12-06-2016

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Really good 50-minute podcast on what to look for in American foreign policy under Trump.

-Colonel Wilkerson on empires at 8 min
-The sweet spot starts around minute 20:00 with Andrew Bacevich
-Then again with Stephen Walt at 32:00

Worth reading about Bloomberg, Trump, Buffet, Gates, Carnegie, and Rockefeller:
The Other Buffett Rule
Or why better billionaires will never save us
Alex Cuadros

Fake News Versus No News
How Russia is pilloried while real news about Israel goes unreported
PHILIP GIRALDI • DECEMBER 6, 2016

-Does the name Judith Miller ring any bells?

-At the present moment, it is practically obligatory to slam Russia and Putin at every opportunity even though Moscow is too militarily weak and poor to fancy itself a global adversary of the U.S. Instead of seeking a new Cold War, Washington should instead focus on working with Russia to make sure that disagreements over policies in relatively unimportant parts of the world do not escalate into nuclear exchanges.

-There is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches.

-The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is intended to give the Department of Education investigatory authority over “anti-Jewish incidents” on America’s college campuses. Such “incidents” are not limited to religious bigotry, with the examples cited in the bill’s text including criticism of Israel and claiming that the holocaust was “exaggerated.” It is a thinly disguised assault on the Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, which is non-violent, does not criticize Jews as a religion or ethnicity, and is actually supported by many Jewish American who are concerned about Israel’s apartheid regime.

-As the Act is clearly intended to restrict First Amendment rights if they are perceived as impacting on broadly defined Jewish sensitivities, it should be opposed on that basis alone, but it is very popular in Congress, which is de facto owned by the Israel Lobby.

-Mattis continued, referring directly to Israeli apartheid: “I’ll tell you, the current situation is unsustainable … We’ve got to find a way to make work the two-state solution that both Democrat and Republican administrations have supported, and the chances are starting to ebb because of the settlements. For example, if I’m Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers to the east and there’s ten-thousand Arabs already there, and if we draw the border to include them, either [Israel] ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid. That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country.”

Mattis will no doubt be reminded of his remarks when he is up for Senate confirmation. A predecessor Chuck Hagel was mercilessly grilled by Senators over his reported comment that the “Jewish lobby” intimidates congressmen.

A People’s History of the Third Reich
How Great Man theory allows us to abdicate collective responsibility
Megan Carpentier
December 02, 2016

Well. Now we know how it all works.

Political Science’s “Theory of Everything”
DAVID CHIBO • NOVEMBER 30, 2016
The 7 “Blind” men and the US Elephant

He defines the third corporate lobby as the Big Oil-transport-military complex, which he explains has put the US on the trajectory of heavy oil-imports dependence and ever deepening military entrapment in the Middle East: “Since the days of John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust a century ago, Big Oil has loomed large in American politics and foreign policy. Big Oil teamed up with the automobile industry to steer America away from mass transit and toward gas-guzzling vehicles driving on a nationally financed highway system. Big Oil has consistently and successfully fought the intrusion of competition from non-oil energy sources, including nuclear, wind, and solar power.”

Sachs also highlights Big Oil’s counter-intuitive reliance on the Pentagon: “America defends the sea-lanes to the Persian Gulf, in effect ensuring a $100 billion–plus annual subsidy for a fuel that is otherwise dangerous for national security. And Big Oil has played a notorious role in the fight to keep climate change off the U.S. agenda. ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and others in the sector have underwritten a generation of antiscientific propaganda to confuse the American people.”

The fourth of the great industry-government tie-ups has been the health care industry, America’s single largest industry today, absorbing no less than 17 percent of GDP. According to Sachs, what began as government partnering with business to refund costs has morphed into a lobby with little systematic oversight and control: “Pharmaceutical firms set sky-high prices protected by patent rights; Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers reimburse doctors and hospitals on a cost-plus basis; and the American Medical Association restricts the supply of new doctors through the control of placements at American medical schools. The result of this pseudo–market system is sky-high costs, large profits for the private health care sector, and no political will to reform.”

Trump should embrace ‘dual conciliation’ abroad

Trump’s other option is to try easing Middle East conflicts rather than escalating them. This can only be done through cooperation with Iran. A map of the region shows why. Iran is the big country in the middle. Just as Europe became stable only after Germany was invited to be a security partner, the Middle East will become stable only when Iran’s interests are taken into account.

