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The meaning of Trump victory

All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle , the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon's proxy defeated the CIA proxy -- Moon of Alabama, Oct 21, 2017

News The Deep State Recommended Links Trump foreign policy Trump after his Colin Powell moment Russiagate -- a color revolution agianst  Trump Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Iran saber-rattling Korea saber-rattling
Reversal of planned detente with Russia Obamacare vs. Trumpcare Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Sacrifice of Michael Flynn Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Trump election time foreign policy platform Donald Trump -- an unusual fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Anti Trump Hysteria
Demonization of Putin Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Impulsivity and incompetence: shoot first ask questions later foreign policy Cold War II  American Exceptionalism  Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich The Iron Law of Oligarchy Blowback against neoliberal globalization
History of American False Flag Operations  False flag operations as important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Anti-globalization movement Doublespeak New American Militarism Bait and Switch
TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates Trump economic platform Predator state Corporatism Nation under attack meme Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers Deception as an art form
Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Neocons Principal-agent problem  Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism Corporatist Corruption Non-Interventionism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
  The real Donald Trump has been exposed. The man who promised a sensible and non-interventionist Middle Eastern policy and a reset with Moscow has now reneged on both pledges.

His nitwit United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has directly linked Russia and Syria for punishment by the omnipotent Leader of the Free World lest anyone be confused.

The unconscionable attack on Syria based on the usual unsubstantiated allegations has shifted the playing field dramatically, with the “new sheriff in town” apparently intent on proving he is a real man who can play hardball with the rest of them.

 Iran the Destabilizer - The Unz Review April 11, 2017

“The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.”

Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens  

It is true that like Obama before him Mr. Trump was somewhat nontraditional candidate. Like Obama he  was king of "clean plate candidate " -- a person without substantial political baggage which hunted Hillary Clinton all along  the way. So his electorate (like Obama electorate before) was able to project  their wished into him (without any justification; lured by just value election promises), which increased his chances of victory. He was also non-traditional candidate in several more minor aspects: 

But his election victory was just a sign that Pentagon (which supported Trump)  and CIA (which supported hillary Clinton) clashed in the fight for top seat in government. Pentagon won, and CIA now needs to face consequences, despite vicious counterattack of remnants of Brennal troups (which managed to install the special prosecutor Mueller) and launched a color revolution to depose him (The Junta Expands Its Claim To Power). The CIA owns the media, and without an effective propaganda arm, the military might face another Vietnam.

Still the level of influence  of military inTrump cabinet is really unprecedented, even in comparison with Eisenhower administration:

On January 20, the first day of the Not-Hillary presidency, I warned:
The military will demand its due beyond the three generals now in Trump's cabinet.

With the help of the media the generals in the White House defeated their civilian adversary. In August the Trump ship dropped its ideological pilot. Steve Bannon went from board. Bannon's militarist enemy, National Security Advisor General McMaster, had won. I stated:

A military junta is now ruling the United States

and later explained:

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.

The military took full control of White House processes and policies:

Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands ... To control Trump the Junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view ... The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing certain alternatives to him. The one that is most preferable to them, will be presented as the only desirable one. "There are no alternatives," Trump will be told again and again.

With the power center captured the Junta starts to implement its ideology and to suppress any and all criticism against itself.

 

Trump did not demonstrate "courage under fire" after neocon unleashed  a color revolution against him, which started with brazen MSM attacks  against his administration (aka Russiagate) using false, borrowed from Hillary campaign pretext.  Supported by dubious sources like Steele dossier which has fingerprints of intelligence agencies play all over it.  It was military brass around him, who saved hist scalp.

After the election Trump quickly abandoned his election platform and in foreign policy became essentially "What you want General mattis?" type of guy.  His administration very quickly slide to warmongering in best neocon traditions, exposing his election platform (and Bannon) as a hoax.

In economic policy his administration gradually slided toward  "bastard neoliberalism" (mix of neoliberalism with libertarianism). Key features of new Trump policies are highly toxic for common people, clueless deregulation, plus adventurism in foreign relations.  Trump also demonstrated immature, narcissistic behaviour on a state level (attack against Syria airbase on false pretencies), with a smell of nepotism ( The Empire Expands - The Unz Review  )

It turns out that the voters who cast their ballots for Donald Trump, the patriarch, got a package deal for his whole clan. That would include, of course, first daughter Ivanka who, along with her husband, Jared Kushner, is now a key political adviser to the president of the United States. Both now have offices in the White House close to him. They have multiple security clearances, access to high-level leaders whenever they visit the Oval Office or Mar-a-Lago, and the perfect formula for the sort of brand-enhancement that now seems to come with such eminence. President Trump may have an exceedingly “flexible” attitude toward policymaking generally, but in one area count on him to be stalwart and immobile: his urge to run the White House like a business, a family business.

William S. Lind provided good overview of the situation in his article Going Off the Rails ( The American Conservative May 4, 2017). the article should be read in full, but summarizing we can say: 

(1) “Trump won the election because enough people voted against the establishment, both its Republican and Democratic wings, and

(2) “Those voters will not turn out again if he merely puts the Republican establishment in power.

(3) “To the contrary, those voters will again seek someone who is anti-establishment, this time with the seriousness and persistence to fight the establishment and win.”

In other words, unless Trump demonstrates his willingness to fight the neoliberl/neocon establishment,  he will lose support of the considerable part of his voters. He already lost anti-war alt right and as such little chances for reelection if he seeks one.

There are two issues that  can serve a litmus test for Trum desire to "drain the swamp": 

Unfortunately changes that Trump will follow those recommendations are close to zero. Looks like he is seriously weakened by Russiagate and all-in-all his administration is more about showmanship, than substance.  Still military junta seldom represent a viable government in case of difficulties. There were several interesting albeit too alarmist comments at the Moon of Alabama on  this subject:

Peter AU 1 | Oct 21, 2017 4:26:51 PM | 3

The military junta rely on the US dollar as reserve currency for their lurks and perks. the more they take power, the faster this will slip away. so called allies will move towards China/Russia and other currencies. Dangerous times but the downfall of the US is gaining momentum.

les7 | Oct 21, 2017 4:30:38 PM | 5
@1 While I understand the temptation to link Trump to Neo-con policies, I think it over simplifies the issue.

Thierry Meyssan has a recent article in which he questions how seriously we should take the US's anti-Iran policy. In it he states "We have to keep in mind that Donald Trump is not a professional politician, but a real estate promoter, and that he acts like one. He gained his professional success by spreading panic with his outrageous statements and observing the reactions he had created amongst his competitors and his partners."

That statement is a great summary of one of the key precepts of what I called 'asymmetrical leadership' - which I think characterizes Trumps leadership style (an application of asymmetrical warfare techniques to the political arena). This does not mean that the Junta has not taken over control. I would agree with b on this. However, the forms by which that control get expressed will still run through Trump and will still reflect his 'asymmetric' style.

Red Ryder | Oct 21, 2017 7:36:54 PM | 16
B,

You stated: The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the U.S. military. (Historically its first successful one).

I differ. JFK was taken out by a combined US Naval Intel and CIA plot. The beneficiary was the MIC. Eleven days later, LBJ reversed the executive order by JFK to end the US involvement in Nam. For 11 more years the Military got what it wanted--war.

LBJ got what he wanted--the Presidency.

The Cuban-Americans got what they wanted--revenge for failure at Bay of Pigs by Kennedy.

The Mafia got what they wanted--revenge for Bobby Kennedy.

One other thing about the counter-insurgency. It was not so much Military. They waited while the IC ran the leaks and counter-insurgency. Then, Trump fell into the Military's arms. He had been cut off from his base and key supporters and had to empower them by obedience to their plans. Foreign policy is what they wanted. He can still have all the domestic policy he can get, which is basically nothing much. A SC justice, some EOs, and all the Twitter-shit he can muster.

ben | Oct 21, 2017 8:05:47 PM | 19
Military junta or not b, make no mistake, the real power behind the throne are a cabal of billionaires who buy their way by co-opting the politicians who make the laws.

Democracy is indeed dead here in the U$A. It's now a full-blown Oligarchy.

financial matters | Oct 21, 2017 9:18:09 PM | 23
""All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle, the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon proxy won over the CIA proxy. (Last months' fight over Raqqa was similar - with the same outcome.)""

I agree with this division of power and would add that Trump is also the candidate of the police. I see the media though as more being in the CIA/corporate camps. I think the military backing is necessary as you mention to take the CIA down a few notches. So far I'd say the result in Syria is promising.

I think this CIA/corporate power has to be dealt with first to give progressive/socialist ideas much of a chance. It's a fine line but the military is supposed to protect against enemies foreign and domestic.

The corporate part of course has huge power over Congress.

fx | Oct 22, 2017 7:08:30 AM | 41
For those who want to avoid being datamined by nhs, the original link about "Why Donald Trump is the perfect tool in the hands of neocons right now" is here: https://failedevolution.blogspot.com/
Petri Krohn | Oct 22, 2017 9:02:58 AM | 45
It is little surprise if a junta has taken over. Many Democrats would support a military junta over Trump. Now we are hearing similar calls from Republicans.

One of the latest is this opinion piece by Michael Gerson in the Washington Post from October 12, 2017: Republicans, it's time to panic The Washington Examiner has a short summary:

Ex-Bush adviser Michael Gerson tells Republicans: 'It's time to panic'

Michael Gerson, who's also a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote in an op-ed Friday that "the security of our country -- and potentially the lives of millions of people abroad -- depends on Trump being someone else entirely."

"The time for whispered criticisms and quiet snickering is over. The time for panic and decision is upon us. The thin line of sane, responsible advisers at the White House -- such as Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- could break at any moment," Gerson wrote. "The American government now has a dangerous fragility at its very center. Its welfare is as thin as an eggshell -- perhaps as thin as Donald Trump's skin."

The op-ed comes amid Trump's feud with Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who warned that the president's reckless threats could lead to "World War III."

"I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it's a situation of trying to contain him," Corker told the New York Times.

Noirette | Oct 22, 2017 10:07:12 AM | 48
The ground work, or state-of-affairs that lead to what one might call a soft military coup in the US (see b) = within what, at one extreme could be called Ayn-Randian rabid individualism, and at the other a sort of neo-liberal capitalism which is nevertheless highly 'socialist' in the sense re-distributive from the center of power (if only to create a slave/subservient class and prevent uprisings), there is NO public space for 'solidarity' within (besides familial, or close, etc.)

Therefore, the belonging or 'solidarity' is activated only facing an outside enemy who is personalised as e.g. communist, ugly dictator, intends to attack the US, poisons babies, etc. That gives the military an edge.. Then natch, historically, dying empires invest in the double prong, military conquest + internal control (can be vicious), ain't flash news.

.... I don't think it is all that clear. Corps or better conglomerates of power like 'the media', the 'silicons', banking and finance, Energy, electronics, Big Pharma, etc. are politcally inclined (say!) to some form of corporate fascism, > bought pols from all-sides of any-aisle. Their ties to the military / milit. type power at home are not very strong, they may collaborate on occasion. Some of these 'industries' fear domination that goes beyond soft power and they loathe sanctions - think about who/what/how is doing lucrative deals and has continuing biz success in Iraq, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, etc. - NOT US cos./corps.

To me this looks more like total disorganisation than anything else.

Don Bacon | Oct 22, 2017 11:22:03 AM | 51
@J 49
The "farce of elections" is accurate because Trump is not doing what he claimed he would do, not unusual actually. It was Trump who sprang the "junta" on us. And who claimed that the CIA would be out of power?
Jackrabbit | Oct 22, 2017 12:38:59 PM | 54
I used to think it was a counter-coup also. But sheep-dog Sanders and Trump's having supported Hillary in 2008 among other things caused me to conclude that it all bullshit. I now believe that the hyper-partisanship is just a show. The political system in the US is designed to prevent any real populist from gaining power. We are being played. Trump is the Republican Obama.
Piotr Berman | Oct 22, 2017 1:10:28 PM | 56
Carry on, nothing to see here.

I really think that this is the case in this instance. Trump is bellicose and erratic. In the realm of foreign policy and military, it yielded one positive change: his obsession with ISIS led to huge decrease of fighting between "moderate opposition" in Syria with "SAA and allies", allowing the latter to effectively reduce the territory controlled by ISIS, similarly, Obama's efforts to sideline "sectarian forces trained by Iran" from fighting with ISIS were apparently abandoned with similar effect. But otherwise, no "reset" with Russia, clown show concerning the nuclear program of North Korea, berating allies who spend insufficiently to fight threats that they do not have, increasing domestic military budget (again, to fight threats that we do not have) and so on. Formation of the new axis of evil, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela is a notable novelty.

Trump was so contradictory is his campaign statements that it is almost amazing that ANY positive element can be discerned. At the time, I paid attention to his praises of John Bolton, a proud walrus-American who communicates using bellowing, in other words, resembles a walrus both in the way he looks, but also in the way he speaks.

Needless to say, Dotard in Chief can exercise power only through underlings that may try to make sense of what he says. In some cases, like reforming American healthcare according to his promises, this is flatly impossible. So generals are seemingly in the same position, and of course, when in doubt, they do what they would do anyway.

Jackrabbit | Oct 22, 2017 1:39:09 PM | 58
What seems to have been lost in the discussion is what exactly the "counter-coup" is all about.

1. During the Obama years, "successes" like Lybia and Ukraine were matched by "failures" like the lost proxy war for Syria and pushing Russia into the arms of China. The new 'Cold War' makes US nationalism more important as 'hot' conflicts become more likely.

2. Obama/Clinton-led civilian authority was abusing power to promote an "Empire-first" vision of governance, Obama/Clinton:

>> replaced/retired many military officers;

>> placed US resources/forces in a support role ("leading from behind") ;

>> grew a 'radical center' (aka "Third Way") that sought to undermine traditional nationalist/patriotism via immigration and divisive 'wedge issues'.

The excuse for this was that while US hands were tied (because public wouldn't support further adventurism after Iraq) close allies could push forward. But the new Cold War has changed the calculus.

The US isn't giving up on Empire. It's just a different type of Empire for a different type of environment. When Trump talks about "draining the swamp" I think he merely refers to foreign influence.

So Trump pivots US policy based on Obama's record (as Obama did off Bush's record), and the next President will pivot off Trump's record, but the direction is always the same.

Red Ryder | Oct 22, 2017 2:34:25 PM | 59
Trump has one ally and that is the 65 million voters who put him into office.

He surrendered his top people. Saker says it was lack of character. I think when they point the gun at you, your family, your closest friends in your life, you acquiesce. They even took from him Keith Schiller, his personal security man for years. Kelly forced him out of the WH.

Trump is powerless except when he functions as Leader of the rallies. As President, even with the cabal running the Oval Office, they all are limited by the Shadow Government, Deep State, IC, Khazarian Matrix. No President is a free man empowered to act.

He now is focused on what is possible. Perhaps that will be a tax cut and a few more SC justices and a few score of judges for the fed district courts. Those don't interfere with Financial Power and MIC and the Hegemony of Empire.

There is one hope. Putin + Xi. And we know the limits they face. Inside the Tyranny of American government, there is no hope. During the Trump time Putin and Xi have to make the most of the Swamp creating their own problems. It is that moment of opportunity, though it looks bleak.

One thing for certain, the US military does not want a direct war. It wants more of these terror conflicts. Africa will become huge over the next few years. Graham is already selling it big. Trillions of dollars is what is the goal.

SE Asia and Africa are the new big "markets" for MIC. ISIS/AQ are the product. War is the service industry being sold as the "solution".

The Long War of anti-terror is the scam Smedley Butler told us about in the thirties. -- Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC:

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long.

I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

CD Waller | Oct 22, 2017 2:39:29 PM | 60
On the bright side, members of Congress are at least nominally elected. Four star Generals, not so much. It's still a felony carrying a prison term of 5 to 10 years per incident to lie to Congress.

The military have no precedent to recommend them either as a source of information or in their decision making ability. They are way out of their depth when it comes to administering a nation.

In none of their unwarranted invasions (all the result of bad information and poor judgment) of other nations have they been successful the day after the bombs stopped falling.

Castellio | Oct 22, 2017 5:05:46 PM | 63
@16, @22

The time has long passed since one can ignore JFK's failed insistence on the inspections of the illegal Israeli nuclear weapons program at Dimona, and then his sudden death. Factoring Israel into the equation greatly simplifies understanding the make-up of the Warren Commission, LBJ's about turn on the relation to the illegal nuclear weapons program and his reaction to the attack on the Liberty, and the evolution of US politics more generally.

One would be more pressed to argue why one thinks it is not a primary cause.

Fidelios Automata | Oct 22, 2017 11:37:16 PM | 64
We voted for change and as usual, we got more of the same. All I can say is thank God it's not Hillary in the White House. At least Trump's not spoiling for a war with Russia.
Danny801 | Oct 23, 2017 11:09:10 AM | 65
Democracy has been dead in America for a long time. I'd rather Kelly run the country than Hillary Clinton. She would have us all annihilated in a war with Russia and China
ian | Oct 23, 2017 5:15:48 PM | 66
It's going to be hard to fight a junta. The military is at least halfway competent, something that can't be said for either the administration or congress. Look at this latest flap - on the one side you have Wilson the rodeo clown, on the other you have Trump, who can't resist the urge to pop off on twitter.

Then you have Kelly, who at least comes off like an adult. Before people start pointing to all the nefarious things the military is doing, let me just say I'm talking about perception.

This all seems like Rome all over.

dmorista | Oct 24, 2017 7:57:57 AM | 69
Moon of Alabama always writes interesting and insightful critiques of the Deep State, the military, and the imperialist/war party, but falls flat on his face in his naive faith in the supposed anti-establishment, populist, and America First Nationalist proclivities of Donald Trump, and his arch-reactionary Svengali Steve Bannon. There is indeed at least one major split in the ranks of the ruling class, but to present Trump and Bannon as either valiant figures struggling for the national good, or noble isolated men surrounded by vipers and traitors is absurd.

Now, in its late imperial decline, the U.S. has become unable to continue to exercise hegemony, the way it became accustomed to in the first 70+ years in the Post-WW 2 period. The number one Client/Ally/Master, Israel and their deeply embedded 5th Column in the U.S., the Zionists with their associated Pro-Zionist factions within the War Party, now nearly directly and openly controls U.S. foreign policy and military actions in the regions that the Likudnik faction in Israel cares about (i.e. the Levant, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa).

Hollowed out economically and industrially the U.S. Empire is clearly on the way out. The various factions fighting for control of policy seem to be oblivious to this basic fact.

The actual situation is similar to that the U.S. participated in during period from the late 1800s - WW 2; the declining hegemon accustomed to calling the shots in international affairs (then the British Empire, now the U.S.), ends up overextended and committed in far too many areas, with declining resources and domestic solidarity to dedicate to the tasks; the rising hegemon (then the U.S. now China) is still focused on issues of internal and external economic development and the exercise of regional power.

China is already either equal in power to the U.S. or more powerful and will only continue to grow in power as the U.S. continues to decline. The Israelis/Zionists fully realize that the U.S. would not survive another disastrous war (like the air war they want the U.S. to wage against Iran, the U.S. does not have the capability to conduct a land war against Iran) intact. They are willing to try to force the issue to achieve one more step in their plan to establish "Eretz Israel" whose territory would extend from the Nile to the Euphrates and from the Sinai to Turkey. Their plans are just as crazy as those of the NeoCons and the NeoLiberals and their endless disastrous wars; and Trump/Bannon are their agents in the U.S.


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Old News ;-)

[Dec 17, 2017] Nikki Haley Is Not Good At Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Reza Marashi is director of research at the National Iranian American Council. He came to NIAC after serving in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The Atlantic, among other publications. He has been a guest contributor to CNN, NPR, the BBC, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times, among other broadcast outlets. Follow Reza on Twitter: @rezamarashi ..."
"... At least since 1980, millions of bombs have been dropped on the people of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Libya, all 'Made in USA' or 'Made in England': directly sold by Americans and the British and mostly dropped by the American/British pilots, but none has ever been displayed with such a vigor and moral concern and called for the international community to come forward to confront or condemn the manufacturer or the perpetrators who had used them against the civilians. ..."
"... What 'international' law/obligation is this that grants the US the monopoly and full rights to continue to arm criminal regimes in the Middle East and to shamelessly support them, but the same 'international obligation' requires Iran to refrain from any military or even moral support for the victims and demands that Iran must remain an observer of the US-Saudi-UAE mass murder in Yemen?! For how many more years and decades the people in the Middle East are supposed to accept such a contemptible hypocrisy and double standards! ..."
"... You diplomatically brought in the key motivation behind the show – political ambitions. She knows she needs 'name recognition' and seems determined to get it, no matter how. ..."
"... Ever since you left DOS, US' core policy on Iran has not been changed. As a matter of fact ever since the revolution, US Iran policy has not changed an iota, Nicki Healy, Samantha Powers, and Collin Powell and many others that came and gone are all the same, firmly anti- Iran and Iran in as long as Iran and Iranians maintains their nationalistic independence policy. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | lobelog.com

Nikki Haley is not good at foreign policy. With few discernible achievements to speak of after one year as America's envoy to the UN, her most noteworthy moments have been two incoherent diatribes on Iran. The first -- an airing of grievances passed off as justification for killing the Iran nuclear deal -- came and went with little fanfare. Yesterday, she doubled down with a speech trying to make the case that Iran is, among other things, supplying Houthis in Yemen with ballistic missiles and "fanning the flames of conflict in the region." There are a variety of problems with Haley's assertions. Three in particular stand out.

First, Haley cited a UN report in her claim regarding Iranian missile transfers to the Houthis. Of course, the UN has reached no such conclusion. Instead, a panel of experts concluded that fired missile fragments show components from an Iranian company, but they have "no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier." Asked about Haley's claim that Iran is the culprit, Sweden's ambassador to the UN said, "The info I have is less clear." Analysts from the U.S. Department of Defense speaking to reporters at Haley's speech openly acknowledged that they do not know the missiles' origin. Perhaps most surreal is the very same UN report cited by Haley also says the missile included a component that was manufactured by an American company. Did she disingenuously omit that inconvenient bit from her remarks, or fail to read the entire UN report? The world may never know.

If Iran is arming the Houthis, it is a terrible policy that Iranian officials should reverse. All countries should stop arming the various factions in Yemen. Tehran is no exception. But neither is Washington. It was therefore appalling to see that Haley's speech reference Yemen and not include a single word about America's ongoing military, intelligence, and logistical support for the Saudi-led humanitarian catastrophe taking place. If she wanted to focus on facts regarding Iran and Yemen, she should have explained to reporters that, in addition to bolstering Iran's influence in country where it was previously negligible, the Saudi-led debacle has also empowered al-Qaeda -- the same al-Qaeda that attacked the United States on 9/11 with 15 Saudi nationals, and continues to plot attacks on America today.

There is also a stunning lack of foreign policy sophistication in Haley's prevailing assumption regarding Iran and missiles. Not only do we recklessly arm despots in the world's most volatile region with missile of their own, we also provide the Iranian government with a pretext to further develop its missile program -- and cite American and European military sales to an increasingly aggressive Saudi Arabia and UAE as justification for doing so. "Do as I say, not as I do" is a slogan, not a strategy. And if it remains the status quo, so too will the growth of Iran's missile program.

The most inexplicable part of Haley's charade is her insistence on talking about Iran rather than talking to Iran. The only thing stopping her from sitting down one on one with her Iranian counterpart at the UN to respectfully discuss these matters is her own shortsighted ideological rigidity. Frankly, the track record is clear. Talking about Iran produced more missiles under the Bush administration. Talking to Iran eventually produced compromises on missiles under the Obama administration. Haley should spend less time using the UN ambassadorship to boost her domestic political ambitions, and more time actually conducting diplomacy on behalf of the United States.

If Haley is truly concerned about Iran's missile program and regional activities, she can take three immediate steps to demonstrate her seriousness: First, immediately halt all American military, intelligence, and logistical support for the Saudi-led humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. If the war ends, concerns about Iran in Yemen recede. Second, freeze all missile sales to Middle Eastern countries. If Saudi Arabia and the UAE aren't armed to the teeth with missiles they don't know how to use, Iran's threat perception and missile development reduces accordingly. Third, immediately offer bilateral and multilateral dialogue with the Iranian government on all issues of contention -- with no preconditions. The JCPOA is proof that sustained diplomacy with Iran can produce favorable outcomes for American interests.

Haley's dearth of foreign policy experience is no excuse for her shambolic performance yesterday. Rather than displaying the dignity and poise of America's face to the United Nations, she had her Colin Powell 2003 moment, demonstrating that too many of our leaders have still not learned the lessons of the Iraq war disaster. At best, this is willful ignorance on Haley's part. At worst (and more likely), she cherry-picked intelligence in a fashion eerily reminiscent of the 2002-2003 push for invading Iraq. It's not too late for Haley to salvage her tenure at the UN, but it will require listening more to the professional staff of career government officials she inherited rather than the motley crew of Republican operatives she brought with her to New York.

Reza Marashi is director of research at the National Iranian American Council. He came to NIAC after serving in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The Atlantic, among other publications. He has been a guest contributor to CNN, NPR, the BBC, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times, among other broadcast outlets. Follow Reza on Twitter: @rezamarashi

Khosrow, December 15, 2017

At least since 1980, millions of bombs have been dropped on the people of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Libya, all 'Made in USA' or 'Made in England': directly sold by Americans and the British and mostly dropped by the American/British pilots, but none has ever been displayed with such a vigor and moral concern and called for the international community to come forward to confront or condemn the manufacturer or the perpetrators who had used them against the civilians.

But why this time? Because this time the butcher of the world has found his buddy on the receiving end!

Kooshy, December 15, 2017
"Nikki Haley Is Not Good At Foreign Policy"

That's exactly why she was chosen by gods of Mount Zion for this job at UN, for constantly bashing Iran there is no need for expertise in FP.

Khosrow, December 15, 2017
"If Iran is arming the Houthis, it is a terrible policy that Iranian officials should reverse. All countries should stop arming the various factions in Yemen".

Mr Marashi, you speak from the safety of your office/country: Where the American armed and trained Saudi and Emirati forces and pilots viciously attack defenseless civilians in Yemen that has so far left more than 10,000 killed and 8 million near starvation, it is our moral obligation to support the oppressed Yemenis, not to leave them at the mercy of the Saudi savage air attacks – the Yemenis should not be denied support just as we Iranians were denied arms by the civilized world while we had come under Saddam's savage military attack in the 1980s.

What 'international' law/obligation is this that grants the US the monopoly and full rights to continue to arm criminal regimes in the Middle East and to shamelessly support them, but the same 'international obligation' requires Iran to refrain from any military or even moral support for the victims and demands that Iran must remain an observer of the US-Saudi-UAE mass murder in Yemen?! For how many more years and decades the people in the Middle East are supposed to accept such a contemptible hypocrisy and double standards!?

James Canning, December 15, 2017

Nikki Haley's record at the UN is pathetic, unless the measure in question is degree of gratification provided to the ISRAEL LOBBY.

david wright, December 15, 2017

'Nikki Haley is not good at foreign policy.'

Not good at it; even worse for it. But following in the hallowed tradition of Bush the Son's representative, Colin Powell. Let's hope that even the British have figured out what's going on this time, and will not behave like Lapdog Blair.

Given no excuse at all for waging war, the US will invent one. Past time it was called on this, by the the other 192 nations in the UN

Nona, December 17, 2017

"If Iran is arming the Houthis, it is a terrible policy that IRan should reverse."

WHY is it terrible? Someone should and MUST help the Houthis / Yemen PATRIOTS! No one else is helping them, NOT the U.N .and certainly, what use are they, if they don't prevail on the Saud.Arab. to stop the war.
Not even the Russians are helping the Yemenis.

It isn't even a war, because a war means two sides fighting, but in the case of Yemen, it's a matter of the Yemenis defending themselves. And it's the innocent civilians, women and children, as well as the civilian men, suffering and dying.

So the matter at hand is the Arab invasion, NOT where the missile came from.

The whole thing is a U.S. distraction from the Saudi invasion. And Haley frothing at the mouth, does a good job of distraction.

James Larrimore, December 17, 2017

Great article, Reza.

You diplomatically brought in the key motivation behind the show – political ambitions. She knows she needs 'name recognition' and seems determined to get it, no matter how.

She was mentioned to replace Tillerson as Sec of State, probably at her instigation. She knows T loves her style so she can do as she pleases, like flying with fanfare to see IAEA DG Amano in Vienna – where there is still no Ambassador. But you can bet her ambition is to be the first US woman President, to show the Clinton clan how that is done.

Unfortunately but necessarily, it will be important to 'put her in her place' in as many media fora as possible. Reza, you made a good contribution!

Kooshy, December 16, 2017

Mr. Marashi

Ever since you left DOS, US' core policy on Iran has not been changed. As a matter of fact ever since the revolution, US Iran policy has not changed an iota, Nicki Healy, Samantha Powers, and Collin Powell and many others that came and gone are all the same, firmly anti- Iran and Iran in as long as Iran and Iranians maintains their nationalistic independence policy.

As Mr. Zarif has said, we all have seen this show before and are not impressed with it. Noticeably, what has really been changed is yours and NIAC' analysis and opinions on US policies, especially ever since the failure of US' green color revolution back in 09.

However, IMO, you and NIAC, owe an explanation on what made you change your opinion of US intentions for Iran, after you left the DOS, if you seek support of expatriate Iranians for your efforts.

Jen, December 16, 2017

"Nikki Haley is not good at foreign policy "

I'd nominate this as the understatement of the year for 2017. But someone's got to point out the obvious and Reza Marashi nailed it.

Pity I can't link to a couple of articles on Haley's past incarnations as Governor of South Carolina or accountant to her parents' clothing boutique business so that readers can see Haley's talent for being truly abysmal at whatever she turns her hand to.

Mimo hard, December 16, 2017

Thank you Donald trump for uniting the arab dictators against you and the ugly apartheid state.

[Dec 17, 2017] Whither the Anti-war Movement by Daniel Martin

Notable quotes:
"... The antiwar movement could not survive the end of the draft. One most Americans did not have to worry about their kids being sent in harm's way, when minorities became soldiers for the pay, the enthusiasm waned. It was other people's kids that did the fighting and the dying. None of your concern. ..."
"... Initiatives of the Military-Industrial-Complex are well-planned, well-funded, and have paid staff to keep the interests of the corporate sector healthy and powerful. ..."
"... The Pentagon knows that as long as we have a volunteer army and outsource much of the nasty side of conflict to contractors, the volunteer peace activists don't stand a chance against their wealthy corporate allies. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The duopoly succumbed to the war machine, while organized resistance got pushed to the fringe

Veterans For Peace rally in Washington, less than a month after 9/11. Credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

"Imagine there's no heaven and no religion too."

A more useful line when it comes to our current wars may be "Imagine there's no duopoly." It's hard to fault John Lennon for his idealism, of course. In his day, many blamed religion on the wars of history. But a much bigger obstacle right now, at least in the U.S., is partisanship. The two major political parties, in power and out, have been so co-opted by the war machine that any modern anti-war movement has been completely subsumed and marginalized -- even as American troops and killer drones continue to operate in or near combat zones all over the world.

Aside from the very early days of the Iraq war, the anti-war movement has been a small, ineffectual pinprick on the post-9/11 landscape. A less generous assessment is that it's been a bust. After liberals helped elect the "anti-war" Barack Obama, the movement all but disappeared, even though the wars did not. By putting a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Democratic face on his inherited wars, Obama expanded into new conflicts (Libya, Syria, Yemen) with little resistance, ultimately bombing seven different countries during his tenure. By 2013, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin lamented , "We've been protesting Obama's foreign policy for years now, but we can't get the same numbers because the people who would've been yelling and screaming about this stuff under Bush are quiet under Obama."

It's easy to blame the military-industrial complex, the corporate media, and the greed and malleability of politicians. But what about the anti-war movement itself? Why has it failed so miserably, and can it revive as President Donald Trump continues the wars of his predecessors and threatens new ones?

The rallies and protests in the early 2000s attracted significant numbers but they were weighed down by far-left organizations like the World Workers Party, which brought with them myriad other issues beyond war like global warming and poverty. There was also long-held and fairly broad skepticism about the intentions of United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, which organized most of the big protests over the last 17 years. This was due to the "big tent" affiliations of some of their steering committee members, which critics say led to a dilution of the message and drove the anti-war movement further from the mainstream.

Perhaps the movement's biggest weakness was that it shied away from directly attacking its own -- the liberal Democrats who voted for the war in Congress.

In a sense, Democrats did emerge as the de facto anti-war party during the Iraq war, but that was only because a Republican -- George W. Bush -- was commander-in-chief. And what of the Democrats who voted for the war and continued to fund it? Out of 77 senators who supported the resolution authorizing military force against Iraq in 2002, 20 are still in office and roughly half are Democrats, while out of the 296 votes in favor in the House, 90 are still in office and 57 of them are Democrats. Some of them, like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, went on to become party leaders. Two others, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, went on to become secretaries of state and their party's nominees for president in 2004 and 2016 respectively. All went on to support new military interventions and regime changes, albeit under a new, liberal interventionist, Democratic banner.

Conversely, steadfast non-interventionist Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who voted against the resolution, failed badly in both his 2004 and 2008 attempts at his party's presidential nomination. Bottom line: Support for the war was hardly a deal-breaker for voters, any more than opposition to it was a dealmaker.

Reaction to war is just a microcosm of the political landscape, a manifestation of partisan-driven, short-term memory. Sure there might have been momentary disapproval, but when it came time to decide whether supporters of the war stayed or went, the sins of one's party leaders meant very little in the zero-sum game of electoral politics. Parties outside the duopoly be damned.

The same thing happened to the anti-war right, as the Ron Paul movement took off in 2008 with an immense level of grassroots energy. One of the singular successes of his movement was the ability to reach people on an intellectual and practical level about the folly of our foreign interventions and the waste, fraud, and abuse of tax dollars. Paul didn't shy from criticizing his own party's leaders and actions. He explained the Federal Reserve's relationship to the monetary costs of war.

Ultimately, media blackouts and distortion of Paul's message (for example, conflating his non-interventionist foreign policy views with "isolationism") helped kill his campaign. After Paul's 2008 defeat, conservative political activists seized upon the Texas congressman's libertarian-leaning revolutionary momentum and channeled it into the Tea Party -- while leaving the non-interventionist impulses behind. By 2011, national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin acknowledged , "On foreign policy probably the majority [of Tea Party Patriots] are more like [hawks] Michele Bachmann or Newt Gingrich."

And don't underestimate how the escalation of drone warfare during the Obama presidency muted the anti-war effort. Drone attacks made fewer headlines because they supposedly caused less collateral damage and kept U.S. troops out of harm's way, which was portrayed by administration officials and the war establishment in Washington as progress.

What the drone program did, in essence, was to create the illusion of "less war." Nevertheless, studies showing an increase of terrorism since the beginning of the "war on terror" indicate precisely the opposite: Civilian drone deaths (not always reported) create more enemies, meaning more of our troops will be put in harm's way eventually.

So where should the anti-war movement go from here? Perhaps it should begin by tempering its far-left impulses and embracing its allies on the right who have been made to feel unwelcome. They could take a lesson from right-leaning places like Antiwar.com and TAC that have long been open to writers and activists on the left.

Meanwhile, flying "Resist Trump" signs at rallies not only misses the mark by suggesting that our needless wars aren't a bipartisan, systemic problem, but creates a non-inclusive atmosphere for anti-war Trump voters. Ironically, not much "resistance" was heard when Democrats recently helped pass Trump's $700 billion 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and failed to repeal the original post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, as was advocated for by Senator Rand Paul this year.

In addition, the few on the anti-war left who oppose war based on pacifist or religious reasons need to acknowledge that the majority of Americans believe in a strong national defense as outlined in the Constitution. Most people are willing to accept that there's a big difference between that and the terrible waste and tragedy that comes with waging unnecessary wars overseas.

They are also averse to their lawmakers doing favors for special interests. Focusing on the money and influence that giant defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have on Capitol Hill -- essentially making war a business -- makes the anti-war point by raising the issue of crony capitalism and the cozy relationship between politicians and big business, which increasingly leaves the American public out of the equation.

These corporations, along with Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, have accounted for $42 million in contributions to congressional candidates since 2009, with $12 million in the 2016 cycle alone. The majority of these funds have targeted Armed Services Committee members, such as perennial war hawk John McCain. In addition, influential neoconservative think tanks have received millions in grants over the years from "philanthropic" organizations such as the Bradley Foundation and the Olin Foundation, which have corporate backgrounds in the defense industry. The conservative Heritage Foundation is reportedly considering the vice president of Lockheed as its new president.

Furthermore, mantras and slogans like, "you're either with us or against us" and "support our troops" have been used as powerful psy-ops to create a false dichotomy: you either support the war policy or you're not patriotic. Debunking this by pointing out how these wars profit the elite while serving as a pipeline that puts more American military servicemembers -- often from working-class backgrounds -- into harm's way should appeal to the current populist spirit on both sides of the political fence. In fact, it could begin to draw new, disenchanted voters into the movement.

Americans today are tired of war, which is good, for now. Unfortunately, without a strong anti-war movement, there won't be much resistance when the next "big threat" comes along. The two major parties have proven to be false friends when it comes to opposing war -- they only do it when it suits them politically. Moving beyond them and becoming stronger with allies and numbers -- imagine, there's no parties -- is the best way to build a real opposition.

Daniel Martin is an anti-war activist, musician, and rock journalist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter @MartysInvasion .

Youknowho December 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

The antiwar movement could not survive the end of the draft. One most Americans did not have to worry about their kids being sent in harm's way, when minorities became soldiers for the pay, the enthusiasm waned. It was other people's kids that did the fighting and the dying. None of your concern.
Whine Merchant , says: December 14, 2017 at 10:47 pm
The so-called 'anti-war' or 'peace' movement is mostly a genuine grass roots phenomenon that relies upon volunteers and ordinary people taking time out of their busy lives to become active. The energy and drive are hard to sustain on a volunteer basis.

To a great extent, motivation for activism is a reaction to something egregious, not a planned and sustained response to an on-going situation. Despite the power of social media, reactively movements lead by well-intentioned amateurs cannot martial prolonged support.

Initiatives of the Military-Industrial-Complex are well-planned, well-funded, and have paid staff to keep the interests of the corporate sector healthy and powerful. The activism that pulled the US out of SE Asia in the 70s took 10 years to build strength against a what was less organised and planned war machine than we see today. The Pentagon knows that as long as we have a volunteer army and outsource much of the nasty side of conflict to contractors, the volunteer peace activists don't stand a chance against their wealthy corporate allies.

Thank you –

Fran Macadam , says: December 14, 2017 at 11:19 pm
The tragedy yet to be is that the business of war and its boosterism only ends when the suffering of war comes upon the nation whose leaders make it. It might be different if the population were inclined against it, but there is a widespread belief in U.S. Exceptionalism and a belief that it is America's birthright to rule the world by military force if required. And ruling peoples against their wills does require force.

The consistency of human nature does not promise any respite from the propensity to make war, as has occurred throughout all known history. Those wars will be waged with ever greater and even world-ending technology – there never has been a weapon created that was not used, and every one of them has proliferated.

Donald ( the left leaning one) , says: December 15, 2017 at 12:20 am
This makes sense to me. There has to be a coalition of anti interventionists across the political spectrum because the two parties are dominated by warmongers. On foreign policy I am closer to many of the conservatives here than to many or most liberals I know in real life or online. I have never heard a liberal in my real life mention Yemen or drones unless I bring it up. Syria was never seen as a place where our support for " moderate" rebels kept the killing going. A friend of mine has become outraged when I tell him our support for the Saudis in Yemen is much more important than Russiagate. So Russiagate matters more than our complicity in a crime against humanity.

Mainstream liberals simply don't care about our stupid wars unless there is a large American death toll and it can be blamed solely on a Republican. I am not saying conservatives are better. The ones here are better.

Zebesian , says: December 15, 2017 at 2:43 am
I hope that the anti-war movement grows again, and persists throughout the probable Democratic Presidency in 2020. There's such little a single person can do, though.

Maybe Trump will keep his anti-war promises?

collin , says: December 15, 2017 at 9:03 am
There is probably a multiple issues here but:

1) Most military is below the headlines and it is hard to protest here. There several thousands troops in Africa and hardly anybody knows it.
2) The last 7 Prez elections, 6 doves (2004 exception and yes Bush pretended to the dove in 2000.) won and yet the dovish winner is more hawkish in the White House. So it is hard not to use the military and it would wise to answer that question,
3) Anti-War conservatives only had modest support when Obama signed the nuclear deal or avoided bombing in Syria. Where were the 'Ron Paul' voters there to support the President making dovish choices? Sure Syria was handled poorly but if we heard more support it might change things.
4) And it is true the hard left is very-war but focused on other agenda. Witness Bernie Sanders was unable to beat HRC because he is dove complaining about Cold War battles that is past history. And watch out Matt Duss is writing his speeches and Bernie is taking them seriously.

Robert E. , says: December 15, 2017 at 9:25 am
I'm a liberal democrat and certainly would agree that President Obama was culpable for destroying our anti-war movement. It was one of my grievances with him from the very beginning, as nothing about his rhetoric was ever about peace. It was only till the very end of his last term that he ever learned any lessons on caution in intervention (But never about the folly of drone striking civilians), and by then, it was too late.

Neo-militarism, which is where the costs of war are separated from engagement with it in order to reduce civil unrest over military actions, wasn't something Obama created though. It was a reaction to the Vietnam War that was thoroughly ingrained in the conscience of both parties. The only lesson they learned from that war is that if Americans see and hear of the suffering of their soldiers, they won't be supportive of military pork and intervention.

And so we live in a really weird culture now where most people don't even know a soldier, where our soldiers are off to forever war and in the system they are in is so distant that they don't understand civilian society either, and where the costs of war are hidden. There is a political problem certainly, but the root of it is a cultural problem. We are fed patriotic myths of American invincibility and Spartanism, and militarism has become one of the only unifying threads in being an "American", even though most Americans have not even the faintest clue of how the military operates or what soldiers are like.

You can gather up all the anti-war activists across the political spectrum, and you still aren't going to find enough people for a successful movement. And I'm not entirely sure how you can change the culture on this issue, as it would require undoing a lifetime worth of programming and propaganda in every citizen.

It may take another cultural trauma from a war so disastrous that even the worst chicken hawks have to say, "Wow, we really ruined everything here" for Americans to finally learn a lesson beyond how to sweep the nasty parts of war under the rug so the public doesn't see them. I suppose North Korea is looking promising on that front.

EliteCommInc. , says: December 15, 2017 at 9:49 am
I dislike the term anti-war. It sounds too much akin to a pacifists pose. I don't have any issues with people who are sincerely pacifists. But there are times when war is required. And sometimes in my view, that includes the use of force for humanitarian purposes.

I rest on the views that push the "clear and present danger" as old as it may be. And I do so without being ignorant of my own concerns about the strategic threats that abound or potentially abound in the future, near and far.

Where's the anti-war movement -- they are in think tanks, congress, and CEO corporate positions seeking to atone for the mess they made of our communities, country and veterans since the the misguided anti-war slogans of the late '60's and early '70's.

The consequence of an all volunteer military separates the community from a national sense of risk. I will dare utter, the unspoken, Vietnam was not about some just cause or care about the Vietnamese or the national conscience. It was the basic fear of personal sacrifice – period.

Ohh it was nicely clothed in all kinds of rhetorical discourse about war, peace loving Vietnamese, peace-love and understanding, free speech, anti-colonialism . . . blah and blah.

As Dr. King would soon discover, lending his intellect to young white kids fears, sabotaged the real retrenchment of the consequence of the nation's hypocrisy.

It takes a moral courage that has been bled out because there is in my view essentially no risk individual national investment. If x hundred thousand are willing to sign-up for defense --

that is a choice of no account to citizens who don't.

There is a war going on and its right here at home.

Myles Hagar , says: December 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm
If we want the freedom to comfortably drive to the convenience store to buy more plastic products from China, we must have war to secure the oil, flow of foreign goods and exploitation of foreign labour necessary to maintain our predatory and non-productive way of life. Peace requires a transformation of consciousness with the resultant total rejection of consumerism. The personal sacrifice required for peace is the missing element.
Kent , says: December 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm
"a strong national defense as outlined in the Constitution."

I take strong exception to this. The second amendment

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Unlike what most people think, the "free State" mentioned here represents the 13 original states. Their "well regulated Militia"'s could not be disarmed because that would allow the federal military to take away their sovereign freedom. The federal government was never intended to be more powerful than the individual state's militias.

And Section 8 Clause 12 of the Constitution when describing Congress' responsibilities:

"To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years"

The Constitution assumed that Congress would only raise an army when at war, and it would be dismantled almost immediately, hence the "two Years" limit on funding the military.

The Constitution assumes a very weak defensive posture, and the continued massive military system of the USA is the most unconstitutional thing we do. By a million miles.

john , says: December 15, 2017 at 1:34 pm
As long a there is a volunteer military there will not be a strong anti war movement. Remember, the sixties and that so called anti war movement which turned out to be nothing more that an anti draft movement. As soon as the military draft stopped those so called activists shaved their beards, got a haircut, took a bath, and along with those who came back from Canada went on to join daddy's business or law firm, with many migrating to wall street, eventually becoming the chicken hawks of the current era.There would never have been an invasion of Iraq or the perpetual war if every family shared the burden of sending one of their sons or daughters to act as cannon fodder. With the poverty draft only five percent of the younger generation are doing the fighting and dying. Americans will not even give up attending football games where disrespect for the military takes the form of disrespecting the flag, let alone join the military or put one of their children in harms way.
EliteCommInc. , says: December 15, 2017 at 3:19 pm
"The Constitution assumes a very weak defensive posture, and the continued massive military system of the USA is the most unconstitutional thing we do. By a million miles."

I guess if one skips the preamble one might come to that conclusion. But the Purpose of the Constitution establishing a nation spells out in very clear terms --

" . . . provide for the common defense . . ."

That is not a weak posture in any sense of the word. And no founder of government not those that followed understood that said union was to be weak. Avoiding unnecessary wars or conflicts does not mean a weak defense. What they pressed was a weak federal systems that would subvert internal freedoms for states and individuals.

It's hard to argue that no established international defense was sought -- when it states in very clear terms -- the nation is created for the very purpose of defending it's existence.

A strong defense does not require a an over aggressive posture, but existence requires an ability to defend it. And right now nothing more threatens our existence as much as weak immigration enforcement.

And I think the evidence for that is overwhelming. Most poignantly demonstrated by the events of 9/11. And there christians of many brands are a threat to the US by aiding and abetting the violations of that sovereignty and using Christ as the excuse to do so, even as that defense undermines their fellow citizens. That breed of christian ethos is certainly not new nor are its tentacles of hypocrisy.

What I object to among both interventionists is that they both don't mind giving people in the country illegally a pass despite their mutual claims of legal moral high bround.

David Swanson , says: December 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm
Biggest sign of how weak we are in this article is the assumption built into this: "In addition, the few on the anti-war left who oppose war based on pacifist or religious reasons need to acknowledge that the majority of Americans believe in a strong national defense as outlined in the Constitution." I mean the assumption that one cannot oppose the whole institution for the overwhelming secular empirical reasons that it endangers us, destroys our environment, impoverishes us, erodes our liberties, militarizes our localities, degrades our culture, poisons our politics. See the case made at World Beyond War's website.
Glenn , says: December 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm
Superb article by Daniel Martin. The first step out of this mess is to fully acknowledge the scope of the mess: Democrats and Republicans -- who squabble about many things -- unite to give bipartisan support for American militarism.
Honorable Shark , says: December 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm
The anti-war movement is not listened to. In SF during a bombardment of Gaza, there were hundreds of anti-war protesters at City Hall. The most liberal deliberative body in the US looked stone-faced and emotionless. When they finished, if on a cue, a Jewish member of the Board tabled the agenda item, and it was never heard from again. Not one of these eleven lawmakers even asked a question. Who said you cannot fight City Hall? They were right.
balconesfault , says: December 15, 2017 at 7:06 pm
A lot of Dems stepped forward to oppose the Iraq War and they got plowed over for it politically.

I fully expect the same to happen to any Dems who divert their attention from stopping the other budget busting, middle-class harming, anti-environmental, anti-women measures the GOP is currently pushing to make a futile attempt to stop whatever Trump decides to do with our military.

You guys elected Donald J. Trump. You own him.

cka2nd , says: December 15, 2017 at 8:01 pm
The argument that there can be no anti-war movement without a draft to drive it is belied by the fact that no war in our history generated more protests than the Bush Administration's build-up towards the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Where the mass base of any anti-war movement seems to draw the line is not specifically at their kids but at the possibility of significant American casualties, period. Hence, the absence of mass protest against drone warfare on the one hand, and the immediate and decisive push back by the public against Congress authorizing Obama to "put boots on the ground" in Syria on the other.

My friends in the International Bolshevik Tendency ( http://bolshevik.org/ ) argue for the classic united front in their anti-war organizing. Everyone opposed to War X should march together but retain their right to free speech at the march and on the podium. So the official call for the march is not a laundry list, but marchers and speakers are not subject to censorship or being shut down if they want to make connections that discomfit some Democratic politician or movement hack. It makes more sense to me than either the single-issue, "we must ALL stay ON point" model or the multi-issue, excessively intersectional and virtue-signaling one that arose in reaction to it.

MKBrussel , says: December 16, 2017 at 12:19 am
No one seems to mention the power and importance of the mainstream, corporatized, media, which has supported all our wars and associated aggressions in recent times, and which ignores and suppresses antiwar sentiments and opinion writers, as well as inconvenient facts. This holds for the NYT, the WP, the WSJ and client newspapers as well as the TV news channels. The internet is evidently not powerful enough to offset this national bias. Antiwar periodicals tend to be on the fringe in terms of mass circulation.
It also takes money in this society to get things done, and the anti-war "left"(or right) , in addition to having organizational problems, lacks those resources. An antiwar super billionaire, if that is not a contradiction in terms, might make a dent by creating/promoting TV and news channels.

A usefull discussion.

Fran Macadam , says: December 16, 2017 at 4:26 am
EliteCommInc., be assured you will get your wars. Also be assured that they won't accomplish the aims they will be sold to accomplish. Some of those who know the real reasons may well accomplish their private goals for a season. One day, the real cost to be paid will come due, and it may not be a rude awakening, but nuclear death. So by all means, continue not to be against war, against all the evidence. We are predisposed to war because our fallen nature leads us to dream of it.
balconesfault , says: December 16, 2017 at 6:02 am
@Glenn

Democrats and Republicans -- who squabble about many things -- unite to give bipartisan support for American militarism.

That is because, sadly, American voters demand it.

As I've observed before – if you place a candidates militarism on a spectrum of 0 (Ghandi) to 100 (Hitler) American voters are conditioned to prefer a candidate with a score 20 points higher than theirs to a candidate 5 points lower.

Fear is a powerful tool.

Dieter Heymann , says: December 16, 2017 at 7:26 am
Kent makes a very good point. Yet this baby nation was somewhat torn between a Scylla and Charybdis of military readiness. The Scylla was the fear of a "European" track that is to say the evolution into a Monarchy anchored on a powerful national army. The Charybdis was the potential invasions by the powerful European states of Great Britain and Spain.
Dave Sullivan , says: December 16, 2017 at 8:14 am
The opinion that anti-war people, particularly from the Vietnam era, did so because they didn't want to sacrifice is ludicrous. It displays an ignorance of the sacrifices made, and the success of the war party to paint them in this manor. Veterans are appointed a myriad of benefits, a plethora of memorials,holidays, endless honorable mentions. For the war resistors, nothing, unless one could count the kind of scorn I see here, on an antiwar site ! It is not "selfish" to look both ways before crossing the street, and perhaps choosing not to if it appears the risk is not worth the reward. In fact, this behavior defines "conservative". Militant societies require centralization. The key to modern centralized militant power, is nuclear war. The existence of these weapons produces a huge secrecy, and internal security state. They produce an insane populace whom believe the state is protecting them from annihilation. Know this, our militant masters love that North Korea has the bomb. Sleep tight.

[Dec 13, 2017] An astute progressive critique of the Trump Administration from CNBC! by NewDealdemocrat

That's what Trump's "bastard neoliberalism" is about. He is not a New Dealer.
Notable quotes:
"... He forgot them on health care. Jettisoning his campaign pledge to "take care of everybody" regardless of income, he proposed cutting federal health subsidies for the hard-pressed blue-collar voters who put him into office. ..."
"... He forgot them on financial regulation. Abandoning talk of cracking down on Wall Street executives who "rigged" the economy to hobble the working class, he seeks to undercut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ..."
"... And he forgot them on taxes. Discarding his vow to reshape taxation for average families at the expense of rich people like himself, he's working with Republican leaders to hand the biggest benefits to corporations and the wealthy ..."
"... But on economic issues he has behaved exactly like a standard issue country club republican. The requirement that the GOP enact a "replacement" for Obamacare? Gone. Preventing the offshoring of manufacturing jobs? Gone. Enacting at least something like a tariff at the borders? Gone. Actually *doing* something about the opioid crisis, which is strongly correlated with areas of economic distress (as opposed to lip service)? Nothing. ..."
Dec 07, 2017 | angrybearblog.com

John Harwood of that well known lefty outlet, . ummm, CNBC . writes this morning that "Trump has Forgotten his 'Forgotten People':"

He forgot them on health care. Jettisoning his campaign pledge to "take care of everybody" regardless of income, he proposed cutting federal health subsidies for the hard-pressed blue-collar voters who put him into office.

He forgot them on financial regulation. Abandoning talk of cracking down on Wall Street executives who "rigged" the economy to hobble the working class, he seeks to undercut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And he forgot them on taxes. Discarding his vow to reshape taxation for average families at the expense of rich people like himself, he's working with Republican leaders to hand the biggest benefits to corporations and the wealthy.

To the contrary, his budget includes big cuts to Social Security disability program. Meanwhile his much-vaunted infrastructure plan has 'failed to materialize."

But, Harwood points out:

The president hasn't forgotten everything. In lieu of big financial benefits, Trump has steadily given "the forgotten people" at least one visceral commodity [: ] affirmation of shared racial grievances.

I think this is a good summary of Trump's domestic policies as revealed by the past year. On social issues, he has governed exactly as he promised during his campaign, issuing a de facto ban on Muslim immigration, unleashing ICE against Latinos, and fulminating against protesting black NFL players.

But on economic issues he has behaved exactly like a standard issue country club republican. The requirement that the GOP enact a "replacement" for Obamacare? Gone. Preventing the offshoring of manufacturing jobs? Gone. Enacting at least something like a tariff at the borders? Gone. Actually *doing* something about the opioid crisis, which is strongly correlated with areas of economic distress (as opposed to lip service)? Nothing.

Joel , December 7, 2017 9:03 am

Forgotten? LOL! No, Trump didn't forget. He was lying.

little john , December 7, 2017 4:01 pm

I hate doing this because I am not a fan of the President but a "de facto ban on Muslim immigration"? I cannot remember but I don't think Indonesia, Pakistan, India or Turkey was on the list. Those a pretty big Muslim nations. Maybe you should look it up. "Unleashing ICE against Latinos"? I have three Latino neighbors on my street, my next door neighbor doesn't even speak English, but I haven't seen any ICE agents around. Maybe I should just wait they're on their way? "Fulminating against NFL players"? You're right about that.

As an aside I have recently had to laugh when I see your pseudonym. Here in Dallas we've taken down the statue of Robert E. Lee from Robert E. Lee Park. (Now named Oak Lawn Park.) At the opening of the park in 1936 there is a great picture of the statue with FDR, Robert E Lee IV and D.W. Griffith. I am wondering if NewDealDemocrat is a microaggression?

run75441 , December 8, 2017 9:35 am

NDD:

Before you bemoan the loss of the CSR (covered by Section 1402 of the ACA) for those making between 138 and 250% FPL, you do understand premium subsidies will pick up the difference. If the states apply the premium increase properly to the Silver plans, the impact is felt across all other levels between 138% and 400% FPL. Indeed, in many cases Bronze plans are free, Gold plans become less costly, and premiums decrease. A person can go to a lower deductible/copay for the same or less cost than the original silver plan.

