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Personnel is Policy

News The Deep State Recommended Links Shoot-first-ask-questions-later: Trump ME policy Hawks in Trump administration Purple revolution Sacrifice of Michael Flynn Sidelining of Bannon Rex Tillerson -- one of the better choices of Trump
Nikki Haley -- yet another neocon Trump after his Colin Powell moment Obamacare vs. Trumpcare Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Khan Sheikhoun gas attack History of American False Flag Operations Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Anti Trump Hysteria
Demonization of Putin Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Cold War II Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations  Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich The Iron Law of Oligarchy Blowback against neoliberal globalization
Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Myth about intelligent voter  American Exceptionalism Pluralism as a myth 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  Donald Trump -- an unusual fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization 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
 

Since his election as the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump has been fighting multiple fronts: "

With record low approval ratings in recent polls , Donald Trump has been in desperate need of a miracle.

RELATED:
How 'Anti-Trump' Liberal Media Cheered Syria Attack

On April 4th, residents of the rebel-held city Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, Syria were attacked with chemical weapons. Trump quickly seized on this Syrian catastrophe as an opportunity.

Prior to any kind of formal investigation, The White House determined that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack, with Trump flip-flopping on a statement made less than a week beforehand by his Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who stated that Assad's removal was "no longer a priority".

On April 5th Trump removed Stephen Bannon from the National Security Council (NSC). Bannon championed Trump's "America First" doctrine and was opposed to military action in Syria. Further, the move appeased the liberal establishment that was critical of Bannon's fascistic "alt-right" and White supremacist associations.

Thus, after neutralizing opposition from within (Steve Bannon) and instilling the appropriate local propaganda ( Sean Spicer ), a strike on Syria would align Trump with establishment conservatives and neoliberals , as well as the corporate media.

Personnel is Policy

There are over 1,200 positions in the US government (not counting judges or military appointments) that require the US Senate to confirm a candidate nominated by the president. (These are a subset of about 3,700 positions that require the president to appoint someone, but most of the positions in this broader group don't require Senate confirmation.) Often, the people appointed to these positions have a reasonable degree of day-to-day discretion in decision-making: in that sense, as those inside the DC beltway like to say, "personnel is policy.: As President Trump pushes ahead with his proposed appointments, what is the historical record of success for such appointments in the US Senate? Anne Joseph O’Connell compiles the evidence in "Staffing federal agencies: Lessons from 1981-2016," a report written for the Brookings Institution (April 17, 2017).

Here's a figure showing the success rate of presidential appointments in receiving Senate confirmation going back to the 97th Congress, during the 1981-82 at the start of President Reagan's first term.
 

I'll mostly leave it to readers to sort through the years and whether the president was facing a Senate of the same party. But a few points seem worth noting:

1) It's common for presidents to have 20% or more of their nominees not make it through Senate confirmation, especially later in presidential terms.

2) The share of presidential nominees not making it through US Senate confirmation has been rising over time, and for President Obama, 30% of his nominees didn't make it through the Senate.

3) Perhaps unexpectedly, the share of President Obama's nominees who didn't make it through the Senate was only a bit higher during his last two years in 2015-2016, when Republicans controlled the Senate, than it was during 2013-2014, when Democrats controlled the Senate. Moreover, remember that in November 2013, the Democrats running the US Senate changed the rules so that it was no longer possible to filibuster presidential appointees. But as O'Connell points out:

"Failure rates, however, increased for free-standing executive agencies, within and outside the Executive Office of the President, and for national councils. More surprisingly, confirmation delays for agency nominations increased across the board. For those successful 2013 nominations (a few of which were actually confirmed in December after the change), they took 95 days, on average. In 2014, delays ballooned to 150 days. Indeed, it was the biggest jump in any given year in an administration between any two presidents."
4) O'Connell also makes the interesting point that often about 15-20% of these theoretically appointed positions, or more, are not filled at any given time over the years. She writes that President Obama appointed fewer people, and as a result ended up leaving positions open more often.
"Interestingly, President Obama submitted fewer nominations (2828) than any of the other two-term presidents. President George W. Bush submitted the highest (3459); Presidents Reagan and Clinton each submitted around 3000 (2929 and 3014, respectively).... President Obama submitted fewer nominations than his predecessors, allowing acting officials to fill in for many important positions. President Trump could follow suit."
My own sense is that far too many low-level nominations are held up for dubious and extraneous reasons by individual or small groups of senators. For example, late in the Obama administration the board that is supposed to oversee the US Postal Service had zero members out of the nine possible appointments. The reported reason is that Senator Bernie Sanders put a hold on all possible appointees, as a show of solidarity with postal workers. If it isn't obvious to you how Sanders preventing President Obama from appointing new board members would influence the US Postal Service in the directions that Sanders would prefer, given that President Trump could presumably appoint all nine members of the board, you are not alone. 

This system of 1,200-plus presidential appointments requiring Senate approval seems dysfunctional but that doesn't alter the reality that these 1,200-plus appointments are among the most important steps a president can make.

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[Dec 13, 2017] Jared Kushner is wreaking havoc in the Middle East by Moustafa Bayoumi

While Israel is a US ally, violating UN resolutions by Trump is a dangerous and reckless game. Trump as geopolitical cowboy. One day the USA elite might regret their behaviour since 1991.
What is interesting is that the USA foreign policy is practically independent of who is elected as a Present. It has its own independence dynamics and string continuity. In a sense the President is just a figurehead. That said "Kushner is totally out of his depth and playing with fire. The damage done by the shambolic Trump maladministration will take years, if not decades, to repair. "
Notable quotes:
"... The 36-year-old is a Harvard graduate who seems to have a hard time filling in forms correctly . ..."
"... He is also said to have told Michael Flynn last December to call UN security council members to get a resolution condemning Israeli settlements quashed. Flynn called Russia. ..."
"... Days before bin Salman's unprecedented move, Kushner was with the crown prince in Riyadh on an unannounced trip. The men are reported to have stayed up late, planning strategy while swapping stories. We don't know what exactly the two were plotting, but Donald Trump later tweeted his "great confidence" in bin Salman. ..."
"... But the Kushner-bin Salman alliance moves far beyond Riyadh. The Saudis and Americans are now privately pushing a new "peace" deal to various Palestinian and Arab leaders that is more lop-sided toward Israel than ever before. ..."
"... Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian parliamentarian in the Israeli Knesset, explained the basic contours of the deal to the New York Times: no full statehood for Palestinians, only "moral sovereignty." Control over disconnected segments of the occupied territories only. No capital in East Jerusalem. No right of return for Palestinian refugees. ..."
"... But it's not just Israel, either. Yemen is on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster largely because the country is being blockaded by Saudi Arabia. Trump finally spoke out against the Saudi measure this week, but both the state department and the Pentagon are said to have been privately urging Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ease their campaign against Yemen (and Lebanon and Qatar) for some time and to little impact. Why? Because Saudi and Emirati officials believe they "have tacit approval from the White House for their hardline actions, in particular from Donald Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner," journalist Laura Rozen reported . ..."
"... The Kushner-bin Salman alliance has particularly irked secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Kushner reportedly leaves the state department completely out of his Middle Eastern plans. Of special concern to Tillerson, according to Bloomberg News , is Kushner's talks with bin Salman regarding military action by Saudi Arabia against Qatar. The state department is worried of all the unforeseen consequences such a radical course of action would bring, including heightened conflict with Turkey and Russia and perhaps even a military response from Iran or an attack on Israel by Hezbollah ..."
"... What about the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia? That seat's also vacant. And the US ambassador to Jordan, Morocco, Egypt? Vacant, vacant, and vacant. What about assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, a chief strategic post to establish US policy in the region? No one's been nominated. Deputy assistant secretary for press and public diplomacy? Vacant ..."
"... It's partly this vacuum of leadership by Tillerson that has enabled Kushner to forge his powerful alliance with bin Salman, much to the detriment of the region. And in their zeal to isolate Iran, Kushner and bin Salman are leaving a wake of destruction around them. ..."
"... The war in Yemen is only intensifying. Qatar is closer to Iran than ever. A final status deal between Israel and the Palestinians seems all but impossible now. The Lebanese prime minister went back on his resignation. And the Saudi state must be paying the Ritz-Carlton a small fortune to jail key members of the ruling family over allegations of corruption. ..."
"... There's a long history of American politicians deciding they know what's best for the Middle East while buttressing their autocratic allies and at the expense of the region's ordinary people. ..."
"... The US has honestly broken many Palestinians into pieces. Where do you think all those fighter jets, tanks and gun boats come from ..."
"... In 1948 my father, who knew the Middle East well, said of the creation of Israel 'it will never work'. Of course, throwing thousands of people off their land is not the best way to create a peaceful country. And, while the Western guilt about the Holocaust furthered the creation of a homeland for the Jews, the plight of the Palestinians was completely neglected. ..."
"... The Trump administration has certainly increased tensions in the area...significantly. Much of this seems to have to do with challenging Iran's influence in the area. I suspect that is why Saudi Arabia and Trump are in cahoots. Saudi Arabia wants to be the new dominant country in the region and Iran is their main competitor. I expect a new war in the region against Qatar/Iran and Yemen. And we all know where Kushner will place his allegiance. ..."
"... The book Allies for Armageddon by Victoria Clark states that right-wing Israeli political groups exploit the Christian Fundamentalists in American into giving Israel their support and funding, as the latter believe Israel's full control of Jerusalem etc will bring forth the rapture. ..."
"... Good questions. Trump has declared that the department should be reduced significantly. The vacant posts are partly due to that and partly due to the fact that Tillerson has rejected most of the administration's recommendations because of their being political picks. ..."
"... Tillerson in the mean time seems to have barricaded himself behind a very few loyal lieutenants. He has not been able or interested in enabling or supporting the rest of the department ..."
"... Trump constantly ridicules Tillerson, privately and publicly and Tillerson called Trump a moron after a meeting in which Trump expressed his desire to increase our nuclear arsenal 10 times. ..."
"... Until the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital the US could at least pretend to be an honest peace broker in the ME/Palestine issue - they have now dropped even this. The Palestinians have always considered the US to be biased against their interests and pro-Israel and this confirms it, why should they listen to the people who want to achieve a Palestine State by peaceful means when they kicked in the teeth at every twist and turn? The militants have just gained a brigade of new volunteers and elsewhere Daesh/Isis will be rubbing their hands at this propaganda gift. ..."
"... Tillerson and co represent the continuation of the NeoCon doctrine of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Its foreign policy lead by oil and gas interests. Trump really is busy shoring up his constituency base for the future with tax cuts for old money and oligarchs, while the right wing christian brigade which is also seriously loaded (its big business) are of cause delighted with the Jerusalem embassy decision. It also helps an embattled Likud establishment which is under the kosh and faces huge challenges to get reelected. ..."
"... Standard Republican playbook: when things are going badly at home, pick a fight in the middle east. This was timed to distract from Deutsche Bank releasing Trump's financial records to Muller. Expect Trump to escalate as Muller closes in - my guess is he'll bomb Iran, but who knows... ..."
"... There is one benefit from Trump's decision. It is now fully clear that the USA is foursquare behind the Israelis and has always been so. Far from being and "honest broker" for peace they haveaccepted for 40 years any initiative the Israelis have made to ectend theor land area. ..."
"... Large parts of West Jerusalem were occupied by Zionist militias in 1948. Including the most expensive neighborhoods today, Qatamon, Talbiyeh, Baqa. All ethnically cleansed. The rest of the city was occupied by force in 1967. Jerusalem has been an Arab city for centuries, Muslim Jewish and Christian. European settlers have very little to do with it. ..."
"... Apart from all the other reasons for Kushner not having the leading role in the middle east, his financial support to settlers should automatically rule him out of any participation in brokering deals between Palestine and Israel. How can someone who is actively supporting illegal settlements have any semblance of being neutrality? However, in terms of the ethics of the Trump administration, it is simply business as usual. ..."
"... But what underlies all this is waning US and Saudi power in the region. They might burn the place down but they cannot remake it. The Saudis have devastated Yemen, killed thousands of children, and overseen a cholera epidemic. And still they can't defeat the Houthis. Their proxies have been routed in Syria and Iraq. The Qatar blockade has failed. So has the gambit to reshape Lebanon. ..."
"... Kushner is a toady duplicitous operator no doubt, but the whole American Israeli Saudi vision for the region is a nightmare that has no chance of success. ..."
"... Trump's announcement in recognising Jerusalem as Israeli capital shows his cunning strategic genius. It has united the governments of the Muslim Middle East in coming together and made it more unlikely that Saudi Arabia could align with Israel in triggering a wider conflict with Iran without incurring huge public disapproval within the country. ..."
"... The Guardian also ran an overly-reverential article about the Saudi crown prince a while back. It's worrying that they and the Americans are doing all of this with hardly a murmur of disapproval. Where's the UN resolution and sanctions? Where's the sanctions from the EU? America will veto everything at the UN and the EU mostly does what America wants it to do. Shows how useless the major organisations really are. I used to think that the EU was a good counter to American power, but they seem to have joined forces with the US recently, which is worrying when you have an unpredictable American president like Trump. ..."
"... Kushner is totally out of his depth and playing with fire. The damage done by the shambolic Trump maladministration will take years, if not decades, to repair. ..."
"... He wanted to tick off a box on his lunatic list of campaign pledges before Christmas. Consequences schmonsequences. I think he's also a willing tool of the end of times, rapture crazy Christian fundamentalists. ..."
"... I assume the announcement that the US now recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was more to do with Trump attempting to deflect interest away from Mueller now that he, his family and other chums in the administration are coming under financial scrutiny by the inquiry. At a stroke its certainly made Kushner's job in the Middle East much-harder if not impossible and surely makes him a target for every disaffected Palestinian. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

he entire Middle East, from Palestine to Yemen, appears set to burst into flames after this week. The region was already teetering on the edge, but recent events have only made things worse. And while the mayhem should be apparent to any casual observer, what's less obvious is Jared Kushner's role in the chaos.

Kushner is, of course, the US president's senior advisor and son-in-law. The 36-year-old is a Harvard graduate who seems to have a hard time filling in forms correctly .

He repeatedly failed to mention his meetings with foreign officials on his security clearance and neglected to report to US government officials that he was co-director of a foundation that raised money for Israeli settlements, considered illegal under international law. (He is also said to have told Michael Flynn last December to call UN security council members to get a resolution condemning Israeli settlements quashed. Flynn called Russia.)

In his role as the president's special advisor, Kushner seems to have decided he can remake the entire Middle East, and he is wreaking his havoc with his new best friend, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old who burst on to the international scene by jailing many members of his country's ruling elite, including from his own family, on corruption charges.

Days before bin Salman's unprecedented move, Kushner was with the crown prince in Riyadh on an unannounced trip. The men are reported to have stayed up late, planning strategy while swapping stories. We don't know what exactly the two were plotting, but Donald Trump later tweeted his "great confidence" in bin Salman.

But the Kushner-bin Salman alliance moves far beyond Riyadh. The Saudis and Americans are now privately pushing a new "peace" deal to various Palestinian and Arab leaders that is more lop-sided toward Israel than ever before.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian parliamentarian in the Israeli Knesset, explained the basic contours of the deal to the New York Times: no full statehood for Palestinians, only "moral sovereignty." Control over disconnected segments of the occupied territories only. No capital in East Jerusalem. No right of return for Palestinian refugees.

This is, of course, not a deal at all. It's an insult to the Palestinian people. Another Arab official cited in the Times story explained that the proposal came from someone lacking experience but attempting to flatter the family of the American president. In other words, it's as if Mohammed bin Salman is trying to gift Palestine to Jared Kushner, Palestinians be damned.

Next came Donald Trump throwing both caution and international law to the wind by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

But it's not just Israel, either. Yemen is on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster largely because the country is being blockaded by Saudi Arabia. Trump finally spoke out against the Saudi measure this week, but both the state department and the Pentagon are said to have been privately urging Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ease their campaign against Yemen (and Lebanon and Qatar) for some time and to little impact. Why? Because Saudi and Emirati officials believe they "have tacit approval from the White House for their hardline actions, in particular from Donald Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner," journalist Laura Rozen reported .

The Kushner-bin Salman alliance has particularly irked secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Kushner reportedly leaves the state department completely out of his Middle Eastern plans. Of special concern to Tillerson, according to Bloomberg News , is Kushner's talks with bin Salman regarding military action by Saudi Arabia against Qatar. The state department is worried of all the unforeseen consequences such a radical course of action would bring, including heightened conflict with Turkey and Russia and perhaps even a military response from Iran or an attack on Israel by Hezbollah.

Here's where state department diplomacy should kick in. The US ambassador to Qatar could relay messages between the feuding parties to find a solution to the stand-off. So what does the ambassador to Qatar have to say about the Kushner-Salman alliance? Nothing, since there still is no confirmed ambassador to Qatar.

What about the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia? That seat's also vacant. And the US ambassador to Jordan, Morocco, Egypt? Vacant, vacant, and vacant. What about assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, a chief strategic post to establish US policy in the region? No one's been nominated. Deputy assistant secretary for press and public diplomacy? Vacant.

It's partly this vacuum of leadership by Tillerson that has enabled Kushner to forge his powerful alliance with bin Salman, much to the detriment of the region. And in their zeal to isolate Iran, Kushner and bin Salman are leaving a wake of destruction around them.

The war in Yemen is only intensifying. Qatar is closer to Iran than ever. A final status deal between Israel and the Palestinians seems all but impossible now. The Lebanese prime minister went back on his resignation. And the Saudi state must be paying the Ritz-Carlton a small fortune to jail key members of the ruling family over allegations of corruption.

There's a long history of American politicians deciding they know what's best for the Middle East while buttressing their autocratic allies and at the expense of the region's ordinary people. (The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has traditionally provided the rationale for America and its allies in the region, and his recent sycophantic portrayal of bin Salman certainly didn't disappoint!)

But the Kushner-bin Salman alliance also represents something else. Both the US and Saudi Arabia are concentrating power into fewer and fewer hands. And with fewer people in the room, who will be around to tell these men that their ideas are so damaging? Who will dare explain to them how they already have failed?

Moustafa Bayoumi is the author of the award-winning books How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America Topics Trump administration Opinion US foreign policy

DirtWorshiper -> curiouswes , 9 Dec 2017 11:39

We've made war all over the world for decades, sponsored coups, propped up dictators all so our own ruling elites can make out like bandits. We are a rogue state and becoming an oligarchy too.
zolotoy -> redux00 , 9 Dec 2017 11:39
If European settlers had very little to do with it, where did all of those Zionist militias in 1948 come from?
BParker -> Addicks123 , 9 Dec 2017 11:39
The US has honestly broken many Palestinians into pieces. Where do you think all those fighter jets, tanks and gun boats come from.
shemarch -> MetellusScipio , 9 Dec 2017 11:39

In 1948 my father, who knew the Middle East well, said of the creation of Israel 'it will never work'. Of course, throwing thousands of people off their land is not the best way to create a peaceful country. And, while the Western guilt about the Holocaust furthered the creation of a homeland for the Jews, the plight of the Palestinians was completely neglected.

The increasing encroachment by Israel's settlements have been making the only creditable solution - the two states -increasingly difficult. Now Trump's declaration over Jerusalem has made the situation completely impossible.

wardpj -> Blubbers , 9 Dec 2017 11:38
I think you need a more cogent "analysis" than that. It doesn't really say anything, does it. There's religion everywhere, so what's specific about the middle East? Start from that question and you may get somewhere.
zolotoy -> MaryLeone Sullivan , 9 Dec 2017 11:38
America sure as hell does support it .
dancer693 , 9 Dec 2017 11:37
The Trump administration has certainly increased tensions in the area...significantly. Much of this seems to have to do with challenging Iran's influence in the area. I suspect that is why Saudi Arabia and Trump are in cahoots. Saudi Arabia wants to be the new dominant country in the region and Iran is their main competitor. I expect a new war in the region against Qatar/Iran and Yemen. And we all know where Kushner will place his allegiance.

One of the interesting things to me about all this is that Kushner is really the major focus right now in the Russia investigation. He has clearly been implicated in crimes for which he will be indicted. And soon. I have a hard time (in addition to the overwhelming everything else) with the fact that the President would give Kushner so much influence in the discussion. He's about to be indicted!!! Why would anyone negotiate with him?

urfanali -> TonyBennWasRight , 9 Dec 2017 11:37
The Zionist settler state helping to spread its illegal settlements across the Palestinians land with the help needed of the US, UK and the House of Saud
MaryLeone Sullivan -> TonyBennWasRight , 9 Dec 2017 11:35
Israel never existed until 1949.
hubbahubba -> umrkgermany , 9 Dec 2017 11:34
The book Allies for Armageddon by Victoria Clark states that right-wing Israeli political groups exploit the Christian Fundamentalists in American into giving Israel their support and funding, as the latter believe Israel's full control of Jerusalem etc will bring forth the rapture.
2020Vision4 , 9 Dec 2017 11:34
Oh man, and all this while Trump runs a distractionary, hedge fund supporting operation to allow tax avoiders to now have access to their off shore cash at a lower tax rate. Where is the infrastructure rebuilding or are Trump supporters blinded even more now by Trumps enlarging butt cheeks blaming Obama and Bush.
Charles Demers -> workshy_freeloader , 9 Dec 2017 11:34
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. - H. L. Mencken
dancer693 -> Kathleen John O'Donnell , 9 Dec 2017 11:30
Good questions. Trump has declared that the department should be reduced significantly. The vacant posts are partly due to that and partly due to the fact that Tillerson has rejected most of the administration's recommendations because of their being political picks.

Tillerson in the mean time seems to have barricaded himself behind a very few loyal lieutenants. He has not been able or interested in enabling or supporting the rest of the department.

Trump constantly ridicules Tillerson, privately and publicly and Tillerson called Trump a moron after a meeting in which Trump expressed his desire to increase our nuclear arsenal 10 times. Finally, Trump's vision of foreign policy is to have it concentrated in the White House instead of the State Department and Trump is totally uninterested in ANY of the State Department's advice or consultation. I guess the answer to your question is "all of the above".

Addicks123 , 9 Dec 2017 11:28
I get the impression that Trump is moving quickly with the Mueller investigation closing its net.

Until the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital the US could at least pretend to be an honest peace broker in the ME/Palestine issue - they have now dropped even this. The Palestinians have always considered the US to be biased against their interests and pro-Israel and this confirms it, why should they listen to the people who want to achieve a Palestine State by peaceful means when they kicked in the teeth at every twist and turn? The militants have just gained a brigade of new volunteers and elsewhere Daesh/Isis will be rubbing their hands at this propaganda gift.

Hopefully Trump won't last much longer - but that means a President Pence and if you watch Trump's speech announcing this he is there in the background nodding. One set of religious nutcases are egging on another lot and that's not going to be good for the Middle East.

Swilkerin , 9 Dec 2017 11:28
Tillerson and co represent the continuation of the NeoCon doctrine of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Its foreign policy lead by oil and gas interests. Trump really is busy shoring up his constituency base for the future with tax cuts for old money and oligarchs, while the right wing christian brigade which is also seriously loaded (its big business) are of cause delighted with the Jerusalem embassy decision. It also helps an embattled Likud establishment which is under the kosh and faces huge challenges to get reelected.
angie11 , 9 Dec 2017 11:25
Trump, Netanyahu, Salman: The true 'axis of evil'. And so it goes...
joiwomcow , 9 Dec 2017 11:25
Standard Republican playbook: when things are going badly at home, pick a fight in the middle east. This was timed to distract from Deutsche Bank releasing Trump's financial records to Muller. Expect Trump to escalate as Muller closes in - my guess is he'll bomb Iran, but who knows...
johnbig , 9 Dec 2017 11:24

There is one benefit from Trump's decision. It is now fully clear that the USA is foursquare behind the Israelis and has always been so. Far from being and "honest broker" for peace they haveaccepted for 40 years any initiative the Israelis have made to ectend theor land area.

Just one question for Israel which all other countries in the world can answer easily: Where are the frontiers of your nation ?

Fabmothz , 9 Dec 2017 11:24
It's OK, the Palestinians have just recognized Washington DC as the capital of Israel.
MichaelGerard1990 -> fredimeyer , 9 Dec 2017 11:24
Jared has been funding illegal settlements. He's aim is to end Palestine.

Norman_Finklesteen 9 Dec 2017 11:22

Last week there were crowds of people in the streets protesting at the corruption within Netenyahu's government, potentially very dangerous in respect to instigating investigations. A distraction was necessary and Trump handed him a loaded one with the Embassy debacle. Of course things are going to escalate, deaths, bombings, threats, retaliation. Now the streets will be filled with people supporting 'strongman' Netenyahu, demanding reprisals and safety measures. Job done. But at what cost?
MetellusScipio -> TonyBennWasRight , 9 Dec 2017 11:20
I'm not saying it should be ignored, not at all. I was simply making the point that the Palestinians will see things very differently, and any solution, if there is one, can only be found in a compromise.
fredimeyer , 9 Dec 2017 11:20
Jared is indeed responsible for what is happening. It was very obvious two years ago that Trump had not the slightest idea of politics in the region. Also Trump's astonishing characteristic of actually listening to people, and being persuaded by whoever has his ear, is unprecedented in the presidency.

Jared is a member of what can only be called a cult, far removed from the mainstream of American jews. Jared's views manifestly place his interpretation of what is good for Israel ahead of what is good for the American people, and even ahead of what is in fact the majority viewpoint among Israelis. There are limits to what an American president can do, and this embassy issue is mostly window dressing.

But what is important is that the international community now step in to offset trump's position and make it clear that Israel's policies are not rewarded

KrisFernie -> lotoole , 9 Dec 2017 11:19
In order to bait Iran? Trump's pleasing the Saudis, for what reason? The answer is to follow the money
AlGilchrist -> MetellusScipio , 9 Dec 2017 11:18
The PLO founding charter only claimed Gaza as Palestinian land. Before Israel recaptured the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan, not the Palestinians.
leanttotheleft , 9 Dec 2017 11:18
This is the Empire in a further excess of dysfunction. The 'benevolent hegemon' of the 'new world order' often talked about in the post Cold War era has morphed into a poker table of over-entitled dick-swingers gambling with other people's money, countries and lives.

And of course Trump and his dubious entourage arrive after several terms of both Republican and Democrat misrule. George W Bush plumbed new depths of cock-eyed middle eastern policy, which often seemed to have been prompted by war criminal Ariel Sharon and Israel. Meanwhile the Democrats mixed with the Wall Street financiers, facilitating the liberalisation of the finance sector, and the culture of debt dependency and asset-stripping - 'vulture capitalism' - which has only grown more ruthless since the financial crash of 2008.

redux00 -> TonyBennWasRight , 9 Dec 2017 11:14
Large parts of West Jerusalem were occupied by Zionist militias in 1948. Including the most expensive neighborhoods today, Qatamon, Talbiyeh, Baqa. All ethnically cleansed. The rest of the city was occupied by force in 1967. Jerusalem has been an Arab city for centuries, Muslim Jewish and Christian. European settlers have very little to do with it.
zolotoy -> logos00 , 9 Dec 2017 11:13
America has always supported illegal Israeli settlements. The current gang is just a bit more honest (because more blatant and crude) about it.
tc2011 , 9 Dec 2017 11:08
Trump's announcement represents nothing less than the theft of the putative Palestinian capital of East Jerusalem. His announcement is illegal under international law and contravenes all previous diplomatic agreements on the subject. What the wider world is finally starting to see is that US conservatives and the Israeli government do not want a peace deal, they want capitulation and to turn the Palestinians into non-people.

Ramus , 9 Dec 2017 11:05

Trump and his people would like a war. They don't really care where. Because the main US export is war stuff..our owners make money from war..any war, anywhere.
redux00 -> GoingUp , 9 Dec 2017 11:01
The days when the US with the Israelis in tow would rule over this region are finished. The one good thing about Trumps Jerusalem debacle is that it makes clear how dead the fiction of the two state solution is. And though it scares the racists and supremacists, we are moving closer and closer to one democratic secular state.
logos00 , 9 Dec 2017 10:56
Apart from all the other reasons for Kushner not having the leading role in the middle east, his financial support to settlers should automatically rule him out of any participation in brokering deals between Palestine and Israel. How can someone who is actively supporting illegal settlements have any semblance of being neutrality? However, in terms of the ethics of the Trump administration, it is simply business as usual.
redux00 , 9 Dec 2017 10:56
But what underlies all this is waning US and Saudi power in the region. They might burn the place down but they cannot remake it. The Saudis have devastated Yemen, killed thousands of children, and overseen a cholera epidemic. And still they can't defeat the Houthis. Their proxies have been routed in Syria and Iraq. The Qatar blockade has failed. So has the gambit to reshape Lebanon.

Kushner is a toady duplicitous operator no doubt, but the whole American Israeli Saudi vision for the region is a nightmare that has no chance of success.

KarlNaylor75 , 9 Dec 2017 10:53
Trump's announcement in recognising Jerusalem as Israeli capital shows his cunning strategic genius. It has united the governments of the Muslim Middle East in coming together and made it more unlikely that Saudi Arabia could align with Israel in triggering a wider conflict with Iran without incurring huge public disapproval within the country.

Trump is advancing the cause of Humanity by means that less appreciative and simple minds cannot fathom. All governments in the Middle East will be far more fearful in not knowing what Trump might do next or why. This is the secret essence of power and diplomacy in keeping others guessing and thus less likely to feel they have his support.