Rather than side instinctively with Saudi Arabia in its rivalry with Iran, Trump should seek to balance the two. We should judge them not by sentiment, but strictly according to whether their actions promote our interests. Our central interest in the Middle East is containing violent radicalism. After that, our next goal should be withdrawal. The reasons we set up imperial shop in the Middle East have evaporated. The Soviet Union is gone, we no longer depend on Persian Gulf oil, and our people are tired of desert wars. Yet some are pushing Trump to jump more deeply into this quagmire.

Winning:
Trump Loves to Do It, But American Generals Have Forgotten How

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
PATRICK COCKBURN • DECEMBER 2, 2016

These are the two groups that dominate the armed opposition in Syria as a whole. In Aleppo, though only about 20 per cent of the 10,000 fighters are Nusra, it is they – along with their allies in Ahrar al-Sham – who are leading the resistance.

Unsurprisingly, foreign journalists covering developments in east Aleppo and rebel-held areas of Syria overwhelmingly do so from Lebanon or Turkey. A number of intrepid correspondents who tried to do eyewitness reporting from rebel-held areas swiftly found themselves tipped into the boots of cars or otherwise incarcerated.

Experience shows that foreign reporters are quite right not to trust their lives even to the most moderate of the armed opposition inside Syria. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers. They would probably defend themselves by saying they rely on non-partisan activists, but all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups.

What Makes Israeli Apartheid ‘Special’?

2007 may be seen as one of the greatest technological inflection points in history. And we completely missed it.

Thomas Friedman is a horrible writer. His thoughts are unintelligible. He thinks what he writes is original – recognizing something others don’t – and therefore informative and that it will have positive consequences. It is meaningless drivel. A complete waste of time. I love to read Friedman to confirm that I am right about him. It makes me feel better about myself. I feel I understand how the world works and the meaning of life when I read Thomas Friedman. I think I read a couple chapters of ‘The Lexus and the Olive Tree.’ It is a point of pride that I cannot remember anything about it. He is the most highly overpaid asshole on the planet. I secretly wish he would visit Syria and maybe be abducted by ISIS.

“For me, that translates into building healthy communities that are flexible enough to move with these accelerations, draw energy from them — but also provide a platform of dynamic stability for citizens within them. More on that another day.”

Hilarious. What the fuck does that even mean? Does he even know? He’s completely crazy.

11.29.2016

culture11.29.2016

Idiots:
A potential nightmare scenario has arrived for the electric-car industry

In any case, bringing self-driving tech to gas-powered cars doesn’t ask the automakers to create an entirely new fueling system. The winners in this space could be new entrants who avoid the “old” futurism of EVs and concentrate on the brave “new” future of autonomous mobility. I’m looking at you, Uber.

It’s becoming clear that the legacy problems of EVs are proving to be just as daunting as they always were. For automakers that have already committed to substantial EV programs, the risk is that they’ll be stuck with vehicles nobody wants to buy — and charging networks that nobody wants to use.

Iraqi Troops Increasingly Bogged Down in Mosul Invasion
Special Forces Make Gains, But Everyone Else Seems Stalled
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

Rebels Abandon Northeastern Aleppo as Syrian Military Advances
Rebels Suffer Biggest Defeat in Aleppo Since 2012
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

Pentagon Plans to Replace Afghan Air Force With US-Made Helicopters
US Had Bought Them a Whole Fleet of Russian Helicopters in Recent Years
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

The Rediscovery of Men

Uniquely Talented
Only the Democrats Could Have Lost to Trump
FRED REED • NOVEMBER 24, 2016

They do not know that that in the bleak down-scale strip development of Jeff Davis Highway, a half-hour away, reeking of exhaust and blowing with trash, an aged veteran on crutches lives in a dismal residential motel. Every mourning he hobbles to Dixie Lee’s Diner–I forget its actual name–for a cheap breakfast because it is all he has. Or ever will. He is waiting to die. The elite don’t know, and wouldn’t care.

The upper crust are also moral frauds, though they do not know this either. Nice liberals to the roots of their teeth, in principle they believe that we should all love each other, and they hate anyone who doesn’t.

The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1979) – Christopher Lasch

Not the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and the Myth of Progress (2013) – John Michael Greer
Greer is one of the smartest people alive and a keen observer of human nature, American culture, and resource constraint – but his prophecies continue to fail like everybody else’s. Is he aware of the irony? This is still one of the best books on peak oil and only 140 pages.

Schopenhauer: Essays and Aphorisms (1851) – Arthur Schopenhauer
Superb. Easy to read. Concise philosophy, psychology, and observations of human nature that hold up today.

