U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
DIANA JOHNSTONE • JULY 28, 2017 • 1,600 WORDS
Under U.S. sanctions, any EU nation doing business with Russia may find itself in deep trouble. In particular, the latest bill targets companies involved in financing Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to provide Germany with much needed natural gas from Russia.
By the way, just to help out, American companies will gladly sell their own fracked natural gas to their German friends, at much higher prices.
The United States gets away with this gangster behavior because over the years it has developed a vast, obscure legalistic maze, able to impose its will on the “free world” economy thanks to the omnipresence of the dollar, unrivaled intelligence gathering and just plain intimidation.
European leaders reacted indignantly to the latest sanctions. The German foreign ministry said it was “unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interest of U.S. industry”. The French foreign ministry denounced the “extraterritoriality” of the U.S. legislation as unlawful, and announced that “To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws”.
Let’s start with health care, so called, since the failure to do anything about the current disastrous system is so fresh. What’s the narrative there? That “providers” (doctors and hospitals) can team up with banking operations called “insurance companies” to fairly allocate “services” to the broad population with a little help from the government. No, that’s actually not how it works. The three “players” actually engage in a massive racketeering matrix — that is, they extract enormous sums of money dishonestly from the public they pretend to serve and they do it twice: once by extortionary fees and again by taxes paid to subsidize mitigating the effects of the racketeering.
The US fought in Vietnam for years, you lost 50,000 men and killed hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, and still you were defeated and expelled from Indochina. And the bottom line? The Vietnamese now are best friends of the US. They like Americans more than they like us, the Russians, or the Chinese, though we supported them through thick and thin in their wars against you or against the French. What was the Vietnam War for? In a few years, the Americans will ask you: what for did we fight that war in Syria and Iraq? You would be lost for an answer.
Do you begin to see the outlines of the clusterfuck rising like a bad moon over the harvest season of 2017? The American people, by and large, have no more idea how false and fragile the financial arrangements of the nation are than the average eight-year-old has about why the re-po squad is towing away Daddy’s Ford-F150. We’re just doing what we always do: gittin’ our summer on. Breaking out the potato salad and the Bud Lites — at least those who have enough mojo left in their MasterCards to charge the party supplies.
When I went to Russia in 1994, I was brought to the house of some researchers who were reading the then-recently released files on Trotsky. They said that one thing puzzled them: Did he really have an affair with Frieda Kahlo?
I phoned Dad from their Moscow house. Dad got worried that the phones were being tapped and that I’d get in trouble, but I said that all the Russians really cared about those days was money, not old politics. So he laughed and laughed and said that, yes, he used to drive Trotsky back and forth to see Frieda.
“X. no longer knows what to do with himself. Events trouble him to excess. His panic is salutary to me: it forces me to calm him, and this effort of persuasion, this search for soothing arguments, soothes me in my turn. In order to keep on this side of madness, you must frequent those more demented than yourself.”
As for the substance of Hersh’s investigation, he finds that Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base in April “despite having been warned by the US intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.”
In fact, Hersh reveals that, contrary to the popular narrative, the Syrian strike on a jihadist meeting place in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 was closely coordinated beforehand between Russian and US intelligence agencies. The US were well apprised of what would happen and tracked the events.
Hersh’s sources in the intelligence establishment point out that these close contacts occurred for two reasons. First, there is a process known as “deconfliction”, designed to avoid collisions or accidental encounters between the US, Syrian and Russian militaries, especially in the case of their supersonic jets. The Russians therefore supplied US intelligence with precise details of that day’s attack beforehand. But in this case, the coordination also occurred because the Russians wanted to warn the US to keep away a CIA asset, who had penetrated the jihadist group, from that day’s meeting.
“This was not a chemical weapons strike,” a senior adviser to the US intelligence community told Hersh. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon … would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear.”
“Five assassination attempts, I’m told. Not as much as Castro whom I interviewed – I think he must have had 50 – but there’s a legitimate five that I’ve heard about.”
Putin doesn’t deny it. Instead, he talks about his discussion with Fidel Castro on the subject, who told him “Do you know why I’m still alive? Because I was always the one to deal with my security personally.” However, Putin doesn’t follow Castro’s example. Apparently he trusts his security people: “I do my job and the security people do theirs.” What’s interesting is that the conversation continues along these lines, in the context of attempts on Castro’s life. Stone is surprised that Putin didn’t take Castro’s advice on the security question, saying “Because always the first mode of assassination, from when the United States went after Castro, you try to get inside the security of the president to perform assassination.” “Yes,” replies Putin, “I know that. Do you know what they say among the Russian people? They say that those who are destined to be hanged are not going to drown.”
