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Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few

Journalism Vacation from Truth

I think journalists today — elite journalists at least — absorb the biases of the ruling class far more readily than they used to do. The media establishment is populated by yes-men. I do not understand how any skeptical person can, in good conscience, trust a western MSM description of foreign events. You need a second source to compare coverage. The mainstream media gives us no real news. Just the talking points they were given. Seeing how they treat the concept of truth these days, one might think that MSM just don’t care anymore.

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Anti Trump Hysteria Recommended Links Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Purple revolution against Trump Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak
Demonization of Putin Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Obama's Putin-did-it fiasco Media-Military-Industrial Complex Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton
Doublespeak Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Freedom of speech played by Western MSM as three card monte Patterns of Propaganda The importance of controlling the narrative
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Cold War II "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism as the USA version of Neoliberal ideology  Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers New American Militarism
Swiftboating: Khan gambit against Trump at Democratic Convention Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" Deception as an art form The Deep State National Security State Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law
Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair US and British media are servants of security apparatus The attempt to secure global hegemony American Exceptionalism Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Lewis Powell Memo Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Edward Lucas as agent provocateur Groupthink Soft propaganda
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' The Real War on Reality Nation under attack meme Bullshit as MSM communication method
Neo-fascism Classic Hypocrisy of British Ruling Elite Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Big Uncle is Watching You What's the Matter with Kansas Media as a weapon of mass deception
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass The Good Soldier Svejk Nineteen Eighty-Four Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given,
rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content.
If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion. Have a pleasant evening.

jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015

Journalists manipulate us in the interest of the Powerful

Do you also have the feeling, that you are often manipulated by the media and  lied to? Then you're like the majority of Germans. Previously it was considered as a "conspiracy theory". Now it revealed by an Insider, who tells us what is really happening under the hood.

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds  projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany 

...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

Gekaufte Journalisten - Medienwelt Enthόllungen Bόcher - Kopp Verlag

Truth-Killing as a Meta-Issue

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth — factual reality — is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. 

Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently

To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

The National Interest Blog

Propaganda can be  defined as a war on reality using fake news, disinformation and other methods. An attempt to create an artificial reality.  The key here is controlling the narrative

How does Fake History and Fake News gradually supersede their reality-based version and were enforced on the US society as the only acceptable narrative? My impression is that McCarthyism was not exactly only about Communists. It has elements of a more general witch hunt for "dissidents" who question "official Washington narrative" and simulataniously brainwashing of population in best Bosheviks style. After which questioning of official narrative has  become a "though  crime".

While Senator McCarthney has  a certain gist for this staff and probably would be a suitable candidate for high collision in NKVD, he was not a pioneer. He was just a talanted follower. This type of modem witch hunt was first implemented on large scale by Bolsheviks in Russia after 1917.  Actually Bolsheviks originated many modern methods of brainwashing of the population.  which later were enhanced and further developed in Nazi Germany and than imported to the USA after WWII. Creation of intelligence agencies by Truman was actually a creation of national security state and  with it the huge apparatus of state propaganda controlled and directed by intelligence  agencies, which gradually acquired considerable level of control of MSM  (see Church Committee - Wikipedia )

In other words it was a gradual switch to a "cult-style" practice of mind control of population (Bolshevism actually can be best viewed as a cult merged with the political movement, much like political Islam today ). the main methods here is generation and control of "suitable" narrative. 

"The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an "official narrative" that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between "the truth" as defined by the ruling classes and any other "truth" that contradicts their narrative. "

 Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Neoliberal Propaganda


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[Jun 28, 2017] Disrupt the Disrupters: Uber's Comeuppance is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy by Dean Baker

Notable quotes:
"... Uber took this to the extreme, fighting all forms of regulation everywhere, whereas Airbnb and most of the other sharing economies have generally tried to reach accommodations with regulators. (Interesting exception: In New York City, though Uber flooded the market and undercut yellow cabs on pricing, they technically abided by the stringent rules of the Taxi & Limousine Commission. Airbnb, meantime, got its foothold enabling activity that was against the city's hotel laws.) ..."
"... But Uber forced the issue by plunging ahead with its service and completely ignoring the rules governing the taxi industry. It quickly gained a following of loyal customers, which made politicians in most cities reluctant to challenge the company.... ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | cepr.net

anne: June 27, 2017 at 03:40 PM

June 25, 2017

Travis Kalanick's forced resignation as the CEO of Uber is a great symbolic end to the adolescence of the "sharing" economy. Uber and other companies that claimed space in this invented arena may now have to acknowledge that they are not actually new and different from everything that went before them. And the rules that apply to their competitors also apply to them.

Uber under Kalanick was in many ways the poster child for the sharing economy. The company insisted that all the rules that governments had put in place to regulate the taxi industry - to protect workers and to prevent discrimination - didn't make sense for the new model, because they were Uber.

The company's effective motto, that it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission, seemed to cry out for a swift slap to the face. Taxis are hardly new, but the Uber gang claimed that the whole set of regulations developed around the industry didn't apply to them because they were an app-based "ride hailing" platform, not a taxi company.

This was, and is, garbage; as are most of the claims for the "newness" and "uniqueness" of the sharing economy companies. There is very little that is genuinely unique about this set of companies, but they insistently claim that they are reinventing everything but the wheel.

Take, for example, Airbnb, the other towering pillar of the sharing economy. What exactly is new and unique about renting out rooms in a house, or even about renting whole apartments? This one probably dates back to pre-historic times. Airbnb has people marketing this service over the Internet, in a single, easily organized directory. That is certainly newer, but the Internet has been around for two decades and so has been the practice of using it as a way to market rooms for rent.

The only thing that was really new about Uber, Airbnb and the other sharing economy companies was the claim that they should be exempt from longstanding rules and regulations.

Uber took this to the extreme, fighting all forms of regulation everywhere, whereas Airbnb and most of the other sharing economies have generally tried to reach accommodations with regulators. (Interesting exception: In New York City, though Uber flooded the market and undercut yellow cabs on pricing, they technically abided by the stringent rules of the Taxi & Limousine Commission. Airbnb, meantime, got its foothold enabling activity that was against the city's hotel laws.)

Just to be clear, there were and are real problems with the regulatory structure in many sectors, especially the taxi industry. Uber performed a valuable service by directly challenging a framework that largely served to protect the incumbent industry. The structure limited supply and in this way had the predictable result of giving bad service and high prices.

This regulatory environment needs to be modernized - thoughtfully, not by a profit-making competitor, but by government.

But Uber forced the issue by plunging ahead with its service and completely ignoring the rules governing the taxi industry. It quickly gained a following of loyal customers, which made politicians in most cities reluctant to challenge the company....

[Jun 28, 2017] Putin New US sanctions harmful to relations, but Russia will deal

Notable quotes:
"... "Of course, it remains to be seen what it leads to in the end. But whatever happens, whatever decisions they take across the ocean, it will not bring us to a dead end," ..."
"... "will probably have to make some policy corrections and take some new measures," ..."
"... "to some sort of a collapse." ..."
"... "This will certainly make Russian-American relations more difficult. I believe it to be harmful," ..."
"... "We generally reject sanctions with extra-territorial effects, meaning an impact on third countries," ..."
"... The US is currently investing heavily into costly liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, which would allow it to deliver natural gas to the European market more easily. The product would compete directly with Russian-supplied gas, so undermining construction of the pipeline would give American producers an advantage in fighting for a bigger share of the European market. Read more US Senate adopts amendment on more sanctions against Russia ..."
Jun 18, 2017 | www.rt.com

New sanctions imposed on Russia by the US will certainly make relations between the countries worse, but will hardly leave Russia hamstrung, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

"Of course, it remains to be seen what it leads to in the end. But whatever happens, whatever decisions they take across the ocean, it will not bring us to a dead end," the president told Vesti on a Saturday program.

Putin was referring to the US Senate's approval of an amendment to an anti-Iran bill that would prevent US President Donald Trump from lifting current anti-Russian sanctions without congressional authorization and also impose new broad ones.

If Washington does implement the new sanctions, the Russian government "will probably have to make some policy corrections and take some new measures," Putin said, adding that this will in no way lead the country "to some sort of a collapse."

"This will certainly make Russian-American relations more difficult. I believe it to be harmful," he added.

Earlier, several European countries, including Germany, France and Austria, voiced concern over the newly proposed sanctions, which could potentially affect European companies working with Russia on joint energy projects, such as the NordStream 2 gas pipeline.

"We generally reject sanctions with extra-territorial effects, meaning an impact on third countries," German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told the media on Friday.

The US is currently investing heavily into costly liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, which would allow it to deliver natural gas to the European market more easily. The product would compete directly with Russian-supplied gas, so undermining construction of the pipeline would give American producers an advantage in fighting for a bigger share of the European market. Read more US Senate adopts amendment on more sanctions against Russia

[Jun 28, 2017] Trump betrayed all three his electin time promises about changes to Oabamacare: everybody got to be covered, no cuts to Medicaid, and Every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc June 25, 2017 at 09:27 AM

Here is a 5 day old article on Trump deregulating Big Pharma that directly impacts the skyrocketing costs of American Health Care to go with the above posts re the Republican Party's AHCA cutting of coverage and transfer of wealth to the wealthiest in America

Trump is the #1 problem with American Health Care today, he works for the interests of the corporations not the people's

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/health/draft-order-on-drug-prices-proposes-easing-regulations.html

"Draft Order on Drug Prices Proposes Easing Regulations"

By SHEILA KAPLAN and KATIE THOMAS...JUNE 20, 2017

"In the early days of his administration, President Trump did not hesitate to bash the drug industry. But a draft of an executive order on drug prices appears to give the pharmaceutical industry much of what it has asked for - and no guarantee that costs to consumers will drop.

The draft, which The New York Times obtained on Tuesday, is light on specifics but clear on philosophy: Easing regulatory hurdles for the drug industry is the best way to get prices down.

The proposals identify some issues that have stoked public outrage - such as the high out-of-pocket costs for medicines - but it largely leaves the drug industry unscathed. In fact, the four-page document contains several proposals that have long been championed by the industry, including strengthening drugmakers' monopoly power overseas and scaling back a federal program that requires pharmaceutical companies to give discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve low-income patients.

Mr. Trump has often excoriated the drug industry for high prices, seizing on an issue that stirs the anger of Republicans and Democrats alike. He has accused the industry of "getting away with murder," and said that he wanted to allow the federal government to negotiate directly with drug companies over the price of drugs covered by Medicare.

But the proposed order does little to specifically call out the drug industry and instead focuses on rolling back regulations, a favorite target of the administration..."

im1dc -> im1dc... , June 25, 2017 at 09:37 AM
Additional evidence of Trump lying about his and the Republican AHCA repeal of Obamacare

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/06/24/promises-trump-made-health-care-repeal-plans/426089001/

"3 promises Trump made about health care that repeal plans haven't kept"

Eliza Collins , USA TODAY ...June 24, 2017

"...Here are three promises Trump made that will not come true under the current bills moving through Congress:

  1. 'Everybody's got to be covered.'...
  2. 'No cuts' to Medicaid"...
  3. 'Every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.'...
im1dc -> pgl... , June 25, 2017 at 11:53 AM
Cuts, cuts, and more cuts to reimbursement that's the Trump Republican AHCA in a nutshell.

All it will accomplish is to transfer $Billions to 'Trump's People', his fellow $Billionaires and MegaMillionaires.

It will not deliver on any Promise Trump made on Health Care and when he and the Republicans say it does they are lying, pure and simple.

More care does not come from far less money spent especially as the need increases due to population and need.

im1dc -> im1dc... , June 25, 2017 at 09:45 AM
I don't know the reason for persistence at attempts to understand the Economics of Trump's and the Republican various remake of the American Economy from an academic Economics perspective by this blog.

It is not possible to do any such rational analysis, b/c as Paul Krugman has pointed out recently and pointedly, there is no rhythm or reason to what they are doing except to obtain the sole single outcome of a major transfer of wealth to the wealthiest Americans in the form of a huge tax cut for most of America's Billionaires and Mega-Millionaires by eliminating as much as possible of the American Safety Net and other protections from the 99%.

[Jun 28, 2017] Radar data debunks official MH17 findings, locator could not miss the BUK missile – Russian air regulator

Notable quotes:
"... Russian radar could not have failed to notice a projectile approaching Flight MH17, despite the claims by a Dutch minister, the head of Rosaviatsia says. The lack of radar marks shows nothing approached the plane from the east, despite official findings. ..."
"... "It is inappropriate to say that a radar station could miss the missile," the head of Russian aviation regulator Rosaviatsia, Oleg Storchevoy, said Tuesday, commenting on the latest Dutch claims. ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile , June 28, 2017 at 10:08 am
WARNING!

Kremlin controlled "news" source

Radar data debunks official MH17 findings, locator could not 'miss' missile – Russian air regulator
Published time: 27 Jun, 2017 19:41

Russian radar could not have failed to notice a projectile approaching Flight MH17, despite the claims by a Dutch minister, the head of Rosaviatsia says. The lack of radar marks shows nothing approached the plane from the east, despite official findings.

Last week, the Dutch government published a series of replies by Security and Justice Minister Stef Blok, who explained to a parliamentary commission why radar data provided by Russia did not show any objects approaching the MH17 flight, including a Buk missile.

The radar, according to Blok, could simply miss a missile. The minister compared the radar to a lighthouse, claiming that a missile could slip through during its "turn" and therefore leave no trace on Russia's Utes-T air route radar system. Blok also claimed that the radar could not register such a relatively small object as a Buk missile.

"It is inappropriate to say that a radar station could miss the missile," the head of Russian aviation regulator Rosaviatsia, Oleg Storchevoy, said Tuesday, commenting on the latest Dutch claims.

It sneaked in while the radar antenna was looking the other way???????

Moscow Exile , June 28, 2017 at 10:42 am
Correction to above translation:

The radar, according to Blok, could simply have missed the missile. The minister compared the radar to a lighthouse, claiming that the missile could have slipped through during its "turn" and have therefore left no trace on the Russian Utes-T air route radar system. Blok also claimed that the radar would have been unable to register such a relatively small object as a Buk missile.

"It is inappropriate to say that the radar station could have missed the missile", the head of Russian Aviation Regulator Rosaviatsia, Oleg Storchevoy, said on Tuesday, commenting on the latest Dutch claims.

See also: Политическое направление: почему локатор не увидел ракету, сбившую MH17

Political direction: why the [radar] locator failed to see the missile that downed MH17

"The fact that something was not visible on the radar, doesn't mean that something was not there" - noted the Minister of Security and Justice, Stephen Blok, in answering a question from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament (the States General).

The question he was asked concerned radar data provided by Russia that showed that the radars had not detected a "Buk" missile. Bok reinforced his argument by speaking about the 360-degree sweep of a "Utes-T" radar locator, which before the crash of flight MH17 in the sky over the Donbas could have been sweeping in the opposite direction in the same way as does a lighthouse beam.

Moscow Exile , June 28, 2017 at 10:59 am
I wonder if Blok has ever actually observed a radar display that is tracking a Buk missile? Or any such tracking display for that matter.

[Jun 28, 2017] We can spend endless amounts of money on the NSA, wars overseas, political campaigns and bailing out banks, tha we canaffort single payer helathcare system

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. , June 28, 2017 at 08:10 AM

We can spend endless amounts of money on the NSA, wars overseas, political campaigns and bailing out banks, but PGL and the weak tea centrists demand "how are we going to pay for it???" now that single-payer is becoming a real possibility. Every other advanced nation does it better with massive savings for their taxpayers.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-pollin-single-payer-healthcare-healthy-california-20170621-story.html

Op-Ed Single-payer healthcare for California is, in fact, very doable

by Robert Pollin

June 21, 2017

The California Senate recently voted to pass a bill that would establish a single-payer healthcare system for the entire state. The proposal, called the Healthy California Act, will now be taken up by the state Assembly. [not]

The plan enjoys widespread support - a recent poll commissioned by the California Nurses Assn. found that 70% of all Californians are in favor of a single-payer plan - and with good reason. Under Healthy California, all residents would be entitled to decent healthcare without having to pay premiums, deductibles or copays.

But as critics of the bill have pointed out, a crucial question remains: Is Healthy California economically viable? According to research I conducted with three colleagues at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the answer is yes.

Enacting Healthy California would entail an overhaul of the state's existing healthcare system, which now constitutes about 14% of California's GDP. In particular, it would mean replacing the state's private health insurance industry with government-managed insurance. Our study - which was also commissioned by the California Nurses Assn. - concludes not only that the proposal is financially sound, but that it will produce greater equity in the healthcare sector for families and businesses of all sizes.

California will spend about $370 billion on healthcare in 2017. Assuming the state's existing system stayed intact, the cost of extending coverage to all California residents, including the nearly 15 million people who are currently uninsured or underinsured, would increase healthcare spending by about 10%, to roughly $400 billion.

That's not the full story, though. Enacting a single-payer system would yield considerable savings overall by lowering administrative costs, controlling the prices of pharmaceuticals and fees for physicians and hospitals, reducing unnecessary treatments and expanding preventive care. We found that Healthy California could ultimately result in savings of about 18%, bringing healthcare spending to about $331 billion, or 8% less than the current $370 billion.

How would California cover this $331-billion bill? For the most part, much the same way it covers healthcare spending right now. Roughly 70% of the state's current spending is paid for through public programs, including Medicare and MediCal. This funding - totaling about $225 billion - would continue, as is required by law. It would simply flow through Healthy California rather than existing programs.

The state would still need to raise about $106 billion a year to cover the cost of replacing private insurance. This could be done with two new taxes.

First, California could impose a gross receipts tax of 2.3% on businesses, but with an exemption for the first $2 million of revenue. Through such an exemption, about 80% of all businesses in California - small firms - would pay nothing in gross receipts tax, and medium-sized businesses would pay an effective tax rate of less than 1%.

Second, the state could institute a sales tax increase of 2.3%. The tax would not apply to housing, utilities, food purchased for the home or a range of services, and it could be offset for low-income families with a 2% income tax credit.

Relative to their current healthcare costs, most Californian families will end up spending less, even with these new taxes, and some will even enjoy large gains. Net healthcare spending for middle-income families would fall by between 2.6% and 9.1% of income. Most businesses would also see a drop in spending. Small firms that have been providing health insurance for their workers will see costs fall by 22% as a share of payroll. For medium-sized firms, costs will fall by an average of between 6.8% and 13.4% as a share of payroll. Even most large firms will see costs fall, by an average of between 0.6% and 5% of payroll.

At the moment, about 2.7 million of California's residents, or about 8% of the population, have no health insurance. Another 12 million residents, or about 33% of the population, are underinsured. A large proportion of the remaining 60% of the population who are adequately insured still face high costs, as well as anxiety over President Trump's proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Healthy California is capable of generating substantial savings for families at most income levels and businesses of most sizes. These savings are in addition to the benefits that the residents of California will gain through universal access to healthcare.

[Jun 28, 2017] how many people know, understand or even care what an "individual mandate" is

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH , June 28, 2017 at 08:17 AM

The message matters...something that eludes comprehension by Democrats... Question is are they really this stupid, or are they paid to be this stupid?

"How did [the healthcare debate] get to this point? A point where Harvard researchers are warning of 217,000 additional deaths over the next decade from a loss of health coverage? Part of the blame has to lie with the Democrats, who failed to heed Luntz's advice to the Republicans...

First, in defending Obamacare, they lacked "words that work." For instance, how many people know, understand or even care what an "individual mandate" is? How about insurance "exchanges"? Or the "public option"? These technical terms and phrases have obscured more than they have clarified. They have also played into the hands of the Republicans, who have worked hard to ensure that the public view health care only through a partisan lens.

Remember: around one in three Americans is unaware of the fact that there is no difference between Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - they are one and the same. Many of these people tell pollsters that they like the ACA but dislike Obamacare. (Isn't it odd how so many Americans' view of a health care system changes when you put the foreign-sounding name of a black man in front of it?)

Second, Democrats have turned down opportunity after opportunity to offer a comprehensive health care alternative that guarantees coverage to all Americans (unlike Obamacare, which leaves around 27 million Americans uninsured.) During the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton said a single-payer "health care for all" system would "never, ever come to pass." Inspiring, huh?

As for those on the left like Bernie Sanders and - belatedly - Elizabeth Warren, who are keen to offer a progressive alternative to both Trumpcare and Obamacare in the form of guaranteed, government-funded health care for all, they may have a clear and inspiring policy alternative but whether they have a clear and inspiring message for it remains to be seen. For example, according to a February 2016 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, "nearly two thirds (64%) of Americans say they have a positive reaction to the term 'Medicare-for-all,' and most (57%) say the same about 'guaranteed universal health coverage.' Fewer have a positive reaction to 'single payer health insurance system' (44%) or 'socialized medicine' (38%)."

The words don't work and, as a result, ignorance abounds.
"About half (53%) of Democrats say they have a very positive reaction to 'Medicare-for-all' compared with 21 percent who say the same for 'single payer health insurance system,'" according to the Kaiser poll. But to be clear: "Medicare-for-all" and "single payer" refer to the same exact thing.
So then "Medicare-for-all" must be the way to go, right? Rather than the bureaucratic-sounding and yawn-inducing "single payer"? Perhaps. Invoking Medicare to make the case for a system in which the government covers the cost of all health care claims, however, may not be the silver bullet that some on the left seem to think it is. Not everyone associates Medicare with the government. Remember the anti-Obamacare town halls in the summer of 2009, where attendees carried placards that read "Keep government out of my Medicare"? An August 2009 poll found that 39% of Americans said they wanted government to "stay out of Medicare" - which is, of course, impossible.

Why don't progressives go with the simpler option of calling their single-payer proposal "universal health care"? Or "health care for all"? In San Francisco, a single payer system called "Healthy San Francisco" was launched a decade ago and has had very high approval ratings. How about Sanders, Warren et al push for a federal version called "Healthy America"?"
https://theintercept.com/2017/06/28/memo-to-democrats-you-need-a-clear-message-for-universal-healthcare/

[Jun 28, 2017] EBRD CORRUPTION – MI5 TRIES TO EXCHANGE BRIBES TO RUSSIAN BANKERS FOR ESPIONAGE AGAINST RUSSIAN OFFICIALS

Notable quotes:
"... The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the government-owned bank established in London in 1991 to finance market boosting projects in the former Soviet Union, has been secretly aiding UK and US intelligence services in espionage targeted at Russia. The US is a 10% shareholder in the bank, the UK holds an 8.7% stake; Russia, 4%. ..."
"... Treason against Russia was one crime Ryjenko refused to undertake, the Old Bailey testimony reveals. Also revealed, and for the first time, is EBRD's role in operating the scheme of lures and inducements MI5 proposed for Ryjenko, and other Russian nationals at the bank. "Honey traps," comments a London banking veteran, "are generally illegal. ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al , June 28, 2017 at 8:39 am
JohnHelmer.net: EBRD CORRUPTION – MI5 TRIES TO EXCHANGE BRIBES TO RUSSIAN BANKERS FOR ESPIONAGE AGAINST RUSSIAN OFFICIALS

http://johnhelmer.net/ebrd-corruption-mi5-tries-to-exchange-bribes-to-russian-bankers-for-espionage-against-russian-officials/

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the government-owned bank established in London in 1991 to finance market boosting projects in the former Soviet Union, has been secretly aiding UK and US intelligence services in espionage targeted at Russia. The US is a 10% shareholder in the bank, the UK holds an 8.7% stake; Russia, 4%.

The disclosure appears in the records of a trial this month at the Central Criminal Court in London of Andrei Ryjenko (Рыженко, usually Anglicized as Ryzhenko), a senior banker at the EBRD who is a dual Russian-British citizen. Early in June, Ryjenko was convicted of taking and then laundering $3.5 million in concealed bribes for helping applications to the EBRD for loans and equity investments from two Russian oil and gas companies win approval for a total of $275 million. MI5, according to testimony in open court, offered Ryjenko the opportunity to keep his money and avoid prosecution if he agreed to spy for the British against Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) agents who, MI5 told Ryjenko, were under cover in London. Ryjenko refused for several months. He was then arrested and subsequently tried. On June 20, Ryjenko was sentenced to six years in jail.

Treason against Russia was one crime Ryjenko refused to undertake, the Old Bailey testimony reveals. Also revealed, and for the first time, is EBRD's role in operating the scheme of lures and inducements MI5 proposed for Ryjenko, and other Russian nationals at the bank. "Honey traps," comments a London banking veteran, "are generally illegal. Otherwise, the honey wouldn't be so sweet, or entrapment worth plotting. It looks like Ryjenko trapped himself. It also looks like the bank was happy to make its money baiting the trap for MI5."

[Jun 28, 2017] S eriously flawed study will become an urban legend proving that a higher minimum wage is bad for poor people.

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Sandwichman , June 28, 2017 at 01:02 AM

Researchers at the University of Washington have published a study that finds a 9.4% decline in hours of work for low wage workers, earning under $19 an hour. Trouble is the study doesn't appear to take account of wage bracket creep so the hours of workers making just under $19 an hour a year ago just vanish when they get a raise to above $19 an hour.