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story (2012)- Greg Smith

Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down . . . And Why They’ll Take Us to the Brink Again (2010) – Suzanne McGee

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World (2011) – William D. Cohan

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11.22.2016

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Failsons Of Weimar America
By ROD DREHER • November 22, 2016

The reader said that leftist blogger James Howard Kunstler made the same point more eloquently in this post, following the 2015 school massacre in Oregon. In it, Kunstler said that our is “a nation physically arranged on-the-ground to produce maximum loneliness, arranged economically to produce maximum anxiety, and disposed socially to produce maximum alienation.” He goes on:

IDIOT JOY SHOWLAND

I think I’m still in shock. When the sun rose this morning it was blistered with the face of Donald Trump, bronze and smirking hideous, and all I can think about is Hillary Clinton. It’s what I know. Throughout the entire election, one slow-motion clip of a clown car ramming into a crowd of pedestrians, I’d assumed that the danger of Trump and the danger of Clinton were of two different orders. Trump was dangerous because of what he said and what he represented, the waves of fascism and violence that rippled out from the dead plopping weight of his speeches. Clinton was dangerous because of what she would actually do, because Clinton was going to win the election. I was a sucker, the kind who gets duped precisely by believing himself to be too smart for any kind of con. I thought I saw through it all, the whole stupid charade, a coronation disguised as a battlefield. I was wrong. This was exactly what Hillary Clinton wanted people like me to think; she wanted to be an inevitability. And this is why Trump won: the presidency was Clinton’s to lose, from the moment she announced her candidacy, and she lost it. She was the only person who could. People don’t like taking part in someone else’s inevitability.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2016
When The Shouting Stops

Fans of irony have much to savor. You’ve got people who were talking eagerly about how to game the electoral college two weeks ago, who now are denouncing the electoral college root and branch; you’ve got people who insisted that Trump, once he lost, should concede and shut up, who are demonstrating a distinct unwillingness to follow their own advice. You’ve got people in the bluest of blue left coast cities marching in protest as though that’s going to change a single blessed thing—as I’ve pointed out in previous posts here, protest marches that aren’t backed up with effective grassroots political organization are simply a somewhat noisy form of aerobic exercise.

The Feminization of Politics
ROBERT WEISSBERG • NOVEMBER 22, 2016

To appreciate how this “guy” style of political conflict is becoming undone, keep in mind that the Trump victory was absolutely unambiguous compared to countless other presidential election outcomes. Recall the election of 1828 when the House chose John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson despite the former having fewer popular and Electoral votes, the 1860 election of Lincoln who won a mere 39.9% of the popular vote in a four-way contest, the bizarre Rutherford B. Hayes win over Samuel Tilden in 1876 in which Tilden won the popular vote and fell a single vote short in the Electoral College but lost thanks to Republican skullduggery or Kennedy’s 1960 razor thin victory over Nixon as a result of a last minute flood of questionable Chicago votes and so on and on.

Yes, many were upset, but when it was over, it was over. The slogan was “wait to next year,” not “the resistance must continue.” Losers “took it like a man” and looked to the future. Nobody marched or rioted in the hope changing the outcome. Nor were there calls for the Electors to violate voter instructions to put into office a candidate that did not win a Electoral College majority.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before
Liberal nostalgia cozies up to power in the form of a zombified Ronald Reagan

Reagan was a bumbling idiot, but he was also a monster, a slimeball fascist whose mercenaries and paid fanatics gunned down thousands across the globe, who fought wars of aggression for PR purposes, whose crackdown on drugs amounted to the all-but-genocidal repression of his own population, who empowered Salafists and death squads, whose economic policies replaced the supposed drudgery of unionization and job security with constant anxious panic for the many and a vampire’s glut for the few, who left communities to be hollowed by disease, whose administration was packed with sleazes and scumbags and scandal. Reagan tore deep gashes in the surface of the world, he killed without conscience, and he did it all with the effortless lubricated grin of a shitty Hollywood actor who knows that it’s all a charade.

#RIPMyShillaries
An end to the era of professionally explained candidates

Second, neoliberalism. It took over the Democratic Party on Bill Clinton’s coattails, shaped all its policy thinking and ushered in our era of free trade, union-busting, deregulation, middle-class decline, mass incarceration, and massive inequality. It was fitting that this era left its leader’s spouse with a campaign so lacking in positive message—a thin gruel of identity politics, credential-brandishing, and anti-Trump harping. Yes, the Hillary campaign did offer a plethora of progressive policy nuggets discoverable by the Internet-savvy, but she could not credibly push them to a Rust Belt so demoralized by decades of neoliberal devastation. RIP, neoliberalism.

jaws

In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony
– (2008)
by Eamonn Fingleton

 

The Chinese secret weapons are government-forced savings through restrictions on consumption and Confucian authoritarianism.