The kind of missiles fired by S-300/S-400 batteries are extremely fast, over 4,000mph (four thousand miles per hour) which means that a missile launched as far away as 120 miles will reach you in 2 minutes or that a missile launched 30 miles away will reach you in 30 seconds. And just to make things worse, the S-300 can use a special radar mode called “track via missile” where the radar emits a pulse towards the target whose reflection is then received not by the ground based radar, but by the rapidly approaching missile itself, which then sends its reading back to the ground radar which then sends guidance corrections back to the missile. Why is that bad for the aircraft? Because there is no way to tell from the emissions whether a missile has been launched and is already approaching at over 4,000mph or not.
The standard explanation is that, first, Medicare jacked up overall healthcare activity in the 1960s, hauling in a customer-base of old folks who previously received no special treatment and were, generally, less well than non-old folk. Secondarily, technological innovation opened up so many new methods of disease control for everybody, young and old, that we’re able to treat more sickness in more complicated ways — and that drove costs up way further.
The greater part of the story remains neatly concealed within the matrix of rackets erected around the money-flows since the big cost bump-up in the 1960s, and these involve insurance companies, Big Pharma, corporatized doctors’ practices, hospital monopolies, and, of course, politicians on-the-take dividing amongst each other a colossal pool of grift that exists mainly for one simple reason: the cost of everything is hidden from public view.
Play Ball! Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
June 16th, 2017
All this idiocy suggests that the Russia meme is losing its mojo and the forces dedicate to dump Trump might have to look elsewhere for some legal ground to stand on. For the moment, they’re veering into the darkling woods where obstruction of justice lives, a Blair Witch Project of politics, where any old assemblage of broken twigs is a sure sign of the lurking beast — but perhaps that’s exactly where witch-hunting takes you.
Personally, I still believe they’ll run him over with the 25th Amendment, which allows for simple removal of a batshit incompetent executive without the pain-in-the-ass rigmarole of due process. You just get a consensus of the highest officials in the land to agree that guy has to go, and they get him gone, and, in this case, you get yourself Mike Pence, a tranny-like Church-Lady with a hard-on for the Koch Brothers. That’ll get the country great fast, I’m sure.
“The Democrats are not fighting Trump over his assault on health care, his attacks on immigrants, his militaristic bullying around the world, or even his status as a minority president who can claim no mandate after losing the popular vote. Instead, they have chosen to attack Trump, the most right-wing president in US history, from the right, denouncing him as insufficiently committed to a military confrontation with Russia.”
— Patrick Martin, “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming”, World Socialist Web Site
Russia and Islam
Connecting the Dots and Discerning the Future THE SAKER • JUNE 19, 2017 • 4,500 WORDS
The Russian have dug in, very very deep, and they will fight very hard if attacked. Most importantly, they now have the means of bringing in more forces, including heavy equipment, in a very short time.
Again, this might be a premature conclusion, but barring any (always possible) surprises, the Russians are in, Assad stays in power, the Takfiris are out and the civil war is over.
Conversely this means that: the US lost the war, as did the KSA, Qatar, Israel, France, the UK and all the other so-called “friends of Syria”. The Iranians, Hezbollah and the Russians have won.
The Russian success was especially amazing when compared to the apparently endless series of defeats for the United States: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and now the latest mess with the Saudi blockade against Qatar – the Americans just don’t see to be able to get anything done. Just the contrast between the way the US betrayed Hosni Mubarak with how the Russians stood by Assad is a powerful message to all the regional leaders: better to have the Russians on your side than the Americans.
But then again, when I am really down on Trump and what he is doing or not doing, I think of Hillary Rodham Clinton. A good friend of mine Joe Lauria, formerly a Wall Street Journal correspondent, has recently introduced, edited, and provided extensive commentary for a book entitled How I Lost By Hillary Clinton. It is an indictment of the Clinton campaign “in her own words” and includes a foreword by Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, who discusses the leaks of Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta emails that together provide much of the material included in the text.