The EPI, Peter Dorman and Sandwichman have all weighed in with criticisms. But in all likelihood this seriously flawed study will become an urban legend "proving" that a higher minimum wage is bad for poor people.

http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2017/06/seattle-minimum-wage.html

anne -> Sandwichman ... , June 28, 2017 at 05:41 AM
http://www.nber.org/papers/w23532.pdf

June, 2017

Minimum Wage Increases, Wages, and Low-Wage Employment: Evidence from Seattle
By Ekaterina Jardim, Mark C. Long, Robert Plotnick, Emma van Inwegen, Jacob Vigdor, and Hilary Wething

This paper evaluates the wage, employment, and hours effects of the first and second phase-in of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance, which raised the minimum wage from $9.47 to $11 per hour in 2015 and to $13 per hour in 2016. Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees' earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016. Evidence attributes more modest effects to the first wage increase. We estimate an effect of zero when analyzing employment in the restaurant industry at all wage levels, comparable to many prior studies.

im1dc -> anne... , June 28, 2017 at 05:41 AM
Research like that ought not be published, timeline used is too short to be reliable or valid and in all probability they used data skewed from limited sources.
anne -> Sandwichman ... , June 28, 2017 at 05:41 AM
http://irle.berkeley.edu/files/2017/Seattles-Minimum-Wage-Experiences-2015-16.pdf

June 20, 2017

Seattle's Minimum Wage Experience 2015-16
By Michael Reich, Sylvia Allegretto, and Anna Godoey

Abstract

This brief on Seattle's minimum wage experience represents the first in a series that Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics will be issuing on the effects of the current wave of minimum wage policies-those that range from $12 to $15. Upcoming CWED reports will present similar studies of Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and New York City, among others. The timing of these reports will depend in part upon when quality data become available. We focus here on Seattle because it was one of the early movers.

Seattle implemented the first phase of its minimum wage law on April 1, 2015, raising minimum wages from the statewide $9.47 to $10 or $11, depending upon business size, presence of tipped workers and employer provision of health insurance. The second phase began on January 1, 2016, further raising the minimum to four different levels, ranging from $10.50 to $13, again depending upon employer size, presence of tipped workers and provision of health insurance. The tip credit provision was introduced into a previously no tip credit environment. Any assessment of the impact of Seattle's minimum wage policy is complicated by this complex array of minimum wage rates. This complexity continues in 2017, when the range of the four Seattle minimum wages widened, from $11 to $15, and the state minimum wage increased to $11.

We analyze county and city-level data for 2009 to 2016 on all employees counted in the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and use the "synthetic control" method to rigorously identify the causal effects of Seattle's minimum wage policy upon wages and employment. Our study focuses on the Seattle food services industry. This industry is an intense user of minimum wage workers; if wage and employment effects occur, they should be detectable in this industry. We use county level data from other areas in Washington State and the rest of the U.S. to construct a synthetic control group that matches Seattle for a nearly six year period before the minimum wage policy was implemented. Our methods ensure that our synthetic control group meets accepted statistical standards, including not being contaminated by wage spillovers from Seattle. We scale our outcome measures so that they apply to all sectors, not just food services.

Our results show that wages in food services did increase-indicating the policy achieved its goal-and our estimates of the wage increases are in line with the lion's share of results in previous credible minimum wage studies. Wages increased much less among full-service restaurants, indicating that employers made use of the tip credit component of the law. Employment in food service, however, was not affected, even among the limited-service restaurants, many of them franchisees, for whom the policy was most binding. These findings extend our knowledge of minimum wage effects to policies as high as $13.

Paine -> anne... , June 28, 2017 at 06:20 AM
We need living income compatible
wage rates and hours

The shorter hours program H
of course needs to tie into
the living wage calculation W

H x W

Start with living income flow rate of say 30 k per year
At 1500 hours per year
that requires a wage rate
Of 20 dollars per hour

Equally a 15 dollar wage rate requires 2000 hours per year

So what's your living income for a year ?

Is it 25 k or 20 k or ....


anne -> Sandwichman ... , June 28, 2017 at 05:44 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/business/economy/seattle-minimum-wage.html

June 26, 2017

How a Rising Minimum Wage Affects Jobs in Seattle
By NOAM SCHEIBER

Three years ago, Seattle became one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to embrace a $15-an-hour minimum wage, to be phased in over several years.

Over the past week, two studies have purported to demonstrate the effects of the first stages of that increase - but with starkly diverging results.

The first study, by a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, supports the conclusion of numerous studies before it, that increasing the minimum wage up to a level that is about half or less of an area's typical wage leads to at most a small reduction in employment.

That roughly describes Seattle, which first increased its minimum wage to $11 an hour from $9.47 for large businesses in April 2015, then to $13 an hour for many of those businesses in January 2016. (Small businesses, and large ones that provide health insurance for workers, had lower increases.)

The Berkeley study focused on the restaurant industry because of the high proportion of restaurant workers who are paid the minimum wage. It found that for every 10 percent that the minimum wage rose, wages in the industry rose nearly 1 percent, and that there was no discernible effect on employment.

By contrast, the second study, which a group of researchers at the University of Washington released on Monday, suggests that the minimum wage has had a far more negative effect on employment than even skeptics of minimum-wage increases typically find. (Neither study has been formally peer-reviewed.)

The University of Washington authors held one significant advantage over other economists studying the issue: detailed data on hours and earnings for workers affected by the increase.

This data allowed the researchers to measure the effects of the minimum wage on workers in all industries rather than relying on restaurants as a stand-in, a common technique. It also allowed them to measure a change in hours worked, a potentially more complete indication of the effect of a minimum-wage increase than the employee head count that many studies use....

Paine -> anne... , June 28, 2017 at 06:26 AM
Yes
Plenty of room to " find "
Pro and con " results "

I like the shift from jobs to hours

Raising he wage rate can be easily off set by lowering hours

Of course that suggests a lift in labor productivity
And Or reduction in service or product either quantity or quality

Paine -> Paine ... , June 28, 2017 at 06:28 AM
Real Labor Productivity increases can be the result of increased work intensity
Shrewd redesign of tasks
Or
Use of additional or better technical systems

[Jun 28, 2017] the single payer system in Canada, because Canada is physically close and close in values to those of U.S. citizens.

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

RGC -> pgl... , June 28, 2017 at 08:50 AM

[Taxes may go up but lower costs than private insurance could give many people a net savings.]
............
We will describe the single payer system in Canada, because Canada is physically close and close in values to those of U.S. citizens.

Canada provides free medical services through private entities. The government sets federal standards to assure quality of care. The individual's health remains confidential between a person and his or her physician. In each Canadian province, each doctor submits the insurance claim against the provincial insurer. The person who gets healthcare does not get involved in billing and reclaim.

The Canadian government keeps advertising at a minimum. Costs are paid through funding from income taxes. There are no deductibles on basic health care and co-pays are kept extremely low. Provinces issue a health card to each individual who enrolls and everyone receives the same level of care. There is no variety of plans because all essential basic care is covered, including maternity and infertility problems. Dental and vision care may or may not be covered depending on the Province. Some provinces provide private supplemental plans for patients who desire private rooms if hospitalized.

Cosmetic surgery and some elective surgery are generally not covered. These can be paid out-of-pocket or through private insurers. One's health coverage is not affected by loss or change of jobs, as long as premiums are up to date. There are no lifetime limits or exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Canadians chose their family physician (called a general practitioner or GP). If the person wants to see a specialist, the GP will make a referral. The median wait time to see a specialist physician is a month. The median wait time for diagnostic services such as MRI and CAT scans is two weeks. The median wait time for surgery is four weeks.

Pharmaceutical medications are covered by public funds for the elderly or indigent, or through employment-based private insurance. The Canadian government negotiates drug prices with suppliers to control costs.

Physician incomes in Canada rose initially after the single payer system was implemented. A reduction in physician salaries followed, many fearing this would be a long-term result of government-run healthcare. However, by the beginning of the 21st century, medical professionals were again among Canada's top earners.

The main thing to notice is that Canada's healthcare cost to its GDP is 11 percent whereas the U.S. cost is 17 percent of the GDP.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/its-time-for-a-single-payer-healthcare-system_us_58d6470de4b0f633072b37f8

pgl -> RGC... , June 28, 2017 at 09:59 AM
Canada gets a lot of things right that we totally mess up.

[Jun 28, 2017] After Fire, Britain Asks if Deregulation Has Gone Too Far

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne, June 28, 2017 at 08:08 AM

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/28/world/europe/uk-grenfell-tower-fire-deregulation.html

June 28, 2017

After Fire, Britain Asks if Deregulation Has Gone Too Far
By STEVEN ERLANGER

The deadly blaze at a high rise has helped crystallize resentment over the country's embrace of neoliberalism, privatization and austerity.

[ That dozens of high-rise apartment buildings in Britain could have been legally wrapped in flammable coatings, is beyond what I would have thought possible. ]

[Jun 28, 2017] Whats so Great about Free Trade?

Notable quotes:
"... It is not becoming involuntarily unemployed that is devastating. It is the loss of income security that sucks. I was laid off 6/16/2015, but I was 66 years and 2 months old having earned 37 years of service credit in our defined benefits pension plan and then granted an additional 6 years pension service credit by virtue of taking my severance benefits in the form of enhanced retirement. ..."
"... I had wanted to work six more years so I could take survivor benefit and still have a sufficient retirement income, but the severance package allowed me that freedom instead. ..."
"... There is no such thing as free trade. At best, there are treaties which successively approximate free trade. The problem comes in with who negotiates these agreements, the agreements largely addressing the concerns of those selected to do so, while ignoring the concerns of those not selected to do so. Which is the entire problem. Capital is selected; labor is not. ..."
"... So who ends up liking these things? Capital. Who ends up not liking them? Labor and environment. Duh? Is this really that hard to figure out? ..."
"... "Free trade" (whatever that is) is not necessarily fair trade. Free trade is a slogan special interest use to protect their capture of trade profits. Fair trade would be the attempt to manage trade such that the maximum number of winners is produced. ..."
Apr 01, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

David Glasner (I cut quite a bit -- the original is more than twice as long):

What's so Great about Free Trade? : Free trade is about as close to a sacred tenet as can be found in classical and neoclassical economic theory. ... Despite the love and devotion that the doctrine of free trade inspires in economists, the doctrine ... has never been popular among the masses. ...

The key to understanding that disconnect is, I suggest, the way in which economists have been trained to think about individual and social welfare, which, it seems to me, is totally different from how most people think about their well-being. In the standard utility-maximization framework, individual well-being is a monotonically increasing function of individual consumption, leisure being one of the "goods" being consumed, so that reductions in hours worked is, when consumption of everything else is held constant, welfare-increasing. Even at a superficial level, this seems totally wrong. ...

What people do is a far more important determinant of their overall estimation of how well-off they are than what they consume. When you meet someone, you are likely, if you are at all interested in finding out about the person, to ask him or her about what he or she does, not about what he or she consumes. Most of the waking hours of an adult person are spent in work-related activities. ... It seems to me that what matters to most people is the nature of their relationships with their family and friends and the people they work with, and whether they get satisfaction from their jobs or from a sense that they are accomplishing or are on their way to accomplish some important life goals. ...

Moreover, insofar as people depend on being employed in order to finance their routine consumption purchases..., the unplanned loss of their current job would be a personal disaster, which means that being employed is the dominant – the overwhelming – determinant of their well-being. Ordinary people seem to understand how closely their well-being is tied to the stability of their employment, which is why people are so viscerally opposed to policies that, they fear, could increase the likelihood of losing their jobs.

To think that an increased chance of losing one's job in exchange for a slight gain in purchasing power owing to the availability of low-cost imports is an acceptable trade-off for most workers does not seem at all realistic. Questioning the acceptability of this trade-off doesn't mean that ... in principle, the gains from free trade are[n't] large enough to provide monetary compensation to workers who lose their jobs, but I do question whether such compensation is possible in practice or that the compensation would be adequate for the loss of psychic well-being associated with losing one's job, even if money income is maintained. ...

The psychic effects of losing a job (an increase in leisure!) are ignored by the standard calculations of welfare effects in which well-being is identified with, and measured by, consumption. And these losses are compounded and amplified when they are concentrated in specific communities and regions...

The goal of this post is not to make an argument for protectionist policies, let alone for any of the candidates arguing for protectionist policies. The aim is to show how inadequate the standard arguments for free trade are in responding to the concerns of the people who feel that they have been hurt by free-trade policies or feel that the jobs that they have now are vulnerable to continued free trade and ever-increasing globalization. I don't say that responses can't be made, just that they haven't been made.

The larger philosophical or methodological point is that ... economic theory can tell us that an excise tax on sugar tends to cause an increase in the price, and a reduction in output, of sugar. But the idea that we can reliably make welfare comparisons between alternative states of the world when welfare is assumed to be a function of consumption, and that nothing else matters, is simply preposterous. And it's about time that economists enlarged their notions of what constitutes well-being if they want to make useful recommendations about the welfare implications of public policy, especially trade policy.

Barkley Rosser April 01, 2016 at 12:32 AM

The happiness literature on the impact of involuntary unemployment on happiness is quite large, with people like David Blanchflower having played important roles. An offhand summary is that becoming involuntarily unemployed is indeed one of the events that is most devastating to the happiness of most people, with only a few events worse, including having one's spouse die or being thrown in jail.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Barkley Rosser ...

It is not becoming involuntarily unemployed that is devastating. It is the loss of income security that sucks. I was laid off 6/16/2015, but I was 66 years and 2 months old having earned 37 years of service credit in our defined benefits pension plan and then granted an additional 6 years pension service credit by virtue of taking my severance benefits in the form of enhanced retirement.

I had wanted to work six more years so I could take survivor benefit and still have a sufficient retirement income, but the severance package allowed me that freedom instead.

With firms no longer offering defined benefits pension plans then we need to expand social security into a full income pension plan. We need to increase unemployment benefits as well. Once we have paid for that then the plutocrats will find that they are better off paying US workers to make stuff since all their global price arbitrage profits have been clawed back.

DrDick -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... Reply Friday, April 01, 2016 at 06:58 AM

I think this is an important factor. It is certainly the case that a certain level of consumption increases happiness, but beyond a fairly moderate level, I do not think it actually adds much. Another important factor is having something meaningful to do with your time. For most people, that is work. Boredom is a serious problem among the retired.

PPaine -> DrDick... April 01, 2016 at 07:10 AM

We have more then just skill crushing, job experience crushing. Impacts of domestic production erasing imports. We have the implied competition on wages. Of import threats

Wage stag !

JohnH -> PPaine ... April 01, 2016 at 07:31 AM

Economists largely ignore distribution of benefits, focusing on efficiency and the 'total good.' How that total good is divvied up is largely irrelevant to them, unless the populace gets testy.

In fact, most people would be better off if the economy were slightly smaller but distributed much more evenly. Economists just can't seem to wrap their heads around that concept.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> DrDick... April 01, 2016 at 09:58 AM

"I think this is an important factor."

[Not sure which this that you are agreeing with. So, let's say that income security means a roof over are heads and food to eat for the whole family. Then there is this boredom thingy. With a little acreage and a sound mind and body then staying occupied, productive (in some manner of speaking - a rose is a rose is a rose), and happy is a piece of cake. A tenement room with nothing but a TV would be death sentence for me. If not for money then I would never have needed to work for someone else. I see good honest work to do everywhere I look.]

reason April 01, 2016 at 12:45 AM

He came close but he missed the major point. SECURITY.

What do most people see as their life goal? To raise a family. How long does it take? Decades. Flexibility isn't a boon - it is a disaster for most people.

If you only look at a static picture of the world (which is the traditional view of economists) how can you possibility see this?

ilsm -> reason... April 01, 2016 at 04:35 AM

Economics is about "distribution of scarce resources......." if I recall ECON 101.

That phrase is as forgotten and ignored as the thing in the Declaration of Independence about "all men created equal"!

Unless the measure of "good" wrt distribution is the hoard of the richest.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> reason... April 01, 2016 at 05:24 AM

"He came close but he missed the major point. SECURITY..."

[Too bad. As I was reading this I was liking it so much that it had already elevated my former opinion of David Glasner, technically elegant, all the way up to topically relevant and possibly even socially astute, but from what you say then I must put a hold on that socially astute. I guess I had better read the entire article before I begin to comment further.]

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> reason... April 01, 2016 at 06:10 AM

You are correct. Glasner missed the point on security, so he also missed the point that if income is maintained then that would cover the lion's share of well being. Glasner is correct that money is not everything, just as consumption is not everything, but that really does come down to just how much money that we are talking about. I worked a long time contributing into a traditional pension plan. I took great pride in my work, but I have not missed my job or felt inadequate because of the lack of that purpose for a minute since I was laid off on 6/16/2015. That's because between my social security and pension incomes then I can still make my mortgage payments and all my other bills and due to my reduced expenses on payroll taxes, clothes, and gas have more money left over for landscaping and other home projects than I did when I was working. If I was eating cat food or living under a bridge then I would be feeling much worse about having been laid off.

Benedict@Large -> reason... April 01, 2016 at 06:18 AM

There is no such thing as free trade. At best, there are treaties which successively approximate free trade. The problem comes in with who negotiates these agreements, the agreements largely addressing the concerns of those selected to do so, while ignoring the concerns of those not selected to do so. Which is the entire problem. Capital is selected; labor is not. (Neither much is environmental.)

So who ends up liking these things? Capital. Who ends up not liking them? Labor and environment. Duh? Is this really that hard to figure out?

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Benedict@Large ... April 01, 2016 at 06:47 AM

"There is no such thing as free trade...."

[Sure there is. Anne complains about this as well. But a large part of maintaining plutocracy within the framework of a democratically electoral republic is the copious use of misleading euphemisms. We all know what they really mean, or at least all of us here reading and commenting at EV know what they mean. My guess is that unemployed workers in the rustbelt know what they mean as well.

Republicans talk about being free all of the time, but what they really are is just cheap. There is nothing free in life. Most people know this intuitively. There are choices and consequences. One consequence of the overuse of "free trade" is the emergence of fair trade. As far as I can tell the rebranding will hardly put a dent in the arbitrage profits. ]

PPaine -> reason... April 01, 2016 at 07:14 AM

Might I submit this word

A decent measure of Control over ones fate

The job markets must always offer everyone ....everyone an opportunity to prosper

Ours is a job based culture as the blog post asserts so clearly

To control ones fate and ones love ones fate
Job opportunities and options
must. always be out there cajoling you to " join us "

jonny bakho April 01, 2016 at 04:09 AM

The United States benefits and historically has benefitted by being one large trading block. Increases in wealth are linked to improvements in transportation even today.

One stumbling block in international trade is the restriction on movement of labor. This is a huge problem for the EU. Another problem is distribution of the profits from trade. How much should be captured by private interests and how much should go to the public good. Should some profits from trade be returned from one country to another? This is often done through severance taxes or export fees.

"Free trade" (whatever that is) is not necessarily fair trade. Free trade is a slogan special interest use to protect their capture of trade profits. Fair trade would be the attempt to manage trade such that the maximum number of winners is produced.

RueTheDay April 01, 2016 at 06:11 AM

It seems to me that a couple of obvious points are being missed.

1) The "gains from free trade" argument is simply that under conditions of trade, more "stuff" will be produced than under conditions of autarky, so theoretically there will be more available for everyone. That says nothing about how those gains are distributed, i.e., there will be individual winners and losers. In practice, those gains never seem to actually get redistributed so it's impossible to say everyone is made better off.

2) What is the root cause of comparative advantage? The textbooks tell us - differences in initial factor endowments, technology, and tastes. What does that mean in a world where a company in a developed company can pick up its capital (and implicitly, technology) and move it to a lesser developed country with cheaper labor, because capital is far more mobile than labor, in order to produce goods to supply its home market (where tastes differ)?

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RueTheDay ... April 01, 2016 at 06:22 AM

Glasner did not really miss your point # 1, but he muddled the message a bit over the benefits of redistribution. Almost everyone, but especially those trained in economics, seems to miss your point #2. The most basic premise of comparative advantage has long been broken by technology, but the fiction of that old saw serves the price arbitrage motives of capital so well that it has been preserved in amber like the fossilized bug it is.

Fred C. Dobbs April 01, 2016 at 06:35 AM

The Democrats "Free Trade" Divide
https://shar.es/1Y8WAd
Mark Engler - April 23, 2008

"Free trade" has produced some of the most contentious political debates of our times. In a famous April 2000 article in the New Republic (*), economist Joseph Stiglitz argued, "Economic policy is today perhaps the most important part of America's interaction with the rest of the world. And yet the culture of international economic policy in the world's most powerful democracy is not democratic." During the Bush years, economic policy received far less attention in political discussion than before; the use of military force took center stage. However, the trade and development debate went on, and it continues to affect fundamental questions of global poverty, inequality, and opportunity. Under a new Democratic administration-or under a Republican administration that demotes the neocons in favor of the more traditional, realist foreign policy establishment-it is likely that economic policy will again become the most important part of America's interaction with the world. And it is likely that it will remain profoundly undemocratic.

The injustices of neoliberal trade policy and the hypocrisy of U.S. stances in international negotiations have produced an upheaval in multilateral institutions like the WTO, and this has helped to transform the debate about the global economy. But trade is also an important domestic issue. Today, trade policy plays an important role in the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party.

One of the major accomplishments of the Clinton administration was to move to the fore of the Party a faction led by the centrist, corporate-friendly Democratic Leadership Council. Working with pro-"free trade" Republicans, Clinton and the DLC made passing the North American Free Trade agreement (NAFTA) in 1993 and approving U.S. entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994 into bipartisan crusades. The coalition in favor of corporate globalization was always tenuous, however. In recent years, especially as the Bush administration implemented an increasing belligerent foreign policy, the "free trade" coalition has frayed. ...

*- http://www.mindfully.org/WTO/Joseph-Stiglitz-IMF17apr00.htm

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... April 01, 2016 at 07:12 AM

Really important:

https://www.globalpolicy.org/global-taxes/42760-what-i-learned-at-the-world-economic-crisis.html

April 17, 2010

What I Learned at the World Economic Crisis
By Joseph Stiglitz

Next week's meeting of the International Monetary Fund will bring to Washington, D.C., many of the same demonstrators who trashed the World Trade Organization in Seattle last fall. They'll say the IMF is arrogant. They'll say the IMF doesn't really listen to the developing countries it is supposed to help. They'll say the IMF is secretive and insulated from democratic accountability. They'll say the IMF's economic "remedies" often make things worse--turning slowdowns into recessions and recessions into depressions.

And they'll have a point. I was chief economist at the World Bank from 1996 until last November, during the gravest global economic crisis in a half-century. I saw how the IMF, in tandem with the U.S. Treasury Department, responded. And I was appalled.

The global economic crisis began in Thailand, on July 2, 1997. The countries of East Asia were coming off a miraculous three decades: incomes had soared, health had improved, poverty had fallen dramatically. Not only was literacy now universal, but, on international science and math tests, many of these countries outperformed the United States. Some had not suffered a single year of recession in 30 years.

But the seeds of calamity had already been planted. In the early '90s, East Asian countries had liberalized their financial and capital markets--not because they needed to attract more funds (savings rates were already 30 percent or more) but because of international pressure, including some from the U.S. Treasury Department. These changes provoked a flood of short-term capital--that is, the kind of capital that looks for the highest return in the next day, week, or month, as opposed to long-term investment in things like factories. In Thailand, this short-term capital helped fuel an unsustainable real estate boom. And, as people around the world (including Americans) have painfully learned, every real estate bubble eventually bursts, often with disastrous consequences. Just as suddenly as capital flowed in, it flowed out. And, when everybody tries to pull their money out at the same time, it causes an economic problem. A big economic problem.

The last set of financial crises had occurred in Latin America in the 1980s, when bloated public deficits and loose monetary policies led to runaway inflation. There, the IMF had correctly imposed fiscal austerity (balanced budgets) and tighter monetary policies, demanding that governments pursue those policies as a precondition for receiving aid. So, in 1997 the IMF imposed the same demands on Thailand. Austerity, the fund's leaders said, would restore confidence in the Thai economy. As the crisis spread to other East Asian nations--and even as evidence of the policy's failure mounted--the IMF barely blinked, delivering the same medicine to each ailing nation that showed up on its doorstep.

I thought this was a mistake....

William

Getting fired from your job is one of the most stressful events one can experience in life.

Two psychiatrists once conducted a study to attempt to discover how stressful various events were. They did a massive survey of 5000 people.

Losing your job was calculated to be a 47/100. To compare, having your home foreclosed on was a 30 and the death of a close friend was a 37. The only things more stressful than losing your job were things regarding beginning or ending a marriage, and going to prison.

It's understandable why most people are very, very risk averse when it comes to job loss.

See: Holmes TH, Rahe RH (1967). "The Social Readjustment Rating Scale". J Psychosom Res 11 (2): 213–8.

[Jun 28, 2017] Bashar al-Assad visits Russian air base in Syria after US warning

Notable quotes:
"... "I am not aware of any information about a threat that chemical weapons can be used," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. "Certainly, we consider such threats to the legitimate leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic unacceptable." ..."
"... Russian officials have privately described the war in Syria as the biggest source of tension between Moscow and Washington, and the cruise missile strike ordered by Trump in April raised the risk of confrontation between them. ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | telegraph.co.uk
T he White House said late on Monday the preparations in Syria were similar to actions before an April 4 chemical attack which killed dozens of civilians and prompted US President Donald Trump to order a missile strike on a Syrian air base. B ut Russia challenged the US intelligence.

"I am not aware of any information about a threat that chemical weapons can be used," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. "Certainly, we consider such threats to the legitimate leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic unacceptable."

