Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 14, 2016

Open Thread 2016-26

News & views ...

Posted by b on August 14, 2016 at 11:36 UTC | Permalink

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@ #99. I'm pretty sure Negroponte was the bloke who grabbed Iraq's full and complete accounting for the destruction of its WMD, from the table at the UN so that Yankees could dole out excerpts and tell more lies. The fact that Negroponte wasn't kicked to death by the wimpy UN delegates, right there and then, destroyed the credibility of, and my faith in, the waste of space known as the UN.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 15 2016 16:21 utc | 101

Sounds like Putin is asking for peace terms in Aleppo, now that the Aleppo battle is apparently lost, at least judging by the news blackout. Lavrov points out that the only result of the truce was that the opponents grew in number and power. No one, outside of everyone, saw that coming.

Posted by: paul | Aug 15 2016 16:51 utc | 102

Harburg's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" so closely resembles the Weimar song "Irgendwo auf der Welt" in both melody and sentiments that it approaches being plagiarism. But most Americans were and are unfamiliar with Weimar songs.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 15 2016 17:16 utc | 103

(Another Harvard Guy)

Negroponte served in the United States Foreign Service from 1960 to 1997. From 1981 to 1996, he had tours of duty as United States ambassador in Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines. After leaving the Foreign Service, he subsequently served in the Bush Administration as U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations from 2001 to 2004, and was ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005. In November 2010, some of Negroponte's letters were released on the website WikiLeaks.

The previous U.S. ambassador to Honduras, Jack Binns made numerous complaints about human rights abuses by the Honduran military under the government of Paz García. Following the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Binns was replaced by Negroponte, who denied having knowledge of any wrongdoing by Honduran military forces.

As we can see, Negroponte has a rich and colorful history as a problem solver.

He was apparently just the right "server" to tee up Iraq. "Tours of Duty".

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 15 2016 17:17 utc | 104

"When the world countries stop buying US debt, the big debt balloon goes POP!"

So, according to your theory, holders of cash $ are going to refuse to be paid interest on them. Put the cash in their mattress maybe? Nope, all electronic funds ($) live at the New York Fed.

Never mind that, No.1, there is so much demand for bonds in the US alone that the bonds would still be sold, without foreign participation.

No.2, Primary dealers are obligated to buy whatever is on auction, so Treasury auctions can't fail. No primary dealer is going to give up their privileged position of receiving money for nothing, even at negative yields (see Japan).

No. 3, If everyone in the World went insane and took their $ funds from their (privileged) savings accounts at the Fed and moved them to their checking accounts at the Fed, then refused to buy more bonds instead piling up cash, the Fed can step in and buy the bonds. In that case interest paid goes to Treasury instead of the non-government (see below).

No. 4, Congress passed the law requiring bond issuance dollar-for-dollar with deficits, a self-imposed law obviously, around 1918. Prior to that the US created $ outright with no bond issue. Guess the banks didn't appreciate their limited ability to rape citizens for interest on massive military spending during WWI.

Congress pays interest on previously-created dollars because it wants to, not because it has to. It was a political decision, one that makes the rich richer. Funny that.

And to those that claim the Fed can say no, or charges the government interest on it's 'borrowings'…No. The Fed turns every penny it 'earns' less expenses over to Treasury, and it's main mandate is to make sure no checks bounce in the FRBS.

interest paid on bonds is income to the non-government. No one is going to give that up willingly.

Posted by: paulmeli | Aug 15 2016 18:03 utc | 105

So apparently Negroponte (see above), and as I have read Kissinger, as well as Chomsky support Killary?

Quite an impressive mix! All Aboard (whistle screeches, train rumbles, some kiss goodbye..) .. :)


Henry: Salon

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 15 2016 18:05 utc | 106

Assad Makes A Great Point About Foreign Experience & Why Hillary's Record Should Worry You

Posted by: Mann | Aug 15 2016 18:20 utc | 107

somebody @39 responded to Les @36 regarding a Zbig quote that reads the 'United States’ support for the attempted coup against the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a grave mistake that significantly damaged the US reputation.'

somebody stated - 'Check his twitter account - he did not tweet this.'

Zbig absolutely tweeted that message as the screenshot image clearly shows. It is Zbig's twitter feed...same banner, nearly the same number of tweets (screenshot shows 307 tweets while his current account shows 306) same number following, and he's picked up a couple hundred new subscribers, same photos, same icon image, same everything. The only thing that is missing is the tweet ALM got a screenshot of before it was deleted.

And Les, the article Zbig is referring to is likely only going to run in the print edition that is published quarterly (August 2016). A digital copy likely will never be made available. Afterall, Zbig will be the first to go on record affirming the U.S. played a role in the coup and I'm thinking the CIA/MIC/NATO would like to keep a tight lid on that key detail for as long as they can.

Posted by: h | Aug 15 2016 19:07 utc | 108

@94, a wise man once said: Just because someone plays a guitar, doesn't mean he's making music.

