now to the right of Chuck "Wall Street" Schumer as evidenced by her support of NAFTA 2.0 which utterly fails to address climate change. WTF! Where will she be during a general election?
And her political instincts are awful as recently demonstrated by her woke, badly executed girl power attack against a candidate who has been a committed feminist for his entire political career.
Another Scott , January 21, 2020 at 9:18 am
She also has horrible constituent service. I had an issue with a federal student loan a few years ago (I believe it was the servicer depositing money but not crediting my account and charging me interest and late fees). After getting nowhere with the company, I tried calling her office, figuring that as this was one of her core issues, I would get some response, either help or at least someone who would want to record what happened to her actual constituent. I didn't hear back for about a month, by which time I had resolved the issue – no fees or additional interest through multiple phone calls and emails.
In other words, Elizabeth Warren's constituent service is worse than Sallie Mae's.
T , January 21, 2020 at 9:31 am
The stupid Ponds cold cream lie is the worst. Unless she teed up the "how do you look so young!" question , the corrected answer is to point out the nonsense of talking about a candidates looks and addressing actual sexism.
Instead she has a goofball answer about only using Ponds cold cream which lead to Derm pointing out her alleged method was not good advice and also pointing out that she appears to have used botex and fillers, which I don't think people were talking about before then, in public.
The most generous explanation is she was caught flat-footed and, once again, showed she has terrible instincts.
Just a dumb dumb move.
Stefan , January 21, 2020 at 8:43 am
If Bernie Sanders can get it through the thick noggin of the nation that he stands for and will implement the principles, policies, and values of the New Deal–the attitude that got us through the Great Depression and Wotld War II–he has every chance of being elected the next President of the United States.
Stefan , January 21, 2020 at 8:47 am
Btw, is Inauguration Day just a year away?
The Rev Kev , January 21, 2020 at 9:02 am
Google says Wednesday Jan 20, 2021: Swearing-In Ceremony. And here is a countdown page-
Trust me. By the time it comes around you won't care who gets sworn in as you will just be glad that all the vicious, wretched skullduggery of this year's elections will finally be over.
Pat , January 21, 2020 at 11:11 am
And hoping you get one day of rest before the vicious, wretched skullduggery of undermining the desires of the American people gets started. Obviously Sanders will make the Trump years look a cake walk. Anyone else (Democrat or Trump) we will see lots of 'working for' and 'resistance' type memes while largely doing nothing of the sort, but a whole lot of 'bipartisan' passage of terrible things.
Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 10:25 am
It sounds like Sanders, in the famous 2018 conversation, may have been trying to politely encourage EW to not run in 2020. Her moment was 2016 and she declined to run then when a Progressive candidate was needed. Her run in 2020 to some extent divides the Progressive vote. EW interpreted, perhaps intentionally, Sanders' words to imply that he thinks "no woman can win in 2020", and then weaponized them against him.
The very fact that she is running at all suggests to me that she is not at heart a Progressive and in fact does not want a Progressive candidate to win. If she had run in 2016, Sanders would not have run in order to not divide the Progressive vote. EW knew that Sanders would run in 2020 and planned to run anyway. It is hard for me to not interpret this to be an intentional bid for some of the Progressive vote, in order to hold Sanders down.
Anon , January 21, 2020 at 11:59 am
I agree. She decides to do things based on her own self-interest, and uses progressives as pawns to work her way up in DC. My guess is that Warren chickened out in 2016 and didn't run because maybe she didn't think she had a chance against the Clintons. When Warren saw how well Sanders did against Clinton, how close he was at winning, I think only then she decided that 2020 was a good chance for a progressive, or someone running as a progressive candidate, to win the nomination.
She saw how Sanders had fired up loyal progressive support in the Democratic Party. She chickened out back then when she could have endorsed Bernie in '16, but chose not to, probably hoping not to burn bridges with Clinton in order to get a plum role in her administration. Her non-endorsement in '16 worries me because it shows once again that Warren makes decisions largely based on what is good for her career, not what she thinks is better for the country (if she really is the progressive she claims to be).