Russian officials have privately described the war in Syria as the biggest source of tension between Moscow and Washington, and the cruise missile strike ordered by Trump in April raised the risk of confrontation between them.

[Jun 28, 2017] WaPo does not like Ukrainian far right

Notable quotes:
"... "The recent brutal stabbing of a left-wing anti-war activist named Stas Serhiyenko illustrates the threat posed by these extremists. Serhiyenko and his fellow activists believe the perpetrators belonged to the neo-Nazi group C14 (whose name comes from a 14-word phrase used by white supremacists). The attack took place on the anniversary of Hitler's birthday, and C14's leader published a statement that celebrated Serhiyenko's stabbing immediately afterward. ..."
"... The attack on Serhiyenko is just the tip of the iceberg. More recently C14 beat up a socialist politician while other ultranationalist thugs stormed the Lviv and Kiev City Councils. Far-right and neo-Nazi groups have also assaulted or disrupted art exhibitions, anti-fascist demonstrations, a "Ukrainians Choose Peace" event, LGBT events, a social center, media organizations, court proceedings and a Victory Day march celebrating the anniversary of the end of World War II. According to a study from activist organization Institute Respublica, the problem is not only the frequency of far-right violence, but the fact that perpetrators enjoy widespread impunity. It's not hard to understand why Kiev seems reluctant to confront these violent groups. For one thing, far-right paramilitary groups played an important role early in the war against Russian-supported separatists. Kiev also fears these violent groups could turn on the government itself - something they've done before and continue to threaten to do. ..."
"... To be clear, Russian propaganda about Ukraine being overrun by Nazis or fascists is false. Far-right parties such as Svoboda or Right Sector draw little support from Ukrainians." ..."
"... "Indeed, the brazen willingness of Vita Zaverukha – a renowned neo-Nazi out on bail and under house arrest after killing two police officers - to post pictures of herself after storming a popular Kiev restaurant with 50 other nationalists demonstrates the far right's confidence in their immunity from government prosecution. ..."
"... [T]he government must also break any connections between law enforcement agencies and far-right organizations. The clearest example of this problem lies in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is headed by Arsen Avakov. Avakov has a long-standing relationship with the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary group that uses the SS symbol as its insignia and which, with several others, was integrated into the army or National Guard at the beginning of the war in the East. Critics have accused Avakov of using members of the group to threaten an opposition media outlet. As at least one commentator has pointed out, using the National Guard to combat ultranationalist violence is likely to prove difficult if far-right groups have become part of the Guard itself. ..."
"... Avakov's Deputy Minister Vadym Troyan was a member of the neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine (PU) paramilitary organization, while current Ministry of Interior official Ilya Kiva – a former member of the far-right Right Sector party whose Instagram feed is populated with images of former Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini – has called for gays "to be put to death." And Avakov himself used the PU to promote his business and political interests while serving as a governor in eastern Ukraine, and as interior minister formed and armed the extremist Azov battalion led by Andriy Biletsky, a man nicknamed the "White Chief" who called for a crusade against "Semite-led sub-humanity ..."
"... In one notorious incident, media captured images of swastika-tattooed thugs - who police claimed were only job applicants wanting to have "fun" - giving the Nazi salute in a police building in Kiev. This cannot be allowed to go on, and it's just as important for Ukrainian democracy to cleanse extremists from law enforcement as it is to remove corrupt officials from former president Viktor Yanukovych's regime under Ukraine's "lustration" policy." ..."
"... Yarosh is an MP, Parubiy would, if the same set of events occurred as in February 2014, become President, as Turchynov did. Nazi's/far right are in the SBU, Police, parts of their academia, military ..."
"... Its an intentionally idiotic statement by Cohen because Ukrainian political parties can come and go at the drop of the hat. All this just means that the 2 million Nazi voters in 2012 election have chosen these newly created parties because a new line of what is " mainstream" has been drawn in Ukraine. ..."
"... Cohen is no idiot, I think he is just covering his ass and preparing his exit strategy. In the hopes of keeping his press card after Ukraine goes totally South. Cohen always knew these guys were Nazis, now he has to pretend to his reading public that he wasn't quite aware. ..."
"... They always use that to pooh-pooh the suggestion that Nazism is influential in Ukraine – but look! They only get tiny levels of support in elections! That matters little when people are appointed to political positions rather than voted into them. There are so many things – the dissolving of opposition political parties, the uberpatriotic signage everywhere exhorting citizens to report their neighbours if they suspect separatist sympathies, the hit list (Mirotvorets) of those who failed to shout the government line when prompted until told to stop – that simply scream "FASCISM!!!" ..."
"... But it is inconvenient for the west to see those things, because it could not acknowledge seeing them and continue to support the country and government which did them. The USA is an old hand at unseeing things which don't fit the narrative. Unfortunately, it has evolved into a nation which is good at unseeing obstacles as well; obstacles which are present and prevent it from achieving its goals. These are expected to disappear before the eraser called 'exceptionalism'. ..."
Jun 21, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Lyttenburgh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Into the breach – once more! Or – once again about honest, balanced and tolerant Western Media ™, SUDDENLY finding out that there are roving bands of neo-nazis in the Ukraine. Why this particular article is important? First of all – because it's WaPo – a fearless crusader and enabler of leakers in anything Trump+Russia related. To doubt WaPo for a certain category of the people is sacrilege. Second – because of WHO wrote this article, namely Joshua Cohen, former (?) USAID chief honcho in realization of the "economic reforms" on the territory of the former USSR – a thoroughly handshakable person, judging by his last name.

Thirdly – the amount of evidence provided in one article combined with proof links to serve as the future reference material. Links are to very-very kosher and Ukrainian sources – so you can't accuse them in good faith of being Kremlenite propaganda.

Ukraine's ultra-right militias are challenging the government to a showdown

Blah-blah-blah – evul Russia, blah-blah, and then:

"The recent brutal stabbing of a left-wing anti-war activist named Stas Serhiyenko illustrates the threat posed by these extremists. Serhiyenko and his fellow activists believe the perpetrators belonged to the neo-Nazi group C14 (whose name comes from a 14-word phrase used by white supremacists). The attack took place on the anniversary of Hitler's birthday, and C14's leader published a statement that celebrated Serhiyenko's stabbing immediately afterward.

The attack on Serhiyenko is just the tip of the iceberg. More recently C14 beat up a socialist politician while other ultranationalist thugs stormed the Lviv and Kiev City Councils. Far-right and neo-Nazi groups have also assaulted or disrupted art exhibitions, anti-fascist demonstrations, a "Ukrainians Choose Peace" event, LGBT events, a social center, media organizations, court proceedings and a Victory Day march celebrating the anniversary of the end of World War II.

According to a study from activist organization Institute Respublica, the problem is not only the frequency of far-right violence, but the fact that perpetrators enjoy widespread impunity. It's not hard to understand why Kiev seems reluctant to confront these violent groups. For one thing, far-right paramilitary groups played an important role early in the war against Russian-supported separatists. Kiev also fears these violent groups could turn on the government itself - something they've done before and continue to threaten to do.

To be clear, Russian propaganda about Ukraine being overrun by Nazis or fascists is false. Far-right parties such as Svoboda or Right Sector draw little support from Ukrainians."

Full stop here. First of all – "Russian propaganda" (and the Western propaganda understands by that all Russian press, except a few "brave ones" that suck foreign grants tit of theirs) claims no such a thing. Second – it is Poroshenko and his government who renames streets after Bandera and Shukhevitch. Third – in the second half of the article Mr. Cohen basically proves, that said roving bands all BUT overrun the Ukraine, while the alleged lack of support does not translate in the active resistance to them – which is what's enough for them to reign supreme:

"Indeed, the brazen willingness of Vita Zaverukha – a renowned neo-Nazi out on bail and under house arrest after killing two police officers - to post pictures of herself after storming a popular Kiev restaurant with 50 other nationalists demonstrates the far right's confidence in their immunity from government prosecution.

[ ]

[T]he government must also break any connections between law enforcement agencies and far-right organizations. The clearest example of this problem lies in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is headed by Arsen Avakov. Avakov has a long-standing relationship with the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary group that uses the SS symbol as its insignia and which, with several others, was integrated into the army or National Guard at the beginning of the war in the East. Critics have accused Avakov of using members of the group to threaten an opposition media outlet. As at least one commentator has pointed out, using the National Guard to combat ultranationalist violence is likely to prove difficult if far-right groups have become part of the Guard itself.

Avakov's Deputy Minister Vadym Troyan was a member of the neo-Nazi Patriot of Ukraine (PU) paramilitary organization, while current Ministry of Interior official Ilya Kiva – a former member of the far-right Right Sector party whose Instagram feed is populated with images of former Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini – has called for gays "to be put to death." And Avakov himself used the PU to promote his business and political interests while serving as a governor in eastern Ukraine, and as interior minister formed and armed the extremist Azov battalion led by Andriy Biletsky, a man nicknamed the "White Chief" who called for a crusade against "Semite-led sub-humanity."

[ ]

In one notorious incident, media captured images of swastika-tattooed thugs - who police claimed were only job applicants wanting to have "fun" - giving the Nazi salute in a police building in Kiev. This cannot be allowed to go on, and it's just as important for Ukrainian democracy to cleanse extremists from law enforcement as it is to remove corrupt officials from former president Viktor Yanukovych's regime under Ukraine's "lustration" policy."

P.S. Comment section is as always colorful there.

yalensis , June 16, 2017 at 3:12 pm

"To be clear, Russian propaganda about Ukraine being overrun by Nazis or fascists is false. Far-right parties such as Svoboda or Right Sector draw little support from Ukrainians ."

True (about the level of support), but irrelevant, Mr. Cohen! It doesn't matter if these fascists enjoy an approval rating of 5% or .005% You yourself said that these perps enjoy "widespread impunity" !

They can do whatever they want, kill anybody they please, and never get punished ! That's the literal meaning of the word "impunity".

Eric , June 17, 2017 at 2:33 am
Yarosh is an MP, Parubiy would, if the same set of events occurred as in February 2014, become President, as Turchynov did. Nazi's/far right are in the SBU, Police, parts of their academia, military

Its an intentionally idiotic statement by Cohen because Ukrainian political parties can come and go at the drop of the hat. All this just means that the 2 million Nazi voters in 2012 election have chosen these newly created parties because a new line of what is " mainstream" has been drawn in Ukraine.

That's why I found it more than a little odd what is happening in France now .a new party under Macron has been created and occupies that vast majority of seats .this is the type of thing you would see in a banana republic.

yalensis , June 17, 2017 at 4:36 am
Cohen is no idiot, I think he is just covering his ass and preparing his exit strategy. In the hopes of keeping his press card after Ukraine goes totally South. Cohen always knew these guys were Nazis, now he has to pretend to his reading public that he wasn't quite aware.

He was duped! Or maybe the turning point, which got his Jewish blood boiling was Biletsky calling his ethnic group a "Semite-led sub-humanity."

Cohen: "Oh, I never realized these people could be so hateful!" – LOL!

marknesop , June 17, 2017 at 8:15 am
They always use that to pooh-pooh the suggestion that Nazism is influential in Ukraine – but look! They only get tiny levels of support in elections! That matters little when people are appointed to political positions rather than voted into them. There are so many things – the dissolving of opposition political parties, the uberpatriotic signage everywhere exhorting citizens to report their neighbours if they suspect separatist sympathies, the hit list (Mirotvorets) of those who failed to shout the government line when prompted until told to stop – that simply scream "FASCISM!!!"

But it is inconvenient for the west to see those things, because it could not acknowledge seeing them and continue to support the country and government which did them. The USA is an old hand at unseeing things which don't fit the narrative. Unfortunately, it has evolved into a nation which is good at unseeing obstacles as well; obstacles which are present and prevent it from achieving its goals. These are expected to disappear before the eraser called 'exceptionalism'.

The canard about levels of public support for Nazism in Ukraine is used to suggest that if Russia is spouting propaganda about this, then everything it says is propaganda.

[Jun 28, 2017] Prescription Drug Spending is Consuming a Bigger Share of Wages

Notable quotes:
"... The three percent of annual wage income lost to higher drug spending over the past 40 years makes a big difference to working individuals and families. This increase in annual spending averages out to roughly $2,400 per household. CMS projections, combined with projections on wage income growth from the Congressional Budget Office, suggest that spending on prescription drugs will increase further through 2025. This ratio is expected to exceed five percent by 2024. ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne

, June 27, 2017 at 05:19 PM
http://cepr.net/blogs/cepr-blog/prescription-drug-spending-is-consuming-a-bigger-share-of-wages

June 27, 2017

Prescription Drug Spending is Consuming a Bigger Share of Wages
By Brian Dew and Dean Baker

Prescription drugs are a large and growing share of national income. While it is generally recognized that drugs are expensive, many people are unaware of how large a share of their income goes to paying for drugs because much of it goes through third party payers, specifically insurance companies and the government.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) produce projections of national expenditures on prescription drugs through 2025, along with historical estimates dating back to 1960. As shown below, prescription drug spending from 1960 to 1980 was equivalent to about one percent of total wage and salary income. In the years leading up to the passage of the Bayh-Dole act in 1980, wage income was rising faster than spending on prescription drugs. As a result, the share of wages spent on prescription drugs was actually falling, reaching a low in 1979 of 0.86%.

[Graph]

However, after 1980, prescription drug spending rose rapidly relative to wage income. The ratio of drug spending to wages rose each year from 1980 to 2007. In 2007 wage growth finally outpaced drug expenditures, with the ratio again increasing in the Great Recession. By 2010, prescription drug spending had climbed above four percent of wage income.

The three percent of annual wage income lost to higher drug spending over the past 40 years makes a big difference to working individuals and families. This increase in annual spending averages out to roughly $2,400 per household. CMS projections, combined with projections on wage income growth from the Congressional Budget Office, suggest that spending on prescription drugs will increase further through 2025. This ratio is expected to exceed five percent by 2024.

While an aging population has been a factor increasing spending on drugs, demographics alone cannot explain the sharp increase in prescription drug spending. Inflation-adjusted prescription drug spending per household has increased more than eightfold since 1980, far outpacing any demographic trend surrounding age. The share of people over age 65 in the population has increased from 9.2% in 1960 to 14.8% in 2015. This can at most explain a small part of the increase in spending on drugs over this period.

[Graph]

It is important to recognize that the high cost of drugs is the result of a conscious policy decision to give drug companies monopolies in the form of patents and other forms of exclusive marketing rights. Without these protections drugs would almost invariably be cheap, likely costing on average less than one fifth as much as they do now. Even worse, the perverse incentives resulting from patent monopolies distort the research process and can lead drug companies to misrepresent evidence on the safety and effectiveness of their drugs.

[Jun 28, 2017] Democrats Help Corporate Donors Block California Health Care Measure, And Progressives Lose Again

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. , June 27, 2017 at 07:11 AM

How does one describe this faction of Democrats? Corporate Democrats. Neoliberals? What's the shorthand way of distinguishing them from Berniecrats?

http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/democrats-help-corporate-donors-block-california-health-care-measure-progressives

Democrats Help Corporate Donors Block California Health Care Measure, And Progressives Lose Again

BY DAVID SIROTA ON 06/26/17 AT 4:06 PM

As Republican lawmakers grapple with their unpopular bill to repeal Obamacare, Democrats have tried to present a united front on health care. But for all their populist rhetoric against insurance and drug companies, Democratic powerbrokers and their allies remain deeply divided on the issue - to the point where a political civil war has spilled into the open in America's largest state.

In California last week, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon helped his and his party's corporate donors block a Democrat-sponsored bill to create a universal health care program in which the government would be the single payer.

Rendon's decision shows how progressives' ideal of universal health care remains elusive - even in a liberal state where government already foots 70 percent of the total health care bill.

Until Rendon's move, things seemed to be looking up for Democratic single-payer proponents in deep blue California, which has been hammered by insurance premium increases. There, the Democratic Party - which originally created Medicare - just added a legislative supermajority to a Democratic-controlled state government that oversees the world's sixth largest economy. That 2016 election victory came as a poll showed nearly two-thirds of Californians support the creation of a taxpayer-funded universal health care system in a state whose population is roughly the size of Canada - which already has such a system.

California's highest-profile federal Democratic lawmaker recently endorsed state efforts to create single-payer systems, and 25 members of its congressional delegation had signed on to sponsor a federal single-payer bill.

Meanwhile, after Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had twice vetoed state single-payer legislation, California in 2010 elected a governor who had previously campaigned for president on a pledge to support such a system. Other statewide elected officials had also declared their support for single-payer, including the current lieutenant governor, who promised to enact a universal health care program if he is wins the governorship in 2018.

None of that, though, made the difference: Late Friday, Rendon announced that even though a single-payer bill had passed the Democratic-controlled state senate, he would not permit the bill to be voted on by the Assembly this year.

"As someone who has long been a supporter of single payer, I am encouraged by the conversation begun by Senate Bill 562," Rendon said. But "senators who voted for SB 562 noted there are potentially fatal flaws in the bill, including the fact it does not address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls, or the realities of needed action by the Trump Administration and voters to make SB 562 a genuine piece of legislation."

Since 2012, Rendon has taken in more than $82,000 from business groups and healthcare corporations that are listed in state documents opposed the measure, according to an International Business Times review of data amassed by the National Institute on Money In State Politics. In all, he has received more than $101,000 from pharmaceutical companies and another $50,000 from major health insurers.

In the same time, the California Democratic Party has received more than $1.2 million from the specific groups opposing the bill, and more than $2.2 million from pharmaceutical and health insurance industry donors. That includes a $100,000 infusion of cash from Blue Shield of California in the waning days of the 2016 election - just before state records show the insurer began lobbying against the single-payer bill.

While Rendon oversees a supermajority, it had never been clear that Assembly Democrats would muster the two-thirds vote needed under the state constitution to add the new taxes needed to fund the single-payer system proposed by the senate-passed bill. That is because the Democratic Assembly caucus includes progressive legislators but also more conservative members who are closer to business interests.

In addition to the money given to Rendon, the groups opposing the single-payer measure have delivered more than $1.5 million to Democratic assembly members since the 2012 election cycle. In all, the 55 Democratic members of the 80-seat Assembly have received more than $2.7 million from donors in the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries in just the last three election cycles.

Complicating matters for this year's single-payer bill was the fact that the pharmaceutical industry had just spent more than $100 million to defeat a 2016 ballot measure in California aimed at lowering drug prices. That wave of money was a powerful reminder that major industries opposed to single-payer have virtually unlimited resources to spend against California's Democratic incumbents in the next election if those Democrats ultimately try to pass a bill.

"Subject To Enormous Uncertainty"

The episode in California was the latest defeat for single-payer health care advocates, who have faced a string of losses at the hands of Democrats whose party has continued to attract significant cash from the health care industries that benefit from the current system.

In the last decade, Barack Obama raised millions of dollars from health care industry donors and then backed off his previous support for single-payer. He and other administration officials explicitly declared that the Affordable Care Act would not become a Medicare-for-all system. The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate then failed to pass a proposal to create a publicly run insurance option to compete with private insurers.

More recently, Vermont's Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin abandoned his state's high-profile push for single-payer in 2014 - just as he was serving as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, a group whose top donors included UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross, AstraZeneca and the pharmaceutical industry's trade association.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign was boosted by millions of dollars from health care industry donors, and she derided Bernie Sanders for pushing single payer, saying such an idea would "never, ever come to pass." In the same 2106 election, prominent Democratic Party consultants helped lead an insurer-funded campaign - backed by prominent Democratic lawmakers - to kill a single-payer ballot measure in Colorado.

And yet despite those defeats, single-payer advocates were thinking big at the beginning of 2017. Heading into the new legislative sessions, Democrats controlled both governorships and legislatures in six states - and another Democratic-leaning state with a Democratic governor, New York, appeared to have legislative support for single-payer. With its Democratic supermajority, California was the biggest focus of attention among progressive healthcare advocates.

According to a June report by California senate analysts, the single-payer legislation that was introduced in Sacramento this year would have created a government agency called Healthy California that would be "required to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage system for all California residents." The program would have been prohibited from charging participants premiums and co-pays and would have covered "all medical care determined to be medically appropriate by the members' health care provider," according to the Senate report.

While the report said fiscal estimates "are subject to enormous uncertainty," it projected that $200 billion worth of existing federal, state and local health care spending would offset about half of the estimated $400 billion annual cost. Shifting that money, though, could require California to secure waivers from the federal government that would allow it to redirect the federal money into the new program.

The original bill did not include a specific tax proposal to raise the rest of the needed revenue. However, the report estimated that the other $200 billion could be funded by moving state payroll taxes up to 15 percent , a levy the report said "would be offset to a large degree by reduced spending on health care coverage by employers and employees."

"The Only Health Care System That Makes Any Sense"

At the start of California's legislative session, bill proponents pitched the sweeping measure as a way to protect the state from Trump administration health care policy. They may have been banking on support from California's top Democrat, Gov. Jerry Brown, who endorsed single payer during his 1992 presidential campaign.

"I believe the only health care system that makes any sense is a single-payer system," Brown said during a March 1992 Democratic presidential forum. "I don't see any way, after having worked on this problem in the largest state in the union, which, after all, has the highest medical costs, to really contain costs without establishing a single payer for all basic services."

But as the the California legislation began moving forward, Brown cast doubts on it in comments to reporters in March.

"Where do you get the extra money?...This is the whole question. I don't even get ... how do you do that?" said Brown, who has collected more than a quarter-million dollars of campaign contributions from groups opposing the bill.

Supporters of the legislation tried to answer the governor's question with a detailed economic analysis asserting that the legislation could save the state money through lower administrative costs and drug prices.

"Providing full universal coverage would increase overall system costs by about 10 percent, but ... single payer system could produce savings of about 18 percent," concluded a May 2017 study led by University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist Robert Pollin. "The proposed single-payer system could provide decent health care for all California residents while still reducing net overall costs by about 8 percent relative to the existing system."

That same month, U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi - California's highest-ranking federal official -- seemed to give the idea a boost. At a Capitol Hill press conference, she said "the comfort level with a broader base of the American people is not there yet" for a federal Medicare-for-all bill, but she promoted state efforts.

"I say to people, if you want that, do it in your states. States are laboratories. It can work out. It is the least expensive, least administrative way to go about this," she said. "States are a good place to start."

Economist Pollin echoed that argument, telling IBT that the California situation is fundamentally different than Vermont, which in 2014 abandoned its high-profile effort to create the nation's first state-based single-payer system. While single-payer could still be feasible in small states, he said, the concept was particularly well suited to a very large state like California.

"The issue of bargaining power is important relative to pharmaceutical companies, and that's one big area of savings," he told IBT. "If the pharmaceutical companies say we're not interested in selling to Vermont, they can walk away from Vermont. But they can't do the same thing with California because it's too large a market. It's the same thing with doctors - they are not going to run away from a market of 33 million people just because their reimbursement rates will be at Medicare levels. And the state of California is already used to running big operations, so it has the administrative power to do this kind of thing."

"Woefully Incomplete"

Despite Brown's lack of support, and opposition from Republican lawmakers and health insurers, the California senate passed the single-payer bill in June. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pressed the Democratic governor and California lawmakers to enact the bill.

"As we sit here tonight, the California state senate has passed single-payer," Sanders told a gathering of thousands of activists in Chicago. "Now it's up to the California House and the governor to do the right thing and help us transform health care in this country by leading the way."

All of the pressure, however, was not enough to persuade Rendon. Calling the legislation "woefully incomplete," he announced that "SB 562 will remain in the Assembly Rules Committee until further notice."

The move was instantly polarizing. Inside the labor movement, the California branch of the Service Employees International Union - which has long supported single-payer health care - issued a statement supporting Rendon's decision, saying the organization wants changes to the legislation. SEIU's affiliates have previously negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with insurer Kaiser Permanente, which would be "dismantled" under the single-payer bill, according to Kaiser's lobbyist.

By contrast, the California Nurses Association, which represents 100,000 unionized nurses in the state, slammed Rendon, asserting that he had acted "in secret in the interests of the profiteering insurance companies" and that he had "destroy[ed] the aspirations of millions of Californians for guaranteed health care."

The internecine attacks were equally fierce within the Democratic Party.

"Today's announcement that the Assembly will not be moving forward on single-payer, Medicare-for-All healthcare for California at this time is an unambiguous disappointment for all of us who believe that healthcare is a right for every Californian," said newly elected California Democratic Party chairman Eric Bauman, who until the middle of June had worked in the Assembly speaker's office under Rendon, and ran his Southern California office. "We understand that SB 562 is a work in progress, but we believe it should keep moving forward, especially in light of the widespread suffering that will occur if Trump and Congressional Republicans succeed in passing their cold-blooded, morally bankrupt so-called healthcare legislation."

Perhaps seeking to bridge the divide, Rendon left open the possibility that the bill will come up next year.

"Because this is the first year of a two-year session, this action does not mean SB 562 is dead," he said. "In fact, it leaves open the exact deep discussion and debate the senators who voted for SB 562 repeatedly said is needed. The Senate can use that time to fill the holes in SB 562 and pass and send to the Assembly workable legislation that addresses financing, delivery of care, and cost control."

Rendon's focus on financing underscored the fact that passing tax increases to generate hundreds of billions of dollars of new revenue is generally no easy political task - and such initiatives can be particularly tricky in California. There, a 1988-passed measure called Proposition 98 typically requires that a significant amount of any new tax revenue must go to education. Another 1979 measure known as the Gann limit also aims to restrict spending increases. Funding a single-payer system could require complex legislation or even a separate ballot measure.