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 15 2016 19:41 utc | 109

Anyone else notice that if you google Donald Trump you get endless pages of Trump is Unhinged, Trump cozys up to Putin, Trump the Racist, Trump the misogynist, Trump psychoanalyzed etc etc ad infinitum?

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 15 2016 19:47 utc | 110

@ Noirette | Aug 15, 2016 11:00:45 AM | 97

I think what may be happening is the breakdown of the marketing theory as applied to political propaganda. Like the economy, the use of political sales methods has become extreme and precedes the economy over the proverbial cliff. The perception developing punditry is no longer talking with their audience. To manage their problem, they have begun talking at their audience and have lost their audience as consequence. It will be a very interesting political cycle, this one. The herd instinct is strong but that herd has become a herd of cats. The dissonance has become louder than the message.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Aug 15 2016 20:04 utc | 111

Paul Meli @105 is 100% correct.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 15 2016 20:35 utc | 112

Paul Meli @105,

One small quibble with this:

No. 4, Congress passed the law requiring bond issuance dollar-for-dollar with deficits, a self-imposed law obviously, around 1918. Prior to that the US created $ outright with no bond issue. Guess the banks didn't appreciate their limited ability to rape citizens for interest on massive military spending during WWI.

Actually, what happened at the beginning of WWI--and just after the Federal Reserve Act was created but before its national infrastructure was set up--was that the US Treasury was terrified of what all the holders of paper cash would do in response to the war. Would they trade in 20 of them for an ounce of gold--the going rate since 1900? The back of every USD gave them that right. If everyone in the US did it, even if just one ounce per, it would deplete the nation's gold supply, and severely affect the nation's ability to pay for war overseas.

So they came up with a patriotism scam. Liberty Bonds! Be patriotic and help pay for the war! We'll give you interest on those bonds for your patriotic largesse! The American public fell for it like a ton of bricks. After all, no one pays interest on gold, right? And the public were getting federal government-guaranteed interest. A win-win for everyone.

The deal was that they could trade them, sell them, but no one could replace them for gold until the bond matured, no matter who the final owner was.

There was no reason to continue with Liberty Bonds in 1918, but everyone loved the interest and the no-risk guarantee of their savings. And the federal government got to protect the nation's gold's supply, a critical matter because all international payments (until 1971) were on the gold-standard.

The federal government had also realized the protective power of bonds to contain that gold supply. All issued treasury securities (bills, notes, and bonds) subsequent to that carried the same edict. Trade away in the daily bond market to your heart's content, but you couldn't trade them in for gold until the treasury security actually matured, which with long-term bonds was 30 years.

As you note, the federal government--Congress--had previously imposed the Debt Limit in 1917 to protect the nation's gold supply as well. When we thankfully got rid of the gold-standard domestically in 1933/34 for a far more economically advanced fiat currency, Congress refused to remove the Debt Limit law (were they worried about its effect on international payments that they couldn't foresee or occupied with the Great Depression?) even though it became utterly meaningless. And still is. Increasing the Debt Limit was always a de facto passage in Congress until the Republicans in 1995 used it against that financial hayseed Clinton and again with the Mr. Total Lack of How Things Work Obama a few years ago.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 15 2016 21:08 utc | 113

Posted by: h | Aug 15, 2016 3:07:27 PM | 108

it is very easy to photoshop this stuff, just saying ....

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2016 21:37 utc | 114

@114 it is, easy to photoshop, that is. But that screenshot is the real deal. Zbig deleted the tweet.

Posted by: h | Aug 15 2016 21:44 utc | 115

Posted by: lysias | Aug 15, 2016 1:16:06 PM | 103

Yep, but Weimar and US film industry were very, very related, swapping actresses and directors and everything else - see Louise Brooks and others.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2016 21:47 utc | 116

Posted by: h | Aug 15, 2016 5:44:14 PM | 115

I checked his account because I thought it unlikely he or whoever looks after his account would tweet something like that.

He simply is in no position to know and if he knew he would have no reason to spill it.

My guess is that some faction of the multi-headed US beast might have encouraged the coup personally and via Saudi but not the "official" US government or - more likely - Saudi lobbied for it in the US and bought a few people.

Syrian secret service would be pleased to insinuate it was official US policy.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 15 2016 22:04 utc | 117

MRW @ 113

Thanks! I was hoping you would check in and fill in some of the details. I'm a block-diagram kind of guy, being an Engineer, but I'm always interested in learning historical context, which is important in understanding the why as opposed to the how.

Regards and good to see you're still around.

Posted by: paulmeli | Aug 15 2016 22:18 utc | 118

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, former DNC chair and forced to resign after email leaks is now HRC’s “honorary” campaign chair. Debbie is very proud of herself:

Sunday on MSM TV – “Facing South Florida

Debbie admitted:
“The work we did to prepare for Hillary Clinton, to be our nominee and then make sure that we could get her elected president, is absolutely critical to advancing the issues that are important,” she said.

~ ~ ~ ~
Debbie, it’s indecent to brag that you cheated.

This country is done. Stick a fork, let it cool 10 mins, then slice and serve. No sauce required.

