Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 26, 2017

Open Thread 2017-08

News & views ...

Posted by b on February 26, 2017 at 01:38 PM | Permalink

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Follow the money. All else is a distraction.

I have been reading several articles, without any specifics, a warning we should Beware the Ides of March. Two weeks away, a budget crisis—“a fiscal bloodbath” unfolds.

“Donald J Trump is in a trap.”

David Stockman, former President Reagan’s Admin. WH Budget Director, explains.

Donald Trump is in a trap. Today the debt is $20 trillion. It’s 106% of GDP. . . .Trump is inheriting a built-in deficit of $10 trillion over the next decade under current policies that are built in. Yet, he wants more defense spending, not less. He wants drastic sweeping tax cuts for corporations and individuals. He wants to spend more money on border security and law enforcement. He’s going to do more for the veterans. He wants this big trillion dollar infrastructure program. You put all that together and it’s madness. It doesn’t even begin to add up, and it won’t happen when you are struggling with the $10 trillion of debt that’s coming down the pike and the $20 trillion that’s already on the books.”[.]

“I think what people are missing is this date, March 15th 2017. That’s the day that this debt ceiling holiday that Obama and Boehner put together right before the last election in October of 2015. That holiday expires. The debt ceiling will freeze in at $20 trillion. It will then be law. It will be a hard stop. The Treasury will have roughly $200 billion in cash. We are burning cash at a $75 billion a month rate. By summer, they will be out of cash. Then we will be in the mother of all debt ceiling crises. Everything will grind to a halt. I think we will have a government shutdown. There will not be Obama Care repeal and replace. There will be no tax cut. There will be no infrastructure stimulus. There will be just one giant fiscal bloodbath over a debt ceiling[.]

Stockman’s Interview Link (Vid):

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

USA has 2 options:

1. Repeal the Debt ceiling law because if Stockman is right that everything will grind to a halt the SNAP cards recharge will fail.
2. USA defaults for the 2nd time in 46 years continuing the extend and pretend mindset - all is well, the debt is only $20 trillion; never mind the unfunded liabilities.

We will tax the robots and go cashless. Modi and Mugabe to the rescue.

Posted by: likklemore | Feb 26, 2017 1:46:11 PM | 1

A quick view of the South Americas...

Mexico: The PRI circumlocution leads to giving consent to a law where the functions of public security, when assumed by the armed forces, are not about public security but “internal security”. This is defined in their own proposal as [maintaining the] “continuity of institutions and national development”, that is to say, it could be anything.

Colombia:Presumed paramilitary death squads have assassinated as many as 18 community leaders since peace with the FARC was signed in November last year. After having been promised peace by the government, the same government now condemns these high-risk areas to war. The mass mobilization and displacement of troops takes place without the the 17th Brigade of the 4th Division even noticing, raising suspicion that the military continues to collude with paramilitaries, exactly as before.

Posted by: Maracatu | Feb 26, 2017 1:50:17 PM | 2

If you have been to Washington DC and visited either the US Mint or the Holocaust Museum you will note they are next door to each other. Spitting distance.

Like Mark Felt allegedly said, "Follow the gelt."

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 26, 2017 2:30:28 PM | 4

Coalition airstrikes endanger Tabqa dam in northern Syria

Syria’s largest earth-fill dam is at serious risk after US-led coalition jet fighters hit the main building of the Euphrates Dam Company located nearly 100 meters from the dam.

Local activists reported that coalition airstrikes completely destroyed the governmental facility which was allegedly used as a headquarter for the Islamic State , causing huge explosion in the area.

Experts fear the use of such highly-explosive air-to-surface missiles and the intensity of the blast might unbalance the foundations of the decades-old dam, which in turn portends a catastrophic disaster on the entire south and southwestern parts of the war-ton country.

looks like the de facto, rogue nsa/dnc/rnc/cia 'government' in the us is about to have / has already had another 'accident' that will wreak untold death, devastation, and destruction in the unconquered world of eurasia.

trump won't care. he's consumed by his new 'reality' tv show.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 26, 2017 2:52:14 PM | 5

a change from the last thread is welcome! follow the money? yeah!

i liked the line 'do what you love and the money will follow.' even if it doesn't, you can be happy with the end result!

Posted by: james | Feb 26, 2017 2:53:56 PM | 6

In the previous post I commented about the strange political alliance between Muslim activist and transsexual and LGBTQ+ activists.

I wrote this without providing any sources:

The Muslim Brotherhood has been infiltrating Progressive groups and the Democratic Party for decades. Muslim Brotherhood influence on Washington has been stated as the reasons behind Hillary's disastrous wars of aggression of Libya and Syria. CAIR is claimed to be a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, Keith Ellison is claimed to be connected with CAIR.

The Foreign Policy has now published an article supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and attacking the Trump administration.

The Trump Administration’s Islamophobic Holy Grail

Designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group would cripple U.S. foreign policy and launch a domestic smear campaign.
Many politically active Muslims who emigrated to the United States and helped to found Muslim civic associations here were either members of the Brotherhood, or had friends who were. As with the Kevin Bacon parlor game, look hard enough at almost any Muslim organization in the United States, and you are likely to find some glancing connection to the Brotherhood.
In Syria, that would seriously hamper the U.S. ability to work with the anti-Assad opposition. And American diplomats from Tunisia to Kuwait would find themselves barred from speaking to members of parliament and key political opposition groups.

That, Crocker predicts, will hinder American diplomacy and produce even more extremism. He worries that it would cripple the U.S. ability to work with Sunni Muslim groups opposed to radical extremists like the Islamic State, since even the moderates likely have ties to the Brotherhood. That would leave Washington with no alternative to backing authoritarian regimes in order to take on the terrorists.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Feb 26, 2017 2:55:05 PM | 7

RAND Corporation's plan for dicing up Syria

i think this information, if not this link to it, has been posted elsewhere here. the picture tells the story.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 26, 2017 2:56:28 PM | 8

Doomsday predictions seem to be contagious these days.....

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 26, 2017 3:18:56 PM | 9


rand's disposition of idlib and 'the greater golan heights' and russia's willingness to transport terrorists to idlib and its tolerance of israel within syria makes me wonder how closely russia and rand are working together to divide syria.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 26, 2017 3:37:08 PM | 10

Posted by: nmb | Feb 26, 2017 2:09:42 PM | 3

Varoufakis is wrong on Merkel's economic political problems.

Merkel's predecessor Kohl/her party had forced the Euro on an unwilling population by promising that Germany would not have to guarantee for the debt of other European countries.

Germans knew that southern Europe had run their economies on weak currencies, they had profited from it by cheap holidays and the D Mark checks "guest" workers sent back were valuable at home. Germans used to go to Greece for holidays. After the Euro they went to Turkey.

Germans hated the Euro. It was forced on them by a huge PR campaign. There is a rumour that it was the price demanded by the US and Britain for reunification.

Basically Germany's strength in exports could afford a strong currency that meant cheap imports. Germans had a mentality to save up money for personal security that does no longer make sense with a cheap Euro.

Never mind, when the Greek crisis came, with the banks sitting on Greek debt they were sure were guaranteed by the ECB, it would have been politically fatal for Merkel to "pay" for Greek debt. The fiction that Greece would pay back had to be maintained with unrealistic austerity.

Otherwise, Varoufakis is right. Banks were saved not Greece.

As in Ukraine, the role of European conservative partnership should not be underestimated. Sarkozy and Merkel had no reason to enable Papandreou to look good to his electorate, and a large part of the next negotiations were an attempt to get rid of Tsipras.