It's all part of a long term master plan whereby Trump could extricate the US from having much of a role in the Greater Middle East. Governments will have to compete before Trump for influence and raise their game and money before he will deal from strength. Trump is playing all the rival forces off to get the best deal and to preserve and enhance peace.

algae64 , 9 Dec 2017 10:53
The Guardian also ran an overly-reverential article about the Saudi crown prince a while back. It's worrying that they and the Americans are doing all of this with hardly a murmur of disapproval. Where's the UN resolution and sanctions? Where's the sanctions from the EU? America will veto everything at the UN and the EU mostly does what America wants it to do. Shows how useless the major organisations really are. I used to think that the EU was a good counter to American power, but they seem to have joined forces with the US recently, which is worrying when you have an unpredictable American president like Trump.
AndPulli , 9 Dec 2017 10:47
Kushner is totally out of his depth and playing with fire. The damage done by the shambolic Trump maladministration will take years, if not decades, to repair. These years will be looked back on as those during which America slid into disaster. Where are Trump's babysitters when you need them? They need to keep an eye on Baby Kushner too.
umrkgermany -> Izzybe , 9 Dec 2017 10:46
He wanted to tick off a box on his lunatic list of campaign pledges before Christmas. Consequences schmonsequences. I think he's also a willing tool of the end of times, rapture crazy Christian fundamentalists.
Robape , 9 Dec 2017 10:41
The USA should be declared a Rogue state. It certainly behaves worse than all other states. Trump needs locking up as well.
Madmacstoo , 9 Dec 2017 10:37
I assume the announcement that the US now recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was more to do with Trump attempting to deflect interest away from Mueller now that he, his family and other chums in the administration are coming under financial scrutiny by the inquiry. At a stroke its certainly made Kushner's job in the Middle East much-harder if not impossible and surely makes him a target for every disaffected Palestinian.

Jared, who needs enemies when you've got a father-in-law like Donald.

Tony Stopyra , 9 Dec 2017 10:36

And with fewer people in the room, who will be around to tell these men that their ideas are so damaging?

This is terrifying when you realise there are those close to Trump who are clearly telling him that this sort of this is not only not damaging, but may have divine sanction... http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jerusalem-donald-trump-israel-capital-decision-reason-why-evangelical-voters-us-fear-a8099321.html

[Dec 13, 2017] Rosenstein's only good choice name a special prosecutor (opinion)

Dec 13, 2017 | www.cnn.com

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the words "special prosecutor" over the past week, I would have enough money to qualify for a cabinet position in the Trump Administration. Various Democratic senators have been calling for a special prosecutor whenever they can get close enough to a microphone. Last week, a number of state attorneys general wrote a joint letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein urging him to appoint an independent special prosecutor. The New York Times Editorial Board joined the chorus a few days ago. Page Pate

The idea of appointing a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation is not new. In March, a public opinion poll suggested that two-thirds of Americans supported the appointment of a special prosecutor. That was before Comey was fired, and before the competing excuses for firing him that came from the White House and President Trump himself.

A few months ago, I predicted that Trump might fire Comey. (I'm not happy I was right, and the writing on the wall was clear enough for anyone who cared to look.) I thought back then that the only way to move forward with a credible investigation into Russia's involvement with the last election would be to appoint a special counsel. What was a good idea then is a necessity now. It's not just because Trump pulled the trigger on firing Comey. Although it's unusual, it's not illegal for a President to fire an FBI Director. A President can hire and fire executive branch officials as he sees fit. Read More close dialog

close dialog And that's the problem. Trump can remove anyone and everyone holding a top position at the Justice Department who may be involved in this investigation. Clearly, he's not been shy about sacking Justice Department officials. Just ask Sally Yates and Preet Bahrara , or the other 46 US Attorneys who were told to vacate their offices before sundown earlier this year. Views on Comey's firing

Let's imagine for a minute that the people in charge decided that appointing a special prosecutor was the right thing to do. This is how it would work . The attorney general (or the deputy attorney general in a case like this one, where the attorney general recuses himself) has the discretion to appoint a "special counsel" when: (1) a criminal investigation is warranted; (2) there is a potential conflict of interest if the Justice Department conducted the investigation, or there are "extraordinary circumstances" present; and (3) it would be in the public interest to appoint a special counsel. The decision by the deputy attorney general to appoint (or not appoint) a special counsel is not be reviewable.

Although political and public pressure can certainly influence the decision, it's entirely up to Rosenstein to do it or not. I know that, according to sources cited by CNN, Rosenstein doesn't see the need for a special counsel at this point. He's wrong. It doesn't really matter if there is nothing to the allegations of Russia's meddling in the election or collusion with the Trump team. At this point, there is so much distrust and skepticism about the process itself that there needs to be an independent prosecutor looking into these allegations just to assure the country that the President and his associates did not commit a crime. Rosenstein shouldn't get any friction from his boss.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has publicly recused himself from any investigation dealing with Russian meddling, and Sessions had no problem with the idea of a special prosecutor when the potential target was Hillary Clinton. I recognize that there are legitimate arguments against the appointment of a special counsel. The process can be expensive, lack clear direction, last for a year or more, and is not guaranteed to reach any meaningful conclusions. But the benefits of appointing a special counsel in this case greatly outweigh the potential downsides. Although no one has asked me (and no one probably will), I know just the person for the job: Larry Thompson, a former deputy attorney general and former US attorney in Republican administrations.

He has extensive private sector experience, and is currently trusted by a federal court to oversee Volkswagen's compliance with criminal sanctions related to its emissions scandal. He is a loyal Republican and a supporter of Sessions , so the GOP couldn't credibly claim he's politically biased. More importantly, he's well-respected, extremely competent, and experienced in complex criminal investigations.

Whether it's Larry Thompson or someone else, a special prosecutor should be appointed to take over this investigation. If Rosenstein is the man everyone says he is , I believe he will appoint a qualified, independent prosecutor to take over this mess of an investigation. Mr. Rosenstein, the ball is in your court. Don't let America down.

[Dec 13, 2017] Meet Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general tied to Comey s firing

Notable quotes:
"... At his Senate confirmation hearing March 7, Rosenstein refused to say whether he would be willing to bring in a special counsel, saying he wouldn't make judgments in advance. ..."
"... Rosenstein has spent 27 years at Justice, getting an early job as a senior aide to a deputy attorney general. As a U.S. attorney, he supervised a broad range of criminal prosecution. ..."
"... In the 1990s, Rosenstein worked on the independent counsel investigation of President Clinton and Hillary Clinton for their investments in a failed real estate company known as Whitewater. ..."
"... Rosenstein was involved in separate questioning of both Clintons, who never were charged with a crime. More than a dozen others were charged and convicted, including the governor of Arkansas. ..."
May 11, 2017 | LA Times
James Comey , Rod J. Rosenstein knew his job would be different.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation in March after news reports revealed he had failed to tell his Senate confirmation hearing about his meetings last year with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.

Rosenstein, a veteran prosecutor who had been serving as the U.S. attorney for Maryland, was confirmed as the No. 2 by the Senate the following month.

That put him in charge of the investigation into whether current or former aides to President Trump coordinated with Russia during the 2016 campaign.


What is Rosenstein's role in the Russia probe?

It will fall to Rosenstein to decide whether to file criminal charges against any of Trump's aides, to drop the case entirely or to hand it off to an independent prosecutor.

At his Senate confirmation hearing March 7, Rosenstein refused to say whether he would be willing to bring in a special counsel, saying he wouldn't make judgments in advance.

But he said he had "no reason to doubt" the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian authorities sought to influence the presidential race. He also said he believed the Justice Department could handle the most politically complicated cases without fear of compromise.

Feinstein: Rosenstein's memo on Comey reads like a 'hastily assembled' political document "

What was his role in the Comey firing?

Rosenstein laid out the case for Comey to be removed in a three-page memo that the White House released Tuesday.

In firing Comey, Trump had said he acted on Rosenstein's recommendation.

In a memorandum to Sessions, Rosenstein harshly criticized Comey for actions going back to last July, when he held a news conference to announce that the FBI would not seek charges against presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the email investigation but denounced her conduct.

That was a serious misjudgment, Rosenstein wrote, adding, "The goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference."

He went on to say that Comey had made the problems worse with his decision to disclose in late October -- 11 days before the election -- that the FBI had reopened its investigation of Clinton after finding State Department emails on a computer belonging to former Rep. Anthony Weiner , the estranged husband of Clinton's aide Huma Abedin .

Reports have since come out that Rosenstein threatened to resign over the way the Comey dismissal was attributed in part to the memo.

Read his letter here.

What else does Rosenstein do?

As Sessions' top deputy, Rosenstein is responsible for using Justice Department resources to step up enforcement of immigration laws, a Trump administration priority.

Sessions already has instructed all U.S. attorney's offices to be more aggressive about filing criminal charges against people who cross the border illegally, and he has threatened to cut off department grants to so-called sanctuary cities unless they cooperate with immigration agents.

[Sessions] picked someone who grew up in the department and knows how cases are decided, and should be decided.

-- Jamie Gorelick, deputy attorney general from 1994-1997

How did he become deputy attorney general?

The Senate voted overwhelmingly last month to confirm Rod J. Rosenstein as the No. 2 official at the Justice Department.

Rosenstein, 52, won unusual bipartisan support on the strength of his crime-fighting efforts as the U.S. attorney for Maryland for the last 12 years. He was confirmed as deputy attorney general by a vote of 94 to 6.

Where did he get his start?

Rosenstein has spent 27 years at Justice, getting an early job as a senior aide to a deputy attorney general. As a U.S. attorney, he supervised a broad range of criminal prosecution.

He first was nominated to the post by President George W. Bush. President Obama kept him on after the Senate did not move on Bush's previous nomination of Rosenstein for a seat on a federal appeals court.

In the 1990s, Rosenstein worked on the independent counsel investigation of President Clinton and Hillary Clinton for their investments in a failed real estate company known as Whitewater.

Rosenstein was involved in separate questioning of both Clintons, who never were charged with a crime. More than a dozen others were charged and convicted, including the governor of Arkansas.

Jamie Gorelick, who served as deputy attorney general from 1994 to 1997 under the Clinton administration, praised Rosenstein at a recent ethics conference.

She said the department would remain in experienced hands. Sessions "picked someone who grew up in the department and knows how cases are decided, and should be decided," she said.

[Dec 13, 2017] All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections. ..."
"... What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel? ..."
"... The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played. ..."
"... In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars. ..."
"... True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated. ..."
"... Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces. ..."
"... Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us". ..."
"... If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing. ..."
"... It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation. ..."
"... The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ... ..."
"... Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community. ..."
"... Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests. ..."
"... Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders. ..."
"... the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official ..."
"... "The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems" ..."
"... It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome? ..."
"... So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's. ..."
"... You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on ..."
"... Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts. ..."
"... If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ..."
"... Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence. ..."
"... Clinton lied under oath ..."
"... The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office... ..."
"... Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive? ..."
"... The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese? ..."
"... The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council. ..."
"... And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics. ..."
"... In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it. ..."
"... All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election. ..."
"... So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere ..."
"... Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference. ..."
"... America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works. ..."
"... The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that ..."
"... Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

polpont , 4 Dec 2017 08:32

Mueller will have to thread very carefully because he is maneuvering on a very politically charged terrain. And one cannot refrain from comparing the current situation with the many free passes the democrats were handed over by the FBI, the Department of Justice and the media which make the US look like a banana republic.

The mind blowing fact that Clinton sat with the Attorney General on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport "to chit-chat" and not to discuss the investigation on Clinton's very wife that was being overseen by the same AG, leaves one flabbergasted.

And the fact that Comey essentially said that Clinton's behaviour, tantamount in his own words to extreme recklessness, did not warrant prosecution was just inconceivable.

Don't forget that Trump has nearly 50 M gun-toting followers on Tweeter and that he would not hesitate to appeal to them were he to feel threatened by what he could conceive as a judicial Coup d'Etat. The respect for the institutions in the USA has never been so low.

ID1456161 -> Canadiman , 4 Dec 2017 08:30

...a judge would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant a trial.

Actually, in the U.S. a grand jury would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant formal charges leading to a trial. There is also the possibility that Mueller has uncovered both Federal and NY State offenses, so charges could be brought against Kushner at either level. Mueller has been sharing information from his investigation with the NY Attorney General's Office. Trump could pardon a federal offense, but has no jurisdiction to pardon charges brought against Kushner by the State of NY.

Anna Bramwell -> etrang , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
I watched RT for 24 months before the US election. They favoured Bernie Saunders strongly before he lost to Hilary. Then they ran hustings for the smaller US parties, eg Greens, and the Libertarians , which could definitely be seen as an interference in the US election, but which as far as I know, was never mentioned in the US. They were anti Hilary but not pro Trump. And indeed, their strong anti capitalist bias would have made such support unlikely.
EduardStreltsovGhost -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What's he lying about? More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections.

Obama and Hillary met hundreds of foreign officials. Were they colluding as well?

pretzelattack -> Atticus_Finch , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel?
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 08:26
The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played.
Krautolivier , 4 Dec 2017 08:21
In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars.
It's all too funny.
zerohoursuni -> damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 08:19
True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated.

Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces.

Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us".

cookcounty , 4 Dec 2017 08:15
I missed Jill Abramson's column about all the meetings the Obama administration held -- quite openly -- with foreign governments during the transition period between his election and his first inauguration.

But since she's been demonstrably and laughably wrong about predicting future political events in the USA (see her entire body of work during the 2016 election campaign), why should she start making sense now?

It's completely possible, of course, that some as-yet-to-be-revealed piece of evidence will prove collusion -- before the election and by candidate Trump -- with the Russians. But the Flynn testimony certainly isn't it. All the heavy breathing and hysteria is simply a sign of how the media, yet again, always gravitates toward the news it wishes were true, rather than what really is true. If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing.

themandibleclaw -> SteveMilesworthy , 4 Dec 2017 08:12
Flynn was charged with far more serious crimes which were all dropped and he was left with a charge that if he spends any time in prison, it will be about 6 months. Now, you could say for him to agree to that, he must have some juicy info - and he probably does - but what that juicy info is is just speculation. And if we are speculating, then maybe what he traded it for was nothing to do with Trump? After all, one of the charges against him was failing to register as a foreign agent on behalf of Turkey.

It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation.

WallyWillage , 4 Dec 2017 08:05
Still no evidence of Russian collusion in Trump campaign BEFORE the election...... whatever happened after being president elect is not impeachable unless it would be after taking office.

The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ...

EduardStreltsovGhost -> CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 08:03

You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression

if that were the case, Clinton, Bush and Obama would be sitting in jail right now.
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 07:58
Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community.

Trumps presidency could have the capability of galvanising a powerful resistance against the 2 party state for 'real change, like affordable healthcare and affordable education for ALL its people. But no its not happening, Trump is attacked on probables and undisclosed sources. A year has passed and nothing has been revealed.

Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests.

Well their not, their only function is, is to spend tax dollars that otherwise would be spent on education, health, infrastructure, things that would 'really' benefit America. Disagree, well go ahead and accuse me of being a conspiracy nut-job, in the meantime China is by peaceful means getting the mining rights in Africa, Australia, deals that matter.

The tax legislation for the few against the many is deflected by the anti-Trump hysteria based on conjecture and not proof.

EduardStreltsovGhost , 4 Dec 2017 07:52
Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders.
RelaxAndChill -> Silgen , 4 Dec 2017 07:46
Crimea was and is Russian. Your mask is slipping, Vlad .

Your ignorance is showing. I have no connection to Russia what so ever. Crimea was legally ceded to Russia over 200 years ago, by the Ottomans to Catherine the Great. Russia has never relinquished control. What the criminal organization the USSR did under Ukrainian expat Khrushchev, is irrelevant. And as Putin said , any agreement about respecting Ukraine's territorial integrity was negated when the USA and the EU fomented and financed a rebellion and revolution.

StillAbstractImp , 4 Dec 2017 07:40
Decelerating Fascism - Is Kushner a Putin operative, too?
mikedow -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 07:35
Australia, Canada, and S. Africa supply the lion's share of gold bullion that London survives on. And the best uranium in the world. All sorts of other precious commodities as well. If you're not toeing the line on US foreign policies religiously, the Yanks will drop you.
themandibleclaw -> Toastface_Killah , 4 Dec 2017 07:34

You are selectively choosing to refer to this one instance, but even here Obama administration were still in charge - so not very legal, was it.

I am "selectively choosing to refer to this one instance" because that's all Flynn has been charged with. Oh, and it is totally legal for a member of the incoming administration to start talks with their foreign counterparts. Here's a quote from an op-ed piece in The Hill from a law professor at Washington University.

the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official .

http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/362813-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-the-flynn-indictment

backstop -> EdwardFatherby , 4 Dec 2017 07:31
"The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems"

It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome?

BustedBoom , 4 Dec 2017 07:31

He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's.
CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 07:26
You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on

Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts.

Oh, and I have to be supporter of Putin's oligarchy with dreams of great tsars of Russia, if I care about humans survival on this planet and have very bad opinion about suicidal fools playing this stupid games.

ConCaruthers , 4 Dec 2017 07:25
If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
moonsphere -> Hydro , 4 Dec 2017 07:24
Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence.
etrang -> CraftyRabbi , 4 Dec 2017 07:14

Mueller could charge/indict Kushner or Trump Jr under New York state criminal statutes

But not for crimes relating to federal elections or conspiring with Russia.

John Edwin -> OlivesNightie , 4 Dec 2017 07:13
Clinton lied under oath
John Edwin -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 07:11
The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office...
emiliofloris -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 07:08

I am not sure any level of scandal will make much difference to Trump or his supporters. They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact.

So far the level of scandal is below that of Whitewater/Lewinsky, and that was a very low level indeed. What "evidence of wrongdoing" is there? Nothing, that's why they charged Flynn with lying to investigators. It's important to keep in mind that the he did nor lie about actual crimes. Perhaps that's going to change as the investigation proceeds, but so far this is nothing more than a partisan lawfare fishing expedition.

Billsykesdoggy -> reinhardpolley , 4 Dec 2017 06:55
<blockquoteSpecifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.>

So Trump authorized Obama's talks with Macron last week?

Don't think so.

braciole -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:55

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

And your evidence for this is what exactly? As for countries trying to influence elections in other countries, I'm all for it particularly when one of the candidates is murderous, arrogant and stupid.

BTW, in Honduras after supporting a coup against the democratically-elected president because he sought a referendum on allowing presidents to serve two terms, you'd think the United States would interfere when his non-democratically-elected replacement used a "packed" supreme court to change the constitution to allow presidents to serve more than one term to at least stop him stealing an election as he is now doing/has done. But they didn't and that hasn't stopped the United States whining that Evo Morales is being undemocratic by trying to extend the number of terms he can serve.

emiliofloris -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:53

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive?

The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese?

technotherapy , 4 Dec 2017 06:46
The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics.

themandibleclaw -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:44

Can someone please actually tell us what Flynn/Jared/Trump is supposed to have done.

In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it.

moonsphere -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 06:44
These days "US influence" seems to consist of bombing Middle Eastern countries back to the bronze age for reasons that defy easy logic. Anything that reduces that kind of influence would be welcome.
reinhardpolley -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:33
The Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 [1948]) is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States. Specifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Logan+Act
themandibleclaw , 4 Dec 2017 06:22
All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election.

So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere.

damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference.

But now this Russian debacle, and at last they've woken up, because another country had the temerity to turn the tables on them. And I think if this was Bush or Obama we would never have heard a thing about it. Everybody hates the Dotard, because he's an obese dick with an IQ to match.

Boojay , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Nothing will happen to Trump, It's all bollocks. You've all watched too many Spielberg films, bad guys win, and they win most of the time.
Trump is the real face of America, America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works.
formerathlete -> vacantspace , 4 Dec 2017 06:15

when American presidents were rational, well balanced with progressive views we had.... decent American healthcare? Equality of opportunity? Gun laws that made it safe to walk the streets?

Say who, what an a where now????????? Since when has the US EVER had any of the three things that you mentioned???

If ever, then it was a loooooong time before the pilgrim fathers ever landed.

Hugh Mad -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 06:10

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

That is the bottom line, yes. People view the world through west = good and Russia = bad, while both make economic and political decisions that serve the interests of their people respectively. Ultimately, I think people are scared that the West's monopoly on global influence is slipping, to as you said, a rival.

JonShone -> Hugh Mad , 4 Dec 2017 06:06
You are right that calling Russia the US enemy needs justification, but these threads often deteriorate into arguments of the yes it is/no it isn't variety.

Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat.

It's certain that their ideals and goals run counter to those generally held in the US in many ways. But let's not forget that the US' ideals are often, if not generally, divergent from their interests and US foreign policy since 1945 has been responsible for countless deaths, perhaps more than Russia's.

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

RelaxAndChill , 4 Dec 2017 05:59
All the signs in the Russia probe point to ..

How the liberals and the Democrats don't give a damm about the USA or the world's political scene, just some endless 'sore loser' witch hunt. So much could be achieved by the improving of relations with Russia. Crimea was and is Russian. Let Trump have a go as POTUS and then judge him. He wants to befriend Putin and if done it would help solve Syrian, Nth Korean and other global problems.

variation31 -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 05:50

They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact

Whereas if it's a Democrat in the spotlight, these same dipshits see it as an élitist cover-up and no lack of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact. If anything, lack of evidence is evidence of cover-up which is therefore proof of evidence.

These cynical games they play with veracity and human honesty are a very pure form of evil.

[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 09, 2017] Donald Trump says recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will bring peace – it will do quite the opposite by Robert Fisk

Looks like short term Israel win, but long term Israel problem. As soon as the role of the USA as lord-protector of Israel disappears Israel will face consequences.
But what if two state solution is dead and it is better to give Palestinian the full rights instead of apartheid solution ?
Notable quotes:
"... Trump has turned away from any notion of fairness in peace negotiations and run with Israel's ball ..."
"... Kingdom of Heaven ..."
"... Yet even at the start, the chicanery begins. Trump talks about "very fresh thinking" and "new approaches". But there is nothing new about Jerusalem as Israel's capital, since the Israelis have been banging on about this for decades. What is "new" is that – for the benefit of his party, Christian Evangelicals and those who claim to be American supporters of Israel – Trump has simply turned away from any notion of fairness in peace negotiations and run with Israel's ball. Past presidents have issued waivers against the 1995 Jerusalem Congress Act, not because "delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace" but because that recognition should be given to the city as a capital for two peoples and two states – not one. ..."
"... As usual, we had the Trump waffle. He wants "a great deal" for the Israelis and Palestinians, a peace agreement that is "acceptable to both sides" – even though this is not possible when he's recognised all of Jerusalem as Israeli before the so-called "final status" talks, which the world still fondly expects to take place between "both sides". But if Jerusalem is "one of the most sensitive issues" in these talks, if there was going to be "disagreement and dissent" about his announcement – all of which he said – then why on earth did he make the decision at all? ..."
"... Sure, he wants to follow up on his campaign promises. But how come he decided to honour this promise but could not bring himself to say last April that the mass murder of a million and a half Armenians in 1915 constituted an act of genocide? He was obviously frightened of upsetting the Turks, who deny the first industrial holocaust of the 20th century. Well, he's sure upset the Turks now. I'd like to think he'd taken that into account. But forget it. The guy is crackers. And it will take many years for his country to recover from this latest act of folly. ..."
Dec 09, 2017 | independent.co.uk

This religious renaissance of XXI century with new theocratic states on the map (and Israel is a theocratic state or Theocratic republic as Jerusalim post calls it) is probably is one of the most strange thing to watch. Why now, when computers and cellphones are so ubiquitous that even clergymen are using them.

Trump has turned away from any notion of fairness in peace negotiations and run with Israel's ball

I was called by an Irish radio station in Dublin to respond to President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel . What did I think was going on inside the US President's mind, I was asked? And I replied immediately: "I don't have the key to the lunatic asylum." What might once have seemed an outrageously over-the-top remark was simply accepted as a normal journalistic reaction to the leader of the world's greatest superpower. And re-listening to the speech that Trump made in the White House, I realised I should have been far less restrained. The very text of the document is insane, preposterous, shameful.

Goodbye Palestine. Goodbye the two-state solution. Goodbye the Palestinians. For this new Israeli "capital" is not for them. Trump did not even use the word "Palestine". He talked about "Israel and the Palestinians" – in other words, of a state and of those who do not deserve – and can no longer aspire to – a state. No wonder I received a call in Beirut last night from a Palestinian woman who had just listened to the Trump destruction of the "peace process". "Remember Kingdom of Heaven ?" she asked me, referring to Ridley Scott's great movie of the 1187 fall of Jerusalem. "Well it's now the Kingdom of Hell."

It's not the Kingdom of Hell, of course. The Palestinians have been living in a kind of hell for a 100 years, ever since the Balfour Declaration declared Britain's support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, when a single sentence – in which our beloved Theresa May takes such "pride" – became a textbook for refugeedom and the future dispossession of the Palestinian Arabs from their lands. As usual, the Arab response this week was sickening, warning of the "dangers" of Trump's decision, which was "unjustified and irresponsible" – this piece of fluff produced by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, the so-called protector of Islam's two holiest places (the third being Jerusalem, although he didn't quite manage to point that out) – and we can be sure that in the coming days many an "emergency committee" will be formed by Arab and Muslim institutions to deal with this "danger". They will, as we all know, be worthless But it was the linguistic analysis of Noam Chomsky when I was at university – he later became a good friend – which I applied to the Trump speech. The first thing I spotted was, as I mentioned above, the absence of "Palestine". I always put the word in quotation marks because I don't believe it will ever exist as a state. Go and look at the Jewish colonies in the West Bank and it's clear that Israel has no intention that it should exist in the future. But that's no excuse for Trump. In the spirit of the Balfour Declaration – which referred to Jews but to the Arabs as "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" – Trump downgrades the Arabs of Palestine to "Palestinians".

Yet even at the start, the chicanery begins. Trump talks about "very fresh thinking" and "new approaches". But there is nothing new about Jerusalem as Israel's capital, since the Israelis have been banging on about this for decades. What is "new" is that – for the benefit of his party, Christian Evangelicals and those who claim to be American supporters of Israel – Trump has simply turned away from any notion of fairness in peace negotiations and run with Israel's ball. Past presidents have issued waivers against the 1995 Jerusalem Congress Act, not because "delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace" but because that recognition should be given to the city as a capital for two peoples and two states – not one.

Then Trump tells us that his decision "is in the best interests" of the US. But he can't explain how – by effectively taking America out of future "peace" negotiations and destroying any claim (admittedly dubious by now) that the US is an "honest broker" in these talks – this will benefit Washington. It clearly won't – though it might help Trump's party funding – since it further lowers American power, prestige and standing across the Middle East. Then he claims that "like every other sovereign nation", Israel has the right to determine its own capital. Up to a point, Lord Copper. For when another people – the Arabs rather than just the Jews – also want to claim that city as a capital (or at least the east of it), then that right is suspended until a final peace comes into existence. Israel may claim all of Jerusalem as its eternal and undivided capital – as Netanyahu also claims that Israel is the "Jewish state", despite the fact that more than 20 per cent of the people of Israel are Muslim Arabs who live inside its borders – but America's recognition of this claim means that Jerusalem can never be the capital of another nation. And here's the rub. We don't have the slightest idea of the real borders of this "capital". Trump actually acknowledged this, in a line that went largely unreported, when he said that "we are not taking a position on the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem". In other words, he recognised the sovereignty of a country over all of Jerusalem without knowing exactly where that city's borders lie.

In fact, we don't have the slightest idea of just where Israel's eastern border is. Does it lie along the old front line that divided Jerusalem? Does it lie a mile or so to the east of east Jerusalem? Or does it lie along the Jordan river? In which case, goodbye Palestine. Trump has awarded Israel the right to a whole city as its capital but hasn't the slightest idea where the eastern border of this country is, let alone the frontier of Jerusalem. The world was happy to accept Tel Aviv as a temporary capital – as it was to pretend that Jericho or Ramallah was the "capital" of the Palestine Authority after Arafat arrived there. But Jerusalem was not to be recognised as the Israeli capital even though Israel claimed it was. Then we have Trump stating that in this "most successful" democracy, "people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience". I trust he won't be telling that to the more than two and a half million Palestinians in the West Bank who are not free to worship in Jerusalem without a special pass, or the population of besieged Gaza who cannot hope to reach the city. Yet Trump claims his decision is merely "a recognition of reality". I suppose his ambassador in Tel Aviv – soon, presumably, in Jerusalem (if only, so far, in a hotel room) – believes this tosh; for it was he who claimed that Israel only occupied "2 per cent" of the West Bank.

And this new embassy, when it is eventually completed, will become "a magnificent tribute to peace", according to Trump. Given the bunkers into which most US embassies in the Middle East have turned, it's going to be a place with armoured gates and pre-stressed concrete walls and lots of inner bunkers for its diplomatic staff. But by then, I suppose, Trump will be gone. Or will he?

As usual, we had the Trump waffle. He wants "a great deal" for the Israelis and Palestinians, a peace agreement that is "acceptable to both sides" – even though this is not possible when he's recognised all of Jerusalem as Israeli before the so-called "final status" talks, which the world still fondly expects to take place between "both sides". But if Jerusalem is "one of the most sensitive issues" in these talks, if there was going to be "disagreement and dissent" about his announcement – all of which he said – then why on earth did he make the decision at all?

Only when he descended into Blair-like verbosity – that the future of the region was held back by "bloodshed, ignorance and terror" – did it really become too much to stomach any more of these lies. If people are supposed to respond to "disagreement" with "reasoned debate, not violence", what is the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital supposed to produce? A "debate", for heaven's sake? Is that what to "rethink old assumptions" means?

Enough of this twaddle. What more folly can this wretched man dream up and lie about? So what was going on in his befuddled mind when he made this decision? Sure, he wants to follow up on his campaign promises. But how come he decided to honour this promise but could not bring himself to say last April that the mass murder of a million and a half Armenians in 1915 constituted an act of genocide? He was obviously frightened of upsetting the Turks, who deny the first industrial holocaust of the 20th century. Well, he's sure upset the Turks now. I'd like to think he'd taken that into account. But forget it. The guy is crackers. And it will take many years for his country to recover from this latest act of folly.

[Dec 09, 2017] Is Trump Prepared for What Happens If His Jerusalem Gambit Backfires? by Jonah Shepp

Dec 09, 2017 | nymag.com

The idea certainly is to remove ambiguity, but not in the way these officials mean. Let's not forget that Kushner, who is leading the president's so-called peace team, is a family friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has openly dreamed of killing the peace process started at Oslo in 1993 since his first prime ministry in the late 90s. Kushner also spent nine years running a foundation that funded West Bank settlement projects, which he reportedly failed to disclose in his filings with the Office of Government Ethics. He's also close with the rising leadership of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who don't much care for Israel but agree with Netanyahu that Iran is a much bigger threat to their security and prosperity than his country is.

