The advice here given is on a par with a rule recommended by Pythagoras,—to review, every night before going to sleep, what we have done during the day. To live at random, in the hurly-burly of business or pleasure, without ever reflecting upon the past,—to go on, as it were, pulling cotton off the reel of life,—is to have no clear idea of what we are about; and a man who lives in this state will have chaos in his emotions and certain confusion in his thoughts; as is soon manifest by the abrupt and fragmentary character of his conversation, which becomes a kind of mincemeat. A man will be all the more exposed to this fate in proportion as he lives a restless life in the world, amid a crowd of various impressions and with a correspondingly small amount of activity on the part of his own mind.
And in this connection it will be in place to observe that, when events and circumstances which have influenced us pass away in the course of time, we are unable to bring back and renew the particular mood or state of feeling which they aroused in us: but we can remember what we were led to say and do in regard to them; and thus form, as it were, the result, expression and measure of those events. We should, therefore, be careful to preserve the memory of our thoughts at important points in our life; and herein lies the great advantage of keeping a journal.
Counsels and Maxims (1851)
* * *
March 23, 2017
THE UNITED STATES OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
The Big Lie About the Libyan War
The Obama administration said it was just trying to protect civilians. Its actions reveal it was looking for regime change.
“I can’t recall any specific decision that said, ‘Well, let’s just take him out,’” Mr. Gates said. Publicly, he said, “the fiction was maintained” that the goal was limited to disabling Colonel Qaddafi’s command and control. In fact, the former defense secretary said, “I don’t think there was a day that passed that people didn’t hope he would be in one of those command and control centers.”
This is scarcely believable. Given that decapitation strikes against Qaddafi were employed early and often, there almost certainly was a decision by the civilian heads of government of the NATO coalition to “take him out” from the very beginning of the intervention.
Trump Is Obama’s Legacy. Will This Break Up the Democratic Party?
MICHAEL HUDSON • MARCH 22, 2017 • 3,900 WORDS
Fighting Outrage Porn Addiction
By NOAH MILLMAN • September 2, 2015
Big Steel Is the New Solyndra
There is nothing subtle about the Trump administration’s pro-steel bent.
By KRISTOFER L. HARRISON • March 23, 2017
In 2016, unbeknownst to many city officials, police in Baltimore began conducting persistent aerial surveillance using a system developed for military use in Iraq. Few civilians have any idea how advanced these military eye-in-the-sky drones have become.Few civilians have any idea how advanced these military eye-in-the-sky drones have become. Among them is ARGUS-IS, the world’s highest-resolution camera with 1.8 billion pixels. Invisible from the ground at nearly four miles in the air, it uses a technology known as “persistent stare” — the equivalent of 100 Predator drones peering down at a medium-size city at once — to track everything that moves.
Hindsight is never 20/20.
Prepare, Pursue, Prevail!
Onward and Upward with U.S. Central Command
By Andrew J. Bacevich
By way of explaining his eight failed marriages, the American bandleader Artie Shaw once remarked, “I am an incurable optimist.” In reality, Artie was an incurable narcissist. Utterly devoid of self-awareness, he never looked back, only forward.
Ludendorff Would Have Approved
“Punch a hole and let the rest follow.”
During the First World War, that aphorism, attributed to General Erich Ludendorff, captured the essence of the German army’s understanding of strategy, rooted in the conviction that violence perpetrated on a sufficient scale over a sufficient period of time will ultimately render a politically purposeless war purposeful. The formula didn’t work for Germany in Ludendorff’s day and yielded even more disastrous results when Hitler revived it two decades later.
Neocons as a Figment of Imagination
Criticizing their thuggery is anti-Semitism?
PHILIP GIRALDI • MARCH 21, 2017 • 2,100 WORDS
The third reason, linked to number two, is that having a plausible and dangerous enemy like Russia on tap keeps the cash flowing from defense industries to the foundations and think tanks that the neocons nest in when they are not running the Pentagon and National Security Council. Follow the money. So it is all about self-interest combined with tribal memory: money, status and a visceral hatred of Russia.
Israel Continues to Attack Syria, Warns Syria Against Resisting Planes
Israeli DM Threatens to Destroy Syria’s Air Defense System
by Jason Ditz, March 19, 2017
Russia summoned Israel’s Ambassador on Friday to seek an explanation, which is similarly unprecedented during the war, as Israel has previously been said to keep Russia appraised of its operations along the border, aiming to prevent the deployment of Russia’s air defense against them.