Germany's austerity policy in the context of the EU is madness. At present, the country is sitting on 250 Billion Euros the EU commission thinks it should invest.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 26, 2017 3:55:16 PM | 11

For Putin, the more vultures show up for Syria's carveup, the better, it seems.

Posted by: paul | Feb 26, 2017 3:58:11 PM | 12

Syrian Army liberates two villages near Al-Bab amid clashes with the Turkish Army

[F]resh skirmishes erupted between the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield forces and the SAA on the outskirts of Al-Bab. Turkish troops were also involved in the clashes that have thrown two hostile national armies at each other’s throats.

wonder if the russian airforce will be bombing their new best friends - the turks - on behalf of their old best friends - the syrians - in syria, or bombing their old best friends - the syrians - on behalf or their new best friends - the turks - in syria.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 26, 2017 4:03:09 PM | 13

BREAKING: Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader killed in Idlib drone strike
what's the us doing, killing al-cia-duh in idlib?

drone strike certainly looks different. no hellfire here.

was this a us military drone, as opposed to a cia drone?

is the us military now fighting the cia and its al-cia-duh in syria?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 26, 2017 4:11:58 PM | 14


Rand report was written 2015. Old news dressed as new news?
Report available here.
Document Details

Copyright: RAND Corporation
Availability: Web-Only
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.7249/PE182
Document Number: PE-182-RC
Year: 2015

Posted by: Peter AU | Feb 26, 2017 4:24:34 PM | 15

@ likklemore who wrote about following the money/debt

I agree that the can kicking of raising the debt ceilings has become a joke that has been somewhat less sick than the alternative.

I would also argue that going off the gold standard that Nixon did 46 years ago should have caused the crisis that the coming default on fiat money is bringing to a head now.....the world has been living on private finance faith for 46 years.

I have commented elsewhere that it came to me that Trump is the pick by the elite to negotiate the US debt default with the world.......what could go wrong?

If private finance comes out on top again it will be just putting another coat of lipstick on the centuries old pig of social organization that is failing the 99% now.

I also find it interesting that the false god of Mammon is not called out as such by the other religions. Is that because their own mythical identify is caught up in the hubris of faith based anything human contrived?

Just like Orwells': "Truth is treason in an empire of lies." Facts are heresy in any religion of faith and Mammon seems to have the ring that binds them all.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 26, 2017 4:42:37 PM | 16

@jfl 10

What should Russia do? If you don't have enough forces on the ground to control the entire country but want the war to end at some point, you have to compromise. Not accepting this reality would only escalate the situation further, and Moscow has already achieved its main goals.

@likklemore 1

Somehow we've heard this quite a few times before in recent years. It's just numbers in a computer, no need to call the end of the world.

Posted by: smuks | Feb 26, 2017 4:56:38 PM | 17


looking further I found another recent Rand report on the carve up of Syria dated 2017

Neither fortruss nor the German publication linked to it..

Posted by: Peter AU | Feb 26, 2017 5:06:17 PM | 18


The Pentagon-backed rebels have been fighting the CIA-backed rebels for a while now - remember Azaz? Whenever there's stories of 'killed leaders', I wonder whether someone (witness) was silenced, or just withdrawn from the battlefield...we'll never know I guess.

Turkey and Syria are smoothening their front lines. No need for Russia to get involved unless things threaten to get out of control.

Posted by: smuks | Feb 26, 2017 5:09:29 PM | 19


Just maybe the military and the cia have been ordered to back off of Syrian troops and kill the thugs

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 26, 2017 5:12:09 PM | 20

@ pychohistorian 16

“Greenspan Warns A Crisis Is Imminent, Urges A Return To The Gold Standard”


“Alan Greenspan: Ron Paul Was Right About The Gold Standard”


As John Rubino eloquently puts it, "when the history of these times is written, former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan will be one of the major villains, but also one of the greatest mysteries. This is so because he has, in effect, been three different people." Greenspan started his public life brilliantly, as a libertarian thinker who said some compelling and accurate things about gold and its role in the world. An example from 1966: "This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard."

Yet everything changed a few decades later when Greenspan was put in charge of the Federal Reserve in the late 1980s, instead of applying the above wisdom, for example by limiting the bank's interference in the private sector and letting market forces determine winners and losers, he did a full 180, intervening in every crisis, creating new currency with abandon, and generally behaving like his old ideological enemies, the Keynesians. Predictably, debt soared during his long tenure.[.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And the Chinese are echoing a gold backed RMB may be soon.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

@ smuks 17

This time may be different…we never know.. but it will be announced on a Sunday evening. At some point the can kicking down the road into the future runs out of road and there’s only the ditch. Nations or individuals cannot deficit spend forever.

The debt ceiling “pause” was fixed at this level and becomes law on March 15th, 2017. And, as in maxing out the debt card (otherwise known as the credit card), you have the options: – pay down some so you are allowed to purchase or pay bills; request an increase in limit …Or declare bankruptcy. Trump knows how and the GS boys and gals will profit.

When credit dries up everything halts, no deliveries.

So, do you presume foreigners will continue to hold savings in U$Treasuries and watch the debasement ad infinitum.
Ask Charles de Gaulle. Oh wait, he is napping.

Posted by: likklemore | Feb 26, 2017 6:04:54 PM | 21

The Rand report titled 'A Peace Plan for Syria III' seems to be the third report pushing for the breakup of Syria, each report taking into consideration current factors at the time of writing.
Plan III goes a long way to explaining why ISIS is giving up areas under there control, but keeping up a suicidal attack on Deir Ezzor and also there latest push in S/W Syria.
Rand plan for "international" governance in areas taken from ISIS. The Report specifically mentions Deir Ezzor, but as the local rebel headchoppers in the south west had reached some sort of peace deal with the Syrian government, it may also apply there.
CIA stopped helping rebels now ISIS taking over in that area to be later "internationally governed"?

Posted by: Peter AU | Feb 26, 2017 6:35:03 PM | 22

VeteransToday is claiming that Turkish aircraft have started bombing Syrian positions. No other sources for confirmation yet.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Feb 26, 2017 6:38:42 PM | 23

Anybody except me see, or care about, the fact that the Israeli air force was bombing the Syrian army threatening ISIS/ISIL fighters.

Would this not prove that ISIS/ISIL is a creature of the Israeli/American state?

Or, not.

Posted by: cabeza del toro | Feb 26, 2017 9:38:38 PM | 24

Re: Posted by: Wwinsti | Feb 26, 2017 6:38:42 PM | 23

If that's true, why aren't the Syrians using their S-400 to shoot these invaders down?

Posted by: Julian | Feb 26, 2017 9:48:49 PM | 25

We seen a steady stream of faux 'grassroots' protests, spotlighted refusals to participate (choir member refused to sing at inauguration), and not-so-principled resignations (CIA guy resigned 'cause he did't want to serve Trump), now this fiasco: Muslim Woman Claims She 'Only Lasted Eight Days' in Trump White House - Here's What Shes Not Saying

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 26, 2017 9:55:53 PM | 26

The White Helmets won the Oscar in the Propaganda (Short Subject) class.

Posted by: Ghostship | Feb 26, 2017 10:48:04 PM | 27

>>>> Julian | Feb 26, 2017 9:48:49 PM | 25

If that's true, why aren't the Syrians using their S-400 to shoot these invaders down?

Perhaps because Syria doesn't have S-400s. So far the only operator is Russia. As for shooting down Israeli planes, Bashar Al-Assad is neither stupid nor suicidal, he knows what Israel's response would be.