In other words, the person in charge of our Middle East policy has an agenda of his own, as do the people pulling his strings, and these agendas appear to be driven more by regional interests than those of the U.S. (perhaps this is what Trump means by not interfering in the affairs of other countries). This is also not entirely about Palestine and Israel: Wednesday's move is mostly about Iran, Middle East expert Marc Lynch believes -- specifically, squaring the circle of how to form an Israeli-Arab alliance against it without resolving the Palestinian issue first.

As Trump put it in his announcement, his decision simply recognizes reality and acknowledges that our longstanding approach to the peace process so far has failed. He's not wrong about that: The peace process has been at a virtual standstill for over a decade by now, some would say even longer. However, what Trump is doing may not turn things around.

[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] World condemns Trump Jerusalem announcement

Dec 09, 2017 | www.middle-east-online.com

Palestinian president says US could no longer play role of peace broker while Israel hails US President's recognition as 'historic'.

Trump delivered a shock and awe decision to the world

PARIS - Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital has drawn sharp criticism, with the significant exception of Israel.

Here are key reactions from around the world:

- Israel salutes 'historic' day -

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump's recognition as "historic" and a "courageous and just decision".

Netanyahu also pledged no change to the status quo at Jerusalem's highly sensitive holy sites in the city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

- No longer a peace broker -

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said the US could no longer play the role of peace broker after Trump's decision.

"These deplorable and unacceptable measures deliberately undermine all peace efforts," Abbas said in a speech.

- 'Destroys two-state solution' -

The secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation said Trump had destroyed any hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"He destroyed the two-state solution," Saeb Erekat, who long served as the Palestinians' top negotiator, told journalists.

- 'Open gates of hell' -

Hamas said Trump's decision would "open the gates of hell" on US interests in the region.

"This decision will open the gates of hell on US interests in the region," Ismail Radwan, an official with the Palestinian Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, told journalists.

- 'Serious repercussions' -

Qatar's emir has warned Trump that his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital would have "serious repercussions", according to a statement from Doha's foreign ministry Thursday.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani "warned of the serious repercussions of this step, which would further complicate the situation in the Middle East and negatively affect the security and stability in the region," read a statement from the ministry, quoting the emir in a phone call with Trump.

- 'Unjustified and irresponsible' -

Saudi Arabia slammed Trump's move as "unjustified and irresponsible" and said the decision goes against the "historical and permanent rights of the Palestinian people".

"The kingdom has already warned of the serious consequences of such an unjustified and irresponsible move," said a Saudi royal court statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

- 'New intifada' -

Iran condemned the US move, saying it threatened a "new intifada", or uprising, against Israel.

"The provocative and unwise decision by the US... will provoke Muslims and inflame a new intifada and an escalation of radical, angry and violent behaviour," the foreign ministry said on its website.

- UN against 'unilateral measures' -

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres implicitly criticised Trump's announcement, warning that Jerusalem's status must be resolved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

"From day one as secretary general of the United Nations, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians," Guterres said.

- 'Palestinian cause' -

The office of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dismissed Trump's move, saying in a statement it would not dim the "Palestinian cause".

"The future of Jerusalem is not set by a state or a president, but by its history, will, and the determination of those loyal to the Palestinian cause which will stay alive in the conscience of the Arab homeland until the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," it said.

- 'Rejected by Arab world' -

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed his country's "highest degrees of solidarity with the Palestinian people and its right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital".

"The American decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the embassy there is a step that is rejected by the Arab world and risks spilling dangers over into the region," he said.

- 'Violation of international law' -

Jordan condemned Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as amounting to a violation of international law and the UN charter.

"The decision of the American president to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the transfer of the US embassy to this city constitutes a violation of decisions of international law and the United Nations charter," said government spokesman Mohammed Momani.

- Indonesia summons US ambassador -

Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who leads the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, said he "condemned" Trump's decision on Jerusalem, and ordered the US ambassador in Jakarta to be summoned over the move.

"Indonesia strongly condemns the United States' one-sided recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and asks the US to reconsider this decision," Widodo said in televised remarks.

- 'Irresponsible, illegal' -

Turkey also slammed Trump's Jerusalem announcement.

"We condemn the irresponsible statement of the US administration... the decision is against international law and relevant UN resolutions," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.

- 'Unhelpful for peace' -

Prime Minister Theresa May said the British government disagreed with Trump's decision, saying it was "unhelpful" for peace efforts.

"We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital," she said in a statement. "We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region".

- 'Avoid violence' -

French President Emmanuel Macron branded Trump's stance as "regrettable" and called for efforts to "avoid violence at all costs".

Macron affirmed "the attachment of France and Europe to the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within internationally recognised borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states".

- Merkel 'does not support' -

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said through her spokesman that she "does not support" Trump's reversal of decades of US policy.

"The status of Jerusalem can only be negotiated within the framework of a two-state solution," spokesman Steffen Seibert wrote on Twitter.

- 'Uncontrollable consequences' -

Russia expressed "serious concern" over Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying the move threatened security in the region.

"Moscow views the decisions announced in Washington with serious concern," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that it risked aggravating already complicated Israeli-Palestinian ties as well as security risks.

"In light of this we call on all involved parties to show restraint and forgo any action that would be fraught with dangerous and uncontrollable consequences," the foreign ministry said.

Moscow reiterated its long-held view that a solution to the dispute over Jerusalem's status should be negotiated through "direct Palestinian-Israeli talks".

Moscow said earlier that it considered East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, and the west of the city the capital of Israel.

- 'Serious concern' -

The European Union's chief diplomat Federica Mogherini voiced "serious concern" at Trump's new stance on Jerusalem.

"President Trump's announcement on Jerusalem has a very worrying potential impact. It is a very fragile context and the announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we're already living in," Mogherini told a press conference in Brussels.

"What we truly need in these difficult times is wisdom and to listen to the wise voices calling for peace and peaceful reactions."

"We believe this difficult moment calls for an even stronger engagement for peace. The most urgent priority now is that all relevant actors avoid to further escalate tensions on the ground," she added.

"The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states."

[Dec 09, 2017] Iraqi militia threatens US forces over Jerusalem provocation

Dec 09, 2017 | www.middle-east-online.com

Trump's move has sparked storm of condemnation, both from Washington's traditional allies and its international foes.

Middle East Online

Hashed al-Shaabi militias had been on same side as US forces in battle against IS jihadists.

TEHRAN - An Iranian-backed militia in Iraq threatened Thursday to attack US forces in the country after President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, while Baghdad summoned Washington's envoy.

"The decision by Trump on Al-Quds (Jerusalem) makes it legitimate to strike the American forces in Iraq," Al-Nojaba militia chief Akram al-Kaabi said in a statement.

The Shiite group, established in 2013 and supported by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, numbers around 1,500 fighters and is part of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) auxiliary force that has fought alongside the army against the Islamic State group.

The US has thousands of troops stationed in Iraq to help in the fight against IS.

Officially, the Pentagon says it has 5,262 personnel in the country, but other figures released by the US military have put the number at almost 9,000.

Trump's move to end decades of careful US policy on Jerusalem has sparked a storm of condemnation around the globe, both from Washington's traditional allies and its international foes.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari summoned the US ambassador in the country to protest the shift, while powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who heads his own militia, demanded the closure of the American embassy in Baghdad and warned that "we can reach Israel through Syria".

The spiritual head of Iraq's Shiites Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in a statement "denounced and condemned the American decision that injures the feelings of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims".

"This will not change the fact that Jerusalem is an occupied territory that needs to be returned to its legitimate Palestinian owners," he said.

[Dec 09, 2017] Is Kushner next

Notable quotes:
"... I would think that Flynn's guilty plea is about developing leverage with regard to Kushner's oddness. ..."
"... It's hard to imagine anyone who carries water for Israel taking a big hit. It will be interesting. Kushner's relationship with Trump makes him vulnerable - nay, a target - to Borgist machinations. His relationship with Israel should make him invulnerable to the same. ..."
Dec 04, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role as a co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation from 2006 to 2015, a time when the group funded an Israeli settlement considered to be illegal under international law , on financial records he filed with the Office of Government Ethics earlier this year.

The latest development follows reports on Friday indicating the White House senior adviser attempted to sway a United Nations Security Council vote against an anti-settlement resolution passed just before Donald Trump took office, which condemned the structure of West Bank settlements. The failure to disclose his role in the foundation -- at a time when he was being tasked with serving as the president's Middle East peace envoy -- follows a pattern of egregious omissions that would bar any other official from continuing to serve in the West Wing, experts and officials told Newsweek ." newsweek

------------

Syria is quiescent at the moment, North Korea hangs in the balance as a possible scenario for a major war. Some people would like to steer me away from the subject of the Mueller investigation but the story is far too interesting for me to accept that.

I would think that Flynn's guilty plea is about developing leverage with regard to Kushner's oddness.

http://www.newsweek.com/jared-kushner-disclosure-form-west-bank-settlements-israel-white-house-729290

Eric Newhill , 04 December 2017 at 03:37 PM

Sir,
It's hard to imagine anyone who carries water for Israel taking a big hit. It will be interesting. Kushner's relationship with Trump makes him vulnerable - nay, a target - to Borgist machinations. His relationship with Israel should make him invulnerable to the same.

The Borg faces a quandary? Perhaps a rift in the Borg develops? I can't see Israel throwing Kushner under the bus and incurring Trump's wrath. I can't see Israel allowing it's name to be very publicly associated with underhanded behavior.

The Beaver , 04 December 2017 at 04:27 PM
Colonel,

The irony: From the guy in charge of peace process in the Middle East

In addition, yesterday at the Saban17 Forum, Kushner described the Trump Middle East peace team as made up of "3 orthodox jews and a coptic Egyptian". Since Haim Saban was the moderator , he thanked the Whiz Kid for trying to derail UNSC resolution on settlements. "as far as I know there's nothing illegal there" he told Kushner.

Will try to locate the You Tube video and post it later on

The Beaver , 04 December 2017 at 04:36 PM
Colonel

Another article :
https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.826751

and the video of yesterday:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67y2V3ksdlA

Alaric , 04 December 2017 at 05:35 PM
Well said:

"IMO he is an agent of the Israeli state or the Jewish Agency who is unregistered under FARA."

He also seems to lack any common sense when it comes to geopolitics. Him, Netanyahu, and MBS together.....oh my

Yeah, Right said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 04 December 2017 at 05:44 PM
"It's hard to imagine anyone who carries water for Israel taking a big hit"

I suspect it might be the reverse i.e. once someone does take a big hit then everyone who carries water for Israel will be in serious trouble.

Once the floodgates open there may be no stopping it.

Keith Harbaugh , 04 December 2017 at 06:02 PM
Some sad news about Ireland (IMO):

"How Ireland Moved to the Left: 'The Demise of the Church' "
By LIAM STACK. 2017-12-02
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/world/europe/ireland-abortion-abuse-church.html

outthere , 04 December 2017 at 06:06 PM
JOSEPH CAMPBELL: that wonderful Irish saying, you know, "Is this a private fight, or can anybody get into it?"
me too
confusedponderer said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 04 December 2017 at 06:41 PM
Eric Newhill,
I strongly doubt that Israel will ' throw Kushner under the bus '.

They won't be asked for their advice, view or preference in the matter whether Kushner is to stay in the whitehouse or whether he is to be kicked out. They have no saying in that matter, despite their considerable influence in the US.

IMO, what will count is simply domestic - that is, to what extent Kushner is a problem for Trump, and that'll be what solely counts in the question whether Kushner will get the boot or not.

It speaks for itself, in its own way, that the role and tasks of Kushner have been greatly reduced recently.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/11/jared-kushner-horizons-are-collapsing-within-the-west-wing

That's likely to for one to limit the damage the man can or could cause in addition to the damage he has caused, and, if there is someone else doing his former tasks, a boot won't create a great gap if he gets the kick.

So, why that reduction of Kushner's role, I wonder? Well, actually, I don't wonder. I daresay it's because what Kushner has advised as policy has and is gnawing at the reputation of Trump.

Trump by himself is, well, what he is, but in addition to the advice he got and likely still gets from Kushner he isn't exactly getting 'well considerated advice'.

Kushner's poor and ill advice is no problem for Israel, rather they see it as an advantage, but poor and ill policy resulting from such advice is a political and a poll problem for Trump. That IMO is all that'll count here.

Kushner was after all the genius recommending Trump to fire Comey, Kushner was responsible for 'middle east peace', and Kushner was rather friendly to the Saudis and all that.

Now, how well again did firing Comey do Trump? How far is that middle east peace? I haven't seen it yet. And what about the Saudis and what they do? What about Yemen and Quatar? In sum, all of that is hardly a series of successes, a series successes for America that is.

Pissing into Trumps policies Kushner may have done just what Israel and/or the Saudis wanted. But then: What for the US? Where is US, or, naturally, Trump's grand success based on Kushner's briliant advice? Is there any such succes?

Nope, there isn't anything like that and that's the problem for Kushner as an advisor and for Trump as well.

Firing Comey likely wasn't a wise thing to do, and middle east peace is far away, etc. pp. Trump may not be wise or smart but he probably understands when he is getting poor advice from Kushner.

Just to sum it up: ISIS is being kicked by the Syrians, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia - not by the US or Iraq, or by Turkey or Saudi Arabia. What a success. The Turks play their own 'post-NATO' games, with post-osmanian terriotorial ambitions and their support of so far by and large friendly sunni jihadis in Syria and likely in Lebanon. What a success.

The Israelis for their part don't succeed in 'breaking the Shia highway from Iran to Hezbollah', nor did they succeed in overthrowing Assad. What a success for America.

The Saudis, despite being absurdedly rich, cannot get their act together in Yemen. The Saudis got US backing, US aid in their siege of Yemen and likely they get US recce or air refuelling but still fail in Yemen, and fail also in getting Egypt or Pakistan doing the dirty work that the Saudis alone cannot do and fail doing when they try.

What the Saudis excel at in Yemen is besieging and blockading and blowing up a lot of things from the air. Oh yes, and then there is that nasty Cholera desease in Yemen with something like 400.000 being sick and some 2000 or so having died last time I looked.

Yemen's cholera is likely one of the worst human cathastrophies in recent time. The UN speaks of 'a cholera outbreak of unprecedented scale'.

http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2017/security-council-yemen/en/

I suppose that for Saudis, Israelis and Kushner likely the cholera is ... hmm ... oh yes, it is Iran's and Houthi's fault and certainly not the fault of some neighbour blowing up water cleansing facilities, infrastructure, hospitals and/or bridges and the like ...

IMO if Kushner gets the boot, good riddance.

Huckleberry , 04 December 2017 at 06:50 PM
While I like the Colonel's "Borg" notion, this all strikes me as ZOG.
jdledell , 04 December 2017 at 06:51 PM
I've talked with Israelis who have met with David Friedman, the Trump bankruptcy lawyer, hard right Jew and now U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Quietly, he has told important Israelis to pay no attention to Kushner's ideas about Israel, the mideast, and a peace agreement but treat him nicely so not to P.O. Trump. The consensus is Kushner is in way over his head in many of his foreign affairs ideas.
JohnH , 04 December 2017 at 07:32 PM
It is interesting that media reports leave out the purpose of Flynn's contacts with Russia. Had he just been upfront and said, "I contacted Russia on behalf of the Israeli lobby," I suspect that he would never have been fired or indicted...since violating the law on behalf of Israel seems not to be considered illegal.
notlurking , 04 December 2017 at 09:07 PM
Never a good idea to have family members serving in government positions when you are the president...Daddy Trump does not want to hurt the feelings of darling Ivanka....
Fred -> Keith Harbaugh... , 04 December 2017 at 10:14 PM
Keith,

Next time turn the bold off when you are done.

Eric Newhill said in reply to Yeah, Right... , 04 December 2017 at 10:25 PM
Yeah Right,
Well "everyone who carries water for Israel" would be, well, just about everyone. So, ok, maybe it's not totally Israel's call, but it sure will be the Borg's call. I agree that once they take the lid of that box, unspeakable furies will be released. So they won't.

Whatever Trump thinks of Kushner and whatever his loyalties may be (or not be), Trump isn't running the investigation. Mueller is. Mueller appears to be an assimilate. Ergo, I say that Kushner has nothing to worry about.

FB Ali -> Keith Harbaugh... , 04 December 2017 at 11:27 PM
Keith Harbaugh,

For SST, the "sad news" is that you don't know how to close Bold Lettering after using it.

I would suggest you don't try such fancy stuff until you have discovered how to use it properly.

I have tried to close it off.

Laura , 05 December 2017 at 12:25 AM
Trump is a micro-manager on stuff he thinks 1) he is interested in 2) might know something about and 3) affects him directly. There are actually very few people he interacts with...so it seems to me that if you are "White House," you are following Trump's dictates. Everyone is so afraid of ticking him off (legendarily nasty temper and abusiveness) that they just go with his flow.

Of course, this only works for a while...we may be coming up on the point at which it rather spectacularly stops working.

WJ , 05 December 2017 at 12:30 AM
In my opinion Kushner will be passed over and the move will be directly against Teump on an obstruction of justice charge, which I believe is constitutionally-speaking an impossible charge to prosecute but which can and will be used to pressure Congress to open impeachment proceedings with the aim of either (1) actually removing Trump from office or (2) so thoroughly discrediting his administration that he loses all political wiggle room, esp on foreign policy and trade, for the remainder of his term. Are there enough neocon and establishment Republican types in Congress open to pursuing this? I don't know. There is little Trump can do at this point except to find a way of calling the FBI's bluff more convincingly than he has done, although the media's absolute refusal to do anything but parrot FBI/CIA talking points on the issue has made that task an almost impossible one to achieve. The whole damn FBI investigation into Flynn from the beginning must be shown to be thoroughly empty of real content and entirely politically motivated, as it is; but it is hard to show this when the entire narrative of corporate media has established (by the empty repetition of the same unsubstantiated assertions) that just the opposite is the case.
confusedponderer said in reply to Keith Harbaugh... , 05 December 2017 at 02:25 AM
... let's kill the bolding ;)
dogear , 05 December 2017 at 02:42 AM
Entertaining yarn with running bear

We are all je seus jimmy

confusedponderer said in reply to Huckleberry... , 05 December 2017 at 02:46 AM
Huckleberry,
likely it's more than the ZOG, but simply a grand-standing cross party consensus on nonsense.

Recently I almost spilled my coffe trying not to laugh loud when I read Trump's EPA head, iirc tellingly a guy from industry and a guy hostile to environmental protection, tell me and America why Trump kicking the Kyoto protocoll is a brilliant idea and won't harm the environment.

Why? Well, that's because, so he said, because American coal is very special and very different from the coal found on the rest of the world.

According to him, unlike the coal of the jealous rest of the world, American coal doesn't produce CO2 when being burnt, so it poses no environmental risk. And that the rest of the world only is jealous about that and they want to curb CO2 emissions only to harm America. See? No problem.

IMO that's a hard case of hard idiocy at work. If you don't like what science tells you, speak of 'fake news' and make it up as you like while you go along?

I had chemistry as a focus class in school and thus I very strongly doubt the assertion of the 'EPA head' on how special all that super American coal is.

But isn't that a brilliant leader for a enviromental protection agency? I'd bet that the advice from that genius is about as brilliant as what Kushner offers.

It is so idiotic that I even see the possibility of a Trumpian subversive destruction course: What I mean? Well, not filling so many agency seats is a deliberate policy IMO.

Deliberately don't fill open job slots at agencies, get rid of all these unwanted and unwilling scientists telling you all these bad things and have reliably hostile but reliably happy loons ruin an unwanted agency, to then close it 'because it doesn't work'?

Adrestia , 05 December 2017 at 02:56 AM
stops the bold
LondonBob said in reply to confusedponderer... , 05 December 2017 at 04:39 AM
Trump's mistake was not firing Comey sooner, and appointing Rosenstein, the idea Comey could have stayed on as FBI Director is fantastical.
Dubhaltach said in reply to Keith Harbaugh... , 05 December 2017 at 04:50 AM
In reply to Keith Harbaugh 04 December 2017 at 06:02 PM

Attempting to fix your HTML

Turning to the substance of your post. How is "How Ireland Moved to the Left: 'The Demise of the Church' " even remotely relevant to

My dad was born in 1960 and reared in 1960 - 1970s Catholic Ireland. His description of the viciousness with which the institutional church behaved is chilling. His description of the way in which children were beaten so savagely in the first school he attended that they needed several days to recover sufficiently to be physically capable of attending school is downright horrific. The way in which he and other Irish people of his generation describe the way in which the Catholic church actively promoted sectarianism is horrific. His entirely matter-of-fact description of how he personally was repeatedly singled out because his mother was a protestant is horrific. The revelations of institutionalised sexual abuse are horrific. The revelations of the suffering of children who underwent forced adoptions are horrific. The revelations of mass graves of orphans are horrific. The role of the Catholic hierarchy in preventing the introduction of a healthcare programme for low income children and their mothers at a time when in Ireland TB was killing Irish children in their droves is revolting. If ever there was an institution that illustrates the dictum that "absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely" the Catholic church in Ireland is it.

And you think the decline of the Catholic church's power in Ireland is a pity? In my private life I'm a conservative Catholic and I don't think the decline of the Catholic church's institutional power is a bad thing. On the contrary I think it's a very good thing. Fewer raped and abused children for a start. There was an Irish trade union leader called Jim Larkin who coined the slogan "You'll crucify Christ in this town no longer." conservative Catholic though I am I have to agree that he had a point.

Finally this pattern of institutionalised savagery wasn't just in Ireland. Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, all have statutory Tribunals of Enquiry running at present and all of them are revealing the same pattern of systematic savagery and sexual abuse. From what I've read and been told by Americans whose word I trust the same appalling and revolting pattern is far from unknown in your country.

John_Frank , 05 December 2017 at 06:02 AM
Was the decision to make contact with various foreign governments, including Russia, to seek to a delay in the UN SC vote on the Palestinian question illegal?

According to Professor Dershowitz, No.

If it was, what about what Reagan did with the Iranians while Carter was President, or what Carter did with Arafat, while Clinton was President?

Also, as others have noted, what about what Obama did in 2008 with Iran, Russia and Syria?

Returning to the topic at hand, what if one can show that Obama's decision making process was motivated by his personal animosity towards the Israeli Prime Minister?

An interview with Alan Dershowitz
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2017/12/an_interview_with_alan_dershowitz_on_trump_and_the_mueller_investigation.html

That written, people may find the following piece by Byron York of interest:

Byron York: In Trump-Russia probe, was it all about the Logan Act?
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-in-trump-russia-probe-was-it-all-about-the-logan-act/article/2642434

If individuals within the outgoing administration deliberately contrived to start an investigation, based on an Act that is arguably no longer enforceable, by leaking highly classified intercepted communications, given everything else that has transpired, including allegations of corrupt practices within the Justice Department and the FBI concerning the conduct of the Hillary Clinton investigation and the Russian counter-intelligence investigation, (or if you prefer the Donald Trump investigation), Mr. Mueller's conflicts of interest and legitimate questions about his authority, a defendant with funds, who was determined to fight any allegation by Special Counsel, could quite possibly "tip the whole process over."

LeaNder said in reply to Keith Harbaugh... , 05 December 2017 at 06:51 AM
let's close this.
confusedponderer said in reply to LondonBob... , 05 December 2017 at 08:16 AM
LB,
well, I think I disagree.

IMO Comey was a problem because he investigated things that Trump didn't want to get public and didn't weant to see investigated.

My point is this:

I simply assume there were things Trump didn't want to see investigated or discussed openly, and that's why and how Comey became a problem for Trump.

It's IMO not that Comey was evil or vile or a nasty democrat, but that it was the nasty things he was looking at and into.

Was not Paul John Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, engaged in doing odd policy things in Ukraine and getting money for that from ukie oligarchs? Assuming that the oligarchs likely got that money not entirely legally, it suggests that that was something that was unwanted to get public. And so on.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/politics/paul-manafort-russia-trump.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/15/us/politics/paul-manafort-ukraine-donald-trump.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/10/30/who-did-manafort-and-gates-work-for-in-ukraine-and-russia/

Or how did Trump get all that money to build all these golf sites when banks were down? That wasn't cheap. And then banks were not lending money, and Trump had a bad rep for being banktrupt a few times - so who did lend him money? And so on.

That's the sort of things I assume Trump didn't want to see investigated or being talked about publicly.

Kicking out Comey was saying: " Oh, well, why not let us talk about something else and do that quickly?

b , 05 December 2017 at 08:18 AM
Slight correction:
"It now appears that Kushner sent Flynn to seek in the president elect's name Russian government cooperation in blocking a resolution at the UN that was unfavorable to Israel."

Kushner sent Flynn to talk to ALL UNSC countries. Russia was just one on that list and to make this about Russia is thereby not adequate.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/01/politics/jared-kushner-michael-flynn-russia/index.html
(CNN)Jared Kushner is the "very senior member" of President Donald Trump's transition team who directed incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador to the United States and other countries about a UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

turcopolier , 05 December 2017 at 08:20 AM
confusedponderer

Yes, you are confused. The great majority of unfilled "slots" in the executive branch are for bureaucratic managers and various other kinds of drones. pl

turcopolier , 05 December 2017 at 08:25 AM
confusedponderer

"That's the sort of things I assume Trump didn't want to see investigated or being talked about publicly." That is quite an assumption in the absence of any evidence. pl

turcopolier , 05 December 2017 at 08:28 AM

Thanks. IMO that actually makes Kushner's action as an unregistered Israeli agent worse. pl

The Beaver said in reply to jdledell... , 05 December 2017 at 08:48 AM
@ jdledell
an à propos observation:

As for how Kushner's potential legal exposure in the Mueller probe might complicate the administration's peace efforts, the former Israeli security official said it might be able to survive his distraction or even absence. Kushner's function has largely been "to translate the Greenblatt product to the president and when [needed], to show up with Greenblatt and be the message" that the Greenblatt team speaks for the president.

"If you want to look for a silver lining, this administration has been accumulating pro-Israeli credentials," the former Israeli official said. "When they table a deal, it will be very hard for this [Netanyahu] administration to say no."

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/12/russia-investigation-jared-kushner-mideast-peace-push-saban.html#ixzz50M3gqWCw

turcopolier -> dogear... , 05 December 2017 at 08:56 AM
dogear
"je seus jimmy?" What is it that you are trying to say? pl
ex-PFC Chuck , 05 December 2017 at 09:01 AM
Here's the URL for The Intercept story:
https://theintercept.com/2017/12/04/trump-white-house-weighing-plans-for-private-spies-to-counter-deep-state-enemies/
Greco said in reply to notlurking... , 05 December 2017 at 09:04 AM
The Kushner family is very influential and holds some sway in Democrat circles. I don't know if Trump could have become president without him. And he played the key role in bringing in men like Gary Cohn.
LeaNder said in reply to jdledell... , 05 December 2017 at 09:15 AM
jdledell, what's your take on Trump's campaign promise and so far only postponed decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem?

The consensus is Kushner is in way over his head in many of his foreign affairs ideas.

Whoever wasn't before including Clinton?

I read Powers complete statement or her explanation of why the Obama admin choose abstention versus the usual veto on The Times of Israel. Published by the TOI staff.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/full-text-of-us-envoy-samantha-powers-speech-after-abstention-on-anti-settlement-vote/

Greco said in reply to confusedponderer... , 05 December 2017 at 09:17 AM
Because cheaper energy prices in China, who use coal to fuel their country, makes them a more attractive alternative for setting up production than in the US, where they're banning coal. Lower energy prices in the US means its more affordable for manufacturing in the US.

You want to see the economy sputter and eventually collapse on the weight of its own welfare commitments to a jobless public? Ban coal, it will get the US there all the quicker.

ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to Dubhaltach... , 05 December 2017 at 09:20 AM
If ever there was an institution that illustrates the dictum that "absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely" the Catholic church in Ireland is it.

When Lord Acton uttered this famous quote, he was referring specifically to Pope Pius IX and his minions as they were ramming through the approval of doctrine of papal infallibility at the Vatican I Council. In violation of the precedents of Canon Law, free expression on the part of the bishops and other clergy who opposed it was suppressed and the lay Catholic Acton was the de facto leader of what opposition there was.

SR Wood said in reply to Dubhaltach... , 05 December 2017 at 09:35 AM
You mean the popular BBC series Ballykissangel was just looking at 60's Ireland through rose colored glasses. Darn!
Greco , 05 December 2017 at 09:47 AM
He's set to leave according to rumours, but I think Flynn will give up Kushner in exchange. Kushner's lawyers will attack Flynn's credibility, since Flynn plead guilty to lying. Unlike Flynn, Kushner can afford very good lawyers and beat the case. I imagine Kushner will take the flack for ordering Flynn, thus "exonerating" Trump of any potential wrongdoing regardless of whether Trump did in fact order Flynn or not. And I don't see Kushner being exposed as some kind of Israeli operative, not while Zucker, Lack, Rhodes and others head major corporate news networks.
LeaNder said in reply to John_Frank ... , 05 December 2017 at 09:50 AM
Thanks Frank, have been missing "the Dersh". Bias alert: I was highly pleased that a South African case in which he seems to have been involved as legal adviser has taken a different turn recently.

But strictly in our present context, I wondered too. My nitwit take: Considering we live in a 'democratic' society wouldn't we either as simple humans or collectively representing some interest groups have been quite free to lobby to change the vote too?

If we at least 'theoretically' are, then neither Flynn nor Kushner can have done anything wrong.

