Anyone watching the nightly news in America these days has surely seen some of those in-your-worst-nightmare videos showing hair-raising images of the fire-breathing minions of ISIS as they invade Syria and Iraq — blazing across bone-dry deserts in brand new Toyota trucks, brandishing AK-47s and looking like something out of a Hounds of Hell horror movie. And we all shudder involuntarily, imagining the chaos and terror being spread by these horrible men-in-black, waving pirate flags and screaming for blood.
And we can also probably imagine, far back in the most primitive lobes of our brains, what it would be like to see these very same nightmarish denizens screaming down Route 66, heading toward us too, driving straight for our own town, positively drooling over the thought of beheading us in our sleep and raping our sons and daughters.
But then we come to our senses and realize that this sort of thing can never happen here in America. This sort of nightmare only plays out in the Middle East (hopefully).
But forget about all that. Instead, let’s just focus in on the ISIS terrorists and pirates themselves, now safely out there in the Iraqi desert, aka “those terrible rough beasts, their hour come round at last, slouching toward Baghdad to be born, their gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,” to paraphrase William Butler Yeats.
And then let’s ask ourselves next, “While happily out there terrorizing and raping the countryside, just what the freak do these guys eat and drink? And where in the freak do they find a 7-11 or a Raley’s way out there in the desert? And when the freak do they even have time to cook and do dishes or pee?” And don’t even tell me that they are the Devil’s minions and thus live only on air. And where are their burn barrels and port-a-potties? And where are their grab-and-go bins full of “Meal, Ready-to-Eat,” menu number 15, beef enchilada, made by the Ameriqual Packaging Company, Evansville, Indiana 47710?
Surely even these devilish super-fiends must have an occasional craving for toilet paper? Or even perhaps the occasional shower?
So exactly who is providing ISIS with its supply line?
Don’t even dare tell me that ISIS doesn’t have one.
These aren’t ghosts or krakens or the mythological First Beasts referred to in the Book of Revelations. These are just ordinary human schmucks like the rest of us, who still put on their terrorist Halloween costumes one leg at a time. The Devil’s minions still have to eat. And pee. And they still have to get their shiny new Toyota trucks from an automobile showroom somewhere — one obviously not located in Hell. And they still have to use earthly rocket-launchers, not ones supplied by Lucifer himself.
Plus sacking and looting can only get these pirates so far before they run out of booty. And even if they now have billions of $$$ in plundered oil, they still have to sell it to someone. OPEC they are not.
So where do all these tons and tons of food and weapons and terrorist-chic outfits and port-a-potties all come from? Your guess is as good as mine. And I am guessing, based on all that I have read and seen lately, that all these goodies are being supplied by American, Israeli and Saudi oligarchs and neo-cons. And probably at us taxpayers’ expense too. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
These terrible terrorist ISIS operations appear to be all a part of the American, Israeli and Saudi neo-con oligarchs’ continuing (and very successful) “Land for Blood” program — wherein neo-cons get all the land and the men, women and children of the Middle East get to bleed. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
Of course I can’t prove most of this without breaking and entering NASDAQ and CIA vaults. Hoping for transparency is like flogging a dead horse. Just ask Edward Snowden about that one. But there still is a pattern here, one that started in Vietnam, worked its way through East Timor, Kuwait, Iraq and Guatemala, and is now surfacing again in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Gazahttp://write2rest.blogspot.
“What the devil…” you might say at this point. And you would be right.
PS: And speaking of tracking supply lines, what about all those other supply lines — all those abundant supply lines that should have been pouring out goodies all this time, streaming them out to the average American, Israeli/Palestinian and Saudi citizen like you and me? What happened to those?
Those supply lines are all pretty much toast.
Just think of all the trillions of dollars that have been spent on all these damned, useless, murderous and unnecessary “wars” that the oligarchs ruling our countries in the past 15-odd years have indulged themselves in — enough dollars to fix all of our infrastructures, pave all of our roads, create jobs for all of us like there was no tomorrow, educate all of our children for free up to a doctoral degree, make sure we all have top-notch healthcare, and dress every single man, woman and child in America, Arabia and Israel/Palestine with at least one pair of Jimmy Choo shoes!
Just because we don’t dress up like Freddy Kruger, don’t play at being the Devil’s disciples and don’t eat live human hearts on national TV doesn’t mean that we don’t need supply lines too.
All these amazing opportunities for you and me have been wasted. All that money is now gone with the wind, lost, wasted, never to return. That ship has sailed.
“But Jane,” you might ask next, “does this mean that America, Israel/Palestine and Saudi Arabia are currently being ruled by selfish, immoral and blood-thirsty idiots?” Well, yeah.
And here’s another hard truth: American, Israeli and Saudi neo-con supply lines are also limited too. They just can’t keep goosing us for our life-blood forever. Eventually the oligarchs will run out of MREs, cruise missiles and port-a-potties too. Theirs is not an endless supply line either.
Sooner or later, we average Americans, Israelis and Saudi Arabians are going to be empty and broken like the victims of so many vampires. What then? How will the neo-cons keep their war machines supplied once We the People are drained of our life’s blood?
How much money can these three countries spend on weapons and Iron Domes that don’t work and drones and bullets and missiles that cost a half-million dollars each (Israeli neo-cons just fired off 1,500 of them at the poor trapped citizens of Gaza) before the economies of these three countries are broken like rag dolls? Oops, too late. We are almost already there.
PPS: And here’s another supply line to track: Whoever is supplying the United Nations has also clearly purchased its soul as well — lock, stock and barrel. For instance, this whole devastation of the civilian population of Gaza? Women and children being slaughtered for their land — and not a peep from the UN in their defense. Not even one word. That’s just shameful.
According to journalist Robert Fisk, “The people who lived in Sederot in early 1948 were not Israelis, but Palestinian Arabs. Their village was called Huj. Nor were they enemies of Israel. Two years earlier, these same Arabs had actually hidden Jewish Haganah fighters from the British Army. But when the Israeli army turned up at Huj on 31 May 1948, they expelled all the Arab villagers – to the Gaza Strip! Refugees, they became. David Ben Gurion (Israel’s first Prime Minister) called it an ‘unjust and unjustified action’. Too bad. The Palestinians of Huj were never allowed back. And today, well over 6,000 descendants of the Palestinians from Huj – now Sederot – live in the squalor of Gaza….” http://www.independent.co.uk/
The UN is currently as incapable of stopping wars now as the old League of Nations had been back in the day — because the UN’s very reason for being has been bought off by American and Israeli oligarchs. It is now as dead as the old League of Nations. The only real difference is that the UN has yet to lie down.
“The unipolar world model has failed. People everywhere have shown their desire to choose their own destiny, preserve their own cultural identity, and oppose the West’s attempts at military, financial, political and ideological domination.”
- Vladimir Putin
“While the human politics of the crisis in Ukraine garner all the headlines, it is the gas politics that in many ways lies at the heart of the conflict.”
- Eric Draitser, Waging war against Russia, one pipeline at a time, RT
What does a pipeline in Afghanistan have to do with the crisis in Ukraine?
Everything. It reveals the commercial interests that drive US policy. Just as the War in Afghanistan was largely fought to facilitate the transfer of natural gas from Turkmenistan to the Arabian Sea, so too, Washington engineered the bloody coup in Kiev to cut off energy supplies from Russia to Europe to facilitate the US pivot to Asia.
This is why policymakers in Washington are reasonably satisfied with the outcome of the war in Afghanistan despite the fact that none of the stated goals were achieved. Afghanistan is not a functioning democracy with a strong central government, drug trafficking has not been eradicated, women haven’t been liberated, and the infrastructure and school systems are worse than they were before the war. By every objective standard the war was a failure. But, of course, the stated goals were just public relations blather anyway. They don’t mean anything. What matters is gas, namely the vast untapped reserves in Turkmenistan that could be extracted by privately-owned US corporations who would use their authority to control the growth of US competitors or would-be rivals like China. That’s what the war was all about. The gas is going to be transported via a pipeline from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the Arabian sea, eschewing Russian and Iranian territory. The completion of the so called TAPI pipeline will undermine the development of an Iranian pipeline, thus sabotaging the efforts of a US adversary.
The TAPI pipeline illustrates how Washington is aggressively securing the assets it needs to maintain its dominance for the foreseeable future. Now, check this out from The Express Tribune, July 5:
“Officials of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are set to meet in Ashgabat next week to push ahead with a planned transnational gas pipeline connecting the four countries and reach a settlement on the award of the multi-billion-dollar project to US companies.
“The US is pushing the four countries to grant the lucrative pipeline contract to its energy giants. Two US firms – Chevron and ExxonMobil – are in the race to become consortium leaders, win the project and finance the laying of the pipeline,” a senior government official said while talking to The Express Tribune.
Washington has been lobbying for the gas supply project, called Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (Tapi) pipeline, terming it an ideal scheme to tackle energy shortages in Pakistan. On the other side, it pressed Islamabad to shelve the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline because of a nuclear standoff with Tehran…
According to officials, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will lead a delegation at the meeting of the TAPI pipeline steering committee on July 8 in Ashgabat.
…At present, bid documents are being prepared in consultation with the Asian Development Bank, which is playing the role of transaction adviser. The documents will be given to the two companies only for taking part in the tender.
Chevron is lobbying in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan to clinch a deal, backed by the US State Department. However, other companies could also become part of the consortium that will be led either by Chevron or ExxonMobil.” (TAPI pipeline: Officials to finalise contract award in Ashgabat next week, The Express Tribune)
So the pipeline plan is finally moving forward and, as the article notes, “The documents will be given to the two companies only for taking part in the tender.”
Nice, eh? So the State Department applies a little muscle and “Voila”, Chevron and Exxon clinch the deal. How’s that for a free market?
And who do you think is going to protect that 1,000 mile stretch of pipeline through hostile Taliban-controlled Afghanistan?
Why US troops, of course, which is why US military bases are conveniently located up an down the pipeline route. Coincidence?
Not on your life. Operation “Enduring Freedom” is a bigger hoax than the threadbare war on terror.
So let’s not kid ourselves. The war had nothing to do with liberating women or bringing democracy to the unwashed masses. It was all about power politics and geostrategic maneuvering; stealing resources, trouncing potential rivals, and beefing up profits for the voracious oil giants. Who doesn’t know that already? Here’s more background from the Wall Street Journal:
“Earlier this month, President Obama sent a letter to (Turkmenistan) President Berdimuhamedow emphasizing a common interest in helping develop Afghanistan and expressing Mr. Obama’s support for TAPI and his desire for a major U.S. firm to construct it.
…Progress on TAPI will also jump-start many of the other trans-Afghan transport projects—including roads and railroads—that are at the heart of America’s “New Silk Road Strategy” for the Afghan economy.
The White House should understand that if TAPI isn’t built, neither U.S. nor U.N. sanctions will prevent Pakistan from building a pipeline from Iran.” (The Pipeline That Could Keep the Peace in Afghanistan, Wall Street Journal)
Can you see what’s going on? Afghanistan, which is central to Washington’s pivot strategy, is going to be used for military bases, resource extraction and transportation. That’s it. There’s not going to be any reconstruction or nation building. The US doesn’t do that anymore. This is the stripped-down, no-frills, 21st century imperialism. “No nation for you, buddy. Just give us your gas and off we’ll go.” That’s how the system works now. It’s alot like Iraq –the biggest hellhole on earth–where “oil production has surged to its highest level in over 30 years”. (according to the Wall Street Journal) And who’s raking in the profits on that oil windfall?
Why the oil giants, of course. (ExxonMobil, BP and Shell) Maybe that’s why you never read about what a terrible mistake the war was. Because for the people who count, it really wasn’t a mistake at all. In fact, it all worked out pretty well.
Of course, the US will support the appearance of democracy in Kabul, but the government won’t have any real power beyond the capital. It never did anyway. (Locals jokingly called Karzai the “mayor of Kabul”) As for the rest of the country; it will be ruled by warlords as it has been since the invasion in 2001. (Remember the Northern Alliance? Hate to break the news, but they’re all bloodthirsty, misogynist warlords who were reinstated by Rumsfeld and Co.)
This is the new anarchic “Mad Max” template Washington is applying wherever it intervenes. The intention is to dissolve the nation-state in order to remove any obstacle to resource extraction, which is why failed states are popping up wherever the US sticks its big nose. It’s all by design. Chaos is the objective. Simply put: It’s easier to steal whatever one wants when there’s no center of power to resist.
This is why political leaders in Europe are so worried, because they don’t like the idea of sharing a border with Somalia, which is exactly what Ukraine is going to look like when the US is done with it.
In Ukraine, the US is using a divide and conquer strategy to pit the EU against trading partner Moscow. The State Department and CIA helped to topple Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych and install a US stooge in Kiev who was ordered to cut off the flow of Russian gas to the EU and lure Putin into a protracted guerilla war in Ukraine. The bigwigs in Washington figured that, with some provocation, Putin would react the same way he did when Georgia invaded South Ossetia in 2006. But, so far, Putin has resisted the temptation to get involved which is why new puppet president Petro Poroshenko has gone all “Jackie Chan” and stepped up the provocations by pummeling east Ukraine mercilessly. It’s just a way of goading Putin into sending in the tanks.
But here’s the odd part: Washington doesn’t have a back-up plan. It’s obvious by the way Poroshenko keeps doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. That demonstrates that there’s no Plan B. Either Poroshenko lures Putin across the border and into the conflict, or the neocon plan falls apart, which it will if they can’t demonize Putin as a “dangerous aggressor” who can’t be trusted as a business partner.
So all Putin has to do is sit-tight and he wins, mainly because the EU needs Moscow’s gas. If energy supplies are terminated or drastically reduced, prices will rise, the EU will slide back into recession, and Washington will take the blame. So Washington has a very small window to draw Putin into the fray, which is why we should expect another false flag incident on a much larger scale than the fire in Odessa. Washington is going to have to do something really big and make it look like it was Moscow’s doing. Otherwise, their pivot plan is going to hit a brick wall. Here’s a tidbit readers might have missed in the Sofia News Agency’s novinite site:
“Ukraine’s Parliament adopted .. a bill under which up to 49% of the country’s gas pipeline network could be sold to foreign investors. This could pave the way for US or EU companies, which have eyed Ukrainian gas transportation system over the last months.
…Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was earlier quoted as saying that the bill would allow Kiev to “attract European and American partners to the exploitation and modernization of Ukraine’s gas transportation,” in a situation on Ukraine’s energy market he described as “super-critical”. Critics of the bill have repeatedly pointed the West has long been interest in Ukraine’s pipelines, with some seeing in the Ukrainian revolution a means to get access to the system. (Ukraine allowed to sell up to 49% of gas pipeline system, novinite.com)
Boy, you got to hand it to the Obama throng. They really know how to pick their coup-leaders, don’t they? These puppets have only been in office for a couple months and they’re already giving away the farm.
And, such a deal! US corporations will be able to buy up nearly half of a pipeline that moves 60 percent of the gas that flows from Russia to Europe. That’s what you call a tollbooth, my friend; and US companies will be in just the right spot to gouge Moscow for every drop of natural gas that transits those pipelines. And gouge they will too, you can bet on it.
Is that why the State Department cooked up this loony putsch, so their fatcat, freeloading friends could rake in more dough?
This also explains why the Obama crowd is trying to torpedo Russia’s other big pipeline project called Southstream. Southstream is a good deal for Europe and Russia. On the one hand, it would greatly enhance the EU’s energy security, and on the other, it will provide needed revenues for Russia so they can continue to modernize, upgrade their dilapidated infrastructure, and improve standards of living. But “the proposed pipeline (which) would snake about 2,400 kilometers, or roughly 1,500 miles, from southern Russia via the Black Sea to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and ultimately Austria. (and) could handle about 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, enough to allow Russian exports to Europe to largely bypass Ukraine” (New York Times) The proposed pipeline further undermines Washington’s pivot strategy, so Obama, the State Department and powerful US senators (Ron Johnson, John McCain, and Chris Murphy) are doing everything in their power to torpedo the project.
“What gives Vladimir Putin his power and control is his oil and gas reserves and West and Eastern Europe’s dependence on them,” Senator Johnson said in an interview. “We need to break up his stranglehold on energy supplies. We need to bust up that monopoly.” (New York Times)
What a bunch of baloney. Putin doesn’t have a monopoly on gas. Russia only provides 30 percent of the gas the EU uses every year. And Putin isn’t blackmailing anyone either. Countries in the EU can either buy Russian gas or not buy it. It’s up to them. No one has a gun to their heads. And Gazprom’s prices are competitive too, sometimes well-below market rates which has been the case for Ukraine for years, until crackpot politicians started sticking their thumb in Putin’s eye at every opportunity; until they decided that that they didn’t have to pay their bills anymore because, well, because Washington told them not to pay their bills. That’s why.
Ukraine is in the mess it’s in today for one reason, because they decided to follow Washington’s advice and shoot themselves in both feet. Their leaders thought that was a good idea. So now the country is broken, penniless and riven by social unrest. Regrettably, there’s no cure for stupidity.
The neocon geniuses apparently believe that if they sabotage Southstream and nail down 49 percent ownership of Ukraine’s pipeline infrastructure, then the vast majority of Russian gas will have to flow through Ukrainian pipelines. They think that this will give them greater control over Moscow. But there’s a glitch to this plan which analyst Jeffrey Mankoff pointed out in an article titled “Can Ukraine Use Its Gas Pipelines to Threaten Russia?”. Here’s what he said:
“The biggest problem with this approach is a cut in gas supplies creates real risks for the European economy… In fact, Kyiv’s efforts to siphon off Russian gas destined to Europe to offset the impact of a Russian cutoff in January 2009 provide a window onto why manipulating gas supplies is a risky strategy for Ukraine. Moscow responded to the siphoning by halting all gas sales through Ukraine for a couple of weeks, leaving much of eastern and southern Europe literally out in the cold. European leaders reacted angrily, blaming both Moscow and Kyiv for the disruption and demanding that they sort out their problems. While the EU response would likely be somewhat more sympathetic to Ukraine today, Kyiv’s very vulnerability and need for outside financial support makes incurring European anger by manipulating gas supplies very risky.” (Can Ukraine Use Its Gas Pipelines to Threaten Russia, two paragraphs)
The funny thing about gas is that, when you stop paying the bills, they turn the heat off. Is that hard to understand?