Posted by: Ghostship | Feb 26, 2017 10:58:12 PM | 28

@24 cdt, 'the fact that the Israeli air force was bombing the Syrian army threatening ISIS/ISIL fighters'

too much trouble to supply a link to 'the fact'? or is this the attack of a few days ago in idlib, against hezbollah?

no argument here, though ... daesh is a creature of the us/uk/eu/ksa/gcc/turkish axis.

@28 gs, 'Bashar Al-Assad is neither stupid nor suicidal, he knows what Israel's response would be'

and israel certainly knows what the syrian/russian response to be to its attacks on syria ... nothing. they have an open field. they used not to. russia chased them away when they first showed their ugly faces in syrian airspace. now the israelis own it. give 'em inch and they'll take it all. just like palestine.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 26, 2017 11:12:57 PM | 29

But things are even worse now, we have a president who calls them out for their lies and then turns around and lies more than all of them combined. There is no government, only liars accusing each other of lying while doing what has always been done, stealing everything that isn’t nailed down and Trump looks like he is setting a new record for that as well.
The orchestrated press attacks on Flynn originated from within the all-powerful Israel lobby, who has presented Trump with US/Israeli dual citizen, Stephen Feinburg, owner of disgraced private military contractor DynCorp, is to oversee all American intelligence efforts worldwide. We are also told that as agencies such as the DHS and FBI operate both outside the US and domestically, Feinburg will have more government employees and more guns under his command than the Secretary of Defense, but without the nasty accountability.

Making America Great Again.
All you "lets wait and see" Trump apologist just can't face facts... Trump is the "FAKE NEWS"
He has lied or made misleading claims at least 100 times in his 30 plus days in office.
All you apologist bitched and raised hell when Obama lied but with Trump you think we should
just wait and see. I for one don't need to wait "once a LIAR always a LIAR" Wake up, and see
the Zionist that Trump really is.

In 1998 Trump told People Magazine "If I were to run for President I would run as a Republican
They're the dumbest group in the Country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could Lie and they'd
still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific." He sure fooled a lot of rabbits and thats a fact

Posted by: Rodger | Feb 26, 2017 11:20:30 PM | 30

@Julian, Ghostship:

The Syrians have the ability to defend their ground forces from air attack. The fact that they do not shows a deep fear of the US, along with a lot of insecurity concerning the Russian partnership.

@Ghostship: The Israelis have stayed more or less out of Syrian airspace since the alleged f16 shoot down in Nov., prefering stand off weapons for their strikes for the last 3 months, give or take.

Another source for the Turkish air attack on Syrian forces:

Posted by: Wwinsti | Feb 26, 2017 11:21:42 PM | 31

@22 peter au

thanks for the pointers to the three position papers. i have the three now and will read them when i have the time. i 'know' what they say ... it's been apparent since the us began its proxy war against syria. they want regime change ... sooner or later. they want outright control of as much of the region as they can manage. via proxy is ok, as in iraq. and 'kurdistan'. and in a 'sunnistan' whose extent is to be defined later. the rand map tells the story. 'international' control means us control.

the chairman of the us joint chiefs of staff has just talked up direct american intervention. you can listen to tee-rump if you want, but the actions of 'his' administration will be only loosely correlated, when correlated at all, with what comes out of his mouth. he's in charge of the 'reality' tv segment of his administration, and leaves other 'experts' to manage their respective segments.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 26, 2017 11:35:20 PM | 32

@ghostship 27, 28
This Consortium piece on the White Helmets at the Oscars:

Western “human rights” groups touted not only the White Helmets but the “moderate rebels” who we now know were largely a P.R. cover for the terrorists and jihadists, as well as an excuse for the U.S. and its allies to funnel in weapons that were then turned over to the extremists.

When eastern Aleppo was finally freed from the armed militants, it was discovered that the White Helmets headquarters were alongside the headquarters of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. Civilians from east Aleppo reported that the White Helmets primarily rallied their “humanitarian” operations when the militants were attacked.

See also Sophie&Co grilling a Turkish advisor to Erdogan, with the unspoken question being "is Turkey trying to seize Syrian land for long-term occupation?"

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 27, 2017 12:07:20 AM | 33

Re: Posted by: Ghostship | Feb 26, 2017 10:58:12 PM | 28

Sorry, S-300 then - and I was referring to the Turks whom the Russians & Syrians are allied against.

One can't trust Erdogan.

Posted by: Julian | Feb 27, 2017 12:17:52 AM | 35

@ Julian

Magnier's take on Israel/Syria

Posted by: Peter AU | Feb 27, 2017 12:26:33 AM | 36

>>>> Julian | Feb 26, 2017 9:48:49 PM | 25

Re: Turkish airstrikes - I have a low opinion of Gordon Duff at VeteransToday so I doubt the story that the Turkish Air Force bombed SAA positions. Al Masdar News which seems to be one of the best news sources on the war in Syria in particular and also good on Iraq has not reported any Turkish attacks on the SAA. In the past the Israelis have flown through Turkish airspace to attack Syria and now the Israelis might also have active F-35s so even if the Syrians claimed an Turkish attack it could actually be Israeli. Als 'm not sure where military cooperation between Turkey and Israel stands at the moment so shooting down Turkish planes might give Netanyahoo the excuse he needs to launch a major attack on Syria.
BTW, as far as I can make out Syria doesn't have S-300s either. The only ones in Syria are operated by the Russian. All Assad really has are upgraded S-200s which are a bit long in the tooth.

Posted by: Ghostship | Feb 27, 2017 1:07:45 AM | 37

Wwinsti | Feb 26, 2017 11:21:42 PM | 31

@Ghostship: The Israelis have stayed more or less out of Syrian airspace since the alleged f16 shoot down in Nov., prefering stand off weapons for their strikes for the last 3 months, give or take.

Their latest attack involved one or more Israeli aircraft in Syrian airspace.

Another source for the Turkish air attack on Syrian forces:
Not really - it mentions ground clashes between the FSA (Turkish Army according to AMN) and SAA which were bound to happen if the FSA moved south of Al-Bab with the SAA being close to joining up with the YPG around Manbij.

Posted by: Ghostship | Feb 27, 2017 1:19:09 AM | 38

@Rodger 30

The Trump quote from people magazine is fake news.

Posted by: Caspian C | Feb 27, 2017 1:42:46 AM | 39

Sophie Shevardnadze to Turkish government representative , Feb 26 (link @33)

Q: Now to get to Raqqa, Turkey may have to fight through the territories of the Syrian Kurds obviously, whom it accuses of ties with insurgent groups back home. Now is that the plan, to defeat the Syrian Kurds along the way, as well? A: At the moment the plan is just, the west of Euphrates [river], there is a place called Manbij. And we want the Syrians out of that place, out of Manbij, we want the Syrians out of all the areas west of the Euphrates. So we want them to move into the east of the Euphrates, if they don't we're going to clean them out of Manbij.

So is the Turkish Army going to be sending ground troops all the way down the Euphrates to Raqqa? As ghostship notes above, from another source: . .

At the same time, the Syrian forces are approaching Manbij, from which ISIS was already expelled by Kurdish forces. The Syrian military has largely not clashed with the Kurdish YPG during the civil war, with some rare exceptions, and the link-up could complicate Turkey’s planned offensive against Manibj, and it’s advance on to Raqqa Province.

