08.25.15

How Iran Plans to Destroy Israel
EHUD YAARI
The mullahs seem dead serious about wanting to destroy Israel, but exactly how they plan to go about it remains studiously cryptic.

Of course, all this may change if Iran decides to allocate resources, derived from the lifting of sanctions and the unfreezing of its financial assets abroad, as a result of a P5+1 nuclear deal, to a major effort to project military power beyond its borders. The S-300 air defense batteries to be supplied from Russia could also greatly improve Iran’s defensive posture, while other deals for offensive weapons systems are being considered, or are at least rumored to be. One such deal is the possible purchase of 250 Sukhoi-30 MKM fighters from Russia and/or J-10s from China, and the purchase of dozens of IL-78 MKI aerial tankers. Yet it is obvious that Iran’s reliance on its long-range missile arsenal will remain for a long time the backbone of its military strategy with regard to Israel.

 

Dick Cheney’s staggering Iran hypocrisy: Why we need to ignore his sinister war games at all costs
The former vice president is saying whatever he can to torpedo negotiations with Iran. Here’s what he’s not saying
MARCY WHEELER

Before joining the Bush Administration, Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney opposed sanctions against Iran because American businesses would be “cut out of the action” (Halliburton is still one of the biggest likely beneficiaries of the easing of Iran sanctions).

Cheney spent much of the Obama Administration thwarting negotiations with Iran at a much earlier stage in its nuclear program. Had those negotiations happened then, they might have mitigated the concerns he and others now express about the nuclear deal. Indeed, as Poindexter had years earlier, Cheney’s office reportedly worked back channels to undercut the Iranian regime just as negotiations began.

I think we should let Iran have one bomb if they promise to drop it on Detroit.

 

 

I’ll vote for Donald Trump if he pledges to have Dick Cheney shot for crimes against humanity.

WORSE THAN HITLER

I daresay that legalized gambling has had a possibly worse effect on American life the past three decades than illegal immigration. Gambling is a marginal activity for marginal people that belongs on the margins — the back rooms and back alleys. It was consigned there for decades because it was understood that it’s not healthy for the public to believe that it’s possible to get something for nothing, that it undermines perhaps the most fundamental principle of human life.

Corn Wars

Not wanting to alert Mo, agents allowed all three men to leave the country, but their corn seeds were confiscated. Special Agent Mark E. Betten, a 16-year veteran of the FBI specializing in the investigation of intellectual property theft, had the seeds sent to an independent bio-diagnostic testing laboratory, which confirmed that they were proprietary, genetically modified hybrids. Eventually, their genetic sequencing was matched to seeds under development by Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and LG Seeds, which, including LG’s parent company, Groupe Limagrain, comprise three of the four largest seed companies in the world. The GPS coordinates were found to correspond with farms in Iowa and Illinois, where those companies were testing the performance of new hybrids.

Why Shale Is the Next Shale24DISMALANDJP3-articleLarge

A few years ago, hydrocarbon exports from the United States were negligible. But by the start of 2013, oil, natural gas, and petrochemicals had become the single largest category of U.S. exports, surpassing agricultural products, transportation equipment, and capital goods. The shift in the U.S. trade balance for petroleum products has been stunning. In 2008, the United States was a net importer of petroleum products, taking in about two million barrels per day; by the end of 2013, it was a net exporter, with an outflow of more than two million barrels per day. By the end of 2014, the United States should overtake Russia as the largest exporter of diesel, jet fuel, and other energy products, and by 2015, it should overtake Saudi Arabia as the largest exporter of petrochemical feedstocks. The U.S. trade balance for oil, which in 2011 was −$354 billion, should flip to +$5 billion by 2020.

By then, the United States will be a net exporter of natural gas, on a scale potentially rivaling both Qatar and Russia, and the consequences will be enormous. The U.S. gas trade balance should shift from −$8 billion in 2013 to +$14 billion by 2020. U.S. pipeline exports to Mexico and eastern Canada are likely to grow by 400 percent, to eight billion cubic feet per day, by 2018, and perhaps to ten billion by 2020. U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) look likely to reach nine billion cubic feet per day by 2020.