Bill proponents, though, say those potential roadblocks are navigable within the scope of the bill they are pushing. In an interview with IBT, Michael Lighty of the California Nurses Association noted that the Senate version of the legislation included language to make sure that the new health care system would not launch unless state officials certified that adequate funding was available.

"The speaker says the bill is 'woefully incomplete' but he stopped the process that would have completed it," Lighty said. "We have a failsafe mechanism in the legislation. In the event anticipated monies are not available from whatever source for whatever reason, we can address it before full program operation. There are all sorts of options, but you can't do any of it if the bill doesn't move forward."

Bauman told IBT that despite the opposition within his own party, he expects progressive Democrats to continue pushing for single payer.

"What Democratic activists need to be doing every day is educating our elected officials and the public on just how important the fight for health care is, and on why this is the moral and ethical fight of the day," he said.

JohnH -> Christopher H.... , June 27, 2017 at 07:24 AM
If the poll is correct and 2/3 of Californians support single payer, they should do an initiative.

The only way to buck the corporate Democrats is often the initiative process.

BTW I call them Wall Street Democrats because it's the Rubin-Summers-Geithner wing of the party that is stifling progress.

Christopher H. -> Christopher H.... , June 27, 2017 at 07:24 AM
PGL, above:

"Yes the California Senate pased(sic) a "single payer" proposal but it is not moving in the House until someone does the hard work of deciding: (a) what are the details about what is being provided; and (b) how it will be paid for."

[Jun 28, 2017] The Skills Gap: Blaming Workers Rather than Policy

Notable quotes:
"... We don't see this sort of bidding war for workers taking place in any major sector of the economy. While there may be a few occupations in a few areas where employers really are bidding up wages rapidly, this is not happening in most sectors of the labor market. ..."
"... The other reason we know the skills shortage story does not fit is that there is no noticeable increase in the length of the average workweek for any major group of workers. The story we would expect to see if companies could not hire more workers is that they would instead work their existing workforce more hours, paying them overtime if necessary. We don't see this happening on any large scale either. The length of the average workweek is actually slightly shorter now than it was two years ago. Here also, there is no major area of the economy in which are seeing lengthening workweeks in a manner that would be consistent with the skills shortage story.... ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , June 27, 2017 at 03:39 PM

http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/the-skills-gap-blaming-workers-rather-than-policy

June 25, 2017

The Skills Gap: Blaming Workers Rather than Policy
By Dean Baker

Last week Donald Trump visited a technical college in Wisconsin. He was accompanied by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, several members of Congress, and top officials in his administration. The theme was promoting apprenticeship programs that give workers job specific skills. Trump, along with the rest of his contingent, bemoaned the fact that employers cannot find workers with the skills they need. This theme was picked up by many in the media, including many who are not Republicans, who argued that workers in the U.S. are not getting ahead because they lack the necessary skills.

The striking feature about this argument is how widely it gets repeated, even when the evidence continually shows that it is not true. Just to be clear, it is good that U.S. workers get better training. Other countries, most notably Germany and the Nordic countries, do a much better job of training workers who do not get college degrees than the United States.

It is also true that any individual worker will almost certainly be better off in the labor market if they could acquire more skills. Certainly the best advice to a young person completing high school would be to try to go to college or alternatively to get the training needed to be a physical therapist, dental hygienist, or some other moderately well-paying professional. Insofar as the government can facilitate this education and training it will be good for both the workers and the economy as a whole.

But that is very different from claiming that the main reason that millions of workers are unemployed or out of the labor force is that they don't have the right skills. This claim is endlessly put forward, in both the United States and elsewhere, even in contexts where it is obviously not true.

The unemployment rate in the United States fell to 4.3 percent in May, so the claim that companies may be having trouble finding qualified workers is more plausible now than earlier in the recovery. But even now that the labor market is hugely stronger than at its low points in the Great Recession there is still reason to question the skills shortage view.

First and foremost we are not seeing the sort of rapid wage growth that would be expected if there were widespread skills shortage. This is a story where companies would like to expand their business but are prevented from doing so because they can't find any workers with the skills they need.

However there are always some workers somewhere who have the needed skills. Companies could offer higher wages to lure workers away from competitors. Or, they can make a point of recruiting in more distant areas and offering to pay travel and location expenses for workers.

We don't see this sort of bidding war for workers taking place in any major sector of the economy. While there may be a few occupations in a few areas where employers really are bidding up wages rapidly, this is not happening in most sectors of the labor market.

The other reason we know the skills shortage story does not fit is that there is no noticeable increase in the length of the average workweek for any major group of workers. The story we would expect to see if companies could not hire more workers is that they would instead work their existing workforce more hours, paying them overtime if necessary. We don't see this happening on any large scale either. The length of the average workweek is actually slightly shorter now than it was two years ago. Here also, there is no major area of the economy in which are seeing lengthening workweeks in a manner that would be consistent with the skills shortage story....

[Jun 28, 2017] Trump Has Been Continuing Obamas Syria-Policy by Eric Zuesse

Jun 27, 2017 | off-guardian.org

U.S. President Donald Trump, who during the election-campaign ferociously condemned Barack Obama's foreign policies, while asserting nothing concrete of his own, has, as the U.S. President, committed himself quite clearly to continuing Obama's publicly stated policy on Syria, which policy was to place, as the first priority, the elimination of ISIS, and as the policy to follow that, the elimination and replacement of Syria's government. I have previously indicated that on June 19th "Russia Announces No-Fly Zone in Syria - War Against U.S. There" , and that the early indications are that Trump has changed his Syria-policy to accommodate Russia's demands there; but, prior to June 19th, Trump was actually following Obama's publicly stated Syria-policy.

As also will be shown here, Obama's publicly stated policy - to destroy ISIS and then to overthrow Syria's President Bashar al-Assad - was actually less extreme than his real policy, which was to overthrow Assad and to use the jihadist forces in Syria (especially Al Qaeda in Syria) to achieve that objective. Trump, at least until 19 June 2017, has been adhering to Obama's publicly stated policy. Russia's warning was for him not to adopt and continue Obama's actual policy (to overthrow Assad).

Here is the part, of the by-now-famous 12 August 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analysis of the intelligence regarding Iraq and in Syria, that the press (despite its extensive reporting about the document) has not yet reported from the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures (which had included that document and many others), but which part of it shows even more than the part that has been reported from the document, Obama's having made an informed choice actually to protect Al Qaeda in Syria, so as to bring down and replace the Syrian government - Obama's actual prioritization (contrary to his publicly stated one) of overthrowing Assad, even above defeating the jihadists in Syria; and this was clearly also a warning by the DIA to the Commander-in-Chief, that he can have either an overthrow of Assad, or else a non-jihadist-controlled Syria, but not both, and that any attempt to bring down Assad by means of using the jihadists as a proxy army against him, would ultimately fail:

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version.pdf

page 69 of 100:

D. AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq], through spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) Abu Muhammed Al Adnani, declared the Syrian regime as the spearhead of what he is naming Jibha Al Ruwafdh (forefront of the Shiites) because of its (the Syrian regime) declaration of war on the Sunnis. Additionally, he is calling on the Sunnis in Iraq, especially the tribes in the border regions (between Iraq and Syria), to wage war against the Syrian regime, regarding Syria as an infidel regime for its support to the infidel party Hezbollah, and other regimes he considers dissenters like Iran and Iraq.

E. AQI considers the Sunni issue in Iraq to be fatefully connected to the Sunni Arabs and Muslims.

page 70:

A. The [Syrian] regime will survive and have control over Syrian territory.

page 71:

B. Development of the current events into a proxy war: with support from Russia, China, and Iran, the regime is controlling the areas of influence along coastal territories (Tartus and Latakia), and is fiercely defending Homs, which is considered the primary transportation route in Syria. On the other hand, opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these [jihadist] efforts

And here is from the part that the press did report:

https://www.facebook.com/ayssar.midani/posts/10152479627582395

Ayssar Midani, May 23, 2015 · Paris, France:

"C: If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime."

The "supporting powers" are: western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey The DIA warns that the creation of such an Salafist principality would have "dire consequences" for Iraq and would possibly lead to the creation of an Islamic State and: create the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.
These DIA folks really earned their salary.

The Obama administration, together with other supporter of the Syrian "opposition", knew that AQ was a large part of that "opposition" from the very beginning. The U.S. and others wanted a Salafist [i.e., fundamentalist Sunni] principality in east Syria to cut Syria and Lebanon off from a land route to Iran. It was warned that such a principality would create havoc in Iraq and to the return of AQ in Iraq (today the Islamic State) to Mosul and Ramadi.

I quoted from that part in December 2016 , which was the time when the two Presidents, Obama and Turkey's Erdogan, began their joint effort to relocate ISIS from Mosul Iraq, into Der Zor Syria, in order to culminate their (and the Sauds') joint plan to use ISIS so as to bring down Assad. Then, I headlined, on 30 April 2017, that they had actually completed this task of moving Iraq's ISIS into Syria, "How Obama & Erdogan Moved ISIS from Iraq to Syria, to Weaken Assad" . That's why the Syrian government is now fighting to take Der Zor back from ISIS control.

Other portions of the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures which received little or no press-coverage (and that little being only on far-right blogs - not mainstream 'news' sites) add still further to the evidence that Obama was using Al Qaeda and its friends, as a proxy army of jihadists to overthrow Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and replace him by a jihadist regime that would be loyal to America's fundamentalist-Sunni 'allies', the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia, and the Thanis who own Qatar. (Of course, now, the Sauds are trying to destroy the Thanis, too.)

These unpublished or little-published portions from the Judical Watch disclosures, also add to the ample published evidence that the Obama regime was transporting (as these documents acknowledged on page 4) "weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya" which "were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria," for use by Obama's 'moderate rebels' (a.k.a.: jihadists) in Syria. Specifically:

page 4:
18 Sep 2012

2. During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amounts of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

3. The weapons shipped from Libya to Syria during late-August 2012 [i.e., the period immediately prior to this memo] were sniper rifles, RPGs, and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles.

It's now clear that Trump (at least until June 19th) has been continuing Obama's stated policy of killing ISIS and then overthrowing Assad. But of course no one can yet know whether or not he would be continuing it in precisely the way that Hillary Clinton made clear that she would do, which is to announce a no-fly zone in Syria and thus grab control over some portion of the sovereign nation of Syria. That way would result, now after 19 June 2017 ( Russia's warning to shoot down U.S. aircraft that attack Syrian government-allied forces ), either in U.S. retreat or else shooting down Russian planes in Syria, and war between U.S. and Russia, ending in nuclear war.

When I presented, in my December 2016 report, what I referred to above as "the part of the 12 August 2012 DIA analysis of the intelligence regarding Iraq and in Syria that the press has not yet reported from the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures," I didn't mention then that one news-medium did report a part of that section, and it was a rabidly pro-Republican site, Glenn Beck and his "The Blaze," which headlined about this matter, very appropriately, "'It Is Damn Near Criminal': Glenn Beck Says the U.S. Is Using Islamic State as a 'Pawn'," which point, Beck presented rather well in the video accompanying it. Unfortunately, however, closed-minded 'liberals' and 'progressives' paid no attention to this and to the other evils perpetrated by Obama ( such as these ). Regardless of how untrustworthy Beck is, his statements about that particular matter were actually spot-on.

Obama was using ISIS in this way, but after Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, Obama joined in so as not to make obvious to the world that he had been protecting and even arming ISIS until that date, and that prior to Russia's bombing ISIS, the U.S. had actually ignored ISIS.

Now that ISIS in Syria seems to be on its last legs there, only Kurds and Al Qaeda in Syria ( and their backers especially the U.S. and Sauds ) remain as big threats to Syria's sovereignty, and the evidence at least till June 19th, has been that Trump definitely backs the Kurds there, and might also be backing Al Qaeda there as well. If he continues backing the Kurds and Al Qaeda there, after Russia's warning on June 19th (which the neoconservative Washington Post called only "bluffing" and the neoconservative CNBC called "bluster" ), then the U.S. will be at war not only against Russia, but also against Turkey, and also against Iran, and it would be World War III because it would be U.S.-v.-Russia. Turkey is already at war against the Kurds; and, if America is fighting for the Kurds, to break up Syria, then Turkey - a member of the NATO anti-Russia alliance - will paralyze NATO; and the U.S. will then be waging its war without NATO's support.

Trump would need to be very stupid to do such a thing. It would be an intelligence test which, if Trump fails, the world will end, in nuclear winter - with or without support from the rest of NATO. But, nonetheless, some in the American 'elite' and its employees, say that it would merely be a recognition of Russia's "bluffing" and "bluster." One wonders what objective this 'elite' believes to be worthy of taking the risk that they're wrong. What do they actually hope to 'win', fighting on the side of the Sauds (and their Israeli agents), in order to conquer Syria? Why are they so desperate, to do that?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .

Eric Blair says June 27, 2017

Moon of Alabama commented yesterday on the US and its allies defeat (so far) in S.E. Syria. At an MSM ignored DoD press conference the US military admitted as much. From MoA's article:

Q: [ ] [W]hat potential threat do you believe these Iranian backed militias and regime forces continue to pose to your forces and your partner forces in the At Tanf - Abu Kamal area?

COL. DILLON: Well if the Syrian regime - and it looks like they are making a concerted effort to move into ISIS held areas. And if they show that they can do that, that is not a bad sign. We are here to fight ISIS as a coalition, but if others want to fight ISIS and defeat them, then we absolutely have no problem with that. And as they move eastward toward Abu Kamal and to Deir Ezzour, if we - as long as we can de-conflict and make sure that we can focus on what it is we're there to do, without having any kind of strategic mishaps with the regime or with pro-regime forces or with Russians, then that is - we're perfectly happy with that.

In a later part the spokesperson also concedes that the forces in al-Tanf are now very constricted in their movement:

if the regime is - has moved into an area that is towards Abu Kamal, then we are going to be limited to how far out we do patrols [from al-Tanf] with our partner forces.

Somewhat later the point is made again and even clearer – al-Tanf is now useless and the Syrian army is free to do what it does:

COL. DILLON: So what I was saying about that is that, out of the At Tanf area, we have used that to train our partner forces and to continue to - to fight ISIS, you know, if they are in and around that area.

You know, now that the regime has moved in, and they have made some significant, you know, progress, as it looks, towards moving to Abu Kamal and perhaps Deir Ezzour, if they want to fight ISIS in Abu Kamal and they have the capacity to do so, then, you know, that - that would be welcome.

We as a coalition are not in the land-grab business. We're in the killing ISIS business, and that is what we want to do. And if - if the Syrian regime wants to do that, and they are going to, again, put forth a concerted effort and show that they are - are doing just that in Abu Kamal or Deir Ezzour or elsewhere, that means that we don't have to do that in those locations.

So I guess that - what I'm saying is, in the At Tanf area, we will continue to train our partner forces. We will continue to do patrols in and around At Tanf in the Hamad desert. But if our access to Abu Kamal is shut off because the regime is there, that's okay.

Hmm the US military standing down? I haven't looked at the entire transcript yet but this seems almost too good to be true. Of course these press conference proclamations need to be washed down with a generous helping of delicious salt. Even if the statements are sincere, the interventionists, their media "partners" and think tank propagandists will keep on pushing for "regime change" (a coup by any other name ) and the destruction of Syria.

On the bright side US/NATO uncontested domination of the globe was stopped in its tracks by the Russian military in Syria on 30.09.2015 and there is simply no way Washington can bribe, threaten or beat every nation in the world into submission.

bevin says June 26, 2017
This is a culture at the end of its tether: it simply cannot put up with dissent or contradiction, so brittle is it. It is all part of a refusal to face ugly reality, symptomatic of which is the relegation-to Die Welt's Sunday edition- of Seymour Hersh's latest investigation of US state mendacity its irresponsibility in the matter if the recent "Sarin" attack blamed on Assad.
Ray McGovern has a piece at Counterpunch today in which he reveals that "Even the London Review of Books, which published Hersh's earlier debunking of the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin-gas incident, wouldn't go out onto the limb this time despite having paid for his investigation.

"According to Hersh, the LRB did not want to be "vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russia governments when it came to the April 4 bombing in Khan Sheikhoun." So much for diversity of thought in today's West."
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/26/hershs-big-scoop-bad-intel-behind-trumps-syria-attack/

captain Swing says June 27, 2017
Very interesting article from Counterpunch. Thanks.
Jerry Alatalo says June 27, 2017
bevin,
The facts Seymour Hersh's article lays out pushes one in the direction that Trump – totally ignoring his intelligence and military experts telling him their was no certainty Assad was responsible – had knowledge the event was a false flag. Trump couldn't be so stupid as to not understand what his experts were telling him. After launching the 50 Tomahawk missiles, he lied through his teeth to the world, saying "we know we have the evidence..", then UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (like Colin Powell, before the illegal Iraq War) blasted Assad falsely, held up pictures at the Security Council of dead children which were quickly plastered on the front pages of newspapers globally,, and literally warned Syria's Bashar al-Jaafari of impending war.

Hersh's article shows Trump, Haley and the U.S. administration, UK/France and other United Nations representatives were lying about "we have the evidence", and owe their citizens and the world an explanation, plus an apology. These psychopath liars are extremely dangerous and must become held to account for their deceptions.

archie1954 says June 26, 2017
If the US were to persist in this dangerous dance with the devil, I could imaging NATO being split by Turkey, refusing to get involved any further and even separately protecting Europe from Russian retaliation by entering into a defense treaty with Russia. The US then would be shouldering the whole foolish confrontation by itself and perhaps having to deal with China and North Korea at the same time. Now that would be an interesting scenario.
Michael Leigh says June 26, 2017
I think the worthy Historian, Eric Zuesse has not considered the possibility that a new midlle East regional grouping, offers the best chance of allowing the USA to gracefully avoid the ultimate failure of its Middle East policy by conceding to the combined alliance, of the major traditional Nations and their forces of the Middle East; being Egypt, Iran and Turkey.

Currently divided by a false religious and secular division, posed by primarily Great Britain and the USA, it was the British who over 100 years ago financed and invented the Sunni Wahhabi division which sunni division represents the most murderous of the current Islamic terrorist outrages financed also by the USA and Saudi Arabia throughout the region and globe.

Similarly, the Anglo-Franco financed and hosting of the Muslim Brotherhood to further frustrate and end Turkey's leadership of the declining Otterman Empire, formally lead by Turkey.

The most important factor against a new alignment of those three aforementioned regional leaders; is the current illegimate counter-alliance of " the lawless Hebrew State of Israel " and the Teflon-guarded deep state, which appears to own and really run the also infamous North America State?

[Jun 28, 2017] Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia.

Notable quotes:
"... Russia and Putin weren't effective issues for Hillary, and they're not effective issues now, yet the Democratic leadership insists on flogging them. The corrupt, sclerotic, and incompetent Democratic leadership is aloof and out of touch...and needs to go. ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH , June 27, 2017 at 06:27 AM

Earth to the Democratic leadership: Stop talking so much about Russia.

"Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia.

Democratic leaders have been beating the drum this year over the ongoing probes into the Trump administration's potential ties to Moscow, taking every opportunity to highlight the saga and forcing floor votes designed to uncover any business dealings the president might have with Russian figures.

But rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare.
In the wake of a string of special-election defeats, an increasing number of Democrats are calling for an adjustment in party messaging, one that swings the focus from Russia to the economy. The outcome of the 2018 elections, they say, hinges on how well the Democrats manage that shift.
"We can't just talk about Russia because people back in Ohio aren't really talking that much about Russia, about Putin, about Michael Flynn," Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) told MSNBC Thursday. "They're trying to figure out how they're going to make the mortgage payment, how they're going to pay for their kids to go to college, what their energy bill looks like.

"And if we don't talk more about their interest than we do about how we're so angry with Donald Trump and everything that's going on," he added, "then we're never going to be able to win elections."

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/339248-dems-push-leaders-to-talk-less-about-russia

Russia and Putin weren't effective issues for Hillary, and they're not effective issues now, yet the Democratic leadership insists on flogging them. The corrupt, sclerotic, and incompetent Democratic leadership is aloof and out of touch...and needs to go.

[Jun 28, 2017] Norman Solomon: Is 'Russiagate' Collapsing as a Political Strategy? by Norman Solomon

Notable quotes:
"... By Norman Solomon, the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." ..."
"... The Hill ..."
"... "While the voters have a keen interest in any Russian election interference, they are concerned that the investigations have become a distraction for the president and Congress that is hurting rather than helping the country." ..."
"... In early spring, the former communications director of the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, summarized the post-election approach in a Washington Post ..."
"... Polling data now indicate how wrong such claims are. ..."
"... Initially in lockstep this year, Democrats on Capitol Hill probably didn't give it a second thought if they read my article published by The Hill ..."
"... I find political strategy-speak such as "an adjustment in party messaging" to be sickening. The Democrats still seem to be talking about manipulating perception, rather than actually doing anything fundamentally different. ..."
"... Identity politics is basically a divide and rule strategy to keep progressive candidates off the ballot, the real purpose of the Democratic Party establishment. That is what they are being paid for. ..."
"... The first world has had enough neolib, pendulum has started moving the other way. Macron shows the desperation to try something new without embracing right wing LePen an option not available here, so revulsion to neolib resulted in Trump.. ..."
"... There are already significant legal barriers to the creation of a new party. Both parties will probably gang up on any new party development too. ..."
"... The Dims – because that's what these people truly are – will just assume that they haven't put enough effort into "Russia" and go triple- or quadruple-up on every failed candidate, strategy, platform, message, consultant, focus-group and whatever else a sane leadership should by now have been tarring, feathering and releasing the hounds upon. ..."
"... for Dims. The Russia thing is irresistible because it's supposed to get nationalistic rubes to turn against Trump while sucking up to the military-industrial complex. And yet, it didn't work during the campaign either. ..."
"... The fixation of Clintonites, or frustrated dems with russiagate is very telling and well explained here. It strikes me how the russiagate has treated so uncritically by the "liberal" press in Spain. ..."
"... Even if "evidence" would appear after all this time, do we not suspect it has been cooked in the truth-telling factories of the FBI, CIA, and NSA, all in bed with right-wing warmongers who own both parties ( not just Republicans – sorry, integer )? ..."
"... Comment was to your saying the security establishment "which is primarily GOP owned or aligned". Both parties, in a sense, "own" it, and use segments of it to advantage when necessary. But further, both the parties and agencies are "owned" by the power of capital as it is currently operating, and this power behind the throne makes the security and party establishment dance. You and I are on the ground, trying to avoid the footwork. ..."
"... This is one reason why russiagate is inevitable. Who wants to tell the donors that the Team D brain trust pissed away a billion and a half, with nothing to show for it? But if the election was somehow stolen (eeevil Russkies!) then it wasn't really Team D's fault you see, and then ..."
"... The entire Russia-gate issue ignores/insults the voters the Democrats hope to influence. To some extent, the Democrats are telling the deplorable Trump voters, "The Russians influenced you to vote for Trump, someone who you have been aware of for many years, over the other well-known candidate Hillary Clinton" ..."
"... The Trump voter is probably more than a little irritated to have their voting actions viewed this way, they do not see themselves influenced by the Russians and do not understand why the Russians COULD significantly influence the election when the USA spends so much money on the CIA, FBI, NSA and US military. ..."
"... The entire Russia-gate issue ignores/insults the voters the Democrats hope to influence. ..."
"... To some extent, the Democrats are telling the deplorable Trump voters, "The Russians influenced you to vote for Trump, someone who you have been aware of for many years, over the other well-known candidate Hillary Clinton" ..."
"... Unfortunately for the voters Bill Clinton and Obama and the Dem estab are neoliberals. Bill and O were neoliberals running in New Deal clothing. The current Dem estab is neolib. A better "message" sans better policies isn't any better than focusing on Russia, imo. ..."
"... Gore Vidal (among others) used to point out that the dirty little secret of America's anti-communist right was that they were actually jealous of the brutal tactics the commies could use against their dissenters and secretly – and in many cases, not so secretly – wished they could do the same thing here. ..."
"... What if "RussiaGate" was only really intended to pressure Trump hard against any diplomatic rapprochement with a country the Neocons have targeted? ..."
"... Trump's foreign policy has been relentlessly steered into a direction the Clintons always intended to take it. Ticking off the last countries on Israel's 'enemy list' as compiled by the PNAC creeps. Recall the statement of Col. Wilkerson or one of those old guard people who wandered into an office in the Pentagon to find that there was a list of countries to be destroyed, starting with Iraq and ending finally with Iran. Syria and Libya were on it. ..."
"... This whole thing is about a high level grand strategic plan that involves destabilizing and overthrowing governments the US and Israel find annoying and insufficiently obeisant. The ultimate goal will be breaking the Russian Federation into a bunch of independent statelets. This isn't 'conspiracy theory' – it's what Brzezinski advocated and aligns neatly with the needs of the military-industrial-financial complex and its obsession with total control over world energy supplies as a lever for domination. ..."
"... Cold, you bring up a topic often ignored that I find highly credible. The Deep State with all its power to manufacture information and create chaos has a long-standing interest in maintaining Russiaphobia. The Soviet Union was certainly the best enemy they have ever known. Without it trillions of dollars of armaments would have never been sold and billions of dollars of spy agency bureaucracies never have been funded. ..."
"... This has been mission accomplished for the Dems. You just have to assume they want the country to move right. ..."
Jun 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Norman Solomon, the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death."