Fat Leonard and the Decline of Military Values
The officer corps was once assumed to be above larger cultural rot. No more.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • March 20, 2017
We confront evidence of an officer corps that has lost its moral bearings, abandoning the “military standard” for something quite different. To assume that the rot is confined exclusively to one particular service would be a grave mistake.
Stronger Economic Growth? Over My Dead Body, Says Janet Yellen
MIKE WHITNEY • MARCH 10, 2017 • 1,200 WORDS
As de facto representative of the ruling Bank cabal, the Fed would rather prick the massive asset-price bubble it has created and risk sending the financial system into a headlong plunge off a cliff, than allow perennially-strapped workers to garner even a farthing more for their daily drudgery. Class hatred remains the animating force that fuels all Central Bank policy decisions.
With industry expiring, or moving elsewhere (also temporarily), we inflated finance to nearly 40 percent of the economy. The new financialization was, in effect, setting a matrix of rackets in motion. What had worked as capital management before was allowed to mutate into various forms of swindling and fraud — such as the bundling of dishonestly acquired mortgages into giant bonds and then selling them to pension funds desperate for “yield,” or the orgy of merger and acquisition in health care that turned hospitals into cash registers, or the revenue streams on derivative “plays” that amounted to bets with no possibility of ever being paid off, or the three-card-monte games of interest rate arbitrage played by central banks and their “primary dealer” concubines.
The Kagans Are Back; Wars to Follow
March 15, 2017
There’s been a lot of handwringing in Official Washington and across the Mainstream Media about the “post-truth” era, but these supposed avatars for truth are as guilty as anyone, acting as if constantly repeating a fact-free claim is the same as proving it.
But it’s clear what Kagan and other neocons have in mind, an escalation of hostilities with Russia and a substantial increase in spending on U.S. military hardware and on Western propaganda to “counter” what is deemed “Russian propaganda.”
“The data have not notably strengthened,” the Fed chair said during her Wednesday press conference after the central bank raised interest rates for just the third time since the financial crisis.
This hike was one of the least surprising to markets, with traders pricing in a full 100% chance that it would take place. The Fed chair just killed that kind of confidence for any move going forward.
Yellen was talking about the lack of economic progress since the Fed’s most recent meeting, in January. She went further, though, saying the Fed didn’t see any evidence that the optimism of a record-breaking stock market had made its way into spending by companies or people.
What Is the CIA Hack All About?
The danger lies in what might be coming next
PHILIP GIRALDI • MARCH 14, 2017 • 1,400 WORDS
And they are indeed everywhere. Ron Paul has described a woman’s test on the Amazon marketed interactive voice controlled device called Alexa, asking it if it were reporting to the CIA. Alexa, which allegedly cannot tell a lie, refused to answer.
According to Wikipedia, “Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon Lab126, made popular by the Amazon Echo. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information.” One reviewer observed “In a good but scary feature, Amazon Echo can learn a person’s habits over time. It will get used to the way a person talks, his/her habits and routines and will save all the data in the cloud.”
For this, over the past 15 years, nearly 2,400 American soldiers have died, and 20,000 more have been wounded.
What are we to make of the chasm between effort expended and results achieved? Why on those increasingly infrequent occasions when Afghanistan attracts notice do half-truths and pettifoggery prevail, rather than hard-nosed assessments? Why has Washington ceased to care about the Afghan war?
The answer, it seems to me, is this: As with budget deficits or cost overruns on weapons purchases, members of the national security apparatus — elected and appointed officials, senior military officers and other policy insiders — accept war as a normal condition.
The U.S. Against Iran – A War of Apples vs. Oranges
THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 7, 2017 • 3,700 WORDS
5) Use the traditional American sense of superiority and condescension for “sand niggers”or “hajis” and don’t bother trying to intimidate them. Instead, try to use that racist mindset to make them commit crucial strategic mistakes as Iran did when it used fake Iraqi “defectors” who spread disinformation about non-existing Iraqi WMDs to convince the US Neocons to lobby for an attack on Iraq to protect Israel. I find the notion of using US Neocons to make the US get rid of Saddam Hussein and basically hand over Iraq to Iran nothing short of pure genius. This is, of course, why it is never mentioned in western sources :-)
6) Force the Americans to present you more targets: the more US forces are deployed near Iran, the more targets they offer for Iranian counter-attacks and the more they get politically bogged-down (as shown by the recent Iraqi threat to revoke visas for US servicemen in Iraq in response to Trump temporary visa-ban; the threat is empty, but clearly nobody in the White House or Foggy Bottom ever considered such an option). Basically, being everywhere CENTCOM forces are hated everywhere.