I think as some will tell you here, this does nothing for those greater than 400% FPL who now find themselves being hit with the full impact of a premium increase due to Trump's action. While a much smaller percentage of the insured, it still numbers around 9 million.

spencer , December 8, 2017 1:45 pm

Isn't that 8 million being hit out of the under 20 million that had signed up for Obamacare.

So on a percent basis doesn't you quote imply about half of the relevant population is being hit?

[Dec 13, 2017] Credit Union Sues Donald Trump to Save the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Dec 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

diptherio , December 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Apologies if I posted this already:

Credit Union Sues Donald Trump to Save the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
https://madmimi.com/p/a2194b

December 5, 2017 – This afternoon, the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (ECBA) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union against Donald Trump and Michael Mulvaney. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Manhattan.

The lawsuit challenges President Trump's recent, illegal takeover of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), in which he installed his at-will White House employee, Michael Mulvaney, to be Acting Director of the CFPB. The CFPB protects millions of Americans from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in the financial marketplace. Mr. Mulvaney has called the CFPB a "sad, sick joke."

"We support the CFPB as a protector of our low income members' financial rights, and fear that the appointment of an Acting Director beholden to the White House could result in upheaval and ultimate dissolution of this critical agency," said Linda Levy, CEO of the Credit Union. "Having experienced the devastation that the 2008 mortgage crisis wreaked on our low income members, we need the CFPB to protect communities targeted by financial predators."

[Dec 12, 2017] We are all just hapless passengers on the Neocon Titanic, unable to influence what is playing out on the bridge

Highly recommended!
Of course, UNZ is more radical on this issue then most (actually they use the terms "Jew", "neocons" and "Zionist" almost interchangeably, but in most case the meaning is neocon -- ideology, not nationality ) , but it looks like public support of neocons in the USA now dropped dramatically, especially after their attacks on Trump during 2016 elections.
Notable quotes:
"... They are not a threat to the US and while I think we will be in a support capacity -- with Israel obviously -- to a bunker buster attack it will be regarded as US backed war throughout the Islamic world. Trump may be too weak to resist Netanyahu's best sales pitch. ..."
"... The Neocons are turning up at MSNBC of late. In addition to Podhoretz, Brooks, Kristol, we are now seeing E. Johnson, B. Stephens, D. Pletka on the scene as regular rotation players. No doubt where they will be leading. Moving in where opportunities abound for some reason? ..."
"... "Trump may be too weak to resist Netanyahu's best sales pitch." Trump is an Israeli sycophant ..a loser. ..."
"... That US missile attack on the Syrian airport cost Trump a lot of domestic and international support for zero benefit... ..."
"... This is a war of an elite. [Tom] Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened. ..."
"... Yet if you point out the obvious, that our foreign policy has been hijacked by an element whose first loyalty is to Israel, you will catch all sorts of hell, be banned from making comments on blogs and news sites, or like the brave Mr. Giraldi, lose your job. And be blasted with the worn-out canard of being an anti-Semite. Maybe even a Jew hater, all because you show concern for the nation you love and are loyal to. ..."
"... While Pompeo would be not good, Tillerson has been a big disappointment with his latest statements on Crimea and Ukraine included. ..."
"... You obviously do not live here. 99% of Americans have a flat screen TV installed in their living rooms and believe everything (jooie managed images and info) spewing forth from it. ..."
"... The "problem" is that the whole American "business model" is based on global economic supremacy, which means, essentially, the dollar as world reserve currency. If that goes, the whole US house of cards will probably implode, Soviet-style. That requires unchallenged American "world leadership". The big threat to the "American model" isn't the EU and certainly not the Russian Federation. It's China. ..."
"... Yeah, yeah, yeah big bad ISIS. The Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. "Keeping Fools and Idiots At Each Other's Throats". Since 1950. I don't know what to tell you ..."
"... The US is expansionist, projecting itself all over the globe and uses force against anyone who resists. Force is all it understands. What happens when the irresistible force bumps into the immovable object? War hysteria, of which we've had an unending amount for the past three generations. Objectively there's nothing conservative about the so-called neocons. They're hardly any different from fascists except the rhetoric is different. Mussolini had limits as to how much territory he wanted to conquer for his empire unlike the US which recognizes no limits. ..."
"... BTW, I still don't see an attack on Iran as being very likely. If Russia and China would not greenlight an attack on Syria, they will be doubly reluctant to greenlight an attack on Iran. ..."
"... The "democracy" the neocons want to push is the one in which (((mass media))) successfully lobotomizes the electorate into thinking it has democracy. The zombies then make their way to the polls seeking "hope & change" but with no choice. Hegemony is the goal, not democracy. ..."
"... American has an all volunteer armed forces (mercenary), they are paid to kill or be killed, their fates is only a few seconds on the screens if the MSM decided to air them, otherwise the wars and the American soldiers' lives have nothing to do with the American public. Mayhem in far away land in out of sight and out of mind. ..."
"... The real issue is how to finance the war, as long as the war does not cause hyper inflation in the USA, the warmongers in the Washington beltway will go ahead with the war without much concern, with EU, Australia, Japan and S Korea in line paying the bills, the American should be able to wage another regime change war in the ME without much difficulty. ..."
"... Having some small portion of Scotch-Irish ancestry myself, and having ancestors who pioneered Tennessee, I don't think General Andrew Jackson would support the Israel First foreign policy of Tom Cotton. ..."
"... Yet if you point out the obvious, that our foreign policy has been hijacked by an element whose first loyalty is to Israel, you will catch all sorts of hell, be banned from making comments on blogs and news sites, or like the brave Mr. Giraldi, lose your job. And be blasted with the worn-out canard of being an anti-Semite. Maybe even a Jew hater, all because you show concern for the nation you love and are loyal to. ..."
"... Re: At the time, I agreed, but I did note that the neoconservatives have proven to be remarkable resilient, particularly as many of them have remained true to their Democratic Party values on nearly everything but foreign policy, where they are irredeemable hawks, hostile to Russia and Iran and always reliably in the corner of Israel ..."
"... And when it comes to foreign policy, of course the Neocons are globalists, like the international bankers whom they serve. ..."
"... The Neocons are nothing less than a parasitical foreign body which has us thinking in accordance with its interests; in fact they are mortal enemies, nothing less. ..."
"... Wall Street power held a gun to the head of the entire US economy and said 'Give us money, OR we will take ALL OF YOU down with us.' ..."
"... My knowledge of foreign policy is headline-quality only. My knowledge of some domestic policy is pretty good. I've been on the public stump in my area. The reality of American policy, as I've seen it, is that it's bought and paid for. There is no "public interest", no "national interest". I'm not even sure there's an America, in the sense of a people joined by some common values. Sometimes I think of America as an agglomeration of rackets. You're goddamned right I don't like thinking this way. ..."
"... Dump's second big mistake was firing Comey again on the advice of Kushner. Which got the Mueller ball rolling. Some have rightly drawn the parallels of Kushner whispering in Dump's ear to the same role of Kissinger vis a vis Nixon's downfall ..."
"... Then Kushner appeared to connive with his buddy KSA Clown Prince MBS to engineer the Hariri fiasco [which Tillerson managed to "deftly undo..."] ..."
"... That is a useless statement on many levels Tillerson deftly managed what is arguably America's most important corporation in what is surely the most strategic and geopolitical global industry energy ..."
"... The neocons are of course insane they are picking fights with Iran, Venezuela and others who are going to be the first to ditch the petrodollar and accelerate the tipping point to the new global financial order that is going to impoverish the US overnight ..."
"... The same neocons are also the ones who are undermining US demographics because their Ponzi scheme economy is based on perpetual growth which, in turn, requires perpetual population growth which means more immigration. Also the immigration keeps the wages low which is just extra gravy for the Plutocracy ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | www.unz.com

Mark James , December 12, 2017 at 5:57 am GMT

I'm really concerned an attack on Iran is a correct assessment Philip. They are not a threat to the US and while I think we will be in a support capacity -- with Israel obviously -- to a bunker buster attack it will be regarded as US backed war throughout the Islamic world. Trump may be too weak to resist Netanyahu's best sales pitch.

Tillerson will be gone sooner or later: No question, perhaps the week between Christmas and New Year?

Cotton and Pompeo: Pompeo may have problems with the Mueller probe. Cotton has a number of rumors in his past and maybe they are just unfortunate talk? But I don't see him at CIA (we shall see?)

The Neocons are turning up at MSNBC of late. In addition to Podhoretz, Brooks, Kristol, we are now seeing E. Johnson, B. Stephens, D. Pletka on the scene as regular rotation players. No doubt where they will be leading. Moving in where opportunities abound for some reason? At least two (Halperin, Ford) aren't around anymore on Coffee Joe.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 12, 2017 at 7:22 am GMT
Well, if the rumours about Cotton and Pompeo appointments materialise, Trump might as well move his own office to Jerusalem
Fran Macadam , December 12, 2017 at 7:42 am GMT
We're all just hapless passengers on the Neocon Titanic, unable to influence what's playing out on the bridge. Steady as she goes on the unsinkable U.S.S.
Realist , December 12, 2017 at 9:08 am GMT
@Mark James

"Trump may be too weak to resist Netanyahu's best sales pitch." Trump is an Israeli sycophant ..a loser.

Philip Smeeton , December 12, 2017 at 11:02 am GMT
From the movie Iron Sky, meant as a condemnation of Nazism, but inadvertently conveying a sensible message about the merits of purity.

Renate Richter:

This is very simple. The world is sick, but we are the doctors. The world is anemic, but we are the vitamin. The world is weary, but we are the strength. We are here to make the world healthy once again, with hard work, with honesty, with clarity, with decency. We are the product of loving mothers and brave fathers. We are the embodiment of love and bravery! We are the gift of both God and Science. We are the answer to the question. We are the promise delivered to all mankind. For that, we raise our hands to one Nation. We step to the beat of one drum. We march to the beat of one heart and it is this song that we will sing to this world. We are the people who carry the children on our shoulders in the same way that our fathers carried us and their fathers carried them. We are the one people united and strong. We are the one people with certainty, moral certainty. We are invincible and we have no fear because the truth makes us wise.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 12, 2017 at 11:23 am GMT
@peterAUS

Well, if conflict is simply air assault on Iranian nuclear facilities that shouldn't be a problem for either party. Israelis/Americans bomb a bit and then everything goes back to normal. Something as that cruise missile launch on Syria.

That US missile attack on the Syrian airport cost Trump a lot of domestic and international support for zero benefit...

jacques sheete , December 12, 2017 at 11:53 am GMT

I do not even want to guess at what kind of insanity

Insanity. That's the key. Sick beyond redemption. No rational person could ever begin to understand their motives. Somehow the jackals need to be restrained.

Greg Bacon , Website December 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm GMT
We see the same usual suspects time and again, waving their pom-poms lustily cheering on endless war that does NOT help or benefit the USA. In fact, it is destroying our nation economically, spiritually and politically.

From an April 2003 Haaretz article:

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible.

This is a war of an elite. [Tom] Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/white-man-s-burden-1.14110

Yet if you point out the obvious, that our foreign policy has been hijacked by an element whose first loyalty is to Israel, you will catch all sorts of hell, be banned from making comments on blogs and news sites, or like the brave Mr. Giraldi, lose your job. And be blasted with the worn-out canard of being an anti-Semite. Maybe even a Jew hater, all because you show concern for the nation you love and are loyal to.

Will Americans ever realize they are being played for fools by a country and Zionist con artists which doesn't give a tinkers damn about us or will we keep jumping up and down to the pom-pom waving?

Den Lille Abe , December 12, 2017 at 1:43 pm GMT
Yes all this Newspeak, to hide the fact that the US is a threat in anyone that disagrees with them
Z-man , December 12, 2017 at 2:18 pm GMT
Of course I hope you're wrong Phil. While Pompeo would be not good, Tillerson has been a big disappointment with his latest statements on Crimea and Ukraine included.

Cotton would be another matter altogether and even though there is a 'collegial spirit' in the Senate I would hope that Rand Paul and other senators with common sense would squash this guys nomination. Even if he has to carry himself back from Kentucky, broken ribs and all, to squash this Neocon stooge Cotton. Also, I'm hopping there are some boys in the closet when it comes to Cotton. lol

Zumbuddi , December 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT
@LondonBob

Faith in Bush the OLDER is misplaced. In 1979 he stood shoulder to shoulder w/ Bibi and Benzion Netenyahu, and Midge Decter & other neocons, in Jerusalem, as they drafted the blueprint for GWOT. Planning went so far as to name the 7 states to take out. USSR was #1 at the time. Jews got Jews Who had been highly educated at Russian expense – out of Russia, now Russia is back in the crosshairs.

... ... ...

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 12, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT

Americans are stoopid and cowardly fucks for being so easily manipulated by the Jew.

Not so much anymore. Meanwhile, didn't the Muslims spend five years fighting each-other right on the Israeli border? But wait – they did attack Israel once – and apologised:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-28/isis-apologized-israel-attacking-idf-soldiers

I don't know what to tell you

nsa , December 12, 2017 at 3:24 pm GMT
@peterAUS

"the American public isn't as gullible as before ."

Ha, Ha. You obviously do not live here. 99% of Americans have a flat screen TV installed in their living rooms and believe everything (jooie managed images and info) spewing forth from it. More than 50% of Americans have multiple flat screen TV in their homes so they can be sure not to miss the latest disinfo or lies.

.... ... ...

Michael Kenny , December 12, 2017 at 3:41 pm GMT
The "problem" is that the whole American "business model" is based on global economic supremacy, which means, essentially, the dollar as world reserve currency. If that goes, the whole US house of cards will probably implode, Soviet-style. That requires unchallenged American "world leadership". The big threat to the "American model" isn't the EU and certainly not the Russian Federation. It's China. 1.4 billion people and rapidly heading for global economic hegemony. To say nothing of a rising India at 1.2 billion. At 300 million, the US is small beans. How to ward off the Yellow Peril? That's the problem the US hegemonists had to resolve.

... ... ...

DaveE , December 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Yeah, yeah, yeah big bad ISIS. The Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. "Keeping Fools and Idiots At Each Other's Throats". Since 1950. I don't know what to tell you ..

anonymous , Disclaimer December 12, 2017 at 3:47 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

Somehow the jackals need to be restrained.

It's not that difficult to strategize HOW to go about "restraining the jackals." 99 44/100% of what ziocons accuse others of is projection. They say, "They [_____ Iran, ISIS, Palestinians, Russians - fill in the blank] understand only force." This projects that the only thing that will restrain psychopathic Israel is force.

When an Iranian nuclear engineer was assassinated in Tehran, Ronen Bergman told Brian Williams that "Israel has used assassination more than any other state; not even Stalin or Hitler used assassination as much as Israel. . . ."

... ... ...

anonymous , Disclaimer December 12, 2017 at 3:58 pm GMT
@Ben Frank

So far the President has proved much smarter than most people expected him to be

Exactamundo, Ben Frank (any relation to Anne, Princess of the Ballpoint Pen?). Naming Jerusalem the capital of Israel was fucking brilliant. Don't you worry your pretty little head about all the US forces in the multiple bases in the region that are accessible to mad-as-hornets Muslims; Israel will have their backs, fer shur.

--

Come to think of it, maybe Trump can burnish his "much smarter-ness" by taking a page out of Reagan's playbook: Immediately after the first US soldier is plinked by an Angry Arab, Trump should pull ALL US FORCES out of the region: do a Reagan-post-Black Hawk down.

If the Israelis want to stir the pot, let them stand over the steam-heat and wield the spoon. We're outa there.

anonymous , Disclaimer December 12, 2017 at 3:58 pm GMT
The people of the ME can't catch a break. Since being pried away from the Ottoman empire a hundred years ago they've been the plaything of various western countries. Their national borders drawn up by distant foreigners, they've been interfered with constantly, their regimes dictated by foreigners. Then the selfsame westerners turn around and point to their backwardness as proof that they're incapable of doing anything on their own.

The US is expansionist, projecting itself all over the globe and uses force against anyone who resists. Force is all it understands. What happens when the irresistible force bumps into the immovable object? War hysteria, of which we've had an unending amount for the past three generations. Objectively there's nothing conservative about the so-called neocons. They're hardly any different from fascists except the rhetoric is different. Mussolini had limits as to how much territory he wanted to conquer for his empire unlike the US which recognizes no limits.

Rurik , December 12, 2017 at 4:21 pm GMT

replaced at CIA by Senator Tom Cotton.

it was faint, and barely perceptible, but at some level, I did actually tremble when I read those words. Cotton is the new John McCain. The ultimate traitor to this nation and its people and all people of good will on the planet and every tenet of decency known to the universe

a lickspittle to Sheldon Adelson and everything that repulsive toad represents. if Cotton is exalted to head the CIA, I'll have to think very hard about leaving these shores. perhaps Bobby Fischer was right, and the ZUSA is endemically, irredeemably evil.

there can be no doubt that the zio-Fiend is the incarnation of evil itself, but I always keep hoping that the good people of the ZUS will repudiate the zio-Fiend- that has them waging serial wars all over the planet to benefit the Jews. As their infrastructure crumbles back home, and their veterans can't get health care, and the jobs are 'in' and outsourced to the third world. what will it take to wake up the bovine, cud-chewing sheople?!

their children come home in body bags, or with their souls so eviscerated by the sheer evil of the wars they're forced to fight, that they often just 'snuff it' as the only escape from their nightmares. (and the realization that the ZUSA is a drooling fiend and that they've murdered innocent people and destroyed nations on its behalf)

those young people can not abide the evil that the ZUS government has become, and their only salvation is to end their young lives.

for those of us with more choices at hand, why can't we finally and simply repudiate the zio-scum who've done us and so many others so much harm?!

NOT TOM COTTON!!!!!

fuck no!

SolontoCroesus , December 12, 2017 at 4:39 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

PS If the USA / American people and their representatives conformed foreign as well as economic policy to the vision of George Washington rather than Louis Brandeis -- > Benjamin Netanyahu & fellow psychopaths and traitors, USA would engage with OBOR rather than attempt to destroy it.

Check out anon20171212′s comment at #21, above http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/bad-moon-rising/#comment-2115106

Destruction (and deception) are the way of the Talmudists. Even Heinrich Graetz, the Germanophilic Jew who authored the first modern history of the Jewish people, had nothing but opprobrium to heap on Talmudists.

https://archive.org/details/historyofthejews014022mbp

The American 'way' is not the way of the Talmud. Christian values are not Talmudic values. George Washington's legacy was not Talmudic, it was America First :

https://www.varsitytutors.com/earlyamerica/milestone-events/george-washingtons-farewell-address-full-text

Astuteobservor II , December 12, 2017 at 4:43 pm GMT
@Anonymous

doesn't matter, we are still the ones doing the dirty work. there is no escape from the responsibility. it is like a hitman claiming he is a professional, it is just business. that doesn't fly.

Ken S , December 12, 2017 at 4:47 pm GMT
What's with it with neoconservative Israel lackeys like Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz graduating from a prestigious and supposedly left-wing school like Harvard? Are they book-smart without common sense? The country would be better off if Cotton stayed in the Senate. He can do less damage if 1 of 100. Plus, the shelf-life of anyone in the Trump admin seems to be very short – and he'd better not have groped any Harvard classmates, who might just be waiting in the wings to destroy his career.
Seamus Padraig , December 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm GMT
As recently as a month ago, I was still willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. But it should now be obvious to all what a total zio-muppet he really is. If there's any silver lining in all of this, it's the fact that the Jew-media have expended so much effort in attacking Trump that he'll now make a very poor spokesman for their cause abroad.

BTW, I still don't see an attack on Iran as being very likely. If Russia and China would not greenlight an attack on Syria, they will be doubly reluctant to greenlight an attack on Iran.

Frank Walus , December 12, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT
The "democracy" the neocons want to push is the one in which (((mass media))) successfully lobotomizes the electorate into thinking it has democracy. The zombies then make their way to the polls seeking "hope & change" but with no choice. Hegemony is the goal, not democracy.

Trump may have been skeptical as a candidate about America's role as policeman of the world, but the establishment knives are out and he might (correctly?) surmise that the only way to stay in office is to make the ziocons happy. Even Bill Kristol would see the error in never-Trumpism if bombs started falling on Iran.

Joe Wong , December 12, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT
@peterAUS

American has an all volunteer armed forces (mercenary), they are paid to kill or be killed, their fates is only a few seconds on the screens if the MSM decided to air them, otherwise the wars and the American soldiers' lives have nothing to do with the American public. Mayhem in far away land in out of sight and out of mind. Citing the American public gullibility is really a residual sentiment of old days cold war mentality and trying to attach some kind of morality to the wars the American has been fighting. American has long been demonstrated they are just as morally defunct imperialist as the British and their mentor, the Romans.

The real issue is how to finance the war, as long as the war does not cause hyper inflation in the USA, the warmongers in the Washington beltway will go ahead with the war without much concern, with EU, Australia, Japan and S Korea in line paying the bills, the American should be able to wage another regime change war in the ME without much difficulty.

Charles Pewitt , December 12, 2017 at 8:14 pm GMT
Tom Cotton is not to be trusted. Many gave US Senator Tom Cotton credit for his offering a bill that would cut legal immigration in half and would significantly reduce illegal immigration. It is now clear that the immigration reduction ploy proffered by Tom Cotton was a sneaky way to mollify the White Core American voter base of President Trump.

Tom Cotton is a stooge for Sheldon Adelson and the Neo-Conservatives. The Neo-Conservatives know they are highly vulnerable on the immigration issue and the national question. That is why they sent their puppet Tom Cotton out with instructions to bang the pot on reducing immigration.

Recently, the Neo-Conservative-controlled, Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal gave Tom Cotton a half page, above the fold puff piece where Tom Cotton is said to be offering a foreign policy fit for "Jacksonian America." I think Tom Cotton must be referring to Michael Jackson or some other Jackson, and not General Andrew Jackson. Having some small portion of Scotch-Irish ancestry myself, and having ancestors who pioneered Tennessee, I don't think General Andrew Jackson would support the Israel First foreign policy of Tom Cotton.

IMMIGRATION and the NATIONAL QUESTION are the two things that will finally dislodge the nation-wrecking Neo-Conservatives and their politician puppets from the ruling class of the American Empire.

Z-man , December 12, 2017 at 8:22 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon

Yet if you point out the obvious, that our foreign policy has been hijacked by an element whose first loyalty is to Israel, you will catch all sorts of hell, be banned from making comments on blogs and news sites, or like the brave Mr. Giraldi, lose your job. And be blasted with the worn-out canard of being an anti-Semite. Maybe even a Jew hater, all because you show concern for the nation you love and are loyal to.

If you remember what happened to Rick Sanchez, the former talking head of NBC and CNN when he was pushed into calling out the Jew in a 'gotcha' interview as he sarcastically replied that yeah Jews are underrepresented in the media. He was gone in '60 seconds'!

Whatever happened to Rick Sanchez??? LOL!!!

Veranon , December 12, 2017 at 8:25 pm GMT
Re: At the time, I agreed, but I did note that the neoconservatives have proven to be remarkable resilient, particularly as many of them have remained true to their Democratic Party values on nearly everything but foreign policy, where they are irredeemable hawks, hostile to Russia and Iran and always reliably in the corner of Israel.
-- -- -- -- -
Of course. The Jewish Neocons and their "useful idiots," whether "bought and paid for" or voluntarily enlisted, are necessarily "liberal" in relation to domestic policy because the idea is to destroy all Western and Christian norms and values by means of cultural marxist "critical theory." And it's working very well. The mass media and the educational system have hopelessly corrupted American and European minds with this profoundly subversive "intellectual" garbage.

And when it comes to foreign policy, of course the Neocons are globalists, like the international bankers whom they serve. Israel first, because they are not there to defend their country's interests, but to defend Israel's, in accordance with the permanent goal of Eretz Ysrael and world hegemony in accordance with the ultimate goal of Jewish supremacy via the money power, and in preparation for their "messiah". It's all disguised as for the sake of American greatness and "our values."

The Neocons are nothing less than a parasitical foreign body which has us thinking in accordance with its interests; in fact they are mortal enemies, nothing less. The Western goyim–as well as innocent Jews here and in Israel itself–will be cheerfully sacrificed by the Zionists, who serve darker forces and interests than those of their people. Western humanity has been rendered helpless because they are intellectually helpless and because in consequence they have been dispossessed of deep faith and corresponding real virtues. This was noted years ago by Solzhenitsyn, among others. Ideas rule human beings for good or ill, since we are thinking beings. But when the ideas that determine us are profoundly wrong and when intellectual chaos and unbridled individualism reign, nothing real can be accomplished. However, in due time vincit omnia veritas –the Real has the last word. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

Priss Factor , Website December 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm GMT
North Korea's survival strategy is "If you invade us, we will blow up South Korea and maybe even Tokyo." Ruled by a vile regime but with rational concern for survival, even if it has no moral right to survive. But then, what is the other option? South Korea is a puppet state of US globalist empire. If NK was ruled by wiser people, its case would be made more intelligently. It would tell the world community that it needs for defense given US record in the Middle East and North Africa. But it's ruled by some egotistical brat-boy whose idea of culture is Dennis Rodman and Rap trash-talking.

As different as NK and Jewish Power, they have one thing in common: WGYG or We Go, You Go. The idea is that if they are destroyed, they will take others with them.

Jewish Power pulled this off in 2008. When Lehman Brothers wasn't bailed out by the government, Wall Street pushed a 'too big to fail' scheme and threatened Total Collapse of the Economy UNLESS it was showered with super-generous bailouts that would eventually come to enrich the banks during a severe recession for most Americans. Bush couldn't do anything about it except go along. Obama bailed out Wall Street. And McCain would have done the same had he won. Jewish Wall Street power held a gun to the head of the entire US economy and said 'Give us money, OR we will take ALL OF YOU down with us.'

The system is rigged so that a major collapse of Jewish Power will trigger total collapse of the entire system. It's been wired that way. The whole tower will collapse. So, if anyone tries to cut the wire of Jewish Power, kaboom, the whole thing blows up, and everyone dies. Gentiles must carry Jewish Power like a crate of nitroglycerin. One false step and Kaboom.

JackOH , December 12, 2017 at 10:04 pm GMT
Phil, thanks.

"Tom [Cotton] is completely owned by the Israeli lobby."

" . . . [Nikki] Haley is stupid. And ambitious. And is also owned by the Israeli lobby . . .".

My knowledge of foreign policy is headline-quality only. My knowledge of some domestic policy is pretty good. I've been on the public stump in my area. The reality of American policy, as I've seen it, is that it's bought and paid for. There is no "public interest", no "national interest". I'm not even sure there's an America, in the sense of a people joined by some common values. Sometimes I think of America as an agglomeration of rackets. You're goddamned right I don't like thinking this way.

There are only insider players who bankroll and blackmail their way into getting the decisions they want. I wish I could say something high-minded, but I can't.

anon , Disclaimer December 12, 2017 at 10:52 pm GMT
@Priss Factor

India and Pakistan have nukes. How would they respond to an Israeli Sampson Option?

How about China? An Izzie attack on European capitals could destroy a lot of Chinese investment. China has sufficient nuclear capability to detach Israel from the Mediterranean littoral and create an irradiated submerged island.

Does van Crevald think Putin will sit on his hands and wait a thousand years for the dust to clear?

van Crevald says Israel can hit Rome. That's zionism's wet dream, to completely obliterate Rome.
How many Jews live a parasitical life in Rome and other European capitals?

Can Izzies reach USA? Didn't think so. What do they think would happen to hundreds of Jewish institutions, and Jewish people, in USA if Israel destroys Europe -- again?

FB , December 13, 2017 at 12:03 am GMT
People need to let go of the idea that Dump is anything but a conman and a weak one at that

The office of President holds a lot of authority that Dump has not been able [or willing] to wield that speaks to his own weakness as a leader

It's time to admit that he is not the messiah that many Lunchpail Joes wanted to believe

As to the specifics of this article yes I agree with Mr. Giraldi that the neocons are back in the driver's seat if they ever left in the first place

Exhibit One is Jared Kushner the Clown Prince of the Shite House. This is the guy who has inflicted most of the damage on Dump starting with his advice to dump Flynn. Dump was under zero pressure to do any such thing the neocon Pence is the one who demanded Flynn's head. Dump could have pushed back there was nothing wrong with Flynn the incoming National Security Adviser speaking to the Russians or anyone else and what he spoke of with the Russians was in lobbying THEM in the US interest not the other way round

Dump's second big mistake was firing Comey again on the advice of Kushner. Which got the Mueller ball rolling. Some have rightly drawn the parallels of Kushner whispering in Dump's ear to the same role of Kissinger vis a vis Nixon's downfall

Then Kushner appeared to connive with his buddy KSA Clown Prince MBS to engineer the Hariri fiasco [which Tillerson managed to "deftly undo..."]

' Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was accompanying the president during his Asia tour at the time of the Saudi-engineered initiative, was "completely blindsided" by the move, as several senior Middle East diplomats confirmed to TAC.

While Tillerson would later be accused of being "totally disengaged" from the crisis, several former and current U.S. diplomats have told us that just precisely the opposite was the case '

' The unlikely hero in all of this might well be Rex Tillerson, who quietly engineered a U.S. policy at odds with the views of Donald Trump -- and his son-in-law. The exact details of how Tillerson pulled this off remain unknown ("I think Tillerson just told Trump what he was going to do," the senior diplomat with whom we spoke speculates, "and then just did it.") '

So that's the backstory right there about why the neocons are agitating for Tillerson's ouster. I have to strongly disagree with Mr. Giraldi's characterization of Tillerson as

' a somewhat bumbling businessman adept at dealing in energy futures contracts who has been struggling with reducing State's enormously bloated payroll '

That is a useless statement on many levels Tillerson deftly managed what is arguably America's most important corporation in what is surely the most strategic and geopolitical global industry energy

The global oil trade is 14 trillion dollars even at today's prices and the petrodollar is the underpinning of the entire US system a free ride for printing free money because every nation has to buy US dollars to buy or sell oil. In 1971

' I was informed at a White House meeting that U.S. diplomats had let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries know that they could charge as much as they wanted for their oil, but that the United States would treat it as an act of war not to keep their oil proceeds in U.S. dollar assets '

Writes economist Michael Hudson" from personal recollection of the many meetings he had at the WH

This whole saga surrounding Dump's readiness to tie the can to Tillerson is proof positive if any more were needed that conman Dump has been a fake from the beginning

If the neocons are ascendant and back in the driver's seat it is no one's fault but the Dumpster

He has cast his lot with Kushner who appears to be the neocons' Trojan Horse

There can be no more sympathy or understanding anymore for Dump

If we recall his campaign rhetoric of 'draining the swamp' and rebuilding America's failing infrastructure improving relations with Russia all good things

we must also recall that he has been vehemently anti-Iran from the get-go

One has to ask why ?

Iran is a completely Israeli-owned issue Iran has nothing to do with the interests of the US other than to benefit leading US industries like aircraft manufacturing which were immediately rewarded with a $100 billion order of Boeing aircraft in the aftermath of the Obama nuclear deal

That vehement anti-Iran attitude even on the campaign trail should have been a red flag to everyone

Even Hellary would have been better in that regard and as for the Russia 'issue' what could Hellary or the US to do Russia anyway ?

Militarily nothing even in Syria the US military would certainly not go for an open war against Russia neither would the regional players hosting US bases which would need to be on board for such an adventure

same goes for the breakaway region of eastern Ukraine

Germany and France are anyway moving closer to Russia, which has de facto established itself as an energy distribution superpower for the continent and for China

The big picture is that the petrodollar and the free ride for US prosperity is living on borrowed time China is the world's biggest energy importer and is not going to support the petrodollar forever

Already an alternative financial architecture is being built and the BRICS countries now outpace the combined GDP of the G7 so the writing is on the wall

Dump has shown himself to be a conman first and an incredibly weak president he deserves no sympathy or support

The neocons are of course insane they are picking fights with Iran, Venezuela and others who are going to be the first to ditch the petrodollar and accelerate the tipping point to the new global financial order that is going to impoverish the US overnight

The same neocons are also the ones who are undermining US demographics because their Ponzi scheme economy is based on perpetual growth which, in turn, requires perpetual population growth which means more immigration. Also the immigration keeps the wages low which is just extra gravy for the Plutocracy

The US will be a white-minority country by 2050 much of the Southwest already is

None of that is going to change when the party is over and the Titanic sinks the handful of necons and Plutocrats will have their lifeboats ready

FB , December 13, 2017 at 12:14 am GMT
@FB

Sorry my link to the Kushner role in the Hariri circus and Tillerson's save did not come through here it is: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/kushner-kept-tillerson-in-the-dark-on-saudi-lebanon-move/

[Dec 12, 2017] Bad Moon Rising, by Philip Giraldi - The Unz Review

Highly recommended!
neocons == Hillary Clinton Democrats
Notable quotes:
"... At the time, I agreed, but I did note that the neoconservatives have proven to be remarkable resilient, particularly as many of them have remained true to their Democratic Party values on nearly everything but foreign policy, where they are irredeemable hawks, hostile to Russia and Iran and always reliably in the corner of Israel. In short, many neocons can be unmasked as Hillary Clinton Democrats if one looks at them issue by issue, which certainly helps to explain some subsequent developments. ..."
"... Multiple sources are predicting Tillerson out and Mike Pompeo in at State Department with Pompeo replaced at CIA by Senator Tom Cotton. The White House is denying the story, calling it "fake news," but it is clear that Trump is uncomfortable with the current arrangement and Tillerson will be gone sooner or later. ..."
"... Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State replaces a somewhat bumbling businessman adept at dealing in energy futures contracts who has been struggling with reducing State's enormously bloated payroll. Pompeo, a real hard-nosed political hardliner who tends to see complex issues in fairly simplistic ways, has become a presidential confidant, briefing Trump frequently on the state of the world, most recently pushing for the horrific decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. ..."
"... Pompeo would like to turn the United States into an unleashed wrecking ball directed against the enemies of the American Way and he appears intent on starting that process in the Middle East. ..."
"... And Pompeo will be replaced as CIA Director by Tom Cotton. The less said about Tom the better, but I will attempt to summarize in 8 words here: Tom is completely owned by the Israel Lobby. ..."
"... I do not wish to imply that Cotton and Pompeo are somehow stupid, but they do tend to see the world in a very monochromatic fashion, just like their boss. Pompeo was first in his class at West Point and Cotton graduated from Harvard as an undergrad and also from the Law School ..."
"... Haley really is stupid. And ambitious. And is also owned by the Israel Lobby, which appears to be a thread that runs its way through all the Trump foreign policy appointees. ..."
"... Neocon watchers will undoubtedly note that big names like Brill Kristol, the Kagans, Michael Chertoff and Max Boot will not be showing up in government. True, but that is because they will instead be working through their foundations, of which FDD is only one. The Alliance for Securing Democracy, which has recently sprung up in lobby-land, markets itself as "bipartisan, and transatlantic " but it actually is pure neocon. ..."
"... The replacement of former political appointees in the government has been so slow in Trump's first year that it has actually benefited the neocons in their recovery. Many survivors of the two previous administrations are still in place, nearly all of whom reflect the hawkishness prevalent during 2001-2016. They will be supplemented by second and third tier neoconservatives, who will fill in the policy gaps, virtually guaranteeing that the neocon crafted foreign policy that has been around for the past sixteen years will be here for some time longer. ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | www.unz.com

Back during the admittedly brief shock and awe period that immediately followed on the Trump electoral victory, it appeared that there might be an actual realignment of American foreign policy. The neoconservatives virtually unanimously had opposed Donald Trump in the most vile terms, both in the GOP primaries and during the actual electoral campaign, making clear that Hillary was their choice for a future full of unrelenting, ideologically driven warfare to convert the world to democracy. By that metric, one would assume that Trump would prefer to be roasted on a spit rather than have neocons on his national security team, and many in the punditry did agree with that analysis and went on to share that view.

At the time, I agreed, but I did note that the neoconservatives have proven to be remarkable resilient, particularly as many of them have remained true to their Democratic Party values on nearly everything but foreign policy, where they are irredeemable hawks, hostile to Russia and Iran and always reliably in the corner of Israel. In short, many neocons can be unmasked as Hillary Clinton Democrats if one looks at them issue by issue, which certainly helps to explain some subsequent developments.

Some Washington observers who actually care about such things have been writing how there has been a kumbaya process going on between self-described conservative neocons and liberal interventionists. Katrina vanden Heuvel describes the progressive hawks as "the essential-country crowd," borrowing a phrase from ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

There are inevitably minor disconnects between the two groups based on their motives for aggression – Democrats claim to do it to bring democracy and freedom while Republicans say they do it to enhance national security. Both are lying in any event as it all comes down to great power rivalries, with big powerful nations pushing smaller weaker nations around because they are able to get away with it and feel more comfortable if everyone lines up behind them.

So everyone in Washington and New York's financial services industry agrees that a more assertive America is a better America even when the reality is that no one winds up with either democracy or security. Which brings us to the latest shuffle in the Donald Trump cabinet and what it is likely to mean down the road. Multiple sources are predicting Tillerson out and Mike Pompeo in at State Department with Pompeo replaced at CIA by Senator Tom Cotton. The White House is denying the story, calling it "fake news," but it is clear that Trump is uncomfortable with the current arrangement and Tillerson will be gone sooner or later.

Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State replaces a somewhat bumbling businessman adept at dealing in energy futures contracts who has been struggling with reducing State's enormously bloated payroll. Pompeo, a real hard-nosed political hardliner who tends to see complex issues in fairly simplistic ways, has become a presidential confidant, briefing Trump frequently on the state of the world, most recently pushing for the horrific decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a recent speech , Pompeo criticized the CIA, observing that it had both forgotten how to spy, which is almost certainly true, while adding that it will have to become "more vicious" to accomplish its mission of making the United States "safe." Pompeo would like to turn the United States into an unleashed wrecking ball directed against the enemies of the American Way and he appears intent on starting that process in the Middle East.

And Pompeo will be replaced as CIA Director by Tom Cotton. The less said about Tom the better, but I will attempt to summarize in 8 words here: Tom is completely owned by the Israel Lobby. In his 2014 election as junior Senator from Arkansas, he received $1 million from the Emergency Committee for Israel headed by Bill Kristol as well as additional assistance from the Republican Jewish Coalition. In March 2015, Tom paid those supporters back when 47 Republican United States Senators signed a letter allegedly written by him that was then sent to the Iranian government directly, warning that any agreement over that country's nuclear program reached with President Barack Obama would likely be overturned by the Congress. The letter, which undercuts the authority of the American president before an international audience, was signed by the entire Republican Party leadership in the Senate and also included then presidential contenders Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

I do not wish to imply that Cotton and Pompeo are somehow stupid, but they do tend to see the world in a very monochromatic fashion, just like their boss. Pompeo was first in his class at West Point and Cotton graduated from Harvard as an undergrad and also from the Law School . Trump claims to be the smartest person in the room no matter where he is standing. But for all the academic credentials and other posturing, it is hard to imagine how the new choices could possibly be worse from a common-sense perspective unless one includes Nikki Haley, who is, fortunately, otherwise engaged. Haley really is stupid. And ambitious. And is also owned by the Israel Lobby, which appears to be a thread that runs its way through all the Trump foreign policy appointees.

What is wrong about the whole Trump team is that they all seem to believe that you can go around the world kicking the shit out of everyone without there being any consequences. And they all hate Iran for reasons that continue to be obscure but may be connected to their relationships with – you guessed it – the neoconservatives and the Israeli Lobby!

Yes, the neocons are back. I noted back in October that when Pompeo and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster wanted a friendly place to drop by to give a policy speech that would be warmly received they went to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), whose marketing masthead slogan is "Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Freedom." FDD is currently neocon central, used like the American Enterprise Institute was when Dick Cheney was Vice President and needed a friendly audience. It is headed by Canadian Mark Dubowitz, whose passion in life is making sure that sanctions on Iran are enforced to the letter. Unfortunately, it is not easy to deport a Canadian.

Neocon watchers will undoubtedly note that big names like Brill Kristol, the Kagans, Michael Chertoff and Max Boot will not be showing up in government. True, but that is because they will instead be working through their foundations, of which FDD is only one. The Alliance for Securing Democracy, which has recently sprung up in lobby-land, markets itself as "bipartisan, and transatlantic " but it actually is pure neocon. Its goal is to "expose Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States of America and Europe." It includes the usual neocon names but also has the loyal Democratic opposition, including ex-CIA Acting Director Mike Morell and Jake Sullivan, both of whom were top level advisers to Hillary Clinton.

The replacement of former political appointees in the government has been so slow in Trump's first year that it has actually benefited the neocons in their recovery. Many survivors of the two previous administrations are still in place, nearly all of whom reflect the hawkishness prevalent during 2001-2016. They will be supplemented by second and third tier neoconservatives, who will fill in the policy gaps, virtually guaranteeing that the neocon crafted foreign policy that has been around for the past sixteen years will be here for some time longer.

What all this means is that, now that the Palestinians have been disposed of and the Israelis rewarded, we can expect armed conflict with Iran within the next year, followed by increased hostility towards Moscow as Russiagate continues to play out. I do not even want to guess at what kind of insanity the gang in the West Wing Situation Room will come up with for dealing with North Korea. The good news is that the builders of home bomb shelters, a booming enterprise when I was growing up back in the 1950s and 1960s now used to cultivate mushrooms, will be back in business.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .

[Dec 11, 2017] I am not saying Trump is a closet atheist, but he is no evangelical

The US official religion is neoliberalism not Christianity. Christianity is in sharp decline.
Notable quotes:
"... Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, "I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't." ..."
"... Compare these remarks to the more earnest faith of President George W. Bush, who claimed divine consultation before invading Iraq, or the incessant God-talk of candidates like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson ..."
"... Since then, it's hard to see what benefit America's strong leaning toward theocracy has had. Comparing 17 first-world prosperous democracies on a number of societal health measures, social scientist Gregory S. Paul found that the most religious country of them all-the United States -- had by far the worse measures on a number of criteria, including the highest rates of homicides, suicides, incarceration, STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, divorce, alcohol consumption, corruption, poverty and income inequality. Correlation is not causation, of course. ..."
"... "Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, " I agree 1,000% – which just validates my view that Trump is all bullsh*ter. Elmer Gantry comes to mind ..."
"... And another point – it strikes me that those saying Trump is a liar misses the point – Trump is more like a parrot in that Trump will say (parrot) whatever he believes is necessary to get the cracker (though I didn't intend "cracker" to mean racists, but merely a reward, I note one can interpret that as one wishes .). ..."
"... PAUL JAY: Under the protection of God, America, we'll use the Mother of All Bombs and fight without restraint. That's the message Donald wanted to send, and perhaps that's the message this bomb was meant to deliver in Afghanistan. ..."
"... Pointing out hypocrisy misses the point because it's never been about religious doctrine as much as trying to belong to something and have purpose. Trump can miss every question about angels dancing on heads of pins, and it won't matter. Trump in his own way embraced the evangelicals. In effect, Hillary said she wanted the non-evangelical republicans who are so smart and moderate. ..."
"... In "The Merchant of Venice" (Act 1, Scene 3), Antonio says, "even the devil can cite scripture for his own use." This is all they need because it's not about scripture and never has been. ..."
"... You and Marx: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people" ..."
Apr 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 7:28 am

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/donald-trump-religion-215033

This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll. As the festivities spill over the grounds of 1600 Penn., I wonder if anyone will stop to note the obvious irony: That President Donald J. Trump is very likely the least religious president to occupy the White House since Thomas Jefferson.

I'm not saying Trump is a closeted atheist, but he's no evangelical. As a self-proclaimed Protestant, or Presbyterian, or something he describes as "a wonderful religion," Trump nominally attends the nondenominational Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.

Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, "I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't."

Compare these remarks to the more earnest faith of President George W. Bush, who claimed divine consultation before invading Iraq, or the incessant God-talk of candidates like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson.

Since then, it's hard to see what benefit America's strong leaning toward theocracy has had. Comparing 17 first-world prosperous democracies on a number of societal health measures, social scientist Gregory S. Paul found that the most religious country of them all-the United States -- had by far the worse measures on a number of criteria, including the highest rates of homicides, suicides, incarceration, STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, divorce, alcohol consumption, corruption, poverty and income inequality. Correlation is not causation, of course. But if religion is suppose to be such a powerful force for societal health, then why is America-the most religious nation in the Western world-also the unhealthiest on all of these important social measures?***
===================================================

I almost posted this yesterday, but I thought that would be churlish. I read Trump's "religious" remarks and find them extremely off putting. Than I read the religious remarks of other repubs, and I find them EVEN MORE off putting .

***Teen pregnancy – so much for the solemn pledges of abstinence made by teenagers .*** ***
*** *** What is it with the US? How can anybody in hypersexualized America really believe American teens are gonna keep it in their pants?

fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 8:41 am

Linda
April 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

"Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, " I agree 1,000% – which just validates my view that Trump is all bullsh*ter. Elmer Gantry comes to mind.

And another point – it strikes me that those saying Trump is a liar misses the point – Trump is more like a parrot in that Trump will say (parrot) whatever he believes is necessary to get the cracker (though I didn't intend "cracker" to mean racists, but merely a reward, I note one can interpret that as one wishes .).

RWood , April 17, 2017 at 9:44 am

Playing to the sanctity of slaughter:

PAUL JAY: Under the protection of God, America, we'll use the Mother of All Bombs and fight without restraint. That's the message Donald wanted to send, and perhaps that's the message this bomb was meant to deliver in Afghanistan.

https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/deadly-propaganda-events/

NotTimothyGeithner , April 17, 2017 at 10:55 am

From my experience with Catholic school and church, I've long since determined "god talk" isn't as relevant as "us v. them" talk. Hillary's "deplorable" statement was just an affirmation of a view many "Christians" believe is held about them.

Pointing out hypocrisy misses the point because it's never been about religious doctrine as much as trying to belong to something and have purpose. Trump can miss every question about angels dancing on heads of pins, and it won't matter. Trump in his own way embraced the evangelicals. In effect, Hillary said she wanted the non-evangelical republicans who are so smart and moderate.

In "The Merchant of Venice" (Act 1, Scene 3), Antonio says, "even the devil can cite scripture for his own use." This is all they need because it's not about scripture and never has been.

grayslady , April 17, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Why were enslaved Africans in the American South so religious?

Actually, they weren't all that religious. The slave owners allowed them time off on Sunday for religious services. The slaves were savvy enough to make sure that "services" were an all-day affair. Even meals and socialization were woven into the Sunday religious celebrations. That practice is the genesis of many AME and AME-Z all day (or most of the day) Sunday services today. (I learned that bit of information in my Black Religion college course many years ago.)

witters , April 17, 2017 at 7:03 pm

You and Marx: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people"

[Dec 09, 2017] Tillerson: Status of J lem not final

Dec 09, 2017 | www.ynetnews.com

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday the "status of Jerusalem was not final" and that it will be some time before the US is able to move its embassy to from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, pursuant to President Donald Trump's speech earlier this week recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announcing the planned embassy move.Any final decision on the status of Jerusalem will depend on negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, Tillerson said, appearing to add nuance to President Trump's decision.

"With respect to the rest of Jerusalem the president ... did not indicate any final status for Jerusalem," Tillerson said, speaking at a news conference in Paris alongside French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

... ... ...

Earlier Friday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by the US ran counter to common sense while Russia warned that US recognition may lead to escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and called on all parties to show restraint.

Turkish sources said Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey next week to discuss recent developments surrounding Jerusalem and the situation in Syria with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Kremlin verified the visit and said the leaders will discuss "important international problems."

Erdoğan and Putin spoke on the phone Thursday and concurred the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital will negatively impact the peace process and the region's stability.

[Dec 09, 2017] Could someone help me understand what is so "populist" about Trump presidency?

Dec 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Just Another Bystander December 8, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Could someone help me understand what is so "populist" about this presidency?

After the Senate passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich (which Trump himself stands to benefit from handsomely), Trump went off to a $100,000-a-plate fundraiser at hedge fund manager Steve Schwartzman's Manhattan apartment. Is that populist?

Trump appointed a telecom lobbyist to head the FCC and he has proceeded to give AT&T, Verizon and Comcast their wish list. Is that populist?

He's nominated a pharmaceutical lobbyist to head Health & Human Services. Is that populist?

Nothing populist has come out of this presidency. He has done everything any other Republican would do, only with a big helping of racism and bigotry piled on top.

Edward Dougherty , says: December 8, 2017 at 9:27 pm
Noah172,

If he's doing what he said he would do on trade, then why is NAFTA still around? Also, remember the 35% border adjustment tax he said he was going to slap on foreign goods? He dropped that the same week that he tweeted about transgender people in the military (probably to hide that he wasn't going though with the former). About the only thing you can claim is that he dropped us out of the TPP, which was always going to be a long shot anyway because of the number of nations involved.

[Dec 08, 2017] Prediction that Tillerson would be gone by end of year

Notable quotes:
"... Fred: It's assuming that the "professional diplomats" who gave us the Iraq War and the Maiden Demonstrations in Ukraine call Trump irresponsible! I think Trump is doing a Gulfies. Besides the Mother of Arms Deals with the Kingdom of Horrors, he's just got Bahrain to buy another batch of F-16's they don't need. ..."
"... Trump said he was going to make the Gulfies pay for our protection. And that is what he is doing. Now if he could only make the Zionists pay..... ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Richardstevenhack ,

On this side of the water, my prediction that Tillerson would be gone by end of year appears to be coming true.

Reports say Trump is going to throw Tillerson under the bus - like all his other supporters - and replace him with CIA's Mike Pompeo. Senator Cotter - a torture and drone advocate - will replace Pompeo at CIA

So now we'll have a CIA head in charge at State. I'm totally sure that will improve US diplomacy with North Korea, Russia, China, etc...

Those people who kept saying Trump had some master plan to save us were right - it entails throwing out anyone NOT advocating war with most of the nuclear powers on the planet.

Kooshy , 30 November 2017 at 05:48 PM
Zizi controlled US media, like the NYT and CNN really want Rex Tillerson out, they are paving the way for him to leave, and have decided who they like to replace him, both candidates for the state and CIA are supper neocon protectors of Zionism in US, and totally anti Iran.
Fred -> Richardstevenhack ... , 30 November 2017 at 06:23 PM
Richardstevenhack,

This is the second, or perhaps third, report of Tillerson getting "thrown under the bus". I would say the Borg are having their policy narrative systematicly destroyed by Trump and they are desperate to at least create, or at least maintain, an image of turmoil in the executive branch.

JamesT -> Richardstevenhack ... , 30 November 2017 at 06:39 PM
Richardstevenhack

Do you think that POTUS ordered CENTCOM to cut off arms supplies to the Kurds in order to start a war with nuclear powers? It seems to me this action does the complete opposite of that - it dramatically reduces the chance of war with Russia.

DemiJohn said in reply to Fred ... , 30 November 2017 at 08:57 PM
Agreed. And Reuters is also In the band. It would be sad to see one of the last brains in the cabinet disappear.
Yeah, Right , 01 December 2017 at 02:11 AM
"Those people who kept saying Trump had some master plan to save us were right" Maybe not a master plan, but Trump may well be marching to a tune that you can not hear. Take his refusal to certify the JCPOA as stipulated by Congress.

Q: Did he follow that up by tearing up the JCPOA?
A: No, he didn't. He threw the problem back to Congress, who look like a deer caught in some headlights.

He is also expected (either this time or the next) to refuse to sign the waiver regarding moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Q: Will he then follow up by actually, you know, moving that embassy?
A: My guess is he won't, and he'll dare Congress to make something of it.

I really think that there is a pattern to his behaviour, and it isn't the behaviour of a slave to "the establishment". It looks more like he is throwing that establishment off-balance by saying, in essence, that he isn't interested in playing their silly games, and by doing so he exposes those games as.... silly.

Certifying the JCPOA is a burden, and he simply shrugs it off. Waiving the Embassy move is a burden, and he'll just shrug it off. Every time he does so he exposes Congressional politicking that are an irrelevance - an instance of Congress sticking its nose where it doesn't belong - and that's no bad thing. Just my take, but I really don't think Trump is who you think he is.

Matthew said in reply to Fred ... , 01 December 2017 at 09:11 AM
Fred: It's assuming that the "professional diplomats" who gave us the Iraq War and the Maiden Demonstrations in Ukraine call Trump irresponsible! I think Trump is doing a Gulfies. Besides the Mother of Arms Deals with the Kingdom of Horrors, he's just got Bahrain to buy another batch of F-16's they don't need.

Trump said he was going to make the Gulfies pay for our protection. And that is what he is doing. Now if he could only make the Zionists pay.....


[Dec 08, 2017] Tillerson: Biggest Snag in U.S.-Russia Relations is Ukraine, Not Election Meddling by Robbie Gramer

Not surprising views fro neocon swamp which the foreigh Policy is... Interesting comments from inosmi.ru ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... "There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election. ..."
"... "According to Tillerson, the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the Kremlin's participation in the war in Ukraine." I would paraphrase this phrase like this: "The biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the US participation in the war in Ukraine. ..."
"... "What's stopping us is Ukraine," Tillerson said at a meeting of the OSCE in Vienna, I do not see the problem! Read the Russian classics: "I gave birth to you, I will kill you!" Eliminate what you gave birth on the Maidan and - no problem ..."
"... 18:26 08.12.2017 | 2 ..."
"... "To improve relations with Russia" is a crime? And the fact of your established a relationship with Ukrainian Nazis is not a crime? Who asked you to invade the Kiev Maidan by the state Department and senators, the Director of the CIA, the intelligence services', the NATO trainers, to offer and sell weapons? Who staged a sniper shooting, blackmail the legitimate government, and provocation with Boeing? What do You care about earopeyskie selection of Bandera, to civil war? Leave yourself from the Ukraine, the invaders! It is not included in your Alliance. Let the EU coddling them (although I'm sure that you imposed on Ukraine, sanctions, LGBT, refugees, poor Europeans). Evident to all that the United States does not want dialogue, or understand it as the imposition of their interests. What do you care, it is the desire of the Ukrainians, how many percent can a referendum on the area will hold? Afraid? Perhaps the Mexicans or the Texans want to join the CSTO, BRICS, or even in Russia, let us ask. Establish if you want your interests to be taken into account. Syria is only the first step, then the avalanche of anti-Americanism will only increase as inter-civil conflicts. Degrades dove, you do not want on good, will be different. Fuck all your wishlist does not force us to hide from the world your dirty secrets. We have not started to intervene, but if we start... ..."
Dec 07, 2017 | foreignpolicy.com

U.S. 'badly' wants to mend fences with Moscow, Secretary of State Tillerson says.

Tillerson has said for months that normalizing relations with Russia has been one of Trump's top foreign-policy priorities. He has broached the topic of Russian election interference, but not with the rhetoric he leveled against Moscow on Ukraine.

"There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election.

Relations between Moscow and most of the West have been severely strained since early 2014, when Russia threw military support behind separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, sparking fighting that has killed some 10,000 and displaced some 1.7 million so far. In March 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, a part of Ukraine -- the first such cross-border land grab in Europe since the bloody wars in the Balkans in the 1990s.

"We can have differences in other arenas, in Syria, we can have differences in other areas but when one country invades another, that is a difference that is hard to look past or reconcile," Tillerson said. "It stands as the single most difficult obstacle to us re-normalizing a relationship with Russia, which we badly would like to do," he added.

There is another potential obstacle to normalized ties: the drumbeat of revelations of the Kremlin's meddling in last year's U.S. election. That includes organizing the release of hacked material harmful to the campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton and the creation of fake social media accounts to spread false news stories that sowed division in the United States.