The plan for Democrats to run against Russia may be falling apart.

Now, Democrats in Congress and other party leaders are starting to face an emerging reality: The "winning issue" of Russia is a losing issue.

The results of a reliable new nationwide poll - and what members of Congress keep hearing when they actually listen to constituents back home - cry out for a drastic reorientation of Democratic Party passions. And a growing number of Democrats in Congress are getting the message.

"Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia," The Hill reported over the weekend. In sharp contrast to their party's top spokespeople, "rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare."

The Hill coverage added: "In the wake of a string of special-election defeats, an increasing number of Democrats are calling for an adjustment in party messaging, one that swings the focus from Russia to the economy. The outcome of the 2018 elections, they say, hinges on how well the Democrats manage that shift."

Such assessments aren't just impressionistic or anecdotal. A major poll has just reached conclusions that indicate party leaders have been operating under political illusions.

Conducted last week, the Harvard-Harris national poll found a big disconnect between the Russia obsession of Democratic Party elites in Washington and voters around the country.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, a progressive Democrat, put it this way: "We should be focused relentlessly on economic improvement [and] we should stay away from just piling on the criticism of Trump, whether it's about Russia, whether it's about Comey. Because that has its own independent dynamic, it's going to happen on its own without us piling on."

Welch said, "We're much better off if we just do the hard work of coming up with an agenda. Talking about Trump and Russia doesn't create an agenda."

Creating a compelling agenda would mean rejecting what has become the rote reflex of Democratic Party leadership - keep hammering Trump as a Kremlin tool. In a typical recent comment, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pounded away at a talking point already so worn out that it has the appearance of a bent nail: "What do the Russians have on Donald Trump?"

In contrast, another House Democrat, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, said: "If you see me treating Russia and criticisms of the president and things like that as a secondary matter, it's because that's how my constituents feel about it."

But ever since the election last November, Democratic congressional leaders have been placing the party's bets heavily on the Russia horse. And it's now pulling up lame.

Yes, a truly independent investigation is needed to probe charges that the Russian government interfered with the U.S. election. And investigators should also dig to find out if there's actual evidence that Trump or his campaign operatives engaged in nefarious activities before or after the election. At the same time, let's get a grip. The partisan grandstanding on Capitol Hill, by leading Republicans and Democrats, hardly qualifies as "independent."

In the top strata of the national Democratic Party, and especially for the Clinton wing of the party, blaming Russia has been of visceral importance. A recent book about Hillary Clinton's latest presidential campaign - "Shattered," by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes - includes a revealing passage. "Within 24 hours of her concession speech," the authors report, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta "assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn't entirely on the up-and-up."

At that meeting, "they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument."

In early spring, the former communications director of the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, summarized the post-election approach in a Washington Post opinion piece : "If we make plain that what Russia has done is nothing less than an attack on our republic, the public will be with us. And the more we talk about it, the more they'll be with us."

Polling data now indicate how wrong such claims are.

Initially in lockstep this year, Democrats on Capitol Hill probably didn't give it a second thought if they read my article published by The Hill nearly six months ago under the headline "Democrats Are Playing With Fire on Russia." At the outset, I warned that "the most cohesive message from congressional Democrats is: blame Russia. The party leaders have doubled down on an approach that got nowhere during the presidential campaign - trying to tie the Kremlin around Donald Trump's neck."

And I added: "Still more interested in playing to the press gallery than speaking directly to the economic distress of voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere who handed the presidency to Trump, top Democrats would much rather scapegoat Vladimir Putin than scrutinize how they've lost touch with working-class voters."

But my main emphasis in that January 9 article was that "the emerging incendiary rhetoric against Russia is extremely dangerous. It could lead to a military confrontation between two countries that each has thousands of nuclear weapons."

I noted that "enthusiasm for banging the drum against Putin is fast becoming a big part of the Democratic Party's public identity in 2017. And - insidiously - that's apt to give the party a long-term political stake in further demonizing the Russian government."

My article pointed out: "The reality is grim, and potentially catastrophic beyond comprehension. By pushing to further polarize with the Kremlin, congressional Democrats are increasing the chances of a military confrontation with Russia."

Here's a question worth pondering: How much time do members of Congress spend thinking about ways to reduce the risks of nuclear holocaust, compared to how much time they spend thinking about getting re-elected?

In political terms, The Hill 's June 24 news article headlined "Dems Push Leaders to Talk Less About Russia" should be a wakeup call. Held in the thrall of Russia-bashing incantations since early winter, some Democrats in Congress have started to realize that they must break the spell. But they will need help from constituents willing to bluntly tell them to snap out of it .

If there is to be a human future on this planet, it will require real diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia , the world's two nuclear-weapons superpowers. Meanwhile - even if the nuclear threat from continuing to escalate hostility toward Russia doesn't rank high on the list of Democrats' concerns on Capitol Hill - maybe the prospects of failure in the elections next year will compel a major change. It's time for the dangerous anti-Russia fever to break.

EndOfTheWorld , June 27, 2017 at 3:55 am

The "Russiagate" farce had its waterloo moment when three CNN faux journalists were asked kindly to resign for being too faux even for the Clinton News Network.

Yes, the Democrat politicians who have enough functioning brain cells to actually go back to their districts and meet with their random constituents can plainly see that the people want this BS to come to and end immediately if not three months ago.

Louis Fyne , June 27, 2017 at 9:29 am

CNN producer on video admitting that it's all bunk courtesy of James Okeefe. Expect Fox News to run this clip 24/7. http://www.veritaslive.com/06-26-2017/americanpravdacnn.html

shinola , June 27, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for the link – confirms what I've suspected for months. If any of y'all have about 9 minutes to spare, this vid. is really interesting (& damning).

Thor's Hammer , June 27, 2017 at 11:31 am

Debates about whether the Democrat wing of the Property Party should change its PR focus from trying to manufacture Russiaphobia to pretending to care about the welfare of the working class are worse than debating about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It's embarrassing to watch a highly intelligent group of people like the NC readership engage in discussions like this while ignoring the facts before them.

NC has diligently documented the bankster fraud that characterized the 2007-2008 financial meltdown. Exactly how many of the perpetrators of this massive theft went to prison?

The US has been at permanent war in the middle east for 20 years under Democrat and Republican administrations, employing fabrication of events, torture of prisoners, shock and awe bombing attacks, assassination by remote control drones, false flag attacks, and proxy funding of Islamic terrorist organizations. How many CIA torturers, generals, and politicians have been held accountable for their lies and war crimes?

Thor's Hammer , June 27, 2017 at 4:18 pm

By "people who have been living in terror" I assume your mean people who find themselves on the Trump banned country list? Unjust and anti-humanitarian perhaps, but hardly equivalent to terrorism.

Terrorism is when your wedding party is bombed by a drone being piloted by a computer operator half a world away because the cyber spy satellites have detected too many cell phone conversations directed at one of the guests. Terrorism is when a delusional religious fundamentalist straps explosives to her body and blows herself up in a crowded nightclub. And terrorism is when a government funds the anti-human belief systems that lead to such mad acts.

Allegorio , June 27, 2017 at 5:10 pm

The first and foremost action should be government funded elections. Take the money out of politics. Open up ballot access. Election day should be a national holiday. Paper ballots publicly counted. Free electioneering on our public airwaves. Run off elections so that the elected truly have a mandate. The malefactors of wealth completely control the electoral process. Tall order but nothing else can be accomplished unless we take back the electoral system, foundation of democracy.

Lord Koos , June 27, 2017 at 1:06 pm

I find political strategy-speak such as "an adjustment in party messaging" to be sickening. The Democrats still seem to be talking about manipulating perception, rather than actually doing anything fundamentally different.

Allegorio , June 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm

That was absolutely Nancy Pelosi's line on CBS the other morning. We're not doing anything wrong we're just not getting our message out there. Delusional bought and paid for party hack. She has got to go.

oh , June 27, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Agree. Here's slight modification of one of you points:

  1. Elections are circuses organized for the distraction of the underclasses.
  2. They are never contested on the basis of fundamental issues that determine the future of the country.
  3. Rather, they are pissing contests between advertising agencies who employ all means at hand to temporarily manipulate public opinion while maximizing their revenue.
ChrisPacific , June 27, 2017 at 5:03 pm

All largely true; however, there remains a large contingent of non-NC readers (and traditional Democrat supporters) who remain unaware of most of this and who need to be convinced. Many of these people are our friends and relatives, and penetrating their illusions is essential if we are ever to reform the Democrat party by starving its more problematic members of voter support. The four points you mentioned, while largely accepted by NC readers, remain very much to be demonstrated when talking to these kind of people. We can't just lead with something like "Hillary is a warmongering crony capitalist who sold out the working class a long time ago." They will switch off if we do. We need to offer concrete, real-world examples that demonstrate it, along with the necessary context for them to understand the problem. If they follow along with the arguments then they will eventually reach the conclusion on their own. While this article may not be telling NC readers anything they don't already know, it's a good example of a narrative that we can use in those situations.

EoinW , June 27, 2017 at 8:23 am

Trojan Horse. It's the Guardian(and CNN) saying: "we deal with faux news the moment it happens. Look at how clean we are!" The entire MSM will jump all over this and pretend they've cleaned house, fixed the one isolated incident, therefore we can once again trust them to be the truth tellers they are. A wonderful script for the Lefties and the pseudo-Left media, like the Guardian. It's BS because they lie all the time about everything!

Allegorio , June 27, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Please don't conflate the left with the "Liberal Media". There is no left mass media in this country.

integer , June 27, 2017 at 5:16 am

https://twitter.com/JulianAssange/status/878773715147902977

Why the Democratic party is doomed:

1. The Democratic establishment has vortexed the party's narrative energy into hysteria about Russia (a state with a lower GDP than South Korea). It is starkly obvious that were it not for this hysteria insurgent narratives of the type promoted by Bernie Sanders would rapidly dominate the party's base and its relationship with the public. Without the "We didn't lose–Russia won" narrative the party's elite and those who exist under its patronage would be purged for being electorally incompetent and ideologically passι. The collapse of the Democratic vote over the last eight years is at every level, city, state, Congressional and presidential. It corresponds to the domination of Democratic decision making structures by a professional, educated, urban service class and to the shocking decline in health and longevity of white males, who together with their wives, daughters, mothers, etc. comprise 63% of the US population (2010 census). Unlike other industrialized countries US male real wages (all ethnic groups combined) have not increased since 1973. In trying to stimulate engagement of non-whites and women Democrats have aggressively promoted identity politics. This short-term tactic has led to the inevitable strategic catastrophe of the white and male super majorities responding by seeing themselves as an unserviced political identity group. Consequently in response to sotto-voce suggestions that Trump would service this group 53% of all men voted for Trump, 53% of white women and 63% of white men (PEW Research).

2. The Trump-Russia collusion narrative is a political dead end. Despite vast resources, enormous incentives and a year of investigation, Democratic senators who have seen the classified intelligence at the CIA such as Senator Feinstein (as recently as March) are forced to admit that there is no evidence of collusion
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BS5amEq7Fc ]. Without collusion, we are left with the Democratic establishment blaming the public for being repelled by the words of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party establishment. Is it a problem that the public discovered what Hillary Clinton said to Goldman Sachs and what party elites said about fixing the DNC primaries against Bernie Sanders? A party elite that maintains that it is the "crime of the century" for the public and their membership to discover how they behave and what they believe invites scorn.

3. The Democrat establishment needs the support of the security sector and media barons to push this diversionary conspiracy agenda, so they ingratiate themselves with these two classes leading to further perceptions that the Democrats act on behalf of an entrenched power elite. Eventually, Trump or Pence will 'merge' with the security state leaving Democrats in a vulnerable position having talked up two deeply unaccountable traditionally Republican-aligned organizations, in particular, the CIA and the FBI, who will be turned against them. Other than domestic diversion and geopolitical destabilization the primary result of the Russian narrative is increased influence and funding for the security sector which is primarily GOP owned or aligned.

4. The twin result is to place the primary self-interest concerns of most Americans, class competition, freedom from crime and ill health and the empowerment of their children, into the shadows and project the Democrats as close to DC and media elites. This has further cemented Trump's anti-establishment positioning and fettered attacks on Trump's run away embrace of robber barons, dictators and gravitas-free buffoons like the CIA's Mike Pompeo.

5. GOP/Trump has open goals everywhere: broken promises, inequality, economy, healthcare, militarization, Goldman Sachs, Saudi Arabia & cronyism, but the Democrat establishment can't kick these goals since the Russian collusion narrative has consumed all its energy and it is entangled with many of the same groups behind Trump's policies.

6. The Democratic base should move to start a new party since the party elite shows no signs that they will give up power. This can be done quickly and cheaply as a result of the internet and databases of peoples' political preferences. This reality is proven in practice with the rapid construction of the Macron, Sanders and Trump campaigns from nothing. The existing Democratic party may well have negative reputational capital, stimulating a Macron-style clean slate approach. Regardless, in the face of such a threat, the Democratic establishment will either concede control or, as in the case of Macron, be eliminated by the new structure.

Carolinian , June 27, 2017 at 8:34 am

I agree with 6. The fact that the Dems reacted to their presidential loss by immediately accusing their opponent of treason shows how low they have sunk. Perhaps they thought they were justified in imitating Trump's own shoot from the lip style but someone has to be the adult in the room. Meanwhile the country's two leading newspapers turn themselves into social media sites. The ruling class seems to be cracking up.

Suggested name for new third party: the Not Crazy party.

fresno dan , June 27, 2017 at 9:56 am

integer June 27, 2017 at 5:16 am
Thanks for that! Again and Again and Again:
"It corresponds to the domination of Democratic decision making structures by a professional, educated, urban service class and to the shocking decline in health and longevity of white males, who together with their wives, daughters, mothers, etc. comprise 63% of the US population (2010 census). Unlike other industrialized countries US male real wages (all ethnic groups combined) have not increased since 1973. In trying to stimulate engagement of non-whites and women Democrats have aggressively promoted identity politics. This short-term tactic has led to the inevitable strategic catastrophe of the white and male super majorities responding by seeing themselves as an unserviced political identity group. Consequently in response to sotto-voce suggestions that Trump would service this group 53% of all men voted for Trump, 53% of white women and 63% of white men (PEW Research)."

Allegorio , June 27, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Identity politics is basically a divide and rule strategy to keep progressive candidates off the ballot, the real purpose of the Democratic Party establishment. That is what they are being paid for.

Tim , June 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm

The only way to create a new party of actual importance is for it to not be originated from disenfranchised republicans or disenfranchised democrats, lest it be branded as extreme by existing power structures, and be resigned to a fate similar to the libertarian and green parties, which are spoilers at best.

It would need to be a party that grows out of the moderate center. This is doable, because will all the gerrymandering they are becoming the least represented block of voters, that is compounded by the fact that in general 98% of the population are not represented by their representatives anyways. The center is open to facts and reasonable arguments as to policy solutions, such as single payer and a restructured health care industry. That is the executable path to republican and or democrat obsolescence.

John k , June 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm

The first world has had enough neolib, pendulum has started moving the other way. Macron shows the desperation to try something new without embracing right wing LePen an option not available here, so revulsion to neolib resulted in Trump..

Course, the something new macron is just neolib with a pretty face, French will be disappointed, either the left will join forces next time or French desperation will bring LE Pen to power.

Fully agree dems have hollowed themselves out enough to create a vacuum, country desperate for third party. New media is displacing corp mouthpieces, never been easier to start new. Still think take over greens, make functional, because ballot access hard to get, particularly with dems fighting tooth and nail. Come to think of it, maybe they're not completely dysfunctional, they did manage to get on the ballot in most states, not easy, and certainly dems didn't help, they hate the greens.

Dems 30, reps 30, indies 40.
Bernie heading progressive greens gets 1/3 dems, 1/6 reps, 3/4 indies? 45 in three way race is landslide.

oh , June 27, 2017 at 5:13 pm

I don't think I'd count on Bernie. He loves his committee appointments too much and will never leave the DImRats.

integer , June 27, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Just to be clear, the text in my comment above was written by Julian Assange, not me. See the link at the top of said comment.

Andrew Watts , June 27, 2017 at 5:06 pm

In response to point number six: There are already significant legal barriers to the creation of a new party. Both parties will probably gang up on any new party development too.

Secondly, Macron can't be compared to Trump/Sanders. He's just neoliberalism's Potemkin village in France. Both Trump/Sanders aren't really comparable as they both contained genuine political outsiders such as Bannon in Trump's case. I wouldn't compare Melenchon to Sanders either. Melenchon kinda seems like the Le Pen of the French left. By which I mean he would govern as a authoritarian.

integer , June 27, 2017 at 9:08 pm

There are already significant legal barriers to the creation of a new party. Both parties will probably gang up on any new party development too.

Granted, however it shouldn't be forgotten that there are significant barriers to reforming the D-party too.

Lambert Strether , June 27, 2017 at 11:33 pm

Invert "legal barrier" to "asset to be seized"

fajensen , June 27, 2017 at 5:19 am

The Dims – because that's what these people truly are – will just assume that they haven't put enough effort into "Russia" and go triple- or quadruple-up on every failed candidate, strategy, platform, message, consultant, focus-group and whatever else a sane leadership should by now have been tarring, feathering and releasing the hounds upon.

Just imagine the staff meetings: 'We gotta be right eventually, because Vince Lombardi said: "Winners never quit and quitters never win"' and politics is exactly like football. "Ohhh How Deep. Surely advice like that is worth paying 50 kUSD for".

Darn , June 27, 2017 at 5:37 am

+ for Dims. The Russia thing is irresistible because it's supposed to get nationalistic rubes to turn against Trump while sucking up to the military-industrial complex. And yet, it didn't work during the campaign either.

polecat , June 27, 2017 at 11:08 am

'If you are constantly pounding the pudding, shrieking endlessly, and hysterically so, about the evils of the PUTIN and his supposed orange-coiffed minion, while refusing to look into a mirror !!! . You just might be a DIMOCRAT !"

sid_finster , June 27, 2017 at 11:14 am

Team D will continue to double down because it is in the interests of those running Team D to do so.

Ignacio , June 27, 2017 at 5:50 am

The fixation of Clintonites, or frustrated dems with russiagate is very telling and well explained here. It strikes me how the russiagate has treated so uncritically by the "liberal" press in Spain. Nobody, and I say nobody, has even thougth twice about the political risks associated with the demonization of Russia that coincides with Ukraine isues and natural gas supplies in Europe. Interestingly Germans have recently agreed with Russia a new pipeline through the Baltic sea and there is clamor against these agreement amongst other European countries that do not benefit from the pipeline, and apparently the clamor is leaded by the US (the supposedly pro Russian Trump government).

Germany's gas pact with Putin's Russia endangers Atlantic alliance

mundanomaniac , June 27, 2017 at 1:53 pm

and the German journalists, print or TV were ready 2014 like their colleges were1933, when Goebbels called . And no physical threat this time, only probe of character.
And as the Germans since long have learnt to be eager to please their masters they did the trick again, alas now, when they are the paragons of success in the west.

But the president Donald, thank God, is disclosing all veils and Putin is showing a decent kind of leader on the planet. Cheers from Bavaria's

mundo http://astromundanediary.blogspot.de/2017/06/6_18.html

Benedict@Large , June 27, 2017 at 6:02 am

So the bottom line is that Hillary, who wouldn't work for anything better than ObamaCare, is ending up sacrificing ObamaCare itself, all because she got in a powder about people not buying her messageless campaign? We are literally a handful of days away from losing not only ObamaCare, but Medicaid as well, and the Democratic establishment has no strategy except to worry that Bernie Sanders might score a few points for merely repeating back to the party's base what that base was already saying? Forty years of trying to create a "centrist" third party is in shambles, and these people still believe they are entitled to lead what little remains of the party of the working people.

No wonder we were supposed to worry about the Russians. It was the furthest place they could find from where the problem really was.

Mike , June 27, 2017 at 8:38 am

As a side note, no one is mentioning the "progressive" bloggers and news sites (Young Turks, Majority Report, I'm lookin' at ya) who jumped on this bandwagon after showing support for Sanders, then switched to standard form to oppose the "fascist" Trump. It says to me that, just like the more well-known Democratic Party fronts who could have made an effort to show independence, they are ultimately fronts, just more distantly positioned for maximum believability. It all smells, and progressives need to examine their principles before looking to these "saviors".

Even if "evidence" would appear after all this time, do we not suspect it has been cooked in the truth-telling factories of the FBI, CIA, and NSA, all in bed with right-wing warmongers who own both parties (not just Republicans – sorry, integer)? If anything shows the necessity of party realignment (creating new ones to replace existing), this idiocy is not just a brick in the wall, but an entire edifice.

integer , June 27, 2017 at 11:23 am

Even if "evidence" would appear after all this time, do we not suspect it has been cooked in the truth-telling factories of the FBI, CIA, and NSA, all in bed with right-wing warmongers who own both parties ( not just Republicans – sorry, integer )?

Disappointed to read this, as I have never made that claim.

Mike , June 27, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Comment was to your saying the security establishment "which is primarily GOP owned or aligned". Both parties, in a sense, "own" it, and use segments of it to advantage when necessary. But further, both the parties and agencies are "owned" by the power of capital as it is currently operating, and this power behind the throne makes the security and party establishment dance. You and I are on the ground, trying to avoid the footwork.

RenoDino , June 27, 2017 at 8:42 am

http://nypost.com/2017/06/24/inside-the-shadowy-intelligence-firm-behind-the-trump-dossier/

It looks like the Fusion GPS Trump dossier, that is the basis for all of the Russian collusion accusations, is getting ready to become even more of a major embarrassment, hence all the talk about backing away from the current strategy.

Even Planned Parenthood hired this opposition research firm to get dirt on right to lifers. Your tax dollars and donations at work.

Arizona Slim , June 27, 2017 at 8:44 am

In the last six months, I have gone from being curious about Russia to learning how to speak Russian. Thanks for the inspiration, Democrats.

Andrew Watts , June 27, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Ahah! Most Americans don't learn foreign languages. This is irrefutable proof of a fifth columnist element in America plotting against Moose and Squirrel. Somebody tell the Hillary campaign!

Tertium Squid , June 27, 2017 at 8:54 am

Now I remember where I first heard of Norman Solomon. http://dilbert.com/search_results?terms=Norman+Solomon

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/162106845381/why-the-new-healthcare-bill-will-be-a-loser

Tom Stone , June 27, 2017 at 8:54 am

But, but, it was HER TURN! And her investors are really pissed off. $1.5B up in smoke and not even a blue dress to show for it.

NotTimothyGeithner , June 27, 2017 at 9:31 am

If Hillary with her celebrity and money can't win, what does it say about the potential future political dreams of the Dems who enthusiastically supported her? Or even corporate gigs? What good is a Democrat who can't deliver?

NBCNews has hired Greta, Megan Kelly, and now Hugh Hewitt. The NYT hired a host of climate change deniers.

For the Clintonistas especially, why would anyone hire them again? It's really no different on their part than the "OMG Nader" narrative. In an election with voter suppression, misleading ballots, bizarre recounts, Joe Lieberman, high youth non-Cuban Hispanic turnout for Shrub, Katherine Harris, and the fantasy of simply winning Tennessee, who did Democrats blame? A powerless figure in Nader.

sid_finster , June 27, 2017 at 11:19 am

This is one reason why russiagate is inevitable. Who wants to tell the donors that the Team D brain trust pissed away a billion and a half, with nothing to show for it? But if the election was somehow stolen (eeevil Russkies!) then it wasn't really Team D's fault you see, and then

Darius , June 27, 2017 at 1:08 pm

It also is attacking the Republicans from the right, always a Team D wet dream.

Karl Kolchak , June 27, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Problem is, anyone smart enough to earn that much dough is likely too smart to fall for the Russia stole the election BS, which is why Dumbocrats' fundraising has cratered.

John Wright , June 27, 2017 at 8:58 am

The entire Russia-gate issue ignores/insults the voters the Democrats hope to influence. To some extent, the Democrats are telling the deplorable Trump voters, "The Russians influenced you to vote for Trump, someone who you have been aware of for many years, over the other well-known candidate Hillary Clinton"

The Trump voter is probably more than a little irritated to have their voting actions viewed this way, they do not see themselves influenced by the Russians and do not understand why the Russians COULD significantly influence the election when the USA spends so much money on the CIA, FBI, NSA and US military.

The USA is also widely viewed as attempting to influence elections overseas, with none other than Senator Hillary Clinton recorded stating that 'We should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win' in a Palestine election.

http://observer.com/2016/10/2006-audio-emerges-of-hillary-clinton-proposing-rigging-palestine-election/

Disclaimer, this link is from Trump's son-in-law's publication, but the audio has not been questioned AFAIK..

I suspect the American voter does not believe they were "played" by the Russians.

But they may believe that is what the Democrats are attempting to do with the entire Russia-gate campaign

As James Carville said, "It's the economy, stupid" when running Bill Clinton's Presidential campaign.

The Democrats need to see this is still good guidance.

Left in Wisconsin , June 27, 2017 at 1:48 pm

The entire Russia-gate issue ignores/insults the voters the Democrats hope to influence.