Trump, JFK, and the Deep State
JACK RAVENWOOD • MARCH 14, 2017 • 3,800 WORDS
The first book to accuse the entire Deep State of the crime (although that term did not yet exist) was a curious book called Farewell America. It was written pseudonymously under the name James Hepburn, and published in Europe in 1968 by a fake publishing company calling itself “Frontiers.” It alleged that the assassination had been orchestrated by a “committee” made up of interests from big oil, the intelligence agencies, and the defense department. (It even insinuated that Roy Cohn, who worked for right-wing senator Joseph McCarthy and who later became a mentor to Donald Trump, might have had a hand in it somehow.)
Supporters of Farewell America claim that the book has its origins in a private investigation conducted on behalf of Robert and Jacqueline Kennedy by RFK confidantes and by sources in French intelligence.
Soundtrack to the Apocalypse
And ever since that fact was starkly revealed by former NSA chief James Clapper on NBC’s Meet the Press, the Russia hallucination has vanished from page one of the party’s media outlets — though, in an interesting last gasp of striving correctitude, Monday’s New York Times features a front page story detailing Georgetown University’s hateful traffic in the slave trade two centuries ago.
Wow. Just, wow:
No Campus (Or Country) for White Men
EDMUND CONNELLY • MARCH 10, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS
Honestly, it is child’s play to show how Jews have essentially taken over higher education in America, transforming it into something akin to a “Jewish extended phenotype,” with Jews themselves doing much of the heavy lifting, but getting plenty of help from their recruited lackeys such as blacks and other non-whites, women, and disparate aggrieved groups that are now popping up like toadstools after a summer’s rain.
Aslan, 44, plugged his experience with the Aghori, a small Hindu sect known for its extreme rituals, on Facebook on Sunday night before the show aired.
“Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal,” Aslan wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “It was burnt to a crisp! #Believer.”
In Search of the Super Race
The Six-Percent Solution
FRED REED • MARCH 9, 2017 • 1,700 WORDS
Charles Murray’s Ideology
ANATOLY KARLIN • MARCH 4, 2017 • 900 WORDS
Well, of course they bugged Trump Tower. Why wouldn’t they? Trump’s big blunder du jour is that he tweeted “wiretapped,” like some hapless sap out of a 1950s I Was a Spy for the FBI movie. (I know people who still say “ice box,” too.) So he left himself — or rather poor Sean Spicer — open for a week of legalistic pettifogging by reporters acting as litigators for the Deep State’s intel corps.
Anyway, Wikileaks “Vault 7” document release earlier in the month made it clear that US intel has the ability to cover and confuse the tracks of any entity —including especially US intel itself — that ventures to penetrate any supposedly private or secure realm. And, by the way, that probably settles the matter of who “they” are. Whatever statutory restraints once existed against CIA spying on American citizens is long gone by the boards.
Do We Live in a Police State?
The latest WikiLeaks revelations tell us the answer is yes
by Justin Raimondo, March 10, 2017
WikiLeaks and Julian Assange would have gone down in history as the greatest enemies of government oppression of all kinds in any case, but their latest release – a comprehensive exposé of the US intelligence community’s cyberwar tools and techniques – is truly the capstone of their career. And given that this release – dubbed “Vault 7” – amounts to just one percent of the documents they intend to publish, one can only look forward to the coming days with a mixture of joyful anticipation and ominous fear.
Fear because the power of the Deep State is even more forbidding – and seemingly invincible – than anyone knew. Joyful anticipation because, for the first time, it is dawning on the most unlikely people that we are, for all intents and purposes, living in a police state.
The Bag Holder and His Bag
by Jim Kunstler, March 10, 2017
I think many professional observers-of-the-scene are missing something in this unspooling story: the Deep State is actually becoming more impotent and ineffectual, not omnipotent. Case in point: RussiaGate — come on, let’s finally call it that — the popular idea that Russia hacked the 2016 presidential election. It’s popular because it’s such a convenient excuse for the failure of a corrupt, exhausted, and brain-dead Democratic establishment. But all the exertions of the Deep State to put over this story since last summer were negated this week by two events.