One has to wonder if John McCain's recent trip to Turkey was all about ensuring that Turkey wouldn't be cooperating with Assad to go afer ISIS. On the other hand, apparently CENTCOM is saying it will support the Manbij Military Council, (ie. SDF, Syrian Democratic Forces with Kurdish YPG militias), so is this more internal war between U.S. deep state who'd rather see ISIS maintained as an anti-Assad force, (represented by McCain) and those who believe defeating ISIS is issue #1? Is McCain playing a shady double game, trying to continue with Obama-era policies in the region? It seems very likely.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 27, 2017 2:04:30 AM | 40

@Ghostship #38

The correction is appreciated on the second source article. My confirmation bias is strong apparently.


Their latest attack involved one or more Israeli aircraft in Syrian airspace.

It's an alleged strike so far. Syrian/Israeli governments have yet to confirm the strike, and Hezbollah denies it took place.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Feb 27, 2017 2:11:26 AM | 41

c de toro 34:
"As for being a gabacho see"

To trully understand it one should instead see

txs for the link, learned something new

Posted by: estouxim | Feb 27, 2017 2:38:51 AM | 42

I think that Gabacho is something similarly derrogative for Westerners of other ethnicity similar to the Cantonese Gweilo, Gubbah for the aborigines in Australia, and the ever popular Hawaiian Haole.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Feb 27, 2017 4:36:42 AM | 43

I'm so disappointed....."White Helmets" won documentary short....the shekels keep a coming....

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 27, 2017 4:45:42 AM | 44

Now it's Fake Oscar winners ... in la la land.

"La La Land is wrongly announced as winning best picture instead of Moonlight."

So, do we assume facts don't matter except when it's Hollywood bling time?

I guess PriceWaterhouseCoopers just lost an account.

Posted by: x | Feb 27, 2017 5:14:56 AM | 45

meet the MICCPX,
Military \Industrial\ congress \prison complex

Posted by: denk | Feb 27, 2017 6:10:23 AM | 46

Take note of the fact that I show THREE examples where YouTube is allowing channels to make ad revenue while making a video about the Israel-Palestinian conflict yet they demonetize me. This is the exact part of my video where I show that:

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Feb 27, 2017 6:18:12 AM | 47

... If private finance comes out on top again it will be just putting another coat of lipstick on the centuries old pig of social organization that is failing the 99% now. ...

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 26, 2017 4:42:37 PM | 16

Psycho, Given your keen interest in private finance, have you encountered the writings of Michael Hudson ? The following link is one of his best IMO:
Link to Hudson's “Gospel" = Good News = Clean Slate (ancient Jubilees)

Posted by: Avid Lurker | Feb 27, 2017 8:35:02 AM | 48

The total screw up at the Oscars last night was a pr stunt.

It was designed to draw in the NASCAR "wild racing, big crashes" fans.

Posted by: librul | Feb 27, 2017 9:09:37 AM | 49

likklemore 1
The MSM does this. Recently they pointed to Trump having inherited a strong economy while Obama inherited a weak/bad one. This way they can blame Trump for anything bad that happens and proclaim an Obama economic success. Never mind that this is lies mixed with bias and spin.

Posted by: Curtis | Feb 27, 2017 9:21:27 AM | 50

nonsense factory@40

Unfortunately, Turkey seems to be planning to to clean the city of Manbij from terrorists and Kurdish militants of SDF according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Erdogan’s Adviser Says Turkey to Stop Operation in Syria after Capturing Manbij

"Turkey is presently setting up a 90-kilometer buffer zone," he said. "Ankara is trying to regain its presence there," Ilnur Cevik said at a conference titled "Relations between Turkey and Russia: From the Period of Tension to Strengthening Cooperation" organized by the Sabah newspaper and the Press and Information Office of the Turkish government, TASS reported (

"As soon Manbij is captured, Turkey will stop its operation in Syria," Cevik said.

Posted by: Krollchem | Feb 27, 2017 9:24:08 AM | 51

Except for mistake of an Oscar for the lousy acting of Emma Stone, La La land got what it deserves: The rewards for a 21th century flashy packaging of a unoriginal remake of the brilliant 20th century musical comedies
Moonlight got finally the recognition Bafta and the Golden Globes had refused it.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 27, 2017 9:26:22 AM | 52

Peter AU 18
The RAND report is more a push for a defacto division of the region that they cann't get any other way. DIA report from 2012 said all the parties opposed to Assad want this and are okay with it even if it results in a Sunni controlled state. And before (2006) that was Lt. Col Peters map of dredrawn borders. So many forces on the outside want this but what do people on the inside want? And what does this say for what the outside forces have done for decades that got them into this position?

Posted by: Curtis | Feb 27, 2017 9:28:52 AM | 53

Last letters : From Mosul schoolboys to Islamic State 'martyrs'
"My dear family, please forgive me," reads the handwritten letter discarded in the dusty halls of an Islamic State training compound in eastern Mosul.
"Don't be sad and don't wear the black clothes (of mourning). I asked to get married and you did not marry me off. So, by God, I will marry the 72 virgins in paradise."
They were schoolboy Alaa Abd al-Akeedi's parting words before he set off from the compound to end his life in a suicide bomb attack against Iraqi security forces last year.
The letter was written on an Islamic State form marked "Soldiers' Department, Martyrs' Brigade" and in an envelope addressed to his parents' home in western Mosul.
Akeedi, aged 15 or 16 when he signed up, was one of dozens of young recruits who passed through the training facility in the past 2-1/2 years as they prepared to wage jihad. In several cases this involved carrying out suicide attacks - Islamic State's most effective weapon against a U.S.-backed military campaign to retake the group's last major urban bastion in Iraq.
His letter never reached his family. It was left behind with a handful of other bombers' notes to relatives when Islamic State abandoned the facility in the face of an army offensive that has reclaimed more than half of the city since October.
The militants also left a handwritten registry containing the personal details of about 50 recruits. Not all entries had years of birth, and only about a dozen had photographs attached, but many recruits were in their teens or early 20s.
These documents, found by Reuters on a trip into eastern Mosul after the army recaptured that area, include some of the first first-hand accounts from Islamic State's suicide bombers to be made public and offer an insight into the mindset of young recruits prepared to die for Islamic State's ultra-hardline ideology.
Reuters interviewed relatives of three of the fighters including Akeedi to help determine where they came from and why they chose jihad. In rare testimonies by families of Islamic State suicide bombers, they told of teenagers who joined the jihadists to their dismay and bewilderment, and died within months.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 27, 2017 9:29:50 AM | 54
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Monday they would take control of Ukraine-run businesses in rebel-held areas if the Ukrainian government does not end a rail blockade that has halted coal supplies.
For the past month, a group of Ukrainian lawmakers and veterans have blocked some rail traffic in eastern regions - a move opposed by the government as it prevents coal produced in separatist territory from reaching Ukrainian power plants and the steel industry, whose exports are a keystone of the economy.
In a joint statement, leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DNR and LNR) said the blockade had caused many businesses to suffer in rebel-held areas and that it went against the spirit of the 2015 Minsk peace agreement.
"We are forced to announce that if by midnight on Wednesday the blockade is not taken down, we will introduce a system of external management on all companies registered in Ukraine's jurisdiction that operate in the DNR and LNR," leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky said.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 27, 2017 9:48:01 AM | 55

Trump budget plan boosts Pentagon, trims State Dept, EPA: officials

The White House will send federal departments a budget proposal on Monday containing the defense spending increase President Donald Trump promised, financed partly by cuts to the U.S. State Department, Environmental Protection Agency and other non-defense programs, two officials familiar with the proposal said.
One of the officials said Trump's request for the Pentagon included more money for shipbuilding, military aircraft and establishing "a more robust presence in key international waterways and chokepoints" such as the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea.
A second official said the State Department's budget could be cut by as much as 30 percent, which would force a major restructuring of the department and elimination of programs.
The officials requested anonymity because the draft budget had not been made public yet.
Trump, in a speech to conservative activists on Friday, promised "one of the greatest military buildups in American history."
Some defense experts have questioned the need for a large increase in U.S. military spending, which already stands at roughly $600 billion annually. By contrast, the United States spends about $50 billion annually on the State Department and foreign assistance.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 27, 2017 10:04:26 AM | 56

The Tel Aviv regime has dispatched a battalion of Combat Intelligence Coalition Corps half a kilometer inside Syria’s territory on back-to-back incursions to observe all developments and eavesdrop on military conversations there. Press TV has asked an analyst what the Israeli military is seeking by infiltrating into Syria.