Most recently, Trump's disgraced former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn pleaded guilty last week to lying to FBI agents about his efforts to carry out freelance diplomacy with Russia as a private citizen during the presidential transition.

Tillerson has said for months that normalizing relations with Russia has been one of Trump's top foreign-policy priorities. He has broached the topic of Russian election interference, but not with the rhetoric he leveled against Moscow on Ukraine.

"There is clear evidence of Russia meddling in democratic elections in the U.S. and Europe," Tillerson said said at a speech in Washington on Nov. 28. "We, together with our friends in Europe, recognize the active threat of a recently resurgent Russia." Trump, for his part, has repeatedly contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies to belittle their conclusions that Russia interfered in the election.

Comments from inosmi.ru (Goggle translation)

zaharov.ny | 17:44 08.12.2017 |

In this nonsense only star-striped donkeys can beleive.

kveinfo 17:52 08/12/2017 |

"According to Tillerson, the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the Kremlin's participation in the war in Ukraine." I would paraphrase this phrase like this: "The biggest obstacle to achieving this goal is the US participation in the war in Ukraine.

Retro Grad 17:54 08.12.2017 |

"What's stopping us is Ukraine," Tillerson said at a meeting of the OSCE in Vienna, I do not see the problem! Read the Russian classics: "I gave birth to you, I will kill you!" Eliminate what you gave birth on the Maidan and - no problem

As I live 18:26 08.12.2017 | 2

"To improve relations with Russia" is a crime? And the fact of your established a relationship with Ukrainian Nazis is not a crime? Who asked you to invade the Kiev Maidan by the state Department and senators, the Director of the CIA, the intelligence services', the NATO trainers, to offer and sell weapons? Who staged a sniper shooting, blackmail the legitimate government, and provocation with Boeing? What do You care about earopeyskie selection of Bandera, to civil war? Leave yourself from the Ukraine, the invaders! It is not included in your Alliance. Let the EU coddling them (although I'm sure that you imposed on Ukraine, sanctions, LGBT, refugees, poor Europeans). Evident to all that the United States does not want dialogue, or understand it as the imposition of their interests. What do you care, it is the desire of the Ukrainians, how many percent can a referendum on the area will hold? Afraid? Perhaps the Mexicans or the Texans want to join the CSTO, BRICS, or even in Russia, let us ask. Establish if you want your interests to be taken into account. Syria is only the first step, then the avalanche of anti-Americanism will only increase as inter-civil conflicts. Degrades dove, you do not want on good, will be different. Fuck all your wishlist does not force us to hide from the world your dirty secrets. We have not started to intervene, but if we start...

[Dec 03, 2017] It's pretty easy to see Trump as Nero a wealthy, crass narcissist who really wanted to be an actor

Narcissist or not, early Trump interviews and views ( such as available on YouTube ) does suggest that he has certain political talent and sound judgment about certain events like Iraq war, 9/11 and dangers the US faces with foreign policy dominated by neocons. It's very strange how his presidency turned out.
Notable quotes:
"... But more relevant to the discussion at hand would be the threat of Carthage while the Republic still existed. There were Senators who recognized that peace in the Mediterranean region was better served by having a competing power to balance the Roman presence. They argued passionately and rationally against wiping out Carthage, but were shouted down by the greedy hawks and others who couldn't stand having their supremacy challenged. ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Sollipsist , Next New Comment

December 3, 2017 at 8:19 pm GMT
@nsa

It's pretty easy to see Trump as Nero – a wealthy, crass narcissist who really wanted to be an actor. There's also the theory that Nero was specifically chosen over Brittanicus in order to discredit the throne and break the Julio-Claudian dynasty, a desperate last hope for the Republicans who had been losing ground steadily since Caesar.

But more relevant to the discussion at hand would be the threat of Carthage while the Republic still existed. There were Senators who recognized that peace in the Mediterranean region was better served by having a competing power to balance the Roman presence. They argued passionately and rationally against wiping out Carthage, but were shouted down by the greedy hawks and others who couldn't stand having their supremacy challenged.

[Nov 29, 2017] Rajan Menon How Trump Will Betray His Base, by Tom Engelhardt - The Unz Review

Nov 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

[Nov 28, 2017] Trump Wants Peace With Erdogan - The Military Wants To Sabotage It

Notable quotes:
"... "President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier ," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call. ..."
"... The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey who were out to kill Turkish security personal. Despite that, supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided to it by the U.S. military. Only recently the YPK received some 120 armored Humvees , mine clearance vehicles and other equipment. ..."
"... The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were caught flat-footed by the promise Trump has made. The Washington Post writes : "Initially, the administration's national security team appeared surprised by the Turks' announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council." ..."
"... The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change": ..."
"... When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa. ..."
"... A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham. ..."
"... Sometimes it's hard to see if Trump actually believed what he was saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail -- but either way it doesn't matter much as he seems incapable of navigating the labyrinth of the Deep State even if he had in independent thought in his head. I don't expect US weapons to stop making their way into Kurdish hands as they try to extend their mini-Israel-with-oil foothold in Syria. But it would certainly be a welcome sight if the US left Syria alone for once! ..."
"... Trump personally sent General Flynn to recruit back Erdogan and the Turks right before the election. Flynn wrote his now infamous editorial "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support" and published in "The Hill". http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/305021-our-ally-turkey-is-in-crisis-and-needs-our-support ..."
"... But if you know the role he played for Trump in the campaign and then the post-election role as soon to be NSC advisor, you will see that Trump was sending him to bring Turkey back into the fold after the coup attempt by CIA, Gulen and Turkey's AF and US State Dept failed. ..."
"... Trump wanted to prevent the Turkish Stream. It was a huge rival to his LNG strategy. All these are why Flynn did what he did for Trump. Now Trump has to battle CIA and State, as well as the CENTCOM-Israeli plans for insurgencies in Syria. It's not just the Kurd issue or the other needs of NATO to hold the bases in Turkey. It's the whole southwest containment of Russian gas and Russian naval power, and the reality of sharing the Mediterranean as well as MENA with the Bear. ..."
"... Furthermore, I've always been suspicious of Erdogan's 'turn' toward Russia. Many have suspected that the attempted coup was staged by Erdogan (with CIA help?) so as to enable Erdogan to remain in office. IMO Erdogan joined the 'Assad must go!' effort not just because he benefited from the oil trade but because he leans toward Sunnis (Surely he was aware of the thinking that: the road to Tehran runs through Damascus .) ..."
Nov 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

President Trump is attempting to calm down the U.S. conflict with Turkey . The military junta in the White House has different plans. It now attempts to circumvent the decision the president communicated to his Turkish counterpart. The result will be more Turkish-U.S. acrimony.

Yesterday the Turkish foreign minister surprisingly announced a phone call President Trump had held with President Erdogan of Turkey.

United States President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the phone on Nov. 24 only days after a Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria, with Ankara saying that Washington has pledged not to send weapons to the People's Protection Units (YPG) any more .

"President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier ," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call.

Trump had announced the call:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!
12:04 PM - 24 Nov 2017

During the phone call Trump must have escaped his minders for a moment and promptly tried to make, as announced, peace with Erdogan. The issue of arming the YPG is really difficult for Turkey to swallow. Ending that would probably make up for the recent NATO blunder of presenting the founder of modern Turkey Kemal Atatürk and Erdogan himself as enemies.

The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey who were out to kill Turkish security personal. Despite that, supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided to it by the U.S. military. Only recently the YPK received some 120 armored Humvees , mine clearance vehicles and other equipment.

The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were caught flat-footed by the promise Trump has made. The Washington Post writes : "Initially, the administration's national security team appeared surprised by the Turks' announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council."

The White House finally released what the Associated Press called :

a cryptic statement about the phone call that said Trump had informed the Turk of "pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria."

Neither a read-out of the call nor the statement AP refers to are currently available on the White House website.

The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change":

U.S. officials have said they plan to keep American troops in northern Syria -- and continue working with Kurdish fighters -- to pressure Assad to make concessions during peace talks brokered by the United Nations in Geneva, stalemated for three years now. "We're not going to just walk away right now," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week.

To solidify its position the U.S. needs to further build up and strengthen its YPG mercenary forces.

When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa.

The YPG had been unwilling to fight for the Arab city unless the U.S. would provide it with more money, military supplies and support. All were provided. The U.S. special forces, who control the YPG fighters, directed an immense amount of aerial and artillery ammunition against the city. Any potential enemy position was destroyed by large ammunition and intense bombing before the YPG infantry proceeded. In the end few YPG fighters died in the fight. The Islamic State was let go or eliminated from the city but so was the city of Raqqa . The intensity of the bombardment of the medium size city was at times ten times greater than the bombing in all of Afghanistan. Airwars reported :

Since June, an estimated 20,000 munitions were fired in support of Coalition operations at Raqqa . Images captured by journalists in the final days of the assault show a city in ruins

Several thousand civilians were killed in the indiscriminate onslaught.

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is defeated. It no longer holds any ground. There is no longer any justification to further arm and supply the YPG or the dummy organization SDF.

But the generals want to continue to do so to further their larger plans. They are laying grounds to circumvent their president's promise. The Wall Street Journal seems to be the only outlet to pick up on the subterfuge:

President Donald Trump's administration is preparing to stop sending weapons directly to Kurdish militants battling Islamic State in Syria, dealing a political blow to the U.S.'s most reliable ally in the civil war, officials said Friday.

...

The Turkish announcement came as a surprise in Washington, where military and political officials in Mr. Trump's administration appeared to be caught off-guard. U.S. military officials said they had received no new guidance about supplying weapons to the Kurdish forces. But they said there were no immediate plans to deliver any new weapons to the group. And the U.S. can continue to provide the Kurdish forces with arms via the umbrella Syrian militant coalition

The "military officials" talking to the WSJ have found a way to negate Trump's promise. A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham.

But the U.S. needs the YPG to keep control of north-east Syria. It has to continue to provide whatever the YPG demands, or it will have to give up its larger scheme against Syria.

The Turkish government will soon find out that the U.S. again tried to pull wool over its eyes. Erdogan will be furious when he discovers that the U.S. continues to supply war material to the YPG, even when those deliveries are covered up as supplies for the SDF.

The Turkish government released a photograph showing Erdogan and five of his aids taking Trump's phonecall. Such a release and the announcement of the call by the Turkish foreign minister are very unusual. Erdogan is taking prestige from the call and the public announcement is to make sure that Trump sticks to his promise.

This wide publication will also increase Erdogan's wrath when he finds out that he was again deceived.

Posted by b on November 25, 2017 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

WorldBLee | Nov 25, 2017 12:48:12 PM | 1

Sometimes it's hard to see if Trump actually believed what he was saying about foreign policy on the campaign trail -- but either way it doesn't matter much as he seems incapable of navigating the labyrinth of the Deep State even if he had in independent thought in his head. I don't expect US weapons to stop making their way into Kurdish hands as they try to extend their mini-Israel-with-oil foothold in Syria. But it would certainly be a welcome sight if the US left Syria alone for once!
Red Ryder | Nov 25, 2017 12:49:33 PM | 2
Trump personally sent General Flynn to recruit back Erdogan and the Turks right before the election. Flynn wrote his now infamous editorial "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support" and published in "The Hill". http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/305021-our-ally-turkey-is-in-crisis-and-needs-our-support

Some interpret this act on Election eve as a pecuniary fulfillment by Flynn of a lobbying contract (which existed).

But if you know the role he played for Trump in the campaign and then the post-election role as soon to be NSC advisor, you will see that Trump was sending him to bring Turkey back into the fold after the coup attempt by CIA, Gulen and Turkey's AF and US State Dept failed.

Flynn understood the crucial need for US and NATO to hold Turkey and prevent the Russians from getting Erdogan as an ally for Syria and the Black Sea, the Balkans and Mediterranean as well as Iran, Qatar and Eurasia. Look at what has transpired between Turkey and Russia since. Gas will be flowing through the Turkish Stream and Erdogan conforms to Putin's wishes.

Trump wanted to prevent the Turkish Stream. It was a huge rival to his LNG strategy. All these are why Flynn did what he did for Trump. Now Trump has to battle CIA and State, as well as the CENTCOM-Israeli plans for insurgencies in Syria. It's not just the Kurd issue or the other needs of NATO to hold the bases in Turkey. It's the whole southwest containment of Russian gas and Russian naval power, and the reality of sharing the Mediterranean as well as MENA with the Bear.

Flynn was on it for Trump. And the IC and State want him prosecuted for defying their efforts to replace Erdogan with a stooge like Gulen. It looks like Mueller is pursuing that against the General.

Harry | Nov 25, 2017 1:18:07 PM | 3
Its not a problem for US to drop Kurds if they are no longer needed, BUT for now they are essential for US/Israel/Saudi goals, therefore you can bet 100% Kurds support will continue. Trump's order (he hasn't made it official either) will be easily circumvented.

The real question is, what Resistance will do with the backstabbing Kurds? It wont be easy to make a deal while Kurds maintain absurd demands and as long as they have full Axis of Terror support.

Go Iraq's way like they reclaimed Kirkuk? US might have sitten out that one, I doubt they'll allow this to happen in Syria as well, unless they get something in return.

alabaster | Nov 25, 2017 1:19:42 PM | 4
While America's standard duplicity of saying one thing while doing the opposite has been known for decades, they have been able to play games mainly because of the weakness of the other actors in the region.
The tables have turned now, but America still thinks it holds top dog position.
Wordplay, semantics and legal loopholes wont be tolerated for very long, and when hundreds of US boots return home in body bags a choice will have to be made - escalate, or run away.
Previous behavior dictates run away, but times have changed.
A cornered enemy is the most dangerous, and the USA has painted itself into a very small corner...
Jean | Nov 25, 2017 1:35:55 PM | 5
Gee. While reading B's article what got to my mind is: "Turkey is testing the ground". Whatever Trump said to Erdogan on the phone, it seems to me that the Turks are playing a card to see how the different actors in the US that seems to follow different agendas will react. If Turkey concludes that the US will continue to back YPG, it's split from the US and will be definitive.

Erdogan is shifting away from US/NATO. He even hinted today that he might talk to Assad. That's huge! I wouldn't be surprised if Turkey leaves NATO sooner than later. And if it's the case, it will be a major move of a tectonic amplitude.

Peter AU 1 | Nov 25, 2017 1:36:09 PM | 6
Trump.. "Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!"

General Wesley Clark - seven countries in five years with Iran last on the list = "Get it all done"?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

Jen | Nov 25, 2017 2:36:10 PM | 7
Surely by now Erdogan must realise that whatever the US President says and promises will be circumvented by the State Department, the Pentagon, the 17 US intel agencies (including the CIA and the NSA) and rogue individuals in these and other US government departments and agencies, and in Congress as well (Insane McCain comes to mind)? Not to mention the fact that the Israeli government and the pro-Israeli lobby on Capitol Hill exercise huge influence over sections of the US government.

If Erdogan hasn't figured out the schizoid behaviour of the US from past Turkish experience and the recent experience of Turkey's neighbours (and the Ukraine is one such neighbour), he must not be receiving good information.

Though as Jean says, perhaps Erdogan is giving the US one last chance to demonstrate that it has a coherent and reliable policy towards the Middle East.

Hausmeister | Nov 25, 2017 3:37:06 PM | 8
Jen | Nov 25, 2017 2:36:10 PM | 6

Well, the US policy has been coherent and reliable in the last years. It enhanced local conflicts, supported both sides at the same time but with different intensities. Whoever wins would be "our man". Old stuff since the Byzantine period. It always takes a lot of time to prove the single actions that were done. In most cases we learn about it years later. The delay is so big and unpleasant that quite a number of folks escapes to stupid narratives that explain everything in one step, and therefore nothing. By the way: is the interest of Kurds to remain under the umbrella of the Syrian state but not be governed by Baath type of Arabic nationalism illegitimate?

stonebird | Nov 25, 2017 3:44:32 PM | 9
How can Trump have his cake and eat it?

The Kurds (PKK basically) are only necessary to give a "face" to the force the US is trying to align in E. Syria. The "fighting" against ISIS (if there really was any) is coming to a close. The Chiefs of ISIS have been airlifted to somewhere nearby, and the foreign mercenary forces sent elsewhere by convoy. ALL the valuable personnel have now become "HTS2" with reversible vests. These, plus the US special forces are the basis of a new armed anti-Syrian force. (Note that one general let slip that there are 5'000 US forces in E-Syria - not the 500 spoken of in the MSM).
So Trump may well be correct in saying that the Kurds (specifically) will not get any more arms - because they have other demands and might make peace with the Syrian Government, to keep at least some part of their territorial gains. The ISIS "bretheren" and foreign mercenaries do not want any peaceful solution because it would mean their elimination.. So The CIA and Pentagon will probably continue arms supplies to "HTS2" - but not the Kurds.

(ex-ISIS members; Some are from Saudi Arabia, Qatar - the EU and the US, as well as parts of Russia and China. They are not farming types but will find themselves with some of the best arable land in Syria. Which belonged to Syrian-arabs-christians-Druzes-Yadzis etc. Who wil want their properties back.)

Note that the US forces at Tanf are deliberately not letting humanitarian help reach the nearby refugee camp. Starvation and deprivation will force many of the younger members to become US paid terrorists.

james | Nov 25, 2017 4:00:51 PM | 10
thanks b.. i tend to agree with @4 jean and @5 jen... the way i see it, there is either a real disconnect inside the usa where the president gets to say one thing, but another part of the establishment can do another, or trump has made his last lie to turkey here and turkey is going to say good bye to it's involvement with the usa in any way that can be trusted.. seems like some kind of internal usa conflict to me at this point, but maybe it is all smoke and mirrors to continue on with the same charade.. i mostly think internal usa conflict at this point..
A P | Nov 25, 2017 4:34:19 PM | 11
Odd that no one has mentioned the fact the US was behind the attempted coup, where Erdogan was on a plane with two rogue Syrian jets that stood down rather than execute the kill shot. I have read opinion that the fighter pilots were "lit up" by Russian missile batteries and informed by radio they would not survive unless they shut down their weapons targeting immediately. This is probably a favour Putin reminds Erdogan of on a regular basis, whenever Erdo tries to play Sultan. The attempted coup/asassination also shows Erdogan exactly how much he can trust the US/Zionists at any level.

And Edrogan must also know Syria was once at least partly in the US-orbit, as Syria was the destination for many well-documented US-ordered rendition/torture cases. It is probable Mossad (or their proxy thugs) killed Assad's father and older brother, so Erdo knows he's better relying on Putin than Trumpty Dumbdy.

Virgile | Nov 25, 2017 5:09:38 PM | 12
Erdogan is about to make a u-turn toward Syria. He is furious at Saudi Arabia for boycotting its ally Qatar, for talking about owning Sunni Islam and by the continuous support of Islamists and Sunni Kurds in Syria.
Erdogan is preparing the turkish public opinion to a shift away from the USA-Israeli axis. This may get him many points in the 2019 election if the war in Syria is stopped, most Syrian refugees are back, Turkish companies are involved in the reconstruction and the YPG neutralized. Erdogan has 1 year and half to make this to happen. For that he badly needs Bashar al Assad and his army on his side.

Therefore he is evaluating what is the next move and he needs to know where the USA is standing about Turkey and Syria. Until now the messages from the USA are contradictory yet Erdogan keeps telling his supporters that the USA is plotting against Turkey and against Islam. Erdogan's reputation also is been threatened by the outcome of Reza Zarrab's trial in the US where the corruption of his party may be exposed.

That is why Erdogan is making another check about the US intentions before Erdogan he starts the irreversible shift toward the Iran-Russia (+Qatar and Syria) axis.

dirtyoilandgas | Nov 25, 2017 6:13:37 PM | 13
missing in this analysis is oil gas ... producers, refiners, slavers, middle crooks, and the LNG crowd :Israel, Fracking, LNG and wall street... these are the underlying directing forces that will ultimately dictate when the outsiders have had enough fight against Assad over Assad's oil and Assad's refusal to allow outsiders to install their pipelines. Until then, gangland intelligence agencies will continue the divide, destroy and conquer strategies sufficient to keep the profits flowing. The politicians cannot move until the underlying corruptions resolve..
les7 | Nov 25, 2017 6:59:27 PM | 14
The word 'byzantine' has been used for centuries to describe the intricate and multi-leveled forms of agreement, betrayal, treachery and achievement among the shifting power brokers in the region. The US alone has three major and another three minor players at work - often fighting each other. If however, it thinks it can outplay people whose lives are steeped in such a living tradition, it is sadly deluded and will one day be in for a very rude surprise. Even the Russians have had difficulty navigating that maze.

When confronted with such a 'Gordian knot' of treachery and shifting alliances, Alexander the Great drew his sword and cut through it with a vision informed by the sage Socrates as taught by Aristotle.

Despite claiming to represent such a western heritage, the US has no such Socratic wisdom, no Aristotelian logic, and no visionary leadership that could enable it to do what Alexander did. Lacking this, it is destined to get lost in its' own hubris, and be consumed by our current version of that region's gordian knot.

flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 7:53:29 PM | 15
'Hausmaus' @7 says...
'...By the way: is the interest of Kurds to remain under the umbrella of the Syrian state but not be governed by Baath type of Arabic nationalism illegitimate?..'

...showing that he either knows only the crap spouted by wikipedia...or nothing at all about the Baath party...

...which happens to be a socialist and secular party interested in pan-Arab unity...not nationalism...[an obvious oxymoron to be pan-national and 'nationalist' at the same time...]

Of course there is always a 'better way'...right Hausmaus...?

The Baath socialism under Saddam in Iraq was no good for anyone we recall...especially women, students, sick people etc...

A 'better way' has since been installed and it is working beautifully...all can agree...

Same thing in Libya...where the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was no good for anyone...

Of course everyone wanted the 'Better Way'...all those doctoral graduates with free education and guaranteed jobs...a standard of living better than some European countries...etc...

Again...removing the 'socialist' Kadafi has worked out wonderfully...

We now have black African slaves sold in open air markets...where before they did all the broom pushing that was beneath the dignity of the Libyan Arabs...

...and were quite happy to stay there and have a job and paycheck...instead of now flooding the shores of Italy in anything that can float...

Oh yes...why would anyone in Syria want to be governed by the socialist Baath party...?

...especially the Kurds...who just over the border in Turkey are not even recognized as humans...never mind speaking their own language...

Oh yes yes yes...we all want the 'Better Way'...

It's a question of legitimacy you see...

Daniel | Nov 25, 2017 7:55:00 PM | 16
I'd really hoped that Donald Trump® would be the "outsider" that both the MSM and he have been insisting he is for the past couple of years. Other than the Reality TV Show faux conflicts with which the MSM entertains us nightly, I see no such "rogue" Administration.

This say one thing, and do the other has been US foreign policy forever.

Recall, for instance that on February 21, 2014, Obama's State Department issued a statement hailing Ukrainian President Yanukovych for signing an agreement with the "pro-democracy Maidan Protest" leaders in which he acquiesced to all of their demands.

Then, on February 22, 2014, the US State Department cheered the "peaceful and Constitutional" coup after neo-nazis stormed the Parliament.

A few months later, Secretary of State Kerry hailed the Minsk Treaty to end the war in Ukraine. Later that day, Vickie Nuland said there was no way her Ukies would stop shelling civilians, and sure enough they didn't (until they'd been on the retreat for weeks, and came whimpering back to the negotiations table).

A couple years later, Kerry announced that the US and Russia would coordinate aerial assaults in Syria. The next day, "Defense" Secretary Carter said, "no way," and within a week or so, we "accidentally" bombed Syrian forces at Deir ez Zoir for over an hour.

From my perspective, they keep us chasing the next squirrel, while bickering amongst each other about each squirrel. But the wolves are still devouring the lambs, with only the Bear preventing a complete extinction.

flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 8:16:50 PM | 17
Some good comments here with food for thought...

What we know with at least some level of confidence...

Dump is not the 'decider'...the junta is...he's just a cardboard cutout sitting behind the oval office desk...

And he's got no one to blame but himself...he came in talking a big game about cleaning house and got himself cleaned out of being an actual president...

This was inevitable from the moment he caved on Flynn...the only person he didn't need to vet with the senate...and a position that wields a lot of power...

This was his undoing on many levels...not only because he faced a hostile deep state and even his own party in congress with no one by his side [other than Flynn]...

...but because it showed that he had no balls and would not stand by his man...

This is not the stuff leaders are made of...

The same BS we see with Turkey is playing out with Russia on the Ukraine issue...

Now the junta and their enablers in congress want to start sending offensive arms to Ukraine...Dump and his platitudes to Putin...no matter how much he may mean it...mean nothing...he's not in charge...

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/410942-trump-putin-friendly-words/

Yeah, Right | Nov 25, 2017 9:44:37 PM | 18
I think that Jean @4 has the best take on this: Erdoğan went very public on Trump's "promise" in a classic put-up-or-shut-up challenge to the USA.

Either the word of a POTUS means something or it doesn't, and if it doesn't then Turkey is going to join Russia in concluding that the USA as simply not-agreement-capable.

Erdoğan will then say "enough!!!", give the USA the two-finger-salute, and then take Turkey out of NATO.

And the best thing about it will be that McMaster, Kelly and Mathis will be so obsessed with playing their petty little games that they won't see it coming.

ritzl | Nov 25, 2017 11:08:38 PM | 19
It's hard to tell what Erdoğan is doing or intending other than that he is navigating something - objective TBD. It'll be interesting to see if he constrains the use of Incirlik airbase should the US keep arming the YPG/PKK forces. Airpower is the enabler (sole enabler, IMO) of the/any Kurdish overreach inside Syria. Seems like Erdoğan holds the ace card in this muddle but has yet to play it.
Grieved | Nov 25, 2017 11:32:17 PM | 20
@18 ritzl

Seems like Turkey has more than one card to play. A commenter on another site mentioned recently that the US really doesn't want Erdogan to have that S-400 system from Russia. Got me thinking, could Russia have deliberately loaded Erdogan's hand with that additional card to help him negotiate with the US?

Turkey may well leave NATO and as others have pointed out, this would be a game changer far beyond the matter of the US's illegal presence in NE Syria. This possibility brings immense existential gravitas to Erdogan's position right now. He could ask for many concessions at this point, not to leave. And from the Eurasian point of view, it doesn't matter if he leaves or stays, while from the western view, it matters greatly.

Would the US give up Syria, in order to keep Turkey in NATO? It's a western dichotomy, not one that affects Asia. It would be simple to throw S-400 at that dynamic to watch it squirm.

Jackrabbit | Nov 25, 2017 11:42:26 PM | 21
The plays the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.

- Hamlet

As the endgame plays out, Erdogan's conscience may be revealed.

b has made the point that the partition that US-led proxy forces have carved out is unsustainable. But it would be sustainable if Erdogan can be convinced to allow trade via Turkey.

For that reason, I thought Trump's ceasing direct military aid to the Kurds made sense as it provided Erdogan with an excuse to allow land routes for trade/supply. Erdogan can argue that he wants to encourage such good behavior and doesn't want to make US an enemy (Turkey is still a NATO country).

Furthermore, I've always been suspicious of Erdogan's 'turn' toward Russia. Many have suspected that the attempted coup was staged by Erdogan (with CIA help?) so as to enable Erdogan to remain in office. IMO Erdogan joined the 'Assad must go!' effort not just because he benefited from the oil trade but because he leans toward Sunnis (Surely he was aware of the thinking that: the road to Tehran runs through Damascus .)

Hasn't Erdogan's vehement anti-Kurdish stance done R+6 a disservice? It seems to me that it has helped USA to convince Kurds to fight for them and has also been a convenient excuse for Erdogan to hold onto Idlib where al Queda forces have refuge. If Erdogan was really soooo angry with Washington, and soooo dependent on Moscow, then why not relax his anti-Kurdish stance so as to bring Kurds back into the Syrian orbit?

Seby | Nov 26, 2017 12:25:05 AM | 22
tRump just wants to hide the truth that he is castrated and with a tiny penis, like his hands.

Also just cares about money and soothing his narcissism. So f***'in American, in the worst sense!

Ian | Nov 26, 2017 12:29:05 AM | 23
Jackrabbit @20:
Erdogan may feel that if he relaxed his stance against the Syrian Kurds, it could embolden Turkish Kurds to further pursue their agenda. It would also make him appear weak towards his supporters.
Fernando Arauxo | Nov 26, 2017 1:45:51 AM | 24
Erdogan is NOT going to leave NATO. Why should he? It would be the stupidest chess move ever? He's in the club and they can't kick him out. He can cause all the trouble he wants and hobble that huge machine that is the western alliance. He will not get EU membership, but he has his NATO ID CARD and that ain't bad. Erdo now knows that the poor bastard Trumps is WORTHLESS that he is a toothless executive in name only. This is a wake up call, if I were Erdo, I would be very afraid of the USA and it's Syria, MENA policy. It is being run by LUNATICS and is a slow moving train wreak. So for now, Erdo must be looking at Moscow, admiring Putin for this is a man who has his shit together and truly knows how to run a country. Maybe even a sense of admiration and more respect for Putin is even present. If I were Erdo, I'd double down in my support for Russia's Syria policy.
Hausmeister | Nov 26, 2017 3:46:55 AM | 25
@ flankerbandit | Nov 25, 2017 7:53:29 PM | 14

You do not get it:
„...which happens to be a socialist and secular party interested in pan-Arab unity...not nationalism..."
According to this ideology the coherence of a society comes from where? And who is excluded if one applies it?
So your contribution is just a rant using rancidic rhetoric tools. But I will not call you „flunkerbandit". My advice is to move to this area and have a look into such a society from a more close position. Armchair type of vocal leadership does not help.

Anon | Nov 26, 2017 5:11:53 AM | 26
In the Obama years there was a:
  • Whitehouse policy
  • Army Policy
  • CIA policy
  • State department policy.

Which policy is Trump really up against?

Jen | Nov 26, 2017 6:38:32 AM | 27
Anon @ 25: Tempted to say Trump is up against all of them plus NSA policy, FBI policy, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) policy and the policies of, what, 12 other intel agencies?
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5?r=US&IR=T
Yeah, Right | Nov 26, 2017 7:27:43 AM | 28
@23 "Erdogan is NOT going to leave NATO. Why should he?"

I guess one possible reason would be this: as long as Turkey remains in NATO then he is obliged to allow a US military presence in his country, and that's just asking for another attempt at a military coup.

After all, wasn't Incirlik airbase a hotbed of coup-plotters during the last coup attempt?

arbetet | Nov 26, 2017 10:14:56 AM | 29
This came up:

SDF official: Kurds will join the Syrian Arab Army ranks!

Harry | Nov 26, 2017 10:33:01 AM | 30
@ arbetet | 29

"when the Syrian settlement is achieved, Syria's democratic forces will join the Syrian army."
"When the Syrian state stabilizes, we can say that the Americans did what they said, then withdraw as they did in Iraq and set a date for their departure and leave."

Nothing new here, nothing good either. Kurds so far are keeping up their demands of de-facto independence under fig-leaf of "we are part of federalised Syria" with weak central government and autonomous Kurds. Thats how US plan to castrate Syria. Russia offered cultural autonomy, Kurds rejected.

As for Americans "withdrawing" willfully, it never happened. Iraq had to kick them out, and then US used ISIS and Kurds to get back in.

As for Syria's stabilization part, US is doing everything in its power to prevent it.

dan of steele | Nov 26, 2017 11:00:06 AM | 31
@Yeah Right #26
Turkey is not obliged to keep foreign troops in their country to remain in NATO. De Gaulle invited the US to leave France in 1967 but is still a member of NATO
Yeah, Right | Nov 26, 2017 5:18:37 PM | 32
@31 France actually withdrew from NATO in 1966. It remained "committed" to the collective defence of western Europe, without being, you know, "committed" to it.

So, yeah, France kicked all the foreign troops out of France in 1967, precisely because its withdrawal from NATO's Integrated Military Command meant that the French were no longer under any obligation to allow NATO troops on its soil.

But France had to formally withdraw from that Command first, and the reason that de Gaulle gave for withdrawing were exactly that: remaining meant ceding sovereignty to a supra-national organization i.e. NATO Integrated Military Command.

That France retained "membership" of NATO's political organizations even after that withdrawal was little more than a fig-leaf.

After all, NATO's purpose isn't "political", it is "military".

fast freddy | Nov 26, 2017 6:21:33 PM | 33
"The Decider" is Trump's apparent self image. He can't be enjoying the Presidency and the controls exerted upon him by others among the "Deep State" (whom I suppose have effectively cowed him into behaving via serious threats).

If he already had money and power, as it appears that he had, he gained little by taking the crown. He has less power because he is now controlled by a number of forces (CIA, NSA, Media, MIC and etc.) as he remains under constant assault by his natural opposition.

Big mistake dumping Flynn.

Now you take another kind of asshole in the person of Obama - a guy that had nothing - you have a malleable character who enjoys the pomp and circumstance. Really didn't need any persuading to do anything required of him.

psychohistorian | Nov 26, 2017 11:30:16 PM | 34
Here is a recent report from the Turkish Prime Minister supporting Trump's "lie" about ending support for the Kurds....what will history show occured?

ISTANBUL, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday that his country is expecting the United States to end its partnership with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG).

"Since the very beginning, we have said that it is wrong for the U.S. to partner with PKK's cousin PYD and YPG in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group," Yildirim told the press in Istanbul prior to his departure for Britain.

Ankara sees the Kurdish groups as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighting against the Turkish government for over 30 years, while Washington regards them as a reliable ground force against the Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday spoke to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone, pledging not to provide weapons to the YPG any more, an irritant that has hurt bilateral ties, according to the Turkish side.

Yildirim noted that Washington has described it as an obligation rather than an option to support the Kurdish groups on the ground. "But since Daesh (IS) is now eliminated then this obligation has disappeared," he added.

Julian | Nov 27, 2017 12:47:45 AM | 35
It would be nice if Erdogan when withdrawing from NATO (Assuming he does this in the next 12-18 months) would say something like.
"We really like President Trump - and we trust his word implicitly. The problem is, although we trust his word, we know he is not in control so his word is useless and best ignored. Though of course - we still trust he means well."

That would be a nice backhander to hear from Erdopig.

Quentin | Nov 27, 2017 8:48:51 AM | 36
Speculation about Turkey leaving NATO seems farfetched. Turkey has NATO over a barrel. It has been a member for decades and what would it gain by leaving? Nothing. By staying it continues to influence and needle at the same time. Turkey will only leave when NATO throws it out, which isn't going to happen.
Willy2 | Nov 27, 2017 11:53:09 AM | 37
- According to Sibel Edmonds there're 2 coups being prepared. One against Trump and one against Erdogan.

[Nov 18, 2017] State Department's New Victoria Nuland...is Just Like the Old Victoria Nuland

Nov 18, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson swore into office a new Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Dr. A. Wess Mitchell became the Trump Administration's top diplomat for Europe , "responsible for diplomatic relations with 50 countries in Europe and Eurasia, and with NATO, the EU and the OSCE."

Readers will recall that the position was most recently held during the Obama Administration by Kagan family neocon, Victoria Nuland, who was key catalyst and cookie provider for the US-backed coup overthrowing the elected government in Ukraine. Victoria Nuland's virulently anti-Russia position was a trademark of the neocon persuasion and she put ideology into action by " midwifing ," in her own words, an illegal change of government in Ukraine.

It was Nuland's coup that laid the groundwork for a precipitous decay in US/Russia relations, as Washington's neocons peddled the false line that "Russia invaded Ukraine" to cover up for the fact that it was the US government that had meddled in Ukrainian affairs. The coup was bloody and divisive , resulting in a de-facto split in the country that continues to the day. Ukraine did not flourish as a result of this neocon scheme, but has in fact been in economic free-fall since the US government installed its preferred politicians into positions of power.

You don't hear much about Ukraine these days because the neocons hate to talk about their failures. But the corruption of the US-installed government has crippled the country, extreme nationalist elements that make up the core of the post-coup elites have imposed a new education law so vicious toward an age-old Hungarian population stuck inside arbitrarily re-drawn post-WWI borders that the Hungarian government has blocked Ukraine's further integration into NATO, and a new "Maidan" protest has steadily gathered steam in Kiev despite Western cameras being uninterested this time.

Fortunately Donald Trump campaigned on and was elected to improve relations with Russia and end the Obama Administration's neocon-fueled launch of a new Cold War. He raised eyebrows when he directly challenged the neocon shibboleth -- amplified by the mainstream media -- that Russia was invading Ukraine. But candidate Trump really blew neocon minds -- and delighted voters -- when he said he was looking into ending US sanctions on Russia imposed by Obama and may recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Which brings us back to Wess Mitchell. Certainly President Trump, seeing the destruction of Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Victoria Nuland's anti-Russia interventionism, would he finally restore a sane diplomat to the position vacated by the unmourned former Assistant Secretary. Would appoint someone in line with the rhetoric that landed him the Oval Office. Right?

Wrong!

If anything, Wess Mitchell may well prove to be Victoria Nuland on steroids. He was co-founder and CEO of the neocon-dominated Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Mitchell's CEPA is funded largely by the US government, NATO, neocon grant-making mega-foundations, and the military-industrial complex. The "think tank" does the bidding of its funders, finding a Russian threat under every rock that requires a NATO and defense industry response -- or we're doomed!

Mitchell's CEPA's recent greatest hits? " The Kremlin's 20 toxic tactics ," " Russian disinformation and anti-Western narratives in Romania: How to fight back? ," " Winning the Information War ," " Alliances and American greatness ," " Russia's historical distortions ," " What the Kremlin Fears Most ," and so on. You get the idea. The raison d'etre of the organization founded by the new Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia is to foment a new (and very profitable) Cold War (and more?) with Russia.

Last month, CEPA put on its big conference, the " CEPA Forum 2017 ." Speakers included central European heavy hitter politicos like the president of Latvia and also Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe, who gave a talk on how "the unity of the NATO Alliance" is "what Russia fears the most." The grand event was funded, as might be expected, by war contractors Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin. But also, surprisingly, significant funding came from the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban, who is seen as somewhat of a maverick in central Europe for refusing to sign on to the intense Russia-hate seen in the Baltics and in Poland.

The no-doubt extraordinarily expensive conference was funded by no less than three Hungarian government entities: the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC, the Hungarian Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade , and the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group . Again, given Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's reputation for bucking neocon positions vis-a-vis Russia it is surprised to see the virulently anti-Russia CEPA conference so awash in Hungarian taxpayer money. Perhaps there is something to explore in the fact that the recently-fired Hungarian Ambassador to Washington,Réka Szemerkényi, was recently named executive vice president of CEPA. Hmmm. Makes you wonder.

But back to Mitchell. So he founded a neocon think tank funded by a NATO desperate for new missions and a military-industrial complex desperate for new wars. What about his own views? Surely he can't be as bad as Nuland. Right? Wrong! Fortunately Assistant Secretary Mitchell is a prolific writer, so it's easy to track his thinking. In a recent piece for neocon Francis Fukuyama's American Interest , titled "Predators on the Frontiers," Mitchell warns that, "From eastern Ukraine and the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea, large rivals of the United States are modernizing their military forces, grabbing strategic real estate, and threatening vulnerable US allies."

Mitchell continues, in a voice right out of the neocon canon, that:

By degrees, the world is entering the path to war. Not since the 1980s have the conditions been riper for a major international military crisis. Not since the 1930s has the world witnessed the emergence of multiple large, predatory states determined to revise the global order to their advantage -- if necessary by force.
We are on a path to war not seen since the 1930s! And why are our "enemies" so hell-bent on destroying us? Because we are just so isolationist!

Writes Mitchell: "Over the past few years, Russia, China, and, to a degree, Iran have sensed that the United States is retreating in their respective regions..."

We are "retreating"?

So what can we do? Mitchell again does the bidding of his paymasters in advising that the only thing we can do to save ourselves is...spend more on militarism:

The United States should therefore enhance its nuclear arsenal by maintaining and modernizing it. It needs to sustain a credible nuclear extended deterrent at a time when revisionist states are gradually pushing their spheres of influence and control closer to, if not against, U.S. allies. Moreover, it should use the limited tactical nuclear weapons at its disposal and seed them in a few of the most vulnerable and capable frontline states (Poland and Japan, for instance) under "nuclear sharing" agreements.
There is our new Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia. Our top diplomat for Europe. The only solution is a military solution. President Trump. Elected to end the endless wars, to forge better relations with Russia, to roll-back an "outdated" NATO. President Trump has replaced Victoria Nuland with something far more dangerous and frightening. Heckuva job, there, Mr. President!
Copyright © 2017 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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[Nov 16, 2017] Is Donald Trump the New Mikhail Gorbachev

Perestroika and Trumpism has one important thing in common -- they arose out of deep crisis of the Soviet Society and the US neoliberal society, correspondingly
Notable quotes:
"... The reasoning of Gorbachev's program of perestroika -- as an attempt to both transcend tired Soviet orthodoxies while remaining loyal to the underlying assumptions of the regime -- also explains the attraction of Trumpism to many conservative intellectuals, voters, and activists. Trumpism gives its followers the allure of reckoning with the conservative movement's inadequacies while remaining faithful to its underlying assumptions about economics and the role of the state. ..."
"... For all its recklessness, it is this faction of Right that has indeed grappled with a nation whose poor- and lower-middle class face the erosion of both wages and a formerly rich institutional fabric ..."
"... When Bannon calls for Americans to understand themselves as citizens with "certain responsibilities and obligations," it's a subtle -- if incomplete and disingenuous -- recognition that the vocabulary of "liquid modernity" cannot rescue us from the very fruits it created. ..."
"... The Hayekian claim that any language of social justice commences a perilous journey towards serfdom was perhaps necessary to combat midcentury sirens of collectivism. But today it is more often representative of an age fearful of placing demanding claims upon our lives ..."
"... Someone else at TAC asked a similar question, and the answer is, no: Trump is no Gorbachev. If anything he is our Boris Yeltsin. And no, that is not intended as a compliment. MEOW , says: November 15, 2017 at 12:07 am Good points. Gorby was a realist like the Chinese. They could not depress a people's living standards with an inferior system of exchange, production, and distribution. The word was out about living standard differences. The one-world movement is very different. It means to disable all our traditions and differences (Happy Holidays for Merry Christmas – rewriting history etc) in order to allow a different cabal to prevail in this artificially created vacuum. Mac61 , says: November 15, 2017 at 6:46 am Gorbachev said we must set aside all ideology and look at all things through the light of morality. Trump is not capable of that. Bannon tried to ally Trumpism with Judeo-Christian morality. That project seems incomplete at the moment. Egypt Steve , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:26 am I suppose if you compare any two things, you can find some points of similarity somewhere. M1798 , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:32 am You ask for a more expansive welfare state, but didn't Make the case that our current welfare state does any public good. Food stamps and disability payments subsidize mothers to not keep the father around and fathers to not work to provide for their families. We have job training programs, yet you fail to make the case that they serve any long term good. And even our most popular welfare programs, social security and Medicare, are financially unsustainable. You wrote this article as if the GOP has legislated in the same way as their rhetoric, yet the we saw the failure to repeal Obamacare as proof that this isn't true. Dan Green , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:39 am I subscribe to what Hayek coined, the road to serfdom. Once The Social Democratic Welfare State is fully implemented , as we witness today, the state cannot make it work. Currently the model is subsidized with debt. John , says: November 15, 2017 at 10:49 am If there were an award in journalism for the hottest of takes, this might be a strong finalist for this year's. Otherwise LOL. vern , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:38 am Trump is none of the above. His only purpose in government was for his own ego gratification and to increase his wealth. He is a puppet for whoever is close enough for him to pull his strings. His favorite world leaders all happen to be autocrats who care little about civil liberties or human rights. He cares about wins and losses (ego) He is not religious, it is just a smoke screen he has put up so he can hide his worse tendencies and use it to block criticism. spite , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:57 am People that write these kind of articles just never get it (actually they probably do but cannot say these things openly). It has to do with race, whether you like this reason or not – this is the underlying fundamental issue at play here. Being replaced by another people is not going to sit well with some, one would think this is stating the obvious but it seems that the fear to broach this topic makes people come up with all kinds of reasonings that simply do not admit the truth of this. I know that anything to do with race causes so called conservatives to have abject fear (even this comment has a high chance of being censored), but you simply cannot ignore this anymore. Alex , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:59 am Oh, please. I am from the former Soviet Union. I know who Gorbachev was. He was a democrat, Trump is a dictator. Gorbachev was able to talk and listen to people, Trump is very good in insulting and blaming people. I can continue forever. They have nothing in common as human beings. connecticut farmer , says: November 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm " in which the state is again recognized as a limited but essential expression of our shared life together, where we are members not just of a market but a "great common enterprise" in which solidarity and justice are indeed tangible things." This phrase unfortunately constitutes a blemish on an otherwise fine and thoughtful article. Exactly what does the phrase "limited but essential expression of our shared life together" mean? "Limited" by what? What "great common enterprise"? What "solidarity"? Ours is a country where commonality of purpose–to the extent that it has ever existed in the first place– appears to be vanishing at an exponential level. Lots of questions. No answers. polistra , says: November 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm Obama is more like Gorbachev. The last attempt to rebrand the old system, hoping to make it more palatable. Trump may turn out to be more like Yeltsin if he starts doing SOMETHING. So far the fake image of "Trump" is causing all sorts of reactions and changes, but the actual Trump has done nothing at all. He just emits meaningless noises, handing his enemies free ammunition. ..."
Nov 16, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
TAC' s own Rod Dreher recently highlighted an American professor's exchange with an African diplomat, who compared Donald Trump to Mikhail Gorbachev. Just as the last Soviet premier unwittingly became "the man who destroyed a superpower," Trump in this view is recklessly squandering the United States' global position. But upon reflection, the analogy holds for another reason: Whatever Trump's own mixture of "irritable mental gestures," Trumpism -- as articulated by Steve Bannon, Laura Ingraham, Michael Anton & Company -- can be read as a sort of perestroika for the American Right.

A reader may naturally look warily at the comparison. Can one discern a link between the rhetoric of Breitbart and Gorbachev's exhortation, "to reject obedience to any dogma, to think independently, to submit one's thoughts and plans of action to the test of morality"? However reaching, the comparison may allow us to discern why debates over immigration and trade now capture the conservative imagination in a way not reducible to "white identity politics" or reflexive loyalty to the president.

The reasoning of Gorbachev's program of perestroika -- as an attempt to both transcend tired Soviet orthodoxies while remaining loyal to the underlying assumptions of the regime -- also explains the attraction of Trumpism to many conservative intellectuals, voters, and activists. Trumpism gives its followers the allure of reckoning with the conservative movement's inadequacies while remaining faithful to its underlying assumptions about economics and the role of the state. The appeal of nationalist rhetoric is not reducible to nativism, though it might be for some. Instead, Bannon's program offers conservatives a safe exit ramp from self-critical thinking, allowing them to both grapple with an erosion of work and community among America's economic losers, while maintaining most of an existing right-wing economic program.

In a 1987 message to the Communist Party's Central Committee, Gorbachev flaunted the Soviet order for its "conservative inclinations, inertia, and desire to brush aside everything that didn't fit into habitual patterns." This is the same critique offered by the Jacksonian Right of the conservative establishment. "The whole enterprise of Conservative Inc.," wrote Michael Anton in his famous "Flight 93 Election" essay, "reeks of failure. Its sole recent and ongoing success is its own self-preservation."

For all its recklessness, it is this faction of Right that has indeed grappled with a nation whose poor- and lower-middle class face the erosion of both wages and a formerly rich institutional fabric Laura Ingraham's description of "a working class hammered by globalization" would not seem foreign to readers of Our Kids, Hillbilly Elegy, or Janesville . At its most tone-deaf, the Right responds with incantations to "rekindle the rugged individualism of America's founding, frontiers, and Constitution." But even those on the center-right with sincere empathy frequently offer only small-ball politics. For all their merits , a modest increase of the Child Tax Credit, repeal of occupational licensing, vouchers for improved geographic mobility, and moral exhortations for coastal elites to escape their bubble do not match the gravity of the moment. In a certain way, the Bannonite call for the wall and ripping up trade agreements is a rebellion against a purely technocratic politics without boldness of purpose. When Bannon calls for Americans to understand themselves as citizens with "certain responsibilities and obligations," it's a subtle -- if incomplete and disingenuous -- recognition that the vocabulary of "liquid modernity" cannot rescue us from the very fruits it created.

Trade and immigration are becoming the signature benchmarks for this new movement. Yet the Jacksonian shift allows conservatives to still maintain their aversion to a strong, active welfare state, an institution all other Western center-right parties have come to terms with. Limiting the fluid movement of goods and people, in this view, will accomplish the same goals as a state modeled on social or Christian-democratic purposes: We do not need to expand child tax credits or pursue ambitious investments of retraining and vocational education. All our struggling labor markets demand is "stopping the importation of cheap labor." At the same time, we can press ahead to repeal Obamacare and the tentacles of the administrative state, for economic nationalism can ameliorate our social problems far better than any program arising out of the Washington cesspool. Perhaps this strategy explains why, according to Pew Research , the president maintains far more support among "Core Conservatives" than "Country First" and "Market Skeptic" Republicans. The Trump revolution is ultimately not a decisive schism from old-time William F. Buckley-style fusionism, no matter what both supporters and Never Trumpers allege.

Systematic free-marketers may point out accurately how Trumpism can be just as economically redistributive as any welfare program. This is all true, but to most conservative activists, all this subtle redistribution and subsidizing looks far more hidden than paid-family leave or public investments in early childhood or prenatal care. In other words, Trumpism's attraction derives not from its wholesale rejection of traditional American conservatism, but its potential to keep its core tenets of the right alive -- even as neoliberalism's inadequacies suggest what is needed is a more vigorous discussion of what conservatism means in the public sphere.

If Trumpism's fundamental attraction to most conservative writers and activists derives from its ability to revise but sustain their movement, it is difficult to see how it will be to evolve into a credible governing program. This is not because a more hawkish line on immigration and trade is a fundamental betrayal of the "liberal world order." Indeed, one need only read Paul Collier George Borjas Michael Lind , Peter Skerry , or Dani Rodrik to find sustained, reasonable critiques of the establishment consensus on these matters.

But none of these authors would present their heterodox dissents as singular solutions for restoring the American (or Western) social contract. Just as Gorbachev's ambition was not to revitalize Russia but the Soviet Union, so is Trumpism not a program to save the Republic, or even a more narrow "Middle America." Despite the Jacobin rhetoric, the Trumpism of Bannon, Anton, and Ingraham is ultimately a rearguard maneuver to preserve a conservative movement whose even devoted partisans recognize has not aged gracefully since 1989. To keep it alive, wrecking the "globalist" consensus on immigration and trade must be pursued, regardless of the absence of any discernible benefit for the white working class.

What would a true revolution for American conservatism look like? It should start with the (early) thought of George Will, who wrote in the New Republic that, "if conservatism is to engage itself with the way we live now, it must address government's graver purposes with an affirmative doctrine of the welfare state." Conservatives must "come to terms with a social reality more complex than their slogans," where equality of opportunity is assumed as given. The Hayekian claim that any language of social justice commences a perilous journey towards serfdom was perhaps necessary to combat midcentury sirens of collectivism. But today it is more often representative of an age fearful of placing demanding claims upon our lives .

The Right must again recover the wisdom held by Disraeli, Churchill, and the (early) domestic neoconservatives, in which the state is again recognized as a limited but essential expression of our shared life together, where we are members not just of a market but a "great common enterprise" in which solidarity and justice are indeed tangible things. Accepting this truth will be a harder project than tightening the border and combating Chinese mercantilism, worthy though such things may be. But it will be far more revolutionary, even historic, than anything the present Trumpian revolution offers.

David Jimenez, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College and a Fulbright Scholar in Romania, works on campus outreach at a Washington think-tank.

EngineerScotty , says: November 14, 2017 at 11:22 pm

Someone else at TAC asked a similar question, and the answer is, no: Trump is no Gorbachev. If anything he is our Boris Yeltsin.

And no, that is not intended as a compliment.

MEOW , says: November 15, 2017 at 12:07 am
Good points. Gorby was a realist like the Chinese. They could not depress a people's living standards with an inferior system of exchange, production, and distribution. The word was out about living standard differences. The one-world movement is very different. It means to disable all our traditions and differences (Happy Holidays for Merry Christmas – rewriting history etc) in order to allow a different cabal to prevail in this artificially created vacuum.
Mac61 , says: November 15, 2017 at 6:46 am
Gorbachev said we must set aside all ideology and look at all things through the light of morality. Trump is not capable of that. Bannon tried to ally Trumpism with Judeo-Christian morality. That project seems incomplete at the moment.
Egypt Steve , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:26 am
I suppose if you compare any two things, you can find some points of similarity somewhere.
M1798 , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:32 am
You ask for a more expansive welfare state, but didn't Make the case that our current welfare state does any public good. Food stamps and disability payments subsidize mothers to not keep the father around and fathers to not work to provide for their families. We have job training programs, yet you fail to make the case that they serve any long term good. And even our most popular welfare programs, social security and Medicare, are financially unsustainable. You wrote this article as if the GOP has legislated in the same way as their rhetoric, yet the we saw the failure to repeal Obamacare as proof that this isn't true.
Dan Green , says: November 15, 2017 at 9:39 am
I subscribe to what Hayek coined, the road to serfdom. Once The Social Democratic Welfare State is fully implemented , as we witness today, the state cannot make it work. Currently the model is subsidized with debt.
John , says: November 15, 2017 at 10:49 am
If there were an award in journalism for the hottest of takes, this might be a strong finalist for this year's. Otherwise LOL.
vern , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:38 am
Trump is none of the above. His only purpose in government was for his own ego gratification and to increase his wealth.

He is a puppet for whoever is close enough for him to pull his strings. His favorite world leaders all happen to be autocrats who care little about civil liberties or human rights.

He cares about wins and losses (ego) He is not religious, it is just a smoke screen he has put up so he can hide his worse tendencies and use it to block criticism.

spite , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:57 am
People that write these kind of articles just never get it (actually they probably do but cannot say these things openly). It has to do with race, whether you like this reason or not – this is the underlying fundamental issue at play here. Being replaced by another people is not going to sit well with some, one would think this is stating the obvious but it seems that the fear to broach this topic makes people come up with all kinds of reasonings that simply do not admit the truth of this. I know that anything to do with race causes so called conservatives to have abject fear (even this comment has a high chance of being censored), but you simply cannot ignore this anymore.
Alex , says: November 15, 2017 at 11:59 am
Oh, please. I am from the former Soviet Union. I know who Gorbachev was. He was a democrat, Trump is a dictator. Gorbachev was able to talk and listen to people, Trump is very good in insulting and blaming people. I can continue forever. They have nothing in common as human beings.
connecticut farmer , says: November 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm
" in which the state is again recognized as a limited but essential expression of our shared life together, where we are members not just of a market but a "great common enterprise" in which solidarity and justice are indeed tangible things."

This phrase unfortunately constitutes a blemish on an otherwise fine and thoughtful article. Exactly what does the phrase "limited but essential expression of our shared life together" mean? "Limited" by what? What "great common enterprise"? What "solidarity"? Ours is a country where commonality of purpose–to the extent that it has ever existed in the first place– appears to be vanishing at an exponential level.

Lots of questions. No answers.

polistra , says: November 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm
Obama is more like Gorbachev. The last attempt to rebrand the old system, hoping to make it more palatable. Trump may turn out to be more like Yeltsin if he starts doing SOMETHING. So far the fake image of "Trump" is causing all sorts of reactions and changes, but the actual Trump has done nothing at all. He just emits meaningless noises, handing his enemies free ammunition.
grumpy realist , says: November 15, 2017 at 2:30 pm
Gorbachev had brains. Trump has none, and is very easily manipulated by anyone who points a camera at him and tells him how great he is.

If you don't believe me, look at how the Chinese manipulated Trump on this last trip to Asia.