US Marines Deploy to Raqqa, Artillery in Tow
Intend to Offer Artillery Support for Kurdish Invasion
by Jason Ditz, March 08, 2017
Details are still scant. Officials refused to confirm the size of the unit or other details, beyond them having a number of M777 howitzers, and a support unit of infantry Marines along with them, marking the first time US artillery has been deployed into Syria.
Obama’s Book Deal: The $60 Million Selfie
MATTHEW STEVENSON • MARCH 3, 2017 • 3,500 WORDS
The first book earned for Obama more than $10 million in royalties and established his political identity, as did The Audacity of Hope. If later, it turned that ghostwriters had a hand in turning out one or both books, would we not feel about Obama as we do about cyclist Lance Armstrong—that he had used some of “mother’s little helpers” to get to the finish line?
Lance cheated because “everyone did it” and because seven-time winners of the Tour de France earned $100 million and rode private planes to beachside manors, while less successful domestiques (support riders) ate bananas for lunch and worked during the off-season as a wrench in a bike shop.
Would Lincoln be Lincoln if it later turned out that he had spent his early years living in a split-level suburban ranch house, playing video games after school?
Would Obama be kite-surfing off Richard Branson’s private island if his first book had sounded like a downloaded term paper?
Why go near the book when you can just read a thousand words by Andrew Bacevich?
Debunking America’s “Good” Occupation
The Good Occupation: American Soldiers and the Hazards of Peace, Susan L. Carruthers, Harvard University Press, 384 pages
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • March 9, 2017
Marring this otherwise very fine book, however, are large numbers of careless errors. So, for example, Carruthers describes the Chicago Daily Tribune as part of the Hearst chain, which would come as news to the ghost of Col. Robert McCormick. She refers to George Marshall as secretary of war, a civilian post; during World War II, General Marshall served as army chief of staff. “Until 1945,” she writes, “officers were not permitted to vote.” That is simply not true. She identifies Woodrow Wilson as “an alumnus of the University of Virginia.” Wilson had diplomas from Princeton and Johns Hopkins, but none from UVA. She characterizes Eisenhower’s controversial agreement with French Admiral Jean Darlan, a representative of the puppet Vichy regime, as “Washington’s first retreat from ‘unconditional surrender.’” But the so-called Darlan Deal dates from November 1942; President Roosevelt did not announce the policy of unconditional surrender until the Casablanca Conference of January 1943. The USS Missouri, site of the final Japanese surrender, does not have “massive twin sixteen-inch guns.” Mighty Mo’s main battery consists of three cannons in each turret. The Marine Corps does not have “cadets.” Why the family and friends of a GI convicted of murdering two Japanese civilians would have “joined forces with the Foreign Legion to mobilize support” is, to put it mildly, unclear. Is Carruthers referring to the American Legion? Finally, and perhaps more egregiously, among American military decorations there is no such thing as a “Purple Cross.”
Spygate: America’s Political Police vs. Donald J. Trump
Deep State’s dirty tricks revealed
by Justin Raimondo, March 08, 2017
The Bloated Military
Donald Trump promises massive military spending increases, but he used to say military cuts didn’t go far enough.
John Stossel | March 1, 2017
America’s going broke. But the president will not touch entitlements, the biggest threat to our solvency. The $608 billion military is the next biggest.
Trump was right when he said he wanted cuts, not increases. He was right to point out that just five NATO countries meet the minimum spending they promised—two percent of GDP. Germany spends just 1.19 percent.
Experts told Business Insider’s Madeline Stone that the youngest generations of homebuyers tend to value efficiency more than ever before and feel that McMansions are impractical and wasteful.
“The correct answer (and what they did) was: develop an incomplete solution and beat the competitor to market,” David said. This was in keeping with one of the company’s 14 core values: “always be hustlin.'” Those who proposed taking more time to come up with a product rather than rushing to beat the competition to market were told, “that’s not the ‘Uber way.'”
A Public-Health Crisis That We Can Fix
Modern society is impossible to imagine without the automobile, yet it’s also one of the biggest destroyers of life.