Steve G said in reply to Dubhaltach... , 05 December 2017 at 11:19 AM
Dubhaltach
Grew up in a Polish Catholic neighborhood. I attended
public school where as the majority of the kids went
to the now renamed Pope John Paul II school within
the church. Had to fight my way home and on the
local school yard a half a block where I lived too
many times to remember. The boys seemed the meanest
group I had ever encountered. Later learned the nuns
were ruthless disciplinarians as well as the " brothers"
who taught high school.
And yes the Pope did visit the school.
jsn -> confusedponderer... , 05 December 2017 at 12:50 PM
Confusedponderer,
I agree with almost all of what you wrote here, in addition, entrapment was Muellers expertise at FBI: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-fbi-entrapment-is-inventing-terrorists-and-letting-bad-guys-off-the-hook-20120515 Which looks to be what he is up to now for an obstruction charge against the Donald: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454311/mueller-strategy-obstruction-justice-investigation-leading-impeachment

What information Trump has on Clinton with regards to Russian uranium stock purchase and the Clinton Foundation is critical here as this Clinton Cluster**** happened on Mueller's watch at FBI and could make him look both partisan and corrupt.

John_Frank , 05 December 2017 at 03:03 PM
On a somewhat related basis, this morning the media was reporting that Mueller had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank.

1. Read for example this piece by Reuters:

Deutsche Bank gets subpoena from Mueller on Trump accounts: source
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-deutsche-bank/deutsche-bank-gets-subpoena-from-mueller-on-trump-accounts-source-idUSKBN1DZ0XN

However, according to John Roberts of Fox News:

Fox News John Roberts: Mueller has NOT issued a subpoena for Deutsche Bank
https://t.co/vy6NRdvi77

According to the Reuters report, the reason that Mueller wanted to see certain records are two fold:

"A U.S. official with knowledge of Mueller's probe said one reason for the subpoenas was to find out whether Deutsche Bank may have sold some of Trump's mortgage or other loans to Russian state development bank VEB or other Russian banks that now are under U.S. and European Union sanctions.

Holding such debt, particularly if some of it was or is coming due, could potentially give Russian banks some leverage over Trump, especially if they are state-owned, said a second U.S. official familiar with Russian intelligence methods.

"One obvious question is why Trump and those around him expressed interest in improving relations with Russia as a top foreign policy priority, and whether or not any personal considerations played any part in that," the second official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

A source close to Deutsche Bank said the bank had run checks on Trump's financial dealings with Russia.

During his election campaign, Trump said he would seek to improve ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which were strained during President Barack Obama's administration.

There was no immediate response to the Deutsche Bank subpoena from Trump's lawyers.

The subpoena was earlier reported by German daily Handelsblatt."

To repeat, according to one unnamed US official, Mueller wants to know:

"One obvious question is why Trump and those around him expressed interest in improving relations with Russia as a top foreign policy priority, and whether or not any personal considerations played any part in that," the second official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

So, wanting to have better relations with Russia is now a crime?

2. As to Bloomberg, this morning, Jennifer Jacobs tweeted:

Deutsche Bank management is ready to share information about the lender's dealings with Trump, a bank executive told Bloomberg.
https://twitter.com/JenniferJJacobs/status/938033568198033413

She did that after posting a link to this article with the headline in her tweet:

Mueller investigation goes after Trump's bank records.
https://twitter.com/JenniferJJacobs/status/938018356476727296

Mueller Subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank Records
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-05/deutsche-bank-is-said-to-have-received-subpoena-on-client-trump

3. Also, if John Roberts is correct, (and I suspect that he is) that no subpoena has been issued, has not the reputation of Reuters and Bloomberg been blown up by their reporting?

It looks like someone is seeking to "shape the narrative" with misleading reporting.

Croesus said in reply to LeaNder... , 05 December 2017 at 03:23 PM
Perhaps "nitwit" is not the word you're looking for; that word is demeaning. You might be looking for something more like, "from my limited understanding," or, "as clearly as I can figure it out . . ."

"Nitwit" just means, "i'm scatterbrained and dumb," and you are not that.

Laura said in reply to Greco... , 05 December 2017 at 03:50 PM
Greco -- I'll bet Kushner is the one they love to hate...someone is going to give him up because of who he is married to. They can't go after her, but they can sure do him in.

"Sacraficial zink."

Babak Makkinejad said in reply to Croesus... , 05 December 2017 at 04:07 PM
I agree with this.

But I have my doubts about her being a German; or else they do not teach anything useful in the gymnasia.

Fred -> Dubhaltach... , 05 December 2017 at 04:30 PM
Dubhaltach,

"this pattern of institutionalised savagery ..."
I am reliably informed by multiple US Senators that 1 in 5 women on college campuses in the US are sexually assaulted. There are zero warnings posted on any of them; zero university presidents have been fired because of this particular version of "instutionalized" savagery. Zero of these senators nor the president from the same political party have called for a "statutory Tribunal of Enquiry" - yet. However there is a fine campaign to create a narrative about male sexuality. "Toxic Masculinity". Today's edition of USA Today has a page and a half contribution to same. I am shocked, just shocked, that the author, Jessica Guynn, made zero mention of Senator (((Franken))) or Harvey (((Weinstein))) or just what political party they belong to. Who - Whom is still a question forbidden in the mainstream media. All of which has nothing to do with the topic of the thread.

Fred -> John_Frank ... , 05 December 2017 at 04:33 PM
John Frank,

Did you miss that ABC News suspending Brian Ross for his last fake news report about the Trump investigation?

John_Frank -> Fred... , 05 December 2017 at 04:49 PM
No.
John_Frank -> John_Frank ... , 05 December 2017 at 04:52 PM
More from John Roberts of Fox News:

On the record from @realDonaldTrump attorney @JaySekulow - NO SUBPOENA TO DEUTSCHE BAN

https://twitter.com/johnrobertsFox/status/938144926956695552

How difficult is it for members of the press to trot on down to the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. and check the court records?

Keith Harbaugh said in reply to Fred... , 05 December 2017 at 07:21 PM
Fred, and others:
As usual, I intended to "Preview" that comment before posting it.
I was working fast, and after entering the draft text,
with a number of embedded carriage returns,
(like those in this comment),
I entered my name and email address,
then intended to Preview the message.
Unfortunately, working fast and without thinking, I again hit "Enter" (on the keyboard) after entering the email address,
rather than clicking on "Preview".
That keyboard "Enter", outside of the text entry box,
posted the offending comment.
Very sorry; I apologize.
Thanks to FB Ali for closing the guilty HTML tag
(his reply is where the bolding currently ends).
And thanks to Col. Lang for accepting the comment.
LeaNder said in reply to Croesus... , 06 December 2017 at 09:38 AM
Croesus, thanks for the linguistic support, appreciated.

Fact is, I love the word wit. For longer now, for reasons that would take to long to explain. Wit, (Witz), nitwit? Thus almost naturally I love nitwit too. Just as I like Shakespeare's fools or jesters. ... Dimwit? Fool? Stupid (as noun)?

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nitwit

But yes, absolutely no doubt it could be an insult or at least demeaning. But also if I use it as signifier for myself?

Strictly, it would be more complex to explain but this partly triggered it, a part of a comment I stumbled across here was at the back of my mind to. Thus a bit scatterbrained? Not always completely focused. Without any doubt. The evidence:

The Big Dersh: "I predicted the deal with Flynn," he said, offering an example of his predictive capacities. "Not because I am smarter, but because I am more objective."

Did you follow John Frank's links to Slate's Isaac Chotiner, the linked Slate article The Dersh mistook as written by Isaac too and beyond? Was an interesting journey.

LeaNder said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 06 December 2017 at 09:47 AM
Babak, remember not my fault, the Diocletian Line! Useful, useless.
Babak Makkinejad said in reply to Fred... , 06 December 2017 at 09:47 AM
You live in Michigan, how many such cases are there at Ferris, Grand Valley, MSU, Oakland, Wayne, UofM, Central, Mich Tech, Western Michigan?

[Dec 08, 2017] Sic Semper Tyrannis More on Kushner and company.

Notable quotes:
"... From the time when the USA became Israel's "guardian angel" there has always been a sham going on. "Peace Initiative" has a nice fresh ring to it instead of "Peace Process", one of history's longest running diplomatic shams. It's hard to compromise when when one party only wants the disappearance of the other. The Israelis have spent the last 70 years trying to make life so unendurable for the Palestinians that they would all immigrate, but they are so stubborn and they "keep breeding". Hence the Israelis continue to be stuck with them and just can't make them go away. And, meanwhile we are joined at the hip with Israel in a partnership that paralyzes open dialog about it here and poisons our relations with a disproportionately larger group in the rest of the world. Cui Bono? ..."
"... Russia is the only power in the Middle East who could theoretically rein in Israel, at least temporarily. ..."
"... This "peace" deal has been cooked up in cooperation between Netanyahu, Kushner and MBS. Abu Mazen was beckoned to Riyadh and told that Palestinians must agree to the offer or he must resign. Should Abu Mazen resign, the triumvirate are counting on someone like UAE-based multi-millionaire and former security boss Mohammad Dahlan, whose influence within the PLO is questionable. ..."
"... If I was an Israeli military, I would be disturbed: Hizbollah, SAA & 10k mercs, all battle hardened, well equipped & eager to see Jerusalem. ..."
"... how do u view the growing regional clout of Iran and Russia, including their asymmetric capability in relation to Israel? ..."
"... When the daughter and son in law are Hasidic Jews it is understandable that the First Family would considered Israelites as chosen ones. Nation states are being superseded by multi-national corporations and their institutions. Democracy and societal good demolished. Five men own half of the world's wealth. Paranoia is rampart. Donald Trump will fight the "Deep State" with a private spy network: http://www.newsweek.com/trump-private-spies-deep-state-735091 ..."
"... No one in power in DC places the national interests of the United States first. A few connected families are grabbing it all while they can and pushing their own ideology and religion. Israel is a shining example. ..."
"... The racist ideas of Judaism and their real estate contract with God are a plague on humanity. That Zionists in our midst assert power over all the earth and its nations as their birthright. Only this truth and its consequences will free our nation and the people of the world from the Zionist plague. ..."
"... Moving the embassy is nothing. Recognizing that Jerusalem is Israel's capital is probably a disastrous thing to do. Erdogan has called for a world-wide Islamic conference on this mid-month. ..."
"... Well, I guess that's one way to drive a wedge between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and Trump's base won't complain about it. I'm not sure that "keeping the Saudis from buddying up with Israel" was the intent here, but that may well be the outcome. ..."
Dec 05, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

First thing to understand is Trump's "Peace Initiative" is a sham. The only thing he is trying to do is to keep the region from exploding. He is under pressure from the Arab countries to do something to make life better for the Palestinians - not necessarily to get them their own state. The Trump administration does not want protests erupting in Arab states because the Israelis do something dumb to the Palestinians. Between Jason Greenblatt, David Friedman and Kushner the information Trump gets on Israel is very heavily skewed. Friedman especially but also Greenblatt to a lesser degree strongly favor the concept of the Greater Israel. While not advocating a complete return of the Kingdom of David, they strongly believe parts of Jordan, Lebanon, the Sinai and Syria BELONG to Israel as G-d promised. I've attended numerous Jewish events in New York City where Friedman and Greenblatt have spoken and they do not hide in any way their dreams for Israel. Israel is getting stronger by the day compared with it's rivals in the region. This strength eliminates the need for any concessions to the Palestinians. For the foreseeable future there will be no Palestinian state, no citizenship for West Bank Palestinians etc. The U.S. declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel even though our embassy is in Tel Aviv sounds like a Trump engineered compromise that will mean absolutely nothing to further a peace agreement. For Israel when they say Jerusalem they mean the territory right up to the border of Ramallah and including Maale Adumim whose municipal boundaries extend all the way to Hebron - a huge chunk of the West Bank. Trump would have pissed off the Palestinians far less if he had just said he was moving the embassy to West Jerusalem. This comment "If you want to look for a silver lining, this administration has been accumulating pro-Israeli credentials," the former Israeli official said. "When they table a deal, it will be very hard for this [Netanyahu] administration to say no." Whoever made this comment really will not admit how Israel negotiates. They will graciously say thank you when they get concessions but with their next breath will ask " how about this and that". They will continue to collect concessions until they get 100% of what they want. jdledell

----------

This was a draft comment from jdledell. He has great personal knowledge of the subject. pl

A.Pols , 05 December 2017 at 12:27 PM

From the time when the USA became Israel's "guardian angel" there has always been a sham going on. "Peace Initiative" has a nice fresh ring to it instead of "Peace Process", one of history's longest running diplomatic shams. It's hard to compromise when when one party only wants the disappearance of the other. The Israelis have spent the last 70 years trying to make life so unendurable for the Palestinians that they would all immigrate, but they are so stubborn and they "keep breeding". Hence the Israelis continue to be stuck with them and just can't make them go away. And, meanwhile we are joined at the hip with Israel in a partnership that paralyzes open dialog about it here and poisons our relations with a disproportionately larger group in the rest of the world. Cui Bono?
Richardstevenhack , 05 December 2017 at 01:42 PM
Meanwhile Israel continues to try to up the ante by conducting yet another missile strike on a Syrian military location, this time using ground to ground missiles. This time Syria claims to have shot down approximately half the missiles. This follows the previous attack on Friday. Apparently the temper in Israel is that war is coming because Bibi needs one. An ominous warning: 'Netanyahu needs a war with Iran. And he needs it soon' http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/ominous-warning-netanyahu/

I think at some point if these air and ground strikes against Syria continue that Russia is going to have to step up and demonstrate that it could seriously damage Israel. Of course, Russia doesn't want a war with Israel. But Israel doesn't want a war with Russia, either. A single pin-prick Russian strike on an Israeli airbase that is conducting these attacks on Syria might bring that home to Bibi. The US won't do anything about it except moan in the UNSC. If Russia brings up these illegal strikes by Israel first in the UNSC before doing anything directly, the US would be left hanging.

Last year when Obama was considering imposing a "no-fly zone" on Syria, Russia explicitly said that anyone attacking the Syrian military would be shot down. Obama backed down. It's coming close to the time when Russia will have to include Israel in that regardless of any diplomatic consequences.

Russia is the only power in the Middle East who could theoretically rein in Israel, at least temporarily.

Babak Makkinejad , 05 December 2017 at 01:50 PM
jdledell:

There has not been any evidence for the Kingdom of David over 100 years of sifting the dirt of Palestine. It is time to conclude that the Kingdoms of David and Solomon were fiction. Predicating policy on what can charitably be only considered a historical romance is not practical. Arguing on basis of the Kingdom of Herod would be more sensible but then it would empty the claim to Palestine of all its purported existential religious import and shrink the size of disputed territories.

Ishmael Zechariah , 05 December 2017 at 02:03 PM
jdledell,
re: "Israel is getting stronger by the day compared with it's rivals in the region" Could you please expand this statement a bit? Given some recent events it is puzzling to me. Thanks
Ishmael Zechariah
eakens , 05 December 2017 at 02:27 PM
If reports are true, Trump is about to make a monumental foreign policy blunder tomorrow..... all for what?
Annem , 05 December 2017 at 02:30 PM
FOLKS,

This "peace" deal has been cooked up in cooperation between Netanyahu, Kushner and MBS. Abu Mazen was beckoned to Riyadh and told that Palestinians must agree to the offer or he must resign. Should Abu Mazen resign, the triumvirate are counting on someone like UAE-based multi-millionaire and former security boss Mohammad Dahlan, whose influence within the PLO is questionable.

The deal is horrible for the West Bankers and Palestinians in Jerusalem, only made worse by Trump's announcements about Jerusalem and Israel. Jerusalem as defined by Israel spreads up to Hebron, for instance. The Palestinians will be condemned to remain in their Bantustans supervised by the Israeli forces and with Israel allowed to extend existing settlements and initiate new ones by very slowly. Saudi Arabia and Israel are anxious to get the Palestinian issue off their backs and focus attention on what they see as a far more serious matter, Iran and Hezbollah. This obviously pleases Trump as well.

How other Arabs deal with all this at a time when most are bogged down in their own internal problems will be intersting to see. [We do know that El Sisi is on board though we don't know what this means for Gaza. Critics of El Sisi charge that he is preparing for the settlement of some Palestinians in northern Sinai.

Also, we will need to see how the Palestinians and the Euros and others take it all. As for Netanyahu, this distracts public opinion from the four indictments he faces for corruption.

The Beaver said in reply to Annem... , 05 December 2017 at 04:20 PM
Annem,

Should Abu Mazen resign, the triumvirate are counting on someone like UAE-based multi-millionaire and former security boss Mohammad Dahlan, whose influence within the PLO is questionable. This has been the goal of UAE monarchy and some Israelis, along with the two poor buggers: Jordan and Egypt, isn't it/

Kooshy said in reply to Ishmael Zechariah... , 05 December 2017 at 05:20 PM
I fully agree, I didn't know having lost the Lebanon and now Syrian war, zillion Iranian and HIzbollah aimed at you and your benefactors' Arab clients disestablished and limbo makes one stronger than ever. Good to know
jdledell said in reply to Ishmael Zechariah... , 05 December 2017 at 05:52 PM
Ishmael - What I mean is that in a conventional war, neither Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon in any combination have the kind of military and equipment that could provide a serious existential threat to Israel. A war would cause Israel serious damage but not to the point of threatening their existence. The IAF would have complete freedom to grind up any attacking forces. Compared with 1967 and 1973 Israel's military has been completely modernized while their rivals have not and would have to use a lot of 30-40 year old equipment.
English Outsider -> Babak Makkinejad... , 05 December 2017 at 06:12 PM
Babak - It seems you're right but I don't believe it matters whether it's fiction or not. The Gothic Crimea isn't fiction but no Germans are wanting to reclaim that. Some did a while back but they wouldn't want to now under any circumstances. The ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples cannot be justified in the 20th/21st Century whatever the truth or falsity of ancient history.
jdledell said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 05 December 2017 at 06:14 PM
Babek - There you go again, using logic when discussing Israel. There is no logic to the claims, but there is a lot of religious faith. The reality is Israel uses the sacred texts to define the various kingdoms, with a generous benefit to themselves of any ambiguity. On virtually any street corner you can buy maps of the various kingdoms and none of them can be validated with current science. A strong religious faith will always trump logic.
Jony Kanuck , 05 December 2017 at 06:16 PM
Col;

While it's possible that in the twisted picture Trump has of the middle east, doing Israel a favour (Pandora's box?) to get them to give the Palestinians some scrap could move things forward! Someone who has better knowledge of Islam than me could comment whether this would hasten the day that a Jihad is proclaimed against Israel.

The last Israeli strike against Syria really got my attention though: A couple weeks back I read an Elijah Magnier column that said Hizbollah & Syria see the Golan Hts as unfinished business. this time they are prepared to do something about it. So Syria, in particular has been carefully escalating their response to Israeli attacks. The rabid Israeli response to a couple 20yr old anti air missiles shows it doesn't take much! The western analysis of the last strike says camp for Iranian mercs (Iraqi & Afgani Shia) of which there may be 10k. Hizbollah meanwhile has pulled back into Lebanon & is armed to the teeth. So when Syria shot down several Israeli missiles, I thought the pattern is established. If I was an Israeli military, I would be disturbed: Hizbollah, SAA & 10k mercs, all battle hardened, well equipped & eager to see Jerusalem.

Lemur said in reply to jdledell... , 05 December 2017 at 06:28 PM
how do u view the growing regional clout of Iran and Russia, including their asymmetric capability in relation to Israel?
Allen Thomson said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 05 December 2017 at 07:05 PM
Yes, I'd like to see a map showing what is seriously expected by Likud and friends to be Greater Israel. Euphrates to Nile? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Israel ? Mediterranean to, er, what? Or what?
J -> Annem... , 05 December 2017 at 07:06 PM
If Dahlan is UAE based, and a member of the Palestinian security and legislative bodies, then why is his citizenship Serbia and Montenegro? My inquiring mind wants to know.
VietnamVet , 05 December 2017 at 07:21 PM
jdledell,

When the daughter and son in law are Hasidic Jews it is understandable that the First Family would considered Israelites as chosen ones. Nation states are being superseded by multi-national corporations and their institutions. Democracy and societal good demolished. Five men own half of the world's wealth. Paranoia is rampart. Donald Trump will fight the "Deep State" with a private spy network: http://www.newsweek.com/trump-private-spies-deep-state-735091

No one in power in DC places the national interests of the United States first. A few connected families are grabbing it all while they can and pushing their own ideology and religion. Israel is a shining example.

Dorsey Gardner , 05 December 2017 at 07:35 PM
Since our Congressmen are owned by the Lobby (when they aren't abusing their interns at the taxpayers' expense), the only way to make a difference is to support the Global Boycott -- BDS Movement. Not only does it hurt Israel economically, but it has a far greater effect when it isolates Zionists and their supporters and makes them pariahs.
To enumerate the best response to the endless lies of Israel, let me provide a list:

1. BDS - you can find stickers for BDS online. Put them wherever public announcements are posted, wherever grafitti is found, wherever the Lobby can't complain. Also, send a check to the BDS organization -- you can find it online.

2. Support blogs such as "If Americans Knew," Council for the National Interest, Palestine Legal, and the Rachel Corrie Foundation. Forget giving to your colleges and universities, they are owned by the Lobby.

3. In the presence of your Jewish friends, refer to Palestine as "Occupied Palestine" never Israel. First of all, it is the correct nomenclature. Second, it will send a message that what they are doing is unacceptable and they will never be successful in controlling the narrative despite all the hasbara from the NYTimes, WAPO, and Harveywood.
4. Read "Holocaust HighPriest" and "Breaking the Spell" by Nicholas Kollerstrom. If you read these books you will never, and I mean NEVER, believe in the nonsense called the Holocaust. Without the Holocaust, the pack of lies that is call Israel disappears.

5. On a more optimistic note, the dirty secret about Israel is that there is a significant out-migration from the Promised Land to, of all places, Germany and elsewhere. When you see a photo of Jewish settlements, do you see any people? Right, its all vacant houses in the middle of nowhere. Israel has been trying to convince Jews to make Aliyah and it ain't working. Who would want to live in a hellhole surrounded by lunatics with fetlocks and shawls carring AK-47s shooting up the place. The Jews have managed to create Hell-On-Earth. We should let them have it except that the Palestinians are getting caught in the crossfire, US has to pay for it, and it has led to endless destabilization of decent neighbors (I'm not talking about Saudi Arabia) who just want
to live their lives.

turcopolier , 05 December 2017 at 08:10 PM
jdledell

what you say is sadly true and equally true of the other side. Al-Quds is sacred to them. pl

WJ , 05 December 2017 at 08:16 PM
Sir,

What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II? His back history is purportedly Georgetown, Army Intelligence (his father PP Strzok I is Army Corp of Engineers), and was until recently deputy director of counterintelligence at FBI with focus on Russia and China. He is the fellow who altered Comey's draft to read "extremely careless" instead of "grossly negligent", he interviewed HRC, Mills, Abedin (and gave the latter two immunity); he pushed for the continued payment of Steele in the amount of $50,000 for further Dossier research in the face of some resistance (cf James Rosen); he also interviewed Flynn, and for most of the first half of 2017 and for all of 2016 appears to have been the most important and influential agent working on the HRC-Trump-Russia nexus. James Rosen suggests he has CIA connections as well. The dude has also no internet presence. There is not much information out there on a person who seems to be pretty influential in DC / FBI / Foreign Intel circles. He screwed up, and a lawyer, sent texts, and now is gone. Does he strike you as fishy at all, or is this kind of stuff pretty common for people in his field and position.

jpb said in reply to elaine... , 05 December 2017 at 08:33 PM
Deuteronomy 7:6 6 "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

Jews proclaimed themselves God's 'chosen people', above all ordinary humanity. This idea is an abomination, yet it is accepted and tolerated by ordinary humanity, without question, lest one be condemned as an anti-semite.

The racist ideas of Judaism and their real estate contract with God are a plague on humanity. That Zionists in our midst assert power over all the earth and its nations as their birthright. Only this truth and its consequences will free our nation and the people of the world from the Zionist plague.

jdledell said in reply to Lemur... , 05 December 2017 at 08:44 PM
Lemur - Israel has a great deal of respect for Russian military capability, as they should. Israel is pretty careful in Syria not to stick their finger in Russian eyes. I've got a nephew who is a F-16 pilot and his orders when flying in Syria is to stay as far away form the Russian navel base in Tartus as possible.

Iran irritates Israel because of it's support for Hezballah and Israel will continue to try to limit the amount of supplies and equipment sends to Hezballah but other than that it's a standoff between Hezballah and Israel. However, Israel is genuinely concerned about Iran's possible breakout for a nuclear bomb. Israel realizes that it would only take 3 or 4 such bombs to virtually wipe out the country. They have some legitimate concerns that some crazy in Iran could launch such a strike.

However, Israel is NOT going to war against Iran to take out their nuclear capabilities in spite of the Saudi urging. It would be a fools errand since Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt together could not conquer Iran to put an end to Iran's nuclear capabilities. It would take a complete occupation of Iran to put stop this activity and that is impossible given the limitations of those military sources and the size and population of Iran. An added factor that inhibits Israel from attacking Iran is that they do not know how Russia would react.

kooshy said in reply to jdledell... , 05 December 2017 at 10:39 PM
This same equipment was used in 2006 against Merkavas, and against supper dooper IDF ground forces. Apparently back in 06, this new ME instead of coming out of Condie' womb, it exited her rectum, perhaps with as much pang if not more.
TonyL said in reply to eakens... , 06 December 2017 at 07:50 AM
To distract, and direct our attention to a different subject, he must have felt the heat of Mueller's investigation. It's in the playbook of all POTUS, pass and present. Moving US embassy to Jerusalem is a stupid decision, that will stir violent unrest in ME, and that no other nation will do. But does he cares?
turcopolier , 06 December 2017 at 08:40 AM
tonyL

Moving the embassy is nothing. Recognizing that Jerusalem is Israel's capital is probably a disastrous thing to do. Erdogan has called for a world-wide Islamic conference on this mid-month. pl

LeaNder said in reply to Dorsey Gardner... , 06 December 2017 at 10:18 AM
Oh, an activist from the twilight zone? Welcome! Should I have noticed you before? How's the man behind the curtain doing, when will the Fat Lady Sing, and the Truth Set Us All finally Free?

Read "Holocaust HighPriest" and "Breaking the Spell" by Nicholas Kollerstrom.

I am hearing you. You are sure you don't want to add Nicholas Kollerstrom, PhD. See your advertisement worked. I sure hope you read his 2015 book on Paul McCartney too? How and why the GB initiated WWI and WWII (2016), and The Chronicles of False Flag Terror (2017). Would you recommend the astrological titles too?

Babak Makkinejad -> Will.2718... , 06 December 2017 at 10:24 AM
The sad part of it is that all this scholarship means nothing to people like my Iranian friends who consider Israel to be their country; not withstanding the fact that their mother tongue is Persian and they associate socially with similar people.
jdledell said in reply to kooshy... , 06 December 2017 at 10:24 AM
Kooshy - It is true when Israel goes into Lebanon that Hezballah has the advantage and as I have explained previously the Hezballah used anti-tank weapons, to Israel's surprise, effectively against the Merkavas. Hezballah has effectively made southern Lebanon a nightmare for any offensive thrust by Israel.

However, it would be a totally different story if Hezballah had to abandon their defensive positions and go on the offensive. The same is true of other Arab offensive thrusts into Israel where they would be in the open.

When Israel is fundamentally threatened the entire nation and populace responds. In 1973 I was staying with friends in Jaffa and there was fear the Egyptian forces would roll right up the coast. The Israeli defense forces came into town and were handing out weapons to literally every man, woman and child. I was given an old WW I Enfield rifle and a handful of bullets, to point out the window toward the street. Of course the Egyptians never came and all I got out of the situation was very sore shoulders - that damn rifle weighed a ton.

LeaNder said in reply to turcopolier ... , 06 December 2017 at 10:44 AM
Well, Pat, the Jerusalem Embassy Act doesn't seem make a difference between those two issues. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Embassy_Act_of_1995 It's a peculiar verbal dance around the topic since 1995: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Embassy_Act#Developments Maybe one should get it over with. Has been hanging their like the Sword of Damocles for quite some time. Besides how many Palestinian enclaves/houses are still around in East Jerusalem. Seems to have been a steady process.

I hate to admit, but Trump would simply recognize reality, facts on the ground. How far into Judea and Samaria will this recognition reach in the upcoming larger/extended plan?

Sid Finster said in reply to VietnamVet... , 06 December 2017 at 12:04 PM
I thought Kushner et al. were Orthodox Jews, not Hassidic? Incidentally, the SatMar (a large Hassidic sect) are ferociously anti-Zionist and are frequent participants in anti-Israel demonstrations.
Sid Finster said in reply to jdledell... , 06 December 2017 at 12:06 PM
Hence the drive to drag the United States into a war with Iran.
Sid Finster said in reply to eakens... , 06 December 2017 at 12:07 PM
Well, I guess that's one way to drive a wedge between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and Trump's base won't complain about it. I'm not sure that "keeping the Saudis from buddying up with Israel" was the intent here, but that may well be the outcome.
jdledell said in reply to Allen Thomson... , 06 December 2017 at 03:31 PM
Allen Thompson - I'll jump in here to give you my ideas of where Israel is going with their land expansion ideas. First of all, there is recognition in Israel that there are far too few Jews to populate much more land than they have already grabbed. The Israeli Government will not state what their ultimate land objectives are - they will expand as their Jewish population expands. That is what is behind Netanyahu's pleas to the French Jews to move to Israel. If there is another large group of Jews moving to Israel as happened with the Soviet Union Jews in the past, then you will see military action to expand by Israel. The people who run the Government in Israel are pragmatic when it comes to issues like "Greater Israel" since they recognize the impact such a move would have given the limited supply of Jews and the already stretched Reserve army forces.
turcopolier , 06 December 2017 at 03:32 PM
LeaNder, You have never sounded so much like a Zionist troll. there are greater realities than mere possession. pl
Fred -> LeaNder... , 06 December 2017 at 03:49 PM
LeaNder, "facts on the ground" like the recognition of the military conquest of East Jerusalem? I wonder what Rocketman thinks of that.
Kooshy said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 06 December 2017 at 04:34 PM
If you mean expatriate JEWISH Iranians, IMO they are not as much as before link themselves to Israel, apparently some really lost a lot in business deals with Israelies.
Kooshy said in reply to jdledell... , 06 December 2017 at 04:57 PM
Sorry, I don't think so, the situation is becoming more balance then even 2006. Currently Hezbollah with her missiiles has as much offensive fear power as Israel Air Force. And as far as IDF ground forces goes they are no match to Hezbollah, irregular guys flying from US and France to help IDF are not professional gurrila fighter. In long run fear factor is more davastating on Israelis to think realistically on their future, then is for the Hezbollah and other Arabs since the Arabs have no were else to go.