Ken Zaretzke , says: November 15, 2017 at 6:22 pm
"For all its recklessness, it is this faction of Right that has indeed grappled with a nation whose poor- and lower-middle class face the erosion of both wages and a formerly rich institutional fabric."

But Trump might already be betraying it, as this article on banking (de)regulation suggests. It doesn't bode will for what the tax reform bill would mean for the 80% in the bottom quintiles of the population.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/business/bank-regulation.html

S T Lakshmikumar , says: November 15, 2017 at 8:36 pm
Unfortunately the entrenched social democratic welfare state will not lead to serfdom but to a dysfunctional society. This is the lesson from independent india which has no political party representing individualistic policies. The current Hindu nationalist party in power caters to Hindu sentiments but a redistributive economic policy. As an outsider i see USA following the same path with islands of functionality sustaining barely, the rest. Hopefully the author would join in a length discussion with me on this

[Nov 15, 2017] Alex Azar Can There Be Uglier Scenarios than the Revolving Door naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether ..."
"... So should Mr Azar be confirmed as Secretary of DHHS, the fox guarding the hen house appears to be a reasonable analogy. ..."
"... In this post, I'd like to add two additional factors to our consideration of Azar. The first: Democrat credentialism makes it hard for them to oppose Azar. The second: The real ..."
Nov 15, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Alex Azar: Can There Be Uglier Scenarios than the Revolving Door? Posted on November 15, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether

Clearly, Alex Azar, nominated yesterday for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services by the Trump Administration, exemplifies the case of the "revolving door," through which Flexians slither on their way to (or from) positions of public trust. Roy Poses ( cross-posted at NC ) wrote, when Azar was only Acting Secretary:

Last week we noted that Mr Trump famously promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Last week, despite his previous pledges to not appoint lobbyists to powerful positions, he appointed a lobbyist to be acting DHHS Secretary. This week he is apparently strongly considering Mr Alex Azar, a pharmaceutical executive to be permanent DHHS Secretary, even though the FDA, part of DHHS, has direct regulatory authority over the pharmaceutical industry, and many other DHHS policies strongly affect the pharmaceutical industry. (By the way, Mr Azar was also in charge of one lobbying effort.)

So should Mr Azar be confirmed as Secretary of DHHS, the fox guarding the hen house appears to be a reasonable analogy.

Moreover, several serious legal cases involving bad behavior by his company, and multiple other instances of apparently unethical behavior occurred on Mr Azar’s watch at Eli Lilly. So the fox might be not the most reputable member of the species.

So you know the drill…. The revolving door is a species of conflict of interest . Worse, some experts have suggested that the revolving door is in fact corruption. As we noted here , the experts from the distinguished European anti-corruption group U4 wrote ,

The literature makes clear that the revolving door process is a source of valuable political connections for private firms. But it generates corruption risks and has strong distortionary effects on the economy , especially when this power is concentrated within a few firms.

The ongoing parade of people transiting the revolving door from industry to the Trump administration once again suggests how the revolving door may enable certain of those with private vested interests to have excess influence, way beyond that of ordinary citizens, on how the government works, and that the country is still increasingly being run by a cozy group of insiders with ties to both government and industry. This has been termed crony capitalism.

Poses is, of course, correct. (Personally, I've contained my aghastitude on Azar, because I remember quite well how Liz Fowler transitioned from Wellpoint to being Max Baucus's chief of staff when ObamaCare was being drafted to a job in Big Pharma , and I remember quite well the deal with Big Pharma Obama cut, which eliminated the public option , not that the public option was anything other than a decreasingly gaudy "progressive" bauble in the first place.)

In this post, I'd like to add two additional factors to our consideration of Azar. The first: Democrat credentialism makes it hard for them to oppose Azar. The second: The real damage Azar could do is on the regulatory side.[1]

First, Democrat credentialism. Here is one effusive encomium on Azar. From USA Today, "Who is Alex Azar? Former drugmaker CEO and HHS official nominated to head agency" :

"I am glad to hear that you have worked hard, and brought fair-minded legal analysis to the department," Democratic Sen. Max Baucus said at Azar's last confirmation hearing.

And:

Andy Slavitt, who ran the Affordable Care Act and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during the Obama administration, said he has reason to hope Azar would be a good secretary.

"He is familiar with the high quality of the HHS staff, has real-world experience enough to be pragmatic, and will hopefully avoid repeating the mistakes of his predecessor," Slavitt said.

So, if Democrats are saying Azar is "fair-minded" and "pragmatic" -- and heaven forfend that the word "corruption"[2] even be mentioned -- how do they oppose him, even he's viscerally opposed to everything Democrats supposedly stand for? (Democrats do this with judicial nominations, too.) Azar may be a fox, alright, but the chickens he's supposedly guarding are all clucking about how impeccable his qualifications are!

Second, let's briefly look at Azar's bio. Let me excerpt salient detail from USA Today :

1. Azar clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia .

2. Azar went to work for his mentor, Ken Starr , who was heading the independent counsel investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton's Whitewater land deal.

3. Azar had a significant role in another major political controversy when the outcome of the 2000 presidential election hinged on a recount in Florida . Azar was on the Bush team of lawyers whose side ultimately prevailed [3]

For any Democrat with a memory, that bio provokes one of those "You shall know them by the trail of the dead" moments. And then there's this:

When Leavitt replaced Thompson in 2005 and Azar became his deputy, Leavitt delegated a lot of the rule-making process to Azar.

So, a liberal Democrat might classify Azar as a smooth-talking reactionary thug with a terrible record and the most vile mentors imaginable, and on top of it all, he's an effective bureaucratic fixer. What could the Trump Administration possibly see in such a person? Former (Republican) HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt explains:

"Understanding the administrative rule process in the circumstance we're in today could be extraordinarily important because a lot of the change in the health care system, given the fact that they've not succeeded legislatively, could come administratively."

We outlined the administration strategy on health care in "Trump Adminstration Doubles Down on Efforts to Crapify the Entire Health Care System (Unless You're Rich, of Course)" . There are three prongs:

1) Administratively, send ObamaCare into a death spiral by sabotaging it

2) Legislatively, gut Medicaid as part of the "tax refom" package in Congress

3) Through executive order, eliminate "essential health benefits" through "association health plans"

As a sidebar, it's interesting to see that although this do-list is strategically and ideologically coherent -- basically, your ability to access health care will be directly dependent on your ability to pay -- it's institutionally incoherent, a bizarre contraption screwed together out of legislation, regulations, and an Executive order. Of course, this incoherence mirrors to Rube Goldberg structure of ObamaCare itself, itself a bizarre contraption, especially when compared to the simple, rugged, and proven single payer system. ( Everything Obama did with regulations and executive orders, Trump can undo, with new regulations and new executive orders . We might compare ObamaCare to a child born with no immune system, that could only have survived within the liberal bubble within which it was created; in the real world, it's not surprising that it's succumbing to opportunistic infections.[2])

On #1, The administration has, despite its best efforts, not achieved a controlled flight into terrain with ObamaCare; enrollment is up. On #2, the administration and its Congressional allies are still dickering with tax reform. And on #3 . That looks looks like a job for Alex Azar, since both essential health benefits and association health plans are significantly affected by regulation.

So, yes, there are worse scenarios than the revolving door; it's what you leave behind you as the door revolves that matters. It would be lovely if there were a good old-fashioned confirmation battle over Azar, but, as I've pointed out, the Democrats have tied their own hands. Ideally, the Democrats would junk the Rube Goldberg device that is ObamaCare, rendering all of Azar's regulatory expertise null and void, but that doesn't seem likely, given that they seem to be doing everything possible to avoid serious discussion of policy in 2018 and 2020.

NOTES

[1] I'm leaving aside what will no doubt be the 2018 or even 2020 issue of drug prices, since for me that's subsumed under the issue of single payer. If we look only at Azar's history in business, real price decreases seem unlikely. Business Insider :

Over the 10-year period when Azar was at Lilly, the price of insulin notched a three-fold increase. It wasn't just Lilly's insulin product, called Humalog. The price of a rival made by Novo Nordisk has also climbed, with the two rising in such lockstep that you can barely see both trend lines below.

The gains came despite the fact that the insulin, which as a medication has an almost-century-long history, hasn't really changed since it was first approved.

Nice business to be in, eh? Here's that chart:

It's almost like Lilly (Azar's firm) and Novo Nordisk are working together, isn't it?

[2] Anyhow, as of the 2016 Clinton campaign , the Democrat standard -- not that of Poses, nor mine -- is that if there's no quid pro quo, there's no corruption.

[3] And, curiously, "[HHS head Tommy] Thompson said HHS was in the eye of the storm after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and Azar had an important role in responding to the resulting public health challenges, as well as the subsequent anthrax attacks "

MedicalQuack , November 15, 2017 at 10:31 am

Oh please, stop quoting Andy Slavitt, the United Healthcare Ingenix algo man. That guy is the biggest crook that made his money early on with RX discounts with his company that he and Senator Warren's daughter, Amelia sold to United Healthcare. He's out there trying to do his own reputation restore routine. Go back to 2009 and read about the short paying of MDs by Ingenix, which is now Optum Insights, he was the CEO and remember it was just around 3 years ago or so he sat there quarterly with United CEO Hemsley at those quarterly meetings. Look him up, wants 40k to speak and he puts the perception out there he does this for free, not so.

diptherio , November 15, 2017 at 11:25 am

I think you're missing the context. Lambert is quoting him by way of showing that the sleazy establishment types are just fine with him. Thanks for the extra background on that particular swamp-dweller, though.

a different chris , November 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Not just the context, it's a quote in a quote. Does make me think Slavitt must be a real piece of work to send MQ so far off his rails

petal , November 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm

Alex Azar is a Dartmouth grad (Gov't & Economics '88) just like Jeff Immelt (Applied Math & Economics '78). So much damage to society from such a small department!

sgt_doom , November 15, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Nice one, petal !!!

Really, all I need to know about the Trumpster Administration:

From Rothschild to . . . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Ross

Since 2014, Ross has been the vice-chairman of the board of Bank of Cyprus PCL, the largest bank in Cyprus.

He served under U.S. President Bill Clinton on the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. Later, under New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Ross served as the Mayor's privatization advisor.

Jen , November 15, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Or from a "small liberal arts college" (which is a university in all but name, because alumni).

Tim Geitner ('82 – Goverment)
Hank Paulson ('68 – English)

jo6pac , November 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Well it's never ending game in the beltway and we serfs aren't in it.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/15/trump-adds-to-washingtons-swamp/

Alfred , November 15, 2017 at 2:53 pm

I don't believe that the President's "swamp" ever consisted of crooked officials, lobbyists, and cronies I think it has always consisted of those regulators who tried sincerely to defend public interests.

It was in the sticky work of those good bureaucrats that the projects of capitalists and speculators bogged down. It is against their efforts that the pickup-driving cohort of Trumpism (with their Gadsden flag decals) relentlessly rails.

Trump has made much progress in draining the regulatory swamp (if indeed that is the right way to identify it), and no doubt will make considerably more as time wears on, leaving America high and dry. The kind of prevaricator Trump is may simply be the one who fails to define his terms.

Henry Moon Pie , November 15, 2017 at 4:13 pm

I think we've moved past the revolving door. We hear members of the United States Senate publicly voice their concerns about what will happen if they fail to do their employers' bidding (and I'm not talking about "the public" here). In the bureaucracy, political appointees keep accruing more and more power even as they make it clearer and clearer that they work for "the donors" and not the people. Nowhere is this more true than the locus through which passes most of the money: the Pentagon. The fact that these beribboned heroes are, in fact, setting war policy on their own makes the knowledge that they serve Raytheon and Exxon rather than Americans very, very troubling.

I suspect Azar's perception is that he is just moving from one post to another within the same company.

Watt4Bob , November 15, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Perfect cartoon over at Truthout

I'm amazed there is enough private security available on this planet to keep these guys safe.

Larry , November 15, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Big pharma indeed has so much defense from the supposed left. It combines their faith in technological progress, elite institutions, and tugs on the heart strings with technology that can save people from a fate of ill health or premature death. Of course, the aspect of the laws being written to line the pockets of corrupt executives is glossed over. While drug prices and medical costs spiral ever higher, our overall longevity and national health in the US declines. That speaks volumes about what Democrats really care about.

[Nov 12, 2017] Trump is not the brightest bulb and he is not well informed. I dislike nearly all of his policies.

There is some important to note "cognitive dissonance" here: if Trump is as stupid as appears from his current policies why in the past he was insightful enough to understand important events in proper light? Something here does not compute...
Notable quotes:
"... Trump was bright enough to build up a billion dollar business empire, to win the Republican nomination against the wishes of most the the Republican establishment, and to win the election over the Clinton/Establishment machine. ..."
"... He was bright enough to note immediately after the 9/11 false flag the absurdity of aspects of what became the official narrative; ..."
"... And his anti-NWO strong emphasis on national sovereignty, and upon taking office his immediate repudiation of the nation-state disempowering and democracy-defeating TPP, are imo evidence of combining bright and gutsy. ..."
"... And he has been bright and gutsy enough to directly take on mass media bs and to call out, as no other promenent person has, the 'fake news', the mass media propaganda system; and playfully, and rather brightly, offers his direct line to the public via twitter. ..."
"... And along with Putin, Trump has earned more mass media and establishment invective, attacks, and condemnation than just about anyone in my living memory. So he must be doing something right. ..."
"... When someone is referred to as "not the brightest bulb", this is a cliché way of denoting stupidity in someone else, but it is a often a somewhat perilous joust, suggesting a suspect self-inflation. As far as not being well informed, that of course depends on what specific matters are being referred to. It has been said that a bunch of highly intelligent people with access to all sorts of information bombed Indochina mercilessly for years; for. as the highly intelligent and overflowing with information Dr. Kissinger noted, basically nothing. ..."
"... I listened to Trump carefully during his campaign speeches. He'd deliver a long "stream of consciousness" sentence that seemed to go all over the place. But when he'd finished the sentence you realised he'd in fact covered all the points he needed to make. And had done so while at the same time picking up and factoring in the audience response. I think he may be very bright indeed and quick on his feet. ..."
"... His policies? I think we have to accept one unpalatable fact. An American politician who doesn't ostentatiously support Israel doesn't get to be an American politician, if that's not a circular way of saying it. Since that to a lesser extent is the case in England as well - you saw the trouble Corbyn got into recently - one either has to isolate oneself from political discussion or just accept that most politicians of any importance here or in the States will be defective in that respect. That sounds heartless, given what the Palestinians are going through, and given what Israel's neighbours are going through; but ceasing to strive for a little because we cannot have more is even less acceptable. ..."
"... One final point. You've seen the re-election in Germany of Mrs Merkel - no idea how since none of the people I meet in Germany would have dreamed of voting for her, but she's still there. You've seen a dead-beat government elected in the UK as well. And in France you've seen the election of Macron! In America that pattern was broken. I think it might have been a fluke - I have relatives in the States who are dyed in the wool Democrats but who just couldn't stomach the candidate they put up, and it seems there were many like them. But fluke or not they now have a President who, judging by the way they attack him, is an opponent of the type of policies that have led us to our present pass. He seems to have pretty well the entire American establishment and the media against him so he may not get that far. But surely a slim chance of getting out of the hopeless mess that is our politics in the West at present is better that the certainly of sinking further into it? ..."
Nov 12, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump was bright enough to build up a billion dollar business empire, to win the Republican nomination against the wishes of most the the Republican establishment, and to win the election over the Clinton/Establishment machine.

He was bright enough to note immediately after the 9/11 false flag the absurdity of aspects of what became the official narrative; and for example to question the safety of the deluge of vaccines that kids especially are being subjected to, while simultaneously there is an unprecedented 'epidemic' of autism and asthma in children.

And his anti-NWO strong emphasis on national sovereignty, and upon taking office his immediate repudiation of the nation-state disempowering and democracy-defeating TPP, are imo evidence of combining bright and gutsy.

And he has been bright and gutsy enough to directly take on mass media bs and to call out, as no other promenent person has, the 'fake news', the mass media propaganda system; and playfully, and rather brightly, offers his direct line to the public via twitter.

And along with Putin, Trump has earned more mass media and establishment invective, attacks, and condemnation than just about anyone in my living memory. So he must be doing something right.

When someone is referred to as "not the brightest bulb", this is a cliché way of denoting stupidity in someone else, but it is a often a somewhat perilous joust, suggesting a suspect self-inflation. As far as not being well informed, that of course depends on what specific matters are being referred to. It has been said that a bunch of highly intelligent people with access to all sorts of information bombed Indochina mercilessly for years; for. as the highly intelligent and overflowing with information Dr. Kissinger noted, basically nothing.

EnglishOutsider | Nov 11, 2017 7:15:21 PM | 26
"Trump is not the brightest bulb and he is not well informed. I dislike nearly all of his policies."

"b" - I listened to Trump carefully during his campaign speeches. He'd deliver a long "stream of consciousness" sentence that seemed to go all over the place. But when he'd finished the sentence you realised he'd in fact covered all the points he needed to make. And had done so while at the same time picking up and factoring in the audience response. I think he may be very bright indeed and quick on his feet.

Not well informed? I can't argue with that, not after Khan Shaykhun, but the same blanket of misinformation that covers almost all of us in Europe or the States will presumably cover New York property developers. In the echo chamber that is Washington DC I doubt there's much chance of remedying that. I speak to responsible well-educated people regularly whose knowledge of what is happening abroad you would condemn as pitifully inadequate. Rightfully so. Those of you who have a more accurate idea of the facts are few, and those of us who hear you are also in a tiny minority. That's a fact of life and we can no more condemn Trump for being ill-informed than we can the most of your and my neighbours.

I pin my hopes on the fact that he does have a good intuition and is, as I say, quick on his feet. With such a person reality has a better chance of getting through than it would with the usual tunnel vision politician.

His policies? I think we have to accept one unpalatable fact. An American politician who doesn't ostentatiously support Israel doesn't get to be an American politician, if that's not a circular way of saying it. Since that to a lesser extent is the case in England as well - you saw the trouble Corbyn got into recently - one either has to isolate oneself from political discussion or just accept that most politicians of any importance here or in the States will be defective in that respect. That sounds heartless, given what the Palestinians are going through, and given what Israel's neighbours are going through; but ceasing to strive for a little because we cannot have more is even less acceptable.

His other policies? You do not write on the economy on your site. The European economies, that of the UK in particular, and the American economy, are in a bad way. Urgently so. I can therefore only put forward as a view that the solutions proposed by Trump in 2016 offered the only chance, if a slim one, of turning that round.

One final point. You've seen the re-election in Germany of Mrs Merkel - no idea how since none of the people I meet in Germany would have dreamed of voting for her, but she's still there. You've seen a dead-beat government elected in the UK as well. And in France you've seen the election of Macron! In America that pattern was broken. I think it might have been a fluke - I have relatives in the States who are dyed in the wool Democrats but who just couldn't stomach the candidate they put up, and it seems there were many like them. But fluke or not they now have a President who, judging by the way they attack him, is an opponent of the type of policies that have led us to our present pass. He seems to have pretty well the entire American establishment and the media against him so he may not get that far. But surely a slim chance of getting out of the hopeless mess that is our politics in the West at present is better that the certainly of sinking further into it?

Peter AU 1 | Nov 11, 2017 6:37:08 PM | 23
karlof1 20

If by chance Trump or anyone is genuine about taking down the deep state, they cannot do it by running around in a pathetic attempt trying to fix small issues.

They would have to leave the machine to carry on as normal and go for its foundations. I thought about this months ago, and now looking at the latest events, this could be what is happening.

[Nov 08, 2017] The Trump Administration's Contempt for Diplomacy

Nov 08, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

SteveM , says: November 8, 2017 at 11:21 am

When you have a Global Cop War Machine hammer and surround yourself with a Pentagon/Security State steering committee advising you to use it, everything else is a nail. I have to admit, Trump is even a much smaller man than I imagined him to be at his worst.

Belligerent global power projection is currently unaffordable and quickly becoming obsolete. While China is eating America's lunch with it's productive foreign aid and investments that do not involve killing, destroying and intimidation.

Neither of which Trump comprehends. And of his in-house Neocon minions ("my generals"), it goes without saying

SDS , says: November 8, 2017 at 11:53 am
"and the American diplomatic core is down to Nikki Haley screaming into a phone in some basement office of the Pentagon"

That would be hilarious if it weren't so prophetic

rayray , says: November 8, 2017 at 1:13 pm
Every time a diplomat works to reduce tensions, build relationships, avoid conflict, this is literally taking money and opportunity out of the pockets of the Military/Industrial complex.

Trump, being ironically a terrible negotiator and, as @SDS notes above, has never had the temperament, intelligence, or empathy to be much more than a bully, is the perfect tool for the military/industrial complex.

[Nov 07, 2017] Washington's Wonderful World of Corruption - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... On the next day, Woolsey and his wife met separately with the same two Turkish businessmen at the Peninsula Hotel in New York City and discussed with them a more general but broadly based $10 million plan of their own that would combine lobbying with public relations to discredit Gülen both in the press and in congress. Woolsey stressed that he had the kind of contacts in government and the media to make the plan work. ..."
"... Woolsey did not get the $10 million contract that he sought and Flynn's well-remunerated work for Turkey reportedly consisted of some research, a short documentary that may or may not have been produced, and a November op-ed in The Hill ..."
"... But the real story about Flynn and Woolsey is the fashion in which senior ex-government employees shamelessly exploit their status to turn money from any and all comers without any regard for either the long- or short- term consequences of what they are doing. ..."
"... Just think. Casino king, lord of vice industry, is the #1 donor to the GOP. Politics was always about money, but now it's totally shameless. ..."
"... So did Flynn take the considerable risks of nondisclosure because he was an ideologue or was it primarily for the money? And was it pathological or just stupidly brazen? The Gereral's pardon awaits. ..."
"... What does one expect in a country where money dominates all ? The USA is a great country to live in when one is rich, anything goes, and horror when one is poor. The only way to escape horror is to get rich, and stay rich. I am severely ill, the Dutch health care system keeps me alive, at great cost. In the USA I would either be broke and dead, or simply dead. ..."
"... Just a couple observations here, but the world economy went into the toilet around the time the big Western economies started pushing all this anti-corruption stuff for businesses, and one cannot help but notice that political corruption in the West has become far more sophisticated in the past twenty years, with payoffs arriving after the fact to provide some degree of plausible deniability for the politicos and apparatchiks involved. ..."
"... 'As the sociologist Georg Simmel wrote over a century ago, if you make money the center of your value system, then finally you have no value system, because money is not a value'. ..."
"... Then, Errol Morris was interviewed about his documentary film on Donald Rumfseld. Morris was scathing: Rumsfeld was all about his career, his voluminous "snowflake" memos were meandering BS, self-aggrandizing; Morris was especially outraged with Rumsfeld's reaction to a seriously wounded soldier -- it was a photo op; no measure of humanity was in evidence. Interesting contrast between McNamara and Rumsfeld ..."
Nov 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Enter former General Michael Flynn and former Bill Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey, both of whom were national security advisers to candidate Donald Trump during his campaign when they competed for contracts with Turkish businessmen linked to the Erdogan government to discredit Gülen and possibly even enable his abduction and illegal transfer to Turkey. If, as a consequence of their labors, Gülen were to be somehow returned home he would potentially be tried on treason charges, which might in the near future carry the death penalty in Turkey.

Both Flynn and Woolsey are highly controversial figures. Woolsey, in spite of having no intelligence experience, was notoriously appointed CIA Director by Bill Clinton to reward the neoconservatives for their support of his candidacy. But Woolsey never met privately with the president during his two years in office. He is regarded as an ardent neocon and Islamophobe affiliated with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) and the AIPAC-founded Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). I once debated him on NPR where he asserted that Israel does not spy on the United States, a delusional viewpoint to be sure. Former CIA Senior analyst Mel Goodman, recalling Woolsey's tenure at the Agency, commented in 2003 that "[he] was a disaster as CIA director in the 90s and is now running around this country calling for a World War IV to deal with the Islamic problem. This is a dangerous individual "

Flynn, is, of course, better known, and not for any good qualities that he might possess. He is, like Woolsey, an ardent hawk on Iran and other related issues but is also ready to make a buck through his company The Flynn Intel Group, where Woolsey served as an unpaid adviser. In the summer of 2016 Flynn had obtained a three-month contract for $530,000 to "research" Gülen and produce a short documentary film discrediting him, an arrangement that should have been reported under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, but the big prize was a possible contract in the millions of dollars to create a negative narrative on the Hizmet founder and put pressure on the U.S. government to bring about his extradition.

Woolsey and Flynn, both Trump advisers at the time, found themselves in competition for the money. Flynn had a New York meeting at the Essex House with the businessmen accompanied by the Turkish Foreign and Energy Ministers as well as Erdogan's son-in-law on September 19 th 2016 where, inter alia, the possibility of kidnapping Gülen and flying him to Turkey was discussed. Flynn has denied that the possibility of kidnapping was ever raised, but Woolsey, who was at the meeting for a brief time, insists that "whisking away" Gülen in the dead of night was on the agenda, though he concedes that the discussion was "hypothetical."

On the next day, Woolsey and his wife met separately with the same two Turkish businessmen at the Peninsula Hotel in New York City and discussed with them a more general but broadly based $10 million plan of their own that would combine lobbying with public relations to discredit Gülen both in the press and in congress. Woolsey stressed that he had the kind of contacts in government and the media to make the plan work.

Woolsey did not get the $10 million contract that he sought and Flynn's well-remunerated work for Turkey reportedly consisted of some research, a short documentary that may or may not have been produced, and a November op-ed in The Hill by Flynn that denounced Gülen as a "radical Islamist who portrays himself as a moderate."

But the real story about Flynn and Woolsey is the fashion in which senior ex-government employees shamelessly exploit their status to turn money from any and all comers without any regard for either the long- or short- term consequences of what they are doing. The guilt or innocence of Fetullah Gülen was never an issue for them, nor the reputation of the United States judiciary in a case which has all the hallmarks of a political witch hunt. And if a kidnapping actually was contemplated, it begs one to pause and consider what kind of people are in power in this country.

Neither Flynn nor Woolsey ever considered that their working as presidential campaign advisers while simultaneously getting embroiled in an acrimonious political dispute involving a major ally just might be seen as a serious conflict of interest, even if it was technically not-illegal. All that motivated them was the desire to exploit a situation that they cared not at all about for profit to themselves.

No one expects top rank ex-officials to retire from the world, but out of respect for their former positions, they should retain at least a modicum of decency. This is lacking across the board from the Clintons on down to the Flynns and Woolseys as Americans apparently now expect less and less from their elected officials and have even ceased to demand minimal ethical standards.

Issac , November 7, 2017 at 2:32 am GMT

I've heard it said that Gülen was stateside precisely because of his potential leverage over Ankara. One could be forgiven thinking, therefor, that he had outlived his usefulness after the failed/faked coup. One might even consider sending him home would be a diplomatic gift to such a "major ally," as Turkey. Apparently Langley does not want this bargaining chip off the table just yet. Or do they? Who would even know?

Do you expect Americans to trust current national security state employees more than ex-, if indeed ex- even has the connotation one expects? On what basis would they make this judgement? Are most of the people in either camp not appointments from various neocon-influenced administrations? What would popular resentment of this corruption even look like? Would they demand the passing of legislation that could be ignored?

What ethical standards can be applied to an organization that can lie, under oath, without repercussion? In a world in which sixth generation American citizens are equated in every way with aggressive third-world refugees, the words "loyalty," and "corruption," have lost any foundation upon which they might have meaning.

Carlton Meyer , Website November 7, 2017 at 5:29 am GMT
And in the news today:

By CRAIG WHITLOCK | The Washington Post | Published: November 5, 2017

The "Fat Leonard" corruption investigation has expanded to include more than 60 admirals and hundreds of other U.S. Navy officers under scrutiny for their contacts with a defense contractor in Asia who systematically bribed sailors with sex, liquor and other temptations [like cash], according to the Navy.

Most of the admirals are suspected of attending extravagant feasts at Asia's best restaurants paid for by Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based maritime tycoon who made an illicit fortune supplying Navy vessels in ports from Vladivostok, Russia, to Brisbane, Australia. Francis also was renowned for hosting alcohol-soaked, after-dinner parties, which often featured imported prostitutes and sometimes lasted for days, according to federal court records.

RobinG , November 7, 2017 at 6:16 am GMT

the sell-out.. disease.. afflicting officials in national security.

corruption from the top down a combination of greed and dishonesty

Amen, Phil, and Americans are collateral damage.

General Michael Hayden abandoned an NSA cyber program –that could have prevented the 9/11 attack– in favor of a less effective plan that was more profitable for corporate security firms, and generated greater funding for the intelligence agency.

"A Good American" tells the story of former Technical director of NSA, Bill Binney, and a program called ThinThread. He and a small team within NSA created a surveillance tool that could pick up any electronic signal on earth, filter it for targets and render results in real-time. NSA leadership dumped it – three weeks prior to 9/11.

Watch it free, before it's taken down. https://youtu.be/FlkAxAc7EjI

Priss Factor , Website November 7, 2017 at 6:37 am GMT
Just think. Casino king, lord of vice industry, is the #1 donor to the GOP. Politics was always about money, but now it's totally shameless.
Mark James , November 7, 2017 at 7:06 am GMT
So did Flynn take the considerable risks of nondisclosure because he was an ideologue or was it primarily for the money? And was it pathological or just stupidly brazen? The Gereral's pardon awaits.
jilles dykstra , November 7, 2017 at 7:35 am GMT
What does one expect in a country where money dominates all ? The USA is a great country to live in when one is rich, anything goes, and horror when one is poor. The only way to escape horror is to get rich, and stay rich. I am severely ill, the Dutch health care system keeps me alive, at great cost. In the USA I would either be broke and dead, or simply dead.
The Alarmist , November 7, 2017 at 9:23 am GMT
Oddly enough, I thought that Gülen was a Company asset, and that that was the reason they took Flynn down. Not that I know anything, just speculation.

Meanwhile, in the private sector, for anybody below the C-Suite there is an ever increasing pressure for compliance policies that outlaw all but the most trivial gifts or meals and entertainment in order to prevent corruption and abuse of position.

Just a couple observations here, but the world economy went into the toilet around the time the big Western economies started pushing all this anti-corruption stuff for businesses, and one cannot help but notice that political corruption in the West has become far more sophisticated in the past twenty years, with payoffs arriving after the fact to provide some degree of plausible deniability for the politicos and apparatchiks involved.

JackOH , November 7, 2017 at 9:41 am GMT
Phil, thanks. Every sentence tells here of an America off the rails.

A onetime local mayor in my area may offer an idea of the type of person we need. Pat U. has balls of steel. The Mob was against him. City hall bureaucrats were against him. The unions were against him. The police were against him. Corrupt cops threatened to frame him. The priest who'd married him and his wife was enlisted as an errand boy to deliver bribe money. Pat once publicly described our area as a "banana republic". He had a remote car starter installed to guard against assassination by car bombing. He was elected for multiple terms, and survived all attempts to crush him.

What did Pat have going for him? Personal anatomy. A wife who'd been a very young Polish WWII refugee, and who knew a thing or two about government gone bad and people gone bad. A strong, incorruptible law director, and a strong, incorruptible budget and finance guy. Charisma, and, of course, votes. He kept a local Mr. Big, a zillionaire briber of politicians, at a distance and worked warily with him. Pat met the challenges of an economically collapsing area pretty well.

How many politicians could weather the permanent storm of American corruption as well as Pat? Not a whole lot.

Greg Bacon , Website November 7, 2017 at 9:59 am GMT
The corruption in DC must be setting a record unmatched in history. It doesn't help that our craven, corrupt Congress sets its own rules regarding pay and benefits, but has also passed laws saying its 'OK' for those elite to engage in insider trading. Each Rep and Senator knows that kissing up to the Fortune 500 guarantees them a job after they leave Congress, with a fat paycheck, bennies and sexy secretaries more than happy to take DICKtation, all provided by the company's they took care of while in Congress.

Compounding the situation is the equally rotten DOJ, who has no problem going after blue-collar crime, but won't touch the real problem, those TBTF Wall Street banks acting like out-of-control casinos who then dump their losses on the backs on the American taxpayer. The latest USAG head Sessions is more confirmation that the Senate is a 'good ol' boys' and girls club that will not go after current and former members, as Sessions will NOT go after the thieving, lying, traitorous Hillary for her many crimes.

Its impossible to Drain the Swamp when it has so many creatures that snack on Americans and protect each other.

Short of a revolution, this can only end badly for Americans.

EliteCommInc. , November 7, 2017 at 10:29 am GMT
I would love to have seen that debate. I am not a fan of the contention that Iran embodies all things evil about Islam. But it is disappointing that Gen Flynn's advocacy is mired in a competition for financial contract.
Tom Welsh , November 7, 2017 at 10:41 am GMT
"We Americans appear to have done it all to ourselves through inexplicable tolerance for a combination of greed and fundamental dishonesty on the part of our elected and appointed government officials".

One thing about you Americans that often surprises foreigners is your readiness to believe that all this corruption is something new or different. It has been going on ever since well before 1776.

My own opinion is that systematic corruption is a more or less inevitable consequence of Americans' attempts to cut themselves off from all previous history and moral standards. There were to be no royalty, nobility, gentry – no one exceptional at all in any way.

Well, human nature abhors a lack of hierarchy: we need it almost as much as water, air, food, security. If you try to abolish all forms of hierarchy, all that happens is that it goes underground. What do Americans respect – what, indeed, have they respected most since (at least) the 1850s? Money. That's it. Cold hard cash. Wealth is next to godliness. The more money you have, the better a person you are thought to be – absolutely regardless of whether you got it by grinding the faces of the workers, murder, torture, drug dealing, or anything else.

But money is not, cannot be a value. Marx explained this in fairly simple terms, but the following is my favorite way of putting it.

'As the sociologist Georg Simmel wrote over a century ago, if you make money the center of your value system, then finally you have no value system, because money is not a value'.

– Morris Berman, "The Moral Order", Counterpunch 8-10 February 2013. http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/08/the-moral-order/

another fred , November 7, 2017 at 11:31 am GMT

We Americans appear to have done it all to ourselves through inexplicable tolerance for a combination of greed and fundamental dishonesty on the part of our elected and appointed government officials.

One might call it stupid to believe that a nation could invest its government with the power to handle and disburse vast sums of money without becoming corrupt. Then again one might call that belief insane. One thing is clear, giving the government that much power and money is sure to corrupt it. Anyone who expects anything else of human beings does not know much about human beings.

Z-man , November 7, 2017 at 11:54 am GMT
Flynn was the worst associate that Trump fell in love with. That's a flaw of Trump. He did get rid of Gorka and one or two other NeoCons, unfortunately he has an 'influential' son in law that he can't get rid of that easily whose connected by blood to Joo land. And then again he has a Zionist speech writer Steven Miller, who's very good pushing back the anti Trump press, but still a Zionist Joo . 'Second Coming' anyone? (Grin)
Moi , November 7, 2017 at 12:13 pm GMT
What's PG griping about? Our elected leaders, senior officials and corporate captains pretty accurately reflect what our country has devolved into.
jacques sheete , November 7, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT
@JackOH

Thanks for that great story.

How many politicians could weather the permanent storm of American corruption as well as Pat? Not a whole lot.

I'd guess almost zero.

Hotzenplotz , November 7, 2017 at 12:38 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

„I know of no other country where love of money has such a grip on men's hearts or where stronger scorn is expressed for the theory of permanent equality of property." Tocqueville

Dishonesty and greed – the American way from the beginning.

jacques sheete , November 7, 2017 at 1:06 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh

My own opinion is that systematic corruption is a more or less inevitable consequence of Americans' attempts to cut themselves off from all previous history and moral standards. There were to be no royalty, nobility, gentry – no one exceptional at all in any way.

Well, the royalty, nobility, gentry as well as the chief priests and rabbis and and almost everyone in a position of power have historically been pretty corrupt, I'd say. In fact it's probably accurate to say that all of them have been based on violence, treachery and bullshit or some varying mixture of those things has been the rule since rule began.

As far as worshipping money, you are correct, but the systemic corruption is baked into the cake by the way most political systems generally arise, and it's not only an American phenomenon since a person reading Aristophanes, Plutarch, Juvenal, Herbert Spencer and tons more could as well be writing of current events. The concepts are unchanged; only the names, dates and minor particular issues have changed.

Upon arriving at Messene Philip proceeded to devastate the country like an enemy acting from passion rather than from reason. For he expected, apparently, that while he continued to inflict injuries, the sufferers would never feel any resentment or hatred towards him.

-The Histories of Polybius , Book VIII, pg 465, Section III. Affairs of Greece, Philip, and Messenia. published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1922 thru 1927

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Polybius/8*.html

The concept is not only ancient, but cross-cultural too.

" The Master said, 'Why do you not leave this place?' The answer was, 'There is no oppressive government here.' The Master then said to his disciples: 'Remember this, my little children. Oppressive government is more terrible than tigers.'"

-Confucius as quoted in The Ethics of Confucius, by Miles Menander Dawson, [1915]

http://www.sacred-texts.com/cfu/eoc/eoc10.htm

jacques sheete , November 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT

What's PG griping about? Our elected leaders, senior officials and corporate captains pretty accurately reflect what our country has devolved into.

Sorry good sir, but no devolution needed. It was baked in the cake from inception. The "anti-federalists" warned us but the warnings fell on deaf (and powerless and preoccupied) ears.

Rich , November 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

I'm not trolling you, Jilles, you just keep showing up on this site bashing America with factually wrong statements. I'm aware that the Netherlands is a pleasant nation, both my wife and I have some Dutch ancestry, but the Netherlands, like the US, isn't perfect. The fact is that every country, from Venezuela to Monaco, is a great country when one is rich, I'd bet even Holland is nice if you've got a few bucks.

To your point about your health issues. Here in the US there are two primary medical insurance programs run by the government, Medicare and Medicaid. If you're over 65 you are automatically covered by Medicare, there are some low costs associated with it, but if you're too poor to pay them, you don't have to. Medicaid is a government run health insurance program for the poor and uninsured in the US. In most cases all medical conditions are covered for free in this program. No hospital emergency room in the US is allowed to refuse treatment, either. Could the system be better? Of course, but people aren't really dying in the streets, desperate for medical attention, as the leftists you read are telling you.

Carroll Price , November 7, 2017 at 1:54 pm GMT
Contrary to the proverb, fish DO NOT rot from the head down but from the gut. The rampant corruption practiced by elected and unelected US officials alike, simply mirrors that of the nation as a whole.

http://www.brainstormwarning.org/2008/10/30/the-fish-rots-from-the-head

DESERT FOX , November 7, 2017 at 1:56 pm GMT
Our government is not our government anymore , it is a criminal cabal ran for and by criminals and as such is not legitimate anymore and this has led to perpetual war for perpetual profit and perpetual corruption, we are Rome and the end is near.
Joe Hide , November 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm GMT
Amazing changes for the Good are taking place at an ever more rapid rate. The exposure of the shenanigans of Flynn and Woolsey are literal examples of the figurative "The darkness hates the Light because the Light exposes the darkness for it's evil deeds". The internet and authors like this allow the Light (Truth) into Humanities Consciousness. Keep it up Giraldi!
SolontoCroesus , November 7, 2017 at 2:13 pm GMT
@Rich

Could the system be better? Of course, but people aren't really dying in the streets, desperate for medical attention, as the leftists you read are telling you.

That may or may not be so, I'd have to see some statistics. The evidence of my lyon' eyes tells me plenty of people are living on the streets. My gentrified neighborhood insisted that police remove the men who slept under dumpsters in the alleys -- they moved them to bridge abutments and abandoned industrial sites.

Public libraries are ersatz day-care-for-hoboes; libraries now have police patrolling to ensure that the mentally ill regulars do not act out too loudly or stink too badly. Washington, DC libraries post extensive rules on the bathroom doors: NO shaving, NO showering, NO sex in the bathrooms.

Hu Mi Yu , November 7, 2017 at 2:27 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX

we are Rome and the end is near.

I think of Athens in 415 BC just before the battle of Syracuse. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicilian_Expedition

Old Ben , November 7, 2017 at 3:12 pm GMT
@another fred

Ben Franklin's famous quote while voting to adopt the US Constitution.

"Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
And that was back when the Fed Govt was designed to be much smaller and much less powerful than today. Today's great power concentrated in the US govt, including the power to destroy entire countries or businesses and of course people, as well as a great deal of money which can then thus make people fabulously wealthy, means that this govt is far more susceptable to corruption than the one old Ben Franklin was referring to.

In a country where money means anything and can buy anything, then one must assume that everything is corrupt.

Old and in the way , November 7, 2017 at 3:18 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

Academics, working from CDC statistics, estimated in 2009 that 45,000 Americans die every year from lack of medical care.

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/

As a nation, we want to go nuts over a few hundred or perhaps a thousand deaths from illegal aliens, but we look the other way as tens of thousands die in order to make people rich(er) from a for-profit medical system.

Rich , November 7, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

Who are these hobos living in the street? Here in NYC they are drug addicts or mentally unstable people. Why are they allowed to live in the street? Because leftist judges and politicians have made it illegal to force them into mental hospitals or drug addiction facilities. Leftists believe this is a sign of their benevolence. I don't know of anyone who is actually homeless because of poverty in the US. There's just too many programs, from section 8, to welfare, to public housing available.

jacques sheete , November 7, 2017 at 4:21 pm GMT
@Old Ben

as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."

I could be classified as a big fan of BF, but I think today he'd change that to as other forms have done before it, when the leaders shall become so corrupted as to benefit even more from despotic Government, being incapable of any other. It seems to me that the fish is always on the verge of rotting, and I on't know if it starts at the head or not, but the thing still stinks, and the head, at least, has always been pretty rotten.

Emidio Borg , November 7, 2017 at 4:56 pm GMT
There is more honour in a lake full of crocodiles than there is in the American heart.
anonymous , Disclaimer November 7, 2017 at 5:16 pm GMT
A couple references to "2017" should be corrected to 2016. Thank you for using this wonderfully bipartisan example. One has to be pretty naive to think that R and D mean much in Washington. Flush twice!
Jake , November 7, 2017 at 5:43 pm GMT
Of course, top officials sell out to anyone for anything. It is always that way in any Empire, save the ones ruled by very bright and brutal men who make it clear that so doing will cost in the biggest ways.

And then there is the fact of WASP culture being one in which everything is for sale. You can see the issue in all kinds of works of literature, from Jonson's The Alchemist to Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles and beyond. That is what underlay the English rotating between fury and amusement that the Irish and Highlanders were to too stupid about pence and pounds to know when to sell, including their freedom and family heritage. The same dynamic was highlighted in Yankee WASPs versus Southerners, whose sense of honor was both hated furiously and laughed ay endlessly by pure-blood Anglo-Saxon Yankees.

Ron Unz , November 7, 2017 at 6:22 pm GMT
@Old and in the way

Academics, working from CDC statistics, estimated in 2009 that 45,000 Americans die every year from lack of medical care As a nation, we want to go nuts over a few hundred or perhaps a thousand deaths from illegal aliens, but we look the other way as tens of thousands die in order to make people rich(er) from a for-profit medical system.

Actually, I think the former figure is a *gigantic* over-estimate. Offhand, I'd say there are something like 100 million middle-class white Americans and maybe 11 million or so illegal immigrants. And there were also over 17,000 total homicides during 2016.

Now if we're talking about ordinary middle-class whites murdered by illegals, I doubt the figure is even remotely close to 1-in-a-million per year, which would be a total of 100. In fact, I'm quite skeptical about whether the total is above 10/year, which would be one-in-10-million. That's the reason that neither VDare nor any of the other anti-immigrant webzines can almost ever find any real-life cases to talk about.

In my opinion, the notion that anything more than an infinitesimal number of American whites are murdered by illegals is just a total Internet hoax that's been endlessly propagated by silly activists.

If anyone on this thread thinks I'm wrong then I challenge them to locate at least 10 cases of ordinary middle-class whites murdered by illegals in 2016 (I'm not talking about Aryan Brotherhood gang members shivved in prison brawls or wives killing husbands/husbands killing wives). If you can't find ten cases in all of America during an entire year, then I'm probably right.

anonymous , Disclaimer November 7, 2017 at 6:27 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc.

I am not a fan of the contention that Iran embodies all things evil about Islam.

On the other hand, I am a fan of the contention that the white race embodies all things evil about Christianity.

MBlanc46 , November 7, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT
"Modicum of decency"? By former elected officials and functionaries? Maybe in some other possible world.
Art , November 7, 2017 at 7:34 pm GMT
Did Flynn get crossways with the Mossad – is that why he is in trouble today? Clearly Gülen has protection in America – that has to mean Mossad/CIA backing. I have seen writing that says that Gülen has ties to Israel. That explains a lot. Think Peace -- Art
SolontoCroesus , November 7, 2017 at 8:13 pm GMT
Is corruption uniquely part of the US system of government (beyond the obvious propensity for all systems to become corrupted);
or does the US system of governance have unique loopholes, or systemic weaknesses, that make corruption more likely;
or is/has the US system of governance been corrupted by the machinations of a group or of some 'bad apples,'

Are Woolsey/Flynn examples of the "bad apple" notion: their lack of character has spread rot to the larger system? Their rot has normalized corruption?

Just watched two interviews, a conversation with Robert McNamara and Errol Morris, who directed the documentary, Fog of War, about McNamara's controversial career and decisions about war.

McNamara is widely described as an SOB of dubious moral fiber. In this conversation, he does not hide from his complicity in enormously harmful decisions, but does spell out the forces involved, not only the venal, career-protecting influences but also the realization that decisions involve the lives of large numbers of US men in uniform.

McNamara also tries to articulate the complexities -- and restraint -- with which past political leaders such as himself must approach their post-employment situation: while they do have knowledge, from experience, about situations, McNamara argues that it was his belief that he had to tread very lightly in making public opinions or prescriptions.

Then, Errol Morris was interviewed about his documentary film on Donald Rumfseld. Morris was scathing: Rumsfeld was all about his career, his voluminous "snowflake" memos were meandering BS, self-aggrandizing; Morris was especially outraged with Rumsfeld's reaction to a seriously wounded soldier -- it was a photo op; no measure of humanity was in evidence. Interesting contrast between McNamara and Rumsfeld

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man." Or Cometh the man, rot-eth the barrel."

Andrei Martyanov , Website November 7, 2017 at 8:42 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

McNamara is widely described as an SOB of dubious moral fiber. In this conversation, he does not hide from his complicity in enormously harmful decisions, but does spell out the forces involved, not only the venal, career-protecting influences but also the realization that decisions involve the lives of large numbers of US men in uniform.

Interesting that you mentioned it. I remember years ago watching McNamara's Q&A session after his lecture in one of the US "liberal" universities. I found myself surprised (in a good sense) with his into your face readiness to face anything thrown at him. He went ballistic when some student shouted "murderer" from back seats of the auditorium but McNamara spoke to this student passionately and personally. He was absolutely human and vulnerable, yet honest. In some sense it was very touching and you could see how it also tormented him.

As per neocons, from what I observed so far, I never encountered any indication of any of them being simply decent humans–they are human sewer.

[Oct 31, 2017] Above All - The Junta Expands Its Claim To Power

Highly recommended!
"All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle , the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon's proxy defeated the CIA proxy. (Last months' fight over Raqqa was similar - with a similar outcome.)"
Notable quotes:
"... All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle , the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon's proxy defeated the CIA proxy. (Last months' fight over Raqqa was similar - with a similar outcome.) ..."
"... Former U.S. Army Captain and now CIA director Mike Pompeo was educated at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is part of the Junta circle, installed to control the competition. ..."
"... Is the U.S. military really qualified to teach anyone how to respect human rights? Did it learn that from committing mass atrocities in about each campaign it ever fought? ..."
"... The deep-seated problems plaguing the USA do have solutions, but they are not those being forwarded by the very radical conservatives now in charge of Congress and many statehouses. And the junta members share their mindsets. So, I see the domestic situation continuing to spiral further out-of-control with no sign anywhere of a countervailing power arising with the potential to steer the ship-of-state away from the massive reef it's rapidly heading for ..."
"... Ah, Masha Gessen, literally cancer. Who elevated her? I find it interesting that she does the "translating" for the CIA-scripted FX show "The Americans", a show which has probably more effectively demonized Russians for the cud-chewing crowd than the sum total of Cold War propaganda since the 50s AND the daily Russian hate columns in Wapo et al that trickle down to the Buzzfeed crowd. ..."
"... Military junta or not b, make no mistake, the real power behind the throne are a cabal of billionaires who buy their way by co-opting the politicians who make the laws. Democracy is indeed dead here in the U$A. It's now a full-blown Oligarchy. ..."
"... I agree with this division of power and would add that Trump is also the candidate of the police. I see the media though as more being in the CIA/corporate camps. I think the military backing is necessary as you mention to take the CIA down a few notches. So far I'd say the result in Syria is promising. ..."
"... This tribal civil war is also spilling over into places like Las Vegas, which clearly is run by the Jewish Mafia. There still is no plausible motive given for the shooting incident, but we know that the owners of MGM would never willingly have allowed this to happen on their own property. So it clearly was a hit, and with Area 51 down the road and all the MIC contractors in Vegas, it is highly unlikely that they were not involved or at least aware of the operation. ..."
"... The ground work, or state-of-affairs that lead to what one might call a soft military coup in the US (see b) = within what, at one extreme could be called Ayn-Randian rabid individualism, and at the other a sort of neo-liberal capitalism which is nevertheless highly 'socialist' in the sense re-distributive from the center of power (if only to create a slave/subservient class and prevent uprisings), there is NO public space for 'solidarity' within (besides familial, or close, etc.) ..."
"... historically, dying empires invest in the double prong, military conquest + internal control (can be vicious) ..."
"... I don't think it is all that clear. Corps or better conglomerates of power like 'the media', the 'silicons', banking and finance, Energy, electronics, Big Pharma, etc. are politcally inclined (say!) to some form of corporate fascism, > bought pols from all-sides of any-aisle. Their ties to the military / milit. type power at home are not very strong, they may collaborate on occasion. Some of these 'industries' fear domination that goes beyond soft power and they loathe sanctions - think about who/what/how is doing lucrative deals and has continuing biz success in Iraq, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, etc. - NOT US cos./corps. ..."
"... First, if the only two choices were the Executive CIA and the Military "Junta" with Trump why would we continue the farce of elections? And if the elections were pre-determined and the ruling Junta took over in a coup, then how and why is the CIA out of power? ..."
"... The "farce of elections" is accurate because Trump is not doing what he claimed he would do, not unusual actually. It was Trump who sprang the "junta" on us. And who claimed that the CIA would be out of power? ..."
"... I used to think it was a counter-coup also. But sheep-dog Sanders and Trump's having supported Hillary in 2008 among other things caused me to conclude that it all bullshit. I now believe that the hyper-partisanship is just a show. The political system in the US is designed to prevent any real populist from gaining power. We are being played. Trump is the Republican Obama. ..."
"... The excuse for this was that while US hands were tied (because public wouldn't support further adventurism after Iraq) close allies could push forward. But the new Cold War has changed the calculus. ..."
"... The US isn't giving up on Empire. It's just a different type of Empire for a different type of environment. When Trump talks about "draining the swamp" I think he merely refers to foreign influence. ..."
"... Trump has one ally and that is the 65million voters who put him into office. He surrendered his top people. Saker says it was lack of character. I think when they point the gun at you, your family, your closest friends in your life, you acquiesce. They even took from him Keith Schiller, his personal security man for years. Kelly forced him out of the WH. ..."
"... On the bright side, members of Congress are at least nominally elected. Four star Generals, not so much. It's still a felony carrying a prison term of 5 to 10 years per incident to lie to Congress. The military have no precedent to recommend them either as a source of information or in their decision making ability. They are way out of their depth when it comes to administering a nation. ..."
"... Moon of Alabama always writes interesting and insightful critiques of the Deep State, the military, and the imperialist/war party, but falls flat on his face in his naive faith in the supposed anti-establishment, populist, and America First Nationalist proclivities of Donald Trump, and his arch-reactionary Svengali Steve Bannon. There is indeed at least one major split in the ranks of the ruling class, but to present Trump and Bannon as either valiant figures struggling for the national good, or noble isolated men surrounded by vipers and traitors is absurd. ..."
"... Now, in its late imperial decline, the U.S. has become unable to continue to exercise hegemony, the way it became accustomed to in the first 70+ years in the Post-WW 2 period. The number one Client/Ally/Master, Israel and their deeply embedded 5th Column in the U.S., the Zionists with their associated Pro-Zionist factions within the War Party, now nearly directly and openly controls U.S. foreign policy and military actions in the regions that the Likudnik faction in Israel cares about (i.e. the Levant, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa). ..."
"... Hollowed out economically and industrially the U.S. Empire is clearly on the way out. The various factions fighting for control of policy seem to be oblivious to this basic fact. ..."
Oct 31, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

In an advertising campaign in 2008 the U.S. Air Force declared itself to be "Above All". The slogan and symbol of the campaign was similar to the German "Deutschland Über Alles" campaign of 1933. It was a sign of things to come.

On Thursday Masha Gessen watched the press briefing of White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly and concluded :

The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like, for it was in the logic of such a coup that Kelly advanced his four arguments .
  1. Those who criticize the President don't know what they're talking about because they haven't served in the military . ...
  2. The President did the right thing because he did exactly what his generals told him to do . ...
  3. Communication between the President and a military widow is no one's business but theirs. ...
  4. Citizens are ranked based on their proximity to dying for their country. ...

Gessen is late. The coup happened months ago. A military junta is in strong control of White House polices. It is now widening its claim to power.

All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle , the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon's proxy defeated the CIA proxy. (Last months' fight over Raqqa was similar - with a similar outcome.)

On January 20, the first day of the Not-Hillary presidency , I warned:

The military will demand its due beyond the three generals now in Trump's cabinet.

With the help of the media the generals in the White House defeated their civilian adversary. In August the Trump ship dropped its ideological pilot . Steve Bannon went from board. Bannon's militarist enemy, National Security Advisor General McMaster, had won. I stated :

A military junta is now ruling the United States

and later explained :

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.

The military took full control of White House processes and policies:

Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands ... To control Trump the Junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view ... The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing certain alternatives to him. The one that is most preferable to them, will be presented as the only desirable one. "There are no alternatives," Trump will be told again and again.

With the power center captured the Junta starts to implement its ideology and to suppress any and all criticism against itself.

On Thursday the 19th Kelly criticized Congresswoman Frederica Wilson of South Florida for hearing in (invited) on a phone-call Trump had with some dead soldiers wife:

Kelly then continued his criticism of Wilson, mentioning the 2015 dedication of the Miramar FBI building, saying she focused in her speech that she "got the money" for the building.

The video of the Congresswoman's speech (above link) proves that Kelly's claim was a fabrication. But one is no longer allowed to point such out. The Junta, by definition, does not lie. When the next day journalists asked the White House Press Secretary about Kelly's unjustified attack she responded:

MS. SANDERS: If you want to go after General Kelly, that's up to you. But I think that that -- if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that's something highly inappropriate

It is now "highly inappropriate" to even question the Junta that rules the empire.

... ... ...

If the soldiers do not work "for any other reason than that they love this country" why do they ask to be paid? Why is the public asked to finance 200 military golf courses ? Because the soldiers "love the country"? Only a few 10,000 of the 2,000,000 strong U.S. military will ever see an active front-line.

And imagine the "wonderful joy" Kelly "got in his heart" when he commanded the illegal torture camp of Guantanamo Bay:

Presiding over a population of detainees not charged or convicted of crimes, over whom he had maximum custodial control, Kelly treated them with brutality. His response to the detainees' peaceful hunger strike in 2013 was punitive force-feeding, solitary confinement, and rubber bullets. Furthermore, he sabotaged efforts by the Obama administration to resettle detainees, consistently undermining the will of his commander in chief.