Lauria uses the source material to describe the Clinton campaign using her own speeches as well as the leaked emails of her close associates, and it really is refreshing to revisit what made the “inevitable” Hillary so unappealing, particularly as she is now trying to rebrand herself without assuming any serious blame for her shortcomings as a candidate. Along the way, documents reveal the road to Russiagate and Clinton’s plans for more regime change, as well as expose corruption within the nominally “neutral” DNC, the latter of which led to the deliberate sabotage of the campaign of Bernie Sanders and the de facto anointment of Clinton as president-apparent.
Mattis has reportedly settled on 4,000. He claims that this will help end the stalemate in that war. He is wrong. This deployment will have no impact on the outcome of the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, but more importantly, continues a troubling trend in U.S. foreign policy: The military move has no ties to a strategic outcome.
Astonishingly, the day before the increase in troop strength was announced by the White House, Mattis admitted in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States was in a “strategy-free time and we’re scrambling to put it together.” As should be clear by now, the problem isn’t the number of troops, but in the fact the military is being used, without a strategy, to solve a political problem.
The stress surrounding the search for a suitable partner has given rise to highly rated television dating shows and public matchmaking events. And to advice columnists like Ayawawa, who can detail the techniques for dating and marrying a man.
The columnists have their critics, who accuse them of reinforcing gender stereotypes, but the columnists counter that they are simply acknowledging reality.
“Our world has been hijacked by political correctness,” Ms. Yang said. “I’m criticized for telling the truth about the differences between men and women.”
As Ayawawa explains on her WeChat home page, “M.V.” stands for “Mate Value,” and “P.U.” refers to “Paternity Uncertainty.”
She elaborated: “A man’s M.V. is determined by his age, height, looks, wealth, I.Q., emotional quotient, sexual capacity and willingness to make a long-term commitment.” The eight elements in a woman’s M.V. are her “age, looks, height, bra cup size, weight, academic degrees, personality and family background.”
As for P.U., Ayawawa said, “In human evolutionary history, a man’s great concern is that he cannot be certain if he is the father of his partner’s child.” So she advises her female readers: “Don’t wear revealing clothes. Don’t be always posting pictures of yourself drinking in a bar. Be a lady, speak softly, be modest.”
Political correctness ensures that we cannot even talk about the problem. If you suggest that blacks stop shooting each other, you are a racist. If you suggest that they study, you are a racist. If you suggest they get married before reproducing, you are a racist. It will continue until either America slowly deflates or hell breaks loose.
In case you wonder how our politics fell into such a slough of despond, the answer is pretty simple. Neither main political party, or their trains of experts, specialists, and mouthpieces, can construct a coherent story about what is happening in this country — and the result is a roaring wave of recursive objurgation and wrath that loops purposelessly towards gathering darkness.
What’s happening is a slow-motion collapse of the economy. Neither Democrats or Republicans know why it is so remorselessly underway. A tiny number of well-positioned scavengers thrive on the debris cast off by the process of disintegration, but they don’t really understand the process either — the lobbyists, lawyers, bankers, contractors, feeders at the troughs of government could not be more cynical or clueless.
Are we suggesting that the heads of the so called Intelligence Community are at war with the Trump Administration and paving the way for impeachment proceedings?
Yep, we sure are. The Russia hacking fiasco is a regime change operation no different than the CIA’s 50-or-so other oustings in the last 70 years. The only difference is that this operation is on the home field which is why everyone is so flustered. These things are only suppose to happen in those “other” countries.
Does this analysis make me a Donald Trump supporter?
Never. The idea is ridiculous. Trump might be the worst US president of all time, in fact, he probably is. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other nefarious forces at work behind the smokescreen of democratic government. There are. In fact, this whole flap suggests that there’s an alternate power-structure that operates completely off the public’s radar and has the elected-government in its death-grip. This largely invisible group of elites controls the likes of Brennan, Clapper and Comey. And, apparently, they have enough influence to challenge and maybe even remove an elected president from office. (We’ll see.)
And what’s more surprising, is that the Democrats have aligned themselves with these deep state puppetmasters. They’ve cast their lot with the sinister stewards of the national security state and hopped on the impeachment bandwagon. But is that a wise choice for the Dems?
Why do you suppose nations employ foreign ministers and ambassadors, if not to conduct conversations at the highest level with other national leaders? And might these conversations include matters of great sensitivity, that is, classified information? If you doubt that then you have no understanding of geopolitics or history.