IMO Israel and her supporters including US have never been weaker in their strategic position in entire ME. That is fact, backed by various events of this last 40 years, especially since 9/11. Ignoring actual facts and making unjustified analyses is just dangerous wishful thinking, on expense of western positions in the new forming world order.

Babak Makkinejad -> LeaNder... , 06 December 2017 at 10:00 PM
And, furthermore, the other Western people, firmly upholding the Separation of Church and State will cheerfully accept such conduct, no?
TonyL said in reply to turcopolier ... , 06 December 2017 at 10:05 PM
Yes sir, Moving the embassy there is just a symbolic part of the recognition.
fanto said in reply to turcopolier ... , 06 December 2017 at 11:57 PM
Colonel, Sir
how right you are - there are realities of possession, but such realities are not three dimensional, but four dimensional, everything changes with time; the 1000 year Reich is an example, one could cite many many more of "forever" claims - just like today´s pronouncement of Bibi about `Jerusalem is forever Israels capital` (I am paraphrasing what was today in the news). Your mentioning the Catholic Church in this context is saying the same thing - patience is a virtue, and only time will tell. btw - I agree about LeaNder
LeaNder said in reply to turcopolier ... , 07 December 2017 at 06:23 AM
Pat, that was cynic without adding cynicism alert. Melancholic. Deeply Melancholic. This is a very, very bad signal. ... But, should I really be surprised? It feels nobody should be. After all he said he would do this during his campaign. Should I go and check on his speech at AIPAC last year? I vividly recall one rather horrible anti-Iran propaganda show against Iran at AIPAC, quite professional on a huge screens. Some years earlier. Really shocking. Triggered images, propaganda productions. Strictly, Iran was a central item in his promise catalogue too. And hasn't Rouhani been declared the new Hitler recently? Zionist troll? At one point I opted for Post-Zionist, versus anti-Zionist. Maybe that was naive. But I was as hesitant concerning Anti-Semite versus Philo-Semite. Somewhat similiar to the choice between Trump-hater and Trump-supporter? No critical distance allowed you are either one or the other, it feels lately around here.

I do not trust Trump, that's true. Not even concerning Russia. Strictly he was offered that position on a silver plate. But doesn't this decision make him, if not a Zionist then at least a fierce pro-Israel hawk?

turcopolier , 07 December 2017 at 07:45 AM
LeaNder A lot of what you are writing lately does not sound like you. Are the other farmers writing your material? "Cynicism" and "irony" are different things. I am sorry that you are melancholic. pl

[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...

[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:

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 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 &#8220;drain the swamp&#8221; 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&#8217;s watch at Eli Lilly. So the fox might be not the most reputable member of the species.

So you know the drill&#8230;. 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 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 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 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 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 05, 2017] Tillerson Summoned to White House Amid Presidential Fury

MSm stil trying to sing Trump, and it looks like he is helping them. Campaign of well times and damaging leaks continue.
Notable quotes:
"... Additional reporting from Peter Alexander, Hallie Jackson and Vivian Salama. ..."
Oct 05, 2017 | www.msn.com
Additional reporting from Peter Alexander, Hallie Jackson and Vivian Salama.

WASHINGTON -- John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, abruptly scrapped plans to travel with President Donald Trump on Wednesday so he could try to contain his boss's fury and manage the fallout from new revelations about tensions between the president and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to six senior administration officials.

Kelly summoned Tillerson, and their ally Defense Secretary James Mattis, to the White House, where the three of them huddled to discuss a path forward, according to three administration officials. The White House downplayed Kelly's decision to stay in Washington, saying he did so to manage day-to-day operations.

Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, was fuming in Phoenix, where he was traveling, seven officials told NBC News. He and Tillerson spoke on the phone before the secretary's public appearance on Wednesday morning.

Pence was incensed upon learning from the NBC report that Tillerson's top spokesman had said he once privately questioned the value of Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Officials said the spokesman, R.C. Hammond, fabricated an anecdote that Pence had asked Tillerson in a meeting whether Haley, who is seen as a possible successor if Tillerson, is helpful or harmful to the administration.

NBC reported Wednesday that Tillerson had threatened to resign in July after a series of clashes with the president, at one point venting his frustrations among his colleagues by calling the president a "moron," according to multiple senior administration officials who were aware of the matter at the time.

Four senior administration officials said Trump first learned on Wednesday that Tillerson had disparaged him after a July 20 national security meeting at the Pentagon. Trump vented to Kelly Wednesday morning, leading Kelly to scrap plans to travel with the president to Las Vegas to meet with victims and first responders in Sunday's mass shooting.

Trump was furious when he saw the NBC News report, which was published shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday. For the next two hours the president fumed inside the White House, venting to Kelly, officials said. He left for Las Vegas shortly after 8 a.m., 20 minutes behind schedule. Tillerson scrambled to pull together a statement, while his spokesman publicly apologized for his comments about Pence and Haley, saying he "spoke out of line about conversations I wasn't privy to."

Tillerson delivered a statement praising Trump and insisting he never considered resigning, but it's what he didn't say that further enraged Trump, officials said.

The secretary's refusal to deny that he had called the president a "moron" in his opening statement and in his responses to questions from reporters stoked Trump's anger and widened the rift between the two men, officials said. After watching the secretary's response Wednesday, one White House official said, "When Tillerson didn't deny it, I assumed it was true." Hammond is seen by the White House, particularly Pence's office, as untrustworthy, officials said. It's unclear if he will remain in his post, according to three administration officials.

Pence was "very annoyed anyone would misrepresent anything he said, particularly in private meetings," one White House official said. On Wednesday, this source said, White House officials spoke to State Department officials to make it clear that Hammond's comment was "false" and needed to be corrected. The revelations followed Trump's frustrations over the weekend after Tillerson said the U.S. would talk to North Korea.

State Department officials tried to reach Tillerson on his government aircraft during his flight from Beijing to Japan, but they couldn't reach him, sources said. The secretary and his team didn't want to issue a clarification, further stoking tensions with the White House, on administration official said.

Trump took to Twitter, telling Tillerson not to waste his time trying to negotiate with the North Korean regime.

Related:

[Sep 24, 2017] Donald Trump is now embarked on a Pyongyang-style military-first policy in which resources, money, and power are heading for the Pentagon and the U.S. nuclear arsenal, while much of the rest of the government is downsized

See also http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-nuclear-weapons-mini-nukes-targeted-strike-conflict-war-north-korea-russia-a7938486.html
Sep 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from Empire of Madness - The Unz Review

You think not? When it comes to America's endless wars and conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa, you can't imagine a more-of-the-same scenario eight years into the future? If, in 2009, eight years after the war on terror was launched, as President Obama was preparing to send a "surge" of more than 30,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan (while swearing to end the war in Iraq), I had written such a futuristic account of America's wars in 2017, you might have been no less unconvinced.

Who would have believed then that political Washington and the U.S. military's high command could possibly continue on the same brainless path (or perhaps it would be more accurate to say superhighway) for another eight years? Who would have believed then that, in the fall of 2017, they would be intensifying their air campaigns across the Greater Middle East, still fighting in Iraq (and Syria), supporting a disastrous Saudi war in Yemen, launching the first of yet another set of mini-surges in Afghanistan, and so on? And who would have believed then that, in return for prosecuting unsuccessful wars for 16 years while aiding and abetting in the spread of terror movements across a vast region, three of America's generals would be the most powerful figures in Washington aside from our bizarre president (whose election no one could have predicted eight years ago)? Or here's another mind-bender: Would you really have predicted that, in return for 16 years of unsuccessful war-making, the U.S. military (and the rest of the national security state) would be getting yet more money from the political elite in our nation's capital or would be thought better of than any other American institution by the public?

Now, I'm the first to admit that we humans are pathetic seers. Peering into the future with any kind of accuracy has never been part of our skill set. And so my version of 2025 could be way off base. Given our present world, it might prove to be far too optimistic about our wars.

After all ! just to mention one grim possibility of our moment ! for the first time since 1945, we're on a planet where nuclear weapons might be used by either side in the course of a local war, potentially leaving Asia aflame and possibly the world economy in ruins. And don't even bring up Iran, which I carefully and perhaps too cautiously didn't include in my list of the 15 countries the U.S. was bombing in 2025 (as opposed to the seven at present). And yet, in the same world where they are decrying North Korea's nuclear weapons, the Trump administration and its U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley , seem to be hard at work creating a situation in which the Iranians could once again be developing ones of their own. The president has reportedly been desperate to ditch the nuclear agreement Barack Obama and the leaders of five other major powers signed with Iran in 2015 (though he has yet to actually do so) and he's stocked his administration with a remarkable crew of Iranophobes, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo , Secretary of Defense James Mattis , and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster , all of whom have been itching over the years for some kind of confrontation with Iran. (And given the last decade and a half of American war fighting in the region, how do you think that conflict would be likely to turn out?)

Donald Trump's Washington, as John Feffer has recently pointed out , is now embarked on a Pyongyang-style "military-first" policy in which resources, money, and power are heading for the Pentagon and the U.S. nuclear arsenal , while much of the rest of the government is downsized. Obviously, if that's where your resources are going, then that's where your efforts and energies will go, too. So don't expect less war in the years to come, no matter how inept Washington has proven when it comes to making war work.

... ... ...

Imagine the government of that same country, distracted by its hopeless wars and the terrorist groups they continue to generate... and not lifting a finger to deal with the situation...

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

[Sep 19, 2017] The myth of pro-Israeli groups defining the US foreign policy

Highly recommended!
The US foreign policy is defined by interests of neoliberals and neocons, or to be exact by interests of multinational corporations, who are not necessary led by Jews ;-). The whole discussion of the US foreign policy via the lens of Jew/non-Jew dichotomy is far from the best approach to this problem.
While it is true that a large number of neocons end even some "economic nationalists" like Steve Bannon identify with Israel. But the real allegiance of neocons is not to Israel. It is to many from American MIC. In this sense, neither chickenhawk Michael Ledeen (a second rate figure at best, without much political influence), no chickenhawk Bill Kristol (third rate figure, with little or no political influence at all), but Senator McCain and Dick Cheney are proper examples of really dangerous neocons.
Yes, neocons has a large, sometimes decisive influence on the US foreign policy. But this is because they are neoliberals with the gun, political prostitutes serving MIC interests, not so much because some of them are "Israel-firsters" (this term is not without problems, although it denotes Jewish nationalists pretty well, see an interesting discussion in The Volokh Conspiracy )
Notable quotes:
"... I suppose Ledeen still believes what he said fifteen years ago, when the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were still young and dewy-fresh: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business". ..."
"... This even became known as "The Ledeen Doctrine"; I am sure he is very proud. ..."
"... Perhaps today he thinks Iran is a suitable "small crappy little country". If so, he is very badly mistaken. Ledeen was involved with CIA & overthrow of Allende, I believe. I refer you to Louis Wolfe's "Counterspy," the magazine of the 1970′s. ..."
"... Hostility toward Iran (and imperialism generally) is deeply rooted in the American foreign policy establishment (which isn't close to being all or mostly Jewish), and can't be explained by naive WASPs being manipulated by clever Jews. ..."
"... Of course, the Israel Lobby is much bigger than just jews, and stupid American Christians manipulated by their church leaders into believing fatuous ideas about Israel based upon dubiously interpreted biblical nonsense has historically provided a lot of its political clout. ..."
"... The Jewish individuals named by Giraldi still massively disproportionately dominate the foreign policy media and political debate on ME wars, and the wealthy Jewish Israel supporters mentioned by him still massively disproportionately influence who gets heard and which opinions are suppressed and which promoted. ..."
"... I think solidarity and internationalism are the best weapons against militarism and imperialism. ..."
"... You'd be on the right track if you started paying attention to the central American goal since 1945 of keeping Middle Eastern oil in the hands of obedient governments within the American orbit, so it can serve as a non-Russian/non-Soviet, American-controlled source of energy for American allies (and economic competitors) in Europe and Japan. ..."
"... Anyway, the American public has shown many times that it really doesn't give a rat's ass about foreigners being killed or maimed - not three of them, not three million of them. Foreigners might as well be bugs. What really matters is that feeling of power and superiority: their country is Top Nation and can whip anyone else, yes sir. Politicians continually rely on that undercurrent of nationalist chuavinism, and it never lets them down. ..."
"... A courageous article and spot on. Once again I'm thankful for Ron Unz and the Unz Review. You would never read such an article in the MSM. ..."
"... So now US troops are suddenly bombing "ISIS" in Syria while supplying "rebels" with arms, even though by the CIA's own admission most of the arms supplied have fallen into the hands of ISIS since the rebels joined forces with them. ..."
"... Nikki Haley might as well be renamed Israel's ambassador to the UN. Every time that daft woman opens her mouth the US is in danger of going to war with somebody, usually on behalf of Israel. ..."
"... There's a place for using the term "Zionist" and a place for using the term "Jew" (the two are most certainly not interchangeable). The wider Zionist Israel Lobby in the US is certainly a big problem, but there is also the problem of Jewish nationalists being disproportionately represented in the US foreign policy, media and political elites, while their likely nationalist ulterior motives are not mentioned and are largely unnoticed because of the prevailing taboo against mentioning it.. ..."
"... Bill Kristol appearing on c-span to push, agitate for the 2nd Iraq war was asked by a caller if he had served in the (U.S.) military. Kristol said he had not served but had a friend(s) who had and that he served in other ways. When a country drafts into the military, can one get out of service by saying, "My friend served"? ..."
"... I supported and voted for Trump as well. I don't like his neocon turn now, but which candidate in that election (save for Rand Paul and possibly Jill Stein) wouldn't have declared a non-fly zone in Syria and actively supported the overthrow of Assad? ..."
"... Bernie Sanders (a scary Jew!) wasn't nearly as anti-imperialist as I would have liked him to be, but I doubt he would have attacked Assad regime forces 6 times like Trump has by this point, and certainly not without Congressional approval (which he probably wouldn't have gotten, even if he had wanted it). ..."
"... Even under Hillary, the Iran deal would have stood a better chance, since she was at least verbally committed to it (unlike even Rand Paul), and there would have been Obama loyalists within the Clinton administration who would have been desperate to preserve Obama's signature foreign policy achievement (and one of the only worthwhile ones, in my opinion, along with restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba). ..."
"... How is the article's factual content fundamentally different from the similar content of the Haaretz article linked by Greg Bacon in post 21 above? Is the Haaretz piece "unhinged and bigoted"? ..."
"... "The USA is a colony of Israel". Fake News Story. Now, let us assume that to be true. What are personally doing about this situation? What active measures are you taking to free yourself from the shackles of your oppressor? Or, are simply impotent while taking it good and hard? ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: America's Jews Are Driving America's Wars by Philip Giraldi September 19, 2017 - The Unz Review

Dump Trump , September 19, 2017 at 8:32 pm GMT

@Brabantian Yet, in a classic, paradox-tinged pro-Israel loop-back, the 'alt-Right' and 'white nationalist' movement, is increasing positive links with security-fence-building, also-ethnic-nationalist Israel:

US alt-right leader, Richard Spencer, appeared on Israeli TV last month to call himself a "white Zionist"
The above from an interesting article by British activist and Nazareth, Palestine resident Jonathan Cook , speaking of how Israel's Netanyahu is making an alliance with even the anti-Semitic Western alt-right, with the instinct to show all other Jews that Israel is their only home & safe haven ... and hence the 'progressive' Jews should abandon any support for boycott of Israel or for Palestinian rights:
The Israeli prime minister has repeatedly called on all Jews to come to Israel, claiming it as the only safe haven from an immutable global anti-semitism. And yet, Mr Netanyahu is also introducing a political test before he opens the door.

Jews supporting a boycott of Israel are already barred. Now, liberal Jews and critics of the occupation like Mr Soros are increasingly not welcome either. Israel is rapidly redefining the extent of the sanctuary it offers – for Jewish supremacists only.

For Mr Netanyahu may believe he has much to gain by abandoning liberal Jews to their fate, as the alt-right asserts its power in western capitals.

The "white Zionists" are committed to making life ever harder for minorities in the West in a bid to be rid of them. Sooner or later, on Mr Netanyahu's logic, liberal Jews will face a reckoning. They will have to accept that Israel's ultra-nationalists were right all along, and that Israel is their only sanctuary.

Guided by this cynical convergence of interests, Jewish and white supremacists are counting on a revival of anti-Semitism that will benefit them both.

Yet, in a classic, paradox-tinged pro-Israel loop-back, the 'alt-Right' and 'white nationalist' movement, is increasing positive links with security-fence-building, also-ethnic-nationalist Israel

Steve Bannon and his supposed alt-right rag Breitbart are incredibly pro-Israel. I supposed it has something to do with its founder Andrew Breitbart being a Jew. Every time Trump or Nikki Haley says something nasty about Iran, you'll get plenty of Breitbart commenters echoing their sentiment egging them on, you can tell by their inane comments many have no idea why they should hate Iran, other than Breitbart told them to.

They've fully bought into the Breitbart narrative that Iran is evil and must be destroyed. The Trump fan boys/girls who continue to blindly support him despite all his betrayals are every bit as stupid as the libtards they claim to hate.

jamsok , September 19, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh "And I would add a few more names, Mark Dubowitz, Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht..."

I suppose Ledeen still believes what he said fifteen years ago, when the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were still young and dewy-fresh: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business".

This even became known as "The Ledeen Doctrine"; I am sure he is very proud.

Perhaps today he thinks Iran is a suitable "small crappy little country". If so, he is very badly mistaken. Ledeen was involved with CIA & overthrow of Allende, I believe. I refer you to Louis Wolfe's "Counterspy," the magazine of the 1970′s.

matt , September 19, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

@Randal

I didn't say there weren't any Jews pushing for a war with Iran, I said there are plenty of non-Jews pushing for one too, including Trump himself.
Which certainly doesn't mean there isn't a particular problem, exactly as Giraldi describes it with plenty of sound supporting examples, of dual loyalty jews pushing wars that favour Israel.

In fact, the reality is that Giraldi might be guilty of, at most, overstatement, but since a large part of the problem is precisely that any reference at all to the problem is suppressed, one might expect an honest opponent of the US's military interventionism to temper his criticism of Giraldi's piece appropriately. For whatever reason, instead, you seem to feel the need to hysterically accuse it as though it contains no truth whatsoever.

What gives?

Hostility toward Iran (and imperialism generally) is deeply rooted in the American foreign policy establishment (which isn't close to being all or mostly Jewish), and can't be explained by naive WASPs being manipulated by clever Jews.
Of course, the Israel Lobby is much bigger than just jews, and stupid American Christians manipulated by their church leaders into believing fatuous ideas about Israel based upon dubiously interpreted biblical nonsense has historically provided a lot of its political clout.

That's another problem, but it doesn't make the problem highlighted by Giraldi not a problem. The Jewish individuals named by Giraldi still massively disproportionately dominate the foreign policy media and political debate on ME wars, and the wealthy Jewish Israel supporters mentioned by him still massively disproportionately influence who gets heard and which opinions are suppressed and which promoted.

"What gives" is that I think lunatic screeds about "America's Jews" (like Noam Chomsky?) manipulating foreign policy do damage to the anti-war cause. I think solidarity and internationalism are the best weapons against militarism and imperialism.

Of course, the Israel Lobby is much bigger than just Jews, and stupid American Christians manipulated by their church leaders into believing fatuous ideas about Israel based upon dubiously interpreted biblical nonsense has historically provided a lot of its political clout.

That's slightly better than the 1-dimensional Joo-paranoia, but it doesn't begin to describe the problem.

You'd be on the right track if you started paying attention to the central American goal since 1945 of keeping Middle Eastern oil in the hands of obedient governments within the American orbit, so it can serve as a non-Russian/non-Soviet, American-controlled source of energy for American allies (and economic competitors) in Europe and Japan.

matt , September 19, 2017 at 6:32 pm GMT

@Sam Shama

I am glad you think Iran isn't stupid or suicidal. Yet it doesn't square with your earlier statement which reads " I'm glad they have the capability, if need be, to destroy the hostile military bases that encircle them ". There are no scenarios in which Iran could destroy US bases without changing the meaning of the word "suicidal", is there?

Before you decide to label as sociopath, anyone who proposes a worldview grounded in reality, you might think long and hard about the multitude of paths this world can take under the scenario of a wholesale withdrawal of U.S. presence in the Gulf. Most one hears on this forum, including your own, reduce to precious nothing over virtue signaling.

Like it or not the world is never going to assume the shape of a collection of nations equal in power, interests and endowments. Hoping for that is to live in a state of delusion.

U.S. does not wish to go on an offensive mission against Iran . Far from it; yet facilitating her allies' aspirations to join the American vision isn't one we are about to walk away from. That is not chest beating. It is eminently in evidence from the number of nations wishing to join the Western economic and cultural model. I am keenly aware of the lunatics on this forum who believe they'd be perfectly happy to embrace other cultures, I can only invite them to make haste.

Spare me the rest of your sanctimony.

"I'm glad they have the capability, if need be, to destroy the hostile military bases that encircle them". There are no scenarios in which Iran could destroy US bases without changing the meaning of the word "suicidal", is there?

In the case of a defensive war with United States, there sure would be. At that point Iran would not have much hope but to inflict as much damage as possible on the aggressor. Although Iran does not nearly have the ability to fully reciprocate the harm the US can inflict on it, it hopefully has the capability to inflict enough damage so that an offensive war against it would be intolerable to the US. That's how deterrence works.

U.S. does not wish to go on an offensive mission against Iran.

If that's true, and I sincerely hope it is, it's because Iran has sufficient deterrent capacity, which includes not only the anti-ship missiles in the Gulf, but also Hezbollah's arsenal of ~130,000 short, medium and long-range rockets capable of reaching every square inch of Israeli territory.

Believe me, I'm a realist. You don't have to lecture me on the reality of aggressive rogue nations.

anonymous , Disclaimer September 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh Nope. As far as I know, he was being perfectly serious.

And that is exactly the way the power elite think - although they are usually much more cautious about speaking their mind in public.

Anyway, the American public has shown many times that it really doesn't give a rat's ass about foreigners being killed or maimed - not three of them, not three million of them. Foreigners might as well be bugs. What really matters is that feeling of power and superiority: their country is Top Nation and can whip anyone else, yes sir. Politicians continually rely on that undercurrent of nationalist chuavinism, and it never lets them down.

Anyway, the American public has shown many times that it really doesn't give a rat's ass about foreigners being killed or maimed – not three of them, not three million of them. Foreigners might as well be bugs. What really matters is that feeling of power and superiority: their country is Top Nation and can whip anyone else, yes sir.

True words sir!

The evil empire sustains itself primarily through this attitude of its people. It does not matter how the Jews connive to shape it. Only thing that matters is that they buy into it without exercising their conscience.

Americans, remember, such glory has a cost. You will find soon enough that a cancerous soul is too high a price to be "Top Nation," for essentially a blink in cosmic time.

Dump Trump , September 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm GMT

A courageous article and spot on. Once again I'm thankful for Ron Unz and the Unz Review. You would never read such an article in the MSM.

The late Samuel Huntington said in his amazing book Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order that Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting for supremacy in the Islamic world. Syria is a proxy war between the two countries. Now Israel has become BFF with Saudi Arabia because they too want a piece of Syria, for the oil reserve in the Golan Heights. So now US troops are suddenly bombing "ISIS" in Syria while supplying "rebels" with arms, even though by the CIA's own admission most of the arms supplied have fallen into the hands of ISIS since the rebels joined forces with them.

Make no mistake Jews and Arabs run this country. That is why Trump went to Israel and SA for his first foreign trip, he knows who America's daddy is, even if most Americans are still in the dark.

His entire administration is crawling with Israel loving Jews, starting with his son-in-law the most loyal son of Israel. Even Steve Bannon and Breitbart are crazy gung ho pro-Israel. Nikki Haley might as well be renamed Israel's ambassador to the UN. Every time that daft woman opens her mouth the US is in danger of going to war with somebody, usually on behalf of Israel.

When was the last time Iran conducted a jihad against the west? All the Muslim terrorists now attacking the west are Sunnis, funded by Saudi Arabia. The only time Iran had direct armed conflict with the US was when they kicked us out of Tehran, for trying to steal their oil. All their beef is with Israel, not with the US. Why are we taking up Israel's cause? Trump is a moron of the first order and has no understanding of what really goes on in the mideast. He surrounds himself with pro-Israel neocons and Jews and is easily manipulated. He's stupid and dangerous. I voted for him because he presented himself as someone completely different, someone anti-war and anti-immigration, now he's a neocon globalist libtard, the worst of all worlds. Someone needs to primary him out in 2020.

matt , September 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm GMT

@iffen as sociopaths like you

Speaking of unhinged I'd say the sentiment that America has the right to threaten and/or attack other countries to maintain its "economic interests" is sociopathic. What would you call it? And I didn't say that he personally was in charge of US/Israeli/Saudi policy towards Iran, if that's what you thought I meant. That would be unhinged. I just said that sociopaths like him are.

Randal , September 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm GMT

@KBRO [In comments, allcaps is shouting. Stop shouting or your comments will be trashed.]

RE:
BUSH-CHENEY-CLINTON-TRUMP--MCMASTER--KELLY---AND THE LOT OF THEM ALL AIN'T JEWS:

WELL PUT. GIRALDI IS A MIXED BAG, WRITES SOME GOOD STUFF, BUT IT MISIDENTIFIES THE PROBLEM--THE ENEMY-- BY LABELING IT AS "THE JEWS". THE NEO-CONS--AND NEO-LIBERALS--WHO DRIVE U.S. FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD COME IN MANY FLAVORS.
I'M AN ANTI-ZIONIST, AND IT'S CRUCIAL TO MAKE THAT DISTINCTION AND I DON'T QUITE GET WHY GIRALDI DOESN'T USE THE TERM ZIONIST.

IT'S CRUCIAL TO MAKE THAT DISTINCTION AND I DON'T QUITE GET WHY GIRALDI DOESN'T USE THE TERM ZIONIST

There's a place for using the term "Zionist" and a place for using the term "Jew" (the two are most certainly not interchangeable). The wider Zionist Israel Lobby in the US is certainly a big problem, but there is also the problem of Jewish nationalists being disproportionately represented in the US foreign policy, media and political elites, while their likely nationalist ulterior motives are not mentioned and are largely unnoticed because of the prevailing taboo against mentioning it..

Giraldi is discussing the latter and not the former, and doing a service to the American nation by his taboo-busting.

Brooklyn Dave , September 19, 2017 at 6:06 pm GMT

I wonder where Mr. Giraldi would put David Horowitz on the list? Although Horowitz is not a public policy maker, but rather an author and blogger, but definitely is a known Jewish voice. I respect Horowitz tremendously because of his background as an ex-Communist and his dead-on criticism of the American Left, both historically and currently. Although rather knee-jerk in his defense of Israel, I would not doubt his loyalty to this country one iota.

I do not know if David Horowitz is a dual Israeli-American citizen, but he is not a legislator nor a government policy maker, so as far as I am concerned, the issue is moot. If one questions the loyalty to America, of Jews or any other group for that matter, the issue of holding dual citizenship while holding certain government offices should be something of concern. Once out of public office or service, then they can resume their dual citizenship. It makes the issue of loyalty less questionable.

wayfarer , September 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm GMT

@bjondo Regarding jew and war:

Bill Kristol appearing on c-span to push, agitate for the 2nd Iraq war was asked by a caller if he had served in the (U.S.) military. Kristol said he had not served but had a friend(s) who had and that he served in other ways. When a country drafts into the military, can one get out of service by saying, "My friend served"?

reckon his serving in other ways was/is lying and pushing for wars for his real country israel. Truth hurts, America.

Of the 58,220 Americans who were sacrificed during the Vietnam War, 270 were Jewish. That's approximately 0.46 percent or less than a half of one-percent.

Guess they were too busy partying in college, while pursuing their law degrees.

During the Vietnam war the U.S. selective service system gave deferments to those attending college, which delayed their eligibility for conscription.

"Among partners of the top law firms in New York, I estimate that at least 25% are Jews."

source: https://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics.html

source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/4726694_Going_to_College_to_Avoid_the_Draft_The_Unintended_Legacy_of_the_Vietnam_War [accessed Sep 19, 2017].

source: http://manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2014/6/5/is-lack-of-diversity-at-big-law-firms-a-crisis

Randal , September 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm GMT

@matt I didn't say there weren't any Jews pushing for a war with Iran, I said there are plenty of non-Jews pushing for one too, including Trump himself. Hostility toward Iran (and imperialism generally) is deeply rooted in the American foreign policy establishment (which isn't close to being all or mostly Jewish), and can't be explained by naive WASPs being manipulated by clever Jews. It's not just bigoted, it's a cartoonishly stupid "explanation".

I didn't say there weren't any Jews pushing for a war with Iran, I said there are plenty of non-Jews pushing for one too, including Trump himself.

Which certainly doesn't mean there isn't a particular problem, exactly as Giraldi describes it with plenty of sound supporting examples, of dual loyalty jews pushing wars that favour Israel.

In fact, the reality is that Giraldi might be guilty of, at most, overstatement, but since a large part of the problem is precisely that any reference at all to the problem is suppressed, one might expect an honest opponent of the US's military interventionism to temper his criticism of Giraldi's piece appropriately. For whatever reason, instead, you seem to feel the need to hysterically accuse it as though it contains no truth whatsoever.

What gives?