Former U.S. Army Captain and now CIA director Mike Pompeo was educated at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is part of the Junta circle, installed to control the competition. Pompeo also wants to again feel the "wonderful joy". On Friday he promised that the CIA would become a "much more vicious agency". Instead of merely waterboarding 'terrorists' and drone-bombing brown families, Pompeo's more vicious CIA will rape the 'terrorist's' kids and nuke whole villages. Pompeo's remark was made at a get-together of the Junta and neo-conservative warmongers.

On October 19 Defense Secretary General Mattis was asked in Congress about the recent incident in Niger during which, among others, several U.S. soldiers were killed. Mattis set (vid 5:29pm) a curious new metric for deploying U.S. troops:

Any time we commit out troops anywhere it is based on a simple first question and that is - is the well-being of the American people sufficiently enhanced by putting our troops there , by putting our troops in a position to die?

In his October 20 press briefing General Kelly also tried to explain why U.S. soldiers are in Niger:

So why were they there ? They're there working with partners, local -- all across Africa -- in this case, Niger -- working with partners, teaching them how to be better soldiers; teaching them how to respect human rights ...

Is the U.S. military really qualified to teach anyone how to respect human rights? Did it learn that from committing mass atrocities in about each campaign it ever fought?

One of the soldiers who were killed in Niger while "teaching how to respect human rights" was a 39 year old "chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist" with "more than a dozen awards and decorations". The U.S. military sent a highly qualified WMD specialist on a "routine patrol" in Niger to teach local soldiers "to respect human rights" due to which presumably "the well-being of the American people" would be "sufficiently enhanced"? Will anyone really buy that bridge?

But who would dare to ask more about this? It is" highly inappropriate " to doubt whatever the military says. Soon that will change into "verboten". Any doubt, any question will be declared "fake news" and a sign of devious foreign influence. Whoever spreads such will be blocked from communicating.

The military is now indeed "Above All". That air force slogan was a remake of a 1933 "Über Alles" campaign in Germany. One wonders what other historic similarities will develop from it.

Posted by b on October 21, 2017 at 03:58 PM | Permalink

nhs | Oct 21, 2017 4:10:12 PM | 1

Why Donald Trump is the perfect tool in the hands of neocons right now

Peter AU 1 | Oct 21, 2017 4:26:51 PM | 3

The military junta rely on the US dollar as reserve currency for their lurks and perks. The more they take power, the faster this will slip away. So called allies will move towards China/Russia and other currencies. Dangerous times but the downfall of the US is gaining momentum.
ruralito | Oct 21, 2017 4:30:08 PM | 4
Cedant arma togae - Cicero
les7 | Oct 21, 2017 4:30:38 PM | 5
@1 While I understand the temptation to link Trump to Neo-con policies, I think it over simplifies the issue.

Thierry Meyssan has a recent article in which he questions how seriously we should take the US's anti-Iran policy. In it he states "We have to keep in mind that Donald Trump is not a professional politician, but a real estate promoter, and that he acts like one. He gained his professional success by spreading panic with his outrageous statements and observing the reactions he had created amongst his competitors and his partners."

That statement is a great summary of one of the key precepts of what I called 'asymmetrical leadership' - which I think characterizes Trumps leadership style (an application of asymmetrical warfare techniques to the political arena). This does not mean that the Junta has not taken over control. I would agree with b on this. However, the forms by which that control get expressed will still run through Trump and will still reflect his 'asymmetric' style.

VietnamVet | Oct 21, 2017 4:32:33 PM | 6
It does take someone on the other side of the world to give perspective. I don't think it is as much a military junta as things are falling apart. The generals are attempting to keep their corrupt war profits flowing. The media moguls still hate Donald Trump; only as an oligarch hates another. Donald Trump is firing up his base. Expect, the whole of the alt-right propaganda is false. It relies on the hatred of others. All he will do is speed up the splintering. If your home is foreclosed, flooded, polluted, burned down or blown apart; reality is slapping you in the face.
Lochearn | Oct 21, 2017 4:51:42 PM | 7
One of your most important posts, b. At first I thought it strange that you would quote Masha Gessen, an infamous anti-Putin journalist and Khodorkovsky fan, but then it didn't seem so strange. Gessen is a Zionist, therefore she is aligned with the CIA/Wall Street faction, which as you perceptively say lost out with Trump and Raqqa. I say Wall Street as opposed to corporate because, as I have pointed out before, non-financial corporates - and that includes most of the Dow Jones or FTSE - have fuck all say on anything except how they are going to meet next quarterly's earnings estimates. And the CIA is very close to Wall Street.

What interests me is how this relates to Iran, on which both factions appear to be in agreement, but there must be nuances. The Saker published an article where,in my opinion, he failed to give enough weight to how circumstances around Iran have changed over the last decade. I see little green men in large green aircraft weaving their way down the Caspian Sea, not to mention invisible Chinese hardware in the sense of how did it get there, and a Europe which is in disarray with their tongues hanging out for deals with Iran. The success of the anti-Trump MSM narrative combined with fears of potentially millions of Iranian refugees would surely indicate this is the worst possible time to attack Iran. So how can they conjure a war out of this?

les7 | Oct 21, 2017 5:49:02 PM | 9
On a far more insidious note, one has to wonder what an radiological 'expert' was doing in Niger - thanks b for that important piece of info.

When that info is combined with:
1) US Special ops in Mali from 2006
2) US operation Oasis Enabler (2009) looking to infiltrate and control Elite Malian army units
3) March 2012 Coup brought to power American trained Capt. Amadou Sanogo
4) French Operation Serval, at the request of the 'interim government' fights to control northern Malian territory and URANIUM mines along the Mali - Niger border (they said they fought ISIS but what they actually fought was a Tuareg separatist movement)

together with the presence of ISIS (the US trained, evacuated from Syria version?) in the area... Ominous is hardly strong enough to describe the feeling...

karlof1 | Oct 21, 2017 5:54:56 PM | 10
China's leader, Xi, just outlined his nation's goals out to 2050, which Pepe Escobar nicely condensed for our consumption, http://www.atimes.com/article/xis-road-map-chinese-dream/ The full transcript can be read here, starting page middle to top, http://live.china.org.cn/2017/10/17/opening-ceremony-of-the-19th-cpc-national-congress/

I start my comment by referencing these since the operational doctrine of the Outlaw US Empire is to keep any such challenges to its perceived dominance--and quest for total dominance--subdued to the point of insignificance. As you can clearly read, Xi, China, Putin, Russia, and their allies aren't going to allow any junta to stop their integration and development plans preparing their nations and region for the future--plans and thinking woefully absent from any sector of the Outlaw US Empire excepting perhaps weapon development. The just completed Valdai Conference provides an excellent insight to the drama, the comments and visions are as important as they're powerful, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55882 I could pile more of the same for barflies to digest, but I don't think that's required.

There's a very longstanding joke about the joining together of these two words--military intelligence--and for good reason, particularly within the Outlaw US Empire. I don't think anyone within the governmental establishment has any idea of what to do about the Eurasian/Muiltipolar Challenge other than trying to break it--no ideas of how to compete or join it so as to also profit from it. The reason for this as I see it is ideological--Zero Sumism and Randian junk economics is so deeply ingrained they've polluted minds to the point where their blinded and unable to think outside the box they've caged themselves within: Hoisted by their own petard as the saying goes. They just can't accept Win/Win as something viable--sharing is for sissies and commies. Problem is that well over half of humanity sees Win/Win as eminently viable and far more welcome than the demonstrably failed Zero Sum Game promoted by Randian political-economists and enforced through the barrel a gun.

The deep-seated problems plaguing the USA do have solutions, but they are not those being forwarded by the very radical conservatives now in charge of Congress and many statehouses. And the junta members share their mindsets. So, I see the domestic situation continuing to spiral further out-of-control with no sign anywhere of a countervailing power arising with the potential to steer the ship-of-state away from the massive reef it's rapidly heading for.

There might be a surprise in store from the junta, however--it might just take on a bit of the massive corruption plaguing the USA by attacking the Clinton Foundation and its related sewage. Although, that just solves one part of a huge host of problems.

pB | Oct 21, 2017 6:25:48 PM | 11
@karlof1 10

thanks for the link to pepe's take on the speech.

funny thing that just accord to me that i had not thought of for nearly ten years, one of the initial "benefits" of the state of Israel, was the cutting off of Africa from asia, and its pretty glaring that a project to connect Asia Africa and Europe does not include the logical land route as well.

Clueless Joe | Oct 21, 2017 6:28:30 PM | 12
At least in the times of Caesar and Augustus, military junta who seized power could claim to be effective and victorious military, able to crush significant enemy armies. The current top military in the US were at best kiddies the last time the US actually managed to defeat a truly powerful enemy, back in 1945. (though this criticism can apply to all major powers)
sejomoje | Oct 21, 2017 6:39:09 PM | 13
Ah, Masha Gessen, literally cancer. Who elevated her? I find it interesting that she does the "translating" for the CIA-scripted FX show "The Americans", a show which has probably more effectively demonized Russians for the cud-chewing crowd than the sum total of Cold War propaganda since the 50s AND the daily Russian hate columns in Wapo et al that trickle down to the Buzzfeed crowd.

We need to start calling the CIA traitors, actual traitors. Masha Gessen is CIA, CIA ghostwrites for most MSM. Traitors all. But even without the constant hagiographies, would people start to get it? "Americans", I mean?

karlof1 | Oct 21, 2017 6:46:49 PM | 14
Here's a bit of what Hamid Karzai at the Valdai Club had to say about what the junta accomplished in Afghanistan:

"Today, I am one of the greatest critics of the US policy in Afghanistan. Not because I am anti-Western, I am a very Western person. My education is Western, my ideas are Western. I am very democratic in my inner instincts. And I love their culture. But I am against the US policy because it is not succeeding. It is causing us immense trouble and the rise of extremism and radicalism and terrorism. I am against the US policy because on their watch, under their total control of the Afghan air space, the Afghan intelligence and the Afghan military, of all that they have, that super power, there is Daesh in Afghanistan. How come Daesh emerged in Afghanistan 14–15 years after the US presence in Afghanistan with that mass of resources and money and expenditure? Why is the world not as cooperative with America in Afghanistan today as it was before? How come Russia now has doubts about the intentions of the US in Afghanistan or the result of its work in Afghanistan? How come China does not view it the same way? How come Iran has immense difficulty with the way things are conducted in Afghanistan?

"Therefore, as an Afghan in the middle of this great game, I propose to our ally, the United States, the following: we will all succeed if you tell us that you have failed. We would understand. Russia would understand, China would understand. Iran, Pakistan, everybody would understand. India would understand. We have our Indian friends there. We see all signs of failure there, but if you do not tell us you failed, what is this, a game?"

I doubt the junta will do any better than its performed in Afghanistan because it only knows how to play the game Karzai describes. Link is same as one above.

AriusArmenian | Oct 21, 2017 7:24:02 PM | 15
We can now add the Air Force being 'Above All' to the supremacist 'exceptional and indispensable' lunatic attitude in the US that is definitely psychologically the same as another people that thought they were 'Uber Alles'.
Red Ryder | Oct 21, 2017 7:36:54 PM | 16
B,

You stated: The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the U.S. military. (Historically its first successful one).

I differ. JFK was taken out by a combined US Naval Intel and CIA plot. The beneficiary was the MIC. Eleven days later, LBJ reversed the executive order by JFK to end the US involvement in Nam. For 11 more years the Military got what it wanted--war.

LBJ got what he wanted--the Presidency. The Cuban-Americans got what they wanted--revenge for failure at Bay of Pigs by Kennedy. The Mafia got what they wanted--revenge for Bobby Kennedy.

One other thing about the counter-insurgency. It was not so much Military. They waited while the IC ran the leaks and counter-insurgency. Then,Trump fell into the Military's arms. He had been cut off from his base and key supporters and had to empower them by obedience to their plans. Foreign policy is what they wanted. He can still have all the domestic policy he can get, which is basically nothing much. A SC justice, some EOs, and all the Twitter-shit he can muster.

Dr. Bill Wedin | Oct 21, 2017 7:42:38 PM | 17
American democracy is indeed dead. The US Military's only real victory after WWII. After Vietnam, the generals said: "Freedom of speech and of the press and of assembly and the right to trial by jury and all that crap has got to go! And they got rid of it all! The Junta is in control. And the only positive aspect is that we have a rolling Fukushima disaster in Trump, who could implode and then explode in a nuclear Holocaust any second from all the humiliation and investigations crushing in on him--if the Junta did not keep tight control over all the information coming in to him. So you better leave them in place or... BAM! That's the blackmail. But it only works as long as Trump has sole authority to launch our nuclear arsenal. If someone else with a 2nd launch key were required to agree, the Junta would no longer be needed to "protect" us Mafia-style.
ben | Oct 21, 2017 8:05:47 PM | 19
Military junta or not b, make no mistake, the real power behind the throne are a cabal of billionaires who buy their way by co-opting the politicians who make the laws. Democracy is indeed dead here in the U$A. It's now a full-blown Oligarchy.
Perimetr | Oct 21, 2017 8:26:46 PM | 20
Re Bill Wedin at 18, you wrote "the blackmail only works as long as Trump has sole authority to launch our nuclear arsenal."

Authority to launch also includes predelegation to some of the highest ranking military, in the event of a perceived nuclear attack, in which the National Command Authority is disrupted and unable to give launch orders. However, this leaves open the question as to whether the President could be bypassed in the process.

Trident sub commanders also have the necessary launch codes on board to initiate a nuclear strike. Yes, the codes are under lock and key, but the key is on board.

Don Bacon | Oct 21, 2017 8:32:11 PM | 21
The current US militarism also reflects on the kneeling during the national anthem, which is also an ode to the flag in a war setting -- "by the rockets red glare" etc. President Trump has said the protests (against police killing blacks) are unpatriotic and disrespectful of military veterans. Trump has initiated a petition: "The President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the National Anthem. Add your name below to show your patriotism and support."

Randolph Bourne (see #8) had some thoughts on this.

. . . We reverence not our country but the flag. We may criticize ever so severely our country, but we are disrespectful to the flag at our peril. It is the flag and the uniform that make men's heart beat high and fill them with noble emotions, not the thought of and pious hopes for America as a free and enlightened nation. It cannot be said that the object of emotion is the same, because the flag is the symbol of the nation, so that in reverencing the American flag we are reverencing the nation. For the flag is not a symbol of the country as a cultural group, following certain ideals of life, but solely a symbol of the political State, inseparable from its prestige and expansion.
financial matters | Oct 21, 2017 9:18:09 PM | 23
""All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle, the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon proxy won over the CIA proxy. (Last months' fight over Raqqa was similar - with the same outcome.)""

I agree with this division of power and would add that Trump is also the candidate of the police. I see the media though as more being in the CIA/corporate camps. I think the military backing is necessary as you mention to take the CIA down a few notches. So far I'd say the result in Syria is promising.

I think this CIA/corporate power has to be dealt with first to give progressive/socialist ideas much of a chance. It's a fine line but the military is supposed to protect against enemies foreign and domestic.

The corporate part of course has huge power over Congress.

Yul | Oct 21, 2017 9:34:35 PM | 24
@ b

a 39 year old "chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist"

This is Niger - Remember back in 2002/2003 : The Italian letter and Yellow Cake. These days we have Areva mining uranium in Niger Hence the French military offering both security and protecting the "assets" of French Establishment. Those soldiers were not ambushed but were conducting a raid and something went wrong!

Anon | Oct 21, 2017 10:28:24 PM | 30
If there was a coup Masha would be singing praises free n the rooftop because the waragenda she is paid to shill for would be back on. The fact that the lying bitch is gnashing her teeth would suggest that the NeoCon agenda, especially for war against Russia, has been derailed. Fuck you Masha. You suck.
mo' better | Oct 21, 2017 10:29:51 PM | 31
This is great news! I hope the military junta smashes the CIA into little tiny pieces. Why? Because the US military is in its most easily defeatable state ever - they haven't won a war in generations, their generals are armchair soldiers most who have never seen combat, and they have a fondness for massively overpriced technological pieces of MIC enriching garbage for weapons. The CIA owns the media, and without an effective propaganda arm, the military will only ever face another Vietnam.
Don Bacon | Oct 21, 2017 11:02:22 PM | 32
On the topic of losing generals I'm reminded of Harry Truman. A couple of Truman quotes: "It's the fellows who go to West Point and are trained to think they're gods in uniform that I plan to take apart". . ."I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail."
> It's worse now. Most generals got where they are by sucking up, not performing.
> Donald Trump is no Harry Truman, for sure.
peter | Oct 21, 2017 11:59:56 PM | 35
Remember CNN? That fake MSM outlet that never tells the truth? Well, they have been skewering Kelly since he ran his mouth about that Florida congresswoman. So have the other outlets. Huckabee-Sanders is now something of a national joke after her comments. Kelly's shit doesn't hold up and he's been called out repeatedly. "It is now "highly inappropriate" to even question the Junta that rules over the empire." Bullshit.
Ralphieboy | Oct 22, 2017 3:37:33 AM | 36
Look in the Twitter archives and you will find a counter-tweet for almost anything Trump says, including one criticizing four-star general Colin Powell...
Ralphieboy | Oct 22, 2017 3:57:25 AM | 37
Look in the Twitter archives and you will find a Trump tweet criticizing four-star general Colin Powell...
Heros | Oct 22, 2017 4:41:13 AM | 38
"The slogan and symbol of the campaign was similar to the German "Deutschland Über Alles" campaign of 1933."

This is once again typical anti-German propaganda that was used to get both WWI and WWII started, and is now being used against Putin and Russia as well as nationalists across Europe and the Anglo world. In 1933 France still had control of the Saar and the Rhineland, Germany was saddled with monumental war debts, and Hitler was clearly not running a campaign on the slogan "Germany should rule the world", which is what the Anglo-Zionist narrative would have us believe. The meaning "Über Alles" was clearly "Germany First". That means look out for the German people first. The Weimar government clearly wasn't doing this. Call it Hitler's "MAGA".

The real truth is that it is this same US military industrial complex who worked for Roosevelt, Churchill, and their Zionist masters to get the second world war started, and who now are desperate for a third. They are sadistic, murdering globalists. Hitler was a nationalist. He never planned to rule the world the same way the Zionists already do, as is evidenced by the never ending strife in the Middle East, and their ongoing tribal civil war which is also being waged within the US government.

This tribal civil war is also spilling over into places like Las Vegas, which clearly is run by the Jewish Mafia. There still is no plausible motive given for the shooting incident, but we know that the owners of MGM would never willingly have allowed this to happen on their own property. So it clearly was a hit, and with Area 51 down the road and all the MIC contractors in Vegas, it is highly unlikely that they were not involved or at least aware of the operation.

Here is a LV company where for $3500 you can fly around the desert in a Helicopter shooting up targets with a SAW-249.

https://machinegunsvegas.com/product/machine-gun-helicopter/

How is it that this company can get away with this without MIC participation? Could this helicopter be available for uses at the right price?

ralphieboy | Oct 22, 2017 6:11:44 AM | 40
The original meaning of "Deutschland über alles" came about in the early 1800's when there was no united Germany: it meant that there should be a united Germany above all the minor German states, duchies and principalities that existed at the time.
fx | Oct 22, 2017 7:08:30 AM | 41
For those who want to avoid being datamined by nhs, the original link about "Why Donald Trump is the perfect tool in the hands of neocons right now" is here: https://failedevolution.blogspot.com/
fx | Oct 22, 2017 7:10:36 AM | 42
"One of the soldiers who were killed in Niger while "teaching how to respect human rights" was a 39 year old "chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist" with "more than a dozen awards and decorations".

The U.S. military sent a highly qualified WMD specialist on a "routine patrol" in Niger to teach local soldiers "to respect human rights" due to which presumably "the well-being of the American people" would be "sufficiently enhanced"?" It's all about the uranium in Agades, then?

Jack Frost | Oct 22, 2017 7:49:08 AM | 43
Trump is either very gullible and ignorant (most likely) or he is diabolically clever. Everything he does - every action, every appointment, every utterance - could not be better formulated to undermine the Zioamerican empire. Which is kind of what he promised to do.
Camillus O'Byrne | Oct 22, 2017 7:52:58 AM | 44
The brazen arrogance of these jerks like Kelly is stupefying. Infuriatingly shameless.

The guy has never done an honest day's work IN HIS LIFE, has had his snout in the public trough continuously and has materially contributed to the ruination of his country. STFU you stupid twat. He is also a scumbag that no doubt had a lot to do with his son's demise - imagine being this a-hole's son?

These clowns call themselves "General" and we are supposed to think that puts them in the same class as a Wellington or a Caesar or Napoleon? They were all first class bastards, ruthless, but fine Generals. Tough, bold, audacious leaders of men and brilliant strategists, who took risks, including with their own lives. Hell, the Prussian officer training system turned out Quartermasters that were better field Generals than these American frauds.

As I have said in another thread, the US has none of the martial virtues. Not as a people, not as military institutions, not as individual soldiers or sailors (their airmen are obviously cowards or psychopaths so not necessary even to consider in this context). Virtues such as steadfastness in adversity, discipline when under fire, self-sacrifice for comrades and the cause. Not saying anything about the morality of any particular cause here, just what makes a professional army. To compare the US military with Rome's Legions, say, is laughable. The biggest difference between these American whackers is that in real armies individuals are expected to be able to contend with a worthy adversary. To take risks. To fight when it is HARD to fight. Even Rome's patricians understood that every now and then they had to expose themselves to danger if they were to have any honour, as Crassus, richest of them all, found out very dramatically when he met his end at the head of the Syrian Legions. (Defeated by the Iranians! - they've seen 'em all come and go). Windbags like Kelly wouldn't know what honour is.

The US has NEVER fought an adversary on anything like equal terms. They preen themselves about WW2. I call BS. They waited until the Soviets had broken the back of the most fearsome war machine in history, the Wehrmacht and then faced teenagers and old men in France. On the occasions when they did face professional German troops they had their whiney arses kicked. As for the Pacific war, they stood off island after island and rained a stupendous amount of naval shells and bombs on the Japanese garrisons to the point where they were insane with the cacophany and pure physical terror to turn your bowels to water, before setting foot on them, while the aerial destruction of Japanese cities is one of the great atrocities in history, disgraceful and completely without honour. I suspect a disproportionate number of US military casualties are due to being run over by a forklift, training accidents, friendly fire, syphilis or fragging of their own.

The qualities the US military (they don't deserve the epithet "army") exemplifies are cowardice, incompetence, viciousness and wanton destructiveness. No wonder, as the corruption (plenty of fiscal as well as moral) starts at the top with the Kellys and drips down like a putrid slime from there.

He and his ilk are just a bunch of murderous bags of human excrement. No decent person can have anything but contempt for them.

Petri Krohn | Oct 22, 2017 9:02:58 AM | 45
It is little surprise if a junta has taken over. Many Democrats would support a military junta over Trump. Now we are hearing similar calls from Republicans.

One of the latest is this opinion piece by Michael Gerson in the Washington Post from October 12, 2017: Republicans, it's time to panic The Washington Examiner has a short summary:

Ex-Bush adviser Michael Gerson tells Republicans: 'It's time to panic'

Michael Gerson, who's also a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote in an op-ed Friday that "the security of our country -- and potentially the lives of millions of people abroad -- depends on Trump being someone else entirely."

"The time for whispered criticisms and quiet snickering is over. The time for panic and decision is upon us. The thin line of sane, responsible advisers at the White House -- such as Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- could break at any moment," Gerson wrote. "The American government now has a dangerous fragility at its very center. Its welfare is as thin as an eggshell -- perhaps as thin as Donald Trump's skin."

The op-ed comes amid Trump's feud with Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who warned that the president's reckless threats could lead to "World War III."

"I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it's a situation of trying to contain him," Corker told the New York Times.

arze | Oct 22, 2017 9:48:36 AM | 46
At this point in history to be US president is to be a criminal. An "autonomous" US president has not existed at least since JFK, perhaps not since Lincoln. Kelley, like his boss, routinely "clowns" the media, and however unctuous Kelley's remarks are, they fit into that mode.

Our generals are weak men. If they weren't, they wouldn't need a Trump, or a whatever to run for office and win that office.

They can't run and win any better than they can conduct warfare as a rational means to a rational end; and as the post eloquently points out, again: they are experts at rape, murder, war crimes, mayhem and destruction. The ubiquitous propaganda to hide that is all they have that saves them from the penal colony where they belong.

Their project to rule the world would be as successful as any "they destroyed it in order to save it" attempts.

MG's fragmented consciousness permit her to be rational at times, and irresponsible at others.

Don Bacon | Oct 22, 2017 10:02:48 AM | 47
re: Presiding over a population of detainees not charged or convicted of crimes, over whom he had maximum custodial control, Kelly treated them with brutality. . .

The US needed go show progress in the "war on terror" and one way was to accumulate some prisoners of the "war." CIA operatives were sent to the tribal areas of Afghanistan & Pakistan with cash to entice "bounty hunters." It was easy, because every tribal chief had enemies, which he would capture and present for a big payoff. So the Guantanamo (Gitmo) prison was set up in Cuba and soon accumulated 7-800 "detainees" who were bullied and tortured.

None of them were tried because there was no evidence they had done anything wrong. The Supreme Court ruled that they should have a judicial process but (except a few cases) it was never done. Most of the prisoners detainees were released, including a 13 yo boy and a 92 yo man, and about 200 remained. I guess it's less now.

Meanwhile the Washington politicians were able to crow about all those dangerous people in Gitmo, and prattle about the "recidivism" danger if and when they would be released. What were they supposed to do, forgive and forget all the terrible treatment they had received?? So yes, Kelly is scum, but that's not unusual for a general.

Noirette | Oct 22, 2017 10:07:12 AM | 48
The ground work, or state-of-affairs that lead to what one might call a soft military coup in the US (see b) = within what, at one extreme could be called Ayn-Randian rabid individualism, and at the other a sort of neo-liberal capitalism which is nevertheless highly 'socialist' in the sense re-distributive from the center of power (if only to create a slave/subservient class and prevent uprisings), there is NO public space for 'solidarity' within (besides familial, or close, etc.)

Therefore, the belonging or 'solidarity' is activated only facing an outside enemy who is personalised as e.g. communist, ugly dictator, intends to attack the US, poisons babies, etc. That gives the military an edge.. Then natch, historically, dying empires invest in the double prong, military conquest + internal control (can be vicious), ain't flash news.

.... I don't think it is all that clear. Corps or better conglomerates of power like 'the media', the 'silicons', banking and finance, Energy, electronics, Big Pharma, etc. are politcally inclined (say!) to some form of corporate fascism, > bought pols from all-sides of any-aisle. Their ties to the military / milit. type power at home are not very strong, they may collaborate on occasion. Some of these 'industries' fear domination that goes beyond soft power and they loathe sanctions - think about who/what/how is doing lucrative deals and has continuing biz success in Iraq, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, etc. - NOT US cos./corps.

To me this looks more like total disorganisation than anything else.

J | Oct 22, 2017 10:53:49 AM | 49
What a load of hooey!

First, if the only two choices were the Executive CIA and the Military "Junta" with Trump why would we continue the farce of elections? And if the elections were pre-determined and the ruling Junta took over in a coup, then how and why is the CIA out of power?

Secondly, same question will be here for you when a) the military and Trump get booted with impeachment, or b) when the next election comes.

Van Morrison once penned "politics, superstition and religion go hand in hand." It never fails, those out of power go from being logical, critical thinkers to becoming outlandish bores who exaggerate things and fabricate what they see. It's called delusion.

Don Bacon | Oct 22, 2017 11:22:03 AM | 51
@J 49
The "farce of elections" is accurate because Trump is not doing what he claimed he would do, not unusual actually. It was Trump who sprang the "junta" on us. And who claimed that the CIA would be out of power?
Don Bacon | Oct 22, 2017 11:25:38 AM | 52
Kelly: So why were they there? They're there working with partners, local -- all across Africa -- in this case, Niger -- working with partners, teaching them how to be better soldiers; teaching them how to respect human rights

These guys didn't die teaching, nor in combat in Niger, they were (according to news reports) trying to track down an accomplice of one Abu Adnan al-Sahraoui. In other words they were doing police work in a foreign country, an absolutely ridiculous task which they were not trained or able to do and which put their lives needlessly in danger. This criticism applies to the whole "war on terror" which has proven to be a tragic farce (if there can be such a thing).

dahoit | Oct 22, 2017 11:37:28 AM | 53
b is quoting macha gessen? You got be kidding. MSN will look his site in homage. In what way MSM will JFK look CIA approval? Traitors.
Jackrabbit | Oct 22, 2017 12:38:59 PM | 54
I used to think it was a counter-coup also. But sheep-dog Sanders and Trump's having supported Hillary in 2008 among other things caused me to conclude that it all bullshit. I now believe that the hyper-partisanship is just a show. The political system in the US is designed to prevent any real populist from gaining power. We are being played. Trump is the Republican Obama.
Piotr Berman | Oct 22, 2017 1:10:28 PM | 56
Carry on, nothing to see here.

I really think that this is the case in this instance. Trump is bellicose and erratic. In the realm of foreign policy and military, it yielded one positive change: his obsession with ISIS led to huge decrease of fighting between "moderate opposition" in Syria with "SAA and allies", allowing the latter to effectively reduce the territory controlled by ISIS, similarly, Obama's efforts to sideline "sectarian forces trained by Iran" from fighting with ISIS were apparently abandoned with similar effect. But otherwise, no "reset" with Russia, clown show concerning the nuclear program of North Korea, berating allies who spend insufficiently to fight threats that they do not have, increasing domestic military budget (again, to fight threats that we do not have) and so on. Formation of the new axis of evil, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela is a notable novelty.

Trump was so contradictory is his campaign statements that it is almost amazing that ANY positive element can be discerned. At the time, I paid attention to his praises of John Bolton, a proud walrus-American who communicates using bellowing, in other words, resembles a walrus both in the way he looks, but also in the way he speaks.

Needless to say, Dotard in Chief can exercise power only through underlings that may try to make sense of what he says. In some cases, like reforming American healthcare according to his promises, this is flatly impossible. So generals are seemingly in the same position, and of course, when in doubt, they do what they would do anyway.

Lawrence Smith | Oct 22, 2017 1:22:16 PM | 57
Not that I am any more or less in the loop than any of these fine commenters, but what pops into my mind when reading of the ambush of the four special forces servicemen is the crash of the helicopter that took out so many of the seal team six who supposedly took out Osama. Maybe they knew too much would be my guess. Why else would they put such a knowledgable specialist out on the perimeter? Makes no sense. Offing your own is part and parcel in the military. Heroes of convenience.
Jackrabbit | Oct 22, 2017 1:39:09 PM | 58
What seems to have been lost in the discussion is what exactly the "counter-coup" is all about.

1. During the Obama years, "successes" like Lybia and Ukraine were matched by "failures" like the lost proxy war for Syria and pushing Russia into the arms of China. The new 'Cold War' makes US nationalism more important as 'hot' conflicts become more likely.

2. Obama/Clinton-led civilian authority was abusing power to promote an "Empire-first" vision of governance, Obama/Clinton:

>> replaced/retired many military officers;

>> placed US resources/forces in a support role ("leading from behind") ;

>> grew a 'radical center' (aka "Third Way") that sought to undermine traditional nationalist/patriotism via immigration and divisive 'wedge issues'.

The excuse for this was that while US hands were tied (because public wouldn't support further adventurism after Iraq) close allies could push forward. But the new Cold War has changed the calculus.

The US isn't giving up on Empire. It's just a different type of Empire for a different type of environment. When Trump talks about "draining the swamp" I think he merely refers to foreign influence.

So Trump pivots US policy based on Obama's record (as Obama did off Bush's record), and the next President will pivot off Trump's record, but the direction is always the same.

Red Ryder | Oct 22, 2017 2:34:25 PM | 59
Trump has one ally and that is the 65million voters who put him into office. He surrendered his top people. Saker says it was lack of character. I think when they point the gun at you, your family, your closest friends in your life, you acquiesce. They even took from him Keith Schiller, his personal security man for years. Kelly forced him out of the WH.

Trump is powerless except when he functions as Leader of the rallies. As President, even with the cabal running the Oval Office, they all are limited by the Shadow Government, Deep State, IC, Khazarian Matrix. No President is a free man empowered to act.

He now is focused on what is possible. Perhaps that will be a tax cut and a few more SC justices and a few score of judges for the fed district courts. Those don't interfere with Financial Power and MIC and the Hegemony of Empire.

There is one hope. Putin + Xi.
And we know the limits they face.

Inside the Tyranny of American government, there is no hope. During the Trump time Putin and Xi have to make the most of the Swamp creating their own problems. It is that moment of opportunity, though it looks bleak.

One thing for certain, the US military does not want a direct war. It wants more of these terror conflicts. Africa will become huge over the next few years. Graham is already selling it big. Trillions of dollars is what is the goal.

SE Asia and Africa are the new big "markets" for MIC. ISIS/AQ are the product. War is the service industry being sold as the "solution".

The Long War of anti-terror is the scam Smedley Butler told us about in the thirties.

-- Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long.

I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

CD Waller | Oct 22, 2017 2:39:29 PM | 60
On the bright side, members of Congress are at least nominally elected. Four star Generals, not so much. It's still a felony carrying a prison term of 5 to 10 years per incident to lie to Congress. The military have no precedent to recommend them either as a source of information or in their decision making ability. They are way out of their depth when it comes to administering a nation.

In none of their unwarranted invasions (all the result of bad information and poor judgment) of other nations have they been successful the day after the bombs stopped falling.

bob | Oct 22, 2017 3:21:56 PM | 61
IDIOTS!!! you forget the fact that if clinton won you would first be glowing GREEN and now dead. On Oct 16th 2016 Putin said "if hillary wins its WW3" on you tube. guess what we are alive and have to deal with that taxevader trump. we will survive!
james | Oct 22, 2017 4:04:30 PM | 62
@57 lawrence... plausible... thanks..truth eventually comes out..
Castellio | Oct 22, 2017 5:05:46 PM | 63
@16, @22

The time has long passed since one can ignore JFK's failed insistence on the inspections of the illegal Israeli nuclear weapons program at Dimona, and then his sudden death. Factoring Israel into the equation greatly simplifies understanding the make-up of the Warren Commission, LBJ's about turn on the relation to the illegal nuclear weapons program and his reaction to the attack on the Liberty, and the evolution of US politics more generally.

One would be more pressed to argue why one thinks it is not a primary cause.

Fidelios Automata | Oct 22, 2017 11:37:16 PM | 64
We voted for change and as usual, we got more of the same. All I can say is thank God it's not Hillary in the White House. At least Trump's not spoiling for a war with Russia.
Danny801 | Oct 23, 2017 11:09:10 AM | 65
Democracy has been dead in America for a long time. I'd rather Kelly run the country than Hillary Clinton. She would have us all annihilated in a war with Russia and China
ian | Oct 23, 2017 5:15:48 PM | 66
It's going to be hard to fight a junta. The military is at least halfway competent, something that can't be said for either the administration or congress. Look at this latest flap - on the one side you have Wilson the rodeo clown, on the other you have Trump, who can't resist the urge to pop off on twitter.

Then you have Kelly, who at least comes off like an adult. Before people start pointing to all the nefarious things the military is doing, let me just say I'm talking about perception.

This all seems like Rome all over.

Shyaku | Oct 23, 2017 10:06:35 PM | 67
Maybe this sums it up: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_feather#World_War_I

- Regards as always, Shyaku.

NemesisCalling | Oct 23, 2017 10:32:39 PM | 68
@59 Ryder

Good post sans the Africa bit. They are having a tough time explaining the Niger debacle to people. I don't think African conflicts have the same glamorous draw as MENA conflicts. Once the economy goes to shit, it will be an even tougher sell.

Trump is walking a narrow line. He has not brought us into a war with either Russia or NoKo...yet. This deserves some praise. The media blitz against Trump has always had a twofold reasoning behind it: it puts pressure on his ego to acquiesce and, two, if he doesn't, the public has been inoculated against feeling too bad when a lone-gunmen puts a bullet in his brain. I guess if you believe that, as I do, it explains why even a bumbling policy is a positive aspect of a Trump presidency, instead of the true-believer approach from Hillary and her ilk. There really is no other choice. It's either war or watch the empire crumble. The true believers might have chosen the former, but President Trump, I believe, has sabotaged that possibility. So take all the Trump-bashers in here with a grain or salt. They are asking for the stars, but watching the empire's police implode suits me just fine.

"But the white supremacists...KKK!" What a fucking joke.

dmorista | Oct 24, 2017 7:57:57 AM | 69
Moon of Alabama always writes interesting and insightful critiques of the Deep State, the military, and the imperialist/war party, but falls flat on his face in his naive faith in the supposed anti-establishment, populist, and America First Nationalist proclivities of Donald Trump, and his arch-reactionary Svengali Steve Bannon. There is indeed at least one major split in the ranks of the ruling class, but to present Trump and Bannon as either valiant figures struggling for the national good, or noble isolated men surrounded by vipers and traitors is absurd.

Now, in its late imperial decline, the U.S. has become unable to continue to exercise hegemony, the way it became accustomed to in the first 70+ years in the Post-WW 2 period. The number one Client/Ally/Master, Israel and their deeply embedded 5th Column in the U.S., the Zionists with their associated Pro-Zionist factions within the War Party, now nearly directly and openly controls U.S. foreign policy and military actions in the regions that the Likudnik faction in Israel cares about (i.e. the Levant, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa).

Hollowed out economically and industrially the U.S. Empire is clearly on the way out. The various factions fighting for control of policy seem to be oblivious to this basic fact. The actual situation is similar to that the U.S. participated in during period from the late 1800s - WW 2; the declining hegemon accustomed to calling the shots in international affairs (then the British Empire, now the U.S.), ends up overextended and committed in far too many areas, with declining resources and domestic solidarity to dedicate to the tasks; the rising hegemon (then the U.S. now China) is still focused on issues of internal and external economic development and the exercise of regional power. China is already either equal in power to the U.S. or more powerful and will only continue to grow in power as the U.S. continues to decline. The Israelis/Zionists fully realize that the U.S. would not survive another disastrous war (like the air war they want the U.S. to wage against Iran, the U.S. does not have the capability to conduct a land war against Iran) intact. They are willing to try to force the issue to achieve one more step in their plan to establish "Eretz Israel" whose territory would extend from the Nile to the Euphrates and from the Sinai to Turkey. Their plans are just as crazy as those of the NeoCons and the NeoLiberals and their endless disastrous wars; and Trump/Bannon are their agents in the U.S.

[Oct 31, 2017] JFK was taken out by a combined US Naval Intel and CIA plot. The beneficiary was the MIC

Notable quotes:
"... One other thing about the counter-insurgency. It was not so much Military. They waited while the IC ran the leaks and counter-insurgency. Then, Trump fell into the Military's arms. He had been cut off from his base and key supporters and had to empower them by obedience to their plans. Foreign policy is what they wanted. He can still have all the domestic policy he can get, which is basically nothing much. A SC justice, some EOs, and all the Twitter-shit he can muster. ..."
Oct 31, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Red Ryder | Oct 21, 2017 7:36:54 PM | 16

B,

You stated: The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the U.S. military. (Historically its first successful one).

I differ. JFK was taken out by a combined US Naval Intel and CIA plot. The beneficiary was the MIC. Eleven days later, LBJ reversed the executive order by JFK to end the US involvement in Nam. For 11 more years the Military got what it wanted -- war.

LBJ got what he wanted -- the Presidency. The Cuban-Americans got what they wanted -- revenge for failure at Bay of Pigs by Kennedy. The Mafia got what they wanted -- revenge for Bobby Kennedy.

One other thing about the counter-insurgency. It was not so much Military. They waited while the IC ran the leaks and counter-insurgency. Then, Trump fell into the Military's arms. He had been cut off from his base and key supporters and had to empower them by obedience to their plans. Foreign policy is what they wanted. He can still have all the domestic policy he can get, which is basically nothing much. A SC justice, some EOs, and all the Twitter-shit he can muster.

bits | Oct 21, 2017 8:33:54 PM | 22
@b:

The military/intelligence -- slash not dash -- coup was on September 11, 2001. Trump's overt Junta is psyops. This is the "armed forces" rescuing us from "neocons" lead by courageous slimebag Trump.

--

@Red Ryder | Oct 21, 2017 7:36:54 PM | 16

Dear RR. You forgot that JFK wanted to subject ISRAEL to the same IAEA regime that IRAN is now subjected to. "Never forget".

[Oct 31, 2017] The Donald's Pathetic Afghan Flip-Flop

Oct 31, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

To justify the 180 degree shift on an anti-Afghan policy position that he had tweeted about vociferously for six years running (see below), the Donald's teleprompter scripters offered an explanation that was beyond lame:

"My original instinct was to pull out – and, historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. In other words, when you're President of the United States."'

Actually, we are relived to hear Trump finally recognizes that he actually is President and wish he would start doing something presidential. For instance, he could declassify all the NSA intercepts about purported Russian meddling in the US election, and prove that it's all a hoax generated by Obama's despicable national security advisor, John Brennan, and a handful of deep state operatives who properly feared the Donald's solid anti-interventionist instincts.

So doing, Trump could crush the anti-Russian hysteria and the Deep State/Dem/mainstream media campaign to hound him from office and get on with the desperately important business of effectuating a rapprochement with Russia. World peace depends on it; the failing American Empire can't be dismantled without it; and the nation's fast growing fiscal calamity can't be stemmed unless there is a drastic, multi-hundred billion reduction in defense spending.

But it's not to be. The Donald has been hoodwinked by three discredited, failed generals – Kelly, McMasters, and Mattis – who have been dissembling, spinning and lying to civilian officials about Afghanistan for most of the past 17 years. Any generals worth their salt would have told their civilian superiors years ago that Afghanistan is mission impossible and irrelevant to the security of the American homeland. That's because there never was more than a few hundred al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan and when bin-Laden hightailed to his hideaway in Pakistan in 2003 that should have been the end of Washington's pointless but incredibly destructive invasion and occupation.

By contrast, there was never any US national security interest whatsoever in cleansing the godforsaken lands of the Hindu Kush of the 12th century Taliban fanatics who took over this hapless country during the 1990s. And largely with weapons that had been supplied by the CIA during the 1980s in a pointless mission to drive the Soviets out.

[Oct 30, 2017] New York Times Acknowledges US Global Empire by Sheldon Richman

Notable quotes:
"... The UN has 193 member states -- and the U.S. government has a military presence in at least 89 percent of them! The Times ..."
"... Sheldon Richman , author of America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited , keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

One big advantage the war party has is the public's ignorance about the activities of the far-flung American empire. Athough frustrating, that ignorance is easy to understand and has been explained countless times by writers in the public choice tradition. Most people are too busy with their lives, families, and communities to pay the close attention required to know that the empire exists and what it is up to. The opportunity cost of paying attention is huge, considering that the payoff is so small: even a well-informed individual could not take decisive action to rein in the out-of-control national security state. One vote means nothing, and being knowledgeable about the U.S. government's nefarious foreign policy is more likely to alienate friends and other people than influence them. Why give up time with family and friends just so one can be accused of "hating America"?

In light of this systemic rational ignorance, we must be grateful when a prominent institution acknowledges how much the government intervenes around the world. Such an acknowledgment came from the New York Times editorial board this week. The editorial drips with irony since the Times has done so much to gin up public support for America's imperial wars. (See, for example, its 2001-02 coverage of Iraq and its phantom WMD.) Stlll, the piece is noteworthy.

The Oct. 22 editorial began:

The United States has been at war continuously since the attacks of 9/11 and now has just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories.

That alone ought to come as a shock to nearly all Americans. The UN has 193 member states -- and the U.S. government has a military presence in at least 89 percent of them! The Times does not mention that the government also maintains at least 800 military bases and installations around the world. That's a big government we're talking about. And empires are bloody expensive.

Sheldon Richman , author of America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited , keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute.

[Oct 24, 2017] Help Wanted - State Department Seeks Self-Consistent Secretary

Oct 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

European business deals with Iran are safe Tillerson - AFP, October 20 2017

Washington (AFP) - The United States does not intend to disrupt European business deals with Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in comments published Friday.
...
"The president's been pretty clear that it's not his intent to interfere with business deals that the Europeans may have under way with Iran," Tillerson told The Wall Street Journal.

"He's said it clearly: 'That's fine. You guys do what you want to do.'"

Tillerson Warns Europe Against Iran Investments - NYT, October 22 2017

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia --
...
Speaking during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Tillerson said, "Both of our countries believe that those who conduct business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, any of their entities -- European companies or other companies around the globe -- really do so at great risk ." Mr. Tillerson appeared at a brief news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, with the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.
...
Mr. Tillerson's remarks were the administration's most pointed warning to date ...

This not the way to get the European Union in line with U.S. policies. So what is going on here?

Trump in often inconsistent in what he says. That is his privilege. But it does not mean that the Secretary of State has to contradict himself each and every day. It is Tillerson's task to project a steady foreign policy. If there is none - for whatever reason - he must keep his comments vague. Contradictions like the above make him a joke.

'Rexxon' has experience in doing international businesses. He knows that consistency is one of the most important factors in getting things done. No one will make deals with a party that changes its mind every other day.

So why is Tillerson jumping around like this? He seeks to replace Ms. Jubeir as court jester in Riyadh? Or does he want to sabotage his own position?

One inevitably gets the impression that Tillerson wants out. That he wants to chuck his job rather sooner than later. That he longs for the inevitable day he will be fired.

Tillerson is a realist at heart. He is no fan of Netanyahoo. He despises the fake human rights blabber others use to hide their motives. The neo-conservatives would love to see him go. Josh Rogin lists their favorite candidates:

The most popular parlor game in Washington right now is speculating who will replace Rex Tillerson as President Trump's next secretary of state ... two qualified and apparently willing candidates have emerged. ... The top two contenders, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, ...

Haley is way too loud and incompetent . Pompeo is too narrow minded.

I wonder who the White House junta will prefer as new Secretary of State. One from its own stable? David Petraeus?

He would be another nail in the coffin of Trump's presidency.

Posted by b on October 23, 2017 at 09:28 AM | Permalink

lysander | Oct 23, 2017 10:07:12 AM | 1

My understanding is that both Mattis and Dunford also favor continuing with the Iran agreement. It is also not yet clear that Congress will actually pass any serious new sanctions on Iran in the 60 days available to it.

As for Trump firing Tillerson, I doubt it. Tillerson might decide to quit on his own, and i would not blame him, but I don't think Trump will fire him. The last thing he wants is another brutal confirmation hearing in the Senate. Or to pick a traditional neocon to avoid one.

Trump at times my seem seem stupid, but he isn't.

nhs | Oct 23, 2017 10:16:59 AM | 2
It's an underground war inside the unholy Western alliance:

Neoliberal cannibalism: free market fundamentalists start a transatlantic civil war

G | Oct 23, 2017 10:18:20 AM | 3
@lysander

My guess is that the only reason Mattis, McMaster, Dunford, and Kelly are supposedly in support of the Iran deal is because they know Trump is horrible at foreign policy and that war with Iran under Trump would be a bigger disaster than the other middle east escapades of the last decade. If any other republican, including Pence, was at the helm, they'd be all for de-certification and escalation. Trump is such a liability that they have been pushed towards realism, but are not committed deeply to its principles. Tillerson may actually be much more of a realist at heart, which, despite his bumbling, contradictions, and impotence, makes him better than pretty much any other possible Secretary of States that the Trump administration would offer up.

Bill H | Oct 23, 2017 10:24:04 AM | 4
Tillerson says that dealing with Iran and with businesses in Iran is fine; dealing with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is not okay. I see nothing inconsistent or contradictory in that. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard owns and conducts business separately from the government as a whole, and it certainly is separate from Iranian businesses.
Don Bacon | Oct 23, 2017 10:37:24 AM | 5
How pathetic. The US is in denial about its Operation Iraqi Freedom which converted Iraq to an Iran ally.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Riyadh on Saturday to attend a landmark meeting between officials from Saudi Arabia and Iraq aimed at improving relations between the two countries and countering Iran's growing regional influence.

Danny801 | Oct 23, 2017 10:38:06 AM | 6
theyre not replacing him with the Israeli stooge and disaster that is Nikki Haley. She was Trumps gift to Netenyahu at the UN because he needs Israeli lobbyist support at home unfortunately. But the people running the country are Kelly and Mattis and they are not ok with a costly war with Iran (thankfully). they're more pragmatic. Nikki as Secretary of State would have a hard time even getting anyone to sit down and negotiate with her. Look at how awful our relations are with Iran and Russia and yet both have sat down with Tillerson out of respect for the man (even knowing he has almost no sway with the President). that same courtesy isnt going to be given to a war mongering nutjob like Haely. Pompeo is a poor choice as well he comes across as too impatient and thin skinned for that job.

I agree the junta will look within its stable at one of its own. Would also be easier to get one of them approved by a very hostile Congress as well

james | Oct 23, 2017 11:18:23 AM | 7
thanks b... the usa position at this point on the world stage is in disarray... whether that is the result of trump, or trump is a byproduct of it all, i can't tell.. however, tillerson will be fed to the neo con lions like all others including trump at some point.. the neo con agenda must be fed!
karlof1 | Oct 23, 2017 12:42:41 PM | 8
The problem that plagues Tillerson is the same that plagued Kerry--Despite its being published, they cannot publicly acknowledge the actual Imperial Policy of the Outlaw US Empire, to attain Full Spectrum Dominance over the planet and its people which began under Clinton attempting to bring into reality GHW Bush's New World Order--the standing policy is illegal under both Domestic and International Law. So, there is no stated policy because it cannot be stated, leaving Tillerson and Kerry before him looking like uneducated fools. Rice, on the other hand, was effective since she had no qualms about that policy since she's one of its designers, which is why she's a War Criminal. There was never any debate over the current Imperial Policy formulation. Indeed, it merely brought together several disparate policy threads that had been in place since WW2's end. Of course, what plagues Tillerson in no way shackles other nations policy responses, although the public announcement of the Outlaw US Empire's policy doesn't occur as often as it ought to when a nation seeks to justify its policy, and when it occurs it's censored by the Empire's Propaganda System.
john | Oct 23, 2017 12:44:32 PM | 9
i suppose Rex signed off on this , as well.

another nuance of US diplomacy.

NotIran | Oct 23, 2017 1:13:11 PM | 10
I don't want my country Greece doing bussines with the islamic oppresive Iranian government.
HOW CAN GERMAN OLIGARCHS OF BRUSSELS/BERLIN SPEAK FOR THE REST OF US EU COUNTRIES?
We want out of this we suffered enough!
Virgile | Oct 23, 2017 2:29:49 PM | 11
@Notiran

Easy.. Grexit!

Daniel | Oct 23, 2017 2:32:30 PM | 12
Did y'all catch this? The US State Department admitted for the first time that our "rebels in Syria use chemical weapons against civilians.

From their Travel Warning on 10/18/17

"Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons. They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr provinces. These groups have murdered and kidnapped U.S. citizens, both for ransom and political purposes; in some instances U.S. citizens have disappeared within Syria."

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/syria-travel-warning.html

ben | Oct 23, 2017 2:39:01 PM | 13
Actually b, BFD. It matters not who the latest "puppet jesters" are in D.C., policies are decided by the puppeteers, not the puppets. Thus it is today in the U$A..

Full on Oligarchy/Fascism. "It's just business"

gepay | Oct 23, 2017 3:14:22 PM | 14
Yes the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is not the Iranian economy. This probably has more to do with Trump mumbling about listing the IRG as a terrorist organization.It was dumb of b to ignore this in his blog, although the gist of his bog on Tillerson is probably true.
Bart in VA | Oct 23, 2017 3:52:04 PM | 15
I read that Tillerson needs to stay one year so as not to take a capital gains hit on the assets he divested upon taking the job.
jezabeel | Oct 23, 2017 5:05:27 PM | 16
The US is clinically insane. But you can't kick them out of the party just yet. I think we're all waiting for them to fall on their own sword somehow. But they've lost the one thing that was going for them. Fear.
Chipnik | Oct 23, 2017 5:23:39 PM | 17
Rodham may not seem stupid either, but she and Trump are venal elitists and borderline psychopaths. Your choice last November was between ZioWarPigA and ZioWarPigB, Trump even joked about it afterward at a rally, how easily he conned everyone, and everyone kept cheering.
No Wall, (Open Border Legal Immigration); No Tax Cuts (making SS and MC means tested); No Infrastructure (runaway MIC War Pig spending); No Healthcare (cut $1.5T from MC runaway cost hikes); World Wars on Two Fronts and 183 Countries. Trump is one dumb MFr if he thinks the Emperor has clothes.
Debsisdead | Oct 23, 2017 5:48:26 PM | 18
Tillerson's function was to ensure that the energy industry which had given agent orange huge support in his campaign, got an operative in a senior position in the trump regime. Tillerson a major player in the world of rapacious capitalism, in a way that orange could never be, disturbs the trumpeter because he makes trump feel so inconsequential.

Lets face it given a choice between access to energy or a golf course, most humans will always pick energy, so that appart from being considerably wealthier and more powerful than the idjit, it is highly likely Tillerson is also a helluva a lot smarter, more deceitful and even less empathetic. About the only edge old comb-over has is that tillerson is exceedingly short, something that the vain one doubtless exploits in any face to faces the two have.

Tillerson may want out because it is pretty clear his one position secretary of state even though traditionally a powerful one, has been marginalised by the seeming unity of the junta this is compounded by agent orange's inability to 'stay in his lane' the demarcations of cabinet responsibility mean nothing to the unstructured, reactive fool in the WH.
Even so I doubt tillerson will be in a hurry to pull the pin, even if that is because the energy capitalists are terrified at what a vengeful trump may do to their meticulously designed system for separating all humans from all the rewards of their endeavours. Tillerson will be under considerable pressure from his co-conspirators to hang in long enough that agent orange will be relieved to see the back of him, rather than him shoot through when the creep is so desperate.
From tillerson's point of view that probably feels like never, but all prezs get brief glimpses of glory if they hang in and despite trumps predilection for screwing himself before he cops the accolades, there will come a time when he does something that wins grudging admiration from the media barons.

In the meantime tillerson will spend as much time as possible with his old mates the thieves of Riyadh, without whom exxon mobil would just be a chain of decrepit 'service-stations'. Doubtless they are planning all sorts of scams and rorts, although it will be difficult for them to realise their latest greeds without support from the amerikan military. Africa, a sporadically and haphazardly developed continent likely features large in all resource thieves dreams.

TSP | Oct 23, 2017 6:14:34 PM | 19
There's no fuel for war. Luckily DT has sufficient bluster that no one has dumped Ratheon beyond where the CB is still willing to buy.

Iran is a corporation to these people. The proverbial Pepsi to the Coke 'debate.' As military finances move towards pensions and away from new ground forces, the bluster will need to mind its believability. No one fears the twitter tiger.

Eventually, when those $6T losses come back on shore, the spending power drop will squeeze foreign entanglements too. It's always new market development that gets cut first.

peter | Oct 23, 2017 6:16:24 PM | 20
I think Rex is the most grounded guy in the cabinet. I tend to think he will only eat so much shit before he bails.

He's had Trump tell him he's wasting his time with Korea on Twitter. He's had Trump undermine him on air, said he wished he was tougher. Tillerson has already called Trump a fucking moron out of pure exasperation. He has been at the helm of bigger outfits than Trump ever dreamed of, except the presidency. He can watch day by day the pure ineptness of his boss and must often wonder why he accepted the job.

So I think b is right about him waiting to get out. But I will miss his low-key gravitas. I think he and Lavrov could have seen eye to eye. I even think he might have made some headway with Kim if Trump wasn't so utterly unhinged. Imagine fucking with millions of lives as cavalierly as the Donald. Still has his fans though.

fast freddy | Oct 23, 2017 8:20:52 PM | 21
Is the country of Iran an "entity" of the IRG? Or is the IRG an entity of Iran? In any case, it is off putting and can't be conducive to stability in the vaunted "markets" or anything else. Who the fock wants to engage in business with a country that the USA, lapdog UK and Israel have earmarked for surprise aerial shock'n ya'll?

