Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 14, 2016

Friedman Attempts "Bash Putin" Stick - Screws Up For Hubris And Stupidity

A lame as ever Tom Friedman joins the Putin bashing circus and, as a hundred columnists before him, connects Putin to Trump to hit his real target. But as also characteristically for him, Friedman demonstrates a lack the knowledge and understanding that few others are able to reach. Thus, Putin is bad, because:

A 2015 report in The Moscow Times noted that “life expectancy in Russia has been growing several times slower than in the rest of the world for the past 20 years, according to a research by the U.S.-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.” That coincides almost exactly with Putin’s leadership of the country. The article explained, “During the period of 1990-2013 [life expectancy] only grew by 1.8 years in Russia, while the global average number increased by 6.2 years, pushing Russia out of the top 100 countries with the highest life expectancy and placing it in 108th position — between Iraq and North Korea.”

Here is graph with the life expectancy in Russia.


One can obviously distinguish two periods with very different trends: In the 1990s the Harvard boys taught Russia a lesson in laissez-faire robbery. Life expectancy fell from 63.76 years for men in 1990 to 58.53 in the year 2003. It started to recover in 2005 and went up since. In 2010 life expectancy for men was back at 63.09 and in 2015 it reached 65.92.

How much of that was Putin's fault?

Putin became acting President of the Russian Federation on December 31 1999. Most of the 1990s he was First Deputy Chairman of the Government of Saint Petersburg - hardly the position that made him responsible for the health of the Russian nation. Putin was not at all responsible when life expectancy fell in Russia. But he was responsible when it again started to grow and is responsible for the success since.

In 2015 Russia ranked 110 in the WHO country list of life expectancy. Hardly great, but much better than 15 years earlier when Putin became responsible for the issue. During Putin's fifteen years in the top jobs life expectancy in Russia increased by some 7 years, nearly 12%.

Increasing the life expectancy of a nation is hardly the sign of a "strong" leader (whatever that may be). But it is a sign of a reasonably well led and working administration of a country.

Don't expect such in the U.S. if Tom Friedman's favorite candidate, Hillary Clinton, wins the presidency. The level of knowledge and decency of Friedman and Clinton are about par. As someone who knows personal failure, one Colin Powell, so nicely expressed:

"Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”

Just see the (Friedman) example above. I for one would choose a Putin over a Hillary Clinton any time.

Posted by b on September 14, 2016 at 12:23 UTC | Permalink


I cant see any other reason than to label this hatred in the western nations for Russia, racism. Plain horrible and dangerous.

Posted by: Cezer | Sep 14 2016 12:51 utc | 1

Jaysus; if Putin ran the U.S. I might even consider returning; might, but doubtful. ;-)

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 14 2016 13:08 utc | 2

According to the Telegraph, average male sperm counts dropped by 38% between 2001-2011. Roughly 20 million fewer sperm per head;)

Never mind life expectancy. Your and my nutsacks have experienced the equivalent of three holocausts apiece!

Seriously.. we can talk about the media all day. Shaming the media will not be possible. I am so much more concerned by the stories they don't tell, then by the stories they do.

How does a rational sane person respond to the evil malignancy of globalizing zionist plutocracy?

One thing for sure is you don't keep returning to these same controlled sources expecting different behaviour. You don't hang on to fabricated normalcy, because acting normal in the midst of unprecedented insanity is a sure sign abnormality, as in yours and mine.

Posted by: C I eh? | Sep 14 2016 13:20 utc | 3

The democrats are so desperate that they must look for a boogeyman now that Ben Laden and Saddam Hossein are gone.

For them Putin is the perfect powerful and dangerous cyber-criminal who wants to destroy the USA with the complicity of Trump and his basket of deplorables while Hillary is the superwoman who will protect America.
The trouble is that Hillary is a granny with a super ego and a less super health and a basement full of email servers that she is too computer illiterate to control.
Overall she is becoming the pathetic figure of failure.