11.17.2016

11.17.2016

This is genius. He gives 21 reasons. I’m not sure which is the best:

MAGICAL THINKING
Round-up of Recriminations
After Trump’s win, there are more culprits than we can shake a finger at
COREY PEIN November 10, 2016

19 The System

Trump’s misogyny didn’t matter to millions of Americans who, Clinton or no Clinton, delivered a resounding electoral endorsement of the abuse and subjugation of women. How to explain that but as an institutional, and deeply internalized, system that is sometimes called patriarchy. There are already some who are portraying the election result as a grand rebuke of “the establishment.” This should be a clue that Trump’s victory is nothing of the sort. It is not a rebuke of the system, but a product of it. Who is more establishment than Trump? While many in the oligarch class are horrified at Trump’s ascendance, many more will work with him, as necessary, to maintain their positions at the top of society. Many more will echo the Republican leadership in arguing that the savage beast can be tamed, contained, domesticated—and used. This ruling class arrogance will almost certainly lead to disaster, as it did during the last Bush administration. But the stakes are higher this time because the country is worse off at the outset. For a more mechanistic explanation of how unchecked capitalism created this mess, read up on a principle known as Gresham’s Dynamic. Without getting too technical, Gresham’s Dynamic describes systems where cheating is rewarded instead of punished. Because of the perverse incentives created for bad behavior, the worst people will inevitably rise to the top. Presto, President Trump.

 

The population of the United States is roughly double the entire human population 2000 years ago when Rome was a big deal. Think about that. It’s all about the oil. You guys know that.

Stemming the Rot in American Manufacturing May Defeat Even Trump
EAMONN FINGLETON • NOVEMBER 13, 2016

Take electronics. Trump seems to believe that by the simple expedient of imposing stiff tariffs on Chinese imports he can encourage Apple to make iPhones in America. In reality, this badly misdiagnoses the problem. Where the manufacture of sophisticated electronic consumer products is concerned, China is a much less significant player than meets the eye. The product may bear a “Made in China” label but this refers merely to the place of final assembly. Admittedly China does possess the knowhow to make some components but generally only the simpler ones such as the plastic housing for a smartphone. The serious components are made typically in high-wage nations like Japan and to a lesser extent Korea, Taiwan, and Germany. Meanwhile Japan reigns supreme as the source of many of the most important materials and production machinery used in the industry. Little noticed outside East Asia, such materials and machinery are the ultimate driver of the electronic revolution.

All this means that, as a practical matter, China’s contribution to a smartphone’s total added-value may amount to little more than a few percentage points. Thus tariffs on China alone will, with the best will in the world, create remarkably few American jobs.

Break Up the Democratic Party
It’s Time for the Clintons, Rubin to Go – and Soros too
MICHAEL HUDSON • NOVEMBER 14, 2016

Donald Trump is thus Obama’s legacy. Last week’s vote was a backlash. Hillary thought that getting Barack and Michelle Obama to campaign as her surrogates would help, but it turned out to be the kiss of death. Obama egged her on by urging voters to “save his legacy” by supporting her as his Third Term. But voters did not want his legacy of giveaways to the banks, the pharmaceutical and health-insurance monopolies.

Most of all, it was Hillary’s asking voters to ignore her economic loyalty to Wall Street simply to elect a woman, and her McCarthy-like accusations that Trump was “Putin’s candidate” (duly echoed by Paul Krugman). On Wednesday, Obama’s former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul tweeted that “Putin intervened in our elections and succeeded.” It was as if the Republicans and even the FBI were a kind of fifth column for the KGB. Her receptiveness to cutting back Social Security and steering wage withholding into the stock market did not help – especially her hedge fund campaign contributors. Compulsory health-insurance fees continue to rise for healthy young people rise as the main profit center that Obamacare has offered the health-insurance monopoly.

The Anti-Trump Protesters Are Tools of the Oligarchy
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS • NOVEMBER 11, 2016

I hope no one thinks that simultaneous protests in 25 cities were a spontaneous event. How did 25 independent protests manage to come up with the same slogans and the same signs on the same night following the election?

What is the point of the protests, and what interest is served by them? As the Romans always asked, “who benefits?”

There is only one answer: The Oligarchy and only the Oligarchy benefits.