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 27, 2017 10:08:11 AM | 57

nonsense factory@40

In another development, Turkey appears to be engaging in a water war with Syria to gain control of Manbij:

Posted by: Krollchem | Feb 27, 2017 10:13:26 AM | 58

likklemore 1
I'm reading more of the Stockman interview at ZH and if they have really forzen the debt ceiling at $20 Trillion, he's right, this could be a disaster. Who will blink? I'm thinking they may do what they always do and increase the debt ceiling and bypass the Obama/Boehner deal.

Posted by: Curtis | Feb 27, 2017 11:01:46 AM | 59

jfl | Feb 26, 2017 4:11:58 PM | 14

was this a us military drone, as opposed to a cia drone?

The British and French developed a purely kinetic JDAM device, a concrete "bomb" that you dropped on the target with very little chance of collateral damage. Maybe the Americans used one of those from a Reaper. Dropped from five times the height of that in the video, the "bomb" would only need to weigh 130kgs

Posted by: Ghostship | Feb 27, 2017 11:09:49 AM | 60

And the Oscar for Best Documentary Short goes to…”ISIS – Al Qaeda”

If there were any doubts that the Oscars were merely a political tool wielded by the globalist elite,  doubt no more.
It should come as no surprise that a film celebrating the White Helmets scooped up an Oscar for best short documentary. Might as well hand the Oscar to ISIS leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Far from a humanitarian organisation, the White Helmets are an Al Qaeda staffed propaganda group that is embedded with brutal jihadists looking to overthrow the sovereign government of Syria.
Watch this CrossTalk episode to learn who the White Helmets represent…

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 27, 2017 11:21:51 AM | 61

CrossTalk : Bullhorns: Media Wars

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 27, 2017 11:40:39 AM | 62


CrossTalk : Bullhorns: Media Wars

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 27, 2017 11:41:35 AM | 63

Thanks to comments at Saker post about Eastern Ukraine situation plus Trump's week:

Never mind the Oscars. Last time I watched was Michael Moore, and I'm pretty sure we were being brainwashed even then. Good on you, Robert Kennedy!

Posted by: juliania | Feb 27, 2017 12:00:28 PM | 64

At #65 I should have credited Talks-to-Cats for the link, sorry.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 27, 2017 12:14:12 PM | 65

Lots of discourse recently about Athenian Democracy. A curious factoid I discovered when studying Greek History was the Orwellian change in the meaning of the word known in English as Tyrant: A person who purged the elite from governing so the commoners could regain control was called a tyrant by the purged, very similar to how Bacon reversed the Hydra to mean the poor masses globally instead of an insatiable elite ever grasping at gold to increase their power. Will Trump become a Tyrant? Fake Media says yes, but which meaning of that word are they using?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 27, 2017 1:02:46 PM | 66

Great news, the SDF and SAA have linked up east of Al Bab and sealed off an IS pocket thereby cutting off Turkish backed troops heading south.. How long before this powder keg blows off?

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 27, 2017 5:50:27 PM | 67

@ Avid Lurker who provided a link to Michael Hudson

Thanks for the link. The article reminded me of the David Graeber tome "Debt, the first 5000 years".

Here is a quote from the article I was drawn to;
The problem is the privatization of credit. The government today could cancel the student debts that are owed to the government. But they can’t cancel the debts that are owed, say, to David Rockefeller or to other banks – to somebody else.

The banks should be a public option, just like health care should be a public option. Even the University of Chicago right-wingers, in the 1930s, proposed a 100% reserve. The idea is that banks should not be able to create credit, meaning create debt. When you create credit, you’re creating somebody’s debt. That should be a government function, because the government can relieve the debts.

The bankruptcy law was re-written in 2005. It made it almost impossible to declare bankruptcy. It used to be you could declare bankruptcy and have a clean slate, on an individual basis, not a social basis, but now even that has been closed here. And for student loans you can’t have bankruptcy at all.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 27, 2017 8:56:24 PM | 68

The US debt is already going down.
URL as text for those who prefer that, remove breaks: litifact-hacks-find-tgp-story-complete ly-factual-then-calls-it-a-lie/

22 billion during the first month, linear extrapolation to one year would make it 264 billion and to four years 1056 billion which is a little over 1 trillion less debt leaving 19 trillion to take care of.

Note that "short"/modern billions and trillions are being used and not the old "long" billions and trillions some of us might be used to (particularly non-Americans).

The decrease in the debt was done during his first month while under constant attack. If Trump manages to accelerate the decrease in debt by a factor of only about 20 or 21 all the debt will be gone after one term in office.

Unlikely but seemingly not impossible.

Posted by: Outsider | Feb 27, 2017 9:41:14 PM | 69

b, I don't know why you persist over at SST, Pat Lang is rude to his contributors. The Saker is either a Russian agent, a racist or both. You are the last man standing, go you good thing.

Posted by: Earthrise | Feb 27, 2017 10:14:26 PM | 70

US-led coalition airstrikes completely destroy Al-Tabqa airbase in Raqqa

the usaf is the only airforce that isis has ... why have they destroyed their own airbase? it must be syria's airbase the isaf has destroyed? that at least signals the us/isis' perceived inability to continue to control it.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 28, 2017 12:58:48 AM | 71

@70 are you in la la land? Trump wants to do significant stimulus.

Furthermore, it looks like his (repubs) healthcare ideas are absolutely atrocious and might consign millions to early deaths and impoverishing the survivors.

We could literally recieve the Madelaine Albright Iraq treatment (literal death-care) under Trump

Posted by: aaaa | Feb 28, 2017 1:06:03 AM | 72

Here is a quote from the article I was drawn to;

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 27, 2017 8:56:24 PM | 69

Psycho, Hudson has a very wide-ranging background, including this precious little ditty:

When I was on Wall Street, Greenspan was hired as part of a study I was doing on the balance of payments of the Oil Industry. And one day my boss, John Deaver came into my office and said he really worried about Greenspan being a part of this report because he was known as a hack that always gave …his clients what they wanted instead of something actual.

So he (JD) gave me Greenspan’s figures on depreciation of oil producing refinery assets in Europe and asked me to find out where the faking is? He said he couldn’t believe that Greenspan by himself wouldn’t of just faked the figures and it took me about a week to figure out where the faking of the figures came out (from) and that was Greenspan had simply picked up depreciation rates relative to output for the United States and projected them onto Europe.

So I went over and talked to his assistant Lucille Woo and she said “it’s all implicit, all implicit” and I confronted her with it and she said “Yes that’s what we did”!