Posted by: virgile | Sep 14 2016 13:20 utc | 4

Can you imagine the numbers for Ukraine sense the west has taken over . Its really not going to be good for that country a few years out when it comes to statistics . I know I know ..Putin's fault

Posted by: Terry | Sep 14 2016 13:32 utc | 5


I cant see any other reason than to label this hatred in the western nations for Russia, racism. Plain horrible and dangerous.

Yes, racism is a great part of it (you know, those dirty Slavs) but it is not all. Russia can and does generate alternative civilizational ideas. This is a clear and present danger to "West's" monopoly on that. Plus, some among Western "elites" do know the real state of the affairs with Russia and they are furious because they cannot do anything about it--Russians, actually, do know how to fight wars. The rest (majority) of those "elites" are products of Ivy League degree mill and have no knowledge or understanding of Russia, her culture, history and, what is most important, her people.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Sep 14 2016 13:44 utc | 6

Found this over at Saker..

Re: Friedman, NYTimes, Normalcy Bias Disorder, worrying about fake news in fake media, etc. and etc.

UK comedian, John Cleese, on being asked during an interview “is it true that as you say, you have lost your sense of humour?

Cleese: Yes.

Interviewer: Why

Cleese: because humour is found at the interface of islands of insanity floating in a sea of sanity. When you have reversed this, when you have a sea of insanity with a few islands of sanity, you are being asked to laugh at sanity. And this you cannot do.

Posted by: C I eh? | Sep 14 2016 13:46 utc | 7

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

- Upton Sinclair

Posted by: ex-sarajlija | Sep 14 2016 13:59 utc | 8

Like the NYT, Friedman is a joke. A Friedman unit equals six months. Thirty Friedman units have passed. The MENA, other than ISrael, is still sucking on this.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 14 2016 14:02 utc | 9

In that Intercept story,Powell said he asked the Hell Bitch not to throw him under the bus re E-mails:Whump whump.He had to go postal at a Hamptons party to get her attention.
Friedman is another one of those people who should have been left on the hill for wolves.
I read yesterday that HRC and Cuomo both called on Americans and NYers to boycott NC over the idiotic gender crap.
Traitors both,targeting fellow Americans over political shenanigans.
And Obomba goes off on Trump in his? latest election cycle.I thought he was done?And he was in front of his base,which rapturously ate up every pos word.
And the lying times now targets Christianity,as the Russian Orthodox Church makes inroads in Europe.Jesus is not alright with them.And they call the Russians illiberal?!!!
And both Wapoo and the Lying Times had little to say of the serial liar Hell Bitch,and her illness.Or whatever it is.They've turned the non productive page.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 14 2016 14:03 utc | 10

Meantime, the life expectancy of poorer white Americans has dropped significantly over the past decade.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 14 2016 14:05 utc | 11

Conversely, I wonder what the life expectancy in America looks like over the last decade? That is if we could be reasonably confident that the numbers for such stats were not being 'seasonally adjusted' by government, stated at 79.0 years. If I were an American the home score would be of more concern to me than any other nations. Canada's numbers, home to a commie-socialist single payer universal medicare system, averages 81.85 years, so not too shabby for a commie administered health care system. (some sarc involved here)

Posted by: BRF | Sep 14 2016 14:16 utc | 12

We are starting to see the first hints at life expectancy declining in the United States. So far it's just selected subgroups, like poor whites, but give it time, the trends are not encouraging.

Anthropologists often use mean lifespan as a good single number to judge the overall real prosperity of a nation, because so many things need to go right to for most people to make it to 84 or so.

Right now Japan is No.1 at 83.7 years. The United States is No. 31, at 79.3 years - low by rank, but still not bad by absolute terms. Russia is no 110, at 70.5 years. Sierra Leone brings up the rear at no.183 and 50.1 years. So we have a long ways to fall, and Russia has a long ways to go up, but the trend is in their favor. You also have to consider that Russia faces a momentum effect: all that bad health in the laissez faire 1990's will linger on for the life of all those who survived, so Russia faces a headwind. That makes the increase under Putin all the more impressive.

