The best 1500 words on what has actually been happening in Syria the last few years and why.
The Truth About the War in Aleppo
by David Stockman, October 11, 2016
What is happening in Aleppo is a raging sectarian civil war and a proxy battleground for the regional political maneuvers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. They are none of America’s business and haven’t been since the so-called Arab spring uprising spread to Syria in 2011.
Indeed, Syria is a lawless, bombed-out, economically decimated failed state today owing to Washington’s heavy-handed intervention at the behest of the War Party’s bloody twin sisters. That is, the neocons and the R2P liberal interventionist claque around Hillary Clinton, including UN Ambassador Samantha Powers and National Security Council head Susan Rice.
We name names in this context for a reason. A nation of 22 million back in 2011, which had been reasonably stable in modern times under the authoritarian but secular rule of the Assad family, does not suddenly give rise to a human tsunami of 5 million refugees spilling all over the Mediterranean and Europe and to the reduction of virtually every one of its ancient cities and towns to rubble and rivers of blood on its own volition.
To the contrary, all of this mayhem was instigated by the War Party’s armchair warriors and the “indispensable” nation hegemonists in Washington. Literally billions in aid, weapons, munitions, training and logistics have flowed into Syria from all directions on the outside. And all of it was either financed by American taxpayers or by regional powers which have been armed and greenlighted by Washington.
More good stuff…
Pentagon Begins Low-Intensity, Stealth War in Syria
Mike Whitney • October 7, 2016
And let’s not forget the fact that Carter’s jihadist buddies on the ground launched a mortar attack on the Russian embassy in Damascus on Tuesday. That’s another part of this low-intensity war that’s already underway. So all this rubbish about Obama mulling over these “new options” for “military strikes” is complete hogwash. Plan Carter is already in full swing, the train already left the station. The only thing missing is presidential authorization which probably isn’t necessary since Il Duce Carter decided that it was his turn to run the country.
Of course they want to bomb Assad. They’re losing! Everyone wants to bomb someone when they’re losing. It’s human nature. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It’s a very bad idea. Just like supporting Sunni extremists is a bad idea. Just like giving shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) to fanatical crackpots is a bad idea. How crazy is that? And how long before one of these religious nutcases use their new toys to take down an Israeli or American jetliner?
Israel Shamir • October 9, 2016
Thus, the Russians wanted to take al-Qaeda out of Aleppo, so the city can be fed and brought back to life. The Americans were ready to start armed hostilities against Russia for the right of Al Qaeda to remain in the city.
In other words, the Americans did not believe in their own myth of moderate opposition. They knew, as well as the Russians, that without “terrorists”, the insurgency in Syria is doomed. They did not want to let Syria be under Assad and with the Russians.
As usual, they made a lot of humanitarian-sounding noise about suffering children of Aleppo. Why Aleppo, and not Mosul with its mounting victims? Just because the killers of Mosul are supported by the US? Why not Yemen, where Saudi troops using American weapons (procured after giving a hefty bribe to Clinton’s war chest) to kill more children than there are in Aleppo? And where is this great sisterly supporter of Mme Clinton, Mrs Albright who famously said “it was worth it” to kill five hundred thousand children of Iraq?
The only way to save al-Qaeda (short of the described above) is to start war with Russia. And this is actually the choice the US administration is about to make.
Why the war? For the fun of it. American leaders appreciate brinkmanship, I was told by a very prominent American insider. This is a human quality. Young kids like to walk at the edge of the precipice. This is their way of proving they are better than their mates. Grown ups do it too, for the same reason.
Brinkmanship is the practice of causing a situation to become extremely dangerous in order to get the results that you want, says a too-rational dictionary, but in real life of elites, the reason (“in order to get the results that you want”) has been forgotten. It is pure art, brinkmanship for the sake of brinkmanship.
The Legacy of United States Interventionism
What Iraq teaches us
PHILIP GIRALDI • OCTOBER 11, 2016
There is in fact a simple answer to when to use force: it is to defend the United States itself against a clearly defined threat to the country or to a genuine vital interest. Indeed, unless a vital interest is threatened the U.S. has no right to intervene anywhere. And how to use force is also simple: it is up to Congress to declare war as required by the Constitution. But the Constitution of the United States did not envision major deployments of American soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen overseas, nor did it consider the existence of more than 1,000 military bases worldwide. Indeed, the U.S. has not faced a domestic armed threat since Pancho Villa raided New Mexico in 1916, so it is necessary to consider war-making in a contemporary context.