Hostility toward Iran (and imperialism generally) is deeply rooted in the American foreign policy establishment (which isn't close to being all or mostly Jewish), and can't be explained by naive WASPs being manipulated by clever Jews.

Of course, the Israel Lobby is much bigger than just jews, and stupid American Christians manipulated by their church leaders into believing fatuous ideas about Israel based upon dubiously interpreted biblical nonsense has historically provided a lot of its political clout.

That's another problem, but it doesn't make the problem highlighted by Giraldi not a problem. The jewish individuals named by Giraldi still massively disproportionately dominate the foreign policy media and political debate on ME wars, and the wealthy jewish Israel supporters mentioned by him still massively disproportionately influence who gets heard and which opinions are suppressed and which promoted.

anonymous , Disclaimer September 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm GMT

@matt I'm strongly against any war with Iran, but this comes of as an unhinged and bigoted rant. Not nearly everyone who is pushing for war with Iran is Jewish, and this narrative perpetuates the myth, beloved by alt-right types and paleocons, of a well-intentioned but naive Trump administration that was hijacked by Jewish neocons. In reality, despite differences within the administration, Iran was always something they could all agree on. H.R. McMaster and James Mattis are well known Iran hawks, and neither are Jewish. Nikki Haley isn't Jewish, nor is Rex Tillerson. Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn wouldn't have stopped Trump from going to war if they hadn't been forced out of the administration, as both, especially the latter, were absolute lunatics when it came to Iran. On that subject, they were worse than neocons. And of course there's Trump himself, whose bloodlust regarding Iran has always been on full display from the beginning, if you were paying attention. Hostility toward Iran might in fact be the most consistent theme of the Trump administration and of Trump himself, who has been known to vacillate on virtually every issue, except this one.

If you supported Trump because you thought he might be some sort of isolationist dove, you have only yourself to blame. Evil Jewish neocons didn't force you to ignore the massive evidence that was always right in front of your face. The fact that there are so many who profess to the Christian faith, who are as evil as those Joo neocons, such as those you mentioned, simply cannot be denied. Even if hypothetically speaking the Joos were to vanish overnight, the wars of aggression by the Evil Empire will continue unabated.

The Evil Empire and its Evil b!tch both share the same satanic vision of world domination. Two evil nations, made for each other, in a match made in Hell.

Btw, the orange scumbag was hilariously evil at the UN.

Both N.Korea and Iran should simply call this bastard's bluff, by literally giving him the finger. I say, let the chips fall where they may. Let's see how the American, Japanese, S.Korean, Israeli & "Royal" pussies like the consequences.

To you N.Koreans, its been written that you will target the thousands of American Terrorists stationed in the south. I am counting on that, so don't you miss chaps.

matt , September 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Anonymous

They should. If Raimondo starts blaming the Jews, he can avoid taking responsibility for his idiotic and embarrassing cheerleading for the current warmonger-in-chief.
I supported and voted for Trump as well. I don't like his neocon turn now, but which candidate in that election (save for Rand Paul and possibly Jill Stein) wouldn't have declared a non-fly zone in Syria and actively supported the overthrow of Assad?

And started plans for attacking Iran? Who? Hillary? Hahahaha. Ted Cruz? Hahahaha. Etc.

Bernie Sanders (a scary Jew!) wasn't nearly as anti-imperialist as I would have liked him to be, but I doubt he would have attacked Assad regime forces 6 times like Trump has by this point, and certainly not without Congressional approval (which he probably wouldn't have gotten, even if he had wanted it).

Even under Hillary, the Iran deal would have stood a better chance, since she was at least verbally committed to it (unlike even Rand Paul), and there would have been Obama loyalists within the Clinton administration who would have been desperate to preserve Obama's signature foreign policy achievement (and one of the only worthwhile ones, in my opinion, along with restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba).

matt , September 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT

@Randal

If an article titled "America's Jews are Behind America's Wars" isn't unhinged and bigoted, I'd like you to tell me what is.
How is the article's factual content fundamentally different from the similar content of the Haaretz article linked by Greg Bacon in post 21 above? Is the Haaretz piece "unhinged and bigoted"?

Or is it not the statement of the facts that you are outraged by, but merely the proposed solutions? If so, then what solutions to the problem identified by Giraldi and by Haaretz would you propose?

If Trump's insane rhetoric on Iran and push for war isn't an example of bloodlust, why don't you tell me what it is?
Good examples might be the desperate attempts to prevent the deal with Iran that hopefully will prove to have cauterised the longstanding efforts to use the spurious nuclear weapons issue to push the US towards confrontation and war with Iran:

KEY JEWISH DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS SAY THEY WILL VOTE AGAINST IRAN DEAL

Or when Israel's primary agents of political influence in the US went "all out" to try to get the US to attack Syria and hand yet another country to (even more) jihadist-ridden chaos:

AIPAC to go all-out on Syria

But hey, I suppose for you those are just more examples of "unhingedness" and "bigotedness".

It must be strange living in the world you inhabit, so far removed from basic reality by a desperate need to avoid being seen as any kind of badwhite. I didn't say there weren't any Jews pushing for a war with Iran, I said there are plenty of non-Jews pushing for one too, including Trump himself. Hostility toward Iran (and imperialism generally) is deeply rooted in the American foreign policy establishment (which isn't close to being all or mostly Jewish), and can't be explained by naive WASPs being manipulated by clever Jews. It's not just bigoted, it's a cartoonishly stupid "explanation".

matt , September 19, 2017 at 5:10 pm GMT

@Sam Shama They can certainly try, and, I suppose you'd require the U.S. to stay her hand as a matter of fair principle while watching said bases destroyed. Nice idea, but I'd stick to reality. U.S. has vast interests, including economic ones; those which benefit every U.S. citizen, and, to be practical, all her allies. Iran isn't stupid or suicidal. Its anti-ship missiles are for deterrence, which Iran has plenty of need for, as sociopaths like you populate the American, Israeli, and Saudi governments and are itching to attack.

matt , September 19, 2017 at 5:07 pm GMT

@WJ Outside of an almost symbolic launch of cruise missiles into Syria in April, how has Trump been a warmonger?

I remember the debate between Pence and the hideous Tim Kaine where the Democrat vowed that there would be No Fly Zone over Syria which would certainly have allowed the head chopping rebels to gain a stronger foothold.

In addition to all that, Trump has also cut off aid to the Syrian rebels. His Afghanistan policy /escalation is also symbolic. US troops won't be in direct combat and there will only be 15000 there anyway.

Outside of an almost symbolic launch of cruise missiles into Syria in April, how has Trump been a warmonger?

You haven't been paying attention. Since the initial strike in April, the Trump administration has deliberately attacked regime or allied forces an additional five times. ( one , two , three , four , five ).

Including the Tomahawks in April, that's a total of 6 deliberate attacks on the Syrian Arab Republic or its allies (so far), which is already 6 more than Obama carried out during his entire presidency. And it's not like this is the end of Trump's tenure, either; it's the 9th goddamn month since he's been in office. I'm sure the war hawks in Wahington are quite pleased with his progress, as they should be.

In addition to all that, Trump has also cut off aid to the Syrian rebels. His Afghanistan policy /escalation is also symbolic.

Anyone could tell by that point that Assad isn't going to be overthrown. The aim now is to limit the Assad regime's territorial gains as much as possible, and the "rebels" proved they were useless at doing that when Shia militia reached the Iraqi border at al-Tanf, and cut them off from reaching Deir ez-Zor back in May (which was what one of the attacks mentioned above was about).

After that, the Trump administration put all its eggs in the "Syrian Democratic Forces/People's Protection Units (SDF/YPG) basket, the mainly Kurdish (with some Arab fighters) militia that the US has been using to fight ISIS since 2015 (it's also, ironically, a hard left socialist organization. Think Kurdish Antifa. Though I doubt Trump knows or cares or could do anything about it even if he did). Trump has given the SDF <a title="" https://sputniknews.com/amp/middleeast/201709141057402885-america-weaponry-deir-ez-zor/&quot ; https://sputniknews.com/amp/middleeast/201709141057402885-america-weaponry-deir-ez-zor/&quot ;heavy weaponry with the aim of confronting Assad and limiting his territorial gains. They've also been pressuring the rebel groups they formerly supported to join the SDF.

I have sympathy for the SDF/YPG and the Syrian Kurds, and it made sense to support them when they were under direct assault from ISIS (though US motives were hardly altruistic even then). But ISIS is all but beaten now, and this is a dangerous game the US is playing, which could readily lead to a military confrontation betweeen the US and Russia and/or Iran. In fact, just a few days ago, the SDF seized part of Deir ez-Zor after SAA forces reached the city, and the Pentagon is now accusing Russia (which has in the past at least had good relations with the SDF/YPG), of deliberately bombing SDF fighters, in close proximity to American special forces.

US troops won't be in direct combat and there will only be 15000 there anyway.

Only 15,000! I guess you wouldn't mind, then, if they Taliban, or the Afghan Army for that matter, or any other country, put 15,000 troops on American soil, as a "symbolic" gesture.

Trump has also accelerated US collaboration in the sadistic torture of Yemen by the Saudis, past the levels under even Obama, which was already shameful.

And again, we should also keep in mind that it's only been 9 months. For his next act, Trump might be thinking about ending the Iran deal in October.

Heather Heyer's Ghost , September 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm GMT

@Thomm Jews are white. Ashkenazi Jews, and those are the ones we are mainly dealing with, are an endogamous caste of bankers, progressive journalists, lawyers, and social scientists (including, now, education), that have migrated all over Europe, but never identifying as European, with exceptions that prove the rule.

As a tribe, once can read Kevin MacDonald's work to see how they work in remarkable ethnic cohesion–not necessarily as an "organized conspiracy" (though that certainly happens), but as an ethnic drive.

Being neither European as such, nor Christian, and although their skin is white, they are not White.

Stan d Mute , September 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm GMT

Dual loyalty is an avoided and career-ending subject for a couple reasons. One must never, ever, criticize Jews (a third rail at complete odds with) and one may not criticize immigrants' behavior.

The obvious problem is Treason. Just how much Treason is the result of so-called "dual loyalty"? And isn't Treason subject to some rather serious legal sanctions?

...

just an internet commenter , September 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm GMT

I just want to point out, being a (fake) "news" consumer, I hear about Israel all the time, all while not hearing a lot of follow-up detail about Israel and its interests. Isn't that a clever sleight of hand? According to the pro-Israel (by extension jews) propaganda I'm required to care about, despite it having nothing to do with my life, my family's life, my neighbors' lives, and my community's lives Israel is that big of a deal. Actually, I hear more about Israel in the media than I hear about my home state of Michigan. Michigan is probably a lot more important to the US economy, US security, US tourism industry, Midwestern industrial technology industry, US engineering industry, and the Midwestern Farming economy, than Israel is. Then there are the people who live here, who are Americans. Israel first, then Americans? Okay, got it.

If the public were exposed to as much emotionally captivating propaganda about Michigan as they were about Israel, I'd posit the public would see a far better investment in Michigan than they would in Israel. That includes an emotional investment.

I don't know what can be politely said or how it would shape up, but Midwesterners desperately need to understand the Israel (by extension jewish) problem. They're bleeding us and getting away with it, all while getting away with incessantly calling us racists and anti-semites. Because again, caring about Michigan and its people first is just morally irreprehensible. Israel first, then Israel second, etc Got it bigot? That sleight of hand, it's just always there. I don't fully grasp how this large scale agit-prop psychology works. I do understand jewish solidarity. I'll hand it to jews, they have the strongest ethnic/religious/cultural solidarity I've ever seen. If Midwesterners realized the value of this level of solidarity, they wouldn't enlist their sons in the military to serve jewish interests overseas.

Anonymous , Disclaimer September 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm GMT

From Money Manipulation And Social Order (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1944) by Fr. Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp., Professor of Philosophy and Church History, Holy Ghost Missionary College, Dublin:

When the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, created in 1913 by Mr. Paul Warburg, a German Jew belonging to the Banking Firm of Kuhn, Loeb and Company, had been a few years in existence, in 1916 to be precise, President Woodrow Wilson thus summed up the situation in U.S.A.: "A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. . .

We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world!no longer a Government by conviction and the free vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men." From the similar testimonies quoted by Christopher Hollis in The Two Nations, let us take one. "Behind the ostensible government," ran Roosevelt's policy, " sits enthroned an invisible government owning no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people."

https://archive.org/details/FaheyDenisMoneyManipulationAndSocialOrder

Corvinus , September 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT

@Che Guava

Bullshit.

Anyone who reads knows that Israel (and its agents, where not dual citizens, the Jewish ones effectively all are, and the goyim dupes and toadies, who are not, 'cept sometimes with marriage) have been the tail that wags the US dog for many years, starting over a century ago, in finance, commerce, and law in NYC, in a small way the scope is ever wider and the effects more and more blatant.

The USA is a colony of Israel, everybody is knowing it, but some lie and deny.

From my reading of history, I would placing the tipping point from 'excessive power' to 'colonial masters' at the 1967 war of Israel and its neighbours.

Others may dating it to the end of the Third Reich, with all sorts of Jewish DPs and US Jews who had never seen combat running around in US military and MP uniforms to persecuting and killing Germans, under the command of Eisenhauer, the Morgenthau plan, etc.

Others may picking a different time.

It is funny that you are posting as Anonymous on this, can only mean that you are a more subtle pro-Israel troll with your usual u-name. "So it is safe to say that much of the agitation to do something about Iran comes from Israel and from American Jews."

Certainly SOME Israelis and American Jews are involved in developing policy designed to generate hostility to the point of potential war.

But Dick Cheney and Erik Prince, among other prominent non-Jews, bear mentioning.

Regardless, the Jew fixation here is duly noted. Boo! Goes the Joo!

"The USA is a colony of Israel". Fake News Story. Now, let us assume that to be true. What are personally doing about this situation? What active measures are you taking to free yourself from the shackles of your oppressor? Or, are simply impotent while taking it good and hard?

[Sep 19, 2017] How Trumps advisers schooled him on globalism

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's national security team had become alarmed by the president's frequent questioning about the value of a robust American presence around the world. When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. ..."
"... The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers. ..."
"... brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the "globalist" worldview ..."
"... In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump's aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain -- if not expand -- the American footprint and influence abroad. ..."
"... In the weeks since the briefing in the Tank, Trump has split with top adviser Steve Bannon, the engine of many of his nationalist, isolationist policies. He threatened war with North Korea and agreed to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, abandoning his promise to withdraw quickly. Announcing the plan, Trump acknowledged the influence of his advisers. ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | apnews.com

On a sweltering Washington summer day, President Donald Trump's motorcade pulled up to the Pentagon for a meeting largely billed as a briefing on the Afghanistan conflict and the fight against the Islamic State group.

There, in the windowless meeting room known as "The Tank", Trump was to be briefed on the state of America's longest-running war as he and his top aides plotted ways ahead. But, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the meeting, it was, in reality, about much more.

Trump's national security team had become alarmed by the president's frequent questioning about the value of a robust American presence around the world. When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts -- and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate.

The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers. It was part of the ongoing education of a president who arrived at the White House with no experience in the military or government and brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the "globalist" worldview .

In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump's aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain -- if not expand -- the American footprint and influence abroad.

The result of the meeting and other similar entreaties may start to become clear this week, as Trump heads to New York for his first address to the United Nations General Assembly. The annual gathering of world leaders will open amid serious concerns about Trump's priorities, his support for the body he is addressing and a series of spiraling global crises.

Trump, who seized as his mantra "America First" and at times unnerved world leaders with his unpredictability, is expected to offer warmth to the United States' allies and warnings to its adversaries, particularly North Korea and Iran. The president's envoy to the global body suggested a presidential message that would focus on the basics on America's role in the world.

"I personally think he slaps the right people, he hugs the right people, and he comes out with the U.S. being very strong in the end," Ambassador Nikki Haley said.

In the weeks since the briefing in the Tank, Trump has split with top adviser Steve Bannon, the engine of many of his nationalist, isolationist policies. He threatened war with North Korea and agreed to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, abandoning his promise to withdraw quickly. Announcing the plan, Trump acknowledged the influence of his advisers.

[Sep 18, 2017] Nikki Haley Meltdown Assad Must Go... and War With North Korea! - Antiwar.com Original

Sep 18, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Nikki Haley Meltdown: Assad Must Go and War With North Korea!

by Daniel McAdams Posted on September 18, 2017 September 16, 2017 There must be something about being named US Ambassador to the UN that brings out the inner mass murderer in people. Madeline Albright famously admitted that she thought 500,000 dead Iraqi children due to US sanctions was "worth it." John Bolton never met a disagreement he didn't want to turn into a war. Samantha Power barked about human rights while her Administration's drones snuffed out human life in unprecedented numbers. The real "butcher of the Balkans" Richard Holbrooke sold the Yugoslavia war on lies . John "Death Squad" Negroponte sold the lie that Saddam Hussein needed to be killed and his country destroyed for democracy to flourish, and so on.

Considering how many millions of civilians have been killed on the war propaganda of US ambassadors to the UN, perhaps the equivalent of another Holocaust could have been avoided if Ron Paul's HR 1146 has passed 30 years ago.

But nothing could have prepared us for Nikki "Holocaust" Haley, who has thundered into the Trump Administration as US Ambassador to the UN despite hating Trump and Trump hating her . Why would President Trump pick someone for such an influential position despite her being vocally and publicly opposed to the foreign policy that provided the margin of victory for him? We can only guess. Was Trump lying on the campaign trail? Possibly. Does he not bother to notice that he has surrounded himself with people who are deeply opposed, at the DNA level, to the policies he ran and won on? Seems more likely. As Johnny Rotten famously ended the Sex Pistols run, "ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

In fact yes. One-time top Trump supporter Ann Coulter today Tweeted the question "is there anyone out there left who doesn't want Trump impeached?"

Coulter meant the wall or something else, but she could just as well have been complaining about the foreign policy about-face. Trump ran as a Ron Paul Republican, he governs as a George W. Bush Republican. Cheated? Yes, once again.

Which brings us back to the odious Nikki Haley. Today she no doubt thought she was being clever Tweeting in response to the predictable fact that yet another round of sanctions against North Korea did not result in Kim Jong-Un doing a Gaddafi suicide knife dance, that since the sanctions destroying the North Korean economy – such as it is – have not resulted in Kim's surrender it was time to hand the matter over to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Said US top UN diplomat Nikki: "We cut 90% of trade & 30% of oil. I have no problem kicking it to Gen. Mattis because I think he has plenty of options."

We killed their trade, we destroyed their oil imports and still they have the nerve to defy us and not surrender so time for World War Three! That's Nikki. No foreign policy experience beyond the fetid breath of the neocon "experts" whispering in her all-too-willing ear.

But Nikki was not done today. After threatening a war on North Korea that would likely leave ten or more thousand US troops dead, hundreds of thousands of South Korean civilians dead, and maybe another million North Koreans dead, she decided to opine on the utterly failed six year US regime change operation in Syria. Today, as Deir Ezzor has finally been liberated by the Syrian government from the scourge of ISIS, Nikki Haley chose to go on record defending ISIS and al-Qaeda by repeating Obama's line that Assad must go.

Ponder this for a minute: Assad has just defeated ISIS in Deir Ezzor. ISIS is the reason the US has invaded Syrian sovereignty and initiated military action. Yet according to Nikki Haley Assad's reward for wiping out ISIS is that he must be deposed – presumably in favor of US-backed rebels who have been in bed with ISIS for six years!

Is Nikki Haley pro-ISIS? Is she pro-al-Qaeda? Is she evil or just stupid?

You decide.

But if she is not removed from office soon, she will be leading perhaps a million people to their graves.

Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity . Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

[Sep 18, 2017] How The Military Defeated Trumps Insurgency

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy. That hope is gone. The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the U.S. military. ..."
"... The military has taken control of the White House process and it is now taking control of its policies. ..."
"... a president who arrived at the White House with no experience in the military or government and brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the "globalist" worldview. In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump's aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain -- if not expand -- the American footprint and influence abroad ..."
"... It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC. They came to power over decades by shaping culture through their sponsorship of Hollywood, by manipulating the media through "embedded" reporting and by forming and maintaining the countries infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers. The military, through the NSA as well as through its purchasing power , controls the information flow on the internet. Until recently the military establishment only ruled from behind the scene. The other parts of the power triangle , the corporation executives and the political establishment, were more visible and significant. But during the 2016 election the military bet on Trump and is now, after he unexpectedly won, collecting its price. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... It is no great surprise that Trump has been drawn into the foreign policy mainstream; the same happened to President Obama early in his presidency. More ominous is that Trump has turned much of his power over to generals. Worst of all, many Americans find this reassuring. They are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation. ..."
"... This is no longer a Coup Waiting to Happen The coup has happened with few noticing it and ever fewer concerned about it. Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands: ..."
"... Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran . ..."
"... Asked whether he was predicting war [with North Korea], [former defence minister of Japan, Satoshi] Morimoto said: "I think Washington has not decided ... The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis ... Not the president." ..."
"... Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the U.S. society, will further increase. Military control will creep into ever extending fields of once staunchly civilian areas of policy. (Witness the increasing militarization of the police.) ..."
"... It is only way to sustain the empire. ..."
"... It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him. Any flicker of resistance will be smashed. The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won. ..."
"... The U$A corporate empire is driven by, and according to, the dictates of the mega-corporate desires. The Generals dance to their tune. ..."
"... I would argue that Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, and their line reports don't represent "the US military", or even its generals per se. They represent themselves as people financially beholden to major investment banks for their retirement funds; people fearful of being blackmailed and destroyed by the NSA and CIA and Mossad; people who rose to senior posts during prior administrations because they were flunkies to the establishment . ..."
"... Trump's wealth (at least in the high hundreds of millions $) and his election victory say he's no moron. He probably knows what he is doing. He's either a guy who gave up the struggle after getting the proverbial political hell beaten out of him in the first months of his administration, or he willingly misled his electoral base when campaigning. Perhaps a little of both. He's known for being a BS merchant. Myself, I think he lied outright to the voters during his run for president. It's not a wild idea: so did Obama, Bush, and Clinton. Bigly. ..."
"... Trump made the decisions that we criticse so much. Trump decided to let the Obama holdovers stay in the administration. He decided to hire Goldman Sachs flunkies. He decided to send cruise missiles to strike Shayrat. He decided to approve US assistance to Saudi Arabia in Yemen. H decided to let his zionist son-in-law, who is indebted to George Soros, into the White House. He decided to fire Bannon almost as soon as Bannon came out publicly against war with North Korea. (Possibly a deliberate, desperate attempt at a 'spoiler' tactic on Bannon's part, to prevent conflict.) Trump decided to renege on his promises to the electorate about immigration. He decided to sign an unprecedented, unconstitutional law that bound his hands and imposed sanctions on Russia. He decided to go along with the Russian hacking lie by saying that Russia could, maybe, have hacked the DNC and HRC and whoever else (probably including Disney, the Shriners, and my mother). He decided to employ Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, Scaramucchi and everyone else. He approved all of those things. ..."
"... It is not especially clear to me (being an outsider to US politics) which of the groups (or combination of groups) seems to have come out on top and have their guys as the gate-keeping, information-vetting guys doing the briefing of Trump. My feel of it is that the Pentagon has gained while JSOC, the black ops contractors, and black-on-black ops contractors have lost. The CIA seems to have broken even. Is this a fair read? ..."
"... Is the possibility of Trump as controlled opposition so far-fetched? Do you think the "power elite's political wing" only runs one candidate? Have you heard of "illusion of choice"? Do you think sheepdog Bernie was a real candidate? ..."
"... Obama and Trump both gained greater apparent legitimacy by: 1) beating the establishment candidate; and 2) being besieged by bat-shit crazy critics (birthers; anti-Russians & antifa). ..."
"... As soon as you choose a side, you are trapped. Two sides of the same coin. Minted in hell. ..."
Sep 18, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy. That hope is gone. 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). The military has taken control of the White House process and it is now taking control of its policies.

It is schooling Trump on globalism and its "indispensable" role in it. Trump was insufficiently supportive of their desires and thus had to undergo reeducation:

When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts -- and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate

Trump was hauled into a Pentagon basement 'tank' and indoctrinated by the glittering four-star generals he admired since he was a kid:

The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers. It was part of the ongoing education of a president who arrived at the White House with no experience in the military or government and brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the "globalist" worldview. In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump's aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain -- if not expand -- the American footprint and influence abroad

Trump was sold the establishment policies he originally despised. No alternative view was presented to him.

It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC. They came to power over decades by shaping culture through their sponsorship of Hollywood, by manipulating the media through "embedded" reporting and by forming and maintaining the countries infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers. The military, through the NSA as well as through its purchasing power , controls the information flow on the internet. Until recently the military establishment only ruled from behind the scene. The other parts of the power triangle , the corporation executives and the political establishment, were more visible and significant. But during the 2016 election the military bet on Trump and is now, after he unexpectedly won, collecting its price.

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.

Stephen Kinzer describes this as America's slow-motion military coup:
Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men [...]
...
Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn't.
...
[It] leads toward a distorted set of national priorities, with military "needs" always rated more important than domestic ones.
...
It is no great surprise that Trump has been drawn into the foreign policy mainstream; the same happened to President Obama early in his presidency. More ominous is that Trump has turned much of his power over to generals. Worst of all, many Americans find this reassuring. They are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.

The country has fallen to that temptation even on social-economic issues:

In the wake of the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville this month, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief did.
...
On social policy, military leaders have been voices for moderation.

The junta is bigger than its three well known leaders:

Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
...
the National Security Council [..] counts two other generals on the senior staff.

This is no longer a Coup Waiting to Happen The coup has happened with few noticing it and ever fewer concerned about it. Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands:

[Chief of staff John] Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide [...] will review all documents that cross the Resolute desk.
...
The new system [..] is designed to ensure that the president won't see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven't been vetted.

To control Trump the junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view:

Staff who oppose [policy xyz] no longer have unfettered access to Trump, and nor do allies on the outside [.. .] Kelly now has real control over the most important input: the flow of human and paper advice into the Oval Office. For a man as obsessed about his self image as Trump, a new flow of inputs can make the world of difference.

The Trump insurgency against the establishment was marked by a mostly informal information and decision process. That has been destroyed and replaced:

Worried that Trump would end existing US spending/policies (largely, still geared to cold war priorities), the senior military staff running the Trump administration launched a counter-insurgency against the insurgency.
...
General Kelly, Trump's Chief of Staff, has put Trump on a establishment-only media diet.
...
In short, by controlling Trump's information flow with social media/networks, the generals smashed the insurgency's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act). Deprived of this connection, Trump is now weathervaning to cater to the needs of the establishment ...

The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing to him certain alternatives. 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.

Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran.

Other countries noticed how the game has changed. The real decisions are made by the generals, Trump is ignored as a mere figurehead:

Asked whether he was predicting war [with North Korea], [former defence minister of Japan, Satoshi] Morimoto said: "I think Washington has not decided ... The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis ... Not the president."

Climate change, its local catastrophes and the infrastructure problems it creates within the U.S. will further extend the military role in shaping domestic U.S. policy.

Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the U.S. society, will further increase. Military control will creep into ever extending fields of once staunchly civilian areas of policy. (Witness the increasing militarization of the police.)

It is only way to sustain the empire.

It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him. Any flicker of resistance will be smashed. The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won.

Posted by b on September 18, 2017 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

Stephen | Sep18, 2017 11:32:00 AM | 1

Only good news: The mask has been torn off US elections. They simply don't matter. Waste of time and money. US has become Saddam's Iraq, Sisi's Egypt, Mugabe's Zimbabwe etc....expect to see Trump win 90% of vote in 2020....hahaha...
Hogwash | Sep18, 2017 11:32:04 AM | 2
Hogwash - The SAA just crossed the Euphrates. If the neocons were really in control, WW3 would start before dawn tomorrow. Otherwise, Assad will get his biggest oil field back from ISIS.

The Russians are hinting that the SDF isn't really fighting ISIS but just pretending to while ISIS soldiers switch uniforms. If that's true, it means the neocons may still be in charge, but what are they going to do about the Syrian Army blocking them now?

Ken Nari | Sep18, 2017 11:46:59 AM | 3
Interesting, and certainly a possible explanation of what's going on. Still, if the military is running the show, why the growth of private mercenary businesses? (A new meaning for "corporate warriors."). My own feeling, based on nothing except decades of experience working with the military, is that the generals don't mind a few little wars, but they well know the risks of a big one.

For that reason, the military leadership seems to be trying to cool things down -- that the U.S. didn't go to war with Iran, Russia, China or North Korea (yet) may be due to the influence of the top brass.

b: It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him.

hmmm...I'm not sure there's any pressure at all on Trump. Since Kennedy was removed the president has little real power and is mostly to provide the trappings of democracy and keep the proles entertained. Over 100 years ago T. Roosevelt noticed the lack of presidential freedom to act -- the bully pulpit and all that.

financial matters | Sep18, 2017 11:47:33 AM | 4
One of the main reasons I was pleased to see Trump get elected was that he wanted to get us out of Syria. Somewhat amazingly I'd say, that has pretty much happened.

Russia, Iran and China have shown themselves to be responsible players and have the strength to back that up.

So, I think in reality the US military will be forced by facts on the ground, as well as a weakening of their propaganda, to go along with Trump's original more accommodating posture.

Don Bacon | Sep18, 2017 12:06:26 PM | 5
It's probably inevitable that the military would rule in the twilight of US world dominance.

Back in the true USA#1 days it was different. A couple of President 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."

The main problem with generals is that most (not all) of them got to where they are by sucking up to higher authority, or "go along to get along." Then couple that with all the perks they get including fine housing, enlisted servants and a fat $250K pension for full generals, and they look at themselves in the mirror with all their fancy ribbons and medals and naturally adopt Harry Truman's "gods in uniform" opinion of themselves, forgetting that they have become successful in an isolated military milieu that favors appearance and disregards lack of accomplishment. And the current crop of generals certainly lacks accomplishment.

Lemur | Sep18, 2017 12:19:50 PM | 6
"Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the U.S. society, will further increase."