Trump is a threat to the Oligarchy, because he intends peaceful relations with Russia. In order to replace the profitable Soviet Threat, the Oligarchy and their neoconservative agents worked overtime to recreate the “Russian Threat” by demonizing Russia.

Armistice Day

11.11.2016

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The Trump Ploy
LINH DINH • NOVEMBER 11, 2016

The media were out to get Trump, pundits from across the political spectrum kept repeating, but the truth is that the media made Trump. Long before the election, Trump became a household name, thanks to the media.

Your average American can’t name any other real estate developer, casino owner or even his own senators, but he has known Trump since forever. For more than a decade, Trump was a reality TV star, with two of his children also featured regularly on The Apprentice. Trump’s “You’re fired” and his hair became iconic. Trump appeared on talk shows, had cameo roles in movies and owned the Miss Universe pageant. In 2011, Obama joked that Trump as president would deck out the White House in garish fashion, with his own name huge on the façade. The suave, slick prez roasted Trump again in 2016. Trump has constantly been in the limelight.

It’s true that during the presidential campaign, Trump received mostly negative press, but this only ramped up support among his core constituency. Joe Sixpacks had long seen the media as not just against everything they cherished, but against them as people, so the more the media attacked Trump, the more popular he became among the white working class.

Donald Trump: The Political Equivalent of the Financial Crisis
By NOAH MILLMAN • November 11, 2016

The 2016 election could present you with a similar problem — even without the explicit racial polarities. Say you focus your energy on attacking Trump and his supporters for being misogynists. You’ll have plenty of fuel for such an attack — but how will the women whose husbands are interested in Trump react? Are they going to let you get between them and their husbands? Or are they going to rally to their defense, and against this insulting, elitist outsider?

To get inside that defense, you can’t rely on female solidarity, or on women’s issues. Any voter for whom that kind of pitch has a strong appeal is already actively supporting you in the primary, and will certainly be with you in the general election. The women you need to reach are precisely those who are less-amenable to this kind of appeal. They are women who would consider voting Republican — who may have voted Republican in previous elections, whatever reservations or frustrations they might have had with that party. . . .

[I]t isn’t about the issues, or about experience. None of that matters if people believe that Trump is a straight-talking independent man who will put America first, while you are a cosmopolitan insider eager to do the bidding of special interests so as to win and retain power. You need to turn that around, and get people to believe that you’re a flawed human being who went into the business of politics in order to accomplish something, while your opponent is a fraud and a charlatan who has accomplished almost none of what he claims, and will do nothing of what he promises.

To make that case, you need to make an emotional connection, which means a personal one. A revelation of common experience that enables them to trust your judgment. That’s what the reintroduction is all about.

That reintroduction never happened. Instead, her campaign did exactly what I had warned wouldn’t work. And somehow, knowing it wouldn’t, I still convinced myself it had.

Whatever

]11.09.2016

Trump’s Revolution
Now beware the counter-revolution
by Justin Raimondo, November 09, 2016

Trumpophobia Melts SJW Snowflakes
By ROD DREHER • November 9, 2016

Oh for heaven’s sake … really? These snowflakes wanted classes cancelled because the wrong guy won the presidential election? These grown men and women need counseling to face the headlines? Are the SJWs and their coddlers trying to make me happy that Trump won, or what?

By the way, I just ran into a working-class Hispanic immigrant friend. He’s not worried. He said, “A lot of Latino people, we know that Trump was really just saying that the immigration should be done the right way. We know he’s not really against us. Who hired all the Latinos to build his buildings? Trump. It’s not such a bad thing that he wants immigration by the rules.” For what that’s worth.

Another U.S. Massacre in Afghanistan

Mosul

10.24.2016

 

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Wow, this is really getting bad. The Brookings Institution promoting hypocrisy as the solution to our problems. Can’t make this stuff up. It is as if it isn’t even controversial. We just need to be reminded how obviously good it is for everybody.

Why Hillary Clinton Needs to Be Two-Faced
By JONATHAN RAUCH OCT. 22, 2016

Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is the author of “Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy.”

Compare the Coverage of Mosul and East Aleppo and It Reveals a Lot
PATRICK COCKBURN
Oct. 22, 2016

Nothing to see here. Move along.

North Dakota farmer makes crude discovery: largest oil spill on US soil

And Greer is fantastic as usual…

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Aleppo

10.11.2016

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?

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Scary…
Nuclear Poker
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.

Interesting…
Workaday Woes
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.

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10.05.2016

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

Russia has again shown that it’s always one step ahead of the US in Syria