War as a preferred instrument for resolving international disputes is a symptom of a government which outwardly appears to have all the tools to respond competently but which in reality is dysfunctional.
The end of work and the problem of leisure
STUART WHATLEY October 11, 2016
“There’s not enough work to employ most adults at a living wage because we’ve become so productive that the relationship between work and income is arbitrary in any case.” A quarter of all employed adults makes less than a living wage, half are eligible for food stamps, and “the fastest-growing component of household income since 1959 has been ‘transfer payments’ from the government.”
The logical conclusion, Livingston says, is to tax corporate profits—which are never invested in anything but destructive financial bubbles anyway—and institute a guaranteed “minimum annual income for every citizen,” an idea which has regained popularity in recent years on both the left and right, with even Charles “Bell Curve” Murray endorsing it.
10.05.2016 (34 days left)
Time for Real Answers on War
Trump and Clinton both keep the American people in the dark.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • October 4, 2016
America’s Outdated Special Relationship With Saudi Arabia
The next U.S. president will have an unprecedented opportunity to put some distance between Washington and Riyadh
by Ryan Suto
October 05, 2016
The first justification for the Washington-Riyadh relationship, the politics of oil, will undoubtedly remain an important factor for years to come. However, US per-capita consumption of foreign oil has been steadily decreasing for decades, with 2014 levels below 1994 levels. The declining importance of foreign oil for the US economy will allow future US presidents more room for policy divergence with foreign producers, such as Saudi Arabia.
The second justification, maintaining regional stability, is now an illusion. A nation or a region is politically “stable” when it is unlikely to change. In the context of the Cold War, where Western-approved dictators ruled largely docile publics, maintaining the status quo meant policy predictability.
Pedestrian and naive. Can’t see the forest through the trees. Washington is 100% dependent on all of Saudi’s exports. Those exports run China, Japan, South Korea, and Europe. Without them-no American empire. Collapsing global economy means collapsing American Empire. The Saudis know this. So do we.
Another BLM Narrative Collapse. Americans Will Opt for Law and Order
JOHN DERBYSHIRE • OCTOBER 1, 2016
Murders up 10.8% in biggest percentage increase since 1971, FBI data shows
Rising violence in 2015 driven by increase in murders of black men and gun crime, as experts brace for political ‘hysteria’ amid 2016 election
-James Howard Kunstler
Is Charlotte Our Future?
By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN • September 27, 2016
Of Monsters and Black Lives
Everything ultimately depends on the availability of victims and the priority that society places on them.
By PHILIP JENKINS • September 26, 2016
…and then this delusion:
In other news, there might be something actually important-
Oil Producers Tap Brewing Demand From China’s ‘Teapots’
Independent refiners in China have emerged as perhaps the most important force in oil markets today
How Did We End Up With Such Unpopular Candidates?
They are us.
By PETER VAN BUREN • September 27, 2016
By all accounts an intelligent, committed feminist coming out of law school, she quickly fell into the classic 1950s TV role of dependent spouse—a first lady, first of Arkansas when Bill was governor, and of course again in the White House. Sure, she was given health care to mess around with during Bill’s first term, but when the issue crashed and burned, she was reassigned to make safe speeches calling for more rights for women and girls. Safe in that she was allowed to pound the pulpit for those ideals in enemy territory like China, but not in countries like Saudi Arabia.
Deep State America
One explanation why U.S. policies serve no national interests
PHILIP GIRALDI • SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
On September 9th the Washington Post featured a front page article describing how the Defense Department had used warplanes to attack targets and kill suspected militants in six countries over the Labor Day weekend. The article was celebratory, citing Pentagon officials who boasted of the ability to engage “multiple targets” anywhere in the world in what has become a “permanent war.” The article did not mention that the United States is not currently at war with any of the six target countries and made no attempt to make a case that the men and women who were killed actually threatened the U.S. or American citizens.
THE JAUNDICED EYEBALL
Lies of the Times
Did the shades-of-gray lady just wake up?