To some extent, the Democrats are telling the deplorable Trump voters, "The Russians influenced you to vote for Trump, someone who you have been aware of for many years, over the other well-known candidate Hillary Clinton"

I think this is not right. The Dems have no interest in the votes of the deplorables. What only matters is the meme that HRC should have won. The charitable interpretation is that DNC is still convinced that demographics are in their favor (in the long run). So they do not have to diss their corporate patrons and offer real help to real people; they just need to hold out long enough for the demographics to kick in. The meme that HRC should have won is a rationale for staying the course.

Of course, the uncharitable explanation is that they would rather lose than change.

flora , June 27, 2017 at 9:18 am

"As James Carville said, "It's the economy, stupid" when running Bill Clinton's Presidential campaign. The Democrats need to see this is still good guidance."

Yes, it is. Unfortunately for the voters Bill Clinton and Obama and the Dem estab are neoliberals. Bill and O were neoliberals running in New Deal clothing. The current Dem estab is neolib. A better "message" sans better policies isn't any better than focusing on Russia, imo.

Kevin Horlock , June 27, 2017 at 9:29 am

Please just go away, Hillary and Hillary clones. When you think about it, increasing ever so slightly the risk of actual nuclear war, damaging the Democratic party, and doing untold damage to legitimate (hate to use the word anymore) "progressive" causes is more or less the end-game of all this. And all in service of, what? Vindicating the failures of the inane pundit class? (God forbid) setting up Hillary 2020? Shameful shit right there

John D. , June 27, 2017 at 10:13 am

Even on a purely political level, the whole Russiagate bullshit was doomed to failure, methinks.

Gore Vidal (among others) used to point out that the dirty little secret of America's anti-communist right was that they were actually jealous of the brutal tactics the commies could use against their dissenters and secretly – and in many cases, not so secretly – wished they could do the same thing here. It wasn't that long ago that the right wing blog-o-sphere and certain wingnut writers were all swooning over Putin's manliness (as opposed to Obama's alleged 'weakness') like a pack of horny schoolgirls. The dumb bastards were composing mash notes to the butch Mr. Putin. It was embarrassing.

So if the Dem "leadership" was hoping to turn our own home-grown reactionaries against Trump over being in bed with Putin, they should have known better. We all know the right are hypocrites. Even if there was anything to Russiagate, they wouldn't care. And the rest of us wouldn't give a shit, not if it meant ignoring every other problem that needs dealing with. Since it's all a bunch of bullshit anyway

Jonathan Holland Becnel , June 27, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Good to see this Neoliberal farce go away.

Indrid Cold , June 27, 2017 at 1:06 pm

What if "RussiaGate" was only really intended to pressure Trump hard against any diplomatic rapprochement with a country the Neocons have targeted?

Trump's foreign policy has been relentlessly steered into a direction the Clintons always intended to take it. Ticking off the last countries on Israel's 'enemy list' as compiled by the PNAC creeps. Recall the statement of Col. Wilkerson or one of those old guard people who wandered into an office in the Pentagon to find that there was a list of countries to be destroyed, starting with Iraq and ending finally with Iran. Syria and Libya were on it.

This whole thing is about a high level grand strategic plan that involves destabilizing and overthrowing governments the US and Israel find annoying and insufficiently obeisant. The ultimate goal will be breaking the Russian Federation into a bunch of independent statelets. This isn't 'conspiracy theory' – it's what Brzezinski advocated and aligns neatly with the needs of the military-industrial-financial complex and its obsession with total control over world energy supplies as a lever for domination.

Assad is really secondary to the main goals of:

  1. Getting the Russian naval presence out of the Mediterranean (note that Nuland -another PNAC operative- leverages unhappiness with the corruption in Ukraine to install a fascistic government that would certainly have seized the Russian naval assets at Sevastopol had Russia not seized the Crimea.
  2. Turning Isreal's neighbors into a collection Mad Max style bantu-stans that can be manipulated easily by Saudi -which is ironically Israel's ally.
  3. Controlling energy transit and access points.

Again, I'm not saying anything that isn't in the record.

John Wright , June 27, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Re the country list. It was Wesley Clark who saw the list of middle east/African countries the USA would attack and destroy.

http://www.salon.com/2011/11/26/wes_clark_and_the_neocon_dream/

Per Clark, "He said: "Sir, it's worse than that. He said – he pulled up a piece of paper off his desk – he said: "I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense's office. It says we're going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we're going to start with Iraq, and then we're going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.""

It was all supposed to occur within 5 years, so by 2008 the dream would have been accomplished. But maybe the neocons haven't given up, not installing HRC was a downer, but maybe Trump can be pulled into line..

Thor's Hammer , June 27, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Cold, you bring up a topic often ignored that I find highly credible. The Deep State with all its power to manufacture information and create chaos has a long-standing interest in maintaining Russiaphobia. The Soviet Union was certainly the best enemy they have ever known. Without it trillions of dollars of armaments would have never been sold and billions of dollars of spy agency bureaucracies never have been funded.

The real power centers in the US are the bankster cabal, robber baron capitalists, medical extortionists, and the Homeland Insecurity war hawks. The first three have nothing to fear from a Trump presidency– indeed they probably will fare better than if the Clinton Crime Syndicate had triumphed. However (to the extent that he actually stands for anything) Trump's goal of defusing tensions with Russia and doing oil deals with them is a direct threat to the War Hawks, and more than sufficient reason to cut him off at the knees

You do fall into the trap of repeating Deep State propaganda though. Russia did not seize Crimea. Crimea has been part of the Russian sphere of influence for generations. It probably is as much Russian as Texas is American. It's temporary incorporation into Ukraine when the Soviet Union fractured probably had as much to do with Khrushchev being Ukrainian as it had to do with creating the best fit. And when the choice was put before a popular referendum in 2014, 83% of the population turned out to vote and 96.77% voted to join the Russian Federation. Try getting that kind of turn out and consensus in an American election! And even if there was plenty of arm twisting behind the scenes, its hard to believe that the result didn't represent the actual choice of the citizens.

Indrid Cold , June 27, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Re Crimea – you're correct of course. The Texas analogy is pretty good. There was no distinction between Russians and Ukrainians during the time of the Czars anyway. The territory used to be controlled by the Hellenes and then the Byzantines. The Germans wanted to annex it as part of their war goals in ww2

kurtismayfield , June 27, 2017 at 1:32 pm

This has been mission accomplished for the Dems. You just have to assume they want the country to move right.

  1. Kick the left. Always.
  2. Pretend to #resist, while really you are in it to keep the political money spigot flowing.
  3. While distracting their supporters with Russia gate/GA-06/Trump's latest twit, Medicare and ACA get gutted.
  4. Run on returning to the status quo on 2018, taking single payer will be off the table.

It's brilliant... If you know their goal is to move the country right and be a bulwark against the left.

[Jun 27, 2017] Inflation and money velocity

Notable quotes:
"... It implies that it is money supply that contributes to inflation. However it is not money supply that contributes to inflation it is income. That is money times the velocity of money ..."
Jun 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

djb , June 27, 2017 at 02:56 AM

Now I just read an article by some guy with the typical quantitative easing is bad because it just dilutes everyones wealth , debases the currency value and and all that

This is nonsense

It implies that it is money supply that contributes to inflation. However it is not money supply that contributes to inflation it is income. That is money times the velocity of money

and in fact it is not income that contributes to inflation it is income times the propensity to consume of that income

money in bonds is not really actively involved in income except for the interest it's earning

so when the central bank "prints money" and then uses that money to buy bonds all the central bank is doing is exchanging one form of inactive wealth with another form of inactive wealth

that is neither the value of the bond nor the value of the money that the fed printed by the bond were actively involved in income anyway, except for the interest earned

therefore they do not affect inflation

in fact the value that bond at this point wasn't about to be used for consumption anyway, it was just being held

after the fed purchases the bond, that the former bondholder now has cash that is no longer getting a return, (as now the fed is getting the return)

which will prompt the former bondholder to look for a place to put that money

the idea is that the former bondholder will invest the money, that that money will find its way into funding ventures that cause increased employment, income and production

and it is that investment that will stimulate the economy

like maybe buy other bonds and the issuer of the bond gets that money and can invest in their business, creating jobs and income and production for their employees.

Which then will have the usual multiplier effect if we are at less than full employment

and at any point the fed can sell back the bond reducing the money supply

in the meantime we might have been able to keep the economy functioning at a high level, keep more people from being excluded from the benefits, and not lose all that production that is so essential to increasing our quality of life

djb -> djb... , June 27, 2017 at 02:58 AM
another way to look at inactive money is to say that part of the money supply has no velocity, ie it is not contributing to income.

[Jun 27, 2017] NATO is in a terrible position to attack by any other means than an unalerted pre-emptive nuclear strike,

Jun 27, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop , June 25, 2017 at 1:50 pm
NATO is in a terrible position to attack by any other means than an unalerted pre-emptive nuclear strike, and there is just too great a chance that a counterstrike would be launched even if Russia was pasted flat. As you say, large concentrations of troops and armor are easy targets for tactical nuclear strikes, and Russia has left nobody under any illusions as to whether it would use them to repel an invasion – of course it would. But NATO has never balked at sacrificing troops or equipment so that it can appear the victim, or so that a strawman democracy-is-the-victim meme can be raised, which compels the guardians of democracy to act.

I would say that although the west appears to badly want a major war, it is just too unlikely they would be victorious without cost for them to try it. The USA has gotten itself so deeply in debt, plus the degradation its international reputation has suffered, that a vision of a catastrophic global war all fought on someone else's turf must offer tempting memories of how the American homeland escaped two previous such wears unscathed, and was left in the de facto position of world leader. But that would be unlikely to happen again, and even the craziest Americans must know the country would pay a terrible price.

[Jun 27, 2017] What this strange USa annoncemnt about forthcoming chemical attack from Sirian foverment on ISI (althout in the past reverse was true) might mean

Notable quotes:
"... For me, this "pre blame" statement is meant to act as a blanket covering up numerous bad news erupting ..."
"... And a host of other bad news could be listed as well, one being that CNN has finally admitted that Russiagate was totally contrived to increase "ratings," with 3 key staff members either resigning or fired. It's hard to gauge how deep domestic resistance to the Republican agenda is currently given Trump's entire set of campaign points are now proven lies faster than any previous president's. ..."
"... Funny how the emphasis on children is a common thread -- yes, the media needs to shock the reader and violence against children is clearly the lever of choice. The WH statement almost sounds like a threat. ..."
"... Note the coincidence with the 3 CNN dipshits resigning over, of all things, fake news. Hopefully it spreads to the WaPo and PBS and their global equivalents. ..."
"... Or is Trump's team looking for a PR surge by attacking Syria in its typical symbolic whilst ineffective way? ..."
"... Looks like their game is lost in Syria. Unless ally Israel wants to push across the Golan and take Damascus on its own, I smell desperation too. ..."
"... Things get more partisan during elections, sanity partially returns after. Hillary not elected, mission accomplished. We'll never know if this clusterfuck is worse than what could have been. ..."
"... "This little game has been going on for 68 years. Specifically, the U.S.government has been trying to replace the Syrian government with folks who will be subservient to America since 1949 3 years after Syria became an independent nation. ..."
"... The CIA succeeded in carrying out a coup in Syria 1949. In 1957, the American president and British prime minister agreed to launch regime change again in Syria using a false flag. (False flags are not only historically documented, but presidents, prime ministers, congressmen, generals, spooks, soldiers and police have ADMITTED to planning and carrying out false flag attacks). ..."
"... In 1983, 1986, 1991, 2001, 2009 and 2012, American officials again schemed about regime change in Syria." from Zerohedge. ..."
"... So, what's happening on the battlefront to provoke this extremely clumsy false flag threat? Well, it's not good for the Outlaw US Empire and its terrorist proxies. Here's the very latest from Canthama: ..."
"... you wil find that US also orhestrated GHOUTA attack, as it used that as an excuse to attack damascus.. but such planning to manouvre the navy takes time ..."
Jun 27, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | Jun 27, 2017 4:04:52 PM | 63

For me, this "pre blame" statement is meant to act as a blanket covering up numerous bad news erupting: Trump Care being proven to be Death Care as thousands will die prematurely when their mediocre heath care insurance gets cancelled and Medicare gets gutted, "The best estimate based on scientific studies is that about 29,000 Americans would die each year as a result," https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2017/06/26/new-comprehensive-review-finds-recent-studies-strengthen-conclusions-landmark

New Pew International Study shows 74% have No Confidence in Trump, which would likely be even more if the survey were taken today, http://www.pewglobal.org/2017/06/26/u-s-image-suffers-as-publics-around-world-question-trumps-leadership/

The recent admission covered here that the Outlaw US Empire has lost in Syria and is making the alt-media rounds.

A new study shows global carbon sinks are filled and essentially backing-up with CO2 concentrations still rapidly rising despite the leveling of emissions, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/climate/carbon-in-atmosphere-is-rising-even-as-emissions-stabilize.html

And a host of other bad news could be listed as well, one being that CNN has finally admitted that Russiagate was totally contrived to increase "ratings," with 3 key staff members either resigning or fired. It's hard to gauge how deep domestic resistance to the Republican agenda is currently given Trump's entire set of campaign points are now proven lies faster than any previous president's.

stumpy | Jun 27, 2017 4:19:44 PM | 64

Q @ 55
Chemical weapons kill babies, none of the other kinds do. P.S. Macron to craft by half.

Funny how the emphasis on children is a common thread -- yes, the media needs to shock the reader and violence against children is clearly the lever of choice. The WH statement almost sounds like a threat.

stumpy | Jun 27, 2017 4:38:23 PM | 66
Note the coincidence with the 3 CNN dipshits resigning over, of all things, fake news. Hopefully it spreads to the WaPo and PBS and their global equivalents.

Trump has some domestic victories under his belt, the Supreme Court upholding his travel ban, the CNN 3 little pigs, Modi's cameo, Obama administration under fire for allowing alleged Russian hacking to go unpunished, booming stock market, et alia...

So, thinking sideways, suppose all this good news for Trump are gifts from the PTB in advance of another retaliatory strike against the Syrian windmill? If State and DOD are not parties to the new chemical strike project, then the source is exclusive to the WH? Or is Trump's team looking for a PR surge by attacking Syria in its typical symbolic whilst ineffective way?

Looks like their game is lost in Syria. Unless ally Israel wants to push across the Golan and take Damascus on its own, I smell desperation too.

Not only in the US -- UK needs a distraction from the burning tower/£1BN bribe to Irish MPs, France has a new pretty boy who needs to prove himself a badass -- all in the face of the Qatari divorce that appears to solidify the R+6 (7?) platform for the new silk road.

stumpy | Jun 27, 2017 4:46:39 PM | 67
peter @ 65

Things get more partisan during elections, sanity partially returns after. Hillary not elected, mission accomplished. We'll never know if this clusterfuck is worse than what could have been. I don't think the term "snowflake" has been used here for weeks.

james | Jun 27, 2017 4:47:50 PM | 68
@55 quentin / @64 stumpy... i agree quentin.. it has ran thru my mind many times before.. why make this special status for chemical weapons.. all of the shit that kills people is bad.. and yeah - the combo of chemical attack murdering innocent children - that one two punch that the usa and it's headchopping friends in the west trot out gets very tiring... if any of them actually cared, they would put a stop to all their war making and leave syria alone.. alas, they are too into making war to stop.. one day this will stop but the lying msm will be long gone by then...
Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 27, 2017 4:51:32 PM | 69
Which people do you mean? Soros? Rothschild?
Come on, the politicians themselves are guilty as hell and must be brought for war tribunals.
Bush jr., Blair, Sarkozy, Obama, Hillary and so on.
Posted by: From The Hague | Jun 27, 2017 1:55:50 PM | 50

I'm not fussy. I mean every person/entity which "donates" to political parties in the West. No exceptions.

Allowing donations to political parties should be illegal because it facilitates the privateisation (Private ownership) of the parties. It has led to the delegitimisation, in the eyes of The Public, by the MSM skunks & weasels, of candidates who have not been nominated by a large, corrupt, Privately Owned, political party.

In the interim, donations to political parties should be made through a single Central Clearing House, with Rules.

1. No anonymous donations.

2. Every donor must have a valid name, address & 24/7 phone number.

3. A donor making multiple, frequent, small donations, shall be prosecuted for devious humbuggery and banned from ANY political activity for 3years and get 2 years in the jug if caught cheating on the ban.

4. The Central Clearing House shall keep a Publicly Accessible, searchable Register of each and every donation. The Register will be updated each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and sworn to be fully up to date in the first week of every month.

etc, etc.

Peter AU | Jun 27, 2017 5:01:38 PM | 70
69 have a read through this recent article. I have often thought about the legalised corruption that is called sponsorship and consultancies, but this article stunned me as to how open the US is to all this shit.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-koch-idUSKBN19I137

jawbone | Jun 27, 2017 5:04:04 PM | 71
From @21 -- AP also running stories about the US military seeing indications of a chemical weapon being prepared. How would the US military "see" such preparations? Are there 3 witches around a boiling kettle? Would not anyone preparing poison attacks do it out of sight?
Peter AU | Jun 27, 2017 5:07:07 PM | 72
The article I linked to @70 is about the Koch organisation putting its people into the Trump government to influence policy. What stunned me is how they are openly proud of their achievement in getting their people into the admin after Trump won and how open they are on doing this purely for the purpose of influencing government policy.
karlof1 | Jun 27, 2017 5:17:54 PM | 73
james @68--

Thanks for all your replies; they're nice to read! As for chemical weapons, I once argued that all weapons are chemical in their makeup and ought to be banned--isn't that what the Periodic Table qualifies, that all elements are chemical in their nature? The onset of life is now understood as a series of chemical processes (still ongoing) that allowed for complete replication and thus regeneration, which is why chemical pollutants are such a threat to life's structure. And as usual, the greatest abuser/user of chemical weapons is the accuser itself--The Outlaw US Empire.

frances | Jun 27, 2017 6:03:37 PM | 74
"This little game has been going on for 68 years. Specifically, the U.S.government has been trying to replace the Syrian government with folks who will be
subservient to America since 1949 3 years after Syria became an independent nation.

The CIA succeeded in carrying out a coup in Syria 1949. In 1957, the American president and British prime minister agreed to launch regime change again in Syria using a false flag. (False flags are not only historically documented, but presidents, prime ministers, congressmen, generals, spooks, soldiers and police have ADMITTED to planning and carrying out false flag attacks).

In 1983, 1986, 1991, 2001, 2009 and 2012, American officials again schemed about regime change in Syria." from Zerohedge.

Peter AU | Jun 27, 2017 6:18:24 PM | 75
According to a few news articles, Pentagon spokesman Naval Captain Jeff Davis has also made a statement to the press. Nothing Showing at the DOD website so I tried the US navy website.

At the moment the US navy seems pre-occupied with LGBT events.

Three latest US navy news articles...

http://www.navy.mil/listStories.asp?x=2

karlof1 | Jun 27, 2017 6:19:12 PM | 76
So, what's happening on the battlefront to provoke this extremely clumsy false flag threat? Well, it's not good for the Outlaw US Empire and its terrorist proxies. Here's the very latest from Canthama:

"News that you won't hear before few days from the two key battle fields at the moment:

"1) Ithriyah-Resafa – The situation is the following:

– ISIS defending fiercely the last 10 kms of road, the use of TOWs and VBIEDs has been huge, way higher than ISIS using at Raqqa city.
– The amount of mines and IEDs has been also a key reason for the delay in closing the gap.
– The pocket in eastern Khanaser is not defended by a large amount of ISIS terrorists, though they do have the fire power to deliver unnecessary KIA for the SAA and allies.
– Not surprisingly the final showdown is at the Ithriyah oil & gas field and the Zakia crossroad, last

"In few days we will hear from the MoD that the road is 100% safe, with that, the whole pocket will be ISIS free, and the battle for Northeastern Hama and Central Homs will seriously kick off, everything is timed and coordinated at this point, event the Desert Hawks are moving to the NE Hama area, this offensive will happen as soon as the MoD declares the road safe.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=pt&lat=35.454937&lon=38.063507&z=13&m=b&gz=0;380056571;354423513;0;0;1155281;241908

"2) T3-T2 road and the shortest way to Der ez Zor

"The Syrian desert is seeing a classic warfare in the past few weeks, tanks battling tanks, impressive CAS and the incredible amount of TOWs use. So far the SAA and its allies have done an amazing job.

"As reported in the last few days, the Syrian High Command made the call to go for the kill on T3-T2 without clearing Bir al Jafeef pocket that was somehow slowing the advance down.

"Once the decision was made, the SAA advanced 70-90 kms and basically took control of the road up to Hamaymah village, leaving the pocket to be dealt latter, which happened today in fact. The whole area around T3 is now 100% safe, and the implications are many:
– The SAA is about to declare 100% liberated the Hail gas field.
– The SAA has now control of part of a desert road that can lead to Der ez Zor

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=pt&lat=34.996254&lon=39.583740&z=9&m=b&gz=0;389245605;345190041;0;0;10025024;3534076;12387084;6761296

"The current situation around T3-T2 is as following:
– Humaymah is reported safe, though we wont hear from MoD.
– Fight is around T2, but the critical aspect is the cut off on many desert roads from al Bukamal to T2, Iraq border and to Mayaden.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=pt&lat=34.377446&lon=40.158119&z=12&m=b

"Future battle will toward the desert village of Faydat Bin Muwaynah.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=pt&lat=34.564818&lon=39.975815&z=11&m=b&gz=0;397869873;344796749;0;0;1977539;2108582

"The next key component of the offensive to Der ez Zor will be inside the red triangle below, the T2 is a key corner, Faydat Bin Muwaynah is a frontline against crazy suicidal ISIS coming from Mayaden, al Hail and Doubayat gas fields are another important component, as well as the possibility to control multiple roads that reach Der ez Zor, from the busy highway bypassing al Sukhanah or desert roads.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=pt&lat=34.655804&lon=39.803467&z=9&m=b&gz=0;389163208;343593089;13815307;0;7717895;7055401;0;3586021

"With all the above plus the real unreported progress by the SAA, there is good reason to hope for the SAA and allies to reach Der ez Zor in very few weeks and not months.

"There is no doubt that the US is struggling to adapt to this new situation, minimum to zero control of the Iraq border, the loss of initiative to control al Bukamal, the loss of initiative to delay the SAA to reach Der ez Zor.

"There is no doubt that the last possible alternative for the US to delay the SAA and allies is to use another murderous false flag in Syria so the use of cruise missiles and air attacks are wide spread on all fronts, but then they may find it harder to face AAs and RuAF/SAAF, the allied force is indeed waiting for the US to make another bad decision.

"The SAA and allies can not and will not be distracted with what the US may try to do, they will continue to press forward at high speed toward Der ez Zor while killing as many as US backed ISIS as possible."

https://syrianperspective.com/2017/06/isis-nihilists-destroy-iconic-mosul-mosque-syrian-army-enters-east-dayr-el-zor-saa-crushes-nusra-zionist-attack-on-golan-saa-separates-east-derah-from-the-west.html#6dp0wEUMB3p6l767.99

At this juncture, I don't know of anything the Evil Empire can do to thwart defeat of its plans.

Quadriad | Jun 27, 2017 6:19:23 PM | 77
#25 off mainstreet

That second paragraph about the Welt allowing this to come out mirrors my own thoughts. Furthermore, what if Macron's main assigned role is to simply keep an eye on Merkel and on her successor?

Giap | Jun 27, 2017 6:36:14 PM | 78
Melville's, Moby Dick , understood well that the United States was a mslignant enttity.
fast freddy | Jun 27, 2017 6:44:13 PM | 79
Chemicals - White Phosphorus can be used "legally" according to the doctrine of assholes whom deem it so - for ILLUMINATION purposes.

Of course, Israel and the US have blasted human beings (civilians, of course, including women and children) with it in any case using the bullshit ILLUMINATION fig leaf cover story.

It is horribly disfiguring and often deadly when it lands on someone.

ragehead | Jun 27, 2017 7:17:25 PM | 80
Thank you for the comments and thought-provoking analysis, all. My 2 cents:

I am still not sure whether the spat between KSA/Qatar is all it seems, especially now. We know that Turkey has moved troops and F-16s towards Qatar, under the pretext of defending against any KSA aggression towards Qatar. There are also several reports of Israel moving its jets to the KSA, under the pretext of defending against a possible coup (if these reports are to be believed).

My gut instinct at the time was that this was a ruse, designed to give approprite cover for moving these chess pieces towards the Persian Gulf. Erdogan flips on a dime, and I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the US giving him something he couldn't possibly refuse in exchange for some ground/air support. Qatar's opinion on that matter would be irrelevant, I think - Turkey can be either an ally or an enemy, depending on who makes the best offer.

With this recent WH announcement, I am reminded of a commentator here from a thread way back (maybe 2-3 months ago), who suggested that Trump's style involved utilizing "asymmetrical leadership to wage asymmetrical warfare". Who's behind this most recent announcement? Is the US going after Syria? Or is it Iran? Syria again? It could very well be both.

Apologies if I am ill-informed on some of my statements/assumptions here; please feel free to correct me. I am short on time these days and generally do not go outside MoA/Facebook/Reddit for news anymore.

Bless you all for doing God's work. The oft-unwritten history of the world both fascinates and terrifies me.

brian | Jun 27, 2017 7:22:30 PM | 81
you wil find that US also orhestrated GHOUTA attack, as it used that as an excuse to attack damascus.. but such planning to manouvre the navy takes time
jawbone | Jun 27, 2017 7:34:19 PM | 82
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-usa-chemicalweap-idUSKBN19I1SP?mod=related&channelName=worldNews
The United States saw what appeared to be active Syrian preparations for a possible chemical weapons attack at Shayrat airfield, the same Syrian airfield the United States struck in April, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said on Tuesday.