If that were true, why is the historic American nation being replaced by mystery meats from the global south? The Washington machine certainly produces oodles of propaganda, but it is virulently opposed to ethnocentrism at home and abroad, because that might lead to groups with the solidarity to stand up to a degenerate empire.

The indoctrination taking place here is militaristic globalism. And everyone is invited.

ben | Sep18, 2017 12:27:31 PM | 7
b said:"Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy."

Only by those who don't fully understand the TRUE American system, and those who dream of a system that actually provides " truth, liberty and justice for all".

The better liar won the "election".

The swamp (sewer) in Washington getting muddier each day

Posted by: OJS | Sep18, 2017 12:44:21 PM | 8

The swamp (sewer) in Washington getting muddier each day
ben | Sep18, 2017 12:48:52 PM | 9
P.S...The U$A corporate empire is driven by, and according to, the dictates of the mega-corporate desires. The Generals dance to their tune.

"It's just business" Trump has NEVER intended to be anything but what the elites wanted him to be....A wealthy puppet..

Michael McNulty | Sep18, 2017 12:49:32 PM | 10
I think the US is weak militarily for two deep and fundamental reasons, both of which have US politicians to blame.

First, the US has not had able generals and admirals since WWII because politicians today[especially since 9/11] cannot take criticism. Therefore men like MacArthur and Kimmel, who would tell them a war can't be won like that or this strategy is a bad idea, no longer get the promotions. Yes-men get promoted over more able men.

Second, this promotion of yes-men allows politicians to take over the planning of a war. Whereas MacArthur would have shut the door on the neo-cons and told them he'll let him know when his plan is ready, today politicians use political strategy to try and defeat the war strategy of an opponent. For example, Rumsfeld should have been told that if he wanted to steal Iraq he'd need half a million men - but the generals tried to do the impossible and steal Iraq with a third that number because more was politically sensitive.

If politicians are going to have a war, leave it to able generals to plan it. Or lose.

karlof1 | Sep18, 2017 12:50:31 PM | 11
There's no saving the Unipolar attempt to establish Full Spectrum Dominance -- not even nuclear war -- and I think the generals and their minders actually know this, although they seem to be keeping up appearances. Escobar's latest from last Friday details why this is so, http://www.atimes.com/article/iran-turns-art-deal-upside/

Even the Brazilian regime change project is becoming a loser as the massive corruption scandal is about to devour the neocon favorite Temer, while Lula is rising like the Phoenix. The latest leak scandal over the meeting between Rohrabacher and Kelly regarding Russiagate and the status of Julian Assange reveals more than the leak itself, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47818.htm

And finally, we have another great op/ed by Finian Cunningham who's on a roll of late at the Outlaw US Empire's expense, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201709161057451619-us-alien-peace/

likklemore | Sep18, 2017 12:54:41 PM | 12

Always follow the money. There is only so far a $1 will go. Shrinkflation. The USD, as reserve currency, allowed the US to fund wars, everyday essentials and live high on the hog at the expense of the rest of the world. This exceptional privilege is coming to an end.

When the US declared war; [excluded Iran from use of SWIFT/ the USD] that was the shot heard far and wide. Putin and Xi noted, we could be next and put in place CHIPS.

Lately, Russia and then China has been threatened with sanctions; latest folly of Mnuchin, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. The petro-Yuan Exchange for gold was announced and less than 005% of Americans realize the impact of bypassing the USD.

USA has met its comeuppance. Russia and China need not fire a shot. Prosperity of the exceptional ones is an illusion built on hundreds of trillions of debt. We are kept diverted from de-dollarization by the focus on unschooled Trump. Eight+ months after the selection, it's "Russiagate" – Putin did it; are angels male or female? What happened?

sleepy | Sep18, 2017 1:35:10 PM | 13
Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran.

As a candidate way before any junta was installed, Trump always vowed to rip up the Iran nuclear deal. Now why on earth would North Korea trust that any nuclear agreement it made with the US would not similarly be ripped up and shredded a couple years down the road?

Oilman2 | Sep18, 2017 1:35:11 PM | 14
If the handling of "local catastrophes" such as Harvey and Irma are any indication of the power of this junta, then I am not very much worried. The FEMA folks, Red Cross and many others showed their ineffectiveness in spades here in Houston. What's even more revealing is just how quickly they dashed out of here to remain in the news when Irma hit Florida.

I met two ATF guys driving down here after Harvey - and they had no idea why they were coming here. Couldn't articulate a thing to me except to say, repeatedly, "We are ATF and coming to assist." They had ZERO specifics on what they were going to do to help anyone. But they were very much enjoying wearing their ATF t-shirts and sporting their pistols on hip. But it's Texas, and that just made me smile and shake my head. Made me realize that whatever happens here in America, DC and the central government are so incredibly out of touch and living "in the bubble" that they are of very limited use for locals (those outside the East Coast) in any way.

The Feds plan for national, not local catastrophes - and their primary issue is COG, period. They are much more concerned about maintaining government and their own little fiefdoms than in assisting people far away from the DC/NYC corridor.

Further, the math just doesn't work for the junta doing much more than controlling foreign policy (who we next attack) - to try that same thing across America would result in rapid expulsion and failure, as we outnumber them most significantly.

When the pain they cause becomes enough, then things will change. Unfortunately, it seems that change via the national elections has now been abrogated. Something else is likely to ensue, eventually.

Permafrost | Sep18, 2017 1:36:52 PM | 15
The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won.

The problem here ie that the cost for the system to win keeps rising, and the law of diminishing returns remains valid. So for how long? not long.

NemesisCalling | Sep18, 2017 2:34:52 PM | 16
I just don't understand how people can fall for the line that "nationalism" somehow equates to an undesirable movement akin to the rise of nazism. The media has been blitzing this as of late and rallying cries around the antifa demonstrations have been taking this buzzword and running with it, equating proponents of it to racist KKK members in some silly way or another. Even here, b, you seem to be eating right out of the hands of these pagemasters who dictate what words mean.

I'm sorry, but there is a glaring doublestandard when you praise the policy of say Venezuela which "nationalized" their oil industry and condemn all of us Americans who are begging to disassociate from global mechanisms which are crippling fair-spending of tax dollars here in the state. It is fair to assume that military junta historically use the energy of nationalism's lexicon to promote their agenda, but in this case, as you point out, the junta and the status quo of globalism's iron hand seem to fit together nicely. I read that as nationalism never even taking flight here.

I get your trepidation with this terminology considering the history of your country, but America IS different and we deserve an attempt to put America first...shocking, I know.

Kalen | Sep18, 2017 2:49:10 PM | 17
B fell pray of partisan propaganda, Trump - the coup d'etat enabler DNC MANTRA.. So please inform me when generals were not in executive charge of the US government. On behave of oligarchic ruling elite ? Where were those civilian rulers during documented 250 conflicts or war US was engaged during 228 years of existence

The first president was a general and since then US generals executed basic US imperial economic model of aggression and exploitation, military land grab from Indians and Mexicans to suppression of workers strikes by shelling their families at home in US as well in its conquered colonies in CA and Caribbean we have proof thanks to Gen. Butler.

It was a Gen. Eisenhower who warned us the junta refused to disarm after WWII and constitutes coear and present danger to even a facade of republican order.

Anybody who believe that imperial US is run by civilians is SIMPLY gullible since no emporia were ever run by civilians by definition. Roman Empire was run over last 200 year explicitly by generals COMMANDING armies of foreign mercenaries like US today in NATO and ASEAN .

What has changed is that veil of deceit has failed and with Trump those warmongering cockroaches came out of WH woodwork to see a light and tookbopenly control f what they already controlled clandestinely.

Peter AU 1 | Sep18, 2017 2:49:47 PM | 18
16
If you think US is different to nazi it might be worth reading saker's piece on it. If you think US nationalism is any different to Nazi Germany in aggression then think again. The US population, and much of the so called west, is swamped in propaganda while the US attacks country after country.
NemesisCalling | Sep18, 2017 3:06:17 PM | 19
@18 Peter

But once again, many here think that Europe is already one big vassal state of the global/US empire. So if anything, we are all already under the jack boot of empire. To dislodge one piece (US), indeed, the central piece, seems to me that the world would be in recovery mode from "the global reich." Please correct if I'm wrong, but your logic does not compute. Furthermore, I don't think a reeling US economy and population, freshly liberated, is going to be convinced any time soon to wage wars abroad for precious metals and the like. "Helping" the world would probably take a back seat.

Hoarsewhisperer | Sep18, 2017 3:39:20 PM | 20
...
"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."
...
Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep18, 2017 12:06:26 PM | 5

And, despite the fact that Trump rubbed shoulders with dozens of these wannabe Generals at Military Academy, and was exposed to the same claptrap, it seems safe to assume that he realised that a Life spent in the US Military would be pointless, unimaginative and frustrating.

WithAllWindsAhead | Sep18, 2017 3:40:39 PM | 21
Re. Ben #7:

To be fair he did put an end to Timber Sycamore. The deep state wouldn't have pushed so hard on the Russian angle if there weren't a real upheaval. IMO, it went beyond simply covering for the DNC leaks. The whole establishment dog piled the Russian angle. It was for a time the principal means of disrupting Trump's agenda. I think Trump's token strike on the Syrian airbase is evidence of all of this. It was the absolute minimum he could have done in the face of a tidal wave of internal war pressures. And, they certainly could have gotten away with way more of the "trump is a Nazi angle," but they appear to have stopped after they got Bannon out.

Prescribing Trump, a monster though he is, as being at least the lesser war candidate holds IMO. What his presidency has illuminated above all else is the wild degree to which US is first and foremost of war. It is perhaps the most ubiquitous force that charges the US system.

That all said, we are going to find out real soon what the military is after. The SDF and SAA meeting in Deir Ezor is going to tell us a lot. This is perhaps their last chance at balkanization of Syria. A glimmer of hope still resides however in the supposed Pentagon revolt that took place over Obama's red line in the sand, as reported by Sy Hersh and others. As evil as the US military is, they dont seem to actually want war with Russia, unlike the intelligence complex. I, personally, am still hopeful at least about Syria.

somebody | Sep18, 2017 4:17:08 PM | 24
16 - let Putin explain it to you
The Russian leader expressed confidence that "one of the key components of our self-consciousness, one of the values and ideas is patriotism." Putin recalled the words of outstanding Soviet Russian scholar Dmitry Likhachev that patriotism drastically differs from nationalism. "Nationalism is hatred of other peoples, while patriotism is love for your motherland," Putin cited his words.
somebody | Sep18, 2017 4:38:26 PM | 25
add to 24

Or more historical: "Patriotism" was coined in Europe by the French revolution, forming a common state of citizens open to all who can identify with common values and culture. But American Patriots came before that and that is probably where the French got the word.

As a group, Patriots represented a wide array of social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.

"Nationalism" was a 19th century reaction to the export of the French revolution when European kingdoms tried a legitimization of borders based on language and genetics. It was all war from there to the Second World War and Auschwitz. If you want to sink the US in an internal Civil War try nationalism.

Jackrabbit | Sep18, 2017 4:42:09 PM | 26
I think there is some hyperventilating here. Was Trump 'turned'? Was his administration 'taken over' or was he always a figurehead? I decided several months ago that it was the latter:
> How Things Work: Betrayal by Faux Populist Leaders

> Taken In: Fake News Distracts Us from Fake Election

During his campaign Trump was vocally pro-military.

PS Hillary has always been pro-military also.

broders | Sep18, 2017 5:09:57 PM | 27
well, the system cannot "win"... dialectics... every steps it takes to control and secure "things", brings it closer to its end, and this, inevitably. no one wins, ever. no one looses even. the only way to fight and defeat evil is a decisive progress in goodness, to ignore it... the reality on the ground allows us to think that way, to set up concerts in the ruins, for good. thank you russia (as for the us military, they need 5 or 6 years to just cath up with last year's stand... but they still can agitate their little arms, so they do).
Christian Chuba | Sep18, 2017 5:40:56 PM | 28
Location, location, location
I am in shock and awe of our Pentagon (and CIA)'s ability to market themselves. I am convinced that this is their core area of competency as I read the slick consultant generated talking points on how $600B equals a dilapidated military instead of one that needs a purge. If we really have a readiness problem, heads should roll before they get more money but instead we cry for the incompetents.

The vaunted sea lanes and free trade

I used for fall for this nonsensical argument, that we needed 20 carrier groups to patrol the oceans to ensure free trade. Really? All we need is an international system of Coast Guards augmented by a few missile boats if there are some countries that don't have the budget for a coast guard to prevent piracy. We don't need aircraft carriers for that. Why do we assume that we need 24x7 aircraft coverage in the Pacific, Persian Gulf and Mediterranean? I have a vague memory of the 80's where it was a big deal that we 'sent our fleet' to the Mediterranean for some occasions. It wasn't assumed that we had a task force parked there 100% of the time.

I don't see why we can't get by with 6 or at most 8 carrier groups with the understanding that we would never deploy more than 2 for special occasions so that they can rotate assignments.

I don't want to think of one | Sep18, 2017 5:41:53 PM | 29
Disappointed in your post, b. Expected better.

"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)"

The USA was on the winning side for the Boxer Rebellion, the 1899-1902 Philippine Insurrection, and a lot of other counter-insurgency operations. Basic military history. Just wanted to mention that to set the correct tone, because your blog post started out factually incorrect and carried on that way until the end.

Basic reasoning test, b:

i) Do you think Trump has been defeated by 'the US military', or ii) do you think a small number of senior military men have thwarted Trump? Because the two are very different things.

I would argue that Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, and their line reports don't represent "the US military", or even its generals per se. They represent themselves as people financially beholden to major investment banks for their retirement funds; people fearful of being blackmailed and destroyed by the NSA and CIA and Mossad; people who rose to senior posts during prior administrations because they were flunkies to the establishment .

Do you think Trump is a weak-minded cretin? Because that's what your theory requires. That the guy can't remember his oft-repeated positions and statements after some briefings and a few months. I say that nobody loses their wits that fast, and nobody does a 180 on so many core policies without knowing that they're doing it.

Trump's wealth (at least in the high hundreds of millions $) and his election victory say he's no moron. He probably knows what he is doing. He's either a guy who gave up the struggle after getting the proverbial political hell beaten out of him in the first months of his administration, or he willingly misled his electoral base when campaigning. Perhaps a little of both. He's known for being a BS merchant. Myself, I think he lied outright to the voters during his run for president. It's not a wild idea: so did Obama, Bush, and Clinton. Bigly.

Trump made the decisions that we criticse so much. Trump decided to let the Obama holdovers stay in the administration. He decided to hire Goldman Sachs flunkies. He decided to send cruise missiles to strike Shayrat. He decided to approve US assistance to Saudi Arabia in Yemen. H decided to let his zionist son-in-law, who is indebted to George Soros, into the White House. He decided to fire Bannon almost as soon as Bannon came out publicly against war with North Korea. (Possibly a deliberate, desperate attempt at a 'spoiler' tactic on Bannon's part, to prevent conflict.) Trump decided to renege on his promises to the electorate about immigration. He decided to sign an unprecedented, unconstitutional law that bound his hands and imposed sanctions on Russia. He decided to go along with the Russian hacking lie by saying that Russia could, maybe, have hacked the DNC and HRC and whoever else (probably including Disney, the Shriners, and my mother). He decided to employ Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, Scaramucchi and everyone else. He approved all of those things.

"It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC."
Yeah, nah. Pretty sure that's still the Wall St lobby, the Israel lobby, the CFR and the usual mob. Generals are just hired thugs, as Smedley Butler put it. Or as Kissinger put it, the US military is made up of "Military men" who "are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns."

What you've done, b, is to pull together some half-formed thoughts and mashed them all together. It sounds badass as a righteously indignant blog post, and I bet the Huffpost crowd would love it – but it fails as logic.

NemesisCalling | Sep18, 2017 5:58:47 PM | 30
@25 somebody

Nice play of semantics. But it still sounds like "patriotism" is a nice euphemism for nationalism. Why else would Putin be the scourge of the west? Reminds me too of how Putin played nice all through the Syrian War calling the US their "partner." Another euphemism. Seems like Putin likes to sound like the better man (and he is) but part of his strategy has always been to underplay his hand in the mix.

Don Bacon | Sep18, 2017 6:09:44 PM | 31
@CC #28
re: aircraft carriers

New carriers cost about $12B each, plus the cost of the 5,000 crew-members and aircraft, plus the cost of the accompanying fleet that goes with every carrier. Carriers have been mainly used in the last decade in the Gulf area to launch aircraft to bomb third world countries. Most carriers are in port most of the time because they require a lot of maintenance, which adds a lot more to expense. They are also used to sail near enemy countries, Washington believing that they are useful to scare third world countries into thinking that they may be bombed, which might make some sense except the results are questionable. As you indicate, the main threat to world shipping is piracy for which carrier fleets are useless. The good thing about having a carrier in the Persian Gulf much of the time is that it ensures that Iran would not be attacked; it would be a sitting duck.

The current location of the eleven US carriers is below taken from here . There is a new addition to the fleet, CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford.
1 - Persian Gulf
1 - hurricane duty
1 - off Carolina coast
1- off Japan coast
7 - port

les7 | Sep18, 2017 6:22:59 PM | 32
There are generals and then there are generals... Just which ones are taking over? The Neo-con backed guys? The Pro-pentagon guys? The CIA/JSOC guys? The Black Ops Guys? or the Black on Black Ops guys? The reason I ask is that at one time they were all fighting each other in N.Syria.

It is not especially clear to me (being an outsider to US politics) which of the groups (or combination of groups) seems to have come out on top and have their guys as the gate-keeping, information-vetting guys doing the briefing of Trump. My feel of it is that the Pentagon has gained while JSOC, the black ops contractors, and black-on-black ops contractors have lost. The CIA seems to have broken even. Is this a fair read?

If so... I think it is overall a good thing (the beso of an bunch of bad) because the Pentagon have shown themselves to be a lot more sane when it comes to creating conflict zones. They tend to be less covert, a lot more overt and a lot less likely to forment war for the sake of some corporation or political subset of the ruling elite.

thoughts anyone?

Don Bacon | Sep18, 2017 6:24:14 PM | 33
#29
You're wrong. It's obvious who's in charge in Washington currently. There is no doubt that, politically speaking, the insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the U.S. military. Generals Mattis, McMaster and Kelly are paramount in the new administration. Mattis has been given decision power on war, which Trump had promised to curtail.

McMaster, with no diplomatic experience, is national security and Kelly manages Trump's office.

The whole administration has taken a new tack with these generals and their military cohorts -- they do no stand alone, they are part of an institution -- managing US foreign policy. Concomitant to this are other factors including the cut in the State Department budget, the appointment of neophyte and hawkish Haley at the UN and Trump's romance with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Palloy | Sep18, 2017 6:45:10 PM | 34
Politics is always complex and messy and no one ever "rules" in the way being assumed. The military have always had a big say - how else did they get such a huge budget for years on end? CIA have always played a big part, likewise FBI, NSA, Wall St., CFR, Fed, IMF and so on. Three, maybe six , Generals now have a bigger influence. Bannon has gone, so less influence for the deplorables. That is only a subtle change in the big scheme of things.

And now we are going to have a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on 4th of July, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-18/day-fire-and-fury-trump-considers-military-parade-down-pennsylvania-avenue (sorry -don't know what you want for links), just like that other fat person with a funny hair-cut, inexperienced, erratic and unpredictable, nuclear-armed and dangerous.

This is the just the death throes of an empire that is meeting the Limits to Growth. Expect MUCH MUCH worse to come. I think it will be SO horrible, many people will take the suicide option.

Linda O | Sep18, 2017 7:22:25 PM | 35
Obviously any 1000 or so word article is going to woefully simplified compared to the decades of historical and political research that will dissect the Trump presidency in the finest detail, I will say that this article has one glaring flaw that significantly lessens its value. Trump has rolled over for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in Washington. There really is nothing special about the military's ease with which they captured and neutered Trump.

I don't think there is a single area of his campaign platform that he has given up on or flip-flopped on. I don't think there is any other president who has been a comparable ACROSS THE BOARD FAILURE like Trump.

No one has ever been surprised that the wacky, inane, or divorced from reality promises presidents made to get themselves elected never were followed through on. But every single president before Trump at the very least had a core set of priorities they immediately set in motion.

The failure of the Trump presidency should for once and for all put to rest the silly and juvinille dream of the lone super man heading off to Washington to FINALLY TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS and show those sleazy career politicians who things are done in the real world.

Trump walked into the White House with absolutely no governing apparatus ready to go on day one like every other presidential candidate has in the past.

Presidential candidates spend decades building up a vast network of people ready to hit the ground running and know how Washington works from the moment the election is over.

One has to wonder if Trump really ever expected to win. Or just has a complete lack of interest in the massive network o loyal and knowledgeable people needed to setup a brand new presidential administration.

And there is no check on how badly the Trump administration can fail. His base appears to be currled up in fetal position on Breitbart collectively chanting 'this is not happening, this is not happening.'

I don't think I've ever felt more joy than seeing that ABSOLUTE FILTH Hillary Clinton get here murderous and vile ass get handed to her by a TV personality.

Never in my dreams did I think Trump wouldn't accomplish ANYTHING.

So Trump fans, keep posting those MEMES and WINNING --

VietnamVet | Sep18, 2017 7:30:08 PM | 36
b's analysis rings true. The establishment has reined in Donald Trump. On their return from Florida, it appeared that Melania Trump is well aware of the history of the House of Bourbon. One does not become a Four-star General in the establishment today without an instinctive understanding of the needs of the organ grinder. The end stage of an Empire is everybody for themselves. The open source insurrection is over until it isn't anymore. Periodic combat takeoffs from Joint Base Andrews are not reassuring. The desire to stay alive is the only brake on the rush to a nuclear war with North Korea or the heating up of the Cold War with Russia.
Madmen | Sep18, 2017 7:58:27 PM | 38
A great follow-up article to an UNZ article early this year which stated:

During the election campaign the power elite's military faction under Trump confounded all political pundits by outflanking and decisively defeating the power elite's political faction. In fact by capturing the Republican nomination and overwhelmingly defeating the Democratic establishment, Trump and the military faction not just shattered the power elites' political faction, within both the Democratic and Republican parties, but simultaneously ended both the Clinton and Bush dynasties.

During the election campaign the power elite's corporate faction realised, far too late, that Trump was a direct threat to their power base, and turned the full force of their corporate media against Trump's military faction, while Trump using social media bypassed and eviscerated the corporate media causing them to lose all remaining credibility.

http://www.unz.com/article/political-sciences-theory-of-everything-on-the-2016-us-election/

PavewayIV | Sep18, 2017 8:15:14 PM | 39
I respectfully disagree with everyone. There is nobody in charge in Washington DC and hasn't been for a long time.

There are psychopathic oligarchs, warlords, fiefdoms and secret cabals milking their power and authority for a variety of self-serving interests with varying degrees of success and failure. The entire government has mutated to an arena where the above powers spar for more control and more money day after day. There is no real oversight. It's too complex and secretive for any one person or group to be 'in charge'.

The announcer is not 'in charge'. He's just the announcer, nothing more. And the little people are just spectators, nothing more.

MadMax2 | Sep18, 2017 8:23:13 PM | 40
@34 Palloy

Couldn't agree more re: Limits to Growth. And no prizes for guessing which major economies have gone about insulating themselves against the pitfalls of cowboy economics... nothing was fixed, repaired, refitted or replaced after 2008...crazy that any chance of sensible, sustainable capitalism in the west might be lost to the cannibals need of rampant consumerism. I'll side with the nations that keep an interest in public banking systems rather than the one's that encourage it citizens ro eat the face off one another.

It's not all dark though, The Tale of The Don is really a romantic one... Of the wild west never ending... Of the railroad tycoons that never really died.

Jackrabbit gets more right with every passing day... there is no such thing as an outsider the moment you win.

Don Bacon | Sep18, 2017 8:27:27 PM | 41
@ 38
Yes, the power elite's military faction. Not: "I would argue that Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, and their line reports don't represent "the US military", or even its generals per se. They represent themselves as people financially beholden to major investment banks. . ."

Outsiders don't appreciate the power of the strengthening military-industrial complex that Eisenhower cautioned about in his farewell address.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Don Bacon | Sep18, 2017 8:31:06 PM | 42
from "The Hill": Overnight Defense: Senate passes $700B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions
V. Arnold | Sep18, 2017 8:34:04 PM | 43
A Chinese fire drill best describes what passes for the U.S.'s present level of policy. Most of the world watches; aghast at the spectacle, while cowering with fear at the hubris...
Jackrabbit | Sep18, 2017 8:38:28 PM | 44
@spudski

But other commenters have also been critical, though less colorful.

@Madmen

Is the possibility of Trump as controlled opposition so far-fetched? Do you think the "power elite's political wing" only runs one candidate? Have you heard of "illusion of choice"? Do you think sheepdog Bernie was a real candidate?

Obama and Trump both gained greater apparent legitimacy by: 1) beating the establishment candidate; and 2) being besieged by bat-shit crazy critics (birthers; anti-Russians & antifa).

As soon as you choose a side, you are trapped. Two sides of the same coin. Minted in hell.

V. Arnold | Sep18, 2017 9:00:19 PM | 45
Jackrabbit @ Sep18, 2017 8:38:28 PM | 44

As soon as you choose a side, you are trapped. Two sides of the same coin. Minted in hell.

Nice, I like it...

spudski | Sep18, 2017 9:01:53 PM | 46
@Jackrabbit

Agreed. I had no problem with the substance, in fact I like the fact that there are diverse opinions here and I learn a lot from the discussions. I just didn't need the gratuitous insults to b given how much effort he puts in here.

[Sep 18, 2017] Pence supported the 2003 US invasion of Iraq , the Trans Pacific Partnership, regime change, and humanitarian intervention is a neoconservative

Notable quotes:
"... During the election campaign, Pence took time out to address the American Legislative Exchange Council 's annual conference -- ALEC being one of the central forces in pushing the agenda of neoliberalism within the US. ..."
"... Pence has consistently supported military intervention in Syria, like Hillary Clinton, even if it risked direct confrontation with Russia. In fact Pence publicly praised Clinton on her "handling" of Libya. ..."
"... Trump never offered a solid explanation for the choice, and it seemed to many that Pence was in there merely as a compromise with GOP elites, to lessen their obstruction of Trump. ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | zeroanthropology.net

...Trump's choice of Mike Pence for vice president provided a stark contrast to Trump's positions above, suggesting that consistency was not something to which Trump was prepared to commit. Pence, who supported the 2003 US invasion of Iraq , the Trans Pacific Partnership , regime change, and "humanitarian intervention," was the perfect neoconservative. During the election campaign, Pence took time out to address the American Legislative Exchange Council 's annual conference -- ALEC being one of the central forces in pushing the agenda of neoliberalism within the US.

Pence has consistently supported military intervention in Syria, like Hillary Clinton, even if it risked direct confrontation with Russia. In fact Pence publicly praised Clinton on her "handling" of Libya.

Trump never offered a solid explanation for the choice, and it seemed to many that Pence was in there merely as a compromise with GOP elites, to lessen their obstruction of Trump. On a number of occasions during the campaign, Trump and Pence plainly contradicted each other. On military intervention in Syria , Trump flatly contradicted Pence. (Nor did Pence offer much back up during the sex tape scandal, choosing to distance himself quickly.)

Now it's the range of interests that Pence represents which are dominant, and Trump who stands out as an expedient palliative to please and calm an angry nationalist base.

[Sep 17, 2017] Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt.

Notable quotes:
"... Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential. ..."
Jul 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

LondonBob says: July 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm GMT

http://mihsislander.org/2017/06/full-transcript-james-mattis-interview/

Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential.

[Sep 05, 2017] Should Tillerson Resign by Daniel Larison

for some reasons Larison support neocon blabbering of Daniel W. Drezner in WaPo Why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should resign - The Washington Post ez
If Critics such as neocon Max Boot are calling for him to resign, I want him to stay.
The "wrecking of the State Department" that By Daniel Larison is concerned, is necessary as it is too infested with neocons leftover from Hillary days, including cadre of female warmongers.
Also color revolutions zeal needs to be tamed.
Taking into account that Trump effectivly changed sided starting from infamous Tomahawk attack, the nes round of sanctions for Russia and sabersrattling with Iran and North Korea, it is difficult to forsee how the Secratary of State can be effective with such a boss. Being a bully in the schoolyard was the policy the the USA sucessfully tried for all presidencies since Reagan, so in a sense Trump is proud hier f this noble tradition.
Notable quotes:
"... Tillerson was a CEO of for the longest time head of the US largest corporation by market cap. His problem or problems no doubt reflect his tenure in the corporate world. A world where you have to get things done some work out some don't. ..."
"... Point is he is a non fit in the Swamp where dysfunction is implanted. Can readers recall how an experience career politician like John Boy ran all over the world and in the end was manipulated by the Russians to their advantage. Hillary logged millions of miles obviously to the benefit of the Clinton foundation. So until the prior ruling class gets back in office a new diplomat will have to wait. ..."
"... Even setting aside the critical matter of civilian control of the government and military in a democratic society, these days our military isn't exactly a by-word for competency, success, or even sound judgment. ..."
Aug 31, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
calls for Rex Tillerson's resignation:

In less than seven months in the job, Tillerson has proven to be a feckless manager of his organization and a poor handler of the president of the United States. To be fair, even the savviest secretary of state would have his or her hands full with a president like Trump. The sharp contrast between Tillerson's fumblings and the more nimble footwork of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis shows that Tillerson is the opposite of a good secretary of state. Most of Trump's private-sector cabinet officials have been dreadful, but Tillerson is the worst of the lot.

Tillerson has been presiding over the wrecking of the State Department ever since he was confirmed, and he has very little else to show for his tenure. It's safe to say that the demoralization and hollowing out of the department will just keep getting worse the longer he is in charge. The trouble is that replacing Tillerson probably won't change any of that, because the gutting of the State Department has been and continues to be an administration priority. The person Trump chooses to replace Tillerson is likely to have the same disdain for diplomacy and diplomats that he has.