The General Mike Flynn story is especially a crack-up. Did he accept a twenty thousand dollar speaking fee from the Russian news outlet RT in his interlude as a private citizen? How does that compare to the millions sucked in by the Clinton Foundation in pay-to-play deal when Madame was secretary of state? Or her six-figure speeches to Goldman Sachs and their ilk. Are private citizens forbidden to accept speaking fees or consulting fees from countries that we are not at war with? I’d like to know how many other alumni of the Bill Clinton, Bush-II and Obama admins have hired themselves out on this basis. Scores and scores, I would bet.
Evebody just eat as much candy as you want because this is probably our last Easter on Earth.
Ironically, the Syria attack may be the best chance for the hysterical, anti-Trump, pussy-hat gang to impeach the President but they are not paying attention. Ever since their predictions of the next Hitler fizzled they have lost interest.
The explosive acted on the pipe as a blunt crushing mallet. It drove the pipe into the ground while at the same time creating the crater. Since the pipe was filled with sarin, which is an incompressible fluid, as the pipe was flattened the sarin acted on the walls and ends of the pipe causing a crack along the length of the pipe and also the failure of the cap on the back end. This mechanism of dispersal is essentially the same as hitting a toothpaste tube with a large mallet, which then results in the tube failing and the toothpaste being blown in many directions depending on the exact way the toothpaste skin ruptures.
Leaving Leninism and anti-Leninism aside, the first thing for the historian to re-establish is the obvious fact, which nobody in the 1890s would have denied, that the division of the globe had an economic dimension. To demonstrate this is not to explain everything about the imperialism of the period. Economic development is not a sort of ventriloquist with the rest of history as its dummy. For that matter, even the most single-minded businessman pursuing profit into, say, the South African gold- and diamond-mines, can never be treated exclusively as a money-making machine. He was not immune to the political, emotional, ideological, patriotic or even racial appeals which were so patently associated with imperial expansion. Nevertheless, if an economic connection can be established between the tendencies of economic development in the capitalist core of the globe at this time and its expansion into the periphery, it becomes much less plausible to put the full weight of explanation on motives for imperialism which have no intrinsic connection with the penetration and conquest of the non-western world. And even those which appear to have, such as the strategic calculations of rival powers, must be analysed while bearing the economic dimension in mind. Even today politics in the Middle East, which are far from explicable on simple economic grounds, cannot be realistically discussed without considering oil.
Chapter 3 – “The Age of Empire”
The Age of Empire: 1875-1914 (1987)
First off, it is clear that even as airlines have increased the amount of flights being offered, the demand has been rising to meet that supply.
Bespoke pointed out that the total number of available airline miles have surged since 2008, while capacity — basically how full the flights are — has remained steady. This indicates, at the minimum, sufficient demand for the increased air miles.
“Scheduled airline seat miles have been rising steadily since 2014, while load factors (basically, the percentage of seats filled) have been steady near 85% for domestic flights,” said the note.
He and his team at the University of Texas at Austin filed a patent on a new kind of battery that, if it works as promised, would be so cheap, lightweight and safe that it would revolutionize electric cars and kill off petroleum-fueled vehicles. His announcement has caused a stir, in part, because Dr. Goodenough has done it before. In 1980, at age 57, he coinvented the lithium-ion battery that shrunk power into a tiny package.
“We don’t have the tax reform that we’re expecting,” Fink said. “If we don’t see a true deregulation, I think the markets would have some setbacks there.”
He added that the US economy was slowing down and would probably grow by less than 1.5%. “In fact, I think the first quarter, the US may be the slowest economy in the G-7,” he said.
“If you believe that it would be longer for these to transpire and we have an economy that is slower because of uncertainty, then I would say the market is, the US equity markets are probably higher than they should be,” Fink added.
Air cover for the US forces in Syria imply either a tacit agreement with the Russians and the Syrians, something like what the Israelis apparently have, or an immense risk for the USAF and USN aircraft. So we are back to negotiating with the Russians and via the Russians, with the Syrians.
In fact, I bet you that this is what the Americans are doing right now. Quietly negotiating with the Russians. Problem: the Neocons hate Russia and everything Russian. And they loathe Putin.
Close your eyes, click your heels three times, and tell me if you actually know what the fuck is happening in Syria. There’s an awful lot about the poison gas attack that doesn’t add up for the casual observer. It was only a week ago that the US enunciated a new policy that we would be content for Bashar al Assad to remain in power presiding over the Syrian government — after years of grousing and threats against him. Apparently Trump Central had concluded that Assad was a better alternative than another failed state in the Middle East with no government at all.