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 15 2016 22:39 utc | 119

jfl | Aug 15, 2016 10:01:17 AM | 90

Thanks for the link; very interesting re: Baum.
A flawed figure of his time, like most of us; it's a life's work to see the big picture and not stay stuck in snap shots.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 16 2016 0:02 utc | 120

I'm urging everyone to vote for Trump.

We have two poor choices. However.

If we elect Clinton, not only will we have the threat of WWIII and war with Russia/China/the rest of the Asian bloc, but she has claimed to put the economy in Bill Clinton's hands. She still maintains the fiction that what he did during his reign--the federal government surplus--was peachy-keen, when it caused the Great Recession of 2008, delayed by the consumption binge of the and housing bubbles.

If Bill Clinton manages the economy for her, you can count on one thing: unless you are part of the 1%, you will go to your grave broke, and leave your kids destitute. Take it to the bank. Mark my words.

A vote for Jill Stein or the Libertarian candidate is a screw-myself vote.

Whatever you do, or whomever you favor, VOTE, and make sure everyone you know does so as well. There will be massive voter fraud with election results, but sheer numbers can help overcome it.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 16 2016 0:16 utc | 121

More . . .

There is also the deliciousness of proving the arrogant, ugly punditry 100% wrong.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 16 2016 0:18 utc | 122

paulmeli | Aug 15, 2016 6:18:00 PM | 118,

Regards and good to see you're still around.

And you as well.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 16 2016 0:21 utc | 123

Trump delivered a scripted foreign policy speech today. This sort of "new thinking in foreign policy" is not quite as bold as that offered by Gorbachev under glasnost.

Much of Trump’s speech focused on how he planned to combat the so-called Islamic State group.... the specifics [of which]...drone strikes, targeted killing of terrorists and leaders of groups such as the Islamic State group and al Qaeda, and the continued use of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It’s unclear how exactly Trump’s plan would differ from that of the current president when it comes to the Islamic State, and Trump’s campaign did not respond to requests for clarification.

This would be pretty consistent with his prior run of bellicose foreign policy pronouncements. You know, the ones where he threatens to seize oil fields, widen torture, and generally indulge in his gift for mayhem.

This doesn’t really track as “hawkishness” for most people, mostly because it’s so outlandish. A policy of naked colonialism has been completely unacceptable in American public discourse for decades, so it seems hard to take Trump’s proposals as seriously as, say, Clinton’s support for intervening more forcefully in Syria.

Yet this is what Trump has been consistently advocating for for years. His position hasn’t budged an inch, and he in fact appears to have doubled down on it during this campaign. This seems to be his sincere belief, inasmuch as we can tell when a politician is being sincere.

The author also notes that his "longstanding habit" of saying what he thinks makes him appear the cleverest at any given moment "can make figuring out what he truly thinks somewhat difficult." Consistency is not a hobgoblin of his little hands....

Yeah, so let's go ahead and inflict The Donald, a known huckster and egomaniac with anger-management issues, on the planet, just 'cause we can. 'Cuz it says a message to them smart-ass elites.

And that might be, "Oh yeah? We even stoopider than youse guys thinked we was. So there."

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 16 2016 2:23 utc | 124

@ paulmeli | Aug 15, 2016 2:03:15 PM | 105
@ MRW | Aug 15, 2016 5:08:54 PM | 113

Much of the development of government bonds happened due to the extreme and existential financial demands caused by war on government's resources, the classical perception of governmental spending was from taxes collected. The operative financial system being based on gold as measure of value as well as store of value, thus limiting economic activity to whatever quantity of commodity metal held on hand and in circulation augmented by balance of trade surplus. IIRC much of John Maynard Keynes efforts were to educate about the deficiencies of such classical mythology, alas to no lasting effect. It was found that bonds formed a method of exercising some control over the heating or cooling of economic activity as well, a useful tool to encourage or discourage investments in production and thereby employment levels as well. But that takes a sophisticated mindset to appreciate; common sense becomes deceptive and counterproductive in most cases, e.g. equivalence about balancing budgets between family and government's sovereign issuance of money that leads to the Modern Monetary Theory and heterodox economic perceptions.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Aug 16 2016 2:39 utc | 125

Apocalypse fans will recall that "wars and rumors of wars" are a sign of "The End Times." Such events and rumors are also a staple of current events since the dawn of civilization. No different on the Eastern Front in the Ukraine.

The current round began late last week, when the Russian Federation stopped an attempted infitration of saboteurs by the Banderaists. The feared escalation failed to materialize, but the aftermath of the attempt may have a long-term impact.

This piece from RFE/RL, just prior to the exposure of the scheme to sabotage infrastructure in the Crimea, on the Guns of August is semi-official propaganda; it reports from the Ukrainian side and point of view. For example it says this about the origins of the conflict.

In 2014, there were strong signs that Putin hoped to take control of a huge swath of southern Ukraine from the Donbas to Crimea and the Black Sea port city of Odesa -- an area that Russian leaders began to call Novorossia, or "New Russia" -- but that plan unraveled after it failed to catch on beyond Donetsk and Luhansk.