So, yes, the State Department crystal-gazers and their corporate-racketeer friends might think they have Putin by the shorthairs by buying up Ukraine’s pipelines, but the guy who owns the gas (Gazprom) is still in the drivers seat. And he’s going to do what’s in the best interests of himself and his shareholders. Someone should explain to John Kerry that that’s just how capitalism works.
Washington’s policy in Ukraine is such a mess, it really makes one wonder about the competence of the people who come up with these wacko ideas. Did the brainiacs who concocted this plan really think they’d be able to set up camp between two major trading partners, turn off the gas, reduce a vital transit country into an Iraq-type basketcase, and start calling the shots for everyone in the region?
Europe and Russia are a perfect fit. Europe needs gas to heat its homes and run its machinery. Russia has gas to sell and needs the money to strengthen its economy. It’s a win-win situation. What Europe and Russia don’t need is the United States. In fact, the US is the problem. As long as US meddling persists, there’s going to be social unrest, division, and war. It’s that simple. So the goal should be to undermine Washington’s ability to conduct these destabilizing operations and force US policymakers to mind their own freaking business. That means there should be a concerted effort to abandon the dollar, ditch US Treasuries, jettison the petrodollar system, and force the US to become a responsible citizen that complies with International law.
It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, mainly because everyone is sick and tired of all the troublemaking.
“It is no longer plausible to argue that ISIS was a result of unintentional screw ups by the US. It is a clear part of a US strategy to break up the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah alliance. Now that strategy may prove to be a total failure and end up backfiring, but make no mistake, ISIS IS the strategy.” - Lysander, Comments line, Moon of Alabama
“US imperialism has been the principal instigator of sectarianism in the region, from its divide-and-conquer strategy in the war and occupation in Iraq, to the fomenting of sectarian civil war to topple Assad in Syria. Its cynical support for Sunni Islamist insurgents in Syria, while backing a Shiite sectarian regime across the border in Iraq to suppress these very same forces, has brought the entire Middle East to what a United Nations panel on Syria warned Tuesday was the “cusp of a regional war.” – Bill Van Auken, Obama orders nearly 300 US troops to Iraq, WSWS
Let cut to the chase: Barack Obama is blackmailing Nouri al-Maliki by withholding military support until the Iraqi Prime Minister agrees to step down. In other words, we are mid-stream in another regime change operation authored by Washington. What’s different about this operation, is the fact that Obama is using a small army of jihadi terrorists –who have swept to within 50 miles of Baghdad–to hold the gun to Mr. al Maliki’s head. Not surprisingly, al Maliki has refused to cooperate which means the increasingly-tense situation could explode into a civil war. Here’s the scoop from the Guardian in an article aptly titled “Iraq’s Maliki: I won’t quit as condition of US strikes against Isis militants”:
“A spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has said he will not stand down as a condition of US air strikes against Sunni militants who have made a lightning advance across the country.
Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, on Wednesday made a public call on al-Arabiya television for the US to launch strikes, but Barack Obama has come under pressure from senior US politicians to persuade Maliki… to step down over what they see as failed leadership in the face of an insurgency…
The White House has not called for Maliki to go but its spokesman Jay Carney said that whether Iraq was led by Maliki or a successor, “we will aggressively attempt to impress upon that leader the absolute necessity of rejecting sectarian governance”. (Iraq’s Maliki: I won’t quit as condition of US strikes against Isis militants, Guardian)
Obviously, the White House can’t tell al Maliki to leave point-blank or it would affect their credibility as proponents of democracy. But the fix is definitely in and the administration’s plan to oust al Maliki is well underway. Check out this clip from the Wall Street Journal:
“A growing number of U.S. lawmakers and Arab allies, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are pressing the White House to pull its support for Mr. Maliki. Some of them are pushing for change in exchange for providing their help in stabilizing Iraq, say U.S. and Arab diplomats.” (U.S. Signals Iraq’s Maliki Should Go, Wall Street Journal)
Pay special attention to the last sentence: “Some of them are pushing for change in exchange for providing their help in stabilizing Iraq”. That sounds a lot like blackmail to me.
This is the crux of what is going on behind the scenes. Barack Obama and his lieutenants are twisting al Maliki ‘s arm to force him out of office. That’s what the Thursday press conference was all about. Obama identified the group called the Isis as terrorists, acknowledged that they posed a grave danger to the government, and then breezily opined that he would not lift a finger to help. Why? Why is Obama so eager to blow up suspected terrorists in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan and yet unwilling to do so in Iraq? Could it be that Obama is not really committed to fighting terrorists at all, that the terror-ruse is just a fig leaf for much grander plans, like global domination?
Of course, it is. In any event, it’s plain to see that Obama is not going to help al Maliki if it interferes with Washington’s broader strategic objectives. And, at present, those objectives are to get rid of al Maliki, who is “too tight” with Tehran, and who refused to sign Status Of Forces Agreement in 2011 which would have allowed the US to leave 30,000 troops in Iraq. The rejection of SOFA effectively sealed al Maliki’s fate and made him an enemy of the United States. It was only a matter of time before Washington took steps to remove him from office. Here’s a clip from Obama’s press conference on Thursday that illustrates how these things work:
Obama: “The key to both Syria and Iraq is going to be a combination of what happens inside the country, working with moderate Syrian opposition, working with an Iraqi government that is inclusive, and us laying down a more effective counterterrorism platform that gets all the countries in the region pulling in the same direction. Rather than try to play whack-a-mole wherever these terrorist organizations may pop up, what we have to do is to be able to build effective partnerships.”
What does this mean in language that we can all understand?
It means that “you’re either on the team or you’re off the team”. If you are on the US team, then you will enjoy the benefits of “partnership” which means the US will help to defend you against the terrorist groups which they arm, fund and provide logistical support for. (through their Gulf State allies) If you are “off the team” –as Mr. al Maliki appears to be, then Washington will look the other way while the hordes of vicious miscreants tear the heads off your soldiers, burn your cities to the ground, and reduce your country to ungovernable anarchy. So, there’s a choice to be made. Either you can play along and follow orders and “nobody gets hurt, or go-it-alone and face the consequences.
Capisce? Obama is running a protection racket just like some two-bit Mafia shakedown-artist from the ‘hood. And I am not speaking metaphorically here. This is the way it really works. The president of the United States is threatening a democratically-elected leader, who–by the way–was hand-picked and rubber-stamped by the Bush administration–because he has not turned out to be sufficiently servile in kowtowing to their demands. So, now they’re going to replace him with another corrupt stooge like Chalabi. That’s right, the shifty Ahmed Chalabi has reemerged from his spiderhole and is making a bid to take al Maliki’s place. This is from the New York Times:
“Iraq officials said Thursday that political leaders had started intensive jockeying to replace Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and create a government that would span the country’s deepening sectarian and ethnic divisions, spurred by what they called encouraging meetings with American officials signaling support for a leadership change…
The names floated so far — Adel Abdul Mahdi, Ahmed Chalabi and Bayan Jaber — are from the Shiite blocs, which have the largest share of the total seats in the Parliament.” (With Nod From U.S., Iraqis Seek New Leader, New York Times)
Remember Chalabi? Neocon favorite, Chalabi. The guy who –as Business Insider notes “was a central figure in the U.S.’s decision to remove the Iraqi dictator over a decade ago” and “who helped get the Iraq Liberation Act passed through Congress in 1998, a law that made regime change in Baghdad an official U.S. policy.” “Chalabi claimed that Saddam was an imminent threat to the U.S., and was both holding and developing a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, (which) became the view of the intelligence community and eventually the majority of the U.S. congress. In the first four years of the Bush administration, Chalabi’s INC recieved $39 million from the U.S. government.” (Business Insider)
You can’t make this stuff up.
So, good old Chalabi is on the short-list of candidates to take al Maliki’s place. Great. That just illustrates the level of thinking about these matters in the Obama White House. I don’t know how anyone can objectively follow these developments and not conclude that the neocons are calling the shots. Of course they’re calling the shots. Chalabi’s “their guy”. In fact, the goals the administration is pursuing, aren’t really even in US interests at all.
Bear with me for a minute: Let’s assume that we’re correct in our belief that the administration has set its sites on four main strategic objectives in Iraq:
1–Removing al Maliki
2–Gaining basing rights via a new Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)
3–Rolling back Iran’s influence in the region
4–Partitioning the country
How does the US benefit from achieving these goals?
The US has plenty of military bases and installations spread around the Middle East. It gains nothing by having another in Iraq. The same goes for removing al Maliki. There’s no telling how that could turn out. Maybe good, maybe bad. It’s a roll of the dice. Could come up snake-eyes, who knows? But, one thing is certain; it will further erode confidence in the US as a serious supporter of democracy. No one is going to believe that fable anymore. (Al Maliki just won the recent election.)
As for “rolling back Iran’s influence in the region”: That doesn’t even make sense. It was the United States that removed the Sunni Baathists from power and deliberately replaced them with members from the Shia community. As we’ve shown in earlier articles, shifting power from Sunnis to Shia was a crucial part of the original occupation strategy, which was transparently loony from the get go. It was as if the British invaded the US and decided to replace career politicians and Washington bureaucrats with inexperienced service sector employees from the barrios of LA. Does that make sense? The results turned out to be a disaster, as anyone with half a brain could have predicted. Because the plan was idiotic. No empire has ever operated like that. Of course, there was going to be a tacit alliance between Baghdad and Tehran. The US strategy made that alliance inevitable! Iraq did not move in Iran’s direction. That’s baloney. Washington pushed Iraq into Iran’s arms. Everyone knows this.
So, now what? So now the Obama team wants a “do over”? Is that it?
There are no do overs in history. The sectarian war the US initiated and promoted with its blistering counterinsurgency strategy–which involved massive ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in Baghdad behind the phony “surge” BS– changed the complexion of the country for good. There’s no going back. What’s done is done. Baghdad is Shia and will remain Shia. And that means there’s going to be some connection with Tehran. So, if the Obama people intend to roll back Iran’s influence, then they probably have something else in mind. And they DO have something else in mind. They want to partition the country consistent with an Israeli plan that was concocted more than three decades ago. The plan was the brainstorm of Oded Yinon who saw Iraq as a serious threat to Israel’s hegemonic aspirations, so he cooked up a plan to remedy the problem. Here’s a blurb from Yinon’s primary work titled, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”, which is the roadmap that will be used to divide Iraq:
“Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization.” (A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties, Oded Yinon, monabaker.com)
Repeat: “Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon.”
This is the plan. The United States does not benefit from this plan. The United States does not benefit from a fragmented, Balkanized, broken Iraq. The oil giants are already extracting as much oil as they want. Iraqi oil is, once again, denominated in dollars not euros. Iraq poses no national security threat to the US. US war planners already got what they want. There’s no reason to go back and cause more trouble, to restart the war, to tear the country apart, and to split it into pieces. The only reason to dissolve Iraq, is Israel. Israel does not want a unified Iraq. Israel does not want an Iraq that can stand on its own two feet. Israel wants to make sure that Iraq never remerges as a regional power. And there’s only one way to achieve that goal, that is, to follow Yinon’s prescription of “breaking up Iraq …along ethnic/religious lines …so, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul.”
This is the blueprint the Obama administration is following. The US gains nothing from this plan. It’s all for Israel.
Why do Zionists hate veterans? That is the question many Americans are asking after witnessing the Israel lobby’s media mugging of released prisoner-of-war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Since 2001, American soldiers have been risking their lives in a crusade whose main beneficiary is the Israeli regime. Nearly 5,000 US troops have been killed in Iraq – almost 4,500 of them since Bush declared “mission accomplished.” Another 4,000 US troops and contractors have died in Afghanistan. An estimated 320,000 veterans have brain injuries, and about 18 commit suicide every day according to Dr. Ira Katz, the VA’s head of Mental Health.
But as the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper admitted, only 0.64 percent of America’s “war on terror” casualties are Jewish Americans. That means that Zionists, the backbone of the Zionist lobby, who represent about 2.5% of America’s population, are massively underrepresented among those doing the bleeding, suffering, and dying in the Zionist-driven War on Islam for Israel.
Meanwhile, hard-core neoconservative Jewish Zionists are massively OVER-represented among the PNAC policy elite that set up the 9/11 “New Pearl Harbor” and launched America’s endless, futile war on the global Muslim population. And they are equally over-represented among big media owners and their pet presstitutes of the punditocracy.
One would think neocon-Zionist media voices would shower honor and gratitude on Sgt. Bergdahl, a good-hearted goy who suffered and sacrificed in a cause that was theirs, not his. Instead, they are showering him with abuse.
Fox News, the unofficial voice of the Netanyahu neocon nutball brigade, recently published the screaming headline: “EXCLUSIVE: Bergdahl declared jihad in captivity, secret documents show.” The story’s author is James Rosen, a Jewish Zionist neocon propagandist. Its source is a proven liar: CIA drug smuggler and convicted perjurer Dwayne “Dewey” Claridge, a notorious asset of the Bush crime family. And its thesis – that Bergdahl “declared jihad” – is an absurdity. (Only a legitimate Islamic head of state can declare jihad.)
Fox – Israel’s stealth beam weapon targeting the American mind – stooped to an even more disgusting low when it began persecuting Sgt. Bergdahl’s family. The rabid Zionist “news channel” ripped Obama for embracing Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents at the White House, and insulted Sgt. Bergdahl’s father for growing a beard and “looking like a member of the Taliban.”
Comedian Jon Stewart responded: “First of all, who the **** are you to judge what a guy does if he thinks it might help him get his son back? And I don’t want to complicate your hatred of facial hair there, friend, but my guess is if you gave Bob Bergdahl a bandana and a duck, you’d like him just-****ing-fine.”
The Islamophobe extremists behind Fox’s Orwellian theater of hate are ranting that Sgt. Bergdahl was a “deserter” and a “collaborator with the enemy.” Why? Because Sgt. Bergdahl, like the majority of Americans, knows that the 9/11 wars were launched on lies…and that the biggest liars were Fox News and the rest of the neocon-infested lamestream media.
It is Fox News and the whole Zio-con “mighty wurlitzer” who are deserters, collaborators, and traitors. By trumpeting the 9/11 big lie, and the endless Islamophobic little lies it spawned, they deserted from the USA to join the worst elements of Israel. They have collaborated in the destruction of the American Constitution. As I told Sean Hannity on his show on July 10th, 2006, Fox should be taken off the air. I should have added that he and the other Fox traitors should be tried, convicted, and lined up against the wall.
On second thought, humane execution might be too gentle a fate for Hannity, media mouthpiece of 9/11 treason. His latest outrage: On June 3rd Hannity invited a friend of Sgt. Bergdahl on his show and brutally bullied the man for resisting Hannity’s sleazy attempts to label Bergdahl a traitor. No wonder so many people watch Fox News purely for the entertainment value of watching imbeciles like Hannity wallow in filth and degradation.
The day before Hannity’s disgusting attack on Bergdahls friend, Fox brought on one of the most maniacal Zionists in Congress, Sen. John McCain, to bolster its attacks on Obama’s prisoner swap. McCain’s father, Admiral John S. McCain, supervised the coverup of Israel’s slaughter of American sailors in the botched false flag attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. Surviving USS Liberty sailors were informed their families would be murdered if they spoke out about Israel’s deliberate butchery of the crew of the unarmed American spy ship. The man behind those threats was the treasonous Admiral McCain.
Senator John McCain has followed in his traitor father’s footsteps. Shot down in Vietnam, McCain’s enthusiastic cooperation with his North Vietnamese captors earned him the sobriquet “the Hanoi Songbird.” After his release, McCain launched a political career whose distinguishing characteristic has been its service to the Israeli flag and the Zionist crime syndicate behind it. McCain covered up the 9/11 inside job by endorsing and introducing the Popular Mechanics book attacking the truth movement – an act that, by itself, should get him hanged for treason. Senator McCain’s favorite post-9/11 refrain: the Beach Boys karaoke number “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran.”
In his interview with the Fox News anti-Bergdahl witch hunters, McCain incoherently attacked General Martin Dempsey, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who reportedly backed the prisoner swap: “I won’t comment on General Dempsey. The point – because I – he has become irrelevant to me, and the whole scenario of talking about national security.”
Let’s be honest here. McCain doesn’t like General Dempsey because Dempsey is pro-American, while McCain is an agent of Israel. McCain and his AIPAC overlords have been lobbying frantically to drag America ever-deeper into the Middle East quagmire; Dempsey has been quietly but effectively blocking those efforts. McCain and his Zionist godfather, Sheldon Adelson, want to “bomb-bomb Iran,” while Dempsey says the era of US wars for Israel is over.
It is McCain and the rest of the neocon armchair-warriors-for-Israel – not Gen. Dempsey – who are becoming irrelevant.
Obama and Dempsey should have traded McCain for Sgt. Bergdahl. And they should have thrown in Hannity and a few dozen more chicken-hawks from Fox News. Five years in a Taliban compound in Eastern Afghanistan would give these cretins time to reflect on their role as genocide propagandists in service to a foreign power.
America’s veterans are gradually realizing how badly they have been misused by the Zionist architects of the 9/11 wars. They are beginning to see through the toxic smog of Fox News propaganda. More and more are turning to alternative media outlets like VeteransToday.com, the most-read veterans publication in America, which takes no prisoners in its unflinching critique of the Israel lobby’s mendacious and malignant crusade against the Muslim world.
For this growing throng of angry veterans, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a hero in the mold of Gen. Smedley Butler, America’s all-time greatest military leader. Butler’s book War is a Racket exposed the fact that, as Michael Rivero puts it, “all wars are bankers’ wars.” Sgt. Bergdahl, like Gen. Butler, has rejected the lying wars and coups of the banksters and Zionists. Like Pat Tillman, Bergdahl rejected a criminal war and paid a price. Now the same forces that assassinated Tillman are performing a character-assassination on Bergdahl.