10 Replicants in Search of Fame
JAMES THOMPSON • MARCH 5, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS
Guantanamo’s Last 100 Days
The Story That Never Was
KAREN GREENBERG • MARCH 2, 2017 • 2,500 WORDS
Israel Is a Problem
Cheerleading for Israel
Everyone’s doing it
PHILIP GIRALDI • MARCH 7, 2017 • 1,800 WORDS
I for one am tired of the perpetual whining of Alan Dershowitz and international professional Jews like Bernard-Henri Levy, who is frequently in the U.S. doing richly rewarded speaking tours on the so-called “Synagogue circuit.” And someone should wake U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley up to the fact that her job is to take care of the American people, not Israel. Quite frankly, if these folks are so much in love with Israel they should go live there and leave the rest of us as well as the U.S. Treasury alone.
If we are heading into yet another round of Israel-centric foreign policy we will be inevitably involved in new wars, starting with Iran which has always been Netanyahu’s enemy of choice. And then there is Syria, where the Israelis would prefer a continuation of chaos, presumably carried out by Washington which can pay the bills and take the casualties. As Bernard-Henri Levy has made clear and the Talmud asserts, Jewish lives are more important than those of gentiles, so it is fit and proper that Americans should fight and die to make sure that Israel might prosper.
Into the Syrian Quagmire
Trump meets complexity
by Justin Raimondo, March 06, 2017
As I’ve warned previously on several occasions, the unleashing of Kurdish nationalism by one or another foreign sponsor – in this case, the US – is bad news for the entire region. For Kurdish nationalism is a virulent phenomenon: ambitious, aggressive, and not likely to be appeased by grants of autonomy. And that ambition knows few geographical limits: Kurdish claims extend as far north as Armenia, as far east as Iran, and well into Turkey. And the Kurdish “autonomous region” in Iraq is straining at the bit to break loose from the Iraqi central government, seize control of the plentiful oil around Kirkuk, and declare independence. Who will prevent them from hooking up with the Syrian YPG and forming a unitary state that extends from the Turkish border to the suburbs of Baghdad?
If the Trump administration persists in its course, it is headed for a disaster of such proportions that will make the “ISIS crisis” look like a Sunday school picnic. Despite Trump’s campaign rhetoric, they will have failed to learn the chief lesson of the past: that US intervention leads to unintended consequences. The great tragedy of all this that there is an alternative, albeit one that is being blocked by the anti-Russian hysteria the President has to contend with on the home front.
The reason for all this hostility towards Russia and China is simple. The War Industry has no immediate prospects other than bunches of disgruntled peasants here and there. War between the Great Powers makes no sense. Gearing up for it is pointless and absurd. This has been obvious for quite some time to anybody paying even a little attention. But gearing up for it is really the only place left for any growth and profit in the War Industry.
Do your part and keep your friends distracted with football, celebrity news, transgender rights, and Trump-hating. Where’s the peaceful protest this weekend?
And the Oscar for Errors Goes to….
JAMES THOMPSON • FEBRUARY 28, 2017 • 900 WORDS
My guide to errors is James Reason “Human Error” 1991.
The fascination for researchers is that each step in an intentional sequence has several consequences, not all of which are easy to predict. As a general rule, failure to predict is an indicator of low ability, but that must be considered in terms of the complexity of the operations being undertaken. One systematic problem is the inability to imagine improbable scenarios until they happen. Incomplete fault trees are legion, and often undetectable on close inspection. If you present a fault tree with sections missing, even skilled operators rarely notice the omissions. In theory, safety systems should catch these errors. James Reason describes each set of safety systems as slices of Emmental cheese intended to stop errors having fatal consequences, until by chance all of the holes in the cheese line up. Bhopal had three systems, none of which operated properly. His analysis of the Chernobyl explosion is fascinating, particularly piquant because it was caused by a badly planned test of a safety system.
Why Is the Alt-Right So Threatening?
ROBERT WEISSBERG • MARCH 2, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS
Now for the awkward question: why are millions of white Americans, including nearly all political poobahs, pundits and the mass media talking heads, so averse to Alt-Right white nationalism when they themselves prefer small scale white ethno states?
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy
MIKE WHITNEY • FEBRUARY 24, 2017 • 1,800 WORDS
The appointment of McMaster is an attempt by Trump to placate his enemies in the Intel agencies and foreign policy establishment. Trump is signaling to his adversaries that he will cooperate in carrying out their strategic agenda provided they allow him to finish his term.
A Budget Without Russians
The Empire’s Nightmare
FRED REED • FEBRUARY 23, 2017 • 1,400 WORDS
A recent move was to send naval forces to the Black Sea, which is not America’s concern. What, precisely, are those ships supposed to do? Steam fiercely in circles, bowwow-grrr-woof? Do they have a purpose other than domestic American consumption? Are they to attack something, defend something in danger of attack, forbid the Russians to do–what?