CHRIS LEHMANN September 22, 2016
And where to start with the fucking op-ed columnists? Should every Tom Friedman column run with a pre-emptive correction, saying something like “Since Thomas Friedman has inexplicably taken over the international economic beat, the Times has printed one infantile fable after another about the supposed natural and predestined course of globalized economic development confected out of thin air. The Times regrets these, and the countless other errors to come under Mr. Friedman’s byline”? Or in the case of David Brooks, maybe a more clinically minded disclaimer is in order, such as “David Brooks labors under an advanced delusion, founded on the wholly counter-empirical notion that an American civic renaissance will come about by micromanaging wholly justified civic grievances out of existence. The Times does not advise reading any Brooks column in conjunction with consensual reality.”
That is going to be key as the bank faces tough market conditions. Goldman Sachs, like every other bank, has been suffering from a weak environment for trading.
The bank had a terrible first quarter, with fixed income, currencies, and commodities revenue down by almost half versus a year earlier, and equities revenue down close to a quarter.
The second quarter, while an improvement, was hardly anything to cherish. The bank said in its second-quarter earnings that FICC “continued to operate in a challenging environment.” In equities, Goldman lost ground to its archrival Morgan Stanley.
Goldman Sachs’ FICC revenue in the first half of the year was down 24% from the first six months of 2015, with total markets revenues down 18%.
“In the capital markets, I’ve never known a time when it hasn’t been hard,” one former Goldman partner said. “It is the same for everybody. It takes a toll. People who have options, they’ve exercised them.”
Slowly, Then All at Once – JHK
We’re on a collision course with these stark realities. They are coinciding with the sickening vectors of national politics in a great wave of latent consequences built up by the sheer inertia of the scale at which we have been doing things. Trump, convinced of his own brilliance, knows nothing, and wears his incoherence like a medal of honor. Clinton literally personifies the horror of these coiled consequences waiting to spring — and the pretense that everything will continue to be okay with her in the White House (not). When these two gargoyle combatants meet in the debate arena a week from now, you will hear nothing about the journey we’re on to a different way of life.
But there is a clear synergy between the mismanagement of our money and the mismanagement of our politics. They have the ability to amplify each other’s disorders. The awful vibe from this depraved election might be enough to bring down markets and banks. The markets and banks are unstable enough to affect the election.
Two Boys in Aleppo
But only one gets publicity – and sympathy
by Justin Raimondo, September 16, 2016
So what’s really going on in Aleppo, the supposed “epicenter of the refugee crisis”? Of course, all of Syria is in the throes of that crisis, not just Aleppo – but that ancient city is indeed the epicenter of the rebels’ propaganda campaign. For if Aleppo falls, the rebels are finished, defeated, and their foreign masters – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the oil-rich emirates of the Gulf, as well as our CIA – will have been stopped in their tracks in their bid to Islamicize Syria.
Trump and the Scapegoat Effect
Reading René Girard helped me understand why so many hate the Donald.
By DAVID GORNOSKI • September 1, 2016
by René Girard
Mass Racial Killings
RON UNZ • SEPTEMBER 19, 2016
Not only did the Zebra killings represent the greatest instance of racially-motivated killings in modern American history, but the number of victims was quite possibly greater than the combined total for all other such examples over nearly the last 100 years of our history. Based on that reality, the near-absolute media blackout has been quite remarkably Orwellian and deeply disturbing. Prior to the development of the Internet, neither I nor almost anyone else would have ever encountered this important history, and I suspect that if anyone had presented us with the true facts back then, his claims might easily have been dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic.
We naively tend to assume that our media accurately reflects the events of our world and its history, but instead what we all too often see are only the tremendously distorted images of a circus fun-house mirror, with small items sometimes transformed into large ones, and large ones into small. The contours of historical reality may be warped into almost unrecognizable shapes, with some important elements completely disappearing from the record and others appearing out of nowhere. I’ve often suggested that the media creates our reality, but given such glaring omissions and distortions, the reality produced is often largely fictional. Our standard histories have always criticized the ludicrous Soviet propaganda during the height of Stalin’s purges or the Ukrainian famine, but in its own way, our own media organs sometimes seem just as dishonest and absurd in their own reporting. And until the availability of the Internet, it was difficult for most of us to ever recognize the enormity of this problem.