Nothing about a fascist coup, nothing about the people of Donetsk and Luhansk asserting their right to self-defense. The area has been called Novorossiya ever since Catherine II "the Great" took it back for the Slavs from the Turks.

But on a number of points it is quite realistic. It notes the sentiment of the army -- they want to be given the order to drive to Red Square in Moscow. It also notes that Poroshenko has tamped down that talk; it puts at risk the financial support that Banderastan needs to survive.

And, as the report notes, the Russian Federation is very likely to respond forcefully to a renewed offenseive. Ergo "a major deterrent to any notion of a new Ukrainian offensive in the Donbas is the possibility that it would spur President Vladimir Putin's Russia... to intervene with devastating effect."

So if the UAF starts anything, it's on to the Maidan.

This is how things stood before the attempted infiltration of sabotage teams into the Crimea.

Fort Russ provides a statement from the FSB detailing the incident, which blames the Ukrainian Defense Ministry for foiled terrorist plot in Crimea.

The incidents prompted a strong statement from Putin.

But I would like to also address our American, European partners. I think that by now it is obvious for all involved that the current Kiev authorities are not looking to solve problems through negotiation. Now they escalate to acts of terror. That is very concerning.

At first glance, what we just saw in Crimea seems to be a stupid and criminal act. It’s stupid, because it is impossible to regain the trust of Crimean population that way. And it’s criminal, because people have died.

But I think that the underlying situation is even more alarming. Because there is nothing to be gained from such attacks, except to distract their own people from the ruined Ukrainian economy, from the plight of many ordinary Ukrainians – that is the only reason.

Trying to provoke violence and conflict can only serve to divert public attention from those who seized power in Kiev, and still continue to usurp it and continue to rob their own people.

So Vice President Biden, who is our top liason to the Banderaist regime, obligingly called Poroshenko and told him to lay off, says RFE/RL.

So as the imbroglio was coming to an end, it appears in the press to reinforce the message of Russian "aggression." The local broadsheet hard copy carried this report from the AP that Tough talk between Russia, Ukraine heats up Crimea stalemate. It's textbook MSM -- a mixture of acknowledgement, denial, and ommission.

Putin menacingly referred to the Ukrainian leadership as "the people who seized power." Moscow refused to recognize Ukraine's interim authorities after Ukraine's pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovych, was driving from power by massive protests, but later recognized Poroshenko.

"The main issue is what is going to happen to the Minsk talks - whether Russia will stop them or start asking for more concessions," respected daily Vedomosti said in an editorial Thursday. "In his rhetoric, Putin has returned to 2014, when he did not consider the Ukrainian government legitimate."

Note that our "respected daily" is a joint project of Dow Jones, The Financial Times, and The Moscow Times. That is, reliably part of the "Washington Consensus."

But for all that, the only thing that got heated up is Western rhetoric. The SitReps at spots like Fort Russ and Russia Insider certainly suggest all is quiet. Kyiv Post is down now; I had a look at work, saw nothing suggestive of extensive combat operations.

So again, it's on rumors of war in the Ukraine. The Banderaists have once more gotten off the leash, done something stupid and/or provocative, and again have been reproved. Their instincts for self-preservation remain poor, but those in DC remain quite keen. Washington stills see advantages in the present unquiet stalemate, and so again restrained its proteges from further overly aggressive action.

Status quo ante perhaps? Tactically, it seems so. If Putin has changed strategic thinking on this issue, however, we'll know soon enough.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 16 2016 2:41 utc | 126

@ 125 Addendum

The development of bonds sold to public during WW I came from British experience where unabsorbed wages chased too few goods leading to severe price inflation. The U.S. having a delayed entry into wartime economy used War bonds to absorb excess demand and suffered significantly less price inflation and distortion to its economy. The British adopted the policy early on WW II as did the U.S. about the time of its entry into wartime economy; the results of deferred demand were what enabled the economic growth of the U.S. at the end of that war and enjoyed by the succeeding generation as well.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Aug 16 2016 2:54 utc | 127

@126 Stirring things up in Crimea most likely connected to the 'siege-breaking' in Aleppo....don't you think?

Posted by: dh | Aug 16 2016 3:01 utc | 128

@120 v, 'it's a life's work to see the big picture and not stay stuck in snap shots'

It takes practice and discipline not to let the facts interfere with preconceptions?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 3:16 utc | 129

dh at 128 --

Had they continued with provocations, I would say yes. But they did not. Perhaps Kiev thought to press Novorossiya while Washington was distracted. Didn't work.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 16 2016 4:09 utc | 130

Syrian War Report – August 15, 2016: ISIS Attacks US Base in Northern Syria

On August 14, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced creation of the Al-Bab Military Council. This could indicate that developing the success in Manbij, the Kurds are going to advance on Al Bab in order to link the four cantons of Rojava along the Syrian-Turkish border. Al-Bab has a population about 69,000. Its inhabitants are mostly Sunni Muslim Arabs. Even with the significant superiority in manpower, military equipment and air power, and with support of the US Special Forces, the Kurdish-led SDF will face a stiff resistance there. ISIS militants could easily launch flank attacks on SDF units advancing on Al-Bab. Furthermore, the liberation of Al Bab is far away from the political goals of Obama administration in Syria. The White House is seeking to show the success of American anti-terrorist operations by taking major ISIS strongholds – Raqqa and Mosul – in Syria and Iraq. Al Bab is just located in another direction.