Really dumb statements from the Tiller. A guy that supposedly understands markets.

jwco | Oct 23, 2017 8:30:01 PM | 22
B you call Halley "incompetent", but have you called Trump that?

[Oct 22, 2017] The Political Theory of Trumpism by Corey Robin

This is great comment: " One fairly obvious point -- in response to your original post, not the article itself -- is surely that the general consensus which united conservatives and liberals, that neoliberal economics works, that war against weak countries can be waged on the cheap, and that the local working class will always eat whatever excrement is put on their plates, has started to break down. "
Notable quotes:
"... The Reactionary Mind ..."
"... The Art of the Deal ..."
"... TRUMP IS BY NO MEANS the first man of the right to reach that conclusion about capitalism, though he may be the first President to do so, at least since Teddy Roosevelt. A great many neoconservatives found themselves stranded on the same beach after the end of the cold war, as had many conservatives before that. But they always found a redeeming vision in the state. Not the welfare state or the "nanny state," but the State of high politics, national greatness, imperial leadership, and war; the state of Churchill and Bismarck. Given the menace of Trump's rhetoric, his fetish for pomp and love of grandeur, this state, too, would seem the natural terminus of his predilections. As his adviser Steve Bannon has said, "A country's more than an economy. We're a civic society." Yet on closer inspection, Trump's vision of the state looks less like the State than the deals he's not sure add up to much. ..."
"... Trumpism's inconsistency, lack of coherence and cult of personality brings to mind Juan Peron and Evita. ..."
"... The desire to make Trump anti-Semitic, and a fascist is a lot easier than recognizing he's a talented media manipulator devoid and any real convictions. The idea that 60 million Americans voted to elect a man who secretly wants to end elections is absurd on every level. He doesn't need to end elections, because elections are the ultimate ratings game. He brags endlessly that he beat all the professional politicians as a neophyte. ..."
"... When folks assert that Trump is all about surfaces, they say that as if it's a bad thing. The republican base supporting Trump, we have clearly learned, maintains no fidelity to the theologies expounded at the NRO and the AEI. Trump's inability to think about challenges in ways approved of by his critics confounds experts precisely because he's so effective. I can't believe he has less heft and gravitas than the light-bulb salesman Americans elected twice. He is simply the right guy with the right message for a specific time and place. He may morph into evil personified and I get the sense at times that some of his critics are keen to see just that. ..."
"... That Trump lacks much knowledge of public policy was clear during the campaign, and since being inaugurated he has remained uninterested in and ignorant of (sometimes amazingly so) the details of policy. One wonders if he even reads the exec orders he has been signing. Your support of someone so manifestly unsuited to be president, by virtue of his vast ignorance if nothing else, was puzzling during the campaign and remains so. Btw, what "great society experiments" are you talking about? Have you heard of the '96 welfare 'reform' law? ..."
"... Trump has defended an isolationist foreign policy, attacking Nafta, Nato, the WTO etc. Given his erratic behavior, he has not followed through on this (yet?) but the departure with the previous mainstream consensus is radical. The mainstream left and right, at least since two decades, had been very much internationalist. ..."
"... During the campaign Trump has defended some form of social welfare state and more government intervention in the economy: e.g. his defense of Social Security, or even maternity leave, and his support for infrastructure. I do not think he really cares about this stuff and so he is probably not going to follow through. ..."
"... It's also very anti-historical. Inasmuch as conservatism is, among other things, a defense of hierarchy , it can (and did, at one time) appeal to millennia of precedent. ..."
"... Something can be deeply wrong, i.e. immoral, without being the product of a cognitive abnormality, and people can commit evil acts and hold evil beliefs without being mentally or psychologically impaired. To attribute all retrograde political acts and beliefs to an individual's deficient "theory of mind" (whatever that means exactly) is sociologically naive, psychologically untenable, and historically invalid. ..."
"... One fairly obvious point -- in response to your original post, not the article itself -- is surely that the general consensus which united conservatives and liberals, that neoliberal economics works, that war against weak countries can be waged on the cheap, and that the local working class will always eat whatever excrement is put on their plates, has started to break down. ..."
"... Trump is a right-wing bullshitter, Clinton is a liberal bullshitter; there's nothing really new about that (much the same sort of thing happened with those who continued to support the consensus during the Great Depression). ..."
"... When Obama failed to embody the forward-looking ideals he campaigned on, some people checked out, but you can trace clear lines of mass disillusionment and radicalization from 2008 to Occupy and BLM to the Sanders campaign. ..."
"... The question was never if there was an appetite for real leftism in the American electorate (Clinton and Trump's unconvincing plagiarism of Sanders talking points are telling here, I think), but whether the Democratic party, mired as it's been in institutional rot and complacency, would ever tolerate true economic leftism when the "social liberalism" of identity and representation seemed to work well enough and was so much less threatening to the moneyed interests that financed the party's rightward swing. ..."
"... For decades, the left wing of the Democratic party has been cajoled into voting for "liberal" candidates that resemble nothing so much as the old aristocratic Whigs who used to discuss ways to help the less fortunate over claret and cigars down at the gentlemen's club. ..."
"... I don't think there's any going back to the neocon/neolib era and I think even a lot of moderate Republicans (who used to rely on friendly financiers like Romney to keep the rabid right on-leash) are beginning to realize it. After all, what's the point of selling out if it doesn't buy you anything? ..."
"... The neo-cons are out: Bill Kristol, Max Boot and company are sworn enemies of the administration. Democratic party neocons like HRC can longer launch democracy-building projects in the middle east. Long may this continue. ..."
"... Calling 60 million Trump voters racist and/or fascist might feel good, but as Mark Lilla sensibly observes, identity politics is Reagan's trickle-down economics for liberals, self-delusion for folks out of answers. The 'solutions' for poor, black families in crisis on this thread illustrate clearly why so many black voters in Michigan and elsewhere stayed home. Folks without work, safe schools, and much hope want solutions – not 'this study says' or 'but, Republicans.'' ..."
"... Donald Trump is president because the Democratic party abandoned the poorest, white and black, not because 60 million Americans are actually fascists. ..."
"... It's the sort of completely insane projection that falls apart at the most cursory examination, to wit: the entire notion of destroying a public, universal service like secondary (and post-secondary, in many cases) education in order to hand the system over to unscrupulous profiteers is [extremely Zizek voice]PURE NEOLIBERALISM[/extremely Zizek voice]. ..."
"... What we have, and what Trumpism is merely one symptom of, is a massive crisis in public governance. In large part, the people who are responsible for said governance brought it on themselves. ..."
"... Race is one the primary axes of American politics, and our reluctance to fund basic public goods cannot be understood without acknowledging this basic fact. ..."
"... there's absolutely no daylight whatsoever between "mainstream" Republicans and Trump when it comes to the lust for war: ..."
"... Having discovered this fact which so many slogans obscure, we might well wonder whether it is quite correct to look upon capitalism as a social form sui generis or, in fact, as anything else but the last stage of the decomposition of what we have called feudalism. ..."
"... The thing is, Trump is an owner who's there because he's finished with that political crap. At this point, we probably have to hope that some general has the spine to tell Trump no, the US army really is not a very good military force for anything that involves taking casualties, which means it is fairly useless for actually conquering anything, as opposed to laying waste in endless campaigns. But the spirit of West Point, the school of treason that produced many, many, many more fighters against America than the CPUSA ever did, still rules. I'm not very hopeful. ..."
"... This is a legitimacy crisis. It is not as if Clinton partisans did not call Trump's electoral legitimacy into question. Half the country think Russian "meddling" determined the result, when it is not clear any "meddling" happened. ..."
"... Yes, Americans have lost their collective mind, politically. I know several elderly people (not much more elderly than me, truth to tell) who consume anti-Trump screeds from Seth Meyers or Rachel Maddow on a daily basis. It is entertainment I suppose, but it does not inform them or improve their critical thinking skills. One, a transplanted Englishman, described Maddow to me the other day as "erudite". ..."
"... The relentless flood tide of propaganda in American politics makes it exceedingly hard to talk with any American realistically about what is going on, because so much of what is going is exists not as objective and verified facts, but as shared, tendentious narratives. The actual Trump seems to me to be a bit of a personal mess and an authoritarian in the same mode as the blowhards who hang out at the barbershop; the Trump constructed by, say, Maddow's televised narratives is something else, something more imagined than real. The imagined Trump has to be bigger, to be fitted with cheap hyperbole. ..."
"... An essential element of the propaganda narrative is the "distance" to the other. The "base of Trump supporters" is a prop. Wondering what "they" could be thinking but not waiting for an answer before launching scorn and ridicule on the way to slander is a method. ..."
"... No Layman, there is plenty of irrefutable evidence that Clinton is a militarist who strongly believes in force and the threat of force, especially when it comes to the ME – and this plays just fine with the Democratic party establishment, actually it's a necessity considering the donor base. Clinton's stance towards Iran and the nuclear deal is a matter of record. Next time don't nominate a warmonger who voted for the Iraq war if you want to prevent someone like Trump – and hey, maybe young people will trust you again. ..."
"... There is no "real" Trump narrative; narratives are imagined stories, constructed according to principles of dramatic art to create meaning and morality. With effort, it is possible to anchor a narrative to facts, and to do so by methods that limit violence to the objectivity of facts. Whether a well-anchored narrative is persuasive may be important to such enterprises as the operation of law or even the progress of science. ..."
"... Our famously free press (spoken sarcastically) is thought to provide a check; fact-check columns proliferate at times, but mostly prove how weak an instrument of the public interest, a Media run by massive corporations and financially dependent on corporate business advertising is. ..."
"... A common practice now is to lead with counterfactuals: narratives in which the place of facts is taken by theory and theory's constructions. "Because the whole thing is basically a fantasy, nothing will disprove it." ..."
"... My political theory of Trumpism is that this is what conservative politics unchecked, unopposed and not responsible to any mass constituency produces. Trump says anything. But, it has been twenty years since anyone in politics has been held to account for anything said, except for "gotcha" moments of mostly fake outrage. Not that we would have a gotcha moment for Bush's war crimes. But that is my point. Holding Clinton up as a standard of normalcy in politics runs into exactly this same problem: she talks in the political code words, takes no responsibility for policy consequences and shows every sign of greed and irresponsibility, but the counterfactual of her normalcy is still set forward, with no awareness that it is a groundless narrative. This is not a point about Clinton or Trump, but it is a point about a political process that produces a lot of stupid and Trump is a bonus. ..."
"... Through the book, he traces the many potential problems that the 'personalization' of media might bring. Most germane to this discussion, he raised the point that if every one of the billion News Feeds is different, how can anyone understand what other people are seeing and responding to? 'The most serious political problem posed by filter bubbles is that they make it increasingly difficult to have a public argument.' " ..."
"... I stand by my belief that Trump built a public persona as a race-baiting, loudmouth buffoon that carried him straight into the WH despite a fervent, well-funded bi-partisan effort to unseat him from the time he declared up right to the present. Studying the buffoon tells us practically nothing about the individual. He's ordinary, capable, ambitious, avaricious, and mired in the world of the senses rather than the mind. There are worse traits and places to be. ..."
"... what I always find grotesque about the accusations of Russian meddling is the full ticket obliviousness to all the meddling the US used to perform in Russian elections, and in fact in many other elections worldwide. It's quite a sorry sight to see people like you make a fuss about very minor activities (if there's even evidence of any), without as much as a shred of self awareness. ..."
"... If people want a sane non- militaristic foreign policy it's going to take more than just opposition to Trump. You are also going to have to oppose some of Trump's opponents in both parties. The one time Trump received positive feedback and praise from many in the Beltway was when he bombed Syria. ..."
"... Why are people talking about Hillary here, on a thread about Trump and conservatism? Because a plausible argument can be made that Hillary is more of conservative than Trump, at least in terms of neo-conservative politics. She has, after all, two neo-con wars under her belt already and enjoys good relations with all the really wrong people. Her avarice and willingness to tell tales are at least comparable to Trump's. But perhaps the best reason Hillary belongs here is because many believe that had a less conservative Democrat than Hillary run (Bernie, for example), Dems would have won and Donald Trump would be yesterday's news. ..."
Oct 22, 2017 | crookedtimber.org

October 12, 2017 The magazine n+1 is running an excerpt from the second edition of The Reactionary Mind , which comes out next week but is available for purchase now . The n+1 piece is titled "The Triumph of the Shill: The political theory of Trumpism." It's my most considered reflection on what Trumpism represents, based on a close reading of The Art of the Deal (yes, I know he didn't write it, but it's far more revelatory of the man and what he thinks than even its ghostwriter realized) and some of his other writings and speeches, as well as the record of Trump's first six months in office.

Here are some excerpts from the excerpt, but I hope you'll buy the book, too. It's got a lot of new material, particularly about the economic ideas of the right. And a long, long chapter on Trump and Trumpism.

... ... ...

This is what makes Trump's economic philosophy, such as it is, so peculiar and of its moment. An older generation of economic Darwinists, from William Graham Sumner to Ayn Rand, believed without reservation in the secular miracle of the market. It wasn't just the contest that was glorious; the outcome was, too. That conviction burned in them like a holy fire. Trump, by contrast, subscribes and unsubscribes to that vision. The market is a moment of truth  --  and an eternity of lies. It reveals; it hides. It is everything; it is nothing. Rand grounded her vision of capitalism in A is A; Trump grounds his in A is not A.

TRUMP IS BY NO MEANS the first man of the right to reach that conclusion about capitalism, though he may be the first President to do so, at least since Teddy Roosevelt. A great many neoconservatives found themselves stranded on the same beach after the end of the cold war, as had many conservatives before that. But they always found a redeeming vision in the state. Not the welfare state or the "nanny state," but the State of high politics, national greatness, imperial leadership, and war; the state of Churchill and Bismarck. Given the menace of Trump's rhetoric, his fetish for pomp and love of grandeur, this state, too, would seem the natural terminus of his predilections. As his adviser Steve Bannon has said, "A country's more than an economy. We're a civic society." Yet on closer inspection, Trump's vision of the state looks less like the State than the deals he's not sure add up to much.

Again, read the whole excerpt here , and then buy the book !

I'll be doing a bunch of interviews about the book, including one with our very own Henry, so keep an eye out at my blog for more information on that.

Dr. Hilarius 10.12.17 at 4:54 am (no link)

Trumpism's inconsistency, lack of coherence and cult of personality brings to mind Juan Peron and Evita.
kidneystones 10.12.17 at 2:19 pm (no link)
@12 The desire to make Trump anti-Semitic, and a fascist is a lot easier than recognizing he's a talented media manipulator devoid and any real convictions. The idea that 60 million Americans voted to elect a man who secretly wants to end elections is absurd on every level. He doesn't need to end elections, because elections are the ultimate ratings game. He brags endlessly that he beat all the professional politicians as a neophyte.

He looks certain at this point to thread the needle for 2020 at the expense of both Republicans and Democrats. He may very well simplify the tax code and get rather more done in his second year in office. His first year has and will be devoted to pure survival – defending his corner and maintaining his base. Trump supporters, myself included, are anti-politician, and unsympathetic to faction and ideology, which is part of the reason I really do question Corey's efforts to make Trump part of a conservative movement.

When folks assert that Trump is all about surfaces, they say that as if it's a bad thing. The republican base supporting Trump, we have clearly learned, maintains no fidelity to the theologies expounded at the NRO and the AEI. Trump's inability to think about challenges in ways approved of by his critics confounds experts precisely because he's so effective. I can't believe he has less heft and gravitas than the light-bulb salesman Americans elected twice. He is simply the right guy with the right message for a specific time and place. He may morph into evil personified and I get the sense at times that some of his critics are keen to see just that.

Every time Hillary Clinton opens her mouth to utter another blatant falsehood, I feel better about the results of 2016. There is, as Corey notes, an emptiness at the heart of the conservative movement. The same can be said of liberals who are, if anything, in even greater disarray than conservatives. The great society experiments yield, in 2016, appalling failure rates among America's African-American youth to follow decades of failure as the African-American family unit dis-integrates. Liberals are all out of answers, as are theological conservatives. Perhaps the reality is that ordinary Americans, and others across the globe, are actually far less polarized than the pundits tell us.

We might very well go down some ugly path to war and disaster, but is seems to me just as likely that life will actually go on much as it has, only with fewer wars and slightly more charity towards each other. Cause just yammering about the blah-blah-blah is getting mighty old.

LFC 10.12.17 at 5:03 pm (no link)
kidneystones @15
That Trump lacks much knowledge of public policy was clear during the campaign, and since being inaugurated he has remained uninterested in and ignorant of (sometimes amazingly so) the details of policy. One wonders if he even reads the exec orders he has been signing. Your support of someone so manifestly unsuited to be president, by virtue of his vast ignorance if nothing else, was puzzling during the campaign and remains so. Btw, what "great society experiments" are you talking about? Have you heard of the '96 welfare 'reform' law?
LFC 10.12.17 at 5:10 pm (no link)
p.s. In terms of ignorant presidents in recent memory, Reagan and G.W. Bush come close to Trump, but Trump outdoes them. (Though in a competition on that score between Reagan and Trump, it might be close to a tie.)
Tom 10.13.17 at 1:41 am ( 32 )
As far as I can tell, your claim so far (in this and other posts) is that Trump should be seen first of all as a conservative: those who see him as a radical break from US conservatism have an idealized version of what the GOP and the right have actually been throughout their history.* I tend to agree with this (e.g. the GOP has been very racist since many decades) but with two important qualifications that I have never seen you make:

a) Trump has defended an isolationist foreign policy, attacking Nafta, Nato, the WTO etc. Given his erratic behavior, he has not followed through on this (yet?) but the departure with the previous mainstream consensus is radical. The mainstream left and right, at least since two decades, had been very much internationalist.

b) During the campaign Trump has defended some form of social welfare state and more government intervention in the economy: e.g. his defense of Social Security, or even maternity leave, and his support for infrastructure. I do not think he really cares about this stuff and so he is probably not going to follow through. Given his general cluelessness, he is also captured by the various randians who populate the GOP ranks. But, differently from many politicians on the right, in primis the randians, Trump has some sense for what people want. And in the campaign he said it, possibly opening up the field for future Keynesians republicans.

*You hedge this view a bit in this post, by considering Trump's view of the market.

LFC 10.13.17 at 2:22 am ( 34 )
Collin Street thinks that conservatism is some kind of organic affliction, that conservatives all have something wrong with their brain chemistry or biology, that they are all cognitively abnormal. This is absurd.

It's also very anti-historical. Inasmuch as conservatism is, among other things, a defense of hierarchy , it can (and did, at one time) appeal to millennia of precedent. Were the believers in the divine right of monarchs mentally abnormal? Were those who believed (and continue to believe) that employers have a right to exploit their workers mentally ill? Were, to take an even starker example, proponents of slavery psychologically impaired? If so, how to account for the fact that slavery was close to universal among human societies until fairly recently in the history of the species? Were the vast majority of humans all psychologically impaired until some date of enlightenment (pick your date or century)?

Something can be deeply wrong, i.e. immoral, without being the product of a cognitive abnormality, and people can commit evil acts and hold evil beliefs without being mentally or psychologically impaired. To attribute all retrograde political acts and beliefs to an individual's deficient "theory of mind" (whatever that means exactly) is sociologically naive, psychologically untenable, and historically invalid.

MFB 10.13.17 at 6:50 am ( 42 )
One fairly obvious point -- in response to your original post, not the article itself -- is surely that the general consensus which united conservatives and liberals, that neoliberal economics works, that war against weak countries can be waged on the cheap, and that the local working class will always eat whatever excrement is put on their plates, has started to break down.

The alternatives seem to be to change the consensus, or spread bullshit that the consensus is OK but just needs to be tweaked a bit. Trump is a right-wing bullshitter, Clinton is a liberal bullshitter; there's nothing really new about that (much the same sort of thing happened with those who continued to support the consensus during the Great Depression).

Fake Dave 10.13.17 at 10:31 am ( 47 )
This excerpt seems to take a fairly dim view of the left and what it's had to offer in recent years, and I can't say I really disagree, but I think Corey is underestimating the extent to which a leftist resurgence is already underway. I still think 2008 was a turning point, not because Obama himself really represented a new view of American liberalism (frankly, I think a hypothetical Gore or Kerry administration would have been extremely similar to what we got from Obama), but because the energy people invested in Obama's vision of America has never really dissipated. I think liberals are liberals in large part because they prefer futurism to nostalgia, so it shouldn't have been surprising that the candidate of "hope and change" beat a candidate whose political persona is frozen in the mid-90s.

When Obama failed to embody the forward-looking ideals he campaigned on, some people checked out, but you can trace clear lines of mass disillusionment and radicalization from 2008 to Occupy and BLM to the Sanders campaign.

The question was never if there was an appetite for real leftism in the American electorate (Clinton and Trump's unconvincing plagiarism of Sanders talking points are telling here, I think), but whether the Democratic party, mired as it's been in institutional rot and complacency, would ever tolerate true economic leftism when the "social liberalism" of identity and representation seemed to work well enough and was so much less threatening to the moneyed interests that financed the party's rightward swing.

For decades, the left wing of the Democratic party has been cajoled into voting for "liberal" candidates that resemble nothing so much as the old aristocratic Whigs who used to discuss ways to help the less fortunate over claret and cigars down at the gentlemen's club. We put up with it because we were told that was the only way to keep Republican robber barons from reinstating white male supremacy, criminalizing poverty, and declaring war on human decency. Trump was the embodiment of that venal reactionary bogeyman and Clinton was supposed to be the bullwark of reason and common sense -- the "electable" candidate -- that kept the far right at bay. George W. Bush was a decent-seeming guy whose dad was president. Losing to him was tolerable if frustrating, but Clinton losing feels like a broken promise, like the deal with the devil we made back in '92 is now null and void and it's time for something new.

I don't think there's any going back to the neocon/neolib era and I think even a lot of moderate Republicans (who used to rely on friendly financiers like Romney to keep the rabid right on-leash) are beginning to realize it. After all, what's the point of selling out if it doesn't buy you anything?

kidneystones 10.13.17 at 11:33 am ( 51 )

... ... ...

"We came, we saw, he died – ha-ha-ha" is not president, and African-Americans are no longer chained to the ineffective policies of the Democratic party and teachers unions. The neo-cons are out: Bill Kristol, Max Boot and company are sworn enemies of the administration. Democratic party neocons like HRC can longer launch democracy-building projects in the middle east. Long may this continue.

And let the dogs bark.

Collin Street 10.13.17 at 12:15 pm ( 52 )
@b9n10nt 10.12.17 at 11:57 pm

A sociopath can be very good at reading and manipulating others. Having a theory of mind is quite distinct from having empathy, and having empathy is quite distinct from using it pervasively to guide personal/social/political life.

There's a few simple tricks, is the only word that works, I think, that you can do without needing any insight into how people work. Stuff like being silent and letting people run their mouth out, or being vague so that you can redefine what you meant post-facto and claiming success, or the gish-gallop technique or a few other rhetorical tricks that can be used to confuse/blindside people in various ways.

Power-sales techniques and what-have-you.

"Tricks", because if they work they work by mechanical rule-following and if people know enough to recognise them they don't work at all. You don't need particular insight to use any of these, you just need an audience that doesn't recognise them and isn't told about them. A lot of the communication ones, in particular, rely on abuse of normal discourse structures/pragmatics, which means that they're actually things that people with autism-spectrum conditions -- that severely disrupt normal pragmatic structures -- might stumble into by, literally, accident.

With a drive to succeed and a handful of these tricks you can -- with luck, and we only hear about the successes: there's an old technique for building a reputation that starts by sending out 1024 letters that A will happen, and another 1024 saying the exact opposite -- build a small fortune. But if you run into more-experienced players who can recognise the tricks you're using, then you're not going to succeed against them, and it might go badly for you. Or they might give you a half-million in fuck-off money just to get you out of their way, and you'd probably think yourself awesome for getting it.

Collin Street 10.13.17 at 1:21 pm ( 55 )
But since I haven't read a lot of Burke I need to decide, provisionally, whether to go with the view that e.g. Reflections on the Revolution in France is a manifestation of "autism" or whether to go with the view that it's a statement and elaboration of the author's political convictions.

I can't exactly see how the two descriptions you've provided are incompatible; can you explain why you feel you need to decide, why do you feel that they can't both be true?

kidneystones 10.13.17 at 1:22 pm ( 56 )

... ... ...

Calling 60 million Trump voters racist and/or fascist might feel good, but as Mark Lilla sensibly observes, identity politics is Reagan's trickle-down economics for liberals, self-delusion for folks out of answers. The 'solutions' for poor, black families in crisis on this thread illustrate clearly why so many black voters in Michigan and elsewhere stayed home. Folks without work, safe schools, and much hope want solutions – not 'this study says' or 'but, Republicans.''

America's cities are under Democratic control, for the most part, and the studies, the plans, and the programs, and the teachers' unions haven't got the job done, unless creating a cycle of failure and illiteracy qualifies as some form of progress, or success.

Donald Trump is president because the Democratic party abandoned the poorest, white and black, not because 60 million Americans are actually fascists.

If Democrats can't provide solutions for ordinary people at the state, local and national level the party is going to continue to keep losing elections.

JRLRC 10.13.17 at 4:15 pm ( 61 )
"Both Left and Right concurred in the very shallow notion that National Socialism was merely a version of Conservatism". Orwell in his review of "Mein Kampf".
Jerry Vinokurov 10.13.17 at 4:36 pm ( 65 )
Ah, there it is, the good shit, the barely-warmed-over Manhattan Institute talking points that the conservative lie machine has been pushing for ages.

It's the sort of completely insane projection that falls apart at the most cursory examination, to wit: the entire notion of destroying a public, universal service like secondary (and post-secondary, in many cases) education in order to hand the system over to unscrupulous profiteers is [extremely Zizek voice]PURE NEOLIBERALISM[/extremely Zizek voice].

It is exactly the kind of short-sighted maneuver that Democrats have been pulling for decades now, trying to get "moderate" Republicans in the suburbs to vote for them, and its only effect has been to undermine the concept of public education entirely. Some of the most vigorous advocates of charter schools and union-busting have been Democrats, for fuck's sake! A nonexhaustive list: Joel Klein, Arne Duncan, Rahm Emmanuel, and these are just the first three I could think of off the top of my head; I guarantee that I could find you an list as long as your arm if I tried. Top Democratic donors such as those from Silicon Valley and Wall Street are gung-ho about charter schools and other similar scams like "online education." In the meantime, the actual research shows that at best, charter schools are a wash in terms of performance and at worst they are basically a fraud perpetrated upon both taxpayers and students in order to shovel money to people like DeVos.

What we have, and what Trumpism is merely one symptom of, is a massive crisis in public governance. In large part, the people who are responsible for said governance brought it on themselves. On the right-wing side, a propaganda machine has existed since the 1950s to sell people various poisonous ideas (regulation is bad! the "free market" is good!) dressed up, in the best of times, in quasi-academic language, and in the worst of times as just plain racism. The retreat from public services that took place in the South once those services would have to be integrated is a great tell; wealthy Virginians literally closed the entire state's public school system rather than have to attend school with black children. On the center-left, the entire New Democrat generation drank the idiot Kool-Aid that demanded we turn over anything and everything to market forces but! with a slightly more advanced degree of wokeness. Meanwhile, in Chicago, the CTU, under a predominantly black and Latino leadership, has been at the forefront (PDF) of fighting privatization and the attendant segregation that follows it, demanding resources from the austerity-mad Emmanuel administration so they can actually do their jobs. Said fight, I should add, taking place with the support of the predominantly African-American communities that are currently being brutalized by Rahm, so maybe if you care about black agency as much as you claim you do (hahahaha) you might take that into account.

The Democratic party has not been nearly as good to the African-American community as the latter's loyalty to the former (or, really, as basic justice) would seem to require, but the failure has not been "too much Great Society programs" or "too many unionized teachers." That's tendentious, ahistorical horseshit. The real failure has been the Democratic willingness to cast its most solid coalition partner again and again into a racist market system in which they have to fight uphill battles every step of the way. That Democrats are still a preferable alternative to the open eliminationism of Trump supporters is not particularly to their credit, not when entire Democratic administrations have failed to protect African-Americans from predatory lending or housing and workplace discrimination or being killed by police officers or even do so much as keep them from being forced to drink lead-tainted water.

Race is one the primary axes of American politics, and our reluctance to fund basic public goods cannot be understood without acknowledging this basic fact. Lots of white people, but especially the petit bourgeoisie that constitutes the core of Republican voters (who are, shock of shocks, also the core of Trump voters), would rather eat dirt if it means that a black person somewhere will have to eat shit, and unfortunately for all of us, the idiotic electoral system we inherited from the slavers played to their advantage in this electoral cycle. Now Trump is going to decertify the Iran deal so go take your "hurrrr neocons out" nonsense and shove it up your ass, because all the same fucking lunatics who want to turn the Middle East into glass are still in charge everywhere and a literally demented person holds the nuclear codes because showing the libs whatfor is the only ideal that white middle America is even capable of processing anymore.

TM 10.13.17 at 6:29 pm ( 67 )
JRLRC 61 Thanks for some historical perspective. Reading this thread makes me give up hope for the American Republic. Your leader misses no opportunity to exhibit contempt for democracy, contempt for the rule of law, contempt for international treaty obligations, contempt for the UN world order, contempt for diplomacy, contempt for truth, contempt for science, a guy who in real time threatens to start a nuclear world war (remember CR wrote a whole post dismissing the idea that Trump was reckless), and you people explain him away as just another conservative? Have you really no sense of history? Frankly you must be out of your minds.
Jerry Vinokurov 10.13.17 at 6:51 pm ( 71 )
Since the link was disemvoweled along with my admittedly petty insult, please allow me to relink it again, if for no other purpose than to demonstrate that there's absolutely no daylight whatsoever between "mainstream" Republicans and Trump when it comes to the lust for war: https://www.buzzfeed.com/johnhudson/trumps-boldest-move-today-wasnt-decertifying-the-iran-deal?utm_term=.pb5YARWbz#.svmyK02Lz
Lee A. Arnold 10.13.17 at 7:00 pm ( 72 )
"We have seen that the function of entrepreneurs is to reform or revolutionize the pattern of production by exploiting an invention or, more generally, an untried technological possibility for producing a new commodity or producing an old one in a new way, by opening up a new source of supply of materials or a new outlet for products, by reorganizing an industry and so on This social function is already losing importance and is bound to lose it at an accelerating rate in the future even if the economic process itself of which entrepreneurship was the prime mover went on unabated. economic progress tends to become depersonalized and automatized. (p.132)

"Of old, roughly up to and including the Napoleonic Wars, generalship meant leadership and success meant the personal success of the man in command who earned corresponding "profits" in terms of social prestige This is no longer so. Rationalized and specialized office work will eventually blot out personality, the calculable result, the "vision." The leading man no longer has the opportunity to fling himself into the fray. He is becoming just another office worker -- and one who is not always difficult to replace. in the last analysis the same social process -- undermines the role and, along with the role, the social position of the capitalist entrepreneur. His role, though less glamorous than that of medieval warlords, great or small, also is or was just another form of individual leadership acting by virtue of personal force and personal responsibility for success (p.133)

" contrasting the figure of the industrialist or merchant with that of the medieval lord. The latter's "profession" not only qualified him admirably for the defense of his own class interest -- he was not only able to fight for it physically -- but it also cast a halo around him and made of him a ruler of men Of the industrialist and merchant the opposite is true. There is surely no trace of any mystic glamour about him which is what counts in the ruling of men. The stock exchange is a poor substitute for the Holy Grail. We have seen that the industrialist and merchant, as far as they are entrepreneurs, also fill a function of leadership. But economic leadership of this type does not readily expand, like the medieval lord's military leadership, into the leadership of nations. On the contrary, the ledger and the cost calculation absorb and confine He can only use rationalist and unheroic means to defend his position or to bend a nation to his will. He can impress by what people may expect from his economic performance, he can argue his case, he can promise to pay out money or threaten to withhold it, he can hire the treacherous services of a condottiere or politician or journalist. But that is all and all of it is greatly overrated as to its political value the bourgeois class is ill equipped to face the problems, both domestic and international, that have normally to be faced by a country of any importance. (pp.137-8)

" capitalist policies wrought destruction much beyond what was unavoidable. They attacked the artisan in reservations in which he could have survived for an indefinite time. They forced upon the peasant all the blessings of early liberalism -- the free and unsheltered holding and all the individualist rope he needed in order to hang himself In breaking down the pre-capitalist framework of society, capitalism thus broke not only barriers that impeded its progress but also flying buttresses that prevented its collapse. That process, impressive in its relentless necessity, was not merely a matter of removing institutional deadwood, but of removing partners of the capitalist stratum, symbiosis with whom was an essential element of the capitalist schema. Having discovered this fact which so many slogans obscure, we might well wonder whether it is quite correct to look upon capitalism as a social form sui generis or, in fact, as anything else but the last stage of the decomposition of what we have called feudalism." (p.139)

Schumpeter, from Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, ch. 7

Ben 10.13.17 at 8:05 pm ( 75 )
The terrorist designation linked by Jerry Vinokurov really is a big deal that'll take awhile to play out along multiple economic, military and diplomatic fronts https://www.law360.com/articles/908829/how-terror-group-label-for-irgc-could-impact-iran-deal
steven t johnson 10.13.17 at 8:50 pm ( 77 )
Jerry Vinokurov@71 writes "there's absolutely no daylight whatsoever between 'mainstream' Republicans and Trump when it comes to the lust for war "

This is overly optimistic in a way, yet overly pessimistic in another. For the first, there's no daylight between Trump and "mainstream" Democrats when it comes to a lust for war.

For the second? It's clear both parties would support Trump if he ordered a decapitation strike on North Korea, and it's likely both parties would support Trump if it failed and turned into an all-out conflagration, no matter the fallout. But, the last president apt to such unilateral war-making was Richard Nixon, and he was impeached for also discarding the two-party deal (a no no on par with a Mexican President taking a second term.) Before the fact, however, there are straws in the wind about impeachment, from the Washington Post op-ed, columnists Rubin and Waldman, and "rumors" reported in Vanity Fair. Not a bright prospect, to be sure, no daylight at all?

The thing is, Trump is an owner who's there because he's finished with that political crap. At this point, we probably have to hope that some general has the spine to tell Trump no, the US army really is not a very good military force for anything that involves taking casualties, which means it is fairly useless for actually conquering anything, as opposed to laying waste in endless campaigns. But the spirit of West Point, the school of treason that produced many, many, many more fighters against America than the CPUSA ever did, still rules. I'm not very hopeful.

I recall a story that Nixon boasted that after he was finished, they'd never make things like they were again. That's the political theory of Trumpism. Today, when people will seriously argue that Nixon was a liberal president, there is no ruling class appetite for democracy, old style or bourgeois or what have you.

b9n10nt @68 links to Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates knows perfectly well that if the black voters had turned out in larger numbers, Clinton would have won the Electoral College as well. People trying to normalize Trump are not alone, Every single black voter who didn't see any difference between Clinton and Trump agrees. Clinton tried to make the campaign about a symbolic endorsement of anti-racism and anti-sexism, as opposed to the deplorables. Millions of black voters proved they were having none of it. They stayed home.

Stephen 10.13.17 at 9:04 pm ( 78 )
OP: "conservatives have breached norms, flouted decorum, assailed elites, and shattered orthodoxy throughout the ages." But is that not also exactly what anti-conservatives – progressives, revolutionaries – have done? Or is it the wrong sort of breaching, flouting, assailing, shattering when conservatives, not your friends, do it; but SOP when your friends do it?

Or are you maintaining that respectable norm-adhering, decorum-maintaining, elite-sustaining, deeply orthodox left-wingers have always been the vast majority of anti-conservatives?

On further thought: elite-sustaining, yes, maybe, if you regard the nomenklatura as elite. Orthodox also, for their own kind of orthodoxy.

None of this is intended to imply support for the remarkable Trump.

bruce wilder 10.14.17 at 2:36 pm ( 97 )
JQ @60, J-D @ 79

I wonder if that qualifies as push-polling? Is asking the question propaganda? This is a legitimacy crisis. It is not as if Clinton partisans did not call Trump's electoral legitimacy into question. Half the country think Russian "meddling" determined the result, when it is not clear any "meddling" happened.

nastywoman

Yes, Americans have lost their collective mind, politically. I know several elderly people (not much more elderly than me, truth to tell) who consume anti-Trump screeds from Seth Meyers or Rachel Maddow on a daily basis. It is entertainment I suppose, but it does not inform them or improve their critical thinking skills. One, a transplanted Englishman, described Maddow to me the other day as "erudite".

The relentless flood tide of propaganda in American politics makes it exceedingly hard to talk with any American realistically about what is going on, because so much of what is going is exists not as objective and verified facts, but as shared, tendentious narratives. The actual Trump seems to me to be a bit of a personal mess and an authoritarian in the same mode as the blowhards who hang out at the barbershop; the Trump constructed by, say, Maddow's televised narratives is something else, something more imagined than real. The imagined Trump has to be bigger, to be fitted with cheap hyperbole.

An essential element of the propaganda narrative is the "distance" to the other. The "base of Trump supporters" is a prop. Wondering what "they" could be thinking but not waiting for an answer before launching scorn and ridicule on the way to slander is a method.

novakant 10.14.17 at 3:24 pm ( 99 )
No Layman, there is plenty of irrefutable evidence that Clinton is a militarist who strongly believes in force and the threat of force, especially when it comes to the ME – and this plays just fine with the Democratic party establishment, actually it's a necessity considering the donor base. Clinton's stance towards Iran and the nuclear deal is a matter of record. Next time don't nominate a warmonger who voted for the Iraq war if you want to prevent someone like Trump – and hey, maybe young people will trust you again.
bruce wilder 10.14.17 at 5:50 pm ( 102 )
There is no "real" Trump narrative; narratives are imagined stories, constructed according to principles of dramatic art to create meaning and morality. With effort, it is possible to anchor a narrative to facts, and to do so by methods that limit violence to the objectivity of facts. Whether a well-anchored narrative is persuasive may be important to such enterprises as the operation of law or even the progress of science.

In politics, the absence of the restraints imposed by institutions of law or science (which often fail their purposes even in those domains) invite the practice of dark arts of propaganda and mass manipulation. Our famously free press (spoken sarcastically) is thought to provide a check; fact-check columns proliferate at times, but mostly prove how weak an instrument of the public interest, a Media run by massive corporations and financially dependent on corporate business advertising is.

A common practice now is to lead with counterfactuals: narratives in which the place of facts is taken by theory and theory's constructions. "Because the whole thing is basically a fantasy, nothing will disprove it."

Last week's New Yorker has a profile of Rachel Maddow.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/rachel-maddow-trumps-tv-nemesis
Janet Malcolm is full of praise for Maddow. For what she identifies, correctly, as entertainment. She does not comment on whether political comment as entertainment makes for a healthy politics. I think not.

My political theory of Trumpism is that this is what conservative politics unchecked, unopposed and not responsible to any mass constituency produces. Trump says anything. But, it has been twenty years since anyone in politics has been held to account for anything said, except for "gotcha" moments of mostly fake outrage. Not that we would have a gotcha moment for Bush's war crimes. But that is my point. Holding Clinton up as a standard of normalcy in politics runs into exactly this same problem: she talks in the political code words, takes no responsibility for policy consequences and shows every sign of greed and irresponsibility, but the counterfactual of her normalcy is still set forward, with no awareness that it is a groundless narrative. This is not a point about Clinton or Trump, but it is a point about a political process that produces a lot of stupid and Trump is a bonus.

bruce wilder 10.15.17 at 2:49 am ( 111 )
J-D @ 110

I was not intending to distinguish actual from real, if that was a question. I was intending to distinguish objectively factual statements or descriptive observation from arguments taking the form of narratives, particularly projective or counterfactual narratives that seem distant from or untethered in the main from verifiable fact.

I think it is possible to make value judgments closely related to factual observation, without projecting a narrative into the future or into an alternate reality.

Whether my statements characterizing Trump constitute a narrative or rely on narrative to justify value judgments is a fine point I do not see the point in arguing at this time. I would not defend my observations and judgment as constituting the one "true story".

kidneystones 10.15.17 at 6:17 am ( 113 )
@97 This is very good. For those interested in how we're learning less about each other and the world we share, here's a timely piece by informed sources from the Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/10/what-facebook-did/542502/

"Eli Pariser's The Filter Bubble became the most widely cited distillation of the effects Facebook and other internet platforms could have on public discourse. Pariser began the book research when he noticed conservative people, whom he'd befriended on the platform despite his left-leaning politics, had disappeared from his News Feed. "I was still clicking my progressive friends' links more than my conservative friends' -- and links to the latest Lady Gaga videos more than either," he wrote. 'So no conservative links for me.'

Through the book, he traces the many potential problems that the 'personalization' of media might bring. Most germane to this discussion, he raised the point that if every one of the billion News Feeds is different, how can anyone understand what other people are seeing and responding to? 'The most serious political problem posed by filter bubbles is that they make it increasingly difficult to have a public argument.' "

I think everyone here agrees we have problems to address. If the solutions I supported most of my life were working in places such as California, I wouldn't feel the need for radical change. Had the Democratic candidate not supported the Iraq war, alongside Biden, McCain et al, and then 'learned' her lesson by violent regime-change in Libya (described by Obama as a 'shit-show'), and then embarked upon program of cash collection from the powerful and secrecy towards her coronation, I might have wavered back towards the Dems. Bernie would have drawn me like a magnet. But given the choice between the devil I know and the one I don't I choose the latter. Trump may yet screw things up and people are free to disagree about his skills and solutions.

It's pretty easy today to forget that both Bill and Hillary attended Trump's (most recent) wedding. Their daughter Chelsea is/was a good friend of Ivanka Trump (a convert to Judaism) and her husband. The criticism of bedrock conservatives repeatedly loudly and publicly even today, is that Trump is more of a Democrat than a conservative.

I stand by my belief that Trump built a public persona as a race-baiting, loudmouth buffoon that carried him straight into the WH despite a fervent, well-funded bi-partisan effort to unseat him from the time he declared up right to the present. Studying the buffoon tells us practically nothing about the individual. He's ordinary, capable, ambitious, avaricious, and mired in the world of the senses rather than the mind. There are worse traits and places to be.

kidneystones 10.15.17 at 6:31 am ( 114 )
Just re-read the longish article linked above.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/10/what-facebook-did/542502/

Corey, it's a must read, especially for those in your field and for anyone interested in how information is being manufactured, filtered, distributed, and internalized.

Hint: we don't know whattf others are reading and thinking, and won't be finding out anytime soon.

Donald Johnson 10.15.17 at 1:07 pm ( 125 )
I don't think Clinton would have cancelled the Iran agreement because it leaves the US exposed as the one clearly breaking its word, annoying its allies. I think she would have found cleverer ways to be bellicose. For instance, her supporter Michael Morell told Charlie Rose we should be covertly killing Iranians and Russians in Syria so that they would know we did it. He didn't spell it out, but by saying "covert" he meant we would deny it publicly. Clinton also wanted protected zones for refugees, which in practice would mean massive air strikes and ground forces and in a sanctuary for rebels to use as they strike at the Syrians and Russians and Iranians and Hezbollah.
Donald Johnson 10.15.17 at 1:11 pm ( 126 )
Before someone objects to irrelevant Clinton bashing, there is a larger point. Trump is awful and I favor removing him via the 25th Amendment because I think he might start a war with N Korea. But a great many of Trump's opponents are opposed to him because he is an incompetent boob and not because they oppose American warmongering. They favor it, but don't trust Trump to do it correctly.
kidneystones 10.15.17 at 1:29 pm ( 127 )
@122 I'm going to respectfully leave that for you to figure out on your own. I'll close all further communication with you by suggesting that your aggressive and uniformly uncharitable reading of the remarks of others may complicate your understanding of relatively simple statements.

@123 I enjoy your comments very much, generally. And 123 is entirely fair.

I find very little in Trump's first term that is remarkable, or revolutionary. He seems to understand that he can't go to war with a Republican party he's ostensibly supposed to lead. Corey and others are correct, I believe, in asserting that Trump is fundamentally uninterested in governing, and entirely wrapped up in frequent external validations. I'll add that he thrives on conflict and perhaps instinctively knows how and when to rally his base. I've certainly seen him switch gears/targets during rallies when he senses he's losing the crowd.

Unlike you, and probably many others, I don't take anything any politician says seriously, especially Trump. Actions, rather than words, matter far more. Trump might like to get credit for a decapitation strike on NK and I think you nailed it when you noted that such a strike would win him bi-partisan support. He's more interested, imho, in getting credit for a golden economic age however fanciful that notion may be.

Overall, I still defer to Scott Adams and look forward to his new book (any day)
"Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter." By all means buy Corey's Book, but keep Adams in the back of your mind for light reading.

Trump may well blow us all up, but I've been told that could happen pretty much every day since I can recall. What I can say, re: Kim, is that I was here in Japan when Bill Clinton started looking seriously at removing Kim and all the Americans I knew here were crapping themselves. Can't see it happening simply because nobody wants to see downtown Seoul and Tokyo vaporized, one of which is a near-certainty, and that's if the conflict remains contained. The 1 percent in China, the US, Korea, Russia, and Japan aren't about to let anybody risk a regional conflagration.

And that really is it for me.

Donald Johnson 10.15.17 at 4:03 pm ( 131 )
Michael Morell is a former CI A director and I saw speculation that he was a likely member of a Clinton Administration. About the same time that he appeared on Charlie Rose he had also published an op ed endorsing Clinton for President.

But you also ignored my other points. Clinton favored a safe zone in Syria, which is tantamount to an invasion of Syria and armed conflict with their government and its allies. And Clinton herself was and is representative of a large number of Very Serious People who thought Obama had botched Syria by not intervening on a large enough scale. There is a big constituency for more vigorous action against Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia. ( There is also a constituency for more intervention in the Ukraine.). Clinton was clearly part of that. She also told AIPAC that we needed to take our relationship with Israel to the next level, and the only comment I recall reading about her regarding Yemen was about Iranian intervention, but to be honest I would need to look that up to be sure.

Clinton pushed for the Libyan intervention.

Again, she is irrelevant now, but she was part of the group who wanted yet more American military intervention in the Middle East. That group is still around. Your response was to avoid all my points and to pretend Morrell is just some random supporter.

Donald Johnson 10.15.17 at 4:06 pm ( 132 )
I keep misspelling his name. Morell. Forgot to mention he was working for a Clinton aide.

http://gawker.com/i-ran-the-c-i-a-now-i-work-for-a-longtime-clinton-ally-1784871887

Donald Johnson 10.15.17 at 4:12 pm ( 133 )
Last comment of the day. But I googled and found something I didn't know. Morell was one of her advisors last fall and said we should be stopping and boarding Iranian ships to prevent them from sending weapons to the Houthis.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/clinton-adviser-lets-attack-iran-to-aid-saudis-in-yemen.html

Jake Sullivan is also portrayed as something of an anti Iran militarist.

And again, Clinton is irrelevant now, I think. But these other people are still around.

bruce wilder 10.16.17 at 7:40 am ( 149 )
J-D 'Can you explain how the construction of Trump in an (illustrative example) imagined narrative differs from an objective description of Trump?'

Here is a quote from a Vox article dated Oct 13: ". . . obviously, there's Donald Trump, who has dispensed with one democratic norm after another. He's fired an FBI director in order to undercut an investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with Moscow . . ."

The article is not about Trump. Sean Illing, the author, is using Trump as an illustration. Or, rather he is using a narrative about Trump where Trump colluded with the Russian state to win election by foul means. If you accept the donnée of Trump's collusion with Russia, then it follows that Trump fired Comey in what practically amounts to obstruction of justice. And, a considerable volume of reporting has supported that narrative. One set of reports had Comey fired right after he made a budget request to fund an expanded investigation. A dossier put together by a British spy implied that Trump was being blackmailed by Russians. A meeting of arranged by one of Trump's sons with a Russian lawyer was supposedly baited with an offer of dirt on Clinton and this meeting has been interpreted as confirming the Trump campaign's willingness to collude. There has been a lot of speculation in the Media in support of this narrative is my point. At the time Comey was fired, there was a great volume of speculation centered on what Trump said in his letter dismissing Comey, calling into question the claim by Trump that Comey had assured Trump on three occasions that Trump himself was not under investigation. In support of the narrative that Trump had obstructed justice, Comey's character and positive reputation were touted by some journalists.

But, despite the tremendous volume of journalistic speculation structured around this narrative of collusion, there are no confirmed and unambiguous facts to support it. So, Illing must qualify his use of the narrative as an example of bad behavior with the insertion of the weasel words, "possible collusion".

In a better world than the one we are living in, responsible journalists are careful and judicious in both verifying facts and grounding the narratives they use with facts. The facts that can be ascertained and verified become constraints on the story, on the choice of narrative. That does not necessarily happen. Sometimes, journalists go with a "good story" that resonates with readers and attracts clicks or viewers. And, they construe such facts as there are in ways that support the chosen narrative without exercising judgment or attempting verification. The story -- the choice of narrative script -- becomes a constraint on the facts and their interpretation.

I think the balance of available factual evidence suggests pretty strongly that Trump did not collude with the Russian state to defeat Clinton. An honest and balanced "objective" description of factors affecting the electoral outcome and Trump's conduct do not support the idea that there was collusion or even that the Russians did much of anything to affect the election beyond openly funding a cable news channel. The dossier peddled by the British ex-spy was pretty ridiculous on its face. The Comey budget request was a pure invention. Responsible journalists would have attempted to verify details in the dossier or reported on how absurd many parts of it were. Journalists assessing Comey's character might have taken a more critical perspective.

If the factual basis for "possible collusion" is taken away, the obstruction of justice charge evaporates. Trump becomes a President who does not want to be dogged by a groundless investigation, fishing for a blue dress until it finds one. Trump the President finds he does not want to have the hack, Comey hanging out. Useful when he was tripping up his opponent, not so attractive as a companion.

Trump viewed plainly is still a fairly alarming figure to have in a powerful office, but a narrative of traitorous collusion with a national enemy, titillating as it may be as news entertainment, is not descriptively accurate given the available evidence and appropriately balanced methods of evaluating that evidence. (During the campaign, Trump called on Russia to disclose the emails Clinton claimed to have deleted. I suppose one could take that as a joke or a call for collusion with Boris and Natasha. I think joke is the better, more natural interpretation.)

Donald Johnson 10.16.17 at 12:01 pm ( 157 )
You did it again, layman. I refuted what you said to me even if you take it in the narrowest possible way. You objected to my reference to Morell's statement, implying that he was just some random Clinton supporter using some silly argument about. " Donald Johnson supporter" who drowns kittens. I showed that this argument was wrong and Morell was one of Clinton's advisors. If you want to stick to issues, then stick to them and don't make silly arguments and get them wrong.

The larger point is that in Washington the fight between Trump and many ( obviously not all) of his critics is a fight between two groups of militarists.. It would be good if people acknowledged this. In a way it is three groups of militarists,, since Trump's personal incoherence makes him a group unto himself. But on Iran there is an important disagreement between those who want to dump the nuclear agreement and those who want to adhere to it, but are otherwise hardliners who badly want more confrontation.

On your main point, when you aren't trivializing mine, yes, Trump is worse than Clinton because he is not only an arrogant militarist (a trait he shares with Clinton and many others), but ignorant and irrational.

bruce wilder 10.16.17 at 4:59 pm ( 166 )
Layman, small differences between Clinton and Trump do not dominate Clinton's very large political defects. You had an argument for relentlessly focusing on differences to the exclusion of appreciating the whole reality, maybe, when there was a choice on an upcoming ballot. Now, we live in the shadow of Clinton's defects: her defects gave us Trump. And, those defects are not so much the qualities of an individual person -- Clinton or Trump -- as they are the persistent institutional personalities of large political factions and institutional actors: the Democratic Party establishment, the Deep State intelligence agencies and military-industrial complex, the Foreign Policy Blob, the corporate Media, et cetera.

Bullying others in comments over such fine points as whether Clinton would have respected certain forms of the Iran nuclear deal is not contributing much to the discussion. We can see that Trump is hostile to that agreement and is cynically manipulating the forms in ways likely to make the agreement come apart. What relevance a counterfactual projection of Clinton's behavior might have is not clear; asserting that acceptance of such a counterfactual as "true" should be a dispositive criteria for rationality borders on the bizarre.

The relevant fact is not some putative small differences between Trump and Clinton (and the factions and interests and institutionalized views she sought to represent as a fully paid-up member of the Foreign Policy Blob), but the near-absence in American politics of a countervailing force to the consensus of views and interests promoting a palsied, nearly mindless imperial aggression. Morell's views are relevant to showing just how extreme and reckless is this "center" that Clinton represented, and understanding how and why the "center" is not doing much to restrain the Trump. Some powerful forces cultivated by the Democratic establishment have always been hostile to Iran, supportive of Saudi Arabia and so on.

TM, the idea that CR is minimizing Trump seems bizarre to me. If anyone understands the incoherent viciousness of conservatism as the impulse to dominate in a hierarchical polity, it is our gracious host. Trump is expressing conservative ideas and impulses that have always been there. He is not new. That bit of narrative hyperbole -- that Trump is different from all those nice responsible conservatives of the past -- is a dangerous deception. What is different in our political moment is the collapse of effective opposition from the left and centre-left. Trump is so scary because so little stands in his way, so little compels him (or the various factions enjoying the power associated with the authority of office under his aegis, including the practical military junta at the core of his Administration) to moderate his policies, let alone his rhetoric.

Mario 10.16.17 at 9:15 pm ( 174 )
@Layman

what I always find grotesque about the accusations of Russian meddling is the full ticket obliviousness to all the meddling the US used to perform in Russian elections, and in fact in many other elections worldwide. It's quite a sorry sight to see people like you make a fuss about very minor activities (if there's even evidence of any), without as much as a shred of self awareness.

Also, too: I've said I think she's bad on militarism. I'm not interested in, and don't, defend the other side of that argument. I just don't have any patience for the sort of nonsense that wants to paint her as an eater of babies. She's a bog-standard, mainstream adherent of the global diplomatic, economic and military order. That's not good, but it ain't Satan either.

The global diplomatic, economic and military order is downright evil and full-scale babyeating. Ask around in Yemen, Syria, Lybia, etc. So yes, she has that Satan streak. That that's bog-standard and mainstream is horrific, but I grant you that's the world we live in.

Note, BTW, that she was directly involved in at least some of these actions. She has, even now, more blood on her hands than Trump.

Donald Johnson 10.16.17 at 11:50 pm ( 176 )
Faustusnotes --

The evidence that Morell was one of Clinton's advisors was in the link I provided, where it says Morell was one of Clinton's advisors.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/clinton-adviser-lets-attack-iran-to-aid-saudis-in-yemen.html

This is tiresome. I provide links and people demand the evidence that is in the links.

Donald Johnson 10.17.17 at 12:13 am ( 177 )
Layman, this is the third time your response is frustratingly beside the point and after this I am giving up, because you are just going to continue doing it. I didn't just quote other people. I said Clinton supported intervention in Syria, that she supported the Libyan intervention and of course she voted for the Iraq War. She is also a standard AIPAC panderer. Do your own googling if you actually care about this rather than try to save face in some internet thread. It's well known Clinton is a hawk.

My point was that yes, she is a bog standard militarist and one of the points I was making is that even if she is no longer relevant, the people who are militaristic in their attitudes still are. You are the one between the two of us who wants to make it mainly about Clinton, but since you brought up baby eating, that is you once again trivializing the consequences of bog standard US militarism.

Here is a link specifically on Clinton

http://fpif.org/hillary-clintons-support-iraq-war-no-fluke/

There are others, easily found, and I am not wasting further time on this.