Russia is not going to invade Europe, and Washington knows it perfectly well, so why put tiny combat forces on its frontiers? If there is going to be a deliberate war, Washington is going to have to start it. Attacking Russia with minor forces, or at all, is probably an idea nuttier than even Washington can invent. One hopes that Europe would not allow Americans to do what they usually does, get others to fight its wars in other people’s countries.
We Shouldn’t Feel Too Optimistic if Isis Are Defeated in Mosul
PATRICK COCKBURN • MARCH 3, 2017 • 1,200 WORDS
The last road out of the city to the west was cut by Iraqi government forces on 1 March and they have also captured one of the half-ruined bridges over the Tigris River that bisects Mosul, which they are planning to repair using US-supplied pontoons. Iraqi military units backed by some 50 US airstrikes a day are getting close to the complex of buildings that used to house the government headquarters in the centre of the city.
Iraqi officials and officers announce only advances and victories, reports that often turn out to be premature or untrue. But there is no doubt that the Iraqi security services are winning the struggle for Mosul, though fighting could go on for a long time amid the close-packed buildings and narrow, twisting alleyways.
I think Jim has a fever this week or something. This is just crazy talk:
Great Expectations (Not)
So, enjoy the last few weeks of artificial Russia hysteria and LBGTQ bathroom neurosis. You’ll have other things to think about as the daffodils come peeping through the garden loam — like what to use for money to buy stuff if, perchance, the ATM machines go to lockdown, and anyway, after three days of that there won’t even be anything to buy (or steal) at the local supermarket, given the fragility of our supply chains. I know this sounds a little extreme, like Zombie Apocalypse, but you won’t actually see any zombies around. They were just part of the perpetual freak show of the mind that is being shoved aside for the starker theatrics of reality.
Warning: Do not watch this if you have not seen movie, plan to soon, and don’t want spoilers.
Otherwise, if you want to save $14 a head and an hour and forty-five minutes, this is a decent substitute for one of the better movies of the last year.
The consequences of boomer overconsumption, underinvestment, and appetite for risk reveal themselves every time a bridge or bank collapses, but can be summarized in America’s prolonged economic mediocrity. Finding decent growth requires stretching all the way back to the 1990s, and even so, the 1990s barely edged out 1970s’ squalor on a per capita GDP basis. Thanks to boomer policies, the new normal is 1.6 percent real growth, well below the 2.5 to 3.5 percent rates prevailing from the 1950s to the 1980s. For the young, the price will be incomes 30 percent to 50 percent lower than they could have been.
Concealing and Revealing
by Andrew P. Napolitano, March 02, 2017
Enemy of the Year: Why Russia?
What’s up with the current Russophobia craze?
by Justin Raimondo, March 01, 2017
In Afghanistan, America’s Biggest Foe Is Self-Deception
William Astore and Tom Engelhardt, March 01, 2017
For those who do not remember: SAC Capital was once one of the most powerful hedge funds on Wall Street. Cohen, its fabled steward, was different from the other colossi of the industry (George Soros, Paul Tudor Jones) in that he never seemed to have a grand unified field theory of investing. Rather, he had a talent for reading the market’s movements and a freakishly high threshold for tolerating risk.
And, miraculously, he was on the right side of almost every transaction — “something that seemed, at least on the surface, to be impossible,” Kolhatkar writes. This improbable winning streak eventually got the F.B.I.’s attention, when it was investigating insider trading at a different hedge fund, the Galleon Group, and managed to lock up its chief.
But Cohen never faced a criminal charge. The most the government could do was order SAC Capital to shut down in 2013 and fine it $1.8 billion — a figure that sounds like an awful lot until you learn that Cohen had almost $10 billion of his own money left over, which he could still trade and invest as a private family office.
Now, before any Trumpward-leaning readers get too excited about where I’m going with this, I should probably state for the record here that I regard the man as a dangerous idiot, made even more dangerous by the fact that his program appears to be primarily the work of Steve Bannon, who is not an idiot and is much more dangerous. I’m imagining Bannon slouched on a couch in his lair in the White House this Sunday morning, sporting his signature impish grin as he scans the reaction of the mainstream media to his latest perfectly calculated gambit. The man knows exactly what he’s doing. With a stroke of Trump’s pen he has simultaneously reassured his neo-nationalist base that Trump’s promises were not just empty threats and provoked the media and urban liberals into an understandable but mindless frenzy of unfocused anti-Trump “resistance.” This is a textbook insurrectionist tactic that Bannon has been employing with alarming success.