The Kurds insisting on advancing their own goals? They've certainly carried enough of the US' water to insist. The Russians (South Front) reporting it so that the Turks will be sure to not to miss it? See if it actually happens.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 4:26 utc | 131

jfl | Aug 15, 2016 11:16:53 PM | 129
It takes practice and discipline not to let the facts interfere with preconceptions?

Hmm, I would say it takes practice and discipline not to let preconceptions interfere with facts. Yes?
Metaphorically speaking; the "snap shot" would be the perception, an event locked in time past; not the present. Things change...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 16 2016 4:50 utc | 132

Is Hillary insane?

Hillary Clinton demands United States build a wall at the Mexican border

Absence of Adversaries Challenges NATO's Financial Existence

Team USA wins gold but cheapens Olympics with Cold War-style behavior

Posted by: Mann | Aug 16 2016 7:34 utc | 133

jfl@131 - I think you missed the most significant part of the story there, jfl:

According to the ISIS-linked media outlet, Amaq Agency, 7 suicide bombers broke through a residential area near Al-Farouk Dam east of Aleppo where a U.S. military outpost and the operation room for Manbij operation were located. 3 bombers detonated explosives in a group of guards, mostly Kurdish fighters, other 4 entered the buildings. Before these 4 terrorists were neutralized, at least 41 US soldiers and Kurdish fighters had been killed and injured, according to Amaq.

Amaq is the ISIS propaganda outlet, but they don't make completely unsubstantiated claims all the time. They exaggerate and embellish and may have here, but I have to believe there was some kind of suicide attack in Tishrin (aka al Farouk), the urban area west of Tishrin Dam. ISIS may not have any chance of winning, but they want to make damn sure U.S. pays for Manbij. I certainly understand their motivation to cause U.S. casualties.

Everything about the SDF and Manbij has been heavily censored since day one. I recognize that there are operational security concerns, but that's the same exact excuse they used to censor everything unpleasant or off-script in Iraq. The real reason here (as well as in Iraq) is to manage U.S. public opinion. CENTCOM has to be peeing in their pants if this actually happened and word got out to the U.S. public that was led to believe no U.S. soldiers were at risk, i.e., no front-line combat spew. This is preposterous when fighting a guerrilla war against suicidal head-choppers, but U.S. citizens can't think quite that far. The last thing Obama wants is to see them unloading aluminum coffins from Syria when he won't even admit how many U.S. personnel are even there (it's secret).

In any case, I see absolutely no curiosity about this from the MSM. Not even a question to U.S. Defense Department Spox about U.S. casualties in Tishrin (even though they would be denied). The only source I can find is Amaq, but the reports/tweets vary between two to four U.S. casualties or at least seriously injured, and dozens of Kurdish soldiers injured and killed. Everyone (including CENTCOM) knew this was eventually going to happen - any American there is a prize target for ISIS. CENTCOM is going to cover up anything that doesn't fit their inept command, crappy sycophant analysis and officer self-congratulatory back-slapping party for Manbij.

U.S. troop casualties in Tishrin? Screw that Amaq propaganda - it never happened. Here's some pictures of Manbij women burning their burkas and smoking - wheee! Kurdish SDF burning the Manbij municipal land record for the expected Arab ethnic cleansing? Yeah...never happened either. Here's some pics of Kurdish soldiers doing a celebratory dance - wheee!

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 16 2016 8:11 utc | 134


Russia to use iranian aircraft station against ISIS:
"Moscow and Tehran signed a military agreement allowing Russian aircraft to station at Hamadan Airport in western Iran. Strategic long-range Tu-22M3 bombers have already delivered airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State from the airfield. "

Posted by: Mann | Aug 16 2016 8:24 utc | 135

@55 Cresty

I suppose you're right. It's a pretty mixed bag, we have Lebanese, Egyptians, Chileans, people who've seen these things in person

Posted by: Cresty | Aug 16 2016 8:46 utc | 136

The news about Russian in Hamadan are very interesting indeed.

Most immediately, the value of air support is much higher if it react quickly, but Russians do not have enough capacity in Syria. Support of Palmyra and Deir-Ezzor from the airport less than 1 hour aways can be effective, for example, a bomber plane capable of action after 2.5 h flight can also hang there above battle field for few hours giving cover to attack/defense. Or make 4 runs in a day rather than one.

More strategically (Great Game), this increases Russian-Iranian cooperation which was rather loose and testy. The mutual trust is better, and that follows the deliveries of SS-300's. This decreases the spirits in KSA with their Shia obsessions.