So while I am inclined to agree with the call for Tillerson's resignation, I can't agree with Drezner when he says "I am no longer worried about who Trump would pick to replace him." This is exactly what we should be worrying about.

Tillerson got the job at State in part because all of the other people Trump was considering were so fanatical, ethically compromised, or otherwise awful that he seemed the best of a bad lot at the time. That may have been true, but that process produced one of the least effective Secretaries of State in modern times.

Now imagine Trump going through a similar process a second time. Is he likely to choose someone more capable than Tillerson? Considering the state of Trump's administration after just seven months, would anyone who fits that description be willing to take the job? If there is someone willing, I am concerned Trump would end up choosing another former general on account of his fascination with military officers, and that would be at least one too many in this Cabinet.

Tillerson reportedly never wanted the job, so it shouldn't take much to persuade him to leave. That said, the damage already done to the State Department isn't going to be repaired anytime soon, and as long as Trump is president we should assume it will continue regardless. I have been very critical of how Tillerson has been running his department, but as one his critics I think we should acknowledge that his successor could still be even worse.

Dan Green , August 31, 2017 at 10:07 am

Tillerson was a CEO of for the longest time head of the US largest corporation by market cap. His problem or problems no doubt reflect his tenure in the corporate world. A world where you have to get things done some work out some don't.

Point is he is a non fit in the Swamp where dysfunction is implanted. Can readers recall how an experience career politician like John Boy ran all over the world and in the end was manipulated by the Russians to their advantage. Hillary logged millions of miles obviously to the benefit of the Clinton foundation. So until the prior ruling class gets back in office a new diplomat will have to wait.

icarusr , August 31, 2017 at 10:15 am
Looks like what's good for Exxon is not necessarily good for the United States.
Seven Months In 2017 , August 31, 2017 at 10:47 am
"I am concerned Trump would end up choosing another former general on account of his fascination with military officers, and that would be at least one too many in this Cabinet."

And you should be concerned. Even setting aside the critical matter of civilian control of the government and military in a democratic society, these days our military isn't exactly a by-word for competency, success, or even sound judgment.

It has failed to win on multiple battlegrounds. Judging by the recent Three Stooges performance of the Pacific Fleet, there are basic competency issues at the highest levels of command. And now we learn that both Gens. Mattis and McMaster strongly urged Trump to double down in Afghanistan, one of the worst examples of judgment and decision-making in recent memory.

So far as I know, Tillerson had nothing to do with that idiocy, so I'd leave him where he is and pray that Trump will eventually be disabused of the instinct to defer to (or rather cringe before) his generals.

collin , August 31, 2017 at 11:20 am
TBH, I can't figure out exactly why Tillerson has been so bad but I assume his lack of experience of the State Department makes him a very poor choice for President Trump. Judging by the Trump's administration G&G (General & Goldman) cabinet is very experience expertise with Job-like patience is needed to work with President Trump. Basically, it fits Drezner's toddler comments that Mattis works well with Trump because Mattis knows a lot more than the President and is willing to allow Trump to throw two hour tantrums for his policy. It is to the point that we almost need Mattis to be Secretary of State as at least we know that he can work with the President. (Dear God is wrong to state that an ex-General be our chief Diplomat.)

However, one area where Tillerson does work well is he truly dislikes taking media oxygen away from Trump so he may last awhile.

JEinCA , August 31, 2017 at 11:28 am
Why doesn't everyone resign and we'll make little "Billy" Kristol of the Weekly Standard the official Emperor of United States? Tillerson is the last voice of reason (and bulwark against the psychotic war mongering neocons) lefy in Trump's Administration.
Viriato , August 31, 2017 at 12:46 pm
@collin: We've had at least two generals serve as Secretary of State before: George Marshall and Colin Powell. And those are just two examples that I can name off the top of my head. I would not be surprised to find out that there have been other generals who served as our nation's Chief Diplomat.
Viriato , August 31, 2017 at 12:54 pm
Personally, I think Tillerson has been doing reasonably well at State. He seems to be a very articulate, thoughtful person. Certainly I much prefer Sec. Tillerson's ineffectiveness to Sec. Clinton's deadly effectiveness in Libya.

As to the gutting of the State Department. Tillerson recently stated that the hiring freeze was temporary and indeed announced a major hiring initiative: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s8LynW4TmTU

MB , August 31, 2017 at 12:56 pm
There's probably an easily identifiable formula out there for who Trump might chose as a Tillerson replacement, based on who donated to his campaign, who has more money than Trump himself, and/or who has suspicious ties to Russian interests. Rohrabacher? Royce?
Cynthia McLean , August 31, 2017 at 1:31 pm
Tillerson should probably resign to retain his integrity and save his soul.
Swami , August 31, 2017 at 4:36 pm
Rumor is that Hillary Clinton is currently between gigs.

[Sep 04, 2017] Make no mistake, the latest US thuggery is a sign of weakness, not strength

Notable quotes:
"... " Why would they give us only 2 days? Do they really think that we cannot clear the premises from anything sensitive in 60 minutes if needed? Or are they actually trying to inconvenience our personnel? If so, do they really think that we are going to break out in hysterics? Do the Americans really think that they will find something? What? Papers proving that Trump is our agent? Maybe a hidden nuclear device? Or the computers we used to hack in every server in the USA? " ..."
"... The latest US thuggery against Russian diplomats is as stupid as it is senseless. I think that US diplomats of the era of James Baker must be absolutely mortified to see the kind of idiocy their successors are now engaging in. ..."
"... Incorrect, the author left out a key point. As the Obama team left last December, it started a fire by expelling the Russians from a vacation compound for diplomats in New York, just to be dicks. The Russians expected Trump to correct this insult, and when he spinelessly refused, they retaliated. ..."
"... Now, whoever runs US foreign policy (no one is really sure), refused to let it end. They closed more Russian compounds, just to be dicks. Meanwhile, these dicks want Russia to help with the North Korea mess. ..."
"... Whichever European power used to be the dominant one at the time, in order to be truly certified as the top dog – they sought to prove superiority over Russia. That baton was picked up by US after WW2. No European power has ever succeeded in proving superiority over Russia – at least not military one. ..."
"... Another sign of the spasmodic, directionless, almost suicidal weakness of the United States is its recent abuse of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. The United States is going around the world identifying countries and individuals who will no longer be allowed to use the dollar and the dollar-designated US-controlled international payment system for financial transactions as an instrument of its foreign policy. ..."
Sep 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

For a while already the Russian diplomats have been openly saying that their American counterparts are недоговороспособны or "non-agreement capable". This all began under Obama, when Kerry flew to meet with Lavrov and declared 'A', then flew back to Washington, DC and declared 'B'. Then there were the cases in Syria when the US agreed to a deal only to break that very same deal in less than 24 hours. That's when the Russians openly began to say that their US colleagues are rank amateurs who lack even the basic professionalism to get anything done . Now the US has slipped even lower: the Russians speak of US "hellish buffoonery" and "stupid thuggery".

Wow!

For the normally hyper-diplomatic Russians, this kind of language is absolutely unheard of, this has never ever happened before. You could say that the Russians are naive, but they believe that their diplomats should always be, well, diplomatic, and that public expressions of disgust is just not something a diplomat does. Even more telling is rather than call the Americans "evil" or "devious", they openly express their total contempt for them, calling them stupid, incompetent, uneducated and their actions unlawful (read Maria Zakharova's statement to that effect on Facebook ).

So let me explain what is happening here how the Russians interpreted the latest US thuggery concerning the Russian Consulate in San Francisco and the Russian diplomatic annexes in Washington and New York.

First, the Russians fully expected the Americans to retaliate after the Russian expulsion of US diplomatic personnel in Russia. That, by itself, is not the problem. The Russians understand that Trump is a cornered and weak President, that he has to show how "tough" he is. Sure, they smile, but they think that this is 'fair game'. The Russians also know that, as a country, the USA cannot accept the biggest reduction in US diplomatic personnel in history without reacting. Again, they don't necessarily like it, but they think that this is 'fair game'.

You know what really triggered the Russians off? The fact that the Americans gave them only 2 days to vacate the premises they would seize and that they organized some kind of bizarre search operation. Let me immediately explain that this is not a case of ruffled feathers by the Russians, not at all. But here is how they would think about it:

" Why would they give us only 2 days? Do they really think that we cannot clear the premises from anything sensitive in 60 minutes if needed? Or are they actually trying to inconvenience our personnel? If so, do they really think that we are going to break out in hysterics? Do the Americans really think that they will find something? What? Papers proving that Trump is our agent? Maybe a hidden nuclear device? Or the computers we used to hack in every server in the USA? "

To a Russian, these questions can only have one answer: of course not. So what is going on here? And then there is the only possible explanation left:

" We beat them is Syria, we are beat them in the Ukraine, they lost Afghanistan, they lost Iraq, their Navy apparently does not know how to use a radar, their soldiers are terrified to fight somebody capable of resistance, they failed to impress not only China, but even the North Koreans who are openly laughing at them. Hezbollah laughs at them. Even Venezuela refuses to be scared! The Iranians openly threaten them with consequences if they back out of the deal they signed. Even Pakistan is openly expressing its disgust with the USA. Ditto for Turkey. Heck – the Americans are losing on all fronts and the very best they can do is try to feel good about illegally harassing our diplomatic personnel! Pathetic, lame, losers! "

And they are 100% correct.

The latest US thuggery against Russian diplomats is as stupid as it is senseless. I think that US diplomats of the era of James Baker must be absolutely mortified to see the kind of idiocy their successors are now engaging in.

This is also the end of Rex Tillerson. The poor man now has only two options left: resign (that would be the honorable thing to do) or stay and become another castrated eunuch unable to even deal with the likes of Nikki Haley, nevermind the North Koreans!

A "spokesperson" for the White House declared that Trump personally ordered the latest thuggery. Okay, that means one of two thing: either Trump is so weak that he cannot even fire a lying spokesperson or that he has now fallen so low as to order the "thug life" behavior of the State Department. Either way, it is a disgrace.

This is also really scary. The combination of, on one hand, spineless subservience to the Neocons with intellectual mediocrity, a gross lack of professionalism and the kind of petty thuggery normally associated with street gangs and, on the other hand, nuclear weapons is very scary. In the mean time, the other nuclear armed crazies have just declared that they have a thermonuclear device which they apparently tested yesterday just to show their contempt for Trump and his general minions. I don't think that they have a hydrogen bomb. I don't think that they have a real ICBM. I don't even think that they have real (usable) nuclear warheads. But what if I am wrong? What if they did get a lot of what they claim to have today – such as rocket engines – from the Ukies?

In one corner, the Outstanding Leader , Brilliant Comrade, Young Master and Great Successor, Kim Jong-un and on the other, The Donald, Grab them by the xxxxx and Make 'Merica Great, the Grand Covfefe Donald Trump. Both armed with nukes.

Scary, scary shit. Really scary.

But even more scary and depressing is that the stronger man of the two is beyond any doubt Kim Jong-un.

All I see in the White House are vacancy signs.

Cloak And Dagger , September 3, 2017 at 11:49 pm GMT

We beat them is Syria, we are beat them in the Ukraine, they lost Afghanistan, they lost Iraq, their Navy apparently does not know how to use a radar, their soldiers are terrified to fight somebody capable of resistance, they failed to impress not only China, but even the North Koreans who are openly laughing at them. Hezbollah laughs at them. Even Venezuela refuses to be scared! The Iranians openly threaten them with consequences if they back out of the deal they signed. Even Pakistan is openly expressing its disgust with the USA. Ditto for Turkey. Heck – the Americans are losing on all fronts

Such is the sad state of affairs in this country and the beginning of the end of the American Empire (and none too soon). We squandered the potential for world peace when the Soviets broke up. Instead of taking advantage of the peace windfall, the neocons redoubled their efforts to dominate by projecting military power. We have been paying the price since.

Meanwhile, the Chinese have been expanding their power projection peacefully by leveraging their financial might. The gold-backed RMB is about to replace the petro-dollar. They have been quietly building alliances across the globe using trade as the incentive, while we have been killing and maiming people everywhere – and all in vain, apparently to win "hearts and minds"!

Something that amused me a few days ago was a picture of a Chinese businessman in Pakistan, escorted by two pro-government, two anti-government, and two rebel businessmen. Apparently, this assured the safety of the Chinese businessman, even if his companions hated each other. For our part, we had refused to do business there because we had not found a means to unify these warring factions – and we are supposed to be the capitalists!

A day of reckoning is fast approaching, my fellow countrymen, and the price we will have to pay is daunting. It may be a while before we can recover from the coming debacle, however, I take solace in the following:

  1. The accompanying pain will rewaken all our somnambulant citizenry to who and what has brought us to this low point in our history, and they may unite to rout the Jewish banking power that has resulted in our predicament.
  2. We will no longer be able to borrow the trillions that fund our illegal wars across the globe, and civilians can sleep peacefully once more.
  3. Without our support, and the increasing unification of the countries in the ME (note Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, ) Israel and Saudi Arabia will stand alone, surrounded by angry nations that have scores to settle. I doubt that those two mischief makers will survive another 5 years.

So, an imposed world peace is possible – even probable. With increasing Russian influence in the Middle East and the sale of advanced weaponry to the emerging coalition of Muslim countries, western invasions of these countries will become all but impossible. Already, the Syrian airspace has been shut out from Israel and the US by Russia's command of the skies, by S-300 and S-400 defenses and the Russian air force. It is only a matter of time before Lebanon, too, enjoys the same protection, as will Iraq. Iran is already unassailable. Turkey has started to distance itself from NATO, and is still smarting from the EU rejection.

Interesting, but painful times lay ahead.

Carlton Meyer , Website September 4, 2017 at 4:21 am GMT

"First, the Russians fully expected the Americans to retaliate after the Russian expulsion of US diplomatic personnel in Russia."

Incorrect, the author left out a key point. As the Obama team left last December, it started a fire by expelling the Russians from a vacation compound for diplomats in New York, just to be dicks. The Russians expected Trump to correct this insult, and when he spinelessly refused, they retaliated.

Now, whoever runs US foreign policy (no one is really sure), refused to let it end. They closed more Russian compounds, just to be dicks. Meanwhile, these dicks want Russia to help with the North Korea mess.

It seems whenever the USA threatens to destroy North Korea, their leader threatens to harm the USA if that happens. Clearly, the North Korean leader is mad, at least those dicks think so.

Cyrano , September 4, 2017 at 7:17 am GMT

Whichever European power used to be the dominant one at the time, in order to be truly certified as the top dog – they sought to prove superiority over Russia. That baton was picked up by US after WW2. No European power has ever succeeded in proving superiority over Russia – at least not military one.

I don't think that the exceptional ones believe that they can do it either, that train left the station in the 90's, together with Boris. So now the exceptional ones are throwing temper tantrums, because the bear doesn't want to lie down and play dead. They had their chance for a while and they didn't really deserve it either.

The bear that they used to know and love in the 90's was a circus animal and that circus has left town. The world is changing and if you think that the best protection against hitting the iceberg is to blow the horn, for everybody to get out of your way because you are too big to sink, you are heading straight to the bottom, only maybe with accompanying loud noise from the horn, for which the world really doesn't care too much about.

Osten , September 4, 2017 at 8:58 am GMT

American media show paranoia about Russia.
Trump Russia connections and election influence are nonsense.
Public sees the nonsense so media dropped the publicity.
Democratic Party will put on charm offensive to say they reject Antifa so to defuse Republican Trump supporters.
If Democrats succeed they will regain many Congress seats in 2018 election.
Republicans need to put pressure on FBI to complete Clinton investigation.
That completion would clear air for better relations, restore public trust in government and slap media to be more honest.
Republicans should be glad Russia is in Syria. Russia presence reduces American defense expense.
Israel wants American presence.
Saudi Arabia wants presence.
People in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon and Iraq want peace after years of American wars that cause death and refugee humanitarian crisis.
American journalists except for Seymour Hersh are not allowed to tell Americans facts about Middle East countries.

Realist , September 4, 2017 at 9:18 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer

"Meanwhile, these dicks want Russia to help with the North Korea mess."

Russia should tell the US to go shit in their hat and pull it down over your ears.

TheJester , September 4, 2017 at 10:21 am GMT

The End of Bretton-Woods I and II

Another sign of the spasmodic, directionless, almost suicidal weakness of the United States is its recent abuse of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. The United States is going around the world identifying countries and individuals who will no longer be allowed to use the dollar and the dollar-designated US-controlled international payment system for financial transactions as an instrument of its foreign policy.

Led by the BRICS, the rest of the world is racing to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency with local currencies and/or pseudo-currencies and the US-controlled international payment system with block-chain technologies.

When the movement to de-status the dollar reaches critical mass, the United States will officially be recognized as a bankrupt Third-World country wracked by inflation. It will no longer have the luxury of recklessly printing petrodollars to pay its bills.

Not all is bleak. The collapse of the AngloZionist Empire is the sine qua non for getting our Constitutional liberties back.

KA , September 4, 2017 at 12:40 pm GMT

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/450890/iran-nuclear-deal-exit-strategy-john-bolton-memo-trump

John Bolton wants to scrap the deal, provide supports to outsiders and insiders to foment troubles against the regime and ban all commercial diplomatic and educational legal contacts to the rest of the world . He wants to inform China and Russia only after the whole thing is over ( Iran has become I guess Yemen!).

Why is he outside the high security prison or outside the administration?

anon , Disclaimer September 4, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT

@KA

Genesis of American relentless march to stupidity has been promoted and secured by dimwit halfling midget like Bolton

Unfortunately Israel instead of keeping and maintaining the logical support from the intellectual, visionary and moral people has relied on morons like these endangering itself and USA . These morons wouldn't get a job as a third shift janitor in a slaughter house solely on merits . They did what they could – race the bottom of the barrel of dishonesty because that was their upbringing . It made them street smart without necessary IQ.

[Sep 03, 2017] Russia Urges Washington To Come To Their Senses Over Consulate, Denounces Blunt Act Of Hostility

Did the US intelligence services know something, or this just a dirty provocation by neocons entrenched in the State Department, who managed to coopt Rex Tillerson ?
Notable quotes:
"... If the international diplomatic agreements are no longer valid, then there is no longer any reason for other countries to comply with them. How can the US comp!ain, if Russia (or other countries) no longer choose to abide by the rules? ..."
"... Actually, there were MULTIPLE searches: the Trade Mission and the apartments of the Mission's employees. Let's forget for a second that the diplomats still have valid diplomatic immunity. Each search requires a separate warrant. What kind of a crime could all of them have committed that would give a probable cause to search all of their apartments in the Mission? ..."
"... Now, this shit cannot be blamed on the Kenyan fudge-packer. The warmongering cunts in Congress have nothing to do with this either. This is not just on Trump's watch – he actually ordered it! ..."
Sep 03, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Already furious over Washington's " unprecedented aggressive action, " at the Russian consulate in San Francisco, Moscow has responded with an official statement calling the "occupation" of diplomatic properties in the US a "blunt act of hostility. "

As a reminder, Russian diplomats were denied access to the trade mission building despite it being owned by Russia and protected by diplomatic immunity.

The ministry called the planned "illegal inspection" of Russian diplomatic housing an " unprecedented aggressive action ", which could be used by the U.S. special services for " anti-Russian provocations" by the way of "planting compromised items ".

Searches of the Russian premises began on Saturday, after the US State Department ordered the foreign ministry on August 31 to vacate the premises by September 2.

The FBI arrived in at least two vehicles to search the San Francisco Consulate. The minute the deadline expired, agents entered the Russian-owned diplomatic property, which in 2016 alone issued more than 16,000 tourist visas to American citizens.

Russian diplomats have posted photo and video evidence of the searches, which they call a "travesty of justice."

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

And now, as RT reports, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday. " We regard the incident as a blunt act of hostility, a gross violation of international law by Washington, including the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations," The ministry called upon the US "to come to their senses and immediately return Russian diplomatic compounds ." "Otherwise, the US will be responsible for the continuing degradation of relations between our countries , which largely affect global stability and international security," the statement continued.

The Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations forms the basis for diplomatic immunity and defines the framework of relation between countries. It states that the premises of [any] mission "shall be inviolable" and the "agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission." Moscow pointed out that all seized properties in New York, Washington, and San Francisco have diplomatic immunity. "The US special services supported by armed police are now 'hosting' the occupied buildings," the statement added.

"The US State Department is violating the Vienna Convention; this creates a bad precedent to international diplomacy," Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, who served as a Greek ambassador in Canada in 2000-2004, told RT. " I can't see the reason why it is happening. The relations between the US and Russia are not bad. Some people in the US are trying to make [these relations] bad. Perhaps that was the goal all along?

ET , Sep 3, 2017 3:26 PM

War is the continuation of politics by other means. - Carl von Clausewitz

It could be worse for the Russians. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8bC1DEYbI4

JohninMK -> ET , Sep 3, 2017 3:31 PM

Brilliant precedent for the US to have set. Time to increase State's budget for protection of its premises around the world. Also, every diplomatic mission in the US is now only too aware that they are vulnerable to this type of action.

ET -> JohninMK , Sep 3, 2017 3:34 PM

I'm in favor of resolving disputes through diplomacy and negotiations rather than violence and barbarism. Good leadership works toward peace and prosperity. We have had the good fortune of not having had a destructive World War in many decades. That time might be coming to an end.

Fritz -> JohninMK , Sep 3, 2017 3:50 PM

It's all just another bullshit distraction to control the news cycle.

OverTheHedge -> Fritz , Sep 3, 2017 4:30 PM

Possibly, but in a world of tit for tat escalations, what happens if the Russians now evict all US personnel from an American consulate, with zero notice, and show the world all the incriminating evidence of attempted regime change they are bound to find?

If the international diplomatic agreements are no longer valid, then there is no longer any reason for other countries to comply with them. How can the US comp!ain, if Russia (or other countries) no longer choose to abide by the rules?

I think there might be consequences that the US no longer seems capable of recognizing: does no one wargame these scenarios any more?

As a Brit, I can tell you that end-of-empire is a difficult period of readjustment, and it takes quite a lot of soul-searching to get through unscathed.

Looney -> OverTheHedge , Sep 3, 2017 4:32 PM

What's the probable cause for the searches? Lifting diplomatic immunity from the Trade Mission is not enough of a cause to conduct a search of the property.

Actually, there were MULTIPLE searches: the Trade Mission and the apartments of the Mission's employees. Let's forget for a second that the diplomats still have valid diplomatic immunity. Each search requires a separate warrant. What kind of a crime could all of them have committed that would give a probable cause to search all of their apartments in the Mission?

This is beyond weird, it's fucking scary! If this can be done to foreign diplomats covered by both the US Constitution (searches) and the Vienna Convention (diplomatic immunity), can you imagine what they can do to us, working stiffs? Rule of Law my ass!

Now, this shit cannot be blamed on the Kenyan fudge-packer. The warmongering cunts in Congress have nothing to do with this either. This is not just on Trump's watch – he actually ordered it!

As soon as I'm done typing, I'm gonna take a huge dump into my MAGA hats.

BTW If anybody wants their MAGA hats filled too, lemme know – first come, first served. ;-)

Looney

Looney -> Looney , Sep 3, 2017 4:33 PM

Here's the full text of the Vienna Convention , but check out Article 22 and, especially, Article 45 below:

Article 22

1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

Article 45

If diplomatic relations are broken off between two States, or if a mission is permanently or temporarily recalled:

(a) The receiving State must, even in case of armed conflict, respect and protect the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives;

(b) The sending State may entrust the custody of the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives, to a third State acceptable to the receiving State;

(c) The sending State may entrust the protection of its interests and those of its nationals to a third State acceptable to the receiving State.

Looney

MozartIII -> Looney , Sep 3, 2017 4:41 PM

Looney, Our pols can't and don't care to read. Why do you think they pass bills so that we can then see whats in them.

jeff montanye -> ET , Sep 3, 2017 3:48 PM

these blackhearted bastards have no interest in good leadership, peace or any prosperity but their own. we citizens have got to vote the war party out and the peace party in. break the hold that the mossad likud zionists have on our government.

president trump, when do you start to assert some authority? left to their own devices you see what the deep state will do. that the intelligentsia world wide is coming to understand this better through the exposure of such clumsy false flags as russiagate and charlottesvile is of valuable but limited consolation.

not being hillary clinton may not be enough in 2018 or 2020.

stacking12321 -> jeff montanye , Sep 3, 2017 3:51 PM

"Peace party"? Sounds like an oxymoron. People get into the government racket to take power over others through violent means. Bad means lead to bad ends. And btw, trump has no authority. The only true authority is personal sovereignty, everything else is a con game.

Dark star -> jeff montanye , Sep 3, 2017 4:17 PM

Trump is an instant one term President. He has reneged on every promise he made to his supporters; his credibility is zero.

MozartIII -> jeff montanye , Sep 3, 2017 4:38 PM

Of what peace party do you speak? The Russians are asking our leadership to come to their senses. For that to happen, we would need someone in washington with an IQ over 20. Not going to happen. With any luck Irma will strenghen to a cat 12 hurricane, hit washington & erase the swamp. We need to start somewhere!

GUS100CORRINA -> ET , Sep 3, 2017 3:59 PM

Russia Urges Washington To "Come To Their Senses" Over Consulate, Denounces "Blunt Act Of Hostility" My response: The US Legislators should be ashamed of themselves. They have pushed America's executive and law enforcement groups to do STUPID THINGS.

I am beginning to wonder if America can survive this CRAP much longer?

By the way, the DEMON released during Obama's 2nd term is called NERGAL who is a war god. You can read about this DEMON below. I really hate where this is headed!!!

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix3/nergalhyborian.htm

Of course, the Churches in America for the most part are absolutely CLUELESS when it comes to understanding this stuff and impact on people's faith. I have truly come to believe that many of our godless US legislators are being influence by NERGAL,

OverTheHedge -> GUS100CORRINA , Sep 3, 2017 4:46 PM

From your link:"First appearance, Conan the Barbarian" Great books, and very iffy film, but hardly conclusive proof that demons are amoung us. It's fiction - made up scary stories to frighten children and entertain adults. Are you frightened, or entertained?

serotonindumptruck -> JohninMK , Sep 3, 2017 3:44 PM

Clearly, the ultimate goal behind the US State Department's illegal search of the Russian Embassy was to provoke an escalatory response from the Russians.

As the collapse of the Amerikan Empire gains steam, we should anticipate further insults and provocations to be levied against the Russian Federation by the despicable US Government.

opport.knocks -> JohninMK , Sep 3, 2017 3:45 PM

... cuz it was the Russians who gave the keys, floor plans and detailed instuctions to the invaders in Benghazi, donchano.

Not Too Important -> JohninMK , Sep 3, 2017 3:49 PM

After Benghazi who is stupid enough to be in any US mission anywhere? Except for the gay US diplomatic corp in Norway that like little kids and get Hillary's protection.

https://mic.com/articles/48277/howard-gutman-prostitution-wasn-t-even-th...

jmarshally -> JohninMK , Sep 3, 2017 4:36 PM

Right-e-o John,

Further, it makes one wonder; if the US Government has no respect for the privacy (sanctity of one's dwelling; i.e private property) of a foregin nation, it does not bode well for the privacy of a US citizen (in any venue).

J.

John Basilone -> JohninMK , Sep 3, 2017 4:43 PM

If Trump ok'd this we can then assume that he's gone full retard - or his Joo master basterds are dangling the orange haired marionette while his mad dog SecDef bloviates bellicose bullshyte ad nauseam.

chunga , Sep 3, 2017 3:26 PM

I'm right with you Russia. The depraved frauds in DC have got to go. The Imperial City is clearly a domestic and international menace.

Francis Marx , Sep 3, 2017 3:27 PM

Isn't there any US buildings they can occupy in Russia?

JohninMK -> Francis Marx , Sep 3, 2017 3:33 PM

Yes, but for some strange reason the Russians and Putin in particular seem to believe in the rule of Law. Yesterday's attitude from the US perspective.

Blankone -> JohninMK , Sep 3, 2017 3:48 PM

It is not a belief in the rule of law (although that may also be true), it is the lack of backbone.

This is NOTHING compared to all the murdered diplomats, business leaders/Putin allies, downed airliner, downed military transport with military music group, arrests of russians in the public eye on "Trumped" up charges, sanctions against business leaders, sanctions against key businesses, international arrest warrants so that business CEO's cannot travel outside Russia etc,

The current action is akin to an Arab taking off his shoe and slapping Putin across the face with it on an international live news cast. Or Clint Eastwood in a cowboy flick spitting tobacco into the face of a dirty .... The entire town is watching and knows the magnitude of insult.

Don't Poke The Bear!!! Again, well, not again, well better not again, please stop, please it's making him cry, ....

Cue the photo opp, Putin riding a horse with no shirt, Putin fishing with no shirt, Putin staring intensely during a diplomatic meeting/photo session,

the_narrator -> Blankone , Sep 3, 2017 3:56 PM

I wonder if the recent navy ship collisions and diplomat injuries in Cuba are Russian retaliation.

Blankone -> the_narrator , Sep 3, 2017 4:15 PM

The diplomat injuries in Cuba (IF they are real) may be. Should be. But why do so in Cuba, why put Cuba out there, instead do so in a US friendly country. For that reason I feel it may be a false story to begin negative PR against Cuba. I believe the travel restrictions were recently put back in place by Trump.

I doubt the ships. The ships are so huge, move so slow, any competent officer in the control structure should have been able to see it coming in the dark of night even. IMO Plus there are more than one system looking for approaching objects.

John Basilone -> Blankone , Sep 3, 2017 4:45 PM

The worst I ever witnessed during my time in the USMC was an LPD that ran aground in Australia. The ship collisions are either a sign of gross incompetence (which is unlikely) or sabotage. I tend to think it is the latter.

neutrino3 -> Blankone , Sep 3, 2017 4:07 PM

You patetic ukrop still do not undersand Dei Plan A. Dontcha?

Baron von Bud , Sep 3, 2017 3:28 PM

The Russians are right. This act was incited by a brain damaged person with poor judgment. Someone needs to talk to McCain.

chunga ->