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
C.J. HOPKINS • FEBRUARY 21, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS
The fact that there is not one shred of actual evidence to support these claims makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. Such official propaganda is not designed to be credible; it is designed to bludgeon people into submission through sheer relentless repetition and fear of social ostracization … which, once again, is working perfectly.
“The Resistance” is exhibiting precisely the type of mindlessly fascistic, herd-like behavior it purports to be trying to save us from. Yes, the mood in Resistance quarters has turned quite openly authoritarian.
William Kristol captured it succinctly: “Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, [I] prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”
Angst in the Church of America the Redeemer
David Brooks on making America great again
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • February 23, 2017
Perhaps space constraints did not permit Brooks in his recent column to spell out the “humiliations” that resulted and that even today continue to accumulate. Here in any event is a brief inventory of what that euphemism conceals: thousands of Americans needlessly killed; tens of thousands grievously wounded in body or spirit; trillions of dollars wasted; millions of Iraqis dead, injured, or displaced; this nation’s moral standing compromised by its resort to torture, kidnapping, assassination, and other perversions; a region thrown into chaos and threatened by radical terrorist entities like the Islamic State that U.S. military actions helped foster. And now, if only as an oblique second-order bonus, we have Donald Trump’s elevation to the presidency to boot.
In refusing to reckon with the results of the war he once so ardently endorsed, Brooks is hardly alone. Members of the Church of America the Redeemer, Democrats and Republicans alike, are demonstrably incapable of rendering an honest accounting of what their missionary efforts have yielded.
Brooks belongs, or once did, to the Church’s neoconservative branch. But liberals such as Bill Clinton, along with his secretary of state Madeleine Albright, were congregants in good standing, as were Barack Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton. So, too, are putative conservatives like Senators John McCain, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, all of them subscribing to the belief in the singularity and indispensability of the United States as the chief engine of history, now and forever.
Back in April 2003, confident that the fall of Baghdad had ended the Iraq War, Brooks predicted that “no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, ‘We were wrong. Bush was right.’” Rather than admitting error, he continued, the war’s opponents “will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future.”
Interesting Week for Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump
THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 26, 2017
Furthermore, by beating on the media, especially CNN and the rest of the main US TV channels, Trump is pushing the US public to turn to other information sources, including those sympathetic to him, primarily on the Internet. Good move – that is how he won the first time around and that is how he might win again.
The Neocons and the US ‘Deep State’ have to carefully weigh the risks of continuing their vendetta against Trump. Right now, they appear to be preparing to go after Bannon. But what will they do if Trump, instead of ditching Bannon like he ditched Flynn, decides to dig in and fight with everything he has got? Then what? If there is one thing the Neocons and the deep state hate is to have a powerful light pointed directly at them. They like to play in the dark, away from an always potentially hostile public eye. If Trump decides to fight back, really fight back, and if he appeals directly to the people for support, there is no saying what could happen next.
Mr. Bannon, 63, has won a reputation for abrasive brilliance at almost every stop in his unorthodox career — as a naval officer, Goldman Sachs mergers specialist, entertainment-industry financier, documentary screenwriter and director, Breitbart News cyber-agitprop impresario and chief executive of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. One Harvard Business School classmate described him to The Boston Globe as “top three in intellectual horsepower in our class — perhaps the smartest.” Benjamin Harnwell of the Institute for Human Dignity, a Catholic organization in Rome, calls him a “walking bibliography.” Perhaps because Mr. Bannon came late to conservatism, turning his full-time energy to political matters only after the Sept. 11 attacks, he radiates an excitement about it that most of his conservative contemporaries long ago lost.
So some of the roots of Mr. Bannon’s ideology, like the roots of Mr. Trump’s popularity, are to be found in the disappointed hopes of the global economy. But Mr. Bannon, unlike Mr. Trump, has a detailed idea, an explanation, of how American sovereignty was lost, and of what to do about it. It is the same idea that Tea Party activists have: A class of regulators in the government has robbed Americans of their democratic prerogatives. That class now constitutes an “administrative state” that operates to empower itself and enrich its crony-capitalist allies.