Suzanne 10.17.17 at 12:35 am ( 178 )
@174: Trump has lifted the Obama Administration's restraints on the military, resulting in a rapid rise in civilian casualties:

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-has-already-killed-more-civilians-obama-us-fight-against-isis-653564

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/us/politics/trump-drone-strikes-commando-raids-rules.html

As the Amnesty International spokesman points out in the NYT piece, the Obama Administration's constraints fell far short of what is needed.

On the home front, Trump is rescinding the Obama-era limits imposed on Pentagon handouts to cops:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/politics/trump-police-military-surplus-equipment.html

'Police departments will now have access to military surplus equipment typically used in warfare, including grenade launchers, armored vehicles and bayonets, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday, describing it as "lifesaving gear."'

All of the foregoing actions could have been predicted during the campaign.

It is quite true that the U.S. has interfered in the elections of other nations, with disastrous consequences for many of those nations. Why this should tie hands now is not clear to me. Highly unlikely the Russians were engaged in righteous retribution for Mossadegh. I suspect some would be taking a less dismissive tone had, say, the Chinese interfered on behalf of Clinton the bloodthirsty.

Orange Watch 10.17.17 at 1:39 am ( 179 )
Layman@159 :
Based on this and your prior comment, you're asking for counterfactuals, because of course Clinton-the-non-President is not capable of being even as bad as let alone worse than Trump-the-President. However, based on your comments elsewhere in the thread, you're dismissing any counterfactuals out of hand. Taken together, this is not a tack taken by someone who is interested in a serious dialogue, or really, any dialogue. Can we dispense with that sort of horseshit?

Either Clinton has no relevance at all, in which case you can forgo with the pedantic lectures about how she's vastly superior in all ways to Trump ( @95 ) and we can hopefully resume forgetting that she exists, or the comparison of a hypothetical Clinton presidency to the current administration has some value in the conversation even when someone other than you is making it ( @96 ). Until and unless you're willing and able to unravel the fundamental contradiction between these perfectly incompatible stances – which have infected every exchange you've made downthread of the them – there's no point at all in trying to discuss this with you in any detail, and there's certainly no reason for us to run and fetch answers for you in response to your ever-changing standards.

Donald Johnson 10.17.17 at 4:13 am ( 182 )
I didn't go back to see who first mentioned Clinton, but the point made by at least a few of us is that Clinton is only important at this point as a representative of a broad segment of the Beltway crowd that is constantly pushing for more military intervention, either directly or by proxy, and that some of the opposition to Trump doesn't come from antiwar types, but from people who don't trust him to warmonger in a competent way.

If people want a sane non- militaristic foreign policy it's going to take more than just opposition to Trump. You are also going to have to oppose some of Trump's opponents in both parties. The one time Trump received positive feedback and praise from many in the Beltway was when he bombed Syria.

bruce wilder 10.17.17 at 6:19 am ( 186 )
Lee A. Arnold @ 166

If XYZ does not exist, it doesn't exist. If it does exist, it exists. I agree that in our present state of political disorganization among the broad mass, most people do not know much about constitutes a political issue. And, they don't know what they want politically.

nastywoman @ 175

"Such "thinking" is as "Alien" as blaming the kid who was mauled by a Pit Bull the other day – "because so little stood in the Pit Bulls way and so little did "compel him".

"What type of person – what type of people can think like that?!"

The kind of person who thinks dogs should be kept on a leash. The type of person who can think like that is highly intelligent, suave and debonair.

kidneystones 10.17.17 at 11:30 am ( 194 )
Why are people still talking about Clinton? In general, because Clinton won't shut up. She's as hungry for a microphone and the spotlight as the conservative in question. Which is ironic considering that her aversion to the press and the public as a candidate helped cost her the election. Now, she can't stop talking. Bannon would willingly bankroll the book tour and undoubtedly wants her to remain in the spotlight through 2018. Indeed, Bannon is banking on making Hillary a key part of Trump's re-election in 2020, as role she looks all too eager to fill. Chew on that as you gaze into the future.

Why are people talking about Hillary here, on a thread about Trump and conservatism? Because a plausible argument can be made that Hillary is more of conservative than Trump, at least in terms of neo-conservative politics. She has, after all, two neo-con wars under her belt already and enjoys good relations with all the really wrong people. Her avarice and willingness to tell tales are at least comparable to Trump's. But perhaps the best reason Hillary belongs here is because many believe that had a less conservative Democrat than Hillary run (Bernie, for example), Dems would have won and Donald Trump would be yesterday's news.

To get a sense of what the Democratic future looks like, here's a very recent interview with Hillary which I think is illustrative of the level of disconnect between supporters (like me) who felt strongly enough about her candidacy in 2008 to endure accusations of racism from Obama supporters, yet turned from her to Trump by 2015, and those who still support her for reasons that make a great deal of sense (to them).

The interview with Hillary about Hillary runs 45 minutes on Australian TV with a transcript. Take away – Trump figures bigly and in the most unflattering terms, so much for graciousness in defeat. The Access Hollywood tape is discussed in great detail, as is Comey, and the Russians. The words Wall St; Goldman Sachs, Libya, and Syria are never mentioned. In Hillary-world Michigan, Wisconsin, and Bernie Sanders merit a mention each and only in a very specific context. We get David Duke, the Klu Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists; pizzas – and pure deflection when the discussion turns to Bill, Chelsea, gifts; and cash. In short, she hasn't much of a good word to say about anyone.

Here's a sampling for the still faithful.

" Russians actually paid in rubles for running ads in ah Facebook and on Twitter making all kinds of accusations against me, working to suppress voters which is a really important part of the equation " (suppress voters, or decrease turnout? The latter fits better, imho.)

Interviewer: "Is it, is it the case that you missed the fundamentally angry sentiment in the US last year against globalisation?

HILLARY CLINTON: I didn't miss it "

Interviewer: "Was it in some ways your links to big money politics that made it difficult for you to be the representative of that anger ?

HILLARY CLINTON: No, not at all! You know, when I was in the primary, Bernie Sanders couldn't explain his programs. I was the one who was saying here's what we're going to do to the banks "

One mere mention of Wisconsin: "we know is that the false information was aimed at Wisconsin and Michigan and parts of Pennsylvania "

And folks wonder how she lost.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/hillary-clinton:-the-interview/9055256

[Oct 21, 2017] Dying for the Empire Is Not Heroic by Sheldon Richman

Oct 21, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Posted on October 20, 2017 October 20, 2017 Predictably, the news media spent most of the week examining words Donald Trump may or may not have spoken to the widow of an American Green Beret killed in Niger, in northwest Africa, in early October. Not only was this coverage tedious, it was largely pointless. We know Trump is a clumsy boor, and we also know that lots of people are ready to pounce on him for any sort of gaffe, real or imagined. Who cares? It's not news. But it was useful to those who wish to distract Americans from what really needs attention: the U.S. government's perpetual war.

The media's efforts should have been devoted to exploring – really exploring – why Green Berets (and drones) are in Niger at all. ( This is typical of the establishment media's explanation.)

That subject is apparently of little interest to media companies that see themselves merely as cheerleaders for the American Empire. For them, it's all so simple: a US president (even one they despise) has put or left military forces in a foreign country – no justification required; therefore, those forces are serving their country; and that in turn means that if they die, they die as heroes who were protecting our way of life. End of story.

Thus the establishment media see no need to present a dissenting view, say, from an analyst who would question the dogma that inserting American warriors into faraway conflicts whenever a warlord proclaims his allegiance to ISIS is in the "national interest." Patriotic media companies have no wish to expose their audiences to the idea that jihadists would be no threat to Americans who were left to mind their own business.

Apparently the American people also must be shielded from anyone who might point out that the jihadist activity in Niger and neighboring Mali is directly related to the US and NATO bombing of Libya, which enabled al-Qaeda and other Muslim militants to overthrow the secular regime of Col. Muammar Qaddafi. That Obama-Clinton operation in 2011, besides producing Qaddafi's grisly murder and turning Libya into a nightmare, facilitated the transfer of weapons and fanatical guerrillas from Libya to nearby countries in the Sahel – as well as Syria. Since then the US government has been helping the French to "stabilize" its former colony Mali with surveillance drones and Green Berets based in Niger. Nice work, Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. (Citizen Trump was an early advocate of US intervention in Libya.) Need I remind you that the US/NATO regime-change operation in Libya was based on a lie ? Obama later said his failure to foresee the consequences of the Libya intervention was the biggest mistake of his presidency. (For more on the unintended consequences for the Sahel, see articles here , here , and here .)

So the media, which pretends to play a role in keeping Americans informed, have decided the people need not hear the truth behind the events in Niger. Instead, "reporters" and "analysts" perform their role as cheerleaders for the American Empire by declaring the dead men "heroes" and focusing on the tragedy that has befallen their families. Public scrutiny of the military operation is discouraged because it thought to detract from the Green Berets' heroism.

What makes them heroes? They were killed by non-Americans in a foreign land while wearing military uniforms. That's all it takes, according to the gospel of what Andrew Bacevich calls the Church of America the Redeemer and its media choir.

But are they really heroes? We can question this while feeling sorrow for the people who will never see their husbands, sons, brothers, and fathers again. Reporters and analysts who emote over alleged heroism base their claim on the dubious proposition that the men were "serving their country" and "protecting our freedom." A brief examination, however, is enough to show this is not so, although the troops, their families, and many others believe it.

First, their "country," if by this term we mean the American people, did not call them to "service," which itself a question-begging word. The source of the call was a collection of politicians and bureaucrats (including generals) who wouldn't know the public interest from a hole in the ground.

Second, US intervention in the Muslim world, which predates 9/11 and the creation of al-Qaeda and ISIS, has not made Americans safe. On the contrary, it has put them at risk, as the attacks on the World Trade Center demonstrated. Is it hard to believe that people will seek vengeance against those whose government bombs them and starves their children, as the US government did in Iraq all through the 1990s (to take just one example)?

Dying (and killing) for the Empire is not heroic. Allowing yourself to be ordered to intervene in distant conflicts you surely don't understand is not worthy of admiration. What's heroic is resisting the Empire.

Anyone who thought Trump would bring the troops back should now know better. He, of all people, is not about to give up imperial power. The Guardian quotes a former military officer saying, "Since [President] Trump took power, US forces deployed around the world have had a lot more room to maneuver. Decisions about when and what to engage have been devolved right down to unit level. Any soldier knows that if you give guys on the ground more independence, then they will be that much more aggressive and will take more risks."

At this point we can't expect the corporate media to quit propagandizing on behalf of the war state and start informing the public of the harm "their" government has inflicted abroad and at home. Fortunately, we have virtually costless access to alternative sources of information about the politicians' and military's mischief. The conundrum is that most people, having been fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda, won't turn to those sources until they become suspicious of power.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute , senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman , published by the Foundation for Economic Education , and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation . His latest book is America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited . Reprinted with permission from The Libertarian Institute .

Read more by Sheldon Richman Flags, Football, and Begged Questions – October 3rd, 2017 Operation CYA – Afghanistan – August 25th, 2017 Trump's 'Fire and Fury' Wouldn't Be the First for North Korea – August 11th, 2017 Truman, A-Bombs, and the Killing of Innocents – August 6th, 2017 The American Way of War – July 2nd, 2017

[Oct 19, 2017] The U.S. Military - Pampered, Safe And Very Scared

Oct 19, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. military is a socialist paradise :

Service members and their families live for free on base. People living off base are given a stipend to cover their housing costs. They shop in commissaries and post exchanges where prices for food and basic goods are considerably lower than at civilian stores. Troops and their families count on high-quality education and responsive universal health care. They expect to be safe at home, as bases, on average, have less violence than American cities of comparable size. And residents enjoy a wide range of amenities -- not just restaurants and movie theaters but fishing ponds, camp sites, and golf courses built for their use.

Of course, some bases are better than others. But even the most austere provides a comprehensive network of social welfare provisions and a safety net that does not differentiate between a junior employee and an executive.

For those who stay on, the military provides a generous retirement pay .

"But life in the military is dangerous!"

Not so.

According to a 2012 study by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC) the risk to ones life is lower for soldiers than for civilians:

In the past two decades ( which include two periods of intense combat operations ), the crude overall mortality rate among U.S. service members was 71.5 per 100,000 [person-years] . In 2005, in the general U.S. population, the crude overall mortality rate among 15-44 year olds was 127.5 per 100,000 p-yrs

The huge difference is quite astonishing. The death rate for soldiers would still have been lower than for civilians if the U.S. had started another medium size war:

If the age-specific mortality rates that affected the U.S. general population in 2005 had affected the respective age-groups of active component military members throughout the period of interest for this report, there would have been approximately 13,198 (53%) more deaths among military members overall.

Those working in the U.S. military, even when the U.S. is at war, have a quite pampered life with lots of benefits. They have less risk to their lives than their civilian peers. But when some soldier dies by chance, the announcements speak of "sacrifice". The fishermen, transport and construction workers, who have the highest occupational death rates , don't get solemn obituaries and pompous burials .

There may be occasions where soldiers behave heroic and die for some good cause. But those are rather rare incidents. The reports thereof are at times manipulated for propaganda purposes.

The U.S. military spends more than a billion per year on advertisement. It spends many uncounted millions on hidden information operations. These are not designed to influence an enemy but the people of the United States. In recent years the U.S. military and intelligence services have scripted or actively influenced 1,800 Hollywood and TV productions. Many of the top-rated movie scripts pass through a military censorship office which decides how much 'production assistance' the Department of Defense will provide for the flick.

A rather schizophrenic aspect of its safe life is the military's fear. Despite being cared for and secure, the soldiers seem to be a bunch of scaredy-cats. The military's angst is very ambiguous. It meanders from issue to issue. This at least to various headlines:

Members of the U.S. military live quite well. They are safe. Their propaganda depicts them as heroes. At the same time we are told that they are a bunch of woosies who fear about anything one can think of.

I find that a strange contradiction.

/snark

Posted by b on October 19, 2017 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

Don Bacon | Oct 19, 2017 12:40:38 PM | 1

remember--
"October 13 - 8 Out Of 10 Will Only Read This Headline"
not pampered, but I assume that's a tongue in cheek argument. Live under the rules of a tyrant and call yourself pampered.

Posted by: Stryker | Oct 19, 2017 1:01:21 PM | 2

not pampered, but I assume that's a tongue in cheek argument.
Live under the rules of a tyrant and call yourself pampered.

Posted by: Stryker | Oct 19, 2017 1:01:21 PM | 2 /div

StephenLaudig | Oct 19, 2017 1:15:57 PM | 3
The US military.... losing wars since 1946 [unless you count Panama and/or Grenada]... But in fairness it was tasked with wars that were, by their nature, unwinnable wars. One of the 'grand lessons' of the 20th and 21st centuries is that empires will [almost] always lose wars. The American Empire will lose wars until it runs out of money and then it will quit. All the US needs is a border patrol and a coast guard. All the rest is imperial impedimenta.
la Cariatide | Oct 19, 2017 1:19:49 PM | 4
where do i sign to join american socialist dream?
john | Oct 19, 2017 1:21:01 PM | 5
Their propaganda depicts them as heroes

their suicide rate depicts them as conflicted.

Stryker | Oct 19, 2017 1:23:00 PM | 6
try Venezuela, the United States is of America, it's not America. The "dreamers" all trying to get here.
Ian | Oct 19, 2017 1:23:48 PM | 7
The amenities are good but the pay is low, and health care for veterans is below par.
mischi | Oct 19, 2017 1:26:29 PM | 8
the best soldiers the world has ever seen, like they like to call themselves. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Joe | Oct 19, 2017 1:39:26 PM | 9
Please don't confuse the fears of a lowly enlisted guy, like I used to be, with the published "fears" intended only to extract moar taxpayer dollars....
Burt | Oct 19, 2017 1:43:26 PM | 10
I thought North Korea had a pampered army treated better than the civilian population. Isn't that an Axis of Evil thing?
mena | Oct 19, 2017 1:43:48 PM | 11
Well, and except for the whole Bill of Rights thing. But I guess that's a different conversation.
Of course, the Free Market ideal is to replace as many soldiers with private mercenaries as possible, as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 19, 2017 2:03:05 PM | 12

Of course, the Free Market ideal is to replace as many soldiers with private mercenaries as possible, as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 19, 2017 2:03:05 PM | 12 /div

Piotr Berman | Oct 19, 2017 2:15:40 PM | 13
Honestly, the military exists to respond to "threats", and that entails identifying those threats. The impact of volcano eruptions on jet planes is very real, to give one example, so it is rational to develop options when you cannot use such planes. And so on. I should read "The Airforce 4 biggest fears", just beforehand, I would guess budget cuts are number one. But expenditures imposed by morons in Congress should also be considered. That makes me curious what is number 3 and number 4.
ben | Oct 19, 2017 2:17:18 PM | 14
"Members of the U.S. military live quite well. They are safe. Their propaganda depicts them as heroes."

Not quite as good as depicted b, but, none the less, quite better than the average workers in the U$A today.

IMO, the true heroes in the U$A today are the many workers who struggle daily on minimum wage, to provide for their family's welfare with no job security, and no health care..

james | Oct 19, 2017 2:29:40 PM | 15
b, did you get some kick back for this promotional ad for the us armed forces? i hope so!

@6 stryker. i always get a kick out of when it is referred to as 'america' as if the usa is as big as many in the country think it is! meanwhile us lowly others who inhabit the 'americas' don't get much of a mention...

NemesisCalling | Oct 19, 2017 2:46:06 PM | 16
Even though I have a brother in the Navy who joined because of the shit economy, let me play on the devil's side here, even though I gemerally agree with you.

Ideally, these types of benefits would be welcomed by any country who were legitimately proud of their military. It just so happens that the military we are talking about here is the empire's world police. It really ISN'T the US military any longer, although it takes our cash this way and that for "defense" spending. Although down the list when it comes to defense spending as a per centage of GDP, the US still spends wayyyyyyyy too much. So we are altogether looking at a weird-ass example, b, and although you may be right when it comes to the pussification of our military, I look at it differently for two reasons: 1) as stated above, the US military is unique in their role for the empire; this has created the immense problem of explaining or warranting their existence in faraway lands for almost no discernible reasons. A scattered and bungling approach, meanwhile being stretched way too far, means certain morale and training issues; and 2) it is also a generational thing which ties into the shit economy run by technocratic elites who don't give one iota of a care for the lesser classes which they have massacred through globalization.

So while I think you are in the right to help deconstruct the myth of American military might, I would argue that it is a moot point really and the table is already set for the whole MIC pertaining to US spending to come crashing down once the economy goes tits up. After that, god only knows if militaries will even be useful. In the end, it is difficult for an American like myself to really see the purpose of a military adventure force due to our geographical location. OTOH, a soldier in India looking out from his post over Kashmir might know exactly his worth now and for the future.

Just Sayin' | Oct 19, 2017 2:50:56 PM | 17
The fears of the US Military are the best fears that money can buy.

USA! USA! USA!
Number 1!!!!!!!

notlurking | Oct 19, 2017 2:51:46 PM | 18
I stopped watching most of the war movies dealing with ME conflicts.....a lot of propaganda bullshit.....
Liam | Oct 19, 2017 2:59:43 PM | 19
#MeToo – A Course In Deductive Reasoning: Separating Fact From Fiction Through The Child Exploitation Of 8 Year Old Bana Alabed

https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/10/19/metoo-a-course-in-deductive-reasoning-separating-fact-from-fiction-through-the-child-exploitation-of-8-year-old-bana-alabed/

b | Oct 19, 2017 3:07:51 PM | 20
I now added the /snark tag to the post. Seems necessary ...
S Brennan | Oct 19, 2017 3:09:51 PM | 21
"the crude overall mortality rate among U.S. service members was 71.5 per 100,000 [person-years]. In 2005, in the general U.S. population, the crude overall mortality rate among 15-44 year olds was 127.5 per 100,000 p-yrs"

Roughly two-thirds of all DOD active-duty military personnel were ages 30 or younger in 2015. Only about one-in-ten (9%) were older than 40.*

Compared to**:

15 to 19 years 20,219,890 7.2
20 to 24 years 18,964,001 6.7
25 to 34 years 39,891,724 14.2
35 to 44 years 45,148,527 16.0

So, the disproportionality of the age groups in the cited example would more than account for mortality.

Additionally, massive injuries including dismemberment, permanent brain damage and paralysis are not accounted for. That misrepresentation goes further than the general reader is aware, battlefield casualties that were once fatal are now, though initial response, being treated and the Soldier/Marine returned to society.***

* http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/13/6-facts-about-the-u-s-military-and-its-changing-demographics/

** https://www.infoplease.com/us/comprehensive-census-data-state/demographic-statistics-342

*** http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2004/12/iraq_2004_looks_like_vietnam_1966.html

WorldBLee | Oct 19, 2017 3:17:22 PM | 22
#7 - I agree, the pay for enlisted soldiers is low and VA healthcare doesn't want to treat many chemical issues soldiers get from being around depleted uranium, toxic burn pits, etc. Still, it's a much better life than those bombed by them experience!
Stryker | Oct 19, 2017 3:37:58 PM | 23
@15 James, thanks for the feedback, not too many picking up on that yet.
karlof1 | Oct 19, 2017 3:38:54 PM | 24
The intellectual quality of the Outlaw US Empire's military serfs is reflected in their inability to see that the government they're in service to is the #1 Domestic threat to the Constitution they swore to uphold and protect, with the so-called Deep State tied to it like a shadow.
ken | Oct 19, 2017 3:57:56 PM | 25
A 1st Lieutenant over 3 years makes $4,682 base pay. Thats $30 per hour on average. That is well above most civilian pay. Then many businesses hand them a 10-15% discount.

A Sergeant over 3 5 years makes $2,725 base pay. That's about $17.50 per hour... Not so bad.

Then the get BAS (Meals) $246 for Officers and $347 for enlisted. BAH (Housing) $1291 per month Enlisted. They're hiding the Officers amount.

Then kick in free medical. No Obamacare for them!

And God only know the pension they get after 20 or 30 years. I knew a person receiving a military pension and a Post Office pension. The Post Office is very partial to military and dependents. Almost impossible to work for them full time as a civilian. My wife went to take the 'test' and was told she didn't stand a chance as there were too many military retirees vying for the job.

When I went in the Military in 1967 I made $78 per month. When I got out in 1978 I made $700 per month.

All government workers including military on average make more then civilian counterparts.

What's maddening is when I hear them poor boy everyone. Calling, wanting money for the military or cops.

Debsisdead | Oct 19, 2017 4:24:54 PM | 26
Aha! A hint of how the pampered rapists were left exposed in Niger. According to that bastion of oppression, truth and the amerikan way, Foreign Policy DOT com, the government of Chad is somewhat discomfited by the inclusion of Chad on the most recent iteration of Trump's 'Muslim Ban' list. Hah, Chad is pissed at the latest moronity from Agent Orange eh, at least they have a coupla followers of Islam there, imagine how the population of Venezuela feel since last time anyone looked those Venezuelans who still bought into old wives' tales were prostrating themselves in front of two chunks of wood attached in two dimensional perpendicularity I.E. a cruciform.

Still Chad is pissed and you can hardly blame 'em as for more than 60 years the Chad army has performed vital step & fetchit roles for advancing amerikan and french imperial interests - raping and looting villages from Maghreb to the Sahel, from Nigeria through to Mali whenever it seemed the innate right of amerika to plunder whatever pleases them was being questioned.

From assorted tidbits on offer from the usual corrupt sources, we are told that the band of butchers were visiting a village in Niger to provide a 'pep talk' on anti-terror. when they were attacked by as yet unnamed terrorists; apart from the notion that any group of indigenous persons who attack a gang of armed foreign invaders could ever be called terrorists there is a further irony - the pentagon also asserts that there was no indication of prior 'terrorist activity' in the area where the village was located. If that is correct WTF were amerikan troops going there to provide 'anti-terrorist' information for?

This previously pristine region suddenly filled with alleged 'terrorists' who then proceeded to lay waste to the squad of imperial invaders. Since we know now that this was right after Chad's government, pissed at their inclusion on 'The List' , pulled its mercenary forces out of Niger, it would be fair to surmise that it was they, the Chad gang, who had been keeping the world safe for global exploitation in Niger, but that DC, not wishing to acknowledge the 'muslim ban' had caused such a major screw up, chose to ignore that reality and continued to send it's thugs out to 'disseminate information'.

"This wasn't in the brochure" whined one enabler of empire as he choked out his final words.

Fernando Arauxo | Oct 19, 2017 4:34:32 PM | 27
The USA's armed forces are deadly. We may mock them and while it is true, they don't "win" wars. However the damage they wreak is horrendous, the Armed Forces when unleashed will cause more damage than the mongols. People seem to forget the wars the USA did "win". It's wiped it's ass with the Dominican Republic and Haiti many times. Africa, Asia and Europe suffers under the boot of the G.I.
They don't win, but they don't really "lose" either.
Jagger | Oct 19, 2017 4:43:46 PM | 28
I was trying to figure out the purpose of this article. Since the author didn't list the downsides of serving in the military, I will assume the author has never actually served in the military. My suggestion would be for the author to join as soon as possible to gain access to that great military life and all those fantasic benefits. And since the author believes they are a force of wussies and scaredy-cats, the author should not have any problems getting in. Of course, after the author has spent his third tour humping the boonies in Afghanistan, survived his umpteenth road-side bomb or small arms ambush, should be interesting to see if he turns into a 20 year man so he can fully enjoy the good life.

The article was too one-sided, shallow and exaggerated to be written by anyone but a troll. Waste of time to read it.

Anonymous | Oct 19, 2017 4:57:18 PM | 29
Game over in Syria. After tripartite talks (Syria, Kurds, Russia) at al Qamishli over the Kurdish issue and the US bases in Syria, the Kurds have transferred control of the large Conoco oil facility to Russian ground forces. The Kurds now have no control of oil for financing the so-called 'state'. It looks like they have seen the US casting the Iragi Kurds aside and wondered - 'will the same happen to us?' and gone for the negotiated solution. No wonder Shoigu and Putin have gone on record as saying the Syria issue is nearly over.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/10/syrians-russians-and-kurds-discuss.html

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-russian-troops-take-control-key-gas-field-kurdish-forces-deir-ezzor/

gepay | Oct 19, 2017 5:01:41 PM | 30
I wonder if you included suicides or disability post service. WWI the military introduced metal helmets and mortality went down but brain injuries increased. My understanding is that brain injuries due to IED are very common. I would imagine the majority of soldiers returning from a war zone come home maimed in body/and or mind.

As the son of a 20+ year Army vet, I know these perks have been there for a long time. They were necessary to attract anybody before WW2. I imagine they have increased with the volunteer military. Mostly the Army is populated with the more competent people from the lower strata of American society. They have a choice of working at a fast food, convenience store, or motel along the interstate - or the Army - oh yeah being a prison guard is also an option as the burgeoning American prison population is housed in low income rural areas.

I imagine there is bloat in the officer corps - most of those golf courses you mentioned are for officers only. These officers are mainly not coming from low income families. The real bloat though, is in the military contractors - Eisenhower's military-industrial complex with an added national security complex. Amazing how the US has gone from being basically isolationist before WW2 to the militaristic society of today. The US military is the bitch enforcer for global elite. The police are being increasingly militarized. Many of them trained by those human rights paragons - the Israelis.

Just Sayin' | Oct 19, 2017 5:17:18 PM | 31
Amazing how the US has gone from being basically isolationist before WW2 to the militaristic society of today.

Posted by: gepay | Oct 19, 2017 5:01:41 PM | 30

LOL Seriously?

This is only a partial list of US military actions in foreign countries. This list only covers the 50 years from 1890 to WW2

---------------


ARGENTINA 1890 Troops Buenos Aires interests protected.
CHILE 1891 Troops Marines clash with nationalist rebels.
HAITI 1891 Troops Black revolt on Navassa defeated.
IDAHO 1892 Troops Army suppresses silver miners' strike.
HAWAII 1893 (-?) Naval, troops Independent kingdom overthrown, annexed.
CHICAGO 1894 Troops Breaking of rail strike, 34 killed.
NICARAGUA 1894 Troops Month-long occupation of Bluefields.
CHINA 1894-95 Naval, troops Marines land in Sino-Japanese War
KOREA 1894-96 Troops Marines kept in Seoul during war.
PANAMA 1895 Troops, naval Marines land in Colombian province.
NICARAGUA 1896 Troops Marines land in port of Corinto.
CHINA 1898-1900 Troops Boxer Rebellion fought by foreign armies.
PHILIPPINES 1898-1910 (-?) Naval, troops Seized from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos
CUBA 1898-1902 (-?) Naval, troops Seized from Spain, still hold Navy base.
PUERTO RICO 1898 (-?) Naval, troops Seized from Spain, occupation continues.
GUAM 1898 (-?) Naval, troops Seized from Spain, still use as base.
MINNESOTA 1898 (-?) Troops Army battles Chippewa at Leech Lake.
NICARAGUA 1898 Troops Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur.
SAMOA 1899 (-?) Troops Battle over succession to throne.
NICARAGUA 1899 Troops Marines land at port of Bluefields.
IDAHO 1899-1901 Troops Army occupies Coeur d'Alene mining region.
OKLAHOMA 1901 Troops Army battles Creek Indian revolt.
PANAMA 1901-14 Naval, troops Broke off from Colombia 1903, annexed Canal Zone; Opened canal 1914.
HONDURAS 1903 Troops Marines intervene in revolution.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1903-04 Troops U.S. interests protected in Revolution.
KOREA 1904-05 Troops Marines land in Russo-Japanese War.
CUBA 1906-09 Troops Marines land in democratic election.
NICARAGUA 1907 Troops "Dollar Diplomacy" protectorate set up.
HONDURAS 1907 Troops Marines land during war with Nicaragua
PANAMA 1908 Troops Marines intervene in election contest.
NICARAGUA 1910 Troops Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.
HONDURAS 1911 Troops U.S. interests protected in civil war.
CHINA 1911-41 Naval, troops Continuous occupation with flare-ups.
CUBA 1912 Troops U.S. interests protected in civil war.
PANAMA 1912 Troops Marines land during heated election.
HONDURAS 1912 Troops Marines protect U.S. economic interests.
NICARAGUA 1912-33 Troops, bombing 10-year occupation, fought guerillas
MEXICO 1913 Naval Americans evacuated during revolution.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1914 Naval Fight with rebels over Santo Domingo.
COLORADO 1914 Troops Breaking of miners' strike by Army.
MEXICO 1914-18 Naval, troops Series of interventions against nationalists.
HAITI 1914-34 Troops, bombing 19-year occupation after revolts.
TEXAS 1915 Troops Federal soldiers crush "Plan of San Diego" Mexican-American rebellion
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1916-24 Troops 8-year Marine occupation.
CUBA 1917-33 Troops Military occupation, economic protectorate.
WORLD WAR I 1917-18 Naval, troops Ships sunk, fought Germany for 1 1/2 years.
RUSSIA 1918-22 Naval, troops Five landings to fight Bolsheviks
PANAMA 1918-20 Troops "Police duty" during unrest after elections.
HONDURAS 1919 Troops Marines land during election campaign.
YUGOSLAVIA 1919 Troops/Marines intervene for Italy against Serbs in Dalmatia.
GUATEMALA 1920 Troops 2-week intervention against unionists.
WEST VIRGINIA 1920-21 Troops, bombing Army intervenes against mineworkers.
TURKEY 1922 Troops Fought nationalists in Smyrna.
CHINA 1922-27 Naval, troops Deployment during nationalist revolt.
MEXICO 1923 Bombing
HONDURAS 1924-25 Troops
PANAMA 1925 Troops Marines suppress general strike.
CHINA 1927-34 Troops Marines stationed throughout the country.
EL SALVADOR 1932 Naval Warships send during Marti revolt.

-------------
You know, I hear they have this new-fangled thing call "The Internet" now.
The hipster kids tell me you can actually connect to it and do things like research a statement before you go and say something stupid.
Can't make head nor tail of it myself, but the local hipster voung 'uns swear by it

ToivoS | Oct 19, 2017 5:28:30 PM | 32
In terms of the most dangerous occupations b seemed to have omitted loggers. From life insurance data published about 30 years ago the most dangerous occupations are (number of deaths per 100,000):

commercial fishermen (about 100)
loggers (70-80)
construction workers (20+)
taxi drivers and 24 hour store clerks (~10)
fire fighters (5)
policemen (4)

With policemen the leading cause of occupational fatalities are from traffic accidents. Every time, any where in the US if a cop is shot by a criminal it becomes front page news across the entire country and their funerals are attended by hundreds of uniformed cops to great press fanfare. This is followed by outpouring of press discussion about the horrible dangers our policemen are exposed to.

Edward | Oct 19, 2017 5:41:16 PM | 33
If you look at battlefield injuries, the picture is not so good; in the Iraq occupation, injuries were often debilitating but not fatal. One also has to worry about being poisoned by burn pits or uranium. The military people who are truly pampered, with a royal lifestyle, are the generals.

Another American group that receives special privileges is the police. Have you heard of the law enforcement bill of rights?

This military socialism resembles Israeli socialism. A technique the Israeli state uses to grant benefits to Israeli Jews and deny them to Palestinians is to tie the benefits to military service which is denied to Palestinians. As a result, Israeli Palestinians pay more taxes but receive less benefits then Israeli Jews.

Just Sayin' | Oct 19, 2017 6:21:27 PM | 34
One of the many "Socialist" benefits on offer to members of the USMilitary

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/apr/19/genital-injuries-taliban-ieds

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/health/genital-injuries-among-us-troops.html


-------------

This military socialism resembles Israeli socialism. A technique the Israeli state uses to grant benefits to Israeli Jews and deny them to Palestinians is to tie the benefits to military service which is denied to Palestinians. As a result, Israeli Palestinians pay more taxes but receive less benefits then Israeli Jews.

Posted by: Edward | Oct 19, 2017 5:41:16 PM | 33

Nationalist and Socialist?

A bit of a mouthful, maybe someone should come up with a snappy acronym for it. . . .

wonder what they'd call it?

ERing46Z | Oct 19, 2017 6:23:14 PM | 35
"b" You just way out of your way to beat up the military. SO. The reason the "mortality rate" is so much lower is because better than 98% of us are not only armed, but are private fire arms owners at our homes and the criminal world knows that BUT YOU WENT OUT OF YOUR WAY TO IGNORE THAT! YOU "b" just took your credibility off the cliff, complete with a "snark" all the way to the rocks below. Yes, I served on SECARMY Staff in the E Ring at the Pentagon. So, "been there" all the way to the end. Deployments, sand, live fire convoys and all.
blues | Oct 19, 2017 6:26:34 PM | 36
Every dozen or whatever months I get this spam phone call from this big booming American voice asking me if I would be good enough to contribute to a charity for medical care and/or support of the loved ones of police officers slain or injured while on duty. It's pretty much sort of a shake down, since they do have my number.

This pisses me way off!

So I politely explain to them that my cat, Curly, has severe epilepsy and I must spend $2,000 a month for this Vimpat medicine to keep Curly from having dreadful seizures. So of course I have no leftover money for charity.

Screw them!

<== Jagger | Oct 19, 2017 4:43:46 PM | 28
Yup. Don't waste any more time reading this. (You didn't read the fine print on your auto insurance either, did you?)

Boyo | Oct 19, 2017 6:36:56 PM | 37
One day when the dollar fails and is no longer the petro dollar, then the military cuts will happen like the old USSR. This may be sooner than later after how Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Hezbollah and others stuck together in Syria and now Iraq.

This has scared the shit out of the Saudis. The Saudi king ran to Russia to meet with Putin. The petrodollars days are numbered.

Just Sayin' | Oct 19, 2017 6:38:08 PM | 38
Deployments, sand, live fire convoys and all.

Posted by: ERing46Z | Oct 19, 2017 6:23:14 PM | 35

Balls too?

Peter AU 1 | Oct 19, 2017 6:41:45 PM | 39
Good post b.
Looks like the yanks are out in force justifying/finding excuses for the numbers.
james | Oct 19, 2017 7:06:57 PM | 40
all those innocent people, not to mentioned the armed forces people being exposed to depleted uranium, and none of them are a statistic.. thank you barbaric usa..anyone who thinks the usa looks after their vets- i don't think so...
karlof1 | Oct 19, 2017 7:19:56 PM | 41
james @40--

One only need view the film Born on the Fourth of July to learn how vets were treated then and now. My partner's dad has a host of ailments, PTSD amongst them, and ought to be in a VA Nursing Home, but they are almost nonexistent nowadays--they were once called Old Soldiers Homes.

Jackrabbit | Oct 19, 2017 7:48:22 PM | 42
b, your post raises many good questions.

At what point does a military become mercenaries, out for their own good? Who has incentive to make them mercenaries? How can we tell when a military has been compromised? How can society guard against the slippery slope? Etc.

Peter AU 1 | Oct 19, 2017 8:17:07 PM | 43
United States of America = Americans?
In Europe, none of the countries are called Europe and the people collectivly are called Eropeans.
In Asia, no country has the name Asia, but collectivly the people are called Asians.
In Africa, South Africa has Africa in its name, and the people of South Africa a called South africans. Easy to say and people who live in Africa a collectively Africans.
The Americas. Only one country has America in its name, but who the fuck is going to say "United States of Americans" when refering to the arseholes that inhabit the place. Much easier to just say Americans, Canadians, Venezuelans - whatever.
Josh Stern | Oct 19, 2017 8:32:18 PM | 44
How do the life expectancies of adult an adult 'A', 'B', or 'C' compare? Who is most likely to be murdered soonest by Heine gang? Hard to know...most A's are off the map, shut off from any large scale publicity or commerce or media coverage. While the status of 'B' and 'C' is secret. Heine gang shortens the life expectancy of all in a significant way, but I don't know how the current stats would play out.
Edward | Oct 19, 2017 8:53:54 PM | 45
@34 Just Sayin,

That comparison gets made more often these days. In some ways the Israelis are worse then the Nazis.

peter | Oct 19, 2017 9:07:46 PM | 46
I guess if it's a country you like the soldiers are patriotic and morally upright.

If you don't like the country then they're all low-life scum looking for a free ride.

Debsisdead | Oct 19, 2017 10:17:22 PM | 47
The nonsense has started again. I have posted the same epistle twice and both times the missive has disappeared into the black hole, I shan't do it again until I'm certain the original has gone forever -in the meantime no one should be surprised if they both suddenly reappear.
barrisj | Oct 19, 2017 10:53:46 PM | 48
OK. give the reprobate Donald credit (maybe)...he was quoted in saying to the dead soldier's mum: "It's what he signed up for...",blah,blah. But, the Donald called it: Special Forces are nothing but trained assassination teams...they go in, off their target, fly out, end of story. Only this time, the buggers got caught with their shorts down, and...casualties...oh, boo-hoo. All these young bodies that sign up for the US military some time in their enlistment will be posted to "bases" that they didn't even realise existed. And so they get educated, really fast. Then those who go further in their military careers decide to go for the "elite" units: hard-core training, propaganda, "know your enemy",how to murder stealthily, etc. Then, after many "kills", they themselves get capped...it's how the game is played, yo. So, bottom-line - Trump let out the BIG secret: "We" kill, and should expect to be killed in return...who can cavil with that?
J Swift | Oct 19, 2017 11:07:32 PM | 49
@34 Just Sayin,
I'm still chuckling....

@42 Jackrabbit,
This is hugely important. Ditching the draft in the '70's wasn't for any altruistic reason, nor to make the US military "more professional." In draft days, even though most wealthy families could buy their way out of being impacted, a significant cross section of the citizenry could expect to find themselves contributing their pride and joy to some crazy war effort in some far off place. There had better be a damn good reason for it. One of the big lessons the Establishment learned from Vietnam was that even the terminally passive American people could become violently anti-war when it was a life or death situation for them personally. So the move was made to an "all volunteer" force, which would generally draw from a less politically powerful cross section, and there would automatically be less bitching because "those guys wanted to go fight--that's what they signed up for." And as Jackrabbit points out, haven't indeed you at least started down the road to mercenary when your current army must admit they're there for the money, and maybe the promise of adventure, not because they were drafted and just fulfilling their duty as a citizen and eager to get home to the plow?

This is doubly troubling, because now your soldiers are vastly more mercenary than before (and of course will be recruited as true mercenaries upon ETS to meet the growing demand for true mercs), but are fewer and more socially isolated, so they are getting 3, 4, MORE tours in some sand pit where they are basically a walking target and are rightly hated as foreign occupiers, so even the best of them cannot help but become resentful and sociopathic. But at the same time, the Deep State has divorced the military from the citizenry at large, so citizens care less and less how many wars the US is engaged in, how many destroyed young men come home, and not only does protest of wars evaporate, warfare is mythically transformed into something heroic and to be desired, not feared. All empires have gradually been forced to employ more and more mercenaries (or slaves) to maintain their wars, but it never ends well.

[Oct 16, 2017] Trump Looks Set to Start Blowing Up the Iran Deal by Eli Clifton

Notable quotes:
"... Despite the potential pitfalls of Cotton and Netanyahu's plan, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley embraced the approach. Haley, a possible replacement for embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, tweeted yesterday, "[Sen. Tom Cotton] has clear understanding of the Iranian regime & flaws in the nuclear deal. His [CFR] speech is worth reading." ..."
"... The United States must cease all appeasement, conciliation, and concessions towards Iran, starting with the sham nuclear negotiations. Certain voices call for congressional restraint, urging Congress not to act now lest Iran walk away from the negotiating table, undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in Iran. But, the end of these negotiations isn't an unintended consequence of Congressional action, it is very much an intended consequence. A feature, not a bug, so to speak." ..."
"... Any agreement that advances our interests must by necessity compromise Iran's -- doubly so since they are a third-rate power, far from an equal to the United States. The ayatollahs shouldn't be happy with any deal; they should've felt compelled to accept a deal of our choosing lest they face economic devastation and military destruction of their nuclear infrastructure. That Iran welcomes this agreement is both troubling and telling. ..."
"... Ben Armbruster, writing for LobeLog last week, detailed the ways in which Mark Dubowitz , CEO of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies , pushes for a so-called "better deal" while explicitly calling for regime change in Tehran. ..."
"... But perhaps a bigger pressure on Trump to de-certify comes from three of his biggest political donors : Sheldon Adelson , Paul Singer , and Bernard Marcus . All three have funded groups that sought to thwart the negotiations leading to the JCPOA, including Dubowitz's FDD, and have given generously to Trump. ..."
"... Adelson has also financed Israel's largest circulation daily newspaper, whose support for Netanyahu and his right-wing government earned it the nickname "Bibiton." ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | fpif.org

The Post credits Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) with this "fix it or nix it" approach to U.S. compliance with the JCPOA. Indeed, Cotton laid out essentially this very strategy in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in which he proposed that the president should decertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal based on Iran's actions in unrelated areas and toughen key components of the agreement, arguing that the deal fails to serve U.S. national security interests.

This plan has a low likelihood of success because Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says that the JCPOA will not be renegotiated and European governments have urged Trump to stick with the pact.

Despite the potential pitfalls of Cotton and Netanyahu's plan, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley embraced the approach. Haley, a possible replacement for embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, tweeted yesterday, "[Sen. Tom Cotton] has clear understanding of the Iranian regime & flaws in the nuclear deal. His [CFR] speech is worth reading."

But Cotton has been clear that renegotiating the nuclear deal isn't his actual intention. In 2015, he made no secret of his desire to blow up diplomacy with Iran, saying :

The United States must cease all appeasement, conciliation, and concessions towards Iran, starting with the sham nuclear negotiations. Certain voices call for congressional restraint, urging Congress not to act now lest Iran walk away from the negotiating table, undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in Iran. But, the end of these negotiations isn't an unintended consequence of Congressional action, it is very much an intended consequence. A feature, not a bug, so to speak."

Later that same year, Cotton explained his terms for any agreement with Iran, qualities that more closely resemble a surrender document than anything the Iranians would agree to in a negotiation. Cotton said :

Any agreement that advances our interests must by necessity compromise Iran's -- doubly so since they are a third-rate power, far from an equal to the United States. The ayatollahs shouldn't be happy with any deal; they should've felt compelled to accept a deal of our choosing lest they face economic devastation and military destruction of their nuclear infrastructure. That Iran welcomes this agreement is both troubling and telling.

Indeed, Cotton and his fellow proponents of the president de-certifying Iranian compliance, despite all indications that Iran is complying with the JCPOA, have a not-so-thinly-veiled goal of regime change in Tehran, a position in which the JCPOA and any negotiations with Iran pose a serious threat. Ben Armbruster, writing for LobeLog last week, detailed the ways in which Mark Dubowitz , CEO of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies , pushes for a so-called "better deal" while explicitly calling for regime change in Tehran.

But perhaps a bigger pressure on Trump to de-certify comes from three of his biggest political donors : Sheldon Adelson , Paul Singer , and Bernard Marcus . All three have funded groups that sought to thwart the negotiations leading to the JCPOA, including Dubowitz's FDD, and have given generously to Trump.

"I think that Iran is the devil," said Marcus in a 2015 Fox Business interview . Adelson told a Yeshiva University audience in 2013 that U.S. negotiators should launch a nuclear weapon at Iran as a negotiating tactic. Adelson may hold radical views about the prudence of a nuclear attack on Iran, but he appears to enjoy easy access to Trump. Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who were Trump's biggest financial supporters by far during his presidential run, met with the president at Adelson's headquarters in Las Vegas recently, ostensibly to discuss the recent mass shooting there.

But Andy Abboud, senior vice president Government Relations for Adelson's Sands Corporation, told the Adelson-owned Las Vegas Review Journal that the meeting was "pre-arranged and set to discuss policy," according to the paper .

Adelson has also financed Israel's largest circulation daily newspaper, whose support for Netanyahu and his right-wing government earned it the nickname "Bibiton."

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and U.S. foreign policy. He's previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.

[Oct 16, 2017] Washington Monthly Don't Be Afraid of Steve Bannon by David Atkins

Economic nationalism in key ideas is close to Mussolini version of corporatism. It is about the alliance of state with large corporation but of less favorable to large corporations terms then under neoliberalism, which is a flavor of corporatism as well, but extremely favorable to the interests of transactionals.
So grossly simplifying, this is Mussolini version of corporatism (Make Italy Great Again), minus foreign wars, minus ethnic component (replacing it with more modern "cultural nationalism" agenda).
Bannon is definitely overrated. It is jobs that matter and he has no real plan. Relying on tax cutting and deregulation is not a plan. In this sense, yes, he is a paper tiger. And not a real nationalist, but some kind of castrated variety.
One thing that plays into Bannon hands in the DemoRats (neoliberal Democrats led by Hillary Clinton) were completely discredited during the last elections.
Notable quotes:
"... But his statements show that it's all bluster and no real strategy. Democrats seem poised to take back Congress precisely because of Republican extremism, not because institutional Republicans are inadequately racist and nationalist. ..."
"... Like Karl Rove before him, Steven Bannon is a paper tiger. ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | washingtonmonthly.com

There is a tendency on the left to overestimate the abilities of conservative campaign gurus and spinmeisters after a bitter defeat. In the aughts, Karl Rove was seen as the Svengali mastermind of Republican politics, a nefarious force smarter and more cunning than all the left's braintrust put together. It turned out not to be true. Karl Rove didn't have "the math" and never really did: Rove mostly got lucky by a combination of butterfly ballots in Florida, and happening to hold power during a terrorist attack that saw Democrats cowed into submission rather than holding the president and his team accountable for their failure to protect the country.

Steve Bannon is taking on a similar mystique for some. But Bannon is no more special than Rove...

... ... ...

Bannon is going to war " with the GOP establishment, even going so far as to countermand Trump's own endorsement in the Alabama Senate race and force the president to back a loser.

But his statements show that it's all bluster and no real strategy. Democrats seem poised to take back Congress precisely because of Republican extremism, not because institutional Republicans are inadequately racist and nationalist.

And his prediction to the Values Voter Summit that Trump will win 400 electoral votes in 2020 is simply preposterous on its face. It's no better than even odds that Trump will even finish out his term, much less sweep to a Reaganesque landslide in three years. During the same speech, Bannon quipped a line destined to be fodder for the inevitable 2018 campaign commercials accusing Trump of actively blowing up the ACA exchanges and driving up premiums in a bid to kill the program.

Like Karl Rove before him, Steven Bannon is a paper tiger. Democrats need only muster courage, conviction and hard work to teach him the same lesson they taught Rove in 2006.

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.

[Oct 15, 2017] Trump Shoots the US in the Foot Over Iran by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... The US vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu. ..."
"... Israel has just scored a major triumph by using Trump to sabotage the Iran nuclear pact. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long been adamant in insisting that the pact be scrapped. Having pushed the US to destroy its old foes, Iraq and Syria, Israel now has its big guns trained on Iran, the last regional power that can challenge Israel's domination of the Mideast. Iran, we should remember, is also the only important Mideast power backing the Palestinians and calling for a Palestinian state. ..."
"... Trump is surrounded by a coterie of ardently pro-Israel advisors and cronies aligned to that nation's far right wing. So far to the right, in fact, that their Israeli opponents often call them 'fascists.' Trump, with this Mussolini complex, fits right into this mind-set. ..."
"... If the Iran nuclear deal is abrogated, America will have shot itself in the foot and shown the world it has fallen under the control of special interests for whom America's national interests do not come first. Europe, already disgusted by the Trump carnival in Washington and its religious supporters, will pull further away from the US and closer to Russia and China. Who would trust America's word after deal-break Trump? ..."
"... Europe has lately signed billions in new trade accords with Iran, most notably and $18 billion deal with Airbus for the sale of commercial aircraft. Boeing wants to sell 80 aircraft to Iran worth $16 billion. Thus Trump's jihad against Iran will likely deny high-paid jobs to tens of thousands of American workers. This from the president who was going to create jobs, jobs, jobs. ..."
"... Iran handed over ten tons of medium-enriched uranium as part of the nuclear deal. Will Tehran get this trove back if Congress scuppers the Iran deal? Doubtful. Iran destroyed many of its uranium centrifuges as part of the deal. Can it sue Washington for breach of contract? ..."
"... Meanwhile, the US heads towards some sort of military conflict with Iran at a time when it may go to war any day with North Korea. Trump, who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War due to a trivial foot problem, is now clearly thrilled by all his new military toys. Many of Trump's close advisors fear Trump will trigger a nuclear war. It may be time for his top officials to step in and take away the president's nuclear launch codes. ..."
"... Israel is determined to destroy Iran so that it can never pose a military or political challenge to the Jewish state. Call it Iraq II. This means turning Iran's nuclear industry and its civilian economy to ruins. And maybe even breaking up Iran – as was done with Iraq – into Iranian, Azeri and Kurdish mini-states. ..."
"... Rome's famous statesman Cato the Elder used to end every speech with 'Carthago Delenda Est' – (Carthage, bitter rival and enemy of Rome, must be destroyed.') Now, it's Iran's turn. ..."
"... Trump, who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War due to a FAKE foot problem ..."
"... Why is it that so many chicken hawks, like Bush, Trump and Cheney are warmongers? ..."
"... Com·pen·sa·tion: Behavior that develops either consciously or unconsciously to offset a real or imagined deficiency, as in personality or physical ability. Yep, that's fits the "fuking moron in chief", alright. Just one of his many mental deficiencies. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.commondreams.org

President Donald Trump has put the United States on the course for war with Iran. That was clearly his objective last Friday when he refused to certify the international nuclear accord with Iran and proclaimed heavy sanctions against Tehran's powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Trump's move was also a clever ploy to deflect blame for abrogating the key 2015 Iran nuclear treaty that the US signed with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

Accusing Iran of 'terrorism' and 'violating the spirit of the accord,' Trump threw the Iran issue into the hands of the Republican-dominated US Congress. He had to. All of Trump's senior national security officials and those from the treaty partners and UN reported that Iran had kept its end of the deal.

So Trump trotted out the old song and dance about terrorism – which means anything Uncle Sam does not like. The same United States that supports the murderous Islamic State and its allies in Syria and Iraq.

There won't be much doubt about how Congress handles this hot potato. The leading senators and congressmen who will deal with the issue, like Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio, are all firmly in the pocket of pro-Israel lobbies.

The US vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu.

In fact, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have more influence on Capitol Hill than President Trump. He used to show it off by humiliating former president Barack Obama.

Israel has just scored a major triumph by using Trump to sabotage the Iran nuclear pact. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long been adamant in insisting that the pact be scrapped. Having pushed the US to destroy its old foes, Iraq and Syria, Israel now has its big guns trained on Iran, the last regional power that can challenge Israel's domination of the Mideast. Iran, we should remember, is also the only important Mideast power backing the Palestinians and calling for a Palestinian state.

Trump is surrounded by a coterie of ardently pro-Israel advisors and cronies aligned to that nation's far right wing. So far to the right, in fact, that their Israeli opponents often call them 'fascists.' Trump, with this Mussolini complex, fits right into this mind-set.

In addition, Trump's virulent hatred of Islam and his deep support from America's evangelicals fuels his antipathy to Iran. The Israeli lobby and so-called Christian Zionists that make up his electoral base are beating the war drums against Iran.

If the Iran nuclear deal is abrogated, America will have shot itself in the foot and shown the world it has fallen under the control of special interests for whom America's national interests do not come first. Europe, already disgusted by the Trump carnival in Washington and its religious supporters, will pull further away from the US and closer to Russia and China. Who would trust America's word after deal-break Trump?

Europe has lately signed billions in new trade accords with Iran, most notably and $18 billion deal with Airbus for the sale of commercial aircraft. Boeing wants to sell 80 aircraft to Iran worth $16 billion. Thus Trump's jihad against Iran will likely deny high-paid jobs to tens of thousands of American workers. This from the president who was going to create jobs, jobs, jobs.

Iran handed over ten tons of medium-enriched uranium as part of the nuclear deal. Will Tehran get this trove back if Congress scuppers the Iran deal? Doubtful. Iran destroyed many of its uranium centrifuges as part of the deal. Can it sue Washington for breach of contract?

Meanwhile, the US heads towards some sort of military conflict with Iran at a time when it may go to war any day with North Korea. Trump, who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War due to a trivial foot problem, is now clearly thrilled by all his new military toys. Many of Trump's close advisors fear Trump will trigger a nuclear war. It may be time for his top officials to step in and take away the president's nuclear launch codes.

Israel is determined to destroy Iran so that it can never pose a military or political challenge to the Jewish state. Call it Iraq II. This means turning Iran's nuclear industry and its civilian economy to ruins. And maybe even breaking up Iran – as was done with Iraq – into Iranian, Azeri and Kurdish mini-states.

Rome's famous statesman Cato the Elder used to end every speech with 'Carthago Delenda Est' – (Carthage, bitter rival and enemy of Rome, must be destroyed.') Now, it's Iran's turn.

Shantiananda

Many of Trump's close advisors fear Trump will trigger a nuclear war."

One does not need to be a close advisor to Trump in order to feel the same way!

WiseOwl

Trump, feeling so (rightly) unloved today embraces Bibi's CONDITIONAL love if only to attack Iran. Let's hope some four-stars can spare a bright an shiny among them and shove it up his ass. His? Trump and Bibi, of course. Grammar be damned.

ncycat

Netanyahu and his cronies are terrorists and war criminals. Nety and his wife are being investigated for fraud. The Israeli people are held hostage by organized crime, just as are Americans. We don't call them "mafioso," but mark my word, that is what we are dealing with: criminals of the vilest sort.

nighthawk

In addition, Trump's virulent hatred of Islam and his deep support from America's evangelicals fuels his antipathy to Iran. The Israeli lobby and so-called Christian Zionists that make up his electoral base are beating the war drums against Iran.

This one sentence says it all! Our foreign policy is now being controlled by an insane "Christian" minority and a racist foreign government.

Swagman

Israel is a ruinous parasite that, with great vigilance to consolidate power and quell opposition, seeks to control its host. Our screwed up plutocracy, illusory democracy, media control, and woeful so-called elites makes this in large measure possible.

buffalospirits

Trump, who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War due to a FAKE foot problem

Shantiananda

Why is it that so many chicken hawks, like Bush, Trump and Cheney are warmongers?

nighthawk

The answer is to be found in the psychological definition of compensation.