Posted by: TG | Sep 14 2016 14:20 utc | 13

Daily Mail: Hillary Clinton ‘HATES’ President Obama for defeating her in 2008, according to Colin Powell’s leaked emails and ‘was so sick giving speech she could barely walk up steps’:

In another March 2015 email exchange between the two [Colin Powell and private equity investor and Democratic Party donor Jeffrey Leeds] the men talk about Clinton’s health, with Leeds stating that Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse informed him that ‘she could barely climb the podium steps’ when the two gave a speech at the same event a few months prior.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 14 2016 14:23 utc | 14

So, can we rightfully say that Milton Friedman is the Florence Foster Jenkins ( of NY Times columnists?

Posted by: metamars | Sep 14 2016 14:27 utc | 15

From 2004

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s former adviser, embodies the continuity of U.S. foreign policy whether it is democratic or republican. A great admirer of Henry Kissinger, Brzezinski recommends that Russia be militarily weakened and intimidated. He is convinced that the best way to achieve it is by destabilizing its border regions, a political strategy that aroused the interest of former presidential candidate John Kerry’s team who recruited his son Mark Brzezinski as its foreign policy adviser.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 14 2016 14:31 utc | 16

Brzezinski, in spite of his age (88), continues to travel extensively. He is a counselor and trustee of the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies and he lectures at Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he sometimes accompanies presidential candidate Barack Obama in his travels around the country.

The chief specialist on Russian-American relations in the Brzezinski family, and also on the Obama staff, is Brzezisnki's oldest son Mark. In 1999 and 2000, Mark Brzezinski was director for Russia and Eurasia of the national security council under president Bill Clinton. "It's possible that Putinism may be the last gasp of the old regime, and it may well be the case that within the next decade, the Putin government might be replaced by a new generation of Russians, many of them who are trained in the west who are not products of the KGB and more open to the West." Mark Brzezinski said.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 14 2016 14:43 utc | 17

The chart shows an upward trend. Friedman/NYT/NBC find fault with that? Ridiculous.
It's good to keep reminders up of the Boris/Chicago boys sellout-robbery of Russia duriing the transition. People tend to forget the history. And the media marvel at Putin's approval ratings? Again, look at history. The geriatric soviet set of Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko looked like it was going downhill until Gorby came on the scene to bring realpolitik to the USSR. To most Russians, Putin must seem like a Godsend.

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 14 2016 15:03 utc | 18

hubris? Where have I heard that before? It was the word used to tamely criticize Team Bush's GWOT without calling it criminal. Hillary is such a neocon; it's amazing how many supposedly anti-war democrats can hold their nose and support her.
To b and the forum, thanks for the inputs. Whether it's the Cleese quote or the regular informative material.

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 14 2016 15:20 utc | 19

@17 huhhh? Gorby totally wrecked USSR. He was the Jimmy Carter Bush Obama of USSR. I have an old 1970s economics textbook that extrapolated USSR's economy as surpassing USA by the 1990s

Posted by: bbbb | Sep 14 2016 15:23 utc | 20

@7 awesome Cleese quote that I most certainly can agree with. I guess there will always be trolling at least.
Thanks for that

Posted by: bbbb | Sep 14 2016 15:25 utc | 21

Mark Twain: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Posted by: OIFVet | Sep 14 2016 15:27 utc | 22

It's funny how the calm confidence of the Russian leader is exposing the stupidity of the US elites left and right. President Putin doesn't have to say or do anything to make the American leadership jumpy.

Posted by: Steve | Sep 14 2016 15:41 utc | 23

Hillary aide Huma Abedin said in a January 2013 that Hillary is "often confused".

Posted by: lysias | Sep 14 2016 15:45 utc | 24

The only thing left to say about the entire U.S. media is:
Send in the clowns
Don't bother
They're here

Posted by: Stephen | Sep 14 2016 15:46 utc | 25

Thomas Friedman has a birthright to discharge.

Posted by: john | Sep 14 2016 15:49 utc | 26

That which Kissinger did not destroy, is being destroyed by other brains behind the Oblama empty suit - ppl like the Kagans, Nudelman and Brzezinski and son.