THE JAUNDICED EYEBALL
The Fabled and Enabled
Shameless self-promotion can make America gullible (again)
CHRIS LEHMANN September 08, 2016
How Holmes was able to confect a multibillion-dollar startup out of such thin material is a stark cautionary tale, both for the self-regarding masters of Silicon Valley and for their many enablers in the tech press. For Holmes, none too subtly, ensured that the main commodity that Theranos produced, in the absence of reliable lab results, was her own tirelessly flogged narrative as world-class innovator and industry disruptor. She conspicuously donned the restless-genius wardrobe of Steve Jobs, caroming around her company in a black turtleneck and puffy vest—while keeping interior temperatures artificially low so as to minimize the discomfort of her contrived “think different” uniform. And like Jobs, she obsessively micromanaged all details of working life and corporate décor on the Theranos campus—taking particular pains to ensure that the various senior engineers at the company never communicated directly among one another about the substance of their research, lest the whole scam be exposed from within.
Darwin Unhinged: The Bugs in Evolution
FRED REED • SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 • 10,800 WORDS • 140 COMMENTS
It was like giving a bobcat a prostate exam. I got everything but answers. They told me I was a crank, implied over and over (again) that I was a Creationist, said that I was an enemy of science (someone who asks for evidence is an enemy of science). They said that I was trying to pull down modern biology (if you ask questions about an aspect of biology, you want to pull down biology). They told me I didn’t know anything (that’s why I was asking questions), and that I was a mere journalist (the validity of a question depends on its source rather than its content).
But they didn’t answer the questions. They ducked and dodged and evaded. After thirty years in journalism, I know ducking and dodging when I see it. It was like cross-examining hostile witnesses.
This is the behavior not of scientists, but of advocates, of True Believers. I used to think that science was about asking questions, not about defending things you didn’t really know. Religion, I thought, was the other way around. I guess I was wrong.
2016 Friday, Aug 26, 2016
Initial estimates of the economy’s growth last quarter turned out to be overconfident, new data released Friday shows. The latest gross domestic product figures released by the Commerce Department found the value of goods and services produced last quarter actually increased at a 1.1 percent rate, down from the 1.2 percent rate initially reported. The report did, however, reveal a higher rate of household consumption and an increase in worker wages, indicating that some of the sluggishness caused by falling government spending was offset by increased personal wealth and consumer spending. Economists remain optimistic the third quarter will show greater growth.
American swimmer Ryan Lochte was charged Thursday by Brazilian police with filing a false robbery report during the Rio Olympics. In a statement, the police said Lochte will be notified and can decide if he wants to introduce a defense in Brazil, The Associated Pressreports. The indictment will also be sent to the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission. Lochte had said that while returning to the Olympic Village from a party Aug. 15, he and three other swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by men with badges. Police say a video instead shows an altercation between the swimmers and armed security guards. Lochte later said he was intoxicated at the time and the confrontation was caused by his behavior. In Brazil, the penalty for filing a false crime report is up to 18 months in prison. If he does not return to Brazil to face the charge, Lochte could be tried in absentia.
Source: The Associated Press
2016 Thursday, Aug 25, 2016
2016 Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016
2016 Tuesday, Aug 23, 2016
Hillary Clinton is fending off criticism over the Clinton Foundation, which Donald Trump blasted Monday as being “the most corrupt enterprise in political history.” Call logs reveal Clinton’s chief of staff received at least 148 phone messages from the Foundation’s chief operating officer between 2010 and 2012 — while Clinton was serving as secretary of state — while Fox News notes that “no other individual or non-profit appears in the logs with anything like that frequency.” Meanwhile, after the announcement Monday that the FBI found 14,900 previously undisclosed work-related emails on Clinton’s private server, the campaign is scrambling to downplay their importance. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said Monday that Clinton handed over “all the work-related emails she had in her possession in 2014,” but maintained the campaign supports the release of any new material the State Department deems relevant. “We’ve already released, I don’t know, 30,000-plus emails,” Clinton said on Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. “What’s a few more?”
Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros asserts in a lawsuit filed Monday that sexual harassment at the network went beyond ousted chairman Roger Ailes. “Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny,” Tantaros’ lawsuit says. She also accused former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown of inappropriate comments and touching when he was a guest on her show and said fellow Fox host Bill O’Reilly repeatedly invited her to his Long Island home, which he assured her would be “very private.” Ailes has denied all allegations of sexual harassment.