Inside the GOP Clown Car

The combination of Trump constantly spewing crazy quotes and the strategy actually working turned his campaign into a veritable media supernova, earning the Donald more coverage than all of the other candidates combined.

This led to a situation where the candidates have had to resort to increasingly bizarre tactics in order to win press attention. Add to this the curious dynamic of the first Republican debate, on August 6th, in which only the top 10 poll performers get on the main stage, and the incentive to say outlandish things in search of a poll bump quickly reached a fever pitch. So much for the cautious feeling-out period: For the candidates, it was toss grenades or die.

08.16.15

Yes, Robert Kagan is in fact a crazy person.

Robert Kagan: Defense budget needs major boost

What Militarism Means
Its perfect symbol isn’t Prussia, it’s the F-35.
By WILLIAM S. LIND • July 27, 2015

How Wall Street’s Bankers Stayed Out of Jail

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Jim is at least half-right, but his predictions never happen soon enough. He has never learned that we just can’t predict.

True Believers (is that irony?)

08.10.15

Trump’s Triumph: Billionaire Blowhard Exposes Fake Political System
MIKE WHITNEY • AUGUST 7, 2015

BAIER: Mr. Trump, it’s not just your past support for single-payer health care. You’ve also supported a host of other liberal policies….You’ve also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, and Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business-related favors. And you said recently, quote, “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”

TRUMP: You’d better believe it.

BAIER: — they do?

TRUMP: If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.

TRUMP: I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you get from Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi?

TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why?

She didn’t have a choice because I gave. I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation is supposed to do good. I didn’t know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world. It was.

International Courts and the Mystery of the Malaysian Airliner
ISRAEL SHAMIR • AUGUST 4, 2015

In February 1973, Israel shot down a Libyan civilian airliner and killed more than a hundred passengers. The airliner strayed from its route during a sandstorm and Israeli fighter-interceptors shot it down. Israelis said the flag of Libya looked similar to the flag of Egypt, or the plane could be hijacked by terrorists, for it flew towards Israel … In the end, Israel has been deemed guilty, the state never conceded its guilt but paid for the insurance.

In these two cases, there was no real war, even though it was a tension in the area. But Donbass has had a full-scale war at the time. Anyone of the combatants could bring down the ill-fated aircraft, mistaking it for an enemy – if they had technical means.

The sloppy Ukrainians could do it even in peace time out of sheer recklessness as they downed the Siberia flight from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk ten years ago. To this very day the Ukrainians haven’t admitted their fault.

Conspiracy theories can be useful – they calm media-induced frenzy. But I would not take them seriously. At war, the qui prodest rule is not working. People and planes can be destroyed just by chance. Israel was a beneficiary of the tragedy, as it diverted the world’s attention from the bloody war in Gaza. Kolomoysky, an Israeli citizen, fiery Zionist, a tycoon and the ruler of Dnepropetrovsk, a man capable of anything, was a man partly responsible for the crash, as his dispatchers ordered the liner to lower its altitude, and the captain Vladislav Voloshin was under his command. But this does not mean that Zionists downed the plane.

I am certain the Russians weren’t knowingly involved, for they opened all their secret communications for the investigators to see. If they were involved, the Americans would see it via their satellites, and they would spread the word right away. But the US keeps mum; they did not present their data. Nor did the Kiev regime: they sit on the recordings of the dispatchers with the plane. Will they publish their records? I wonder.

August 2015

Iran August 2015

OPINION
American traitor, Israeli hero
The Pollard case shows that the interests of Israel and America are often sharply at odds.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH
July 30th, 2015

On all matters touching on security, Israel plays hardball. It does not view itself as beholden to the United States or bound by American concerns, a reality that Israeli governments regularly affirm in word and deed. That seriousness ought to command respect. It should also elicit an equally serious American response. That response should take the form of a candid acknowledgment that where U.S. and Israeli security interests diverge, the United States need not be bound by Israeli concerns.