In terms of Syrian long term strategy, it seems that it is like that: SAA hanging there and chipping at both Rebels and ISIS, while ISIS is increasingly hammered from Iraqi and Kurdish directions. Americans have hopes of getting influence out of it because of the Kurds, but Shia volunteers and Iraqi forces seem to provide the bulk of forces, and Americans have very complex entanglement with Turkey. In any case, within Syria there are troops of SAA side ready to pounce and collect most of the territory and land border with Iraq during the collapse of ISIS. And while the relationship with Kurds is testy, it never amounted to warfare, and SAA + allies will gain decisive advantage against the Rebels.

But they need to remain at good positions, with adequate air support, and Hamadan base can do it.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 16 2016 9:15 utc | 137

The composer of "Irgendwo auf der Welt", Werner Heymann, in fact worked in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s, composing film scores and getting several Oscar nominations.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 16 2016 9:31 utc | 138

@134 pw. 'they don't make completely unsubstantiated claims all the time'

I read what you point out as the meat of the 'news' but I confess I was unaware that 'they don't make completely unsubstantiated claims all the time.' I figured maybe 40 Kurds and 1 mercenary. The US would deny he was theirs anyway. Maybe IS got more then 1.

The Russians were at great pains to point out that the 'move' on al-Bab was not consistent with US' stated aims. I thought they were rubbing that in. I also think everyone in the USA is bereft of any cover now ... gee he said he wouldn't do that. Right. They're kidding themselves at this point. They know what's going on, pretending they're being 'lied to'.

If they're covering anything up in Manbij, I think it's the fact that they forgot to close the door to Manbij one night and all the IS guys 'snuck' out while they were sleeping. And that's why they're suddenly in 'possession' of Manbij now. Where do you think IS went, Paveway?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 16 2016 13:42 utc | 139

RT hit with string of cunning DDoS attacks
Published time: 12 Aug, 2016 02:49. Edited time: 12 Aug, 2016 02:55

If you experienced DDoS attacks on RT and RT extension website last week and still continue now. Installed Yandex browser. Yandex can access RT while Opera 12.17 and Opera 36 unable to access..

Dunno about Goggle, Firefox, IE etc.. (Never used them).

Try Yandex browser and share it with others... Yandex is a stripped down version of Goggle and Opera browsers

Posted by: Jack Smith | Aug 16 2016 15:34 utc | 140

58;Trotskyite Hebrews for the Hell Bitch!Like we didn't know that.sheesh.
Windsurfing is emblematic of yuppie elites,walking on water,and tacking repeatedly when the wind changes.Kerry-Cohen fits that bill perfectly.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 16 2016 16:01 utc | 141

jfl@139 - I doubt we'll ever know the truth about Tishrin, but I doubt there were any U.S. mercs there. This was the SDF Manbij operation room (the 'headquarters'), and U.S. SF guys were put there specifically for feeding intel to and helping coordinate the SDF Manbij campaign. These would have been SF officers and intel guys. The Kurds would have been guarding it. I'm not sure the U.S. would have used their mercs as guards here like they do at more distant/permanent locations, but who knows. In any case, ISIS would have known where to go to kill some Americans with suicide bombers. If there were U.S. merc casualties, then the U.S. will obviously say nothing. Mercs don't count.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 16 2016 18:32 utc | 142

Sorry if posted before. Time to make the list of Soros employees worldwide.

Soros Hack Exposes Plot Behind Refugee Crisis, his Media Control, Cash for “Social Justice”

Leaked files from billionaire globalist George Soros’ Open Society Foundation two days ago have exposed several startling machinations about the organization — including flagrant schemes to manipulate the media, influence international immigration policy, and cash designated for social justice initiatives.

Soros has been outed previously for pulling political strings in Ukraine, but as one memo revealed in the massive DCLeaks cache shows, the globalist also sought direct manipulation of Western media to align with that political agenda.

Titled the “Ukraine Media Project,” the memo’s authors admit that “this isn’t proper independent journalism and we may damage our credibility with journalists,” but that “journalists may produce stories that have no relevance for the narrative we seek to inform or stories that are counterproductive (enforcing narratives of fascism, etc.)”

In other words, Soros and his OSF acknowledged their designs in Ukraine could be conflated with fascism and thus, as they wrote, sought to alleviate potential backlash or opposition by offering “[s]elect journalists from 5 target countries (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece) and offer them long stay reporting trips in Ukraine.”

Once finagled into the trip, the memo’s authors decided, rather than dictating content directly, they would “retain a veto on stories we think are counterproductive.”

Tellingly listed under the memo’s “Pros” section is the fact the scheme is a “Similar approach to what we have done for other press trips” and that the Ukraine trip would provide an “Opportunity to build relationships with journalists and news outlets.”

Judging by the degree of influence Soros sought, those relationships wouldn’t amount to just a drink after a hard day’s work.

In fact, under the “Cons” portion, the authors lament specifically the potential for the trip to “enforce the narrative of GS/OSF manipulation” — because that’s exactly what it would be?

Another portion of the Soros leaks concerns Europe’s immigration crisis — which OSF argues should just be accepted as the “new normal.”