The media lynching of Sgt. Bergdahl must stop. And if Rupert Murdoch and his genocidal propagandists are not prosecuted soon, America’s patriotic truth-loving veterans may decide to march on Fox News headquarters and give the phrase “media lynching” a new and literal meaning.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. Dr. Barrett has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications. Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin, where he ran for Congress in 2008. He is the co-founder of the Muslim-Christian-Jewish Alliance, and author of the books Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie (2007) and Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters (2009). His website is www.truthjihad.com. More articles by Dr. Barrett
The experience of humanity is driven and defined by our own consciousness, which is a product of our sophisticated brain functions. We are consciousness in every way shape and form. Control of this miracle of consciousness is sought by a few individuals who are actually suffering from a mental (disconnect) disorder. What psychiatrists sometimes refer to as the psychopathic mind. Unfortunately, one of the characteristics of being a psychopath is that the individual exhibiting the psychopathic behavior has little to no insight into their own actions. In this example, we can say that the “consciousness” is missing from the equation.
This insight to one’s own behavior is also a reference for distinguishing who might be considered “normal” and who might be considered schizophrenic “impaired” or “abnormal” This might lend perspective as to why groups of people (as opposed to individuals), such as governments and corporations, are capable of acting and speaking as a group in ways that are destructive to consciousness and mental and spiritual expansionof our species. Ironically, when an individual acts the same way, he may be considered impaired; but groups, however, will get a pass thus allowing (immune) group entities to implement such damage on the species.
One could measure this phenomenon scientifically by documenting physiological body changes that occur when humans are exposed to images or ideas that reflect “non-consciousness” related items (images of war, government oppression) versus measurable body changes seen when exposed to consciousness related items (love, compassion, human rights issues, etc). Basic vital signs such as heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure, also brain wave spikes readings, magnetic or tomography images are all factors and signs that might be measured to compare the human physiological responses to the concepts of non-consciousness-related reality versus consciousness and higher purpose.
Government would have us think that it is protecting humanity from itself. This non-conscious force we call government gets its life-force from an artificial set of rules called the legal system which non-conscious government would have you think is the script that your reality is not only based on but controlled entirely by. This is like someone walking into a room and notifying everyone in the room that their consciousness and state of awareness of existence doesn’t exist any more. What? You can take someone’s money and belongings, and even forcefully do harm to them and imprison them, but how can you steal someone’s consciousness? Government’s answer to this? By eliminating it or ignoring its existence.
This is one of the prime realities about the concept of government and any group efforts that robs the individual human being of his/her natural state of conscious equilibrium. This is a crime like any other crime, being committed on that individual human being. This can only be appreciated from the standpoint of third party looking down on the species as a whole. When you consider it in this context it is then easy to appreciate this reality. It then becomes easy to see how non-conscious government concepts act as a cancer to the species.
With humanity now swimming in knowledge about itself thanks to technology and the Internet – knowledge which can no longer be ignored – we are only now beginning to see the early results of what happens when truth, awareness and consciousness is triggered by a massive pulse of lies which jolts the consciousness of the species.
Edward Bernays (Propaganda) Effect Now Backfiring?
With the current global awakening now accelerating at speeds that must not be pleasing to the globalist gangsters, it is reasonable to reflect back on the concept of propaganda, groupthink and group manipulation for the purposes of a certain agenda. I would like to suggest that it is possible that the global awakening we are seeing may partially and indirectly have been contributed to by Edward Bernays himself. After all, it was Bernays who admitted openly how these mass mind control techniques were A: Real; B: They worked; C: They worked on the masses because they worked on the individual in a perceived group setting. Bernays showed us that humans responded to clever timing, images and messages that appealed to our subconscious urges, imagination and thoughts. Can it be that we are seeing the culmination of many of these factors backfiring against the original CIA/U.S./NWO plans?
They hoped to continue to fool everyone with their propaganda. They planned and executed false flag operations and reinforced them with their planned propaganda, precisely timed talking points, images and sensationalism. But did they ever consider that the propaganda effect would actually wear out after so many decades of continued obvious lies and hypocrisy? Perhaps they did, and perhaps that is why there is so much talk about depopulation as seen in their own Georgia Guidestones. Perhaps the talk by Zbigniew Brzezinski about how much “easier” it is to kill a million people than control them is an admission that they know humanity will factually wake up as a whole and thus a last resort for the psychopath globalists before they must face their doom.
I believe this is all the end result of hundreds of years of propaganda now fully exposed due to the information age. One thing I’ll say about Bernays is that he never hid what he was doing. He told you straight forward what he was doing, even writing several books about it.
The global political events we are seeing exposed in real-time are a first of its kind. Because of all the released information and knowledge, and because of the Internet, we can track globalist mafia crimes in real-time in a rather exciting way which has led to the alternative or “New Media.” What started off as a truth movement with many little cousin movements all around the world has morphed into one big freedom and consciousness movement. Thankfully, many of the lines that separated us have blurred as humans recognize that they need to come together more than anything else.
Humanity is responding to this non-consciousness force we call government, by coming together and slowly ignoring our political, religious and philosophical differences and instead focusing on the common enemy which is now emerging as the forces that represent non-consciousness that we call governmental control systems. This is at the root of all of our struggles. We hear TV pundits tell us that humans must be controlled by a federal and global unchallenged government. Many of the script-reading advocates for the big government top-down control system just happen to have significant voices in the mainstream media.
No one at mainstream media dare stands for freedom and individual sovereignty. Anyone who does ends up getting fired or being asked to quit. Hollywood TV shows as well as the educational system are all supporting the paradigm of big government. Obama’s primary message to Americans seems to be about not listening to those (lunatics? radicals?) that stand for individual freedoms. Obama may actually be the only U.S. president warning America not of tyranny and the need to stand for the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but instead he’s warning his sheep to beware of those warning of tyranny. One of the things the globalists have accomplished is they’ve made it easy to identify those who are with us and those who are not.
Given the current global awakening in light of all the information and spiraling propaganda mentioned above, we can now simplify the battlefield in such a way that it is easy to identify the enemies of freedom. We can now ask anyone the simple question: Power to the state or power to the people, which one do you choose? Will you side with those that demand freedom and sovereignty from government or will you side with those that feel the people are the property and responsibility of big government, and those who rebel are terrorists? The state or the individual? Choose one and take sides now.
We know where NBC stands, and CNN and all the left-wing Obama supporters. Despite their attempts to sound pro-America, we know where Fox News and the Republicans stand also. When measured with this simple question of State versus Individual it is easy to see that both Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same. They are both controlled by criminal elements in the .1 percent class who want their one world government. It is then easy to see how the human element of humanity that is living and breathing, is now fully awakening to this non-consciousness element we’ve been calling government.
Now we can observe how humanity will deal with this force that has cycled its way into an over-sized oppressive control mechanism. Humanity is now realizing that freedom is more a realization than anything else. Yes, realizing something is an expression of consciousness and learning or integration of knowledge and the awareness of this newly acquired knowledge.
With humanity now realizing that government is a useless obstacle in the way of human thriving and freedom, I expect we will witness phenomenal things in the coming months and years. I see humanity now actually slowly but surely pulling together in an all-out effort to save itself from government.
I never thought of this concept myself until recently and I don’t see any other way to articulate it. This is where we are. We are now seeing the expression of this reality in many freedom lovers world wide. This was essentially the very same spirit behind the founding of America. This was the spirit behind the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the primary meme of those initial years when America was founded. It doesn’t mean that the founding fathers were saints or any of that, it means that the spirit of freedom that drove them to do what they did is back, in fact this modern-day rekindling of freedom is and will be much more intense than what the founding fathers imagined. Humanity is now realizing it didn’t finish the job. There is already a track record for getting this freedom thing done, and this track record is serving as a precious guideline for those of us who are new at this.
Let freedom ring, and I look forward to witnessing the end result of this focused effort now closing in on government. No, no one was injured in the writing of this article. Not a shot fired. Consciousness knows no violence, and the desire to thrive and be free is a realization. This battle is strictly mental warfare (as Bernays would have told you) and the transition from rooting for big government to control the people, to empathizing with your own species and connecting with other humans in a conscious way to exercise and celebrate your individual freedom from government is seamless.
Awakening from the matrix cannot be measured with blood, bullets, drones or violence. It (the individual’s awakening) can only be delayed with fear – external, engineered, artificial, government-crafted fear. This awakening is being triggered by the realization that the fear of tyranny is much greater than any artificial fears the government can come up with.
The human awakening has thus triggered a long-awaited re-prioritizing of fear within the species, which is rendering the globalists primary weapon of mass deception obsolete. To think, we need only overcome their engineered fears to render the concept of over-controlling big government obsolete. Once we reach this point (and we are very close) we can then focus more on officially implementing all the solutions to the new world order at a mass scale. Till then, mass knowledge of solutions are now spreading globally as part of the awakening despite the fact that many of the solutions are still being contained by government using fear and intimidation.
The day is soon coming when these barriers of fear will dwindle as more and more people resort to being the change they want to see in the world. It’s already happening and it’s a wonderful thing to see.
Bernie Suarez is an activist, critical thinker, radio host, musician, M.D, Veteran, lover of freedom and the Constitution, and creator of the Truth and Art TV project. He also has a background in psychology and highly recommends that everyone watch a documentary titled The Century of the Self. Bernie has concluded that the way to defeat the New World Order is to truly be the change that you want to see. Manifesting the solution and putting truth into action is the very thing that will defeat the globalists.
Source: Bernie Suarez | Waking Times
President Barack Obama delivered his most belligerent and menacing speech to date at the US Military Academy at West Point. Aside from the lofty rhetoric we’ve come to expect in every Obama presentation, the president’s commencement address was a defiant restating of the Bush Doctrine of unilateral intervention, executive authority and endless warfare. The speech contained no new initiatives or surprises, but emphasized Obama’s unwavering support for the policies which have plunged large parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Eurasia into civil conflict, economic collapse and war. Obama defended US aggression on the grounds of “American exceptionalism”, the dubious idea that Americans are special and cannot be held to the same standards as others. The theory implies that Washington’s relentless war-mongering and killing of civilians cannot be prosecuted under international law because the US is a law unto itself.
“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” said Obama. “But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.”
Obama’s statement is deliberately misleading. As the president knows, the Bush administration notified U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the US would withdraw from the International Criminal Court Treaty in May 2002 just prior to the invasion of Iraq claiming that the ICC treaty put U.S. service members and officials at risk of prosecution by a court that is “unaccountable to the American people.” In retrospect, we can see that Bush and his lieutenants wanted to remove themselves from any accountability for the atrocities and crimes against humanity they planned to perpetrate in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Thus, exceptionalism does not affirm Washington’s willingness to comply with “international norms and the rule of law” as Obama says, but to absolve US leaders from any responsibility for their habitual war-making. As policy analyst Noam Chomsky has said many times, “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”
Here’s Obama again: “Let me repeat a principle I put forward at the outset of my presidency: The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it… International opinion matters, but America should never ask permission to protect our people, our homeland or our way of life.”
In other words, the United States will do whatever the hell it wants to and if you don’t like it: “Too bad”. This is the Bush Doctrine verbatim. The West Point oration proves that the new administration has simply modified the Bush credo to suit Obama’s pretentious speaking style. Strip out the visionary formulations, the grandiose bloviating, and the sweeping hand gestures and the ideas are virtually identical; unilateralism, preemption, and exceptionalism, the toxic combo that has spurred 13 years of war, occupation, regime change, black sites, extra-judicial assassinations, drone attacks, and hyperbolic state terror most of which has been directed at civilian populations whose only fault is that they occupy regions where vast petroleum reserves have been discovered or which have some fleeting strategic importance to Washington’s war planners. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the World Socialist Web Site titled “Obama’s West Point speech: A prescription for unending war” by Bill Van Auken:
“Obama is not elaborating here a policy of defensive war to be waged only in response to an attack or the threat of an imminent attack. He is spelling out that the US reserves the right to intervene militarily wherever it believes its “core interests”—i.e., the access of its corporations and banks to markets, raw materials, cheap labor and profits—are involved.
When he speaks of “our livelihoods” and “our way of life,” he is referring not to the ever-declining living standards of the American worker, but to the eight-figure compensation packages of American CEOs, whose fortunes are founded on the exploitation of the working populations and resources of the entire planet…
Everything put forward by Obama is a repudiation of international law and an endorsement of the policy of aggressive war practiced by the Nazis three-quarters of a century ago.” (Obama’s West Point speech: A prescription for unending war, Bill Van Auken, WSWS)
Here’s Obama again defending his malignant foreign policy in terms of “leadership”:
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.”
Obama finds it easy to praise the people who fight his wars, even while he stealthily carries out a plan to privatize the Veterans Administration. Check out this blurb from an article titled “VA secretary resigns amid push to privatize US veterans’ health care”:
“Obama and members of Congress have responded to the VHA scandal with a breathtaking level of cynicism and hypocrisy, even by Washington standards … according to many lawmakers, the answer to this crisis is not the appropriation of funds to hire new doctors and other medical professionals, but the dismantling of the government program in order to provide a profit windfall to private insurers and health industry firms. The result of this policy will be less care at greater cost to veterans…
Under the “Veterans Choice Plan” being promoted by Rep. Andy Harris (Republican of Maryland), veterans could either choose to continue receiving care through the VHA or go to a private provider of their choosing. In what amounts to a voucher system, the federal government would cover the cost of insurance premiums and some out-of-pocket costs, depending on a veteran’s priority ranking…
The moves to privatize veterans’ health care underscore the hypocrisy of the bipartisan glorification of soldiers and veterans. It also sets a precedent for privatizing Medicare and Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor.” (VA secretary resigns amid push to privatize US veterans’ health care, WSWS)
Is there any doubt that Obama forced General Eric Shinseki to step down so he could start to dismantle the VA? And if Obama cares so much about veterans, then why hasn’t he spoken out before about other veteran-related issues like the epidemic of suicides, rapes, traumatic brain injury or PTSD? Obama’s phony outrage is just a headline-grabbing gimmick to conceal what’s really going on, which is the VA is being handed over to America’s insatiable health care tycoons on a silver platter.
Obama again: “For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America, at home and abroad, remains terrorism, but a strategy that involves invading every country that harbors terrorist networks is naïve and unsustainable. I believe we must shift our counterterrorism strategy, drawing on the successes and shortcomings of our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, to more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold.”
Obama’s comment absurdly implies that the US has learned from its past mistakes and has fine-tuned the art of counterterrorism so it doesn’t involve the squandering of valuable resources. What a joke. It’s like listening to a Mafia hit-man boast that he ‘s learned how to save money on ammo by strangling his victims with his bare hands. This is also a good example of how the Dems think they’re more effective (and discreet) in executing the elitist/corporate agenda than their rivals in the GOP. As if that was the purpose of the party!
Obama also made a few perfunctory remarks about closing Guantanamo, ending indefinite detention and taking steps to address climate change. But clearly these had nothing to do with the main thrust of the speech which was to announce his intention to expand the wars abroad. Citing hotspots in Syria, Ukraine and the South China Sea, Obama promised to “lead” with the military, asserting, by implication, dominion over these regions where the US claims to have “national interests”. Obama is as committed as his predecessor, Bush, to rule by force of arms even though his current adversaries (Russia and China) are not ragtag militias in sandals, but nuclear-armed nation-states who could level the better part of the planet with a flip of the switch. Even so, Obama is determined to pursue the same provocative strategy whatever the risks increasing the probability of a miscalculation that ends in a mushroom cloud.
President Barack Obama’s commencement address at West Point on May 28 managed to displease pretty much everyone in the nation’s commentariat. Before making an overall assessment of its significance, it is necessary to examine the validity and implications of Obama’s individual statements.
“[B]y most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise – who suggest that America is in decline or has seen its global leadership slip away – are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.”
This key assertion, made at the beginning of the President’s address, does not stand to empirical scrutiny. In economic terms, America was far stronger vis-à-vis the rest of the world in 1945 than she is today. In more recent times, U.S. share of world GDP peaked in 1985 with just under 33 percent of global GDP (nominal). Between 2004 and 2014, United States’ share of global gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) has fallen from 22.5 percent to 18.5 percent, and it is expected to continue falling. By the end of this year China will overtake the United States in gross domestic product, which had originally been projected to happen by the end of this decade. Analysts concede will gradually shift the ability to confer advantages or disadvantages on other countries – in other words, power – in China’s favor.
In military terms, while America enjoyed the nuclear monopoly in 1945-49, her period of undisputed unipolar dominance was between 1991 (the collapse of the USSR) and 2008 (Russia’s counterattack in South Ossetia). Although the Pentagon budget will drop from $600 billion this year to $500 billion in 2015, it will continue to account for over a third of the global total. The unsatisfactory outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan and dented America’s image of military invincibility. As the Economist commented on May 3, “The yawning gap between Uncle Sam and his potential foes seems bound to shrink.” The prevailing view among most critical analysts is that over the past decade the U.S. has suffered military reverses, and now faces severe global competition.
As for the “global leadership,” it is unclear what exactly Obama had in mind. Russia and China are creating a powerful Eurasian counterweight to what they rightly perceive as Washington’s continuing bid for the global hegemony. India’s new prime minister is a potential partner at best, and certainly loath to acknowledge America’s “leadership.” In the Islamic world, Obama’s attempts at appeasement – which started with the Cairo speech in 2009 – have not worked: The U.S. is now even more unpopular in the Muslim world than it was under George W. Bush. America is heartily disliked even in Turkey and Jordan, presumably our allies, not least because of the continuing drone strikes. American influence in Latin America is weaker now than at any time since Theodore Roosevelt, as manifested in the unanimous rejection of Washington’s efforts to effect a regime change in Venezuela. Members of the American elite class are hard pressed to name a single country with which the U.S. has better relations today than five years ago. The NSA global spying network has infuriated even some otherwise reliable American friends in Western Europe. Most “Old Europeans” are remarkably resistant to U.S. pressure to agree to serious sanctions against Russia.
On balance it appears that Barack Obama is the one misreading history and engaging in partisan politics.
“Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth, our businesses the most innovative.”
In reality, by most value-neutral parameters the American economy is chronically weak and insolvent:
- Far from growing, the economy contracted in the first three months of this year at the annualized rate of one per cent, and it is unclear where future growth would come from. Gross domestic income is also falling sharply, for the first time in years.
- There are fewer workers, they are less efficient than a decade ago, and new employment is mostly in low-paying part-time jobs. Labor force participation (the percentage of Americans at work) is low, at levels not seen since the stagnant economy of the 1970s. One-fifth of 80 million American families do not have a single employed member.
- Government dependence has reached epidemic levels: the number of Americans getting money or benefits from the federal government exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million. Welfare spending and entitlement payments account for 69 percent of the federal budget.
- One-third of all American households are living hand-to-mouth, one paycheck from poverty. The median annual income is 7.5 percent lower than in January 2008.
- The inflation-adjusted S&P500 is back to where it was in 2007. The single biggest buyer of stocks are the companies of the S&P500 itself. At $4 trillion, stock buybacks account for one-fifth of the total stock market value. The biggest buyback in market history added zero productive value to the companies concerned.
- The mountain of debt is nearing $17.5 trillion. The drivers of growing deficits and debt in the future are unfunded entitlement programs that are designed to transfer resources from working people to retirees. When the government pension and health care commitments which are missing from official budget figures are accounted for, the total national debt is nearly $95 trillion, more than seven times the published figure.
- The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is almost over. Russia and China have joined forces in “de-dollarization” of their mutual transactions and are looking for a more productive and safe use for their monetary reserves. Their recent gas deal is the beginning of the end for the petrodollar. Eventually Washington will have to choose between an outright default and hyperinflation, and the rest of the world is waking up to that fact.
Some “dynamism,” some “innovation”…
“America continues to attract striving immigrants.”
Obama’s statement is correct. It does not illustrate America’s alleged strength as was his intent, however; it underscores this country’s major weakness. Illegal immigration is spiraling out of control, the Border Patrol is overwhelmed. If the influx continues at current high levels, the U.S. population will increase to almost half a billion in 2060 – more than a 50 percent increase. New immigrants – mostly from the Third World, unskilled, uneducated, and a net drain on American resources – and their descendants will account for over one hundred million of that increase. On current form, English-speaking Americans of European origin will become a minority in their own country four decades from now. They will inhabit an increasingly overpopulated, polluted, lumpenproleterized, permanently impoverished country. America unfortunately does continue “to attract striving immigrants,” mostly illegal ones and of poor quality. This is far greater threat to the survival of the United States in a historically or culturally recognizable form than terrorism or any conceivable alliance of foreign powers. Barack Obama does not understand this, or does not care, or – just as likely – cherishes the prospect.
“The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe.”
By “public squares” Obama was probably alluding to Kiev’s Maidan. Indeed, it has propelled some “new movements” to global prominence, such as the Svoboda party and the Right Sector. The Founding Fathers would be horrified to learn that, in the opinion of the President of the United States, their values have inspired Messrs. Tyahnybok, Yarosh, and other blood-soaked heirs to Stepan Bandera. This is on par with Senator Joseph Lieberman saying, “The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
“And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or schoolgirls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine, it is America that the world looks to for help.”
Obama is mixing apples (natural disasters) and pears (man-made ones). The problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria was exacerbated by the refusal of the Department of State under Hillary Clinton to place Boko Haram (“Secular Education is Sinful”) on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen. The de facto protection thus given to Boko Haram has enabled it to morph into a state-within-the-state with an estimated 300,000 followers.
It would be ironic if “the world” were to look to America for help in Ukraine (which in any event it does not), since the course of crisis there has been, overwhelmingly, of Washington’s own making, as manifested in Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call to Ambassador Pyatt. The new Drang nach Ostenmakes sense from the point of view of the liberal globalist-neoconservative duopoly: there is no better way to ensure U.S. dominance along the European rimland in perpetuity than drawing Europe back into NATO (i.e. U.S.) security orbit in general and subverting the Russo-German rapprochement in particular. The “masked men” in buildings are a direct consequence of American meddling.
“So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come.”
It has never been true, it is not true now, and it never will be true. Madeleine Albright’s famous dictum was an arrogant statement by an immigrant ignorant of American history and a sign of her well-attested instability. It was reiterated in Bill Clinton’s 1996 speech, where he explained why he intervened, disastrously, in Bosnia: “The fact is America remains the indispensable nation. There are times when America, and only America, can make a difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression, between hope and fear.” That Obama has chosen to recycle such rubbish is a sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy. “Indispensable” to whom, exactly? It is unimaginable for the leader of any other country in the world – Vladimir Putin, say, or Xi Jinping – to advance such a claim. It is tasteless at best and psychotically grandomaniac at worst, a latter day “Manifest Destiny” on steroids. The problem is that such hubristic delusions easily translate into non-negotiable foreign policy objectives. Resisting the will of the “indispensable nation” is ipso facto evil: Susan Rice’s condemnation of Chinese and Russian vetoes of the U.S.-supported UN Security Council resolution on Syria as “disgusting,” “shameful” and “unforgivable” comes to mind.
“Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors.”
Quite apart from the genesis of the crisis in Ukraine, to which “Russia’s aggression” hardly applies, Obama’s use of the term “former Soviet states,” plural, implies that in his opinion Ukraine is not the only “victim of Russia’s aggression.” Presumably he means Georgia, the only “former Soviet state” with which Russia has had a conflict since the collapse of the Soviet Union. If so, and there is no other explanation for his turn of his phrase, Obama has a dangerously flawed understanding of the August 2008 Georgian crisis.
Georgian then-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s order to attack South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali, was a breathtakingly audacious challenge to Russia, to which she was bound to react forcefully. That response was promptly exploited, for the first time since Gorbachev, by the American mainstream media machine and the foreign-policy community in Washington to paint Russia as a rogue power that is not only dangerous but intrinsically malignant. The vehemence of that rhetoric exceeded anything ever said or written about jihad, before or after September 11. To be fair, Saakashvili was led to believe that he was tacitly authorized to act as he did. President George W. Bush had treated Georgia as a “strategic partner” ever since the Western-engineered “Rose Revolution” five years earlier, and in early 2008 he strongly advocated NATO membership for Georgia. Washington had repeatedly supported Georgia’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which implied the right to use force to bring South Ossetia and Abkhazia to heel, just as it is supporting “resolute action” in Donetsk and Lugansk today. Saakashvili may be forgiven for imagining that the United States would have bailed him out if things went badly. It is noteworthy that he was not disabused of such notions. The calculus in Washington appears to have been based on a win-win scenario, not dissimilar to the current Ukrainian strategy. Had Georgian troops occupied South Ossetia in a blitzkrieg operation modeled after Croatia’s “Operation Storm,” while the Russians remained hesitant or ineffective, Moscow would have suffered a major strategic and (more importantly) psychological defeat after almost four years of sustained strategic recovery. If Russia intervened, however, she would be duly demonized and the U.S. would push for NATO consolidation with new vigor. “Old” Europeans – the Germans especially – would be pressed to abandon their détente with Moscow. A resentful Georgia would become chronically anti-Russian, thus ensuring a long-term American presence in the region.
In the event, like the Ukrainian army today, the Georgian army performed so poorly that a military fait accompli was out of its reach. Excesses against Ossetian civilians – just like the shelling of schools in Slavyansk today – made the “victim of aggression” narrative hard to sell, Obama’s “aggression” rhetoric notwithstanding.
“The question we face… is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.”
It is unclear how, if at all, America will secure her own “peace and prosperity” in the years and decades to come, let alone how she can extend it “around the globe.” If this is a statement of Obama’s grand strategy, it is flawed in principle and unfeasible in detail. In this statement there is not a hint of an overall blueprint for action that matches our country’s resources to her vital interests. A sound grand strategy enables a state to deploy its political, military, economic, and moral resources in a balanced and proportionate manner, in order to protect and enhance its security and promote its well-being, never mind “the globe.” In Obama’s universe, however, there are no brains behind “indispensable,” heavy-handed diplomacy and military power. Obama creates a false dilemma (“the question we face”) unsupported by facts. China, India, Russia, the Muslim world and Latin America do not want to be “led,” quite the contrary. Old Europe is reluctant at best. Subsaharan Africa is an irrelevant mess. The question we face is not global leadership, but national survival.
“Regional aggression that goes unchecked, whether in southern Ukraine or the South China Sea or anywhere else in the world, will ultimately impact our allies, and could draw in our military. We can’t ignore what happens beyond our boundaries.”
This simultaneous dig at Russia and China reflects a hubristic world view that is unmatched by conflict-management resources. A sane American relationship with Moscow demands acceptance that Russia has legitimate interests in her “near-abroad.” Obama’ four-nation tour of East Asia last Aprilescalated existing U.S. military commitments to the region, created some new ones, deeply irritated China, and emboldened American allies and clients to play hardball with Beijing. Obama does not understand that it is extremely dangerous for a great power to alienate two of its nearest rivals simultaneously. The crisis in Ukraine is going on, but the situation in Asia is potentially more volatile. Dealing with both theaters from the position of presumed strength and trying to dictate the outcomes is perilous, as many would-be hegemons (Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler), blinded by arrogance, have learned to their peril. Obama has continued the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. U.S. overreach led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in the gas deal signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony, pardon, “leadership.” In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
“America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership.”
The notion that “the world stage” demands a “leader” is flawed. It is at fundamental odds with the balance-of-power paradigm, which has historically secured the longest periods of peace and unprecedented prosperity to the civilized world. Today’s world is being multipolarized, whether Obama the Exceptionalist likes that or not. The very idea of the self-awarded “world leadership” would appear absurd in the days of Bismarck or Metternich. Washington has neither the resources nor the minds for such a role, even if it were called for.
“The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.”
None of the above applied in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya… but enough of Obama. There was more rhetoric at West Point, including an ode to American exceptionalism and further references to America’s global leadership, but it just as tedious, vacuous and intellectually wanting as the first ten minutes of his address.
Overall, it is evident that the United States in Barack Obama’s final term has not given up the hegemonist habit of instigating crises at different spots around the world, even though the management resources are scarce and the strategy is fundamentally faulty. An overtly anti-U.S. alliance between Russia and China is now in the making. It will be a belated equivalent of the Franco-Russian alliance of 1893 – the predictable result of an earlier great power, Wilhelm’s Kaiserreich, basing its strategy on hubristic overestimation of its capabilities. U.S. overreach has led to the emergence of a de facto alliance in the Eurasian Heartland, embodied in last month’s energy agreement signed in Shanghai. Russia and China are not natural allies and they may have divergent long-term interests, especially in Central Asia, but they are on the same page when it comes to resisting U.S. hegemony.
In the early 1970’s Dr. Henry Kissinger wisely understood the benefits of an opening to Beijing as a means of pressuring Moscow on the Cold War’s central front. Back then the USSR was far more powerful than the People’s Republic. Today, by contrast, China is much more economically and demographically powerful than Russia, and for the United States the optimal strategy would dictate being on good terms with the weaker party in the triangle. It is unfortunate that America does not have a policymaker of Kissinger’s stature today, who would understand the potential of a long-term understanding with Moscow as a tool of curtailing Chinese ambitions along the Pacific Rim.
Judging by the West Point address, for the remaining two and a half years of Obama’s term U.S.-initiated global confrontations will continue as before. Instead of de-escalating the bloody mess to which she has made a hefty contribution, Victoria Nuland will continue encouraging her blood-soaked protégés in Kiev to seek a military end-game in the East. Instead of calming the South China Sea, Washington will continue encouraging its clients to be impertinent. And Putin and Xi will draw their conclusions: that they do have a powerful common enemy, a rogue regime not amenable to reason or rational calculus.
It cannot be otherwise, considering the Obama Administration’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, which is but a rehash of the strategic assumptions of the Bush era. In Obama’s words from two years ago, our “enduring national interest” is to maintain the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amid “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.” The Guidance itself asserts that the task of the United States is to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” This is not a grand strategy but a blueprint for disaster—especially when combined with the interventionists’ urge to “confront and defeat” not only aggression as such but also “aggression” resulting from internal conflicts irrelevant to the American interest (Syria, Ukraine) and putative threats to regional stability (Iran).
Obama is a more reluctant interventionist than McCain or Romney would have been, but he, too, does not recognize the limits of American power and does not correlate that power with this country’s security and prosperity. He fails to balance military and nonmilitary, short and long-term capabilities. He rejects the fact that the world is becoming multipolar again, while the relative power of the United States is in steady decline. Obama’s absence of a viable grand strategy produces policies that are disjointed, nonsensical, and self-defeating. He is prone, no less than his predecessor, to equate any stated political objective in some faraway land with America’s vital interests, without ever offering a coherent definition of those “vital” interests.
On both sides of the duopoly, the ideology of American exceptionalism and the doctrine of global dominance reign supreme. At a time of domestic economic weakness and cultural decline, foreign policy based on the American interest requires prudence, restraint, and a rational link between ends and means. Abroad, it demands disengagement from distant countries of which we know little; at home, a sane immigration policy.
It will not happen.
“I liken the economy to a car on a flat road that has no momentum. When you take your foot off the gas, the car just stops moving.” — Stephanie Pomboy, Interview Barron’s
If you follow the stock market, you probably think the economy is sizzling. But if bonds are your thing, then you probably think we’re still in recession.
So which is the better gauge of what’s going on in the real economy; stocks or bonds?
The bond market is more accurate. And recently, long-term yields have been dropping like a stone which is not a good sign for the economy. Investors seem to think that slow growth and low inflation are here to stay, and they could be right. According to Bloomberg, “Falling yields on longer-term Treasuries historically reflect periods of lackluster growth. Since 1960, they have predicted seven of the last eight recessions when 10-year yields fell below 3-month bill rates.” As of today, the benchmark 10-year UST is a dismal 2.44 percent.
The reason investors have been piling back into Treasuries is because is the labor market is weak and there’s no sign of inflation anywhere. When wages stagnate and incomes drop–as they have since the slump ended– then there’s no upward pressure on prices because everyone is making less dough, so there’s less demand, less growth and, hence, less inflation. Of course, Obama could have fixed the situation by holding off on slashing the deficits or by increasing the amount of stimulus in his fiscal package. That would have circulated more money into the economy boosting employment and revving up growth. But that would have put the economy back on its feet again which was not what he wanted. What he wanted was to grind working people into the ground by keeping the economy on life-support while his chiseling Wall Street buddies made out like bandits on the latest stock market bubble. The Wall Street Journal explains what’s going on:
“Bond yields are – once again – plunging worldwide. The reason for this revived buying among fixed-income investors is that central banks are – once again – signaling their intent to ease monetary conditions in yet another bid to kick-start sluggish economies and forestall a downward spiral in prices, or deflation. The prospect that central banks will continue to inject money into the world’s bond markets…has acted as a green light for the world’s bond buyers.”
So investors think the Fed will have to taper the “Taper” and start buying more government paper. But why?
Because they have no choice. Many of the usual buyers of US Treasuries have cut back on their monthly purchases or stopped buying altogether. That means that rates will have to rise to attract more buyers unless the Fed makes up the difference. Check out this blurb from Barron’s interview with Stephanie Pomboy:
“Foreigners are buying about $10 billion a month of Treasuries. This compares with deficit financing needs for the U.S. government of roughly $40 billion a month, based on this year’s deficit. So the Fed needs to pick up roughly $30 billion a month in slack. When the Fed slashed its buying to $25 billion, effective this month, it for the first time opened up a demand deficit for Treasuries. If they continue to taper, that gap will expand, and things could get bumpy in the Treasury market. Rates won’t go up five basis points before the Fed would start talking about more QE.” (Barrons Interview Posits Weak US Economy, Barron’s)
It’ll get bumpy alright, real bumpy. Higher rates will send housing and stocks into freefall. The Fed will have no choice but to step in to stop the bleeding.
The economy is already suffering from chronic lack of demand. Add higher rates to the mix, and cost-conscious consumers are going to cut back on everything from auto loans to nights-on-the-town. Yellen’s not going to let that happen. She’s going to come up with some cockamamie excuse for buying more USTs and hope-like-hell that wages and incomes rebound so she can start tapering again.
This illustrates the conceptual flaw in Central Bank policy. QE and zero rates are supposed to reduce the price of money, thereby enticing consumers to take out loans and spend like crazy. That, in turn, is supposed to generate more activity and stronger growth. But there’s a slight glitch to this theory, that is, consumers aren’t the brain-dead lab rats the Fed thinks they are. Most people don’t base their spending decisions on price alone. Sometimes, for example, it doesn’t make sense to borrow money no matter how cheap it is. The average working stiff doesn’t give a rip if he can get a loan at 3.5 percent when his credit card is already maxed out and the only job he can find is working graveyard at Jack in the Box. That guy doesn’t need more debt, he needs a decent paying job. Here’s how the managing partner of MBMG Group, Paul Gambles explained the phenom in an interview on CNBC:
“People and businesses are not inclined to borrow money during a downturn purely because it is made cheaper to do so. Consumers also need a feeling of job security and confidence in the economy before taking on additional borrowing commitments.” (Washington’s blog via Zero Hedge)
Bingo. Of course, the members of the Fed know that this whole “cheap money” thing is bogus, but they keep reiterating the same blather so they can keep the wampum flowing to their crooked friends on Wall Street. It’s worth noting that: since the end of the recession, “one-third of all income increases in this country went to just 16,000 households, 95 percent of it went to the top 1 percent, and the bottom 90 percent’s incomes fell, and they fell by 15 percent.”
In other words, the Fed knows exactly how QE works, (and who benefits) and it has nothing to do with extending credit to working people. That’s malarkey. It’s all about providing limitless liquidity for financial speculators so they can send stocks into the stratosphere and rake in record profits. Here’s a blurb from a piece by Zero Hedge that helps to illustrate what’s going on:
“According to the most recent CapitalIQ data, the single biggest buyer of stocks in the first quarter were none other than the companies of the S&P500 itself, which cumulatively repurchased a whopping $160 billion of their own stock in the first quarter!
Should the Q1 pace of buybacks persist into Q2 which has just one month left before it too enters the history books, the LTM period as of June 30, 2014 will be the greatest annual buyback tally in market history.” (Here Is The Mystery, And Completely Indiscriminate, Buyer Of Stocks In The First Quarter, Zero Hedge)
Why are companies buying shares of their own stock, you ask, when buybacks add no productive value to a company at all?
It’s because it gooses stock prices which makes shareholders happy. It’s a complete scam. And it’s a huge scam, too. Currently, total stock buybacks represent a whopping $4 trillion or 20 percent of the total stock market value. Just think of the walloping prices are going to take when these same shareholders decide it’s time to bail out? Look out below!
Now get a load of this clip from Action Forex:
“Disappointment over the pace of economic growth explains at least some of the downturn in yields. The U.S. economy very likely contracted in the first quarter of the year, perhaps by as much as 1.0% annualized … Even with a strong bounce back in the second quarter … – the average pace of growth in the first half of the year will be a tepid 2.0%, about the pace it’s been since the end of the recession…
The retrenchment in yields also reflects events abroad … However, there is perhaps another reason for the decline in yields that is more pernicious. There is the realization that even after the recovery has run its course, economic growth is likely to be slower than it has been in the past. Slower growth means that as the fed funds rate eventually moves off the floor, it will not go back to the 5.25% it was prior to the Great Recession or even the 4.0% it averaged over the quarter of a decade prior. Expectations of “lower forever”…increasingly appear to be built into longer-term interest rates.” (A year in the bond market, Action Forex)
Did you catch that part about “lower forever”?
What the author means is that the economy has reset at a lower level of activity and will not return to normal. This is an admission that the managers of the system have no intention of fixing what’s wrong; cleaning up the banks, writing down the debts, regulating the system, increasing workers buying power (boosting demand) or providing sustained fiscal stimulus until unemployment and growth are back where they should be. Instead, basic macro has been replaced with public relations, that is, a swindle that’s spearheaded by faux-liberal icons Krugman and Summers who are pushing the “secular stagnation” folderol which is just a lame excuse for maintaining the status quo plus a few anemic add-ons, like infrastructure projects. Big whoop. It’s all a fig leaf for maintaining the same wealth shifting monetary policies that are in place today.
So this is it? Are we really doomed to a future of high unemployment and slow growth?
The IMF seems to think so. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Nick Beams which gives a rundown on a recent IMF report that was ignored by the media. The article is titled “No end to economic breakdown”:
“Almost six years after the eruption of the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has effectively ruled out any return to the economic growth rates that preceded September 2008.
Two major chapters of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook … provide a gloomy assessment of the state of the world economy. In the advanced economies, investment is falling as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), while in the “emerging markets,” there is no prospect for growth rates to return to pre-2007 levels.
The IMF notes that real interest rates have been declining since the 1980s and are “now in slightly negative territory.” But this has failed to boost productive investment. On the contrary, what it calls “scars” from the global financial crisis “have resulted in a sharp and persistent decline in investment in advanced economies.” Between 2008 and 2013, there was a two-and-a-half percentage point decline in the investment to GDP ratio in these countries. The report adds that ratios “in many advanced economies are unlikely to recover to pre-crisis levels in the next five years.”
This conclusion is of immense significance given the critical role of investment in the functioning of the capitalist economy … Investment…is the key driving force of capitalist economic growth … But if investment stagnates or declines, the circle turns vicious. This is what is now taking place.” IMF report: No end to economic breakdown (april), wsws
So no return to normal, after all. The American people are now facing a long period of high unemployment and slow growth that will shrink the middle class and change the country in ways we can hardly imagine. It’s unavoidable. It’s the policy.
NOTE: As this piece was going to press, the Wall Street Journal announced that “revised” First Quarter GDP contracted at a 0.6% annual rate. So while stocks have been setting records almost daily due to the massive injections of money from the Fed, the economy is steadily sliding towards recession.
“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market. But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”
– Antonia Juhasz, oil industry analyst, Al Jazeera.
These are the ‘best of times’ for the oil giants in Iraq. Production is up, profits are soaring, and big oil is rolling in dough. Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal:
“Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country’s efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect.” (Wall Street Journal)
You bet. But for those who still cling to the idea that the US was serious about promoting democracy or removing a vicious dictator or eliminating WMD or any of the other kooky excuses, consider what we’ve learned in the last couple weeks. Here’s the story from Aljazeera:
“While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.
On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17bn flared gas deal. Three days later, the US-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq’s giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.
Earlier this year, Emerson was awarded a contract to provide crude oil metering systems and other technology for a new oil terminal in Basra, currently under construction in the Persian Gulf, and the company is installing control systems in the power stations in Hilla and Kerbala. Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and the other supergiant reserve, Majnoon oil field, is being developed by Royal Dutch Shell. Both fields are in southern Iraq.” (“Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq”, Dahr Jamail, Aljazeera.)
If it sounds like the big boys are dividing the spoils among themselves; it’s because they are. Exxon, BP, Shell; they’re all here. They all have their contracts in hand, and they’re all drilling their brains out thanks to the American servicemen and women who gave their lives for some trumped up baloney about WMD. Isn’t that what’s going on?
Sure it is. And even now–after all the reasons for going to war have been exposed as lies–the farce continues. Nothing has changed. Nothing. There’s still no talk of reparations, no official investigation, no indictments, no prosecutions, no trials, no penalties, no nothing. Not even a stinking apology. Just a big “up yours” Iraq. We’re way too important to apologize for killing a million of your people and reducing your five thousand year old civilization to a pile of rubble. Instead, we’ll just screw you some more and paper it over with a little public relations, like Obama did a couple weeks ago when he promised to “leave behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people”.
Oh yeah. Obama’s all about sovereignty and stability, everyone knows that. That’s why Baghdad is the terror capital of the world, because Obama’s so committed to security.
These PR blurbs are effective though, they provide the necessary cover for leaving enough troops behind to protect the oil installations and pipelines. That’s the kind of security Obama cares about. Security for the oiligarchs and their stolen property. Everyone else can fend for themselves, which is why Baghdad is such a bloody mess. Here’s more from Aljazeera:
“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market,” oil industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera. “But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.” (Aljazeera)
Yeah, thanks for that invasion, Mr. Bush. We couldn’t have done it without you, guy. Hope you have a great retirement painting pictures of poodles and stuff while people continue to get blown to pieces in the terrorist Hellhole you created. Here’s more Al Jazeera:
“Juhasz, author of the books The Tyranny of Oil and The Bush Agenda, said that while US and other western oil companies have not yet received all they had hoped the US-led invasion of Iraq would bring them, “They’ve certainly done quite well for themselves, landing production contracts for some of the world’s largest remaining oil fields under some of the world’s most lucrative terms.”
Dr Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum, an international oil consultant and economist …(said) he believes western oil companies have successfully acquired the lions’ share of Iraq’s oil, “but they gave a little piece of the cake for China and some of the other countries and companies to keep them silent”. (Aljazeera)
How do you like that? These guys operate just like the Mafia. The Bossman pays off China with a few million barrels, and China keeps its mouth shut. Nice. Everyone gets “their cut” so they don’t go blabbing to the media about the ripoff that’s taking place in broad daylight. The stench of corruption is overpowering.
And here’s something else you won’t see in the media. In a White House press release, the Obama administration announced that they would continue to support Iraq’s “efforts to develop the energy sector” in order to “help boost Iraq’s oil production.”….
According to Assim Jihad, spokesman for Iraq’s ministry of oil, “Iraq has a goal of raising its oil production capacity to 12m bpd by 2017, which would place it in the top echelon of global producers.” (Aljazeera)
“12 million barrels-per-day by 2017″?
That makes this the biggest petroleum heist in history. And we’re supposed to believe that the oil bigwigs didn’t know anything about this before the war? What a crock! I’ll bet you even money the CEOs and their lackeys figured out that Saudi Arabia was running out of gas, so they decided to pick up stakes and move their operations to good old Mesopotamia. That’s why they put their money on Bush and Cheney, because they knew that two former oil men would do the heavy lifting once they got shoehorned into the White House. The whole thing was a set-up from the get-go, right down to the 5 shady Supremes who suspended the voting in Florida and crowned Bush emperor in 2000. The whole thing was probably mapped out years in advance.
Big oil runs everything in America. People talk about the power of Wall Street and Israel, but oil is still king. They run it all, and they own it all. And “what they say, goes.” Here’s more:
“Juhasz explained that ExxonMobil, BP and Shell were among the oil companies that “played the most aggressive roles in lobbying their governments to ensure that the invasion would result in an Iraq open to foreign oil companies”.
They succeeded,” she added. “They are all back in.” (Aljazeera)
Hooray. Big oil wins again, and all it cost was a million or so Iraqis who got blown to bits air raids or shot up at checkpoints, or beaten to death with a rubber hose at Abu Ghraib or any of the other democracy reeducation centers that dot the countryside. But, hey, look at the bright side: At least production is up, right? Can you see how sick this is? Here’s more:
“Under the current circumstances, the possibility of a withdrawal of western oil companies from Iraq appears remote, and the Obama administration continues to pressure Baghdad to pass the Iraq Oil Law.” (Aljazeera)
And what is the “Iraq Oil Law”, you ask?
It’s a way to privatize the oil market using Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) which disproportionately benefit the corporations. Obama’s a big backer of the law since it means even heftier profits for his thieving friends. In other words, the humongous profits they’re already skimming off aren’t quite good enough. They want more. They want to own the whole shooting match lock, stock and barrel.
This is really an outrage. What other country behaves like this?
No one. No other country in the world goes out and kills a million people, destroys their country, and leaves them to scrape by on next to nothing just so they can pad the bank accounts of voracious plutocrats have more dough than they know what to do with. No one else would even dare to act like that for fear that they’d get bombed into annihilation by the world’s biggest bullyboy, the US of A. Only the US can get away with this type of crap, because the US is a law unto itself.
Iraq was the Cradle of Civilization. Now it’s the cradle of shit. The US decimated Iraq; blew it to bits, bombed its industries, its bridges, its schools, its hospitals, leveled its cities, polluted its water, spread diseases everywhere, killed its kids, pitted brother against brother, and transformed a vibrant, unique country into a dysfunctional cesspit run by opportunists, gangsters, and fanatics.
And, here’s the corker: No one gives a rip. Face it: No one gives a flying fu** about Iraq. The American people lost interest long ago, the politicians can’t be bothered, and the UN is too afraid of the US to lift a finger to help. They’d rather stamp their feet and scold Putin over Crimea than utter a peep about the genocide in Iraq. That’s the state of things today, right? No accountability for the men who started the war, and no justice for the victims. Just the infrequent (phony) pronouncement of support from the White House or the all-too-frequent sectarian bombing that leaves an untold number of civilians dead or wounded. This is all the US leaves behind; hatred, death and destruction.
Here’s a clip from a poem by Iraqi writer who wants readers to take a minute and think about all the suffering the United States has created. The poem is titled “Flying Kites”:
“Come and see our overflowing morgues and find our little ones for us…
You may find them in this corner or the other, a little hand poking out, pointing out at you…
Come and search for them in the rubble of your “surgical” air raids, you may find a little leg or a little head…pleading for your attention.
Come and see them amassed in the garbage dumps, scavenging morsels of food…
Come and see our little ones, under-nourished or dying from disease. Cholera, dysentery, infections…
Come and see, come….” (“Flying Kites” Layla Anwar)
A million people were killed so a few rich fu**ers could get even richer. That’s a hell of a legacy.
It is easy to stand up and cheer for your favorite government activity. It is quite another to acknowledge what it means in the real world.
I almost never try to speak for other people. However, I think it is fairly safe to say that the average military recruit firmly believes that he joins the military so that you and I can live and breathe in freedom. To be sure, he had other reasons for joining, but I think the defense of liberty is a fairly common characteristic.
That is certainly what I thought when I was in Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida, in 1983. After all, this is what I had been told all my life: sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines defend freedom.
But is this actually what they do?
Consider the following:
- This Marine lost both legs in an IED blast in Iraq. He claims he was forced by TSA to remove both prosthetic legs before he could board an airplane in Phoenix.
- This Vietnam veteran in Spicewood, Texas, had flashbacks to his combat experience during a marijuana raid at a friend’s house. What police claimed was marijuana turned out to be ragweed.
- Jared Goering, who served 19 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was kicked off the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J. for walking with his service dog, Gator.
- Emily Yates, who served two tours with the Army in Iraq, was violently arrested by park police in Philadelphia for asking why she couldn’t play her banjo under some shade trees.
- Dimitrios Karras is a Marine Corps veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. Read about the ATF raid on his business in National City, California.
- Martin Goldberg of Brooklyn is a World War II veteran whose apartment was subject to a drug raid. Later, the cops realized they had raided the wrong apartment. His 83-year-old wife was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat as a result of the raid.
- In 1997, four sailors from the USS Saipan (LHA-2) were falsely accused of the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Virginia, woman. One spent eight-and-one-half years in prison while the other three were sentenced to life in prison. These three were pardoned in 2009. Even though the actual killer is serving a life sentence, four innocent men are still required to register as sex offenders and are still fighting to clear their names.
- Charles Loeks was 18 and fresh out of Marine boot camp. On a trip home to Covina, California, he was hanging out with a few friends when he was arrested for resisting arrest and nothing else. He spent 21 days in Los Angeles County jail, even though he had harmed no one.
- Carlos Jaramillo is a former Marine combat instructor who lives in Onslow County, North Carolina. Watch what happened when he recorded a sheriff’s deputy who arrested him for no apparent reason.
- Noel Polanco was an unarmed 22-year-old National Guardsman who was shot and killed by New York City police at a traffic stop near LaGuardia Airport.
- John Laigaie, a retired Army master sergeant, was threatened at gunpoint by police while legally carrying a gun in a park in Bellingham, Washington.
- Homer Wright is an 80-year-old Army veteran who was charged with felony gun use after he shot a burglar who entered his home in Englewood, Illinois.
- Mark Schmidter, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Orlando, is currently serving 145 days in a cage for passing out jurors’ rights information on the steps of a local courthouse.
- Justin Ross of Ankeny, Iowa, was recently discharged from the Army. Police used a battering ram to enter his home executing a warrant for some items purchased with stolen credit cards. They did not find any of these items.
- Saadiq Long is an Air Force veteran who was placed on a TSA no-fly list. He had to battle for months to be removed from this list just so he could fly home from Qatar to visit his ailing mother.
- Chuck Benton of Long Grove, Iowa, served 22 years in the Army. He was arrested and charged simply for living in the same house with his son who was growing medical marijuana.
- Cody Donovan is a former Marine MP who lives in New Milford, N.J. He was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon after carrying a loaded gun into the Garden State Plaza mall when he attempted to help police apprehend the shooter.
- In 1932, 17,000 veterans marched on Washington to demand payment of bonuses they had been promised as a result of their service in World War I. Two were shot and killed by police. 55 were arrested and 135 were injured when the United States Army became an instrument of domestic law enforcement. Two of the chief enforcers were named MacArthur and Patton. Yes, those two.
- Mark England, an Army combat medic who saw action in Iraq and Kosovo was beaten and tasered by police at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas.
- Air Force Staff Sergeant Matt Pinkerton of Glen Burnie, Maryland, faces second degree murder charges after fatally shooting a home intruder in September.
- Leo Hendrick, an army veteran who lives in Northwood, Iowa, faces up to 30 days in jail and a $600 fine for raising chickens in his yard.
- Yes, the cops had a search warrant. However that in no way excuses their vandalizing the home of Army veteran Dan Neary of Lakewood, Washington.
- These World War II veterans were threatened with arrest for visiting a closed war memorial in Washington, D.C. during the October “shutdown.”
- These Vietnam veterans actually were arrested for visiting a New York City war memorial after curfew.
- Denis Reynoso was a disabled veteran who saw action with the Marines in Iraq. He was shot dead by police in his Lynn, Massachusetts, apartment.
- Nick Morgan, an Iraq veteran, was pulled out of a crowd by police in Hempstead, New York, and trampled by their horses.
- Gary Shepherd of Broadhead, Kentucky was a Vietnam veteran. He used medical cannabis to relieve the pain in his left arm, which was crippled during the war. Shepherd was shot dead by a SWAT team, after they had threatened to cut down his cannabis plants.
- Valente and Manuel Valenzuela of San Antonio produced sufficient documentation to enlist, respectively, in the Army and Marine Corps. Both fought in Vietnam, where Valente won a Bronze Star. Now they are facing deportation to Mexico because of erroneous entries on their birth certificates.
- Jerome Murdough, a homeless Marine Corps veteran, died in a jail cell on New York’s Rikers Island after being arrested for trespassing. A heating malfunction caused the temperature in the cell to soar to 100 degrees.
- Kenneth Chamberlain was a retired Marine and Vietnam veteran living in White Plains, New York. Early one morning he set off his medical alert device. The first responders in this case were not medics, but rather police, who proceeded to kill Mr. Chamberlain.
- This group of combat veterans in Colorado organized to help legalize marijuana during the 2012 elections. They claim – and I believe them – that marijuana helps mitigate PTSD. If you support any punishment whatsoever for a combat veteran who heals himself with a plant that grows wild in some form within a few miles of you, I don’t care what you tell me. YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN FREEDOM!
- Stanley Gibson, a 43-year-old Gulf War veteran was shot dead over a total non-crime by Las Vegas police in December, 2011.
- Army Specialist Michael Sharkey returned home from deployment in Afghanistan to find his home in New Port Richey, Florida, unlawfully occupied by two squatters. The local sheriff says that Sharkey has no grounds upon which to evict them.
- These veterans say they are being required to prove they are worthy of gun rights. Our rights are gifts from God that are inherent in our very humanity. We never have to prove to anybody that we have them.
- Dwight Edwards, a disabled Marine veteran of Afghanistan, says that cops in Queens brutally beat him for no reason.
- Army Staff Sgt. C.J. Grisham, who won the Bronze Star with Valor, was forcibly disarmed for no good reason by a policeman while on a hike with his son not far from Fort Hood, Texas.
- Brandon Raub, a Marine who was decorated for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, was forced to spend a week in a Virginia mental hospital over some “anti-government” Facebook posts. (His interviewer here, John Whitehead, is a constitutional attorney, Vietnam infantry veteran and superlative anti-police state blogger.)
- Operation Vigilant Eagle is a project of the Department of Homeland Security that has led to numerous Iraq and Afghanistan veterans “finding themselves under surveillance, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, or arrested, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms.” Indeed, merely being a “returning veteran” can have you designated as a potential terrorist.
- We will never know the whole truth about Navy veteran and former Los Angeles cop Christopher Dorner, who was the subject of a police manhunt and media witch hunt in 2013. He never got the chance to tell his story in court.
- Hector Barrios came to America in 1961. He was drafted and served as an infantry soldier in Vietnam. In 1996, he was busted for possessing marijuana, which he used to treat his PTSD. As a result, he was deported to his native Mexico where he died.
- Matthew Corrigan of Washington, D.C. was a first sergeant in the Army Reserve and a veteran of Iraq. His home was destroyed in a SWAT rampage because it was reported to the police that Corrigan had a gun.
- Jamie Dean was an Army veteran of Afghanistan was diagnosed with PTSD. Upset about his impending deployment to Iraq, Dean had an intense emotional outburst at his Maryland home in December 2006. Even though he neither harmed nor threatened anyone, he was shot and killed by a local SWAT team.
- Bennie Coleman, 76, is a retired Marine who lost his Washington, D.C., home because of a $134 tax lien that District authorities had sold to an investor.
- Jeremy Usher is a former Navy hospital corpsman who lives in Greeley, Colorado. He faces jail time for using medical marijuana to treat his PTSD.
- Brittany Ball, a 23-year-old soldier at Fort Jackson, S.C., was manhandled by a cop at a local bar, even though she had done nothing wrong.
- Air Force Airman First Class Michael Davidson was shot in the stomach by police in Opelika, Alabama, at the scene of a traffic accident.
- Benjamin Wassell sustained traumatic brain injuries while with the Marines in Iraq. The Buffalo-area resident was the first person charged with illegal gun sales under New York’s new SAFE Act.
- Erik Scott graduated from West Point in 1994 and served as a tank platoon leader. In 2010, he was gunned down and killed by police as he peacefully walked out of a Las Vegas Costco.
- Scott Olsen saw action with the Marines in Iraq. Later, he would join the Occupy Oakland movement. In October, 2011, suffered a fractured skull after being hit in the head with a projectile fired by police.
- Derek Hale served honorably with the Marines in Iraq. Although, he had committed no crime, he died after being tasered three times and then shot three times by police in Wilmington, Delaware.
- Roderick King, an Iraq war veteran, was arrested in Philadelphia after he and his friends had criticized a cop’s driving.
- Howard Dean Bailey, a Navy veteran, was deported to his native Jamaica when immigration authorities discovered he had taken a plea bargain in a marijuana case in Norfolk, Virginia.
- To be sure, the recently deceased folk singer Pete Seeger could not have been more of a leftist. However, he did serve three years in the Army after being drafted during World War II. He was sentenced to one year in jail after refusing to reveal his political connections to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956. He appealed this sentence, citing the First Amendment, and ultimately spent only four hours behind bars.
- Larry Kirschenman of Nogales, Arizona, served 22 years in the Army and was decorated for bravery in Vietnam. Learn how he was brutalized by Border Patrol agents when asking why he was subjected to a warrantless search.
- We will never know for sure what happened in Army veteran Matthew Stewart’s Ogden, Utah, apartment one night in January 2012, as he will never have his day in court. He was in prison awaiting trial on charges of shooting and killing one of the police officers who raided his apartment searching for marijuana. Stewart, whose guilt was never proven, committed suicide in his cell.
- Sergio Arreola is a cop in Los Angeles who served with the Marines in Iraq. He was beaten by the police in suburban Pomona for no good reason whatsoever.
- This former Army paratrooper is appealing to the New York state legislature to legalize medical marijuana. He has severe multiple sclerosis and is “forced to break the law to have some semblance of a bearable existence.”
- On May 5, 2011, a Tucson SWAT team approached the home of Jose Guerena, who had served two tours with the Marines in Iraq. Guerena grabbed his AR-15 as is his right, but did not fire. The SWAT team let loose with 71 rounds, 60 of which perforated Guerena’s body.
- Marty Maiden lived a few blocks from Guerena in Tucson. and saw action with the Army in Afghanistan. He posted a suicidal note on Facebook which prompted a call to the police, who shot him dead.
- Steve Lefemine is a West Point graduate who was arrested for protesting against abortion in a “no-demonstration zone” outside the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004. The 2nd Circuit U.S. Circuit Court justified the arrest based on a “compelling state interest in security”.
- Eileen Erickson’s husband Sid served in Vietnam and died of Agent Orange exposure. Erickson is now in the crosshairs of authorities in Venice, California, who want to tear down the tree house Sid built before he died.
- Listen to this disabled Navy veteran plead with then-Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) about the benefits of medical marijuana. Listen to the totalitarian response.
- John Wrana, a 95-year-old Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, was tasered and then shot to death by police in Forest Park, Illinois. His “crime”? Refusing medical attention.
- John Colaprete saw action in Vietnam as a Marine Corps officer. In 1994, his Virginia Beach home and restaurants were the object of paramilitary-style raids by the IRS. The raid was prompted by a false accusation by a former employee. While you need to watch this documentary in its entirety some time, for now just pick it up for a few minutes starting at the 55:40 mark.
- Boxing legend Joe Louis was also tyrannized by the IRS. The Brown Bomber enlisted in the Army in 1942 saying “Let us at them Japs.” Louis never saw combat, as he was assigned to the Special Services Division. While still a civilian, Louis fought some charity bouts and donated the proceeds to the Navy Relief Society. The IRS, however, viewed these proceeds as taxable income. IRS problems would plague him all his life. Please watch this video starting at the 53:17 mark.
- Adam Arroyo is a Hispanic veteran of the Iraq war who lives in Buffalo. Police shot and killed his dog while executing a drug warrant for a black man.
- Henry Taylor was a retired Air Force veteran in Louisville, Tennessee, who was shot dead by a local sheriff’s deputy while investigating a burglary at a rental property he owned.
- This is a fascinating article: When Johnny Comes Marching Home … He Goes to Jail. It is absolutely tragic how we chew up and spit out so many of those we send to “fight for our freedom.”
- Radio talk host Adam Kokesh won the Navy Commendation Medal as a Marine in Iraq. In recent years, he has been arrested several times for various non-violent protests. His most recent arrest happened after he loaded a shotgun in public in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2013. On July 10, police violently raided his home and arrested him. He was incarcerated for four months without bond, bail or trial. He is currently on probation for two years. You may not like Kokesh’s demeanor or approve of all of his antics, but he has been very courageous when so many of his critics can’t be bothered to put down the remote.
- James Moore, my brothah from anothah mothah, walked away from a very lucrative engineering position in San Jose to re-enlist in the Army following 9/11. He sustained significant physical injuries as well as PTSD while serving in the Special Forces in Afghanistan. On the afternoon of March 25, 2008, Moore, who had done absolutely nothing wrong, was beaten to the point of flat lining by Denver police.
- One of the coolest people I have never met is Antonio Buehler. Buehler graduated from West Point in 1999, earned his Ranger tab, and saw action in Kosovo and Iraq. (He also sports a Stanford MBA.) Early in the morning on January 1, 2012, Buehler was arrested for taking a few pictures of Austin police manhandling a young woman outside a 7-11. Buehler has been arrested four times since. He heads the Peaceful Streets Project, whose members work to expose abuse, brutality and overreach both in Austin and across the nation.
There are no doubt numerous other injustices against veterans that I do not know about. Enough to fill a book. None of these things would have happened if America were a free society. As Kokesh puts it, “The greatest enemies to the Constitution are not to be found in the sands of some far off land but rather right here at home.”
I cannot speak to the specific political beliefs of most of the veterans I have mentioned here. Some may be pacifists, while others may make John McCain look like a hippie in Haight-Ashbury. No matter what their individual views may be, the freedom they risked their lives for was flagrantly violated on the streets of the land they fought to protect.
Society endlessly applauds sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines for “fighting for our freedom”. It is in no way disrespectful to say that this is not what they do. No foreign government or terrorist group poses any threat to our liberty. America accounts for about half of the world’s military spending. We have 300 ships in our Navy, plus thousands of planes, tanks and nuclear warheads as well as 300 million firearms in private hands. Nobody is going to invade us.
In a constitutional country, which America ceased to be 100 years ago, the job of the military – a vital and most noble one – is to defend the borders, shores and airspace. It cannot protect you from being tyrannized domestically. Indeed, throughout history, armies have been instruments of domestic tyranny. Our Constitution forbids a standing army for just this reason.
Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had enormous military establishments. How did things work out in these countries?
I am a Christian who believes liberty is a gift from God – Leviticus 25:10; II Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1. To quote Jefferson, liberty is preserved not by military might, but by “eternal vigilance” against one’s own government at all levels. It is the grossest form of disrespect to send young men around the world to “fight for freedom” while relinquishing that freedom on the home front.
For several years, America has had the world’s highest incarceration rate. Since 2001, Americans have gladly accepted previously unthinkable intrusions on their freedom in the name of “safety” and “security”. These include, but are not limited to: warrantless searches and spying, the suspension of habeas corpus, sexual assault as a condition of travel, rampant police brutality, indefinite detention without any semblance of due process, severe restrictions on peaceful protest, massive ammunition purchases by DHS and surveillance drones in our skies watching our every move. Can predator drones be far behind?
And in every election 98 percent of voters put their stamp of approval on perpetuating this monstrosity.
Stop thinking in clichés. Have a good hard look at everything your media and government tell you. This includes media outlets and parts of the government that you like. Study. Read. Ask questions. And learn that the defense of liberty is not the duty of the military. Rather, it is your duty and mine.
- Special thanks to Radley Balko and William Grigg for providing several of the above stories.
- Read this article by John Whitehead.
Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco — and Michelle Obama left her brain in 1954.
Addressing graduating high-school students the other day in the Topeka, Kansas, school district, the federal lunch lady said, referring to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, “[Y]our experience here in Topeka would have been unimaginable back in 1954….” And perhaps this is true.
It also would have been unimaginable back in 1554 or 954. After all, the institutions making that experience possible hadn’t been birthed yet.
You know, those institutions created by European/ European-descent civilization.
That civilization that Darth Vegan is tacitly impugning with her racial agitation.
The point is that if you’re going to talk about the past, don’t tendentiously cherry-pick it for destructive ideological purposes. It’s much as discussion about slavery. Not only is the focus always on the less than one percent of the history of slavery that was written in the US (it’s one of the world’s oldest institutions), but the most significant point is missed: Whites were not the first to practice slavery.
But they were the first to abolish it.
If some take offense at this, they can pound sand. I take offense at the constant derision aimed at my civilization by critics who should get down on their knees, kiss the ground trod by our ancestors and thank God for our civilization’s existence. Where else could effete ne’er do wells complain about injustice while living a life of silk, satin and Sidwell Friends and dining on Kobe beef?
Really, this all reminds me of how no good deed goes unpunished. This focus on a group’s sins to the exclusion of its triumphs is much like trying to epitomize a cracker-jack golfer by some of his three-putts while ignoring his many championships; it’s like condemning a great rocket engineer over a few failed trial launches and ignoring that he got you to the moon.
M. Obama also said to the students, “We know that today in America, too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin….” This is absolutely true. Just this past Mother’s Day weekend a white family was stopped and beaten by a black mob because of the color of their skin.
Of course, these black-on-white racial attacks — already a frequent but largely unreported phenomenon — will only worsen with racial hustlers such as the Obamas peddling their “series of agreed-upon myths,” to use Napoleon’s characterization of history.
And this agitation has its effect. Just consider the testimonial Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, president of the Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny (BOND), gave about how race-hustling affected his attitude prior to his religious conversion. He said in a 2013 Los Angeles Times interview, “I believed the lie that because I was black, I wasn’t going to be able to make it because of the white man…. I was listening to people like Jackson and Louis Farrakhan…. He talked about the blue-eyed devil, and I believed him. I started hating white people.” And since most people don’t experience religious conversions, what’s the result of this brainwashing?
It’s that now, “not all but most black people are so racist toward white people,” Peterson explained.
And this explains the Obamas. They are obsessed with race.
And what, America, did you expect when electing a far-left, radical, black-liberation-theology-
Well, it was actually Uncle Sam goes to Hell.
The phrase “conspiracy theorist” is a derogatory smear phrase thrown at someone in an attempt to paint them as a lunatic. It’s a tactic frequently used by modern-day thought police in a desperate attempt to demand “Don’t go there!”
But let’s step back for a rational moment and ask the commonsense question: Are there really NO conspiracies in our world?
The Attorney General of South Carolina would surely disagree with such a blanket statement. After all, he sued five pharmaceutical companies for conducting a price-fixing conspiracy to defraud the state of Medicaid money.
Similarly, in 2008, a federal judge ruled that three pharmaceutical companies artificially marked up their prices in order to defraud Medicare.
In fact, dozens of U.S. states have filed suit against pharmaceutical companies for actions that are conspiracies: conspiracy to engage in price fixing, conspiracy to bribe doctors, conspiracy to defraud the state and so on.
The massive drug company GlaxoSmithKline, even more, plead guilty to a massive criminal fraud case involving a global conspiracy to bribe doctors into prescribing more GSK drugs.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. A deeper look into the criminality of just the drug industry alone reveals a widespread pattern of conspiratorial behavior to defraud the public and commit felony crimes in the name of “medicine.”
What is a conspiracy, exactly?
As any state or federal prosecutor will gladly tell you, a “conspiracy” is simply when two or more people plot to commit an act of deceit (or a crime).
Thus, when three hoodlums plan to rob the local Quickie Mart, they are engaged in a “conspiracy” and will likely be charged with a “conspiracy to commit armed robbery” in addition to the different crime of “armed robbery.” The fact that they planned it with several friends makes it a “conspiracy” worthy of additional felony charges, you see. When these charges are brought up in court, the judge doesn’t look at the prosecutor and say, “You are a conspiracy theorist!” That would be absurd.
The idea, then, that there is no such thing as a conspiracy is flatly ludicrous. And people who condemn others as being “conspiracy theorists” only make themselves look mentally impaired.
To live in our modern world which is full of collusion and conspiracy — and yet somehow DENY the existence of any conspiracies at all — is an admission of a damaged brain. Of course there are conspiracies, and when people analyze those conspiracies, they are “theorizing” about what happened. This is, in fact, precisely the job that police detectives and FBI agents carry out almost daily.
Most police detectives are, in reality, “conspiracy investigators” and analysts.
There are endless examples of real conspiracies
Auto manufacturers routinely conspire to cover up mechanical defects that put customer lives at risk. Even National Public Radio lays out the full timeline of the General Motors conspiracy to hide the problem with its faulty ignition switches.
Last year, food corporations conspired with the Grocery Manufacturers of America (the GMA) tocommit money laundering crimes in Washington state in order to funnel money into a campaign to defeat GMO labeling there.
The FDA conspired with a drug manufacturer to keep a deadly diabetes drug called Rezulin on the market in the USA even after safety regulators pulled the product in Europe.
Similarly, the corrupt, criminal-minded operators of mainstream science journals conspired in a particularly evil way to railroad Dr. Andrew Wakefield with provably false accusations about the nature of his research into the side effects of vaccines. The GMO Seralini study has been similarly railroaded by a genuine conspiracy of evil, corrupt science journal editors who routinely conspire to suppress all the science they don’t want to be seen by the public. Fortunately, 150 other scientists have come to support Seralini with a global condemnation of the obviously contrived scientific censorship.
We live in a world of such deception and collusion that, frankly stated, it’s hard to find a large institution (such as medicine, agriculture or the war industry) which isn’t involved in some sort of conspiracy at some level.
What is a “conspiracy theorist?
The pejorative “conspiracy theorist” is meant to demean and ridicule skeptics of official stories.
Most so-called “conspiracy theorists” are really skeptics, by definition. They’re skeptical of what the government tells them. They’re skeptical of the claim that drug companies are really only interested in helping humankind and have no desire to make money. They’re skeptical that food corporations are telling them the truth about what’s in their food. And they’re also skeptical of anything coming out of Washington D.C., regardless of which party happens to be in power at the time.
People who are not skeptics of “official stories” tend to be dull-minded. To believe everything these institutions tell you is a sign of mental retardation. To ask questions, on the other hand, is a sign of higher intelligence and wisdom.
Skeptics of official stories, it turns out, also have the support of history on their side. How many times has it later been revealed that the American people were lied to by the very institutions we were supposed to trust?
For example, it is an historical fact that 98 million Americans were injected with hidden cancer viruses which were later found in polio vaccines strongly recommended by the CDC. In an effort to cover that up and rewrite history, the CDC later scrubbed all accounts of that history from its website, pretending it never happened.
That’s more than a cover-up; it’s an Orwellian-style conspiracy to selectively rewrite history and deny Americans any memory of a monumental, deadly error made by the CDC in collusion with the vaccine industry.
According to two former Merck virologists, that company conspired to fake the results of its vaccine tests by spiking test samples with animal antibodies, thereby falsely distorting the results to make the vaccine appear effective. The two virologists filed a False Claims Act with the federal government detailing the conspiracy, saying:
Merck also added animal antibodies to blood samples to achieve more favorable test results, though it knew that the human immune system would never produce such antibodies, and that the antibodies created a laboratory testing scenario that “did not in any way correspond to, correlate with, or represent real life … virus neutralization in vaccinated people…”
Conspiracies of money and big banks
Every month, the Federal Reserve conspires to steal a portion of your wealth through “quantitative easing” — an irresponsible money creation scheme that devalues all the currency already in circulation (i.e. the money in your bank account).
The money the Fed creates is, not surprisingly, handed over to the big Wall Street banks — the same banks that received a jaw-dropping $29 trillion in “bailout money” since the near-collapse of U.S. banking in late 2008.
Why did this bailout money go to the banks instead of the American people? Because powerful people sat in dark rooms and colluded to send the money to the most influential banks. A conspiracy, in other words, by definition.
Had that same amount of money been equally distributed across the U.S. population, the Fed would have distributed nearly $100,000 to each and every citizen in America; man, woman and child. But instead of enriching the population, the banking bailout burdened the population with the debt now owed to the Fed by future taxpayers.
Every $1 trillion created by the Fed, after all, is $1 trillion “loaned” to the U.S. Treasury which must somehow be repaid. In truth, the minute you start to investigate how money is created, why the Federal Reserve is a private banking cartel and why the big banks get all the bailout money, you run head-first into genuine conspiracies almost from the outset. When you look up the word “conspiracy” in a dictionary, it should probably say, “See Banking and Finance.”
Our world is full of conspiracies because it’s full of people who deceive
The reason conspiracies are real is because humanity is a race capable of extreme deception. As long as there are people whose actions are based in greed, jealousy and a desire to dominate others, there will be real conspiracies plotted and operating across every sector of society.
The correct term for “conspiracy theorist” should really be “conspiracy analyst.” Most of the people who are skeptical of official stories are, in fact, analyzing conspiracies in an attempt to understand what really happened and what took place behind closed doors.
A highly-recommended book the delves into this matter in more detail is the five-star-rated masterpiece Official Stories: Counter-Arguments for a Culture in Need by Liam Scheff.
This book will open the minds of those who still have the cognitive capability remaining to grasp it. (Sadly, the injection of mercury into babies in the form of vaccines has damaged so many brains across America that many people are now cognitively incapable of rational thought.)
And remember: the next time someone flings the phrase “conspiracy theorist” in your direction, simply know that they are effectively wearing a DUNCE hat on their heads by admitting they have failed to acknowledge that true conspiracies are rather commonplace.
That’s not merely a theory, either: it’s a statement of fact.
Source: Mike Adams |Natural News
Imagine: you are dressed up for a night on Broadway, but your neighbours are involved in a vicious quarrel, and you have to gun up and deal with the trouble instead of enjoying a show, and a dinner, and perhaps a date. This was Putin’s position regarding the Ukrainian turmoil.
The Russians have readjusted their sights, but they do not intend to bring their troops into the two rebel republics, unless dramatic developments should force them.
It is not much fun to be in Kiev these days. The revolutionary excitement is over, and hopes for new faces, the end of corruption and economic improvement have withered. The Maidan street revolt and the subsequent coup just reshuffled the same marked deck of cards, forever rotating in power.
The new acting President has been an acting prime minister, and a KGB (called “SBU” in Ukrainian) supremo. The new acting prime minister has been a foreign minister. The oligarch most likely to be “elected” President in a few days has been a foreign minister, the head of the state bank, and personal treasurer of two coups, in 2004 (installing Yushchenko) and in 2014 (installing himself). His main competitor, Mme Timoshenko, served as a prime minister for years, until electoral defeat in 2010.
These people had brought Ukraine to its present abject state. In 1991, the Ukraine was richer than Russia, today it is three times poorer because of these people’s mismanagement and theft. Now they plan an old trick: to take loans in Ukraine’s name, pocket the cash and leave the country indebted. They sell state assets to Western companies and ask for NATO to come in and protect the investment.
They play a hard game, brass knuckles and all. The Black Guard, a new SS-like armed force of the neo-nazi Right Sector, prowls the land. They arrest or kill dissidents, activists, journalists. Hundreds of American soldiers, belonging to the “private” company Academi (formerly Blackwater) are spread out in Novorossia, the pro-Russian provinces in the East and South-East. IMF–dictated reforms slashed pensions by half and doubled the housing rents. In the market, US Army rations took the place of local food.
The new Kiev regime had dropped the last pretence of democracy by expelling the Communists from the parliament. This should endear them to the US even more. Expel Communists, apply for NATO, condemn Russia, arrange a gay parade and you may do anything at all, even fry dozens of citizens alive. And so they did.
The harshest repressions were unleashed on industrial Novorossia, as its working class loathes the whole lot of oligarchs and ultra-nationalists. After the blazing inferno of Odessa and a wanton shooting on the streets of Melitopol the two rebellious provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms and declared their independence from the Kiev regime. They came under fire, but did not surrender. The other six Russian-speaking industrial provinces of Novorossia were quickly cowed. Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa were terrorised by personal army of Mr Kolomoysky; Kharkov was misled by its tricky governor.
Russia did not interfere and did not support the rebellion, to the great distress of Russian nationalists in Ukraine and Russia who mutter about “betrayal”. So much for the warlike rhetoric of McCain and Brzezinski.
Putin’s respect for others’ sovereignty is exasperating. I understand this sounds like a joke, — you hear so much about Putin as a “new Hitler”. As a matter of fact, Putin had legal training before joining the Secret Service. He is a stickler for international law. His Russia has interfered with other states much less than France or England, let alone the US. I asked his senior adviser, Mr Alexei Pushkov, why Russia did not try to influence Ukrainian minds while Kiev buzzed with American and European officials. “We think it is wrong to interfere”, he replied like a good Sunday schoolboy. It is rather likely Putin’s advisors misjudged public sentiment. « The majority of Novorossia’s population does not like the new Kiev regime, but being politically passive and conservative, will submit to its rule”, they estimated. “The rebels are a small bunch of firebrands without mass support, and they can’t be relied upon”, was their view. Accordingly, Putin advised the rebels to postpone the referendum indefinitely, a polite way of saying “drop it”.
They disregarded his request with considerable sang froid and convincingly voted en masse for secession from a collapsing Ukraine. The turnout was much higher than expected, the support for the move near total. As I was told by a Kremlin insider, this development was not foreseen by Putin’s advisers.
Perhaps the advisors had read it right, but three developments had changed the voters’ minds and had sent this placid people to the barricades and the voting booths:
1. The first one was the fiery holocaust of Odessa, where the peaceful and carelessly unarmed demonstrating workers were suddenly attacked by regime’s thugs (the Ukrainian equivalent of Mubarak’s shabab) and corralled into the Trade Unions Headquarters. The building was set on fire, and the far-right pro-regime Black Guard positioned snipers to efficiently pick off would-be escapees. Some fifty, mainly elderly, Russian-speaking workers were burned alive or shot as they rushed for the windows and the doors. This dreadful event was turned into an occasion of merriment and joy by Ukrainian nationalists who referred to their slain compatriots as “fried beetles”. (It is being said that this auto-da-fé was organised by the shock troops of Jewish oligarch and strongman Kolomoysky, who coveted the port of Odessa. Despite his cuddly bear appearance, he is pugnacious and violent person, who offered ten thousand dollars for a captive Russian, dead or alive, and proposed a cool million dollars for the head of Mr Tsarev, a Member of Parliament from Donetsk.)
2. The second was the Mariupol attack on May 9, 2014. This day is commemorated as V-day in Russia and Ukraine (while the West celebrates it on May 8). The Kiev regime forbade all V-day celebrations. In Mariupol, the Black Guard attacked the peaceful and weaponless town, burning down the police headquarters and killing local policemen who had refused to suppress the festive march. Afterwards, Black Guard thugs unleashed armoured vehicles on the streets, killing citizens and destroying property.
The West did not voice any protest; Nuland and Merkel weren’t horrified by this mass murder, as they were by Yanukovich’s timid attempts to control crowds.
The people of these two provinces felt abandoned; they understood that nobody was going to protect and save them but themselves, and went off to vote.
3. The third development was, bizarrely, the Eurovision jury choice of Austrian transvestite Conchita Wurst for a winner of its song contest.
The sound-minded Novorossians decided they want no part of such a Europe.
Actually, the people of Europe do not want it either:
It transpired that the majority of British viewers preferred a Polish duo, Donatan & Cleo, with its We Are Slavic. Donatan is half Russian, and has courted controversy in the past extolling the virtues of pan-Slavism and the achievements of the Red Army, says the Independent.
The politically correct judges of the jury preferred to “celebrate tolerance”, the dominant paradigm imposed upon Europe.
This is the second transvestite to win this very political contest; the first one was Israeli singer Dana International.
Such obsession with re-gendering did not go down well with Russians and/or Ukrainians.
The Russians have readjusted their sights, but they do not intend to bring their troops into the two rebel republics, unless dramatic developments should force them.
Imagine: you are dressed up for a night on Broadway, but your neighbours are involved in a vicious quarrel, and you have to gun up and deal with the trouble instead of enjoying a show, and a dinner, and perhaps a date. This was Putin’s position regarding the Ukrainian turmoil.
A few months ago, Russia had made a huge effort to become, and to be seen as, a very civilized European state of the first magnitude. This was the message of the Sochi Olympic games: to re-brand, even re-invent Russia, just as Peter the Great once had, as part of the First World; an amazing country of strong European tradition, of Leo Tolstoy and Malevich, of Tchaikovsky and Diaghilev, the land of arts, of daring social reform, of technical achievements, of modernity and beyond — the Russia of Natasha Rostova riding a Sikorsky ‘copter. Putin spent $60 billion to broadcast this image.
The old fox Henry Kissinger wisely said:
Putin spent $60 billion on the Olympics. They had opening and closing ceremonies, trying to show Russia as a normal progressive state. So it isn’t possible that he, three days later, would voluntarily start an assault on Ukraine. There is no doubt that… at all times he wanted Ukraine in a subordinate position. And at all times, every senior Russian that I’ve ever met, including dissidents like Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky, looked at Ukraine as part of the Russian heritage. But I don’t think he had planned to bring it to a head now.
However, Washington hawks decided to do whatever it takes to keep Russia out in the cold. They were afraid of this image of “a normal progressive state” as such Russia would render NATO irrelevant and undermine European dependence on the US. They were adamant about retaining their hegemony, shattered as it was by the Syrian confrontation. They attacked Russian positions in the Ukraine and arranged a violent coup, installing a viciously anti-Russian regime supported by football fans and neo-Nazis, paid for by Jewish oligarchs and American taxpayers. The victors banned the Russian language and prepared to void treaties with Russia regarding its Crimean naval base at Sebastopol on the Black Sea. This base was to become a great new NATO base, controlling the Black Sea and threatening Russia.
Putin had to deal quickly and so he did, by accepting the Crimean people’s request to join Russian Federation. This dealt with the immediate problem of the base, but the problem of Ukraine remained.
The Ukraine is not a foreign entity to Russians, it is the western half of Russia. It was artificially separated from the rest in 1991, at the collapse of the USSR. The people of the two parts are interconnected by family, culture and blood ties; their economies are intricately connected. While a separate viable Ukrainian state is a possibility, an “independent” Ukrainian state hostile to Russia is not viable and can’t be tolerated by any Russian ruler. And this for military as well as for cultural reasons: if Hitler had begun the war against Russia from its present border, he would have taken Stalingrad in two days and would have destroyed Russia in a week.
A more pro-active Russian ruler would have sent troops to Kiev a long time ago. Thus did Czar Alexis when the Poles, Cossacks and Tatars argued for it in 17th century. So also did Czar Peter the Great, when the Swedes occupied it in the 18th century. So did Lenin, when the Germans set up the Protectorate of Ukraine (he called its establishment “the obscene peace”). So did Stalin, when the Germans occupied the Ukraine in 1941.
Putin still hopes to settle the problem by peaceful means, relying upon the popular support of the Ukrainian people. Actually, before the Crimean takeover, the majority of Ukrainians (and near all Novorossians) overwhelmingly supported some sort of union with Russia. Otherwise, the Kiev coup would not have been necessary. The forced Crimean takeover seriously undermined Russian appeal. The people of Ukraine did not like it. This was foreseen by the Kremlin, but they had to accept Crimea for a few reasons. Firstly, a loss of Sevastopol naval base to NATO was a too horrible of an alternative to contemplate. Secondly, the Russian people would not understand if Putin were to refuse the suit of the Crimeans.
The Washington hawks still hope to force Putin to intervene militarily, as it would give them the opportunity to isolate Russia, turn it into a monster pariah state, beef up defence spending and set Europe and Russia against each other. They do not care about Ukraine and Ukrainians, but use them as pretext to attain geopolitical goals.
The Europeans would like to fleece Ukraine; to import its men as “illegal” workers and its women as prostitutes, to strip assets, to colonise. They did it with Moldova, a little sister of Ukraine, the most miserable ex-Soviet Republic. As for Russia, the EU would not mind taking it down a notch, so they would not act so grandly. But the EU is not fervent about it. Hence, the difference in attitudes.
Putin would prefer to continue with his modernisation of Russia. The country needs it badly. The infrastructure lags twenty or thirty years behind the West. Tired by this backwardness, young Russians often prefer to move to the West, and this brain drain causes much damage to Russia while enriching the West. Even Google is a result of this brain drain, for Sergey Brin is a Russian immigrant as well. So are hundreds of thousands of Russian scientists and artists manning every Western lab, theatre and orchestra. Political liberalisation is not enough: the young people want good roads, good schools and a quality of life comparable to the West. This is what Putin intends to deliver.
He is doing a fine job of it. Moscow now has free bikes and Wi-Fi in the parks like every Western European city. Trains have been upgraded. Hundreds of thousands of apartments are being built, even more than during the Soviet era. Salaries and pensions have increased seven-to-tenfold in the past decade. Russia is still shabby, but it is on the right track. Putin wants to continue this modernisation.
As for the Ukraine and other ex-Soviet states, Putin would prefer they retain their independence, be friendly and work at a leisurely pace towards integration a la the European Union.
He does not dream of a new empire. He would reject such a proposal, as it would delay his modernisation plans.
If the beastly neocons would not have forced his hand by expelling the legitimate president of Ukraine and installing their puppets, the world might have enjoyed a long spell of peace.
But then the western military alliance under the US leadership would fall into abeyance, US military industries would lose out, and US hegemony would evaporate. Peace is not good for the US military and hegemony-creating media machine. So dreams of peace in our lifetime are likely to remain just dreams.
What will Putin do?
Putin will try to avoid sending in troops as long as possible. He will have to protect the two splinter provinces, but this can be done with remote support, the way the US supports the rebels in Syria, without ‘boots on the ground’. Unless serious bloodshed on a large scale should occur, Russian troops will just stand by, staring down the Black Guard and other pro-regime forces.
Putin will try to find an arrangement with the West for sharing authority, influence and economic involvement in the failed state. This can be done through federalisation, or by means of coalition government, or even partition. The Russian-speaking provinces of Novorossia are those of Kharkov (industry), Nikolayev (ship-building), Odessa (harbour), Donetsk and Lugansk (mines and industry), Dnepropetrovsk (missiles and high-tech), Zaporozhe (steel), Kherson (water for Crimea and ship-building), all of them established, built and populated by Russians. They could secede from Ukraine and form an independent Novorossia, a mid-sized state, but still bigger than some neighbouring states. This state could join the Union State of Russia and Belarus, and/or the Customs Union led by Russia. The rump Ukraine could manage as it sees fit until it decides whether or not to join its Slavic sisters in the East. Such a set up would produce two rather cohesive and homogeneous states.
Another possibility (much less likely at this moment) is a three-way division of the failed Ukraine: Novorossia, Ukraine proper, and Galicia&Volyn. In such a case, Novorossia would be strongly pro-Russian, Ukraine would be neutral, and Galicia strongly pro-Western.
The EU could accept this, but the US probably would not agree to any power-sharing in the Ukraine. In the ensuing tug-of-war, one of two winners will emerge. If Europe and the US drift apart, Russia wins. If Russia accepts a pro-Western positioning of practically all of Ukraine, the US wins. The tug-of-war could snap and cause all-out war, with many participants and a possible use of nuclear weapons. This is a game of chicken; the one with stronger nerves and less imagination will remain on the track.
Pro and Contra
It is too early to predict who will win in the forthcoming confrontation. For the Russian president, it is extremely tempting to take all of Ukraine or at least Novorossia, but it is not an easy task, and one likely to cause much hostility from the Western powers. With Ukraine incorporated, Russian recovery from 1991 would be completed, its strength doubled, its security ensured and a grave danger removed. Russia would become great again. People would venerate Putin as Gatherer of Russian Lands.
However, Russian efforts to appear as a modern peaceful progressive state would have been wasted; it would be seen as an aggressor and expelled from international bodies. Sanctions will bite; high tech imports may be banned, as in the Soviet days. The Russian elites are reluctant to jeopardize their good life. The Russian military just recently began its modernization and is not keen to fight yet, perhaps not for another ten years.
But if they feel cornered, if NATO moves into Eastern Ukraine, they will fight all the same.
Some Russian politicians and observers believe that Ukraine is a basket case; its problems would be too expensive to fix. This assessment has a ‘sour grapes’ aftertaste, but it is widespread. An interesting new voice on the web, The Saker, promotes this view. “Let the EU and the US provide for the Ukrainians, they will come back to Mother Russia when hungry”, he says. The problem is, they will not be allowed to reconsider. The junta did not seize power violently in order to lose it at the ballot box.
Besides, Ukraine is not in such bad shape as some people claim. Yes, it would cost trillions to turn it into a Germany or France, but that’s not necessary. Ukraine can reach the Russian level of development very quickly –- in union with Russia. Under the EC-IMF-NATO, Ukraine will become a basket case, if it’s not already. The same is true for all East European ex-Soviet states: they can modestly prosper with Russia, as Belarus and Finland do, or suffer depopulation, unemployment, poverty with Europe and NATO and against Russia, vide Latvia, Hungary, Moldova, Georgia. It is in Ukrainian interests to join Russia in some framework; Ukrainians understand that; for this reason they will not be allowed to have democratic elections.
Simmering Novorossia has a potential to change the game. If Russian troops don’t come in, Novorossian rebels may beat off the Kiev offensive and embark on a counter-offensive to regain the whole of the country, despite Putin’s pacifying entreaties. Then, in a full-blown civil war, the Ukraine will hammer out its destiny.
On a personal level, Putin faces a hard choice. Russian nationalists will not forgive him if he surrenders Ukraine without a fight. The US and EU threaten the very life of the Russian president, as their sanctions are hurting Putin’s close associates, encouraging them to get rid of or even assassinate the President and improve their relations with the mighty West. War may come at any time, as it came twice during the last century – though Russia tried to avoid it both times. Putin wants to postpone it, at the very least, but not at any price.
His is not an easy choice. As Russia procrastinates, as the US doubles the risks, the world draws nearer to the nuclear abyss. Who will chicken out?
(Language editing by Ken Freeland)
I just went to hear Mother Agnes-Mariam, a Syrian nun dressed in a serious nun outfit, give a talk on the horrible situation that her country finds itself in today — and I ended up with ten pages of notes on the shocking details of what she said. However, the main gist of her talk can be summed up in just a few words. “[Western neo-colonial] powers have been engineering chaos in Syria — and they need to stop this disruptive behavior right now so that peace and reconciliation can safely proceed.”
According to Mother Agnes-Mariam, these Western powers-that-be have been “engineering chaos” in Syria quite successfully over the last three years. But I would also like to add that Western neo-cons haven’t just been engineering chaos in Syria — oh no. They’ve also been doing it everywhere that they can, all across the Middle East. And then it also suddenly dawned on me that said neo-cons have been following a similar step-by-step pattern all over the world, not just in the Middle East:
Step 1: Find yourself a resource-rich country where a percentage of the population is unhappy — for whatever reason (and if you can’t find any unhappy people there, then just make some up).
Step 2: Begin to foment revolution in the name of “Freedom and Democracy”. Make F&D sound really really good!
Step 3: Start the killing — or “Shock and Awe” or whatever you want to call it. Use terms like “freedom fighters” and “rebels” and “no-fly zones” and “humanitarian relief”. And also be sure to throw in scare-words like “WMDs” and “Chemical Weapons” and “Nuclear Proliferation” whenever humanly possible. But it doesn’t really matter what you call anything as long as chaos results. Or another Benghazi. Or another Maiden Square.
Step 4: The most imperative goal in Step 4 is to make sure that an impressive number of civilians are killed (See Step 3)
Step 5: Disassemble the mechanisms of state. Bomb the hospitals. Bump off the water supply. Destroy the infrastructure. Blow up city hall. Replace the strong-arm guy who is holding the country together with a thousand factional groups who all hate each other and everyone else — and are willing to kill to prove it too. Think Iraq. Think Libya. Think Yugoslavia.
Step 6: Move into the void that’s created and steal land and resources to your heart’s content. “Good job, Brownie!”
But enough of this. Let’s get back to Mother Agnes-Miriam’s talk. She spoke for over an hour on peace and reconciliation in Syria — by and for Syrians. It was a hopeful speech; sadly informative but also rational and inspiring.
And then suddenly five or six people popped up from the audience as if on cue and started shouting at Mother Agnes. “What about the use of chemical weapons! What about that dictator Assad!”
I at first thought that the ushers at the venue had over-reacted a bit by telling those guys to either be quiet or leave. But later I learned that these same guys have been following Mother Agnes-Miriam all around America and trying to disrupt all of her talks.
And at another one of her talks, I later found out, Mother Agnes had welcomed their participation and attempted to answer their questions — only to discover that they had no valid evidence, no real POV and nothing really to say.
These guys were simply trying to “engineer chaos” too!
And afterwards, outside on the front steps, one of these guys (wearing a really expensive-looking suit) handed me his card. He was from Washington DC, of course. That figures.
For those of you who still want to soldier on and read more about what Mother Agnes-Mariam had to say, here are some of the quotes that I wrote down. I think I copied most of them correctly, but I was writing pretty fast:
“In Syria today, the horrendous reality is of thousands and thousands of mercenaries who enter historic city complexes to turn them into battlefields. They are terrorists and bandits who spread agony among the residents.
“Sponsored by foreign powers, these ‘Tafiri’ [self-appointed inquisitionists] ‘liberate’ towns by forcing the residents out of them. The majority of Islamic clerics throughout the world denounce the Tafiri, however.
“Syria is a cauldron of chaos — designed to dismantle a country. It is engineered by neo-colonials to divide and reign — and to dismantle and gain.
“All of Syria used to be middle-class. No homeless people in Syria. And now they are obliged to beg; living in slums where the violence has followed them. Mosques, churches and synagogues are also being systematically destroyed. Factories, hospitals, residences. Homs now looks like Stalingrad. Apocalyptic. The economic and production heart of Syria has also been destroyed. The engineers of chaos destroyed it.
“A young woman wakes up with no legs. And her friend is now blind. In some places, only 3% of the population remain — and the Takfiri ‘rebels’ still shell them. We are living among vampires — where beheading is getting very normal. We are seeing heads everywhere. They play football with them. One Takfiri leader is said to have beheaded 350 people.
“What happened to the Arab Spring? That striving for freedom and democracy has been highjacked by the engineers of chaos. The Free Syrian Army lacks money, its members are starving. But the Takfiri faction is receiving all kinds of money and weapons. The Takfiri are in direct opposition to reconciliation. They come from 80 countries — and Syrians are their victims.
“There are seven million refugees inside of Syria and two more million outside of the country. They are starving. Out of a population of just 22 million, each day 9,500 more civilians are forced to leave their homes. Soon all 22 million will be displaced. We are back to the barbarian era.
“When you see something like this in your city — thousands beheaded, children pushed off roofs, people roasted in ovens — there will be more and more violence. But there is a third way. We have to build bridges. That is the challenge of reconciliation among Syrians. We have to develop trust. We have a lot of martyrs [to the non-violent cause], but we will not stop because the bloodshed must stop!
“Saddam was killed. Gaddafi was killed. Has it gotten any better? If Assad is gone, who will take his place? The 2000 factions? No. How can I reconcile with a group who wants to behead me? We are now talking to former [FSA] fighters who go back to protect their neighborhoods from the Takfiris. The FSA is willing to talk. Even Syria’s Al Qaeda is upset that ISIS Takfiri are killing everyone and burning factories.
“We are accused continuously, especially by people in the US, of being political. This is preposterous. We are talking only out of a position to stop the bloodshed. Alternative media can now go deeper and not just repeat mainstream media [brainwashing] ad nauseam. Go and hear everyone. I am not an oracle — but do not put me to death if I disagree. This is not the way to truth.
“If a solution to Syria’s problems is imposed from outside, we will be worse off than before. We must be free from foreign intervention. Change will not come from violence. Violence has just strengthened [Assad's] regime. All the Takfiris have done is to get rid of the infrastructure of the state instead. The state itself is the sole hope for Syria. That, and a dialogue of symbiosis and reconciliation among Syrians themselves.”
Leave it to The Gay Lady to be a day late and a few brain cells short. The New York Times recently published an article by some journalism-school retread about the Cliven Bundy situation, a piece containing all the usual talking points about how the “racist” rancher’s reasoning is really risible. Rinse, wash and repeat. What interests me right now are not the facts of the case, however, but one particular line in the Times commentary.
The sentence is a quotation from ex-superintendent of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area Alan O’Neill, a line that the Times writer, a Mr. Adam Nagourney, obviously felt was so powerful and profound that it warranted closing his piece with. Here’s the passage containing the line:
“He [Bundy] calls himself a patriot, and says he loves America,” Mr. O’Neill said. “And yet he says he won’t follow any federal laws. You just can’t let this go by, or everybody is going to be like, ‘If Bundy can break the law, why can’t I?’”
Wow, an example of not following the law. Shocking! Unprecedented! A threat to the republic!
All I can say about Nagourney is that, for sure, one of us has taken the blue pill.
Has it escaped the Times’ notice that the feds have been found wanting in the enforcement of immigration law for decades and that Barack Obama has basically cast enforcement to the winds? Has the paper ever heard of sanctuary cities? Have its editors gotten the memo about rule by executive order and Obama’s suspension of ObamaCare provisions he finds politically inconvenient? Have they noticed that Uncle Scam has been violating the Constitution — the supreme law of the land — for nigh on 100 years and that Obama wipes his feet on it?
Gay Lady, I hereby re-christen thee The Blue Pill Times.
The BPT is certainly right in assuming that unanswered lawbreaking makes people conclude, “If ______ can break the law, why can’t I?” But it isn’t “Bundy” that fills in that blank.
In point of fact, the reason we had troves of people rallying to Bundy’s side is the same reason why we’re seeing state nullification movements pushing back against ObamaCare, federal gun-control law and other central-government measures:
The blatant and criminal disregard the feds have shown for the Constitution — the contract the American people have with one another — and the feds’ continual overstepping of their bounds and aggregation of power, have caused people to say, “If the feds can break the law, why can’t I?”
It has further made citizens realize that they have a right and a duty to oppose federal law. Why a right? Well, if a party subject to a contract consistently and obstinately violates the contract’s terms for the purposes of advantaging itself and undermining the other parties subject to the contract, are the latter still bound by the now broken agreement?
It is rendered null and void.
As for duty, to sit idly by while the feds violate the contract and trample rights makes one complicit in the crime, an accessory perhaps before, and certainly during and after, the fact.
This, mind you, is the main reason I side with Cliven Bundy. The particulars of the case are irrelevant because the feds long ago demonstrated their ill will and illegitimacy. As for The Blue Pill Times, it’s great it has discovered the value of the rule of law. Now all it need do is reveal what entity truly undermined it and the manifold ways in which it has been done. Of course, this would mean actually presenting, for the first time, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”
So, what do we have here? In Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere the United States has been on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. But not in Ukraine. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in Ukraine the United States is on the same side as the neo-Nazi types, who – taking time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Jews, Russians and Communists – on May 2 burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded. Try and find an American mainstream media entity that has made a serious attempt to capture the horror.
And how did this latest example of American foreign-policy exceptionalism come to be? One starting point that can be considered is what former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates says in his recently published memoir: “When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, [Defense Secretary Dick Cheney] wanted to see the dismemberment not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world.” That can serve as an early marker for the new cold war while the corpse of the old one was still warm. Soon thereafter, NATO began to surround Russia with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members, while yearning for perhaps the most important part needed to complete the circle – Ukraine.
In February of this year, US State Department officials, undiplomatically, joined anti-government protesters in the capital city of Kiev, handing out encouragement and food, from which emanated the infamous leaked audio tape between the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, former US ambassador to NATO and former State Department spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. Their conversation dealt with who should be running the new Ukraine government after the government of Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown; their most favored for this position being one Arseniy Yatsenuk.
My dear, and recently departed, Washington friend, John Judge, liked to say that if you want to call him a “conspiracy theorist” you have to call others “coincidence theorists”. Thus it was by the most remarkable of coincidences that Arseniy Yatsenuk did indeed become the new prime minister. He could very soon be found in private meetings and public press conferences with the president of the United States and the Secretary-General of NATO, as well as meeting with the soon-to-be new owners of Ukraine, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, preparing to impose their standard financial shock therapy. The current protestors in Ukraine don’t need PHDs in economics to know what this portends. They know about the impoverishment of Greece, Spain, et al. They also despise the new regime for its overthrow of their democratically-elected government, whatever its shortcomings. But the American media obscures these motivations by almost always referring to them simply as “pro-Russian”.
An exception, albeit rather unemphasized, was the April 17 Washington Post which reported from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom the author interviewed said the unrest in their region was driven by fear of “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder: “At a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund.”
Arseniy Yatsenuk, it should be noted, has something called the Arseniy Yatsenuk Foundation. If you go to the foundation’s website you will see the logos of the foundation’s “partners”. Among these partners we find NATO, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs in the UK), the German Marshall Fund (a think tank founded by the German government in honor of the US Marshall Plan), as well as a couple of international banks. Is any comment needed?
Getting away with supporting al-Qaeda and Nazi types may be giving US officials the idea that they can say or do anything they want in their foreign policy. In a May 2 press conference, President Obama, referring to Ukraine and the NATO Treaty, said: “We’re united in our unwavering Article 5 commitment to the security of our NATO allies”. (Article 5 states: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them … shall be considered an attack against them all.”) Did the president forget that Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO? And in the same press conference, the president referred to the “duly elected government in Kyiv (Kiev)”, when in fact it had come to power via a coup and then proceeded to establish a new regime in which the vice-premier, minister of defense, minister of agriculture, and minister of environment, all belonged to far-right neo-Nazi parties.
The pure awfulness of the Ukrainian right-wingers can scarcely be exaggerated. In early March, the leader of Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) called upon his comrades, the infamous Chechnyan terrorists, to carry out further terrorist actions in Russia.
There may be one important difference between the old Cold War and the new one. The American people, as well as the world, can not be as easily brainwashed as they were during the earlier period.
Over the course of a decade, in doing the research for my first books and articles on US foreign policy, one of the oddities to me of the Cold War was how often the Soviet Union seemed to know what the United States was really up to, even if the American people didn’t. Every once in a while in the 1950s to 70s a careful reader would notice a two- or three-inch story in the New York Times on the bottom of some distant inside page, reporting that Pravda or Izvestia had claimed that a recent coup or political assassination in Africa or Asia or Latin America had been the work of the CIA; theTimes might add that a US State Department official had labeled the story as “absurd”. And that was that; no further details were provided; and none were needed, for how many American readers gave it a second thought? It was just more commie propaganda. Who did they think they were fooling? This ignorance/complicity on the part of the mainstream media allowed the United States to get away with all manner of international crimes and mischief.
It was only in the 1980s when I began to do the serious research that resulted in my first book, which later became Killing Hope, that I was able to fill in the details and realize that the United States had indeed masterminded that particular coup or assassination, and many other coups and assassinations, not to mention countless bombings, chemical and biological warfare, perversion of elections, drug dealings, kidnapings, and much more that had not appeared in the American mainstream media or schoolbooks. (And a significant portion of which was apparently unknown to the Soviets as well.)
But there have been countless revelations about US crimes in the past two decades. Many Americans and much of the rest of the planet have become educated. They’re much more skeptical of American proclamations and the fawning media.
President Obama recently declared: “The strong condemnation that it’s received from around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history on this.” Marvelous … coming from the man who partners with jihadists and Nazis and has waged war against seven nations. In the past half century is there any country whose foreign policy has received more bitter condemnation than the United States? If the United States is not on the wrong side of history, it may be only in the history books published by the United States.
Barack Obama, like virtually all Americans, likely believes that the Soviet Union, with perhaps the sole exception of the Second World War, was consistently on the wrong side of history in its foreign policy as well as at home. Yet, in a survey conducted by an independent Russian polling center this past January, and reported in the Washington Post in April, 86 percent of respondents older than 55 expressed regret for the Soviet Union’s collapse; 37 percent of those aged 25 to 39 did so. (Similar poll results have been reported regularly since the demise of the Soviet Union. This is fromUSA Today in 1999: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled, East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.”)
Or as the new Russian proverb put it: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”
A week before the above Post report in April the newspaper printed an article about happiness around the world, which contains the following charming lines: “Worldwide polls show that life seems better to older people – except in Russia.” … “Essentially, life under President Vladimir Putin is one continuous downward spiral into despair.” … “What’s going on in Russia is deep unhappiness.” … “In Russia, the only thing to look forward to is death’s sweet embrace.”
No, I don’t think it was meant to be any kind of satire. It appears to be a scientific study, complete with graphs, but it reads like something straight out of the 1950s.
The views Americans hold of themselves and other societies are not necessarily more distorted than the views found amongst people elsewhere in the world, but the Americans’ distortion can lead to much more harm. Most Americans and members of Congress have convinced themselves that the US/NATO encirclement of Russia is benign – we are, after all, the Good Guys – and they don’t understand why Russia can’t see this.
The first Cold War, from Washington’s point of view, was often designated as one of “containment”, referring to the US policy of preventing the spread of communism around the world, trying to blockthe very idea of communism or socialism. There’s still some leftover from that – see Venezuela and Cuba, for example – but the new Cold War can be seen more in terms of a military strategy. Washington thinks in terms of who could pose a barrier to the ever-expanding empire adding to its bases and other military necessities.
Whatever the rationale, it’s imperative that the United States suppress any lingering desire to bring Ukraine (and Georgia) into the NATO alliance. Nothing is more likely to bring large numbers of Russian boots onto the Ukrainian ground than the idea that Washington wants to have NATO troops right on the Russian border and in spitting distance of the country’s historic Black Sea naval base in Crimea.
The myth of Soviet expansionism
One still comes across references in the mainstream media to Russian “expansionism” and “the Soviet empire”, in addition to that old favorite “the evil empire”. These terms stem largely from erstwhile Soviet control of Eastern European states. But was the creation of these satellites following World War II an act of imperialism or expansionism? Or did the decisive impetus lie elsewhere?
Within the space of less than 25 years, Western powers had invaded Russia three times – the two world wars and the “Intervention” of 1918-20 – inflicting some 40 million casualties in the two wars alone. To carry out these invasions, the West had used Eastern Europe as a highway. Should it be any cause for wonder that after World War II the Soviets wanted to close this highway down? In almost any other context, Americans would have no problem in seeing this as an act of self defense. But in the context of the Cold War such thinking could not find a home in mainstream discourse.
The Baltic states of the Soviet Union – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – were not part of the highway and were frequently in the news because of their demands for more autonomy from Moscow, a story “natural” for the American media. These articles invariably reminded the reader that the “once independent” Baltic states were invaded in 1939 by the Soviet Union, incorporated as republics of the USSR, and had been “occupied” ever since. Another case of brutal Russian imperialism. Period. History etched in stone.
The three countries, it happens, were part of the Russian empire from 1721 up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, in the midst of World War I. When the war ended in November 1918, and the Germans had been defeated, the victorious Allied nations (US, Great Britain, France, et al.) permitted/encouraged the German forces to remain in the Baltics for a full year to crush the spread of Bolshevism there; this, with ample military assistance from the Allied nations. In each of the three republics, the Germans installed collaborators in power who declared their independence from the new Bolshevik state which, by this time, was so devastated by the World War, the revolution, and the civil war prolonged by the Allies’ intervention, that it had no choice but to accept the fait accompli. The rest of the fledgling Soviet Union had to be saved.
To at least win some propaganda points from this unfortunate state of affairs, the Soviets announced that they were relinquishing the Baltic republics “voluntarily” in line with their principles of anti-imperialism and self-determination. But is should not be surprising that the Soviets continued to regard the Baltics as a rightful part of their nation or that they waited until they were powerful enough to reclaim the territory.
Then we had Afghanistan. Surely this was an imperialist grab. But the Soviet Union had lived next door to Afghanistan for more than 60 years without gobbling it up. And when the Russians invaded in 1979, the key motivation was the United States involvement in a movement, largely Islamic, to topple the Afghan government, which was friendly to Moscow. The Soviets could not have been expected to tolerate a pro-US, anti-communist government on its border any more than the United States could have been expected to tolerate a pro-Soviet, communist government in Mexico.
Moreover, if the rebel movement took power it likely would have set up a fundamentalist Islamic government, which would have been in a position to proselytize the numerous Muslims in the Soviet border republics.
- See RT.com (formerly Russia Today) for many stories, images and videos
- Robert Gates, Duty (2014), p.97
- If this site has gone missing again, a saved version can be found here.
- Voice of Russia radio station, Moscow, April 18, 2014; also see Answer Coalition, “Who’s who in Ukraine’s new [semi-fascist] government”, March 11, 2014
- RT.com, news report March 5, 2014
- CBS News, March 3, 2014
- Washington Post, April 11, 2014
- USA Today (Virginia), Oct. 11, 1999, page 1
- Washington Post print edition, April 2, 2014; online here