MCH

And apparently those close advisers don't fear it enough to demand impeachment proceedings. Unfortunately as long as Trump gives those corporate owned advisers a pass to rape the country, they will continue to risk rolling the nuclear war dice.

blaggard

Com·pen·sa·tion: Behavior that develops either consciously or unconsciously to offset a real or imagined deficiency, as in personality or physical ability. Yep, that's fits the "fuking moron in chief", alright. Just one of his many mental deficiencies.

Eric Margolis is a columnist, author and a veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East. Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain's Sky News TV as "the man who got it right" in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

[Oct 14, 2017] We May Miss Rex Tillerson When He's Gone by Daniel R. DePetris

Why everybody is encritically repeating the rumors about this "moron" story. Tillerson denies he weighed resigning or called boss 'moron', Fox Oc4, 2017 What if this is an insinuation, an attempt to undermine Trump ? Not that Trump behaviour in foreign policy area does not deserve some really strong epithet, but still Tillerson comes from corporate environment and he knows all two well consequences of uttering such a word even in "private, which is never private about your boss.
Defense Priorities think tank from which Daniel R. DePetris ytoed t steer the USA away from interventions in overseas wars and state a the mission: "To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military - used more judiciously to protect America's narrowly defined national interests - and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security." and does have some unorthodox speakers (including Andrew Bacevich) and try to address important Issues - Defense Priorities
Notable quotes:
"... Tillerson was watching his back, knowing full well that the more vocal and ambitious Nikki Haley was likely itching for a promotion (Haley denies wanting Tillerson's job, but does anyone really believe that?). ..."
"... If Trump ever promotes Haley he'll lose my vote. She's bad news – ignorant, incompetent, with lots of bad friends. To the extent that Tillerson is saving us from that, all to the good. ..."
"... Maybe he was a good corporate CEO – I do not know. But no other administration would have nominated him for Secretary of State. Robert MacNamara was an Air Corps Colonel in WW II and a Harvard economics wizard when he was plucked from a brief tenure at Ford. He helped JFK to stare-down the generals who wanted to start WW III over Cuba. Tillerson is no MacNamara. ..."
"... Rex Tillerson has done a very good job so far. A lot of the problem is that he has inherited a terrible mess. A terrible terrible mess. Also Qatar did support Al Nusra. Its just that all the Gulf States are pretty much guilty of supporting terrorism. It should have been confronted but in a more diplomatic way. We are Americans shouldn't we hate Al Qaeda and be angry at those who support it? I'd almost favor nuking the Gulf States out of revenge. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

All the stock Tillerson built up over the spring is now largely gone. The summer and fall were enormously tough times for the Secretary of State. Trump's undiplomatic tweets on everything from Qatar to North Korea helped undercut Tillerson's diplomatic endeavors before they'd even started. Back home, Tillerson received incoming from all quarters on Capitol Hill over his State Department budget proposal, a $10 billion reduction from the previous fiscal year. And within the administration, Tillerson was watching his back, knowing full well that the more vocal and ambitious Nikki Haley was likely itching for a promotion (Haley denies wanting Tillerson's job, but does anyone really believe that?).

In short, it's been largely downhill for Tillerson lately. Today, people all but assume that he'll either put in his papers for early retirement or be pushed out. Calling your boss (or widely reported that you called your boss) " a moron " to your colleagues in private and then getting challenged to an IQ test by the president of the United States are not exactly the circumstances of great job security.

How did it get so bad for Tillerson so quickly? Does he even want the job anymore, or is he burned out? Those are the questions that the Washington news media obsesses about. In the end, though, all of them are secondary to this one: What will the administration lose if Tillerson leaves?

Pundits and columnists make a decent living in the criticism business, and there's plenty to criticize about Rex Tillerson. But there are also things that Tillerson has gotten right. Along with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly, there's no doubt that Tillerson is a crucial member of the administration's pragmatic wing. Using the phrases "axis of adults" and "adults in the room" has become a common trope in Washington these days, but it rings true on foreign policy, where Tillerson has beaten the drum of diplomacy as loud as he possibly can. Indeed, this is likely a major reason why friends and associates of Tillerson think he's worn out -- no matter how loud he bangs that drum, his best efforts get foiled by off-the-cuff remarks and 140-character statements.

To say that Tillerson is the most vital member of Trump's national security cabinet would be a stretch, but he is definitely a restraining influence. On the dispute between Qatar and its Gulf Arab neighbors, Tillerson has eagerly embraced the role of mediator , traveling to and from Riyadh, Doha, and Kuwait City this past summer to grease the skids for a diplomatic resolution. Unfortunately, as Mark Perry has reported in these pages , Tillerson has been undermined by the White House from the start. It is difficult to serve as a cool-headed mediator when the commander-in-chief practically labels Qatar a state sponsor of terrorism.

Normally, a secretary of state's job begins and ends with diplomacy. But in Tillerson's case, being a diplomat goes hand-in-hand with serving as the janitor, on hand to clean up the mess.

Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

mail order bride, says: October 12, 2017 at 9:30 pm

If Trump ever promotes Haley he'll lose my vote. She's bad news – ignorant, incompetent, with lots of bad friends. To the extent that Tillerson is saving us from that, all to the good.
Whine Merchant , says: October 13, 2017 at 1:48 am
When one steps back to see the bigger picture, it is frightening that we look for moderating influence and stable guidance from someone who would usually be thought of as a spoof nominee for his role.

Maybe he was a good corporate CEO – I do not know. But no other administration would have nominated him for Secretary of State. Robert MacNamara was an Air Corps Colonel in WW II and a Harvard economics wizard when he was plucked from a brief tenure at Ford. He helped JFK to stare-down the generals who wanted to start WW III over Cuba. Tillerson is no MacNamara.

Thank you –

Johnny F. Ive , says: October 13, 2017 at 6:16 am
Rex Tillerson has done a very good job so far. A lot of the problem is that he has inherited a terrible mess. A terrible terrible mess. Also Qatar did support Al Nusra. Its just that all the Gulf States are pretty much guilty of supporting terrorism. It should have been confronted but in a more diplomatic way. We are Americans shouldn't we hate Al Qaeda and be angry at those who support it? I'd almost favor nuking the Gulf States out of revenge.

What can Secretary of State Rex Tillerson do when there is a history of US Congresses and Presidents are hostile to diplomacy? George W. Bush and Congress created the current North Korea situation by being hostile. America cannot maintain an Empire because it does not have a dictator which provides continuity of policy. Haley is a symptom and a product of the insanity that inflicts the American ruling class. If Trump does not pursue an America First foreign policy and instead pursues a George W. Bush foreign policy he will bear a terrible legacy.

Potato , says: October 13, 2017 at 9:41 am
Read up on Rex Tillerson. He comes off as a very able, very smart, very impressive guy. This administration is lucky to have him. I think they only have him because he believes he can be of service to the American people, not because he admires Mr. Trump.

The question is, when will he decided that he, essentially single-handed, cannot make enough of a difference to justify the personal costs of working with this band of lunatics. Certainly I don't always agree with Tillerson's politics, but he always comes across as solid, a man of integrity.

Cratylus , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:15 am
A poorly argued hit piece on Tillerson. The media and neocons are waging a campaign to undermine him and get him out. Does TAC have to play into it by publishing this drivel?
Fred Bowman , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:28 am
If people think Hillary Clinton was an awful "Madam Secretary" (and she was), wait till Nikki Haley gets the job. No doubt she'll "rubber stamp" every bad idea that Trump comes up with.
Peter Palms , says: October 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm
Secretary of State, Tillerson will remain in his post. Don't believe the rumors
Cary , says: October 13, 2017 at 1:07 pm
There's an under currant of Tillerson can't control Trump to this article that rubs me the wrong way. Trump is a narcissistic ass and the thing about narcissistic assess they aren't reasonable or controllable.

[Oct 14, 2017] Republican senator blasts Donald Trump for 'castrating' Rex Tillerson

Notable quotes:
"... Tillerson told a news conference in Beijing two weeks ago that the US was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs, but it had shown no interest in dialogue. Trump took to Twitter the next day, saying Tillerson was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. ..."
"... "The greatest diplomatic activities we have are with China, and the most important, and they have come a long, long way," Corker said. "Some of the things we are talking about are phenomenal. "When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart." He added that working with China was the key to reaching a peaceful settlement with North Korea. ..."
"... "When you publicly castrate your secretary of state, you take that off the table," Corker said. ..."
"... If Tillerson is undermined by Trump, why is he hanging around. He can't be effective. Honorable thing to do is to hand over his resignation. He doesn't need the job. ..."
"... It's bad, but having experienced the 60s and early 70s (Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Kent State, 1960 Dem Convention, Weather Underground, etc.) I think it's safe to say that we are nowhere near that level. And then there's the Civil War, Andrew Johnson, etc. ..."
"... Forty years of Reagan's mantra that government, taxes, and unions are evil and business is the way, the truth, and the power. Forty years of his trickle down economics which has led to stagnating/declining wages, crumbling infrastructure and, importantly, divestment in k-16 education. Ongoing dog whistles to now include Christian persecution in a primarily Christian country. ..."
"... And remember, we're a big ass country with small, far flung towns. Trump's support is strongest in small, rural communities ..."
"... Trump picked up the GOP ball and ran with it to its natural conclusion -- a know nothing incompetent, narcissistic president who won on the back of the bigotry, fear, and economic lies the GOP's been peddling for decades. ..."
"... I think many people have been secretly hoping that the good cop/bad cop act was part of an agreed strategy for dealing with Kim and the DRK. It's not though is it? Dozza really is as pathetic as he looks. Absolutely out of his depth and endangering everybody with his bullshit. ..."
"... Sadly the typical American has very little to no awareness of the world outside of the US. Their world view and knowledge of the rest of the world is extremely limited and biased. That is why 'America First' is the perfect strap-line for this 'president'. ..."
"... Trump isn't evil. He's thin-skinned, easily goaded, petty and vindictive, and lacks foresight and self-awareness. His attempts to dismantle Obamacare will kill people, but that's not his aim and he doesn't think of it in those terms. He's not evil, just incompetent and irrational. ..."
"... Trump doesn't understand the word "negotiation" anyway. That's why he previously said that any negotiations with NK would be very short. It's because his definition of the word is, "we tell you what we demand, and you do it, regardless of your viewpoint." That's why he makes enemies of everyone he has contact with, a total lack of understanding that a Win-Win approach is better for all (what does it matter what the outcome for "all" is, as long as Trump appears to be the winner). Boils down to his mental condition meaning he has no empathy. ..."
"... Trump is "riding" the surge in jobs that is related entirely to a cyclical recovery from worldwide recession. ..."
"... I think everyone knows the keys the North Korea crisis are China and dialog. But who says the Corporate States and their military-industrial complex want peace? War drives profits. And as anyone who has travelled the US - outside of Vegas, 5th Ave and Hollywood and Vine - knows war is essential to the American identity and needed to maintain cohesion in that fracturing society. Pride in the US military is a foundation stone of the modern US. War is needed to distract the peasants from the rising poverty virtually nil opportunities at home. War on the Korean peninsula may be needed by the Corporate State and if it is it will happen. ..."
"... It is almost as if Donald Trump thinks the Secretary of State's job is to take notes on Donald Trump's statements. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Bob Corker accuses the president of undercutting the secretary of state's efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear program

US Republican senator Bob Corker stepped up his public feud with Donald Trump on Friday, saying the president's undermining of his secretary of state was like castrating him in public.

Corker told the Washington Post in an interview that Trump had undercut Rex Tillerson's efforts to enlist China in reining in North Korea's nuclear program by denigrating the diplomat.

"You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state" without limiting the options for dealing with North Korea, Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, told the Post.

Tillerson told a news conference in Beijing two weeks ago that the US was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs, but it had shown no interest in dialogue. Trump took to Twitter the next day, saying Tillerson was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

"The greatest diplomatic activities we have are with China, and the most important, and they have come a long, long way," Corker said. "Some of the things we are talking about are phenomenal. "When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart." He added that working with China was the key to reaching a peaceful settlement with North Korea.

"When you publicly castrate your secretary of state, you take that off the table," Corker said.

Artgoddess 14 Oct 2017 17:05

Tillerson gets A LOT of $ if he lasts a year. Mnuchin, too.

humdum 14 Oct 2017 14:55

If Tillerson is undermined by Trump, why is he hanging around. He can't be effective. Honorable thing to do is to hand over his resignation. He doesn't need the job.

LibtardMangina -> imipak 14 Oct 2017 13:06

Like Sadam had no WMDs yet George and Tony pretended they cared whether they were there or not and went in guns blazing. We're still trying to pick up the pieces. Thanks guys. Dozza's adventures in NK is the next instalment of this shit show.

willyjack -> lochinverboy 14 Oct 2017 12:54

"This is the low point in America's political history"

It's bad, but having experienced the 60s and early 70s (Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Kent State, 1960 Dem Convention, Weather Underground, etc.) I think it's safe to say that we are nowhere near that level. And then there's the Civil War, Andrew Johnson, etc.

ConBrio -> CorvidRegina 14 Oct 2017 12:16

She came, she manipulated the nomination process, she lost! Get over it the precipitous canonization of damaged goods and try to elect someone competent. She ain't risin again.

CorvidRegina -> Abusedbythestate 14 Oct 2017 11:30

politicians playing on people's fears and telling them what they want to hear

That is the true culprit here. The role of politicians has always been to protect the country, including from its own citizens. Every politician makes use of some fear as a rhetorical tool, but the American conservatives really took this to a whole new level; they found an easy and lazy way to keep their support bolstered, by conflating the very worst traits of the ignorant and gullible with moral, even religious, superiority.

Of course they now consider themselves superior to even the politicians that fed them. It's hard to feel much pity.

john ayres -> colacj 14 Oct 2017 11:18

[Edited for clarity] Anyone other then primate chosen for this position would outshine him. Leave at the Russia BS. It is the result of $2B of propaganda from US agencies.

DAW188 14 Oct 2017 11:02

On an international scale what should probably be concerning American voters more than it is, are the US allies that appear to be pivoting away from them and towards each other. With an incompetent ninny of a POTUS and absolutely no clear military or diplomatic direction it is unsurprising that other global players are looking to each other for some security. The latest fallout over the Iran deal will only exasperate it.

I imagine it has caused some of the diplomats and bureaucrats in Washington to sit up and feel concerned. But as most US news reporting (even from internationally regarded publications like the NYT) seems to look no further than the end of its nose, I doubt its getting much, if any, play amongst US voters.

A fine example of this would be the machinations of the recent meetings between Theresa May and Shinzo Abe. They represent two of the closest political, economic and military allies of the US and are arguably key to the US' Atlantic and Pacific spheres of influence. Both countries find themselves in a bit of a bind. May turns up with a big empty bag labelled trade deals and Abe greets her with a tin-helmet on fearing a NK missile might drop on his head at any moment and that the US administration is not reliable enough to step in and diffuse the tension as it has in the past.

Abe conveniently has a country full of investors who would quite like to get access to the UK to buy up business on the cheap. May had a few hundred nuclear warheads in her back pocket that are all transferable anywhere in the world undetected and underwater (say for example in the South China Sea or the Sea of Japan), as well as a large intelligence agency and a UN security council seat. Not hard to see how tempting it would be for the two to cut a deal. The speech that the two leaders gave at the end of their little summit spelt it out. Abe bigged up Brexit, the opportunities it would afford and the strength of the Anglo-Nippon economic partnership, whilst May reaffirmed British commitments to defend its ally Japan's interests in a big two fingers up to Beijing and Pyongyang. Suddenly the US has two powerful allies turning away from it and towards each other, providing support that the US was once a bridge for.

This isn't restricted to the UK or Japan. Look at Macron in France and Merkel in Germany. Trudeau in Canada and Pena Nieto in Mexico. Even loyal old Bibi is getting in on the act when he recently invited India's Modi around for tea in Jerusalem.

Then you have theoretical allies, that have questionable intentions. Qatar and the Saudis remain at each others throats. The Emir of Qatar (or should that be his mother, the former Queen Moza, the power behind the curtain) certainly seems increasingly enamored with the Iranian's. Whilst the tensions in the Gulf are the way they are, it may not be the time to try and up-end again the relationship with Iran.

mbidding -> JEM5260 14 Oct 2017 11:00

Fifty years of the GOP putting party before country is how too many voters have been duped and misinformed.

Fifty years of Nixon's Southern Strategy and subsequent dog whistle politics aimed at convincing "real" Americans that people of color, liberals, intellectuals, and secular humanists are out to destroy their way of life and are the causes of all their woes.

Forty years of Reagan's mantra that government, taxes, and unions are evil and business is the way, the truth, and the power. Forty years of his trickle down economics which has led to stagnating/declining wages, crumbling infrastructure and, importantly, divestment in k-16 education. Ongoing dog whistles to now include Christian persecution in a primarily Christian country.

Thirty five years of repeal of the Fairness Doctrine by which "news" has become nothing more than politically propagandized infotainment.

And remember, we're a big ass country with small, far flung towns. Trump's support is strongest in small, rural communities -- communities with no experience with diversity of any type (political, economic, and social). These folks have been groomed by the GOP for fifty years to believe that liberal policies and non whites are out to get them and only the GOP and business have their backs.

Trump picked up the GOP ball and ran with it to its natural conclusion -- a know nothing incompetent, narcissistic president who won on the back of the bigotry, fear, and economic lies the GOP's been peddling for decades.

LibtardMangina 14 Oct 2017 10:44

I think many people have been secretly hoping that the good cop/bad cop act was part of an agreed strategy for dealing with Kim and the DRK. It's not though is it? Dozza really is as pathetic as he looks. Absolutely out of his depth and endangering everybody with his bullshit.

Abusedbythestate -> Conradsagent 14 Oct 2017 08:23

It will still end in tears for the yanks - a powerful military will not save the dollar - change is the one constant in the universe - where is the roman empire, the British empire, the Portuguese and Spanish empires, the Venetian empire now???? No one state stays the top dog for ever.

The rest of the world will see to that - the British and Europe are starting to look East and Trump is helping them do that to become so isolated, the US will become a backwater as quick as the USSR collapsed almost overnight. It only takes one extra straw to break the camel's back

Abusedbythestate -> digamey 14 Oct 2017 08:19

Indeed - I have many German friends and we talk about how any group of people in a nation can vote a nutter into power - Hitler being one of the most in(famous). At the end of the day, in all of the world in every nation state, there are a lot of very dumb people - the majority of the electorate to a greater or lesser degree - it's not their fault - we are all born entirely ignorant and our culture forms our opinions and our ability to question - do you remember how often at school, you were encouraged to question anything? or were facts, facts?

Pile on top of that a very powerful media, politicians playing on people's fears and telling them what they want to hear, and people's general gullibility and it's no great surprise that the Germans voted for Hitler, the Yanks voted for Trump and our dumb country voted .... well, vote the way they do - the fact that people seem happy with our so called democracies around the world that are far from democratic, depending on definition, and where we're often given a choice of just one or two options that seem incredibly similar in policy compared to the vast possible alternatives on how to run a country/economy - heaven forbid we might attempt an "extreme" alternative!!!

3melvinudall 14 Oct 2017 08:18

It seems some Republicans have decided now is the time to take down Trump. From what the country has seen of how Trump does "business" better to take him on now than deal with the disastrous consequences of his failures. Captain Trump is taking the ship down with his incompetence...problem is: we are all on that ship.

Gytaff -> Mordicant 14 Oct 2017 07:48

Sadly the typical American has very little to no awareness of the world outside of the US. Their world view and knowledge of the rest of the world is extremely limited and biased. That is why 'America First' is the perfect strap-line for this 'president'.

The Trump base doesn't give a toss about 'worldwide economic momentum', they only see what is happening in their own back yards. This is why Trump is doing well with his base, they see his posturing against North Korea, Iran and Syria as strength, they see his threats to trade deals as protectionist and have absolutely no problem with it, it's perfectly aligned with their views and mindset.

The Democrats are going to have a serious battle in the mid-terms, they need to find a way to appeal to the common man and give them what Trump keeps promising to deliver (but not, so far!). They need to show that they, as elitists can empathize with the common man's position, needs and beliefs, sadly the democrats have a long way to go! The Republicans are also screwed as Trumpism is anathema to their candidates too.

The next 12 months are going to be 'interesting times'!

Conradsagent -> ConBrio 14 Oct 2017 07:34

The US is one of the most fundamentalist, extreme religious whack job countries on the planet.

As for addiction to US protection...it is also one of the most (if not, the most) dangerously confused countries on earth. The world needs protecting 'from' it...not by it

corneilius -> pruneau 14 Oct 2017 07:24

Exactly the same can be said of the Tory party in the UK, especially the belief that you run a national economy on the same principles of a household budget.

saintkiwi -> Prumtic 14 Oct 2017 07:23

I think half the cabinet and half of Congress may actually go along with it; we know from whispers around the White House and Washington that many, if not most, Republicans think Trump is temperamentally/psychologically unfit for the post. Maybe Corker is the crack in the dam that eventually leads to catastrophic failure and flood; maybe not.

Pence is a total stiff, though. No way such a conservative guy would implement such an historic and radical action as forcibly* removing a sitting president, no matter how nuts that C-in-C was.

*(and yes, I can envisage Tump literally having to be dragged from the Oval Office)

UB__DK 14 Oct 2017 07:02

I hope the 25th amendment is on the agenda behind the scenes. It is clear to everyone that the president is unqualified. He is steadily eroding the credibility of the office he holds and of the entire West on the international political scene. And the longer his removal is delayed the worse it will get.

BeenThereDunThat -> ClearlyNow 14 Oct 2017 06:39

Oh dear, another Trumpkin. I am no fan of Merkel - a neoliberal to her boots. But at least she has some humanity and actually cares for other members of the human race outside of her immediate family - and to be honest, I doubt the Tango Tyrant cares for his family other than their being a projection of his own narcissistic ego.

As for Germany, its economy still marches along with it being the number 4 economy in the world and the top of the G5 group. It's standard of living remains high while social inequality is far lower than in countries such as the US or the UK.

So sorry, but another pathetically failed straw-man - or in this case, straw-woman - attempt to deflect attention from the discussion at hand.

Ramas100 14 Oct 2017 05:49

It's the military generals who are stroking Trump's ego by telling him there is a military solution to N Korea and Iran.

RichWoods -> blairsnemesis 14 Oct 2017 05:47

but Trump is the most evil and worst person to hold the post, ever.

Trump isn't evil. He's thin-skinned, easily goaded, petty and vindictive, and lacks foresight and self-awareness. His attempts to dismantle Obamacare will kill people, but that's not his aim and he doesn't think of it in those terms. He's not evil, just incompetent and irrational.

All those things were apparent during the election campaign, so whatever your politics you have no excuse if you voted for someone who is so patently unfit to hold public office.

blairsnemesis -> FrankRoberts 14 Oct 2017 05:23

I suspect he realised before he even took up the post that he was far too thick for the job. Reagan was an appalling bag of shit but Trump is the most evil and worst person to hold the post, ever. I only hope that if someone doesn't kill him (and they'd have my full backing because he is an immense threat to the world), he gets put behind bars, along with the rest of his thick-as-pigshit family, for life.

Prumtic -> HelpAmerica 14 Oct 2017 05:14

Trump doesn't understand the word "negotiation" anyway. That's why he previously said that any negotiations with NK would be very short. It's because his definition of the word is, "we tell you what we demand, and you do it, regardless of your viewpoint." That's why he makes enemies of everyone he has contact with, a total lack of understanding that a Win-Win approach is better for all (what does it matter what the outcome for "all" is, as long as Trump appears to be the winner). Boils down to his mental condition meaning he has no empathy.

MortimerSnerd 14 Oct 2017 05:11

Just trying to keep the faith here until the mid terms. Trump is more bluster than balls, and he is not The Emperor. There are checks and balances in the system and the system has thwarted him on many occasions.

peterxpto -> LondonFog 14 Oct 2017 05:03

Trump is "riding" the surge in jobs that is related entirely to a cyclical recovery from worldwide recession.

Kevin Cox -> WhigInterpretation 14 Oct 2017 04:46

Well said. Regarding Congress, people do not understand the way the US is hobbled by a constitution that facilitates the lobbying of special interests - so long as it is not the labor movement - and which is very, very hard to change. So much for the Founding Fathers and what they accomplished and made difficult to alter.

tippisheadrun -> simba72 14 Oct 2017 04:29

Absolutely.
President Ted Cruz, President Mike Huckabee, President Ben Carson, President Chris Christie, President Rick Santorum, President Marco Rubio - take your prick - none of them would promote any sense of security in the populace. With the exception of John Kasich, the GOP nominee was destined to be a dangerous character- either through lack of scruples or a misguided sense of their own righteousness.

daWOID -> digamey 14 Oct 2017 02:53

Fun fact: "the lifestyle of the good citizens of Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Texas etc., etc" collapsed a long time ago.

juster digamey 14 Oct 2017 02:50

The dollar is not going to stay the reserve currency forever. Its just math. If an average chinese can reach 25% productivity of an average amreican, and there is no reason they cant, they will have by all metrics the largest economy. At that stage USD keeping its present day status is impossible even if Abraham Lincoln gets revived an re elected.

charles47 -> RealityCheck2016 14 Oct 2017 02:22

I am involved in negotiations every day of my working life, with staff, with Trustees (directors), with local authorities, with suppliers.

I have good working relationships with most of them. Must be doing something right, while doing a job that matters to me personally. I've met Trump types. They wouldn't last five minutes in the world I live and work in. Too "entitled" and far too full of themselves. Generally, if I come across someone like that, they don't get our business because they are long on promise, short on delivery, and more interested in getting the "deal" than considering our needs as an organisation - which is the selling point I look for, as with most people. One-sided deals don't work and don't last.

As for affording to go to a Trump hotel...if I could, I wouldn't. I have my favourites, and my personal standards that don't involve glitter without substance.

jon donahue -> BhoGhanPryde 14 Oct 2017 01:57

Iran. At about 10,000 dead, it could go on for about three years with beaucoup contracts to be had. Perfect for all the flag-wavers.

Korea? No. Too many dead too fast, could run up to 25,000 in a hurry. Plus, Seoul smoked. Bad optics, no money in it...

jon donahue 14 Oct 2017 01:52

Trump is a train wreck. Incompetent. Unable to manage, unable to negotiate, unable to govern.

The good news is that we don't actually need a functioning President, with the world pretty much at peace and the economy doing well enough.
Everybody in the government and military can just work around the jerk.

digamey 14 Oct 2017 01:38

Republicans are experts at protecting their own butts. While Trump's numbers hold, they will bitch about him in private and suck up to him in public. Once his numbers start to tank, as inevitably they will, they will turn upon him and savage him in a manner with which even the most voracious hyenas could not compete.

BhoGhanPryde 14 Oct 2017 00:38

I think everyone knows the keys the North Korea crisis are China and dialog. But who says the Corporate States and their military-industrial complex want peace? War drives profits. And as anyone who has travelled the US - outside of Vegas, 5th Ave and Hollywood and Vine - knows war is essential to the American identity and needed to maintain cohesion in that fracturing society. Pride in the US military is a foundation stone of the modern US. War is needed to distract the peasants from the rising poverty virtually nil opportunities at home. War on the Korean peninsula may be needed by the Corporate State and if it is it will happen.

Mike Bray 13 Oct 2017 23:37

It is almost as if Donald Trump thinks the Secretary of State's job is to take notes on Donald Trump's statements.

[Oct 11, 2017] The Myths of Interventionists by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... There are dangers and threats in the world, but all of the threats from state actors are manageable and deterrable without spending more on the military, and these threats are much less severe than anything the U.S. faced between the 1940s and the end of the Cold War. The U.S. can and should get by safely with a much lower level of military spending, and our government should also adopt a strategy of restraint that keeps us out of unnecessary wars. ..."
"... The Iraq war is just the most obvious example of how the U.S. forcibly intervenes in other parts of the world over the objections of allies, in flagrant disregard for international law, and with no thought for the destabilizing effects that military action will have on the surrounding region. ..."
"... It would be much more accurate to say that the U.S. intervenes often in the affairs of weaker countries because it can, because our leaders leaders want to, and because there is usually no other power willing or able to stop it from happening. Exorbitant military spending far beyond what is needed to provide for our defense makes it possible to take military action on a regular basis, and the constant inflation of foreign threats makes a large part of the public believe that our government's frequent use of force overseas has something to do with self-defense. This frenetic meddling in the affairs of other nations hasn't made and won't make America any safer, it makes far more enemies than it eliminates, and it imposes significant fiscal and human costs on our country and the countries where our government interferes. ..."
"... At least Churchill had a focus. Neocons claim that any country that doesn't yield to our every desire is an existential threat. One article says, 'Iran', another 'China', yet another 'Russia' or 'N. Korea'. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Dakota Wood makes the usual alarmist case for throwing more money at the military. This passage stood out for how wrong it is:

Churchill repeatedly warned his countrymen of the dangers of complacency, misguided priorities, and weakness of will, of the foolishness to see the world and major competitors as being anything other than what they truly are. While praising the virtues and spirit of moderation that defined the English-speaking peoples of his day, he also urged them to recognize the necessity of having the courage to take timely action when dangers threatened and clearly visible trends in an eroding ability to provide for their common defense were leading toward disaster.

A similar state of affairs afflicts the United States today. To the extent America intervenes in the affairs of others, it is because the United States has been attacked first, an ally is in dire need of assistance, or an enemy threatens broader regional stability [bold mine-DL].

Over ten years ago, Rick Santorum talked incessantly about "the gathering storm" in a very conscious echo of Churchill, and subsequent events have proven his alarmism to have been just as unfounded and ridiculous as it seemed to be at the time. Hawks are often eager to invoke the 1930s to try to scare their audience into accepting more aggressive policies and more military spending than our security actually requires. Some of this may come from believing their own propaganda about the threats that they exaggerate, and some of it may just be a reflex, but as analysis of the contemporary scene it is always wrong. There are dangers and threats in the world, but all of the threats from state actors are manageable and deterrable without spending more on the military, and these threats are much less severe than anything the U.S. faced between the 1940s and the end of the Cold War. The U.S. can and should get by safely with a much lower level of military spending, and our government should also adopt a strategy of restraint that keeps us out of unnecessary wars.

Churchill-quoting alarmists aren't just bad at assessing the scale and nature of foreign threats, but they are usually also oblivious to the shoddy justifications for intervening and the damage that our interventionist policies do. The section quoted above reflects an almost touchingly naive belief that U.S. interventions are always justified and never cause more harm than they prevent. Very few U.S. interventions over the last thirty years fit the description Wood gives. The only time that the U.S. has intervened militarily abroad in response to an attack during this period was in Afghanistan as part of the immediate response to the 9/11 attacks. Every other intervention has been a choice to attack another country or to take sides in an ongoing conflict, and these interventions have usually had nothing to do with coming to the defense of an ally or preventing regional instability. Our interference in the affairs of others is often illegal under both domestic and/or international law (e.g., Kosovo, Libya, Iraq), it is very rarely related to U.S. or allied security, and it tends to cause a great deal of harm to the country and the surrounding region that are supposedly being "helped" by our government's actions.

The Iraq war is just the most obvious example of how the U.S. forcibly intervenes in other parts of the world over the objections of allies, in flagrant disregard for international law, and with no thought for the destabilizing effects that military action will have on the surrounding region. The U.S. didn't invade Panama in 1989 to help an ally or because we were attacked, but simply to topple the government there. Intervention in Haiti in 1994 didn't come in response to an attack or to assist an ally, but because Washington wanted to restore a deposed leader. Bombing Yugoslavia in 1999 was an attack on a country that posed no threat to us or our allies. The Libyan war was a war for regime change and a war of choice. A few allies did urge the U.S. to intervene in Libya, but not because they were in "dire need of assistance." The only thing that Britain and France needed in 2011 was the means to launch an attack on another country whose government posed no threat to them. Meddling in Syria since at least 2012 had nothing to do with defending the U.S. and our allies. Wood's description certainly doesn't apply to our support for the shameful Saudi-led war on Yemen, as the U.S. chose to take part in an attack on another country so that our despotic clients could be "reassured."

It would be much more accurate to say that the U.S. intervenes often in the affairs of weaker countries because it can, because our leaders leaders want to, and because there is usually no other power willing or able to stop it from happening. Exorbitant military spending far beyond what is needed to provide for our defense makes it possible to take military action on a regular basis, and the constant inflation of foreign threats makes a large part of the public believe that our government's frequent use of force overseas has something to do with self-defense. This frenetic meddling in the affairs of other nations hasn't made and won't make America any safer, it makes far more enemies than it eliminates, and it imposes significant fiscal and human costs on our country and the countries where our government interferes.

Posted in foreign policy , politics .

Tagged Syria , Rick Santorum , Yemen , Iraq war , Panama , Libyan war , Saudi Arabia , Haiti , Winston Churchill , Dakota Wood .

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Democracy Vs. Hegemonism? In Defense Of Mary Grabar

Christian Chuba , says: October 11, 2017 at 4:22 pm

'The gathering storm' I read that and I was dying to know which storm he was referring too.

At least Churchill had a focus. Neocons claim that any country that doesn't yield to our every desire is an existential threat. One article says, 'Iran', another 'China', yet another 'Russia' or 'N. Korea'.

It's surprising how low on the list N. Korea typically ranks as the hawks try to turn attention quickly back to Iran. 'Iran is funding and developing their nuclear program, Iran is going to buy their nuclear weapons'. At least in the case of N. Korea we do have a country that obviously does possess WMD and is developing ICBM's and is likely to sell them in the future (even to our best friends the Saudis).

[Oct 11, 2017] Donald Trump is exposing the contradictions of the elite by David Callahan

That's neoliberal elite after all. Why the author expects them to be ashamed is unclear
Notable quotes:
"... Business practices aimed at boosting shareholder value – like outsourcing, offshoring, automation, union-busting, predatory lending, and a range of anti-competitive abuses – have undermined the security of large swaths of the country. In turn, a flood of business dollars for campaign donations and lobbying over decades has helped thwart effective government responses to rising pain on Main Street. ..."
"... History tells us that societies with extractive and self-serving upper classes tend to fall into decline – whereas societies with inclusive elites are more likely to thrive. With the rise of Trump, we're seeing what an unraveling of the social fabric looks like after decades in which nearly all the nation's income gains have flowed upwards to a tiny sliver of households. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Since January, though, we've also seen a new level of rapaciousness by corporate interests in Washington DC that seem intent on extracting as much wealth as they can from wherever they can: consumers, investors, public lands, student borrowers, the tax code and even the war in Afghanistan.

Longtime watchers of the .01% won't be surprised by this bifurcated picture. For over two decades, an ever more educated wealthy elite has trumpeted its belief in tolerance, diversity, and meritocracy – even as it's also helped usher in record levels of inequality that have left many Americans feeling economically excluded and increasingly angry.

Trump's retrograde presidency has revealed the profound contradictions at the top of the US income ladder.

... ... ...

Corporate leaders have already been supportive of Trump's sweeping push to gut regulations in ways that would tilt the rules governing the economy more in favor of business and the wealthy. Social inclusion may be a growing public mantra of the far upper class. But economic extraction remains among its core operating principles.

... ... ...

Social inclusion is a public mantra of the upper class. But economic extraction remains a core operating principle

The answer is that many corporate and financial leaders were, and still are, a big part of the problem. These leaders have fostered the economic conditions that have thrown the values of tolerance and diversity on the defensive in America.

Business practices aimed at boosting shareholder value – like outsourcing, offshoring, automation, union-busting, predatory lending, and a range of anti-competitive abuses – have undermined the security of large swaths of the country. In turn, a flood of business dollars for campaign donations and lobbying over decades has helped thwart effective government responses to rising pain on Main Street.

... ... ...

History tells us that societies with extractive and self-serving upper classes tend to fall into decline – whereas societies with inclusive elites are more likely to thrive. With the rise of Trump, we're seeing what an unraveling of the social fabric looks like after decades in which nearly all the nation's income gains have flowed upwards to a tiny sliver of households.

Rarely has the American experiment – the notion of a country united by ideas rather than shared heritage – felt more fragile than it does right now. It's an ugly picture of division and resentment, but a predictable one given the economic trauma inflicted on millions of people over recent decades.

... ... ...

David Callahan is the author of The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. He is the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy

[Oct 11, 2017] US pseudo left does not resist wars and globalism and monopolistic corporations. They resist everyone who questions the war. They resist nationalism and localism.

Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

polistra, Website October 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm GMT

Hedges doesn't seem to understand that the "Resistance" is openly and obviously working FOR Deepstate. They do not resist wars and globalism and monopolistic corporations. They resist everyone who questions the war. They resist nationalism and localism.

Nothing mysterious or hidden about this, no ulterior motive or bankshot. It's explicitly stated in every poster and shout and beating.

[Oct 09, 2017] Corker Strikes Back by Daniel Larison

And this guy was elected with the mandate to end all foreign wars, although regarding Iraq he always was pretty crazy and jingoistic.
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Bob Corker followed up on his initial response to Trump's attack on him with some scathing criticism in an interview with The New York Times :

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like "a reality show," with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation "on the path to World War III."

In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts "like he's doing 'The Apprentice' or something."

"He concerns me," Mr. Corker added. "He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation."

Corker isn't saying anything that many others haven't already said, but it is significant that it is coming from such a high-profile elected Republican. The senator was among a very few in the Senate inclined to give Trump the benefit of the doubt in the past, and he sometimes went out of his way to say positive things about Trump's foreign policy. During the election, he was saying that Trump was bringing a "degree of realism" and "maturity" to foreign policy. That was always wishful thinking, and Corker's criticism now is a belated admission that he was wrong about all of that. It is fair to fault Corker for not realizing or saying any of these things sooner, but that doesn't make it any less extraordinary that he is saying it on the record. Thanks to Trump's foolish attack on him yesterday, he evidently no longer feels obliged to keep quiet about the problems he has with the president.

One of the more interesting things that Corker confirmed concerned Trump's repeated undermining of Tillerson:

The senator, who is close to Mr. Tillerson, invoked comments that the president made on Twitter last weekend in which he appeared to undercut Mr. Tillerson's negotiations with North Korea.

"A lot of people think that there is some kind of 'good cop, bad cop' act underway, but that's just not true," Mr. Corker said.

Without offering specifics, he said Mr. Trump had repeatedly undermined diplomacy with his Twitter fingers. "I know he has hurt, in several instances, he's hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out," Mr. Corker said.

We already knew this, but it is important that someone in Corker's position is acknowledging that the administration's foreign policy is every bit as dysfunctional as it appears to be. It remains to be seen whether Corker's break with Trump will translate into meaningful opposition to any part of Trump's foreign policy, but his remarks in this interview suggest that it might.

[Oct 09, 2017] Dennis Kucinich We Must Challenge the Two-Party Duopoly Committed to War by Adam Dick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In the interview, Kucinich discusses his work to expose the misinformation used to argue for US government interventions overseas before and during the Iraq War and, later, concerning the US effort to assist in the overthrow of the Syria government. ..."
"... Kucinich, in the interview, places the Iraq War, with its costs including trillions in US government spending and the death of over a million Iraqis, in the context of "this American imperium, this idea that somehow we have the right to establish ourselves anywhere we want" including with "over 800 bases in 132 countries" and to go around the world "looking for dragons to slay while we ignore our own problems here at home." ..."
"... This is a racket. This is a way for people who make arms to cash in or have government contracts to cash in. ..."
"... Rescuing America from a future "cataclysmic war," Kucinich argues, requires that Americans both "realize that our position in the world was never, ever meant to be a cop on the beat, a global cop," and "challenge this two-party duopoly that's committed to war." ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

In a new interview with host Jesse Ventura at RT, former United States presidential candidate and House of Representatives Member Dennis Kucinich stressed the importance of the American people challenging the "two-party duopoly that's committed to war."

In the interview, Kucinich discusses his work to expose the misinformation used to argue for US government interventions overseas before and during the Iraq War and, later, concerning the US effort to assist in the overthrow of the Syria government.

Regarding the Iraq War, Kucinich, who is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, explains that his research showed that "Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with al-Qaeda's role in 9/11, didn't have any connection to the anthrax attack, didn't have the intention or the capability of attacking the United States, and didn't have the weapons of mass destruction that were being claimed." This information, Kucinich relates, he provided to US Congress members in an October 2, 2002 report showing "there was no cause for war."

Despite Kucinich and other individuals' efforts to stop the march toward war, Congress passed an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against Iraq later in October, and the invasion of Iraq commenced in March of 2003.

Kucinich, in the interview, places the Iraq War, with its costs including trillions in US government spending and the death of over a million Iraqis, in the context of "this American imperium, this idea that somehow we have the right to establish ourselves anywhere we want" including with "over 800 bases in 132 countries" and to go around the world "looking for dragons to slay while we ignore our own problems here at home."

Why are we "wasting the blood of our nation, the treasure of our nation, our young people" on these overseas activities that are "causing catastrophes among families in other countries?" Kucinich asks. He answers as follows:

This is a racket. This is a way for people who make arms to cash in or have government contracts to cash in.
Continuing with his explanation for the support for the Iraq War and other US military intervention abroad, Kucinich says:
The problem today we have in Washington is that both political parties have converged with the military-industrial complex, fulfilling President Eisenhower's nightmare and setting America on a path toward destruction.

Rescuing America from a future "cataclysmic war," Kucinich argues, requires that Americans both "realize that our position in the world was never, ever meant to be a cop on the beat, a global cop," and "challenge this two-party duopoly that's committed to war."

Watch Kucinich's complete interview here:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3n5w1xYmV8A


Copyright © 2017 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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[Oct 09, 2017] Autopilot Wars by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality. ..."
"... Why do Americans today show so little interest in the wars waged in their name and at least nominally on their behalf? Why, as our wars drag on and on, doesn't the disparity between effort expended and benefits accrued arouse more than passing curiosity or mild expressions of dismay? Why, in short, don't we give a [ expletive deleted ..."
"... The true costs of Washington's wars go untabulated. ..."
"... On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out. ..."
"... Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. ..."
"... Blather crowds out substance. ..."
"... Besides, we're too busy. ..."
"... Anyway, the next president will save us. ..."
"... Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism. ..."
"... Well, yes, the US has recently killed 100.000′s of Arab civilians because they were Terrorists (?) or to Bring them Democracy (?) or whatever, or something – or who cares anyway. There's more coverage of the transgender toilet access question. ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.unz.com

Autopilot Wars Sixteen Years, But Who's Counting?

Consider, if you will, these two indisputable facts. First, the United States is today more or less permanently engaged in hostilities in not one faraway place, but at least seven . Second, the vast majority of the American people could not care less.

Nor can it be said that we don't care because we don't know. True, government authorities withhold certain aspects of ongoing military operations or release only details that they find convenient. Yet information describing what U.S. forces are doing (and where) is readily available, even if buried in recent months by barrages of presidential tweets. Here, for anyone interested, are press releases issued by United States Central Command for just one recent week:

Ever since the United States launched its war on terror, oceans of military press releases have poured forth. And those are just for starters. To provide updates on the U.S. military's various ongoing campaigns, generals, admirals, and high-ranking defense officials regularly testify before congressional committees or brief members of the press. From the field, journalists offer updates that fill in at least some of the details -- on civilian casualties, for example -- that government authorities prefer not to disclose. Contributors to newspaper op-ed pages and "experts" booked by network and cable TV news shows, including passels of retired military officers, provide analysis. Trailing behind come books and documentaries that put things in a broader perspective.

But here's the truth of it. None of it matters.

Like traffic jams or robocalls, war has fallen into the category of things that Americans may not welcome, but have learned to live with. In twenty-first-century America, war is not that big a deal.

While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality.

Why do Americans today show so little interest in the wars waged in their name and at least nominally on their behalf? Why, as our wars drag on and on, doesn't the disparity between effort expended and benefits accrued arouse more than passing curiosity or mild expressions of dismay? Why, in short, don't we give a [ expletive deleted ]?

Perhaps just posing such a question propels us instantly into the realm of the unanswerable, like trying to figure out why people idolize Justin Bieber, shoot birds, or watch golf on television.

Without any expectation of actually piercing our collective ennui, let me take a stab at explaining why we don't give a @#$%&! Here are eight distinctive but mutually reinforcing explanations, offered in a sequence that begins with the blindingly obvious and ends with the more speculative.

Americans don't attend all that much to ongoing American wars because:

1. U.S. casualty rates are low . By using proxies and contractors, and relying heavily on airpower, America's war managers have been able to keep a tight lid on the number of U.S. troops being killed and wounded. In all of 2017, for example, a grand total of 11 American soldiers have been lost in Afghanistan -- about equal to the number of shooting deaths in Chicago over the course of a typical week. True, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where the U.S. is engaged in hostilities, whether directly or indirectly, plenty of people who are not Americans are being killed and maimed. (The estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed this year alone exceeds 12,000 .) But those casualties have next to no political salience as far as the United States is concerned. As long as they don't impede U.S. military operations, they literally don't count (and generally aren't counted).

2. The true costs of Washington's wars go untabulated. In a famous speech , dating from early in his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower said that "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Dollars spent on weaponry, Ike insisted, translated directly into schools, hospitals, homes, highways, and power plants that would go unbuilt. "This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense," he continued. "[I]t is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." More than six decades later, Americans have long since accommodated themselves to that cross of iron. Many actually see it as a boon, a source of corporate profits, jobs, and, of course, campaign contributions. As such, they avert their eyes from the opportunity costs of our never-ending wars. The dollars expended pursuant to our post-9/11 conflicts will ultimately number in the multi-trillions . Imagine the benefits of investing such sums in upgrading the nation's aging infrastructure . Yet don't count on Congressional leaders, other politicians, or just about anyone else to pursue that connection.

On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out. Others have made the point so frequently that it's the equivalent of hearing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at Christmastime. Even so, it bears repeating: the American people have defined their obligation to "support the troops" in the narrowest imaginable terms , ensuring above all that such support requires absolutely no sacrifice on their part. Members of Congress abet this civic apathy, while also taking steps to insulate themselves from responsibility. In effect, citizens and their elected representatives in Washington agree: supporting the troops means deferring to the commander in chief, without inquiring about whether what he has the troops doing makes the slightest sense. Yes, we set down our beers long enough to applaud those in uniform and boo those who decline to participate in mandatory rituals of patriotism. What we don't do is demand anything remotely approximating actual accountability.

4. Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. While international terrorism isn't a trivial problem (and wasn't for decades before 9/11), it comes nowhere close to posing an existential threat to the United States. Indeed, other threats, notably the impact of climate change, constitute a far greater danger to the wellbeing of Americans. Worried about the safety of your children or grandchildren? The opioid epidemic constitutes an infinitely greater danger than "Islamic radicalism." Yet having been sold a bill of goods about a "war on terror" that is essential for "keeping America safe," mere citizens are easily persuaded that scattering U.S. troops throughout the Islamic world while dropping bombs on designated evildoers is helping win the former while guaranteeing the latter. To question that proposition becomes tantamount to suggesting that God might not have given Moses two stone tablets after all.

5. Blather crowds out substance. When it comes to foreign policy, American public discourse is -- not to put too fine a point on it -- vacuous, insipid, and mindlessly repetitive. William Safire of the New York Times once characterized American political rhetoric as BOMFOG, with those running for high office relentlessly touting the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. Ask a politician, Republican or Democrat, to expound on this country's role in the world, and then brace yourself for some variant of WOSFAD, as the speaker insists that it is incumbent upon the World's Only Superpower to spread Freedom and Democracy. Terms like leadership and indispensable are introduced, along with warnings about the dangers of isolationism and appeasement, embellished with ominous references to Munich . Such grandiose posturing makes it unnecessary to probe too deeply into the actual origins and purposes of American wars, past or present, or assess the likelihood of ongoing wars ending in some approximation of actual success. Cheerleading displaces serious thought.

6. Besides, we're too busy. Think of this as a corollary to point five. Even if the present-day American political scene included figures like Senators Robert La Follette or J. William Fulbright , who long ago warned against the dangers of militarizing U.S. policy, Americans may not retain a capacity to attend to such critiques. Responding to the demands of the Information Age is not, it turns out, conducive to deep reflection. We live in an era (so we are told) when frantic multitasking has become a sort of duty and when being overscheduled is almost obligatory. Our attention span shrinks and with it our time horizon. The matters we attend to are those that happened just hours or minutes ago. Yet like the great solar eclipse of 2017 -- hugely significant and instantly forgotten -- those matters will, within another few minutes or hours, be superseded by some other development that briefly captures our attention. As a result, a dwindling number of Americans -- those not compulsively checking Facebook pages and Twitter accounts -- have the time or inclination to ponder questions like: When will the Afghanistan War end? Why has it lasted almost 16 years? Why doesn't the finest fighting force in history actually win? Can't package an answer in 140 characters or a 30-second made-for-TV sound bite? Well, then, slowpoke, don't expect anyone to attend to what you have to say.

7. Anyway, the next president will save us. At regular intervals, Americans indulge in the fantasy that, if we just install the right person in the White House, all will be well. Ambitious politicians are quick to exploit this expectation. Presidential candidates struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but all of them promise in one way or another to wipe the slate clean and Make America Great Again. Ignoring the historical record of promises broken or unfulfilled, and presidents who turn out not to be deities but flawed human beings, Americans -- members of the media above all -- pretend to take all this seriously. Campaigns become longer, more expensive, more circus-like, and ever less substantial. One might think that the election of Donald Trump would prompt a downward revision in the exalted expectations of presidents putting things right. Instead, especially in the anti-Trump camp, getting rid of Trump himself (Collusion! Corruption! Obstruction! Impeachment!) has become the overriding imperative, with little attention given to restoring the balance intended by the framers of the Constitution. The irony of Trump perpetuating wars that he once roundly criticized and then handing the conduct of those wars to generals devoid of ideas for ending them almost entirely escapes notice.

8. Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism. As recently as the 1990s, the U.S. military establishment aligned itself with the retrograde side of the culture wars. Who can forget the gays-in-the-military controversy that rocked Bill Clinton's administration during his first weeks in office, as senior military leaders publicly denounced their commander-in-chief? Those days are long gone. Culturally, the armed forces have moved left. Today, the services go out of their way to project an image of tolerance and a commitment to equality on all matters related to race, gender, and sexuality. So when President Trump announced his opposition to transgendered persons serving in the armed forces, tweeting that the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," senior officers politely but firmly disagreed and pushed back . Given the ascendency of cultural issues near the top of the U.S. political agenda, the military's embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism and from being called to account for a less than sterling performance in waging wars. Put simply, critics who in an earlier day might have blasted military leaders for their inability to bring wars to a successful conclusion hold their fire. Having women graduate from Ranger School or command Marines in combat more than compensates for not winning.

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America. But don't expect your neighbors down the street or the editors of the New York Times to lose any sleep over that fact. Even to notice it would require them -- and us -- to care.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is the author, most recently, of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

Dan Hayes > , October 9, 2017 at 2:30 am GMT

You have enumerated ten general reasons why Americans "don't attend" to ongoing wars.

Let me add a further specific one: the draft or lack of same. If there were a draft in place either the powers-that-be would not even dare to contemplate any of our present martial misadventures, or failing that the outraged citizenry would burn down the Congress!

BTW I had never thought about reason #8: the military's embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism. This explains General Casey's inane statement that diversity shouldn't be a casualty of the Fort Hood massacre by a "diverse" officer!

Carlton Meyer > , Website October 9, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

One reason Trump won is that he promised to pull back the empire, while suggesting the Pentagon already has plenty of money. After the election, he demanded a 10% increase, and threatens North Korea to justify it! This increase alone is bigger than the entire annual military budget of Russia! The public is informed that this is because of cuts during the Obama years, but there were no cuts, only limits to increases.

How did the Democrats react? Most voted for a bigger military budget than the mindless increase proposed by Trump! That news was not reported by our corporate media, as Jimmy Dore explained:

Miro23 > , October 9, 2017 at 6:52 am GMT

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.

Well, yes, the US has recently killed 100.000′s of Arab civilians because they were Terrorists (?) or to Bring them Democracy (?) or whatever, or something – or who cares anyway. There's more coverage of the transgender toilet access question.

So who are Mr & Mrs Indifferent, the emblems of contemporary America? https://www.yahoo.com/news/29-couples-boudoir-photos-almost-172445904.html ?.tsrc=fauxdal – Thanks to Priss

Backwoods Bob > , October 9, 2017 at 7:37 am GMT

Structurally, you have arms production, military bases, hospitals, and related service industries across nearly all the congressional districts in the country.

So it is an enormous set of vested interests with both voting power and corporate money for campaign treasuries.

Quoting Ike was good, and he mentions the opportunity cost in schools, roads, etc. – but also the organizing political and economic power of the military industrial complex.

The government schools are with some exceptions worthless. No subject, let alone war, is taken on seriously.

The legacy media has been co-opted by the MIC/Financial interests. The state is spying on everyone and everyone knows so. Free speech, free association, free assembly, right to bear arms, confront your accuser, trial by jury, habeas corpus – all gone now.

So the sheep behave. They walk by the dead whistling, and look straight ahead.

Robert Magill > , October 9, 2017 at 9:27 am GMT

While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality.

He was dead wrong about this in the 60′s as it soon became obvious to everyone else. But we learned how "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." Cut out the military draft and embed the press into the ranks so they dare not report the actions they witness.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

[Oct 08, 2017] THE CRISIS OF NEOLIBERALISM by Julie A. Wilson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. ..."
"... Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy. ..."
"... In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism. ..."
"... We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism. ..."
"... While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."' ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Quote from the book is courtesy of Amazon preview of the book Neoliberalism (Key Ideas in Media & Cultural Studies)

In Chapter 1, we traced the rise of our neoliberal conjuncture back to the crisis of liberalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, culminating in the Great Depression. During this period, huge transformations in capitalism proved impossible to manage with classical laissez-faire approaches. Out of this crisis, two movements emerged, both of which would eventually shape the course of the twentieth century and beyond. The first, and the one that became dominant in the aftermath of the crisis, was the conjuncture of embedded liberalism. The crisis indicated that capitalism wrecked too much damage on the lives of ordinary citizens. People (white workers and families, especially) warranted social protection from the volatilities and brutalities of capitalism. The state's public function was expanded to include the provision of a more substantive social safety net, a web of protections for people and a web of constraints on markets. The second response was the invention of neoliberalism. Deeply skeptical of the common-good principles that undergirded the emerging social welfare state, neoliberals began organizing on the ground to develop a "new" liberal govemmentality, one rooted less in laissez-faire principles and more in the generalization of competition and enterprise. They worked to envision a new society premised on a new social ontology, that is, on new truths about the state, the market, and human beings. Crucially, neoliberals also began building infrastructures and institutions for disseminating their new' knowledges and theories (i.e., the Neoliberal Thought Collective), as well as organizing politically to build mass support for new policies (i.e., working to unite anti-communists, Christian conservatives, and free marketers in common cause against the welfare state). When cracks in embedded liberalism began to surface -- which is bound to happen with any moving political equilibrium -- neoliberals were there with new stories and solutions, ready to make the world anew.

We are currently living through the crisis of neoliberalism. As I write this book, Donald Trump has recently secured the U.S. presidency, prevailing in the national election over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Throughout the election, I couldn't help but think back to the crisis of liberalism and the two responses that emerged. Similarly, after the Great Recession of 2008, we've saw two responses emerge to challenge our unworkable status quo, which dispossesses so many people of vital resources for individual and collective life. On the one hand, we witnessed the rise of Occupy Wall Street. While many continue to critique the movement for its lack of leadership and a coherent political vision, Occupy was connected to burgeoning movements across the globe, and our current political horizons have been undoubtedly shaped by the movement's success at repositioning class and economic inequality within our political horizon. On the other hand, we saw' the rise of the Tea Party, a right-wing response to the crisis. While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism.

Wi