And so, Greenspan was indeed ‘talked off the study’ and we met… John Deaver, David Rockefeller and myself and I was told…Greenspan was such a little bastard that if they fired him, he’d hold a grudge against Chase Manhattan for years and they told me to be the guy to give him the news that we couldn’t use his (laughs) statistics on it and I was a 25 year old economist at the time and he hardly new me at all, so I was the guy that…subsequently became known as ‘the man who fired Alan Greenspan’.

‘the man who fired Alan Greenspan’

Couldn't have happened to a more deserving neoclassical hack (i.e., the "Maestro" Greenspan)...

Posted by: Avid Lurker | Feb 28, 2017 5:26:55 AM | 73

Curtis @ 51. 60

The consequences are such the law will be ignored or some creative engineering. Congress will blink, fearing not just a government shutdown but protests…the SNAP riots.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It’s now out
On the leaks and protests, Trump fingers Obama: …..


In an interview with Fox & Friends that aired early Tuesday morning, President Trump blamed former President Obama for protests against him and other Republicans, as well as "possibly" some of the leaks from the White House: “I think President Obama’s behind it, because his people are certainly behind it."

Posted by: likklemore | Feb 28, 2017 10:09:04 AM | 74

I just stumbled across this incisive (decade-old) documentary two days ago: Documentary on IRAN Iran Is Not the Problem; Stop War on IRAN

@ 53 min:

"Due to a historical accident, most of the world's petroleum is in Shiite parts of the Middle East, including Shia controlled Iraq, Shia Iran, and the Shia region of Saudi Arabia. Washington's worst nightmare is formation of an independent loose Shiite alliance controlling most of the world's oil. Possibly even joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization."

Documentary on IRAN; Iran Is Not the Problem; Stop War on IRAN

No wonder every recent US administration has been anti-Iran... Go figure.

I also wonder what some regular posters, who I follow here, have to say about this 'inference', e.g., Hoarsewhisperer, Debs Is Dead, etc. ?

Posted by: Avid Lurker | Feb 28, 2017 1:45:18 PM | 75


"So, do you presume foreigners will continue to hold savings in U$Treasuries and watch the debasement ad infinitum.[?]"

- Yes.

Posted by: smuks | Feb 28, 2017 6:09:16 PM | 76

Follow up on my post @68, quoted from Canthama's "field updates" on the syrper blog:

"Eastern Aleppo continues to bring good news, more villages liberated today. The Turkish back terrorists are blocked and can’t go no further. There are skirmishes in few empty villages where no force is under control at the moment, ISIS terrorists are all but gone from them.

The encounter of the Tiger Forces and SDF was very positive, lots of good reports on the merger of the two forces. One huge side benefit for that is the fact that there is now a corridor where people can travel from Afrin, Aleppo to Hasaka, basically it is the first time in 6 years that Syrians can travel safely from west to east vice versa. Another way to look at is that Aleppo will not be under siege if Khanaser road is blocked somehow.

Things near Palmyra look very good, the city may be liberated far sooner than anyone thought, ISIS defenses are not as near of what it was in May 2016, the advances from the SAA and allies are solid, differently from the previous offensive, this time the SAA is going for the “gold” as fast as possible, not worrying to consolidate flanks, and that may be due to weak defensive lines all over from ISIS. The interesting aspect of this situation is that the SAA may not stop at Palmyra and go further east to Der ez Zor if ISIS defenses are light in the area.

An important report came from Iraq saying a deal has been struck between Iraq & Syria Governments for further Iraqi air raids inside Syrian territory. Damascus will provide intel for the strikes. It once more consolidate the aspect of one war zone and that the 4+1 C&C is working smoothly."

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 28, 2017 6:35:23 PM | 77

@Avid Lurker # 76
Hiya there's not much to say about the way that USuk et al have declared war on Shia Islam despite their being the legit mate traditional owners of the bulk of the ME's hydrocarbons other than the points I have already made over the years -that Sunni Islam particularly Wahabi style advocates far more repressive political systems than Shia tends to, if I had to guess why that it is I'd say that outside of Iran, Shia's have long been treated as untermensch and the solidarity that engenders means it is more 'cost-effective' to pay of a small group of rabidly sociopathic assholes who won't be needing extra wedges to spread about the population but who will do whatever butchery is necessary to continue their hold on power.
In addition the point I made a couple of weeks back that because the al-Saud have no legitimate claim to the oil resources, they are more than happy to settle for cents on the dollar when it comes to royalties - free money is just that, there is no regret over traditional lands despoiled, family members being displaced etc to encourage anyone in the elite to fight for more.

Mostly I reckon it all goes back to the decisions made in London towards the end of the 19th century when the al_sauds were given a hand up in return for supressing any pushback, the Wahabis showed themselves to be just the type of brutal thug that was needed. Previously the colonial corporations such as East India or Hudson Bay had directly employed sociopaths and done the filthy deeds themselves but after the fuss caused by Queen Victoria's favourite nephew King Leopold of Belgium killing 10 million people to steal land for for rubber plantations & cutting off the right hands of hundreds of thousands of male Congolese children to force the parents into accepting his rapacious attempt to corner the supply of the world's silver mines, the new energy corporations opted for a system of puppet governments for plausible deniability an arrangement which continues to this day.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 28, 2017 6:37:15 PM | 78

p.s. I finally watched Jon Pilger's doco on the coming war with China last night and in it he made the point (sorry if it has been already discussed) that both John Kerry and FDR's family money, you know what kept Kerry in the billions even when he was a govt salary, was opium money. Both FDR and the Ferry/Forbes gang made their bucks getting Chinese hooked on Opium nice eh, that inconvenient truth.
Think about that for a moment and you'll realise exactly why it is that the dems are such rabid supporters of violent imperialism.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 28, 2017 6:43:50 PM | 79

pps oops Ferry = Kerry

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 28, 2017 6:44:56 PM | 80

smuks @ 77

What is the current purchasing power of the USD or any fiat currency? There is a reason behind Greenspan being tapped to promote the re-introduction of the gold standard. The US debt is not only $20 trillion, try $140 trlns; the 2008 financial hic-cup has not been fixed.
Listen to this balanced interview with financial guru, Rick Rule – “the day of reckoning is coming and there is no solution” – Rule proffers that Obama’s and Trump’s policies are the same flavour !

Posted by: likklemore | Feb 28, 2017 7:07:53 PM | 81

duncan_idaho | Feb 19, 2017 3:06:19 PM | 7
Oui | Feb 19, 2017 3:20:15 PM | 10
Curtis | Feb 20, 2017 5:06:53 PM | 97
Peter AU | Feb 26, 2017 6:35:03 PM | 22
Curtis | Feb 27, 2017 9:28:52 AM | 54

i followed up on the RAND series A Peace Plan for Syria and find them interesting as a sort of case study of 'polished' cynical us propaganda and post-hypnotic suggestion.

the series begins in mid-december 2015, right after the russia arrival in latakia. the pitch then is 'how bad war is' and how necessary is a ceasefire. unnecessary over the previous four and more years when things were going the us/eu/gcc/turkey way and so much death, devastation, and destruction of syria was accomplished through their joint efforts.

at the same time that the us pitches its newly-found 'concern' for the well-being of syrians it adapts and refines it's narrative on what is happening in syria and on what is still possible in terms of its own goals.

it is true, as curtis pointed out above, that 'The good thing about those RAND documents is that the Syrian government controlled zone appears to grow ...'.

it does ... but that is due to syrian/lebanese/iranian and russian determination and persistence, and the RAND documents merely acknowledge that fact.

of interest now is what is shown in the maps i see: the saa and kurdish sdf joining, encircling the turkish occupation of syria. erdogan is now talking of raqqa, but now it is in consultation with the us and the russians, ready to explain to his followers at home that the 'temporary' resuscitation of the sultanate is just not his fault.

i wonder if the syrian government and the syrian kurds can manage to make common cause and foreclose altogether the 'international' zone that RAND envisions in its latest post-hypnotic suggestion? ... and perhaps the syrian kurds might then make inroads among the iraqi kurds, to reduce their 'internationalization'.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 28, 2017 8:25:18 PM | 82

two from NEO,

WOT, made in usa....designed to fail !