On May 12, OSF program officer Anna Crowley and program specialist Katin Rosin co-wrote a memo titled “Migration Governance and Enforcement Portfolio Review,” focusing on the OSF’s International Migration Initiative created to influence world immigration policy, as the Daily Caller first reported.

The outlet reports:

The MENA people coming to EU should finally realize by now that they are tools in the world evil oligarchy mischievous plan against the population of Europe.

Stay in MENA, defend you countries against the terrorists and help in rebuilding them.

If you come to EU lured by the Soros propaganda, only to "fuck blondes and live off welfare" as some of you admit, please realize that are not welcomed here. Or you will face tragic consequences. Just a fair warning.

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 16 2016 20:37 utc | 143

Parents who can't pay the bill for kids' incarceration can still go bankrupt, a US court rules

This Is How Private Prison Companies Make Millions Even When Crime Rates Fall

As the great jester George Carlin pointed out: "You've got owners!"...

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 16 2016 20:44 utc | 144

Did you know? Jeff Rothschild helps the U.S Military censor civilians on Facebook

Jeff Rothschild was brought in by the CIA, to help Mark Zuckerberg maximize “high performance at a massive scale” for CIA funded Facebook. But the reality was that Jeff was brought on board and given a 600$ million share of Facebook, in order to maximize the efficiency of Palantir software (being used by the U.S Military in syncronization with Facebook censors to censor large publics).

Millions of people have witnessed themselves or others getting direct interference from a third party. And sometimes this would lead to hour long shut downs of parts of Facebook, because it bothered people. People came on Facebook and Youtube because they thought it wouldn’t be rigged, especially when posting anti-war and anti-statist content.

The worst part being, that these operations are done covertly, and regularly draft outside help from like minded hierarchist groups. These sorts of operations were conducted on Iraqis with Operation Earnest Voice, and the end result was over 2 million people dying, because George Bush had denied them medicine, hospitals (bombed), and food. So to use this military weapon against civilians, especially Americans is criminal.

Supposedly they do it to spread “pro-americanism”. But when you have over 50,000 Department of Homeland Security workers straight out of high school, who have never traveled outside the U.S spreading manufactured consent, it starts getting very nasty and war like. Especially while having people like Jeff Rothschild and Mark Zuckerberg pretending to be democratic figures who never give over information to their government. Which is a big fat lie. It’s supposed to be government for and by the people… not government against the majority of the people who are poor as well as voiceless.

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 16 2016 21:01 utc | 145

Look who came out from behind the curtain… Chairman Lord Rothschild sounds the warning a tad late

“ World seeing ‘greatest monetary policy experiment in history’

Low interest rates, negative yields on government debt and quantitative easing are part of the biggest financial experiment in world history, and the consequences are yet unknown,[.]

The six months under review have seen central bankers continuing what is surely the greatest experiment in monetary policy in the history of the world. We are therefore in uncharted waters and it is impossible to predict the unintended consequences of very low interest rates, with some 30 percent of global government debt at negative yields, combined with quantitative easing on a massive scale,” Rothschild writes in the company's semi-annual financial report. The billionaire underlined that many risks remain for the global economy with the deteriorating geopolitical situation.[.]
= = =

it will end badly.

{Note Rt has been experiencing ddos}

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 16 2016 21:31 utc | 146

Serbs have lost it.
Serbian PM calls top advocate of Yugoslavia NATO bombing Biden a ‘friend of country’

Posted by: Belo | Aug 17 2016 7:12 utc | 147

What to make of this?

Milosevic Exonerated,
The ICTY’s conclusion, that one of the most demonized figures of the modern era was innocent of the most heinous crimes he was accused of, really should have made headlines across the world. But it hasn‘t. Even the ICTY buried it, deep in its 2,590 page verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic who was convicted in March of genocide (at Srebrenica), war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Posted by: Belo | Aug 17 2016 8:22 utc | 148

Today NYT has an editorial urging the termination of weapons sales and presumably other military assistance to KSA until the "carnage in Yemen will end". I penned a comment which may appear or not:

Piotr Berman State College Pending Approval
"Mr. Obama has also supplied the coalition such indispensable assistance as intelligence, in-flight refueling of aircraft and help in identifying appropriate targets."

In other words, using satellite photography and superb analytic capabilities of our military intelligence, USA helped identify a hospital, a school and a chip factory. And a wedding, a collection of fishermen in boats and so on. Hard to tell what are actual communications between our military and the Gulf coalition, for all appearances, they are the customers and we are the technicians/mercenaries.

Of course, the recommendation is totally inadequate. It would be better if USA would call for emergency session of UNSC and made a motion: we are sorry, we made a terrible mistake, we want to finish this nonsensical war, nonsensical barriers on the trade and so one, let's think together how to finish it as soon as possible.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 17 2016 13:06 utc | 149


Yves Smith (the pen name of the NC blog owner) today tiptoes into 'supportive' territory with a post that tamps down concerns that Hillary will favor Wall Street.

As financial regulatory reform is Yves signature issue, this post is likely to be influential.