"This involved specific aircraft in a specific hangar, both of which we know to be associated with chemical weapons use," Davis said, speaking by phone from Washington.

Really? CBS Evening News also said US military reported heavy activity at air field bombed in April and overheard communications to SAA chemical weapons group.

karlof1 | Jun 27, 2017 7:35:37 PM | 83
I asked Canthama about al-Bukamal and Iraq's PMU being hindered by Iraq PM. What follows is his answer:

"Al Bukamal-al Qaim has been US point to exchange weapons, money and goods with ISIS for a long time. This is the place where most of the US/UK/Israhell weapons supply came to ISIS, visually checked by hundreds of Iraqis and widely reported since 2014. The US has also abused its luck with dozens of Helis landing and taking off near al Bukamal, all reported as covert ops but they were not.

"Iraq has a delicate situation, it curved to the US regime back in 2014, to hold ISIS in Iraq. By them US decided to push ISIS to Syria while reducing ISIS footprint in Iraq, a lot of things went wrong and ISIS became bigger than initially intended.

"Abadi has been navigating under tremendous pressure, the financial State of Iraq has difficulties due to the lower oil prices, the US manipulates weapons/hardware deliveries and last but not least the US has a strong influence in the Iraq Army.

"Having said that, the PMU has a strong influence of Iran and Hizballah, while now it belongs to the Iraq Army influence, it has no to minimum relationship with the US inside Iraq, it has been targeted by the USAF many times, the last major one near al Qaim/al Bukamal, interesting coincidence right ?

"The situation with the PMU is excellent, it is getting more power, like the IRGC in Iran, and Abadi is doing that, besides, it has so many branches that people simply can not follow it as a whole unit, several of the PMU branches are heavily present in Syria, many thousands are in fact in the Syrian desert and is supporting the border clean up process from the Syrian side, and the US can not do a thing about that.

"Abadi knows it has to balance the US pressure with the Iranian one, but it is Iraq that has a C&C in Baghdad with Syria, Russia, Iran and Hizballah.

"So, yes, Abadi says thing to calm the US down, but the PMU has life of its own, the US can not stop the PMU in cleaning up all the the Syrian-Iraqi border, it will happen in the next months for sure, up to Sinja.

"Keep in mind Mosul will be ISIS free in few days, Tal Afar will be also liberated in a month or so, than there is Hawija pocket, it will be held by the Iraqi Army, mostly, so the PMU will have the Iraq desert to play wilth, meaning Nineveh and Anbar.

"Folks are wrong to think the PMU is only a Shia force, it is primarily Shia due to the larger population in Iraq, but is has a lot of Sunnis, Yazidis, Kurds and Christians. They have turned into a formidable force, and will be used in easing down the situation with the Kurds up north later on."

https://syrianperspective.com/2017/06/isis-nihilists-destroy-iconic-mosul-mosque-syrian-army-enters-east-dayr-el-zor-saa-crushes-nusra-zionist-attack-on-golan-saa-separates-east-derah-from-the-west.html#TAovGBaUmCXfmTOl.99

[Jun 27, 2017] Fake News on Russia...CNN journalists resign

Jun 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH , June 27, 2017 at 06:45 AM

Fake News on Russia...CNN journalists resign:

"But CNN is hardly alone when it comes to embarrassing retractions regarding Russia. Over and over, U.S. major media outlets have published claims about The Russia Threat that turned out to be completely false – always in the direction of exaggerating the threat and/or inventing incriminating links between Moscow and the Trump circle. In virtually all cases, those stories involved evidence-free assertions from anonymous sources which these media outlets uncritically treated as fact, only for it to be revealed that they were entirely false.

Several of the most humiliating of these episodes have come from the Washington Post. On December 30, the paper published a blockbuster, frightening scoop that immediately and predictably went viral and generated massive traffic. Russian hackers, the paper claimed based on anonymous sources, had hacked into the "U.S. electricity grid" through a Vermont utility.

That, in turn, led MSNBC journalists, and various Democratic officials, to instantly sound the alarm that Putin was trying to deny Americans heat during the winter:

Literally every facet of that story turned out to be false."
https://theintercept.com/2017/06/27/cnn-journalists-resign-latest-example-of-media-recklessness-on-the-russia-threat/

Public perceptions of corporate media's integrity...RIP.

[Jun 27, 2017] The USA is sucessfully sabotaging Russian and try to secure its own shipping LNG to europe while Russia do not have alternative consumers comparable to EU, althout China and India shipments will grow dramatically

Notable quotes:
"... icebreaking LNG Carrier ..."
"... Yamal is projected to double Russia's share of the growing global LNG market by the time it reaches full capacity of 16.5m tonnes a year - equivalent to more than 80 per cent of China's annual demand - by 2021. Construction is three-quarters complete and production from the first phase of the project is due to commence by the end of this year. ..."
"... More than 95 per cent of Yamal's expected output has already been sold through 15 to 20 year contracts, with customers mostly in Asia and Europe. ..."
Jun 27, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star , June 23, 2017 at 11:55 am
https://www.yahoo.com/news/putin-launches-deep-water-phase-turkstream-gas-pipeline-143410466.html

One of the best comment people on Yahoo:

"oldgeekMA 2 hours ago

Truth is Russia has been looking for an excuse to get out of the business of Shipping Natural Gas to the West and the South, altogether and these US Sanctions and EU Complaints about Gazprom Pipeline Construction, may just be the out they have been looking for. In Jan 2016, Russia completed 7 Massive High-Pressure Gas Pipelines, 2 to India and 5 to China. The ones to India make 4 total Gas Lines to India, but the 5 to China are the first time China, has had access to Russian Natural Gas. The contracts India and China signed with Gazprom are 50 years, and the price of NG starts at more than double the highest rate Gazprom charges in Europe, the icing on the cake however is that the currency is not US Paper Promissory Notes(Petro Dollars), but Gold Bullion. At full capacity those pipelines can use every single NG resource Gazprom, has at the present time, and all future NG resources. So, Gazprom would be foolish not to want to cut all off its Western and Southern pipelines off, and divert Maximum Flow East. In addition to these NG Pipelines, there are Crude Oil and Diesel pipelines under construction, going to China and India – Completion date scheduled for between November 2017 and January 2018. Chinese and Indian Construction Crews completed their internal distribution pipeline networks in 2016, and have 7 Oil Refineries in various stages of completion. -– All American III Percenter and Combat Disabled US Veteran"

Now..remind me what was this stuff about 'Murica shipping LNG to europe???
LOL!!!!

https://ads.pubmatic.com/AdServer/js/showad.js#PIX&kdntuid=1&p=156204

marknesop , June 24, 2017 at 5:27 pm
That would indeed be delightful if there were even the whiff of truth about it; but, unfortunately, there is not. Europe is still Russia's most important gas market by far. Numbers on the Russia-China gas deal are hard to come by and reporters who quote the price China will pay are just guessing because nobody has officially disclosed that figure and will not; it is strictly confidential.

However, the China-vs-EU figures are not even close; starting next year, Russia will export 30-38 BcM annually to China, and that might go as high as double as the agreement evolves. So, say 65 BcM annually, in a couple of years. That's still far less than half what Gazprom exports annually to Europe – 178.3 BcM in 2016, a significant jump over the previous year's 158.6 BcM.

Moreover, nearly all the increases in the past decade have been to imports by western Europe. Despite all the preaching in the media, the only countries which seem to be seriously trying to wean themselves off of Russian gas – with little to limited success, it must be said – are eastern European countries. One of the biggest yappers in the west is the UK but the UK went from zero imports of Russian gas in 2003 to the fourth-biggest European importer in 2013 .

That little quick-reference pocket guide is actually chock-full of useful facts which you can whip out and quote whenever some pea-brained bucket-mouthed know-nothing is trying to blizzard you with blue-sky bullshit. Here's a few:

1. All the blather and angst about reducing Europe's dependency on Russian gas imports conveniently ignores one buzzing fly in the ointment – long-term contracts. Of 178.6 BcM imported by Europe in 2013, 166 BcM of it was under 30-year contracts. By far the most of it. And you know what would happen if the EU broke a contract in order to reduce its imports, even if it could practically do so under conditions in which domestic sources of supply are rapidly drying up, which it can't. Also, contract supplies are by definition sanctions-exempt.

2. Home-grown Shale gas is not going to ride to the rescue. Even if Europe could tap supplies which are not sour with so much nitrogen that you can't even burn it, in order to reach shale gas supplies of only 28 BcM annually Europe would have to drill 800-1000 new wells every year for 10 years. Let's see that spun as fiscally viable, or sensible in any way, shape or form.

3. Blabber about the Southern Gas Corridor was always nothing more than that – supplies from Azerbaijan to Europe were never expected to total more than 30 BcM, about what Russia expects to export to China starting in 2018, and it would have taken until 2030 to reach that capacity.

4. LNG actually holds the best promise of undercutting Russian supply, and Europe's regassification terminals actually could handle more than the combined total of Russian imports now; 200 BcM. But LNG supplies to Europe depend entirely on whether they can be profitable, and all current objective studies find that Russia can keep LNG away as long as it likes, simply by consistently pricing its pipeline supplies lower than LNG. Given what it would cost Uncle Sam to get his supplies to market, Gazprom can still easily do that and turn a handsome profit.

https://ads.pubmatic.com/AdServer/js/showad.js#PIX&kdntuid=1&p=156204

Cortes , June 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm
Japanese need to diversify energy imports to benefit RF?

http://journal-neo.org/2017/06/22/japan-regards-russia-as-a-reliable-hydrocarbons-exporter/

et Al , June 24, 2017 at 11:25 am
I thought there was a plan to pipeline NG from Nakhoda to Japan? What happened to that, or was it simply to be an LNG terminal but got shifted?
marknesop , June 24, 2017 at 5:43 pm
I'm glad you brought that up; quite apart from the very interesting information contained in the article itself, it is a springboard to a larger discussion – is Russia equally committed to reducing its dependency on European pipelines as the Europeans are? Some say yes: Russia's $27 Billion icebreaking LNG Carrier project is an eye-opener which has been more or less entirely left out of energy discussions. And its target market is Asia .

Yamal is projected to double Russia's share of the growing global LNG market by the time it reaches full capacity of 16.5m tonnes a year - equivalent to more than 80 per cent of China's annual demand - by 2021. Construction is three-quarters complete and production from the first phase of the project is due to commence by the end of this year.

More than 95 per cent of Yamal's expected output has already been sold through 15 to 20 year contracts, with customers mostly in Asia and Europe.

et Al , June 25, 2017 at 8:04 am
That's hardcore! Thanks Mark. So the Chinese stepped in to take up the slack created by US sanctions against Timchenko's Novatek part of the project. Another US epic fail.

It's curious that the West's interpretation of 'globalization' hasn't turned out as expected. They saw it as western globo-corporations buying in around the world, but globalization has naturally progressed as 'multi-polarization' of global power, away from the US & the West's dominance. The Chinese stepping in is a perfect example. It shows that Russia has real options which it is building and if needs be, at some point in the future, tell the 'No thanks!'.

[Jun 27, 2017] Buffoonery and incompetence of the Trump administration

Jun 27, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Temporarily Sane | Jun 27, 2017 8:34:59 PM | 89

I'm with b on this one.

So just "coincidentally" all these "coincidences" are playing out a week after the US military was forced to admit humiliating defeat in Syria AND Seymour Hersh's piece detailing the appalling thuggish buffoonery and incompetence of the Trump administration was published for all to read? No way. The USG is in damage control mode and as usual many innocent people are going to die violent deaths in the name of upholding western delusions.

Peter AU | Jun 27, 2017 8:42:19 PM | 90
I missed this one earlier.

#NOTAM & navigation warnings in force around #Cyprus tomorrow - Russian Navy exercise area off the #Syria coast.
https://twitter.com/CivMilAir/status/879798755070967809

As you say Paveway, looks like something not good brewing. Makes me wonder why the white house took it upon themselves to announce it, catching the other players with their pants down.

Clueless Joe | Jun 27, 2017 8:58:02 PM | 91
Well, more or less asking the rebels to do some false-flag soon enough is the most obvious and probable explanation.

That said, I'm wondering if it couldn't be the other way around. A few people in intelligence agencies and US administration got wind that some rebels/group was considering a false-flag chemical attack in the near future. Having US going so public just before would make it kind of hard to convince the world, even US people, that it was really Assad who was suicidal enough to do such an attack right after getting warned. Basically, a way to tell that group to rethink its plan because it would be a far harder sell and many people would begin to doubt SAA's guilt.

That's a bit far-fetched and based on the possible presence of sane agents in US administration. So I give this hypothesis still a low probability.

About the US recon flights, could they be mostly monitoring that incoming Russian navy exercise? Or could they be related to the growing Turkish pressure on Afrin?

Sektion 2B | Jun 27, 2017 9:09:57 PM | 92
One desperate move the US and allies could try to make vis a vis the alleged chemical attack is to kill Assad, as they couldn't stop the SAA's advance on DAYR EL-ZOR.

[Jun 27, 2017] Tillerson and Mattis Cleaning Up Kushner's Middle East Mess

Notable quotes:
"... "Rex put two-and-two together," his close associate says, "and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters. Otaiba weighed in with Jared and Jared weighed in with Trump. What a mess." The Trump statement was nearly the last straw for Tillerson, this close associate explains: "Rex is just exhausted. He can't get any of his appointments approved and is running around the world cleaning up after a president whose primary foreign policy adviser is a 31-year-old amateur." ..."
"... So the adults in the room are those who want to continue the stupid and disastrous ME policies of the past? They may be adults, but they are stupid adults, or criminals, or both. ..."
"... The Trump White House is at war with reality. This morning one reads about threats of harsh action directed against Syria if there is another chemical weapons attack, setting up a perfect scenario for the "rebels" to stage one. ..."
"... I guess the word " adult" here means mature intelligent people obsessed with building a coalition and possibly starting a war with Iran for no good reason at all. Kushner and Trump are morons, but sometimes ( often) in politics you have a situation with two factions that are both wrong. ..."
"... Perhaps shattering the Anti-Iran coalition is a good thing . Having all these Sunni ISIS supporter/U.S. "allies" in a cat fight may be just what we need . to get our heads out of our backsides and realize who the real enemies are . " would be a launching point for U.S. aircraft against Iran were Israel to be attacked by the Islamic Republic." ..Yeah; like THAT'S gonna' happen . ..."
"... Good point, couldn't we make the same argument regarding Hezbollah, our obsession with Hezbollah risks destabilizing Lebanon for that exact same reason or is that part of operation chaos? The Shiites make up 30% of the population of Lebanon and have been able to form a coalition with the Christians, are we gunning for total disenfranchisement to make the Sunnis / Saudis happy. ..."
"... The "adults in the room" are the people that want to go to war with Iran? That's hilarious. ..."
"... A sign of good faith all around who believe the neocons have encircled and now captured the White House would be to fire Mr and Mrs Kushner, NOW!!!! ..."
"... Dan - It is both. The adults in the room and the children playing with matches all want a war with Iran. ..."
"... It was my understanding that invading sovereignty territory of another state of no threat was bad manners, not to mention, a violation of international law. I am convinced that the problem here is the Pres not having though through his agenda juxtaposed against those he brought on board, because he respected them for whatever reason. ..."
"... I suspect that having demonstrated our vulnerabilities with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, etc. Those days when our foot print mattered has shrunk significantly. And the more we allow ourselves to get played via multiple payers at odds with one another, the more that will remain the case. ..."
"... The problem with Saudi Arabia is that whatever the Government says or does, there are thousands ( at least 5000) members of the family and other wealthy Saudis of which a minority probably support Muslim terrorism. Pakistan since 1973 has steadily become more fundamentalist and has taken money from the USA while supporting the Taliban killing American troops. ..."
"... A good piece, Mr. Perry, especially in pointing out (sadly, have to add "yet again") the incredible amateurism/incompetence of the Trump Administration's foreign policy "efforts" in the Middle East, but (as has been pointed out here) conflating "forming a common front against Iran" with the position of "the adults in the room" is a dubious proposition. ..."
"... No way Tillerson stays around. This is a guy who lead one of the world's most powerful and complex companies. He is way too smart to let these folks tarnish his reputation. ..."
www.zerohedge.com
On March 25, 2011, a Qatar Air Force Mirage 2000-5, took off from Souda Air Base, in Crete, to help enforce a no-fly zone protecting rebels being attacked by Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi. Qatar was the first Persian Gulf nation to help the U.S. in the conflict.

Qatari operations were more than symbolic. The Qatari military trained rebel units, shipped them weapons, accompanied their fighting units into battle, served as a link between rebel commanders and NATO, tutored their military commanders, integrated disparate rebel units into a unified force and led them i n the final assault on Qaddafi's compound in Tripoli ."We never had to hold their hand," a retired senior U.S. military officer says. "They knew what they were doing." Put simply, while the U.S. was leading from behind in Libya, the Qataris were walking point.

The Qatar intervention has not been forgotten at the Pentagon and is one of the reasons why Defense Secretary James Mattis has worked so diligently to patch up the falling out between them and the coalition of Saudi-led countries (including the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt), that have isolated and blockaded the nation. In fact, Mattis was stunned by the Saudi move. "His first reaction was shock, but his second was disbelief," a senior military officer says. "He thought the Saudis had picked an unnecessary fight, and just when the administration thought they'd gotten everyone in the Gulf on the same page in forming a common front against Iran."

At the time of the Saudi announcement, Mattis was in Sydney with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to dampen concerns about the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate accords. The two glad-handed Australian officials and issued a reassuring pronouncement on U.S. intentions during a June 5 press briefing with that nation's foreign and defense ministers. When the burgeoning split between the Saudis and Qataris was mentioned, Tillerson described it as no more than one of "a growing list or irritants in the region" that would not impair "the unified fight against terrorism "

But while Tillerson's answer was meant to soothe concerns over the crisis, behind the scenes he and Mattis were scrambling to undo the damage caused by Saudi action. The two huddled in Sydney and decided that Tillerson would take the lead in trying to resolve the falling out. Which is why, three days after the Sydney press conference, Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to ease their anti-Qatar blockade and announced that the U.S. supported a Kuwaiti-led mediation effort . The problem for Tillerson was that his statement was contradicted by Donald Trump who, during a Rose Garden appearance on the same day, castigated Qatar, saying the emirate "has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level."

A close associate of the secretary of state says that Tillerson was not only "blind-sided by the Trump statement," but "absolutely enraged that the White House and State Department weren't on the same page." Tillerson's aides, I was told, were convinced that the true author of Trump's statement was U.A.E. ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, a close friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. "Rex put two-and-two together," his close associate says, "and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters. Otaiba weighed in with Jared and Jared weighed in with Trump. What a mess." The Trump statement was nearly the last straw for Tillerson, this close associate explains: "Rex is just exhausted. He can't get any of his appointments approved and is running around the world cleaning up after a president whose primary foreign policy adviser is a 31-year-old amateur."

Worse yet, at least from Tillerson's point of view, a White House official explained the difference between the two statements by telling the press to ignore the secretary of state. "Tillerson may initially have had a view," a White House official told the Washington Post , "then the president has his view, and obviously the president's view prevails."

Or maybe not. While Trump's June 9 statement signaled that the U.S. was tilting towards the Saudis and the UAE, Tillerson and Mattis have been tilting towards Qatar. And for good reason. "Every time we've asked the Qataris for something they've said 'yes,' which isn't true for the Saudis," the retired senior U.S. military officer with whom I spoke says. "It really started with the help the Qataris gave us in Libya, but it goes well beyond that. They've been absolutely first rate on ISIS. The Saudis, on the other hand, have been nothing but trouble – in Yemen, especially. Yemen has been a disaster, a stain. And now there's this."

That view has been reflected by both Mattis and Tillerson. Six days after Trump's statement, Mattis met with Qatari Defense Minister Khalid al-Attiyah to sign an agreement shipping 36 F-15 fighters to the Gulf nation. The $12 billion sale had been in the works for years, so Pentagon officials were able to claim that it had not been fast-tracked by Tillerson, whose department oversees arms transactions. But the Mattis announcement seemed suspiciously well-timed to signal Mattis' and Tillerson's views.

On the same day that Mattis was announcing the Qatar arms agreement, Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that it would be a mistake to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, one of the primary reasons that the anti-Qatar coalition gave for isolating their Gulf neighbor. "There are elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that have become parts of government," Tillerson said, naming Turkey and Bahrain as having brotherhood members in their parliaments. Those "elements," Tillerson added, have renounced violence and terrorism. "So, in designating the Brotherhood in its totality as a terrorist organization . . . I think you can appreciate the complexities this enters into our relations with [governments in the region]."

But the single most important reason for the Qatar tilt is obvious to anyone who knows how to read a map. The U.S. leases the al-Udeid Air Base, southwest of Doha, which is home to the Air Force's 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. The U.S. (and the Qataris), not only mount fighter-bombers from al-Udeid against ISIS units in Iraq and Syria, the base serves as the first line of defense against Iranian encroachments in the region. Even more crucially, al-Udeid not only protects America's Persian Gulf allies, it protects Israel – and would be a launching point for U.S. aircraft against Iran were Israel to be attacked by the Islamic Republic.

More crucially, particularly from Mattis's point-of-view, the Saudi-Qatar feud not only shattered the anti-Iran coalition the administration cobbled together during the president's trip to Riyadh, it redrew the geopolitical map of the Middle East. In the wake of the Saudi-Qatar falling out, Turkey pledged its support for Qatar (and deployed troops to a Qatari military base to guard Qatar's sovereignty), while Iran took steps to help ease the Saudi-imposed blockade.

"The Saudis and Emiratis have told us repeatedly that they want to weaken Iran, but they've actually empowered them," a senior Pentagon consultant who works on the Middle East told me. The Saudi actions, this official went on to explain, have backfired. Instead of intimidating the Qataris, the Saudis have "thrown them into the arms of the Iranians." The result is an uneasy, but emerging Turkish-Qatari-Iranian alliance backed by Russia. "This isn't just some kind of Gulfie dust-up, where we can go out and hold everyone's hands," this Pentagon consultant says. "The Saudis have handed the Iranians a gift and we're on the outside looking in."

The official then shook his head. "Listen, I can certainly understand where Mattis and Tillerson are coming from. I mean, with friends like these, who needs enemies."

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst and the author of The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur. His next book, The Pentagon's Wars, will be released in October. He tweets @markperrydc

EliteCommInc., says: June 26, 2017 at 11:29 pm

laughing.

Sure that explains the what they did. but it begs the larger question, as to why they did something so incredibly worthless to US interests as support the removal of Pres Col Qaddafi in the first place.

So in short the previous admin., apparently with aide of Gen Mattis orchestrated a regime change , further destabilizing a region we need to be stable.

The fact that they are shocked should tell us something about just what they understand to the regional issues and players. Excuse me, but if they represent the adults, I am unsure what your comprehension of adult is.

Ohhh because we are launching attacks against ISIS/ISIL. Excuse me but I am unsure what ISIS?ISIL contingent you are talking about. The one's we support in Syria, and Yemen or the ones we aided in overthrowing the Libyan government.

And let's see, Israel supports the coalition that includes Saudis and we support Israel.

Let's get something straight. The election of Mr. trump has not made issues worse. Nor has his policy. What it has done is revealed just how completely askewed things are. You may want to portray the gentleman photo'd as fence menders. but what it reveals is complicity in having shattered the fence in the first place.

Shifting fault onto Mr Kushner is almost unforgivable. Whatever disagreements, I had with his positions regarding Israel, Syria and Iran - he is not responsible for the dynamic in play before he arrived. Even if that dynamic betraying fault lines since his arrival.

Why the current Pres chose people, regardless of how fine they are who opposed his stated agenda is beyond me.

Ohhh wait - they are adults.

Joe Beavers , says: June 27, 2017 at 12:51 am
Really, there is nothing left to say. The primary source of extremism is Saudi Arabia, from which came Al Qaeda and ISIS. It is not Islam and Mohammad that is the root of the problem, it is Wahhabism and al-Wahhab that is the root of the problem.

So, Clintons, Bushes, and now Trump kiss Saudi .

Guess who is missing from that list.

mohammad , says: June 27, 2017 at 5:47 am
So the adults in the room are those who want to continue the stupid and disastrous ME policies of the past? They may be adults, but they are stupid adults, or criminals, or both.
Phil Giraldi , says: June 27, 2017 at 6:31 am
Great article! The Trump White House is at war with reality. This morning one reads about threats of harsh action directed against Syria if there is another chemical weapons attack, setting up a perfect scenario for the "rebels" to stage one.

And what is the evidence that such a thing is being planned? It is not clear and might be coming from any one of the usual partisan sources. Apparently the State and Defense Departments were not in the loop on the White House warning but our UN Ambassador was. She elaborated, warning that Russia and Iran would also be held to blame if Syria does anything. Incredible!

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40413563?ocid=global_bbccom_email_2606207_top+news+strories

Adriana I Pena , says: June 27, 2017 at 6:36 am
I think it is time to apply the Three Stooges test.

"How different would things be if Curly, Larry, and Moe were running the show?"

If the answer if "Not very" don't waste time making moral judgments. Just get out of there before the next explosion.