'A real “war” on the Islamic State would involve first and foremost the exposure, condemnation, isolation and destruction of its state sponsors who US intelligence and political circles have repeatedly admitted include interests within their own nation, as well as among their allies including Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Anything less indicates a rouse serving as nothing more than a pretext for an expanded US presence in Syria, not to fight and defeat the Islamic State, but to preserve it while attempting to further divide and destroy the Syrian state.'

Whats this neocon doing in neo ?

Posted by: denk | Feb 28, 2017 9:36:51 PM | 83

Trump's Speech

Ron Paul tweets:

Warmongering is alive and well. Tragically. Focus on the widow. What a terrible use of tragedy for political purposes.

BullyBearish (commenter at ZH):

Where was any of this?

1. Pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange as a sign he WELCOMES whistle blowers and putting the PEOPLE'S business in the LIGHT

2. Begin to revoke the fed's charter by putting Ron Paul in charge of a special investigation of fed malfeasance

3. Revoke israel's special exemption from foreign lobbying registration and fully audit AIPAC with an intention to uncover bribery and espionage

4. Immediately indict Bill and Hillary Clinton and others from the Clinton Foundation on charges of corruption, espionage, and theft

5. Rescind all future payments/allotments to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and israel until they are in compliance with international law and human rights standards

6. Cease saber rattling against Iran and Russia and work toward peaceful, complementary accommodations

7. Draw down the 600 plus U.S. military bases around the world and bring the Americans HOME

8. Initially shift 30% of the current military budget to domestic infrastructure needs with a mandate of further reductions of 10% per year

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 28, 2017 10:51:35 PM | 84

@ Jackrabbit who reported on Trump's speech to Congress and us pond scum

I read the text version because I didn't want to break anything watching it live.

Trump is defending the US as the world's leader not just in a war mongering sense but also to exert ongoing control over the (private) world financial system.

I still hold to my view that Trump is going to be the out of the frying pan and into the .......furnace president.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 28, 2017 11:41:26 PM | 85


More and more evidence coming to light that b's write up on Mosul and Deir Ezzor a month or two back was correct.

It seems that the Iraqi PMU's, with Irainian backing have saved Deir Ezzor from being overrun by ISIS and then taken over by a US "international admin" - by blocking ISIS migration from Mosul to Deir Ezzor.

Thanks for bringing attention to that Rand report jfl.

Posted by: Peter AU | Feb 28, 2017 11:49:45 PM | 86

the pentagon could afford to 'do less with more',
to the tune of $70000000000 unaccounted for.
but you, the sheeples, ought to show some discipline, learn how to
'do more with less' !


Posted by: denk | Mar 1, 2017 12:39:49 AM | 87

- Pentagon wants to increase the amount of "boots on the ground" in Somalia.

Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 1, 2017 8:38:39 AM | 88

- Trump wants to increase military spending and ends the socalled "sequestration" of the military budget.

Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 1, 2017 8:40:21 AM | 89

- The Liberatarian Institute has from time to time very interesting articles:

Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 1, 2017 8:41:47 AM | 90

Author: Capt Joshua Waddell
It is time that we, as professional military officers, accept the fact that we lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Objective analysis of the U.S. military’s effectiveness in these wars can only conclude that we were unable to translate tactical victory into operational and strategic success.1 As military professionals, it is not sufficient to offload the responsibility for these failures, at least in their entirety, to decision makers in Washington or in perceived lack of support from other governmental agencies. We must divorce ourselves from the notion that criticism of our performance is an indictment or devaluation of the sacrifices our Marines made on the battlefield. Like many of you, I lost Marines in the “Long War” as well. It has taken several years of personal struggle to arrive at the conclusions I am writing now. What makes this necessary, however, is that if you accept the objective, yet repulsive, fact that our Marines died on the losing side of our most recent wars, you cannot then accept that the status quo of the Marine Corps, and the larger defense establishment, is in an acceptable state of affairs. This is further compounded by future forecasts of conflicts with adversaries that are beginning to look like more like peers despite the self-aggrandizing “near-peer” label we assign them.2 We allow ourselves to look at our impressive defense budget and expensive systems and throw around hyperbole about the United States having the greatest military in the world. How, then, have we been bested by malnourished and undereducated men with antiquated and improvised weaponry whilst spending trillions of dollars in national treasure and costing the lives of thousands of servicemen and hundreds of thousands of civilians? Judging military capability by the metric of defense expenditures is a false equivalency. All that matters are raw, quantifiable capabilities and measures of effectiveness. For example: a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier that can be bested by a few million dollars in the form of a swarming missile barrage or a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capable of rendering its flight deck unusable does not retain its dollar value in real terms. Neither does the M1A1 tank, which is defeated by $20 worth of household items and scrap metal rendered into an explosively-formed projectile. The Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization has a library full of examples like these, and that is without touching the weaponized return on investment in terms of industrial output and capability development currently being employed by our conventional adversaries.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Mar 1, 2017 10:37:02 AM | 91

Does America in order to defend itself need another 10% in the military budget?

LARRY WILKERSON: No. It certainly does not. It needs a substantial cut in the military budget, and that would enhance national security because it would force the Pentagon, the military, to do some of the things that they need to do to make the future better. I understand, too, that this $54 billion or whatever it is, it’s not clear whether it’s going to come out of the authorized line or going to go into the authorized line or go into OCO, the Overseas Contingency Operations slush fund, which needs to be killed entirely. That’s a big issue for me, too, is which account it goes into.

And the payers in this are just ridiculous. The EPA, State and US aid, as the bigger bill payers, and as I understand it, too, some of the safety net programs, although he’s promised to – but I don’t put much store in his promises – to keep Medicare, social security and other essential programs like that going. We simply don’t have the money to do all of this and the fact that we have a 600-plus billion dollar defense budget and, really, a 1.1 or 2 trillion dollar national security budget, when you throw nuclear weapons and the Department of Energy, the VA and all the rest of the security budget in there, is just ridiculous. We have a bigger national security budget than the rest of the world combined. It’s absurd.
PAUL JAY: Well, the argument they’re giving is that the American armed forces, their hardware, the cyber warfare and such, it all needs to be modernized. General McMaster who’s going to be advising Trump, he’s been pushing for a new tank, newer(?) armored vehicles, lots of rhetoric around the need to have a major overhaul and modernization suggesting somehow that Russia and China are actually more modernized than the United States is.

LARRY WILKERSON: All of which is nonsense. I wouldn’t be talking about tanks. I wouldn’t be talking about aircraft carriers. I wouldn’t be talking about bombers. I wouldn’t even be talking about F35 stealth fighters. I’d be talking about things like 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and other technologies that are coming on so fast that they’re going to make all these legacy systems, which are extremely expensive, and make them for the military-industrial complex, of course, a lot of money, passé. Just look at the underwater dimension, for example. 3D printing a submarine that’s unmanned, and that’s the future, Paul – not manned flight, not manned unmanned. You put a submarine under the ocean and hang a few smart torpedoes, smart mines on it, and you go out – and by the way, for the price of an Nimitz class carrier, a Ford(?) class carrier, you can build about 150,000 of these submarines, and you go out and kill that $14 billion Ford class aircraft carrier, or you kill a $4 billion, $5 billion ballistic missile class submarine, Ohio-class submarine. That’s the new technology.