When Mr. Bannon spoke on Thursday of “deconstructing the administrative state,” it may have sounded like gobbledygook outside the hall, but it was an electrifying profession of faith for the attendees. It is through Mr. Bannon that Trumpism can be converted from a set of nostalgic laments and complaints into a program for overhauling the government.
Postscript: This item from The Stanford [University] Daily newspaper puts a nice gloss on the stupefying idiocy in the campus sex-and-identity debate. Single-occupancy Restrooms Convert to All-gender Facilities: “Single-occupancy restrooms on campus will soon all be converted to gender-neutral facilities due to new California legislature and ongoing administrative efforts. The Diversity and Access Office (D&A Office) has been spearheading the campaign to convert all single-occupancy restrooms….”
Here’s what I don’t get: if a single-occupancy restroom is going to be used by one person at a time, what need is there to officially designate the sex of any person using it? And why are officials at an elite university wasting their time on this?
After meeting Christian President Michel Aoun – her first public handshake with a head of state – and Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Monday, she had been scheduled to meet the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian
He heads the Dar al-Fatwa, the top religious authority for Sunni Muslims in the multireligious country.
“I met the grand mufti of Al-Azhar,” she told reporters, referring to a visit in 2015 to Cairo’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning. “The highest Sunni authority didn’t have this requirement, but it doesn’t matter.
“You can pass on my respects to the grand mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” she said.
“Any country with a sophisticated chemical weapons effort can produce VX,” said CNN’s military analyst Rick Francona. “The formula has been around since the 1950s so its nothing new it just has to be made, the political will and determination that we are going to build this weapon.”
Why We Must Oppose the Kremlin-Baiting Against Trump
The Russia-connected allegations have created an atmosphere of hysteria amounting to McCarthyism.
By Stephen F. Cohen
The bipartisan, nearly full-political-spectrum tsunami of factually unverified allegations that President Trump has been sedi- tiously “compromised” by the Kremlin, with scarcely any nonpartisan pushback from influential political or media sources, is deeply alarming. Begun by the Clinton campaign in mid-2016, and exemplified now by New York Times columnists (who write of a “Trump-Putin regime” in Washington), strident MSNBC hosts, and unbalanced CNN commentators, the practice is growing into a latter-day McCarthyite hysteria. Such politically malignant practices should be deplored wherever they appear, whether on the part of conservatives, liberals, or progressives.
The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost
by Andrew P. Napolitano, February 23, 2017
In the pre-Revolutionary era, British courts in London secretly issued general warrants to British government agents in America. The warrants were not based on any probable cause of crime or individual articulable suspicion; they did not name the person or thing to be seized or identify the place to be searched. They authorized agents to search where they wished and seize what they found.
The use of general warrants was so offensive to our Colonial ancestors that it whipped up more serious opposition to British rule and support for the revolutionaries than the “no taxation without representation” argument did.
Iraqi Forces Begin Bitter Battle for Mosul in Effort to Destroy Isis
PATRICK COCKBURN • FEBRUARY 19, 2017
Isis depended on mobile squads of snipers, booby traps and over 600 suicide bombers driving vehicles packed with explosives to slow the advance of the counter terrorism service and other elite formation, some of which suffered 50 per cent casualties during a snail’s pace advance. By the end of 2016, the Iraqi Kurdish health ministry was complaining that its hospitals were full to overflowing with 13,500 wounded soldiers and civilians from the fighting in Mosul.
While Mr Abadi called on the Iraqi forces to be careful of the human rights of civilians in Mosul, videos are emerging of young men being beaten and summarily executed in places already taken by Iraqi troops. Despite frequent claims that it is liberating Mosul, the Shia-dominated Iraqi government is effectively assaulting the last great Sunni Arab city in Iraq. Away from the television cameras Iraqi soldiers often suspect civilians in Mosul of having been much more cooperative with Isis since 2014 than they now claim.
Glad to read our military budget is being used to fall behind, rather than protect us:
How the Pentagon is Preparing for a Tank War With Russia
The T-90’s active protective system is the Shtora-1 countermeasures suite. “I’ve interviewed Ukrainian tank gunners,” said Karber. “They’ll say ‘I had my [anti-tank weapon] right on it, it got right up to it and then they had this miraculous shield. An invisible shield. Suddenly, my anti-tank missile just went up to the sky.’”
$254 Billion in Unconditional US Aid to Israel Is Unique
New drive to compare it with equally suspect military alliance expenditures fails
by Grant Smith, February 23, 2017
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