Donald , says: June 27, 2017 at 7:01 am
I guess the word " adult" here means mature intelligent people obsessed with building a coalition and possibly starting a war with Iran for no good reason at all. Kushner and Trump are morons, but sometimes ( often) in politics you have a situation with two factions that are both wrong.
SDS , says: June 27, 2017 at 8:00 am
Perhaps shattering the Anti-Iran coalition is a good thing . Having all these Sunni ISIS supporter/U.S. "allies" in a cat fight may be just what we need . to get our heads out of our backsides and realize who the real enemies are . " would be a launching point for U.S. aircraft against Iran were Israel to be attacked by the Islamic Republic." ..Yeah; like THAT'S gonna' happen .
Chris Chuba , says: June 27, 2017 at 8:12 am
Not a fan of toppling Gaddafi but yeah, Qatar is a pragmatic country.

Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that it would be a mistake to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, "There are elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that have become parts of government," Tillerson said, naming Turkey and Bahrain as having brotherhood members in their parliaments.

Good point, couldn't we make the same argument regarding Hezbollah, our obsession with Hezbollah risks destabilizing Lebanon for that exact same reason or is that part of operation chaos? The Shiites make up 30% of the population of Lebanon and have been able to form a coalition with the Christians, are we gunning for total disenfranchisement to make the Sunnis / Saudis happy.

So yes, the Iranians are the villains, yet again, just for acting like adults. Maybe they are more adult like then we give them credit for.

Liam , says: June 27, 2017 at 8:38 am
Because inviting Russia to get closer to the Persian Gulf and Arabia Sea has been the Holy Grail of all other world powers for two centuries. Oh, wait. Not. Trump's Qatar thing was no mere gaffe, but a thunderbolt that would leave non-Russian leaders from Eurasian powers of the past two centuries gob-smacked.

Just imagine Truman and Eisenhower having bourbon together over this one .

Dan , says: June 27, 2017 at 8:57 am
The "adults in the room" are the people that want to go to war with Iran? That's hilarious.
MEOW , says: June 27, 2017 at 9:56 am
A sign of good faith all around who believe the neocons have encircled and now captured the White House would be to fire Mr and Mrs Kushner, NOW!!!!
Mark Thomason , says: June 27, 2017 at 11:46 am
Dan - It is both. The adults in the room and the children playing with matches all want a war with Iran.
Adult (singular) In The Room , says: June 27, 2017 at 11:51 am
@Dan : "The "adults in the room" are the people that want to go to war with Iran?"

You have a point, but it applies to Mattis far more than Tillerson. Tillerson never advised Trump to do anything so stupid as to send US troops back into to Afghanistan.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 27, 2017 at 12:42 pm
"Trump's Qatar thing was no mere gaffe, but a thunderbolt that would leave non-Russian leaders from Eurasian powers of the past two centuries gob-smacked."

Ohh boy,

It was my understanding that invading sovereignty territory of another state of no threat was bad manners, not to mention, a violation of international law. I am convinced that the problem here is the Pres not having though through his agenda juxtaposed against those he brought on board, because he respected them for whatever reason.

And having respect for them is no doubt deserved, but whether that means they could mesh agendas - given the differences, doubtful. And as for the Saudi coalition, it might do well to remember that other states and other alliances have their own agendas. We have been stomping around this region for quite some time as though what we wanted was all that mattered.

I suspect that having demonstrated our vulnerabilities with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, etc. Those days when our foot print mattered has shrunk significantly. And the more we allow ourselves to get played via multiple payers at odds with one another, the more that will remain the case.

Seraphim , says: June 27, 2017 at 12:46 pm
Israel.
Charlie , says: June 27, 2017 at 3:06 pm
The present ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim has become far more supportive of muslim terrorist groups which include Muslim Brotherhood than the previous ruler. Qatar has taken in Qaradari who supports the Muslim Brotherhood In Egypt. The MB are growing in strength in Arab countries. I would not trust any MB member
I think western governments are naοve over the MB. It is quite possible for some members to preach peace and other undertake violence in order to create confusion. For the USA Government to say Qatar is fine because it supported us over Libya is naοve

The problem with Saudi Arabia is that whatever the Government says or does, there are thousands ( at least 5000) members of the family and other wealthy Saudis of which a minority probably support Muslim terrorism. Pakistan since 1973 has steadily become more fundamentalist and has taken money from the USA while supporting the Taliban killing American troops.

The reality is that the Foreign Service does not know what is happening in these countries and doubt the governments actually do either. Americans are far too trusting and take things at face value . In The Middle East people are quite capable of receiving money from you and stabbing you at the same time, all the while smiling.

Saudi is concerned by the Houthis( Shia ) in Yemen because the southern border is almost impossible to guard due to the Empty Quarter Yemeni raiding parties could easily raid into Saudi and then disappear- read Wilfred Thessiger's Arabian Sands account of crossing the empty quarter in the 1940s.

Saudi did try to conquer Qatar in the 1930s. The questions which are not asked

  1. Why has Qatar/Sheik Tamim started to support Muslim terrorism when Saudi is reigning back support?
  2. Are historical conflicts between Qatar and Saud Arabia part of the problem ?
  3. Is Iran a threat to Qatar which has to be appeased at all cost?
Jay C , says: June 27, 2017 at 3:28 pm
A good piece, Mr. Perry, especially in pointing out (sadly, have to add "yet again") the incredible amateurism/incompetence of the Trump Administration's foreign policy "efforts" in the Middle East, but (as has been pointed out here) conflating "forming a common front against Iran" with the position of "the adults in the room" is a dubious proposition.

It's curious but I have yet to see any FP analysis pieces (from either Left or Right) laying out any good reasons why seeking better , rather than seriously-more-antagonistic, relations with Iran would be a bad thing for the world in general (not just Saudi ambitions).

Jon S , says: June 27, 2017 at 3:38 pm
No way Tillerson stays around. This is a guy who lead one of the world's most powerful and complex companies. He is way too smart to let these folks tarnish his reputation.

[Jun 27, 2017] Is Russia Starting to Realize That 'Dialogue' With Washington Is a Massive Waste of Time

marknesop.wordpress.com
Putin: "If there were no situation with Crimea and other problems, they would have invented something else to contain Russia"

Evidently, Russia has finally seen the light and understands inviting U.S. officials for a discussion on the whims and airy ideas Washington conjures up out of thin air, and usually on the spur of the moment, is ineffective and a total waste of time.

As reported by AP , Russia has canceled talks that were set for this coming Friday between Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov, and the No. 3 U.S. diplomat, Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.

Ryabkov said that "the situation is not conducive to holding a round of this dialogue," criticizing the U.S. for "not having offered anything specific" to discuss.

"We have said from the very beginning of Washington's exceptionally destructive policy in regard to applying anti-Russia sanctions, that [such measures] will not and cannot have an effect desired by the US on our individuals or entities," Ryabkov told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

[Jun 27, 2017] H>ow to effectively resist truth-killing efforts of various agencies not interested in revealing the truth on the particular subject

Jun 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova June 27, 2017 at 10:50 AM

In all those discussions, be it Obamacare, neoclassical economics, neoliberalism, globalization, automation, or supposed Russian interference in elections the key question is how to effectively resist truth-killing efforts of various agencies not interested in revealing the truth on the particular subject.

Now those disinformation efforts can be easily amplified via Internet, which serves as a kind of echo-chamber. For example, just a half-dozen of like-minded people can drive Internet discussion in the necessary direction and spam or smear opponents. Essentially such informal cliques are quite capable to dominate discussion in popular blogs.

Paul R. Pillar in his May 2 essay in National interest provided an interesting overview of this problem. While his analyses is related to Trump climate change policies some points have wider applicability:

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/truth-killing-meta-issue-20452?page=2

== quote ==

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth - factual reality - is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject.

Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently.

To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

[Jun 27, 2017] US may preempt an Assad chemical strike in Syria

Notable quotes:
"... USS George H.W. Bush ..."
Jun 27, 2017 | app.debka.com

Signs were gathering in Washington and the Middle East Tuesday, June 26 that the Trump administration was preparing a substantial military operation against the Syrian army and Bashar Assad's allies, such as the foreign pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah. Some US military sources suggested that an American preemptive strike was in store in the coming hours to prevent Assad's army from again resorting to chemical warfare against his people.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday night that the US "has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children." He said the activities were similar to preparations taken before an April 2017 attack that killed dozens of men, women and children, and warned that if "Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."

On April 4, the Syrians launched a chemical weapons attack, which killed 87 people, including 30 children, following which the Trump administration fired scores of Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian air base.

The US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley then futher stoked the tensions by declaring on Twitter that any chemical weapons attack by Bashar-Assad's Syrian government "will be blamed on Assad but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people."

Haley's tweet ended with the cliffhanger: "Stay tuned for more tomorrow."

debka file 's military sources add: An American attack on Syria, whether preemptive or punitive, may be launched from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the eastern Mediterranean.

It was from the decks of this vessel that US Navy fighter jets took off on June 18 to down a Syrian SU-22 fighter bomber over eastern Syrian. A repetition of a US carrier-based attack on Syria would challenge the warning Moscow issued to Washington on June 24 after the Syrian warplane was shot down:

"From now on, in areas where Russian aviation performs combat missions in the skies of Syria, any airborne objects found west of the Euphrates River, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles belonging to the international coalition, tracked by means of Russian land and air anti-aircraft defense, will be considered air targets."

That warning was intended to mark a red line against US flights crossing through central and western Syria. Posted at Latakia, on Syrian's Mediterranean coast in the west are advanced Russian anti-air S-400 and S-300 missiles.

[Jun 27, 2017] In case you did not have time to look for the widely available information on how the US has been supplying certain forces in Syria with various weaponry, including anti aircraft weapons

Jun 27, 2017 | www.unz.com

MarkinLA June 25, 2017 at 10:01 pm GMT

@annamaria In case you did not have time to look for the widely available information on how the US has been supplying certain "forces" in Syria with various weaponry, including anti aircraft weapons, here is a summary: "How America Armed Terrorists in Syria: Another Middle East debacle" By GARETH PORTER • June 22, 2017
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-america-armed-terrorists-in-syria/

"The Obama administration's Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the "Global War on Terrorism"-the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates... In October 2012, U.S. officials acknowledged off the record for the first time to the New York Times that "most" of the arms that had been shipped to armed opposition groups in Syria with U.S. logistical assistance during the previous year had gone to "hardline Islamic jihadists"- obviously meaning al Qaeda's Syrian franchise, al Nusra. ...

In early March 2015, the Harakat Hazm Aleppo branch dissolved itself, and al Nusra Front promptly showed off photos of the TOW missiles and other equipment they had captured from it. ... But that wasn't the only way for al Nusra Front to benefit from the CIA's largesse.

The non-jihadist armed groups getting advanced weapons from the CIA assistance were not part of the initial assault on Idlib City. After the capture of Idlib the U.S.-led operations room for Syria in southern Turkey signaled to the CIA-supported groups in Idlib that they could now participate in the campaign to consolidate control over the rest of the province. According to Lister, the British researcher on jihadists in Syria who maintains contacts with both jihadist and other armed groups, recipients of CIA weapons, such as the Fursan al haq brigade and Division 13, did join the Idlib campaign alongside al Nusra Front without any move by the CIA to cut them off. As the Idlib offensive began, the CIA-supported groups were getting TOW missiles in larger numbers, and they now used them with great effectiveness against the Syrian army tanks. That was the beginning of a new phase of the war, in which U.S. policy was to support an alliance between "relatively moderate" groups and the al Nusra Front."

And more of the same CIA judged to be "relatively moderate" anti-Assad groups

These CIA assessments are always loaded with weasel words and half truths like some child admitting he stuck his hand in the cookie jar but didn't actually take one. It is all designed as a silly whitewash of their actions. Admit just enough but stop short of something illegal.

When the CIA finally had to admit they were aware of the drug dealing during the Reagan administration by the Contras, they came out with some lame report where they admitted they were aware that some elements were trafficking drugs but the CIA wasn't directly involved. Of course, the pilots flying the arms in and drugs out all had CIA connections. The DEA also never made any significant arrests.

The CIA knows there are no "relatively moderates".

Priss Factor Show Comment Next New Comment June 25, 2017 at 10:25 pm GMT

What is happening in Syria is an Extreme Steroidal version of what is happening in the West.

Westerners are told 'diversity' and 'inclusion' are highest values.

Well, Syria wouldn't have been such a powder keg if it weren't so diverse filled with so many resentments. And it was the weakening of borders and 'inclusion' of Jihadis and foreign military that made things much worse. So, much for blessings of diversity and inclusion(euphemism for intrusion and invasion).

Two sicknesses of the globalized world: Diversease and Incluenza.

[Jun 27, 2017] How Israel Manages Its Message

economistsview.typepad.com
Those of us who are highly critical of Israel's ability to manipulate U.S. foreign policy frequently note how sites that permit comments on our articles are almost immediately inundated with hostile postings that are remarkably similar in both tone and substance. Given that it is unlikely that large numbers of visitors to the sites read the offending piece more-or-less simultaneously, react similarly to its content, and then go on to express their disgust in very similar language, many of us have come to the conclusion that the Israeli government or some of the groups dedicated to advancing Israeli interests turn loose supporters who are dedicated to combating and refuting anything and everything that casts Israel in a negative light.

The fact is that Israel is extremely active in an enterprise that falls in the gray area between covert operations and overt governmental activity. Many governments seek to respond to negative commentary in the media, but they normally do it openly with an ambassador or press officer countering criticism by sending in a letter, writing an op-ed, or appearing on a talk show. Such activity is generally described as public diplomacy when it is done openly by a recognized government official and the information itself is both plausible and verifiable, at least within reasonable limits. Israel does indeed do that, but it also engages in other activities that are not so transparent and which are aimed at spreading false information.

When an intelligence organization seeks to influence opinion by creating and deliberately circulating "false news," it is referred to as a "disinformation operation."

But Israel has refined the art of something that expands upon that, what might be referred to more accurately as "perception management" or "influence operations" in which it only very rarely shows its hand overtly, in many cases paying students as part-time bloggers or exploiting diaspora Jews as volunteers to get its message out. The practice is so systemic, involving recruitment, training, Foreign Ministry-prepared information sheets, and internet alerts to potential targets, that it is frequently described by its Hebrew name, hasbara, which means literally "public explanation." It is essentially an internet-focused "information war" that parallels and supports the military action whenever Israel enters into conflict with any of its neighbors or seeks to influence public opinion in the United States and Europe.

... ... ...

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has sent a letter out to a number of pro-Israel organizations emphasizing the "importance of the internet as the new battleground for Israel's image." Haaretz reported in 2013 how Prime Minister Netanyahu's office collaborated with the National Union of Israeli Students to establish "covert units" at the seven national universities to be structured in a "semi-military" fashion and organized in situation rooms. Students are paid as much as $2,000 monthly to work the online targets.

The serious collaboration between government and volunteers actually began with Operation Cast Lead in early 2009, an incursion into Gaza that killed more than 1,800 Palestinians, when the Foreign Ministry pulled together a group of mostly young computer savvy soldiers supplemented by students both overseas and within Israel to post a number of government-crafted responses to international criticism.

Many of the initial volunteers worked through a website giyus.org (an acronym for Give Israel Your United Support). The website included a desktop tool called Megaphone that provided daily updates on articles appearing on the internet that had to be challenged or attacked. There were once believed to be 50,000 activists receiving the now-inactive Megaphone's alerts.

There have also been reports about a pro-Israel American group called Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) preparing to enter its own version of developments in the Middle East on the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia. E-mails from CAMERA reveal that the group sought volunteers in 2008 to edit material on Wikipedia "to help us keep Israel-related entries from becoming tainted by anti-Israel editors," while also recommending that articles on the Middle East be avoided initially by supporters so as not to arouse suspicions about their motives. Volunteers were also advised to use false names that did not hint at any Israeli or Jewish connection and to avoid any references to being organized by CAMERA. Fifty volunteers reportedly were actively engaged in the program when it was exposed in the media and the program was put on hold.

CAMERA is an Internal Revenue Service-approved 501(c)(3) organization, which means that contributions to it are tax exempt. Such exemptions are granted to organizations that are either charitable or educational in nature and they normally preclude any involvement in partisan political activity. As CAMERA would not appear to qualify as a charity, it is to be presumed that its application for special tax status stressed that it is educational. Whether its involvement in "un-tainting" Wikipedia truly falls within that definition might well be debated, particularly as it appears to have been carried out in semi-clandestine fashion. CAMERA might well also be considered to be a good candidate for registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA), as its activity is uniquely focused on promoting the perceived interests of a foreign government.

The use of Israel's universities as propaganda mills by the government also raises other significant issues. The growing BDS movement has included some Israeli universities as targets because of their alleged involvement with the government in the occupation of the West Bank. That the universities are also involved in possible government-sponsored information operations might be an additional convincing argument that BDS supporters might use to justify blacklisting at least some Israeli academic institutions.

Every government is engaged in selling a product, which is its own self-justifying view of what it does and how it does it. But the largely clandestine Israeli effort to influence American opinion is unique in that it comes from a country which receives more than $3 billion annually from the U.S. taxpayer. We Americans are therefore paying to be propagandized by people working for a foreign government who often pretend to be our fellow citizens but are not. What is occurring is essentially an intelligence operation directed against the United States, something that the CIA would have run back in the 1970s and 1980s.

That Israel can continue to reap huge amounts of aid and political cover from Washington while it is actively working to make sure that Americans are poorly informed about the Middle East reveals more than anything the corruption of our political class and media, both of which appear to be ready to sell out for thirty shekels to anyone with the cash in hand. Time to drain the swamp, indeed.

exiled off mainstreet Show Comment Next New Comment June 27, 2017 at 4:47 am GMT

This is documented long-term foreign influence which has reached treason levels in the past, for instance at the time the USS Liberty was sunk in June, 1967. This can be contrasted with the phony Russia accusations levelled by many of the same people whose first loyalty is to the Israeli state rather than to the yankee imperium employing them. I don't see this ending well.

Wally Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 27, 2017 at 4:52 am GMT

Tip of the iceberg:

The True Cost of Parasite Israel
Forced US taxpayers money to Israel goes far beyond the official numbers.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

"Jewish groups get up to 97% of grants from the Homeland Security"

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/islamophobia-shmislamophobia-97-of-homeland-security-security-grants-go-to-jewish-orgs

Zionist Wikipedia Editing Course

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/139189

The Zionist attempt to control language.
The Israel Project's 2009 GLOBAL LANGUAGE DICTIONARY

https://www.transcend.org/tms/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sf-israel-projects-2009-global-language-dictionary.pdf

The commander behind the pro-Israel student troops on U.S. college campuses

http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page//.premium-1.709014

Israel tech site paying "interns" to covertly plant stories in social media

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/israel-tech-site-paying-interns-covertly-plant-stories-social-media

Israeli students to get $2,000 to spread state propaganda on Facebook

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-students-get-2000-spread-state-propaganda-facebook

Not to mention that every US taxpayers "loan" that 'Israel' receives has never been paid back. The Israeli Occupied Congress curiously "forgives" all these huge debts. As if it wasn't assumed at the beginning.

"Jame Bamford of Wired subsequently reported that the NSA had hired secretive contractors with extensive ties to Israeli intelligence to establish 10 to 20 wiretapping rooms at key telecommunication points throughout the country."
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-impact-of-nsa-domestic-spying-2013-6#ixzz3NxPMujNo

"Two Secretive Israeli Companies Reportedly Bugged The US Telecommunications Grid For The NSA"
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/israelis-bugged-the-us-for-the-nsa-2013-6#ixzz3NxPnnUFg

"IDF Unit 8200 Cyberwar Veterans Developed NSA Snooping Technology"
Read more: http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/06/08/idf-unit-8200-cyberwar-veterans-developed-nsa-snooping-technology/

How to Bring Down the Elephant in the Room

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/how-to-bring-down-the-elephant-in-the-room/

Mark Green Show Comment Next New Comment June 27, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT

Israel's global news penetration (via hasbara) and other disinformation strategies are routine. Diabolical, but routine.

The Zionist state's various tricks and manipulations are legendary and ruthless. They function as a backdoor attack on intellectual liberty as well as open political discourse. They are anti-democratic.

Thus, even 'freedom of expression' in America is under constant Israeli pressure and surveillance. No stone goes unturned.

This is why Holocaust 'education' is ubiquitous and, when possible, mandatory. If the stories fail, inject guilt. It's an unscrupulous strategy that is working.

Meanwhile, Zionist myths rain down endlessly via American TV and throughout American mass media. Deep Zionist victimology has penetrated even US public schools. Hasbara is strategic. It is unrelenting. Ironically, it represents the tribal interest of a foreign power. Do Americans live under soft occupation? It increasingly looks that way.

This explains why Jewish suffering, Jewish innocence, and Jewish victimology are now compulsory subjects in American life–from schools to children's TV, to higher education and adult cinema. 'Dominare the message'.

On the other hand, Israel's commitment to segregation between Jews and gentiles is quietly steadfast. "Unshakable'. This head-scratching phenomena has been obscured by the Fake News meme involving America's 'Judeo-Christian' heritage. Yet it is an absolute ruse. No such heritage exists. These are Zionist-lead political movements and Zionist headlines. They tread on the thin, manufactured ice. Theydo not exist organically.

Christ's teachings were in fact a break from Judaism. Christ said as much. Christianity is an Open Admissions theology that stresses universal ethics that are non-racial. On the other hand, Israel is tribal, racial and exclusionary. This wouldn't be so repulsive if not for Israel's vociferous (and insincere) support for 'equality' and its pious contempt for 'white nationalism'.

Jewish racism is commanded by God. And Israel's ethical basis is polluted by nepotism, 'chosenness' and racial favoritism under God. It is a collection of myths and yarns that drip with tribal supremacism.

It's worth remembering also that Jews in Israel have a distinct word for their version of 'Apartheid'. It is 'Hafrada', which means 'separation' in Hebrew. Ever heard of it? Of course not! Hasbara operatives and their cousins in US news media make sure of that.

Sadly, we Americans live under soft occupation.

Significantly, few non-Jews have ever heard of 'hafrada'. But everyone has heard of 'Apartheid'.
Gee. How come?

We can thank the legions of young Israeli activists (and their elders) for this deliberate omission and assorted side shows. Control speech. Control thought.

Make no mistake about it: Israel is a racial supremacist state. Segregation is a core Zionist value. Jewish exceptionalism is their paramount goal. America is a useful, but temporary, ally. This is the nature of the 'special relationship.'

jilles dykstra Show Comment Next New Comment June 27, 2017 at 6:56 am GMT

Zionists never foresaw that having an own state would demonstrate what jews are capable of.
In 1948, thanks to the persecutions of the jews during WWII, Israel had a lot of sympathy in the world.
Nowadays, with no solution anywhere in sight for the Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed in 1948, in Germany a Secretary for, against, Antisemitism seems necessary.
Germany debates if criticism of Israel, antizionism, is he same as antisemitism.
Norman Finkelstein and Ilian Pappe recently were not allowed to speak in Germany.
Indeed Israel is great in propaganda, but the effects are less and less.
Israel has but one 'friend', the USA, and how sincere this friendship is is more and more debatable.
Mobilising jews to write on fora, in many languages, any time there have been Israeli atrocities, may have the opposite effect.
Anyone familiar with these fora notices how these propagandists pop up, and disappear after some time.
What they are paid even is known, four or five dollars per message.
It looks like 'you can fool all people some time, some people all the time, but not all the people all the time', still is true.

Ronald Thomas West Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 27, 2017 at 7:27 am GMT

"What is occurring is essentially an intelligence operation directed against the United States, something that the CIA would have run back in the 1970s and 1980s"

Hi Phil

Jesse Ventura would have us believe the CIA is as busy as it ever had been, when it comes to running operations against the American people. I agree with Jesse.

Meanwhile, here's a collection of links I'd assembled some time back, includes American military psyops (esp Air Force) along the lines of hasbara (who're also included)

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/04/18/military-sock-puppets-nsa-trolls-cia-shills/

^

Tha Philosopher Show Comment Next New Comment June 27, 2017 at 9:17 am GMT

Wally,

The CIA and NSA are essentially the jewish elite secret police. They align exactly with Mossad. Hence 9-11.

Read the Devil's Chessboard by Stephen Talbot. We've previoulsy lived under a gentile plutocracy since the assasination of JFK.

But something happened since as Zion rose to prominence. The coup against Nixon by the Deep State is a part of the puzzle. Allen Welsh Dulles groomed Nixon. So his loyalists would never have removed him. My hunch is that Nixon's fall to the Washington Post, consummate deep state pillar, is the key to understanding the later 20th century and our current 'occupation'. Its a pity nobody could ask David Rockefeller in candour how his group had lost control or merged with the new Zionists.

... ... ...

mcohen Show Comment Next New Comment June 27, 2017 at 11:13 am GMT

here it is folks in all its glory.enjoy.just the plain truth

https://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2017/06/the-forgotten-truth-about-the-balfour-declaration/

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 27, 2017 at 11:19 am GMT

sites that permit comments on our articles are almost immediately inundated with hostile postings that are remarkably similar in both tone and substance.

Speaking of substance, they typically lack any of it. They usually resort to smarmy personal attacks as well as scatological foolishness and crass bragging. Some resort to juvenile pseudo-intellectual banter that's obviously intended to intimidate or humiliate, while another favorite tactic seems to be off topic trash that's also supposed to impress the rest of us