Little daylight exists between the D and R parties. Both are warmonger parties. There is no anti-war candidate among congressional representatives of either party. All in lockstep promoting the fake GWOT.

Excluding the Baraka/Stein ticket, Trump, the Republican, more closely resembles an anti-war candidate. Anti-interventionism is anti-war by default. The democrat - the blood-soaked Yinon Plan Warmonger Clinton is a proud killer of innocents.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 14 2016 15:51 utc | 27

i think obama comparing putin to saddam is more noteworthy... when a countries leader is on record spouting this kind of crap, you know the usa is on a steep downhill trajectory..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2016 15:59 utc | 28

Will Hillary even be the dem candidate? I think there's a possibility that she'll politely be asked to withdraw and let Joe Biden run in her place. I think he would easily beat Trump

Posted by: bbbb | Sep 14 2016 16:05 utc | 29

What's even more amazing about Obama comparing Putin to Saddam, in terms of popularity, is that history has shown that the people of Iraq were much, much, much better off under Saddam before the US started destroying Iraq. So how was that comparison supposed to work? Oh yeah, it works because most Americans apparently don't care to think about anything beyond what Entertainment, Inc, defines as real and important...

Posted by: paul | Sep 14 2016 16:14 utc | 30

C I eh? @3--

Lower sperm counts occur globally thanks to industrial and household pollutants, and are ongoing since the late 1980s. See Our Stolen Future for the specific details.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2016 16:33 utc | 31

Hillary fell while walking to her car and shattered her elbow in June 2009. Clinton to Have Surgery to Repair Elbow Fractured in a Fall. Could that have been an earlier instance of her fainting?

Posted by: lysias | Sep 14 2016 16:42 utc | 32

You may not be the only one still reading the NYTimes, but surely you are the only one still reading Friedman.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 14 2016 17:32 utc | 33

It's possible that Putinism may be the last gasp of the old regime, and it may well be the case that within the next decade, the Putin government might be replaced by a new generation of Russians, many of them who are trained in the west who are not products of the KGB and more open to the West." Mark Brzezinski said.
Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 14, 2016 10:43:05 AM | 16

Funny stuff. But, par for the course for clowns like this to openly paint a mindscape totally opposite to the reality. Putin's massive public support and restoration of national pride from the edge of despair is more than likely to have an influence or be the management blue print for decades to come.

The cold war is over, Russia is open for business...yet, western muppets claim future Russian leaders "who are not products of the KGB and more open to the West" while hiding behind pointless EuroYankee economic sanctions. Losing Crimea...Assad still stands...and the neocons cry the bitter tears of a sore loser "save us...Hillary save us...!"

Russia can and does generate alternative civilizational ideas. This is a clear and present danger to "West's" monopoly on that. Plus, some among Western "elites" do know the real state of the affairs with Russia and they are furious because they cannot do anything about it--Russians, actually, do know how to fight wars. The rest (majority) of those "elites" are products of Ivy League degree mill and have no knowledge or understanding of Russia, her culture, history and, what is most important, her people.
Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Sep 14, 2016 9:44:07 AM | 6

I enjoyed reading that. Turns out Russia does what they call capitalism arguably better than the exceptionals since it was infected by the 'free market' a quarter century ago.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 14 2016 17:38 utc | 34

dahoit, 10. ..heh... Colin Powell is an obligated, lying lackey trying to rehabilitate himself?

Sittin’ up there are the UN podium with a fake prop, like in provincial theatre, just grabbed from the trunk backstage, a vial of yikes anthrax, shaking it about, the absolute summum of ridicule. Ppl couldn’t believe it, it was so completely crazy, like a scuzzy C-series TV show, with a fake bomb or gun, but if the Hegemon says, everyone was terrified, they all bowed down. Saddam has WMD! Proof!

(Anyone in the street doing such a thing where I live has to wait quietly under friendly, caring and amiable citizen arrest until the ambulance with the white coats shows.)

Now he comes out as anti-Hill. Give me a break. Honor cannot be recaptured in this way. If he had any dignity he would have disapeared into the white picket-fence territory (with no doubt considerable monies) to never, ever speak publically again.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 14 2016 