Yves agrees with John Dizzard that Elizabeth Warren will be a check on Hillary's ties to Wall Street in check (empahsis is mine):

The fact is that Wall Street wields a lot less power than it did in Washington a few years ago. The big banks are not held in the same esteem that they one were. Even though no executives went to jail, years of scandals, stories on market-rigging, and multi-billoin (sic) fines have made it amply clear that financiers don’t behave well when left to their own devices. Deregulation, which was once something all sophisticated-seeming policy wonks supported, is no longer fashionable, and is a tough sell on the banking front. And while the big finance players still remain too big to fail, they are subject to much more in the way of regulations and compliance than they were pre-crisis. In other words, they’ve lost the ideological battle that they are so obviously indispensable and that their activities require so much technical expertise that supervising them closely would be a bad idea.

But why is it reasonable to think that Warren can prevail against a bank-friendly President Clinton? Hillary seems to have been able to coast on the brand fumes of her husband’s support of bank deregulation and installation of Bob Rubin and his acolytes in powerful government positions. Despite being a favored recipient of Wall Street largesse, Hillary has not done all that much for the industry. Her efforts as a New York senator were perfunctory. Her passion is foreign policy (gah). Domestically, Silicon Valley in general and Google in particular is far more important to her than anyone in finance. She’d deploy a lot of energy fighting Warren without much upside. That doesn’t mean that Clinton won’t go a few rounds against Warren to show she made an effort. Thus the game will be to see what Clinton has to deliver in the way of nominees to key regulatory posts. Clinton may go the route of trying to serve up candidates that are minimally acceptable, or look on paper to have some progressive sympathies, but are Vichy Left stooges.

And there is a perverse irony at work. Even though Warren looked to have been played by Clinton when her operatives messaged idea of a Warren vice presidency hard and Warren went after Trump with considerable zeal, Warren did get some benefits. The media treating her as a powerful player and designated attack dog against Trump gave Warren a lot of media play, reinforcing her status.

Skeptics will say, correctly, that Obama could have brought Wall Street to heel at the start of his Administration, and that financial firms remain too large and the banking industry needs to shrink much further. While that is true, that moment passed and as a result, we are having to make progress the slow, hard way. Warren’s skills as a bureaucratic infighter, a communicator, and a policy wonk are enabling her and her allies to methodically cut the financial services industry down to size.

WOW! Every Hillary supporter reading this must be silently mouthing "Hell Yeah!".

>> No mention of concerns that Wall Street is up to its old tricks (subprime lending, bubbles, etc.).

>> No mention of Wall Street's push for TTP/TTIP.

>> No mention of the disappointment in Warren's lack of support for Sanders (despite nakedcapitalism's unofficial support for Sanders) - which many on the left saw as a betrayal.

As a long-time reader of nakedcapitalism, I am reminded of Yves' support for Mary Jo White to run the SEC. Yves believed that MJW's prior experience as a prosecutor and her intimate knowledge of Wall Street would make MJW effective. But MJW turned out to be just as bad as her critics believed she would be.

Ironically, Warren has been one of MJW's fiercest critics, and now "Warren as watchdog" is being used to finesse concerns about Hillary's ties to Wall Street.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2016 15:05 utc | 150

The dangerous alliance between Hillary Clinton's Democrats and neocons: Fear of Trump is cementing a strange relationship

Hillary’s tacit approval allows these neoconservatives to accrue renewed prestige and eventually insinuate themselves back into positions of power.

Although his business dealings with sketchy Moscow oligarchs warrant scrutiny, the notion that Trump is some kind of secret agent of the Kremlin is preposterous, and harkens back to the old days when McCarthyite slurs were regularly heaped on anyone who dared deviate from foreign policy orthodoxy.

That these nasty tactics have been so fulsomely embraced by the Democratic establishment and liberal media should be seen as an ominous omen as to how things might proceed in a potential Hillary presidential term.

Again: Trump may pose certain unpredictable dangers, but the dangers posed by re-empowering the neoconservative ideologues who brought about the Iraq invasion are already known. There’s no guesswork involved — we have incontrovertible proof of their destructive potential.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2016 15:27 utc | 151

@150 followup

Long time reader and frequent commentator diptherio weighs in with a comment that resonates with mine @150:

Being pessimistic has served me well so far. When there were questions raised here about whether Mary Jo White would step up or not, I assumed she would not…and I was not disappointed. When discussion centered around whether Bernie would just become another “sheep dog” candidate for the Neocon Dem party, I assumed he would, one way or another…and I was not disappointed. Now the question is will Warren be effective in reigning in Wall Street, despite having one of their employees at the head of her party…I assume not. I hope to be disappointed this time, but if history is any guide, I wouldn’t put any money on it…just sayin’.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2016 15:39 utc | 152

@152 followup

Note other NC readers are also expressing skepticism (to give credit where credit is due).

Sadly, many more people will read Yves post (which she places under "guest post") then will read the comments. And Hillary supporters will use Yves reasoning to promote their candidate.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2016 15:45 utc | 153

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