Why Israel is suddenly owning up to its terrorism
By calling Friday’s arson attack a terrorist act, the Israelis are hoping to avoid the full force of international law.
02 Aug 2015

Aim of the attack

The aim of the settler attack on Palestinians in the village of Duma was to embarrass the pro-settlement Israeli government even though it had simultaneously approved the building, “immediately”, of 804 new Jewish settlements in Beit Eli and in Jerusalem.

The settlers’ heinous attack, which probably came from the nearby Maleh Efraim settlement, is said to be part of a continuous wave of attacks on Palestinians by settlers that carry the name “price tag” – which refers to the price for Israeli government attempts to restrict Jewish settlement activities.

The perpetrators, who scrawled Hebrew graffiti meaning “revenge” and a Jewish Star of David, were protesting an event that happened in another settlement – namely the government destruction of a house built by Israeli settlers on private Palestinian lands near the settlement of Beit Eli.

The horrible death of the child and his family seems to have rattled Netanyahu who responded by calling the killing a “terrorist” act which supposedly set it apart from the what the UN has documented as 2,100 acts of violence against Palestinians, their religious institutions, their homes, and other Palestinian-owned properties, committed by Jewish settlers since 2006.

This attack has been defined as “terrorism” simply because Israel is petrified of the possibility that this incident could open up a “Pandora’s box” of questions regarding the legitimacy of the settlement enterprise and policy in its entirety.

Russia August 2015

Just Listen to What Western Officials Are Saying About Russia
by Conn Hallinan, August 01, 2015

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former head of NATO, similarly inveighed about impending regional conflict. “Putin wants to restore Russia to its former position as a great power,” Rasmussen insisted. “There is a high probability that he will intervene in the Baltics” as he has in Ukraine.

It’s not just defense secretaries and generals employing language that conjures up the ghosts of the past. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used a “Munich” analogy in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a common New York Times description of Russia is “revanchist.” These two terms take the Ukraine crisis back to 1938, when fascist Germany menaced the world.

Dog Days 2015 Post

 

Best summer ever….

 

Crush – Open Thread July 2015

 

Open Thread June

BeLl1e8

A CIA Guide to Assassination
The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins, Robert B. Baer
By DANIEL GABRIEL • June 4, 2015

Twenty-Three Geniuses
by James Howard Kunstler
June 1st, 2015

There were two terror bombings in Saudi Arabia the past two weeks. Did anyone notice the significance of that? Or that the May 29th incident was against a Shiite mosque, or that the Shia population of Saudi Arabia is concentrated in the eastern province of the kingdom where nearly all of the oil production is concentrated? (Or that the newly failed state of neighboring Yemen is about 40 percent Shiite?) Have any of the 23 genius-level reporters at The New York Times tried to calculate what it would mean to the humming global economy if Arabian oil came off the market for only a few weeks?

Making the World Less Safe
Sending the wrong message to Russia, China and Iran
PHILIP GIRALDI • MAY 19, 2015

I argued that while Washington should be sympathetic to Ukraine’s aspirations it has no actual horse in the race, that the imperative for bilateral relations with Russia, which is the only nation on earth that can attack and destroy the United States, is that they be stable and that all channels for communication remain open.

I also observed that the negative perception of Washington-driven democracy promotion around the world has been in part shaped by the actual record on interventions since 2001, which has not been positive. Each exercise of the military option has wound up creating new problems, like the mistaken policies in Libya, Iraq and Syria, all of which have produced instability and a surge in terrorism. I noted that the U.S. does not need to bring about a new Cold War by trying to impose democratic norms in Eastern Europe but should instead be doing all in its power to encourage a reasonable rapprochement between Moscow and Kiev.

Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (2008)
by John Gray

The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths (2013)
by John Gray

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Is ISIS Coming to Damascus?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
June 05, 2015

Half of Syria has been lost to ISIS, the Nusra front, and other jihadist and rebel groups. All of Syria’s border crossings with Iraq have been lost to ISIS. All of the border crossing with Turkey, excluding Kobani, have been lost to ISIS or rebels linked to al-Qaida. Syria’s border with Lebanon is becoming a war zone.

Some 100 Russian military advisers are said to have pulled out of Syria, suggesting Vladimir Putin may be reconsidering Russia’s historic investment.

Indicating the gravity of the situation, Syrian sources claim 7,000 to 10,000 foreign Shiite fighters, Iraqi and Iranian, have arrived to defend Damascus and launch an offensive to recapture Idlib.

Israel’s deputy chief of staff, Gen. Yair Golan, who headed the Northern Command, was quoted this week, “The Syrian Army has, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist.”

Iraqi Sunni Tribes Announce Backing for ISIS as Sectarian Tensions Soar
Group of Tribal Leaders Vows to Fight Against Shi’ite Government
by Jason Ditz
June 04, 2015

Israel’s Unlikely Alliance
Is Israel helping al-Qaeda in Syria?

by Asa Winstanley

Gen. Allen: ISIS War to Last ‘A Generation or More’
Obama’s War Envoy Insists ISIS a Threat to Progress
by Jason Ditz, June 03, 2015

History – First Draft 05.11.2015

History – First Draft 05.11.2015T-14

The Killing of Osama bin Laden
Seymour M. Hersh

 

Another Idiotic Plan to Hurt Russia
America’s Start is Setting
BY MIKE WHITNEY • APRIL 20, 2015

The Laussanne negotiations between Iran and the so called P5+1 group (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany) have nothing to do with nuclear proliferation. They are, in fact, another attempt to weaken and isolate Russia by easing sanctions, thus allowing Iranian gas to replace Russian gas in Europe. Laussanne shows that Washington still thinks that the greatest threat to its dominance is the further economic integration of Russia and Europe, a massive two-continent free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok that would eventually dwarf dwindling US GDP while decisively shifting the balance of global power to Asia. To counter that threat, the Obama administration toppled the elected government of Ukraine in a violent coup, launched a speculative attack on the ruble, forced down global oil prices, and is presently arming and training neo-Nazi extremists in the Ukrainian army. Washington has done everything in its power to undermine relations between the EU and Russia risking even nuclear war in its effort to separate the natural trading partners and to strategically situate itself in a location where it can control the flow of vital resources from East to West.

http://www.businessinsider.com/protests-against-israeli-police-brutality-and-racism-are-turning-increasingly-violent-2015-5

http://www.businessinsider.com/israeli-soldiers-describe-situations-where-rules-of-engagement-went-horribly-wrong-2015-5

Big News – May 2015

Saudi king’s naming of new heir a sign of toughening regional stance
BY TOM HUSSAIN
McClatchy Foreign Staff
April 29, 2015

Lessons of the Vietnam War
We haven’t learned them
by Justin Raimondo
May 1st, 2015

Similarly, such gains as Al Qaeda has made are due, in large part, to our own actions. As our Saudi allies invade and decimate Yemen with Washington’s full support, the heirs of Osama bin Laden are expanding their foothold amid the ruins and the misery. In Libya, where we overthrew a secular tyrant at the behest of our European allies and our own “humanitarian” interventionists, Al Qaeda is now cavorting in what was our embassy swimming pool. In Syria, where US support to “moderate” Islamists is weakening another secular tyrant, Al Qaeda and its allies are consolidating their hold. And ISIS, the latest bogeyman to haunt our fever dreams, is the mutant offspring of George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and the neocons who took us to war in Iraq on the basis of a lie.

The lessons of Vietnam, and of the cold war generally, haven’t been learned by our political elites for the simple reason that they don’t want to know about anything that contradicts their dogmatic worldview. That conception of how the world works is rooted in their own little careers, and the colossal conceit that is the hallmark of elite culture in this country. They live in an ideological bubble, one that punishes truth-telling and rewards conformity – and nothing is more obligatory in the world of Washington than to pledge allegiance to the delusions of a political class that believes it can do anything and get away with it. The same policymakers and pundits who ginned up the disastrous war in Iraq have lost none of their power and prestige: we live in a political culture that rewards failure and comes down hard on anyone who strays outside the Washington consensus.

The US hasn’t won a major war since the end of World War II: Korea was a draw, Vietnam a humiliating defeat, Iraq was an American rout, and Afghanistan is a quagmire that is slowly draining the lifeblood out of our military. The only successes we’ve had is when we picked on a country as small and defenseless as Panama, Grenada, or Serbia. As we push our way into every local conflict, internationalizing it and blowing it way out of proportion – e.g. Ukraine – this is worth bearing in mind. The supposedly mighty US empire, like its Soviet predecessor, projects the illusion of invincibility and permanence, while an inner rot eats away at its core.

That rot is the cancer of debt, corruption, and a cultural nihilism which threatens the very values that made America an economic powerhouse and the envy of the world. As our leaders preen and pose on the world stage, as we bully our way into every local conflict, braying that we embody the concept of “world leadership,” and demanding that lesser nations follow Washington’s diktat, the mirage of our global hegemony is dissipating. Can we control events in Kabul if we can’t even keep a firm grip on Baltimore?

History – First Draft 04.29.2015

History – First Draft 04.29.2015

“Either give up your empire, or live under it.” – Chalmers Johnson

Riot_Cops

The Man and me
Tim Kreider

Doing nothing is the best option in a surprising number of situations, but it’s one that all authorities are constitutionally disinclined to exercise, as it they fear it might expose their own superfluity. And people in power can seldom resist an opportunity to start pushing other people around[…]

[…]I don’t believe the police are closet Klansmen or fascist lackeys; I also don’t think they’re heroes. They’re people doing a job, and, like everyone else in the world, they do what the people who pay them tell them to do. The people who pay them are the government, and the government operates in the service of those who own it. In effect, the police are a heavily armed private security force to protect rich people against the poor — a role that became nakedly obvious to me the day our billionaire mayor ordered the NYPD to bulldoze the perfectly legal protest at Occupy Wall Street[…]

[…]Everyone who’s paying attention — and I’m not talking about alarmist crackpots but the U.N., the Pentagon, the C.I.A. — agrees that the coming decades will see, to put it euphemistically, civil disturbances. The gap between the very rich and everyone else is only getting wider, meaning that more and more of us are finding ourselves on the wrong side of the police barricades[…]

Congress’s Pathetic Charade on the Iranian Nuclear Agreement
by Ivan Eland, April 28, 2015

Congress is thus asserting its role, but only with smoke and mirrors. I predict that any final agreement with Iran will raise a lot of fuss among Republicans and even some Democrats, but will eventually go through. Like immigration reform, I support a verifiable nuclear agreement with Iran, but I do not support the unconstitutional road to get there.

On the nuclear agreement with Iran, Obama’s acquiescence to Congress’s charade of relevancy reminds me of the Roman Empire, where emperors continued to pay due respect to the Senate, long emasculated from its glory days during the Roman Republic, but where everyone knew who was really running things.

Baltimore_1

Churchill’s Disaster – Gallipoli
BY ERIC MARGOLIS • APRIL 19, 2015

Churchill was at least man enough to take up command of a Scotts infantry unit on the Western Front, unlike so many other politicians who sent men to their deaths from the safety of their private clubs in Whitehall.

It is often said that modern Australia and New Zealand were really born as independent nations at Gallipoli, just as the same is said of Canada at the battle of Vimy.

True to a degree, but we should also remember that the British Empire often used its “white troops” from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada as cannon fodder to spare British regiments from the home islands.

To Send a Message, Judge Sentences David Petraeus to 75% of One Speaking Fee

Yemen Crisis: Saudi Arabia’s Air War Resumes
…Despite having no decisive impact on the opposing Houthi militias
BY PATRICK COCKBURN • APRIL 22, 2015

 

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