Knowing that there was now a strong progressive base ready to vote for a candidate left of Democratic candidates like Biden and Clinton, Warren saw her entry into having a good chance at winning the presidency. Rather than thinking about the implications for Bernie and the possibility of dividing left-wing voters, her desire to become president was more important. Remember, this is exactly what Bernie did not do in 2016 when he urged Warren to run, and was willing to step aside, if she had agreed to do so.
If I had been in Sanders position, I probably would have sat down and talked to Warren about the serious implications of the both of them running in 2020. How he had hoped to build on the momentum from his last campaign and the sexism that was used against Clinton in 2016. Hey, if I had been Sanders, I probably would have told Warren not to run. Not because she's a woman, but because it would have been obvious to Bernie that with Warren running alongside him, they would both end up splitting the progressive vote.
What is happening now between the two of them should have been no surprise to either Bernie or Warren. They are both popular among Democrats who identify as progressive or left-of-center. Democrats will always find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. And I agree that when it becomes evident that one of them cannot win, either Bernie or Warren must step aside for the good of the country and fully back the other. There is no other option if either of them truly wants the other to win the nomination rather than Biden. I'm hoping that Warren will do so since it is becoming more clear that Sanders is the stronger progressive and the stronger candidate who has a better chance at beating both Biden and Trump.
Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:37 pm
> "no woman can win in 2020"
The claim was "no woman can win." It was not qualified in any way.
landline , January 21, 2020 at 10:34 am
If sheepdog St. Bernard Sanders begins to look like the presumptive nominee, look for a new candidate to throw her hat into the ring. Her name: Michelle Obama.
Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:42 pm
> sheepdog St. Bernard Sanders
I'm so sick of that sheepdog meme (originated by, much as a respect BAR, by a GP activist bitter, I would say, over many years of GP ineffectuality). The elites seem to be pretty nervous about a sheepdog.
pretzelattack , January 21, 2020 at 3:52 pm
if he were a sheepdog, why would the shepherds have to intervene? they wouldn't.
Lee , January 21, 2020 at 10:51 am
And now we have Sanders apologizing for an op-ed in the Guardian by Zephyr Teachout accusing Biden of corruption.
The op-ed simply says what Sanders has said all along, the system is corrupted by big donors. Then she explicitly states the obvious, which Sanders won't at this point say but that Trump certainly will: Biden is a prime example of serving his donors' interests to the detriment of most of the rest of us. Sanders subsequently apologizes for Teachout's baldly true assertion, stating that he doesn't believe that Biden is corrupt.
I guess we're meant to draw a clear distinction between legalized and illegal corruption. I don't know. They both look like ducks to me.
Oh , January 21, 2020 at 11:05 am
Sometimes it's better for Bernie to keep his mouth shut.
Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 11:07 am
I have read that Sanders is the #2 choice of many Iowans who favor JB; it makes a lot of sense for him to not "go negative" on JB in the run-up to the caucuses.
There will be time for plainer speaking. Sanders has been clear about his views on the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics. JB is exhibit #1 within the D primary field and there will be plenty of opportunity to note that.
I suspect that there is a great deal of "method" in what may look to us like "madness" in the Senator's civility.
Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 11:18 am
To put it another way, I doubt very much that Sanders believes that JB's legislative agendas were not significantly influenced by the sources of his campaign funds. And I'm sure that attention will be drawn to this at the right time.
One can charitably affirm that one believes that JB is not a consciously corrupt , pay-for-play, kind of person, while also affirming that of course he has been influenced by the powerful interests that have funded his career, and that this has not served the interests of the American people. All in due course.
jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:37 pm
The thing is Warren would make the right argument here: that it's the system that is corrupted, and make it well. Too bad she has shown so completely that can't be trusted as a person, because she often looks good on paper
inode_buddha , January 21, 2020 at 1:37 pm
I think Warren misses the key point that the reason why the system is corrupted is because the players in it are corrupted. They can be bought and sold. That is why they have no shame.
Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:43 pm
> The thing is Warren would make the right argument here: that it's the system that is corrupted
That's not the right answer at all. The climate crisis, for example, is not caused by a lack of transparency in the oil industry. It is caused by capital allocation decisions by the billionaire class and their servicers in subaltern classes.
urblintz , January 21, 2020 at 11:12 am
"The real game changer around here, though, might be Iowa State University's decision, after years of pressure, to issue new student IDs, enabling 35,000 students to vote, even under Iowa's restrictive new voter-ID law. That's a progressive victory, and in a different media universe, it would be a story even juicier than a handshake." Iowa is not the Twittersphere – Laura Flanders
ptb , January 21, 2020 at 11:23 am
Thanks for giving this the attention it needs, analysis of the primary has been too light on estimation of delegate numbers and strategy.
Prior to Warren's apparent turn to some new direction, the setup for a 3way DNC with a progressive "coalition" was not only conceivable, but actually expected from the polls.
We are on pace for Sanders+Warren's combined delegate total to exceed Biden by a healthy amount (say 4:3) with all others falling below 15% state by state and getting few or no delegates. Obviously subject to snowballing in either direction, but that's the polls now and for most of the past year.
Warren's attack on Sanders, and NYT endorsement, say the national party doesn't expect any such coalition. Therefore Warren has made her choice. That's that.
The path to winning the Dem primary is a little narrower for Sanders, and also for Biden, since he seems to lack the confidence of his the top strata. The DNC screws a lot up but they know how to read polls. I'm pretty sure that running Warren in the General is not their plan A.
Voters in Iowa and the early states (incl. TX and CA) look like they will be deciding it all this year. The tremendous enthusiasm of Sanders followers gives him, IMO, the best ground game of the three. Will be an interesting 6 weeks.
jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:40 pm
Running Warren in the general might be their plan A. They may not want to win. Of course they might rather have Klobuchar but
Hepativore , January 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm
I do not even trust Warren to hand any delegates she gets to Sanders at this point. Because her campaign staff is so full of Clintonites and neoliberals, she might give them to Biden instead.
She seems to have gone full establishment at this point.
Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:39 pm
> I do not even trust Warren to hand any delegates she gets to Sanders at this point. Because her campaign staff is so full of Clintonites and neoliberals, she might give them to Biden instead.
ambrit , January 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm
The youngish rehab therapist, a woman, said this morning that of the women running, she likes Klobuchar. "If only her voice wasn't so screechy. And I'm saying this as a woman." She was seriously disturbed by Clinton's attack on Sanders.
Several neighbors are leaning towards Yang.
John k , January 21, 2020 at 1:14 pm
The value of her endorsement
My impression is her supporters are mostly older, mostly female, and mostly centrist. Many want to elect a female pres before they die. Prior to the she said event her supporters second choice were split fairly evenly between Bernie and Biden but the latest fracas is driving her most progressive supporters to Bernie.
This means most of those remaining will probably migrate to Biden if when she drops out even if she recommends Bernie. (If 1/3 of her supporters that had Bernie as their second choice switch to Bernie, then 60% of her remaining supporters have Biden as their second choice.)
2016 was different, Clinton already had the older females. But there was a period where just a little support might have tipped the scale in what was a very tight race.
Anyway, I see going forward she will be mostly holding supporters whose second choice is Biden even as she maybe doesn't reach the 15% barrier
and same with Amy. So I hope they both stay in at least until super tue.
And While I previously thought she was a reasonable choice for veep, I now realize she'd be an awful choice. Maybe treasury if she does endorse which she will do if Bernie looks a winner.
worldblee , January 21, 2020 at 1:35 pm
How can anyone be surprised at the lack of trustworthiness from a politician who chose to endorse Clinton in 2016 rather than Bernie? Warren has been playing the DNC game for a long time now, which ideologically is in line with her lifelong Republican stance before changing to the more demographically favorable party when she was 47. She's not progressive now, and never has been or will be.