2016 Monday, Aug 22, 2016
Pills discovered at Prince’s Minnesota home after his death were labeled hydrocodone but contained fentanyl, the opioid that killed him, said the Minneapolis Star Tribune, citing a source with knowledge of the investigation. The musician’s autopsy report says he died from an accidental, self-administered overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine. Investigators are not sure how the recording superstar obtained the drug — he didn’t have a prescription — but they are leaning toward the theory that he did not know the pills contained the drug.
Source: Star Tribune
2016 Sunday, Aug 21, 2016
Michael Weiss and the Iran-U.S. Hardline Nexus That Led Iranian-American to Evin Prison
How Daily Beast Editor, Michael Weiss Helped Send Iranian-American to Torture Chambers of Evin Prison
Richard Silverstein • August 15, 2016
A disciple of Christopher Hitchens, Weiss shares the late British intellectual’s penchant for intellectual combat and a gift for the deft, savage phrase. Like him, Weiss fancies nostalgic ties to some radical left tradition. Also like Hitchens, he has the knack for popularizing neoconservative ideas in media-friendly sound bytes. Unlike Hitchens, Weiss has proven to be exceedingly opaque in terms of some of the political and financial alliances he’s made.
How Hyperloop One Went Off the Rails
The transportation startup is trying to make a pod levitate in a tunnel, but can it rise above founder clashes and employee lawsuits?
I’m voting for Trump.
There is a lot of tension right now. Unfortunately, there are a lot of politicians who depend on that animosity for their power. They need people to be poor so they can dangle that carrot in front of them.
Here’s what I’m thinking, Don’t piss on my neck and say that it’s raining. Hillary Clinton will piss on your neck and whisper in your ear that it’s raining. Donald Trump will stand behind you and piss on your neck, but he’ll tell you, “I’m pissing on you right now. How do you like that?”
I like to know, at least, what I’m getting.
Obscured American: Hank the Small Business Financial Advisor
LINH DINH • AUGUST 8, 2016
Nothing demonstrates the incompetence of the leaders of our Deep State/Empire better than what is happening with Turkey, Eastern Europe, NATO, Russia and Ukraine.
Lessons from the Deep State
ANDREW NAPOLITANO • AUGUST 4, 2016
Last week, William Binney, a 30-year career official at the National Security Agency turned whistleblower, revealed the unthinkable. Binney, who devised the software that the NSA has used to capture the contents of emails and cellphone conversations of all in America but resigned from the NSA because of the unlawful and unconstitutional manner in which the software was used, told a Philadelphia radio audience that the DNC hacking was most likely done by NSA agents.
Why would the NSA hack into DNC computers, and why would the NSA leak what its agents saw?
Here is where the deep state meets the political world. The deep state consists of intelligence, military, law enforcement and administrative agency personnel who aggressively protect their own interests, which transcend elections. Stated differently, many of these folks remain in opaque positions of power, and the governmental departments and agencies for which they work continue to expand, no matter which party wins the White House or controls Congress.
The Shot Heard All Over the Country
by Uri Avnery, August 08, 2016
Let me interject a personal note. I am not naive. In the 1948 war I was a combat soldier for ten consecutive months, before being severely wounded. I saw all kinds of atrocities. When the war was over, I wrote a book about these atrocities, called “The Other Side of the Coin”(in Hebrew). It was widely condemned.
War brings out the best and the worst in human nature. I have seen war crimes committed by people who, after the war, became nice, normal, law-abiding citizens.
In the clip, Azaria is seen shaking hands with somebody immediately after the killing. This person is no other than Baruch Marzel, the king of the Tel Rumaida settlers. Marzel is the successor of “Rabbi” Meir Kahane, who was branded as a fascist by the Supreme Court of Israel. (Marzel once openly called for my assassination.)
During the trial it was revealed that Marzel plays host every Saturday to the entire company of Israeli soldiers guarding the settlement, including the officers. This means that Azaria was exposed to his fascist ideas before the shooting event.
This week’s reading list:
High-Rise (1975) by J.G. Ballard
The History of the Mongol Conquests (1971) by J.J.Saunders
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (2004) by Jack Weatherford
The Hitler of History (1997) by John Lukacs
Five Days in London, May 1940 (1999) by John Lukacs
At the End of an Age (2002) by John Lukacs
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