And by the way, those technologies are going to be in the hands of state and non-state actors sooner rather than later. These are the kind of things we should be looking at. These are huge cost-savings technologies – they’re deadly, dangerous technologies. We need to have protocols and standards, international law and other things in place for their use. Cyber warfare, as you were talking about, going after people’s networks – nowhere, of course, is there anyone more vulnerable than ourselves to that kind of warfare.

These are the items, the technologies of the future, not aircraft carriers, not stealth fighter planes. Perhaps not even submarines based on what I just said about unmanned submarines taking them out.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Mar 1, 2017 10:40:21 AM | 92

mauisurfer @ 93

There is absolutely no concern from where the funding will deploy. Just raise the debt ceiling on March 15. Dip into the ESF and other black pools of funds; it is said, the origins of which are certain plants harvested by a certain 3 letter agents.

The real debt, using good accounting practices adding the unfunded liabilities, is north of $140 trillion.. What's a trillion anyway? Most can not get their minds around a billion.

What's to worry. The DJIA climbed to 21,052 at this hour. All is well.

1920s Reminder: Germany once printed a one trillion mark.
"Yes, Few people understood what happened."

Posted by: likklemore | Mar 1, 2017 11:05:17 AM | 93

White Helmets’ Whole Existence Fraudulent; Oscar-Winning Film Fraud: US Analyst

the Netflix producers have no way of independently verifying what they've been given. Clearly, they do not care whether its real or staged, because reality is not the objective of this bogus documentary, rather, the film's purpose - despite the claims by its front persons Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel - was to reinforce the US-led Coalition fake narrative on Syria which has never resembled the facts on the ground.”

Posted by: virgile | Mar 1, 2017 11:25:19 AM | 94

As the comments that I noted @85 indicate, there are a lot of people that are keeping close track on Trump's making good on his MAGA promise.

These cautiously optimistic voices have largely been drowned out for now as the faithful celebrate Trump's speech as a triumphant moment.

There are some that are concerned that Trump may have capitulated to the 'borg' or that he is "another Obama" that sold his 'base' a bill of goods. Others (including myself) think that Trump needed shore up his position before taking on the establishment.

I think its time to ask: by what criteria should we judge Trump's sincerity? Whatever that maybe, it seems that Trump's ego and his positioning as 'negotiator' create a murky view of his progress.

Some of my criteria are:

1. Keeping up an honest dialog with his 'deplorable' base.

2. The views and reactions of World leaders who generally know more than we do.

I hope that others will add to this list.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 1, 2017 12:17:11 PM | 95

Bacevich says
"I think the campaign against ISIS is succeeding. Now, success is coming incrementally, success is being achieved at enormous cost — particularly to Iraqi forces. But it's happening. Whether or not adding a handful of additional American troops, whether that will accelerate the pace of success, I don't know. I suppose it will, but I think the larger point is it really begs the larger question, which is not simply, 'What do we need to do to defeat ISIS?' But, 'What can be done, what should be done to address the larger problems that afflict the region?' And I'd argue that ISIS really is a symptom of the larger problems. So people talk a lot about military strategy as if sending an additional brigade of U.S. forces to the region is a strategy — it's not a strategy, there is no strategy. There's not even a discussion of strategy, as far as I can tell, in the foreign policy establishment."

Why do we need to spend an additional $54 billion? Where will that money go? How much of it will go to purchasing costly weapons, as opposed, for example, to improving the readiness of U.S. forces that have been abused and misused over the past 15 years, and therefore probably need a certain amount of attention in order to get them back up to speed? But the larger question has to be, toward what end? What is the strategy? What is the problem that spending an additional $54 billion a year is going to solve?"

Posted by: mauisurfer | Mar 1, 2017 1:20:24 PM | 96

Trump's Speech - Another fib

With every media appearance, Trump goes from strength to strength. The stronger he is politically, the more he can chart his own course.

But what to make of his 'fibs'? (I call them 'fibs' because they involve contradictory info but no way to verify what is true.) I think that they reveal Trump's character: both practical and and ego-driven stubborn determination to succeed.

Fib #1: Yemen raid was a success
In his speech, Trumps says that Gen. Mattis told him that very valuable intel was retrieved in the Yemen raid. Yet the raid was such a failure that this seems unlikely.

To top it off, Trump led an overly long applause for the widow of the soldier killed in the raid. Trump then noted that this was likely a record. It seems that this was pre-planned. Why the over-the-top adulation? Some might say it is tRump as showman, others that he has a guilty conscience - BUT was Trump actually relishing in turning the tables on Obama and his CIA loyalists?

Recall that the Obama Administration had planned the raid. Maybe Trump realized that he had been set up? Maybe that's partly why he NAMED OBAMA AS BEHIND THE 'RESISTANCE' in an interview earlier conducted in the morning of the day he gave the speech!

Also of note: Obama had authorized releasing NSA intercepts in order to 'get' Flynn.

Fib #2: Lost confidence in Flynn
At his news conference, Trump's told us that he had "lost confidence" in Flynn BUT then praised him as a good guy, saying that he did nothing wrong and that if Flynn HADN'T contacted the Russians, he would've asked him to!! (slyly thumbing his nose at the threat of impeachment that ACTUALLY ASKING Flynn to talk to the Russian about sanctions would've triggered).

It seems quite likely that Flynn DID get Trump's approval and that Flynn agreed to 'fall on his sword' to protect Trump from impeachment.

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Sorry if this is too much 'Trump talk' for some here. I think it's important to better understand Trump.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 1, 2017 4:11:40 PM | 97

@ Jackrabbit

Trump seems genuine in taking on the establishment/neo-cons but is pretty much on his own without a political party of the same views. How far will he get? Add to that what seems to be a long held antagonism with Iran which can and will be used (will he back the wahhabi's against Iran ect). And why is he increasing military spending when US already spends as much as the next ten countries combined? These are the problems I am seeing now with Trump, though it is his antagonism to Iran that makes me now think very little will change.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2017 4:29:46 PM | 98

yeah, back the saudi arabia headchopper cult who cut off folks hands, when they aren't chopping off dissidents heads, and who don't allow their women to drive or lord knows what else - over those terrible terrorists iran, lol... i think i have it right.. israel told me, lol..

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2017 4:53:26 PM | 99

Earthwise @71
you say
"Pat Lang is rude to his contributors. The Saker is either a Russian agent, a racist or both."
Easy to agree with your about PL, rude, also pompous,
and entertaining if you can be uncritical of his enormous ego. But hey, it's his blog, we don't have to visit.
As for Saker, i have no "inside dope", but have read him and find his commentary very insightful, esp re weaponry
(a subject i am very weak on). His description of the "cauldron" in E Ukraine was by far the best at that time.
I understand that he was born in Switzerland, one of his parents was Russian, but he has never been a Russian citizen, also that he lives in USA (Florida?). Saker certainly seems to be pro Russian, but perhaps for good reason, so I would not describe him as a Russian agent. If you have any information to support your allegation - please provide it. Cheers.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Mar 1, 2017 6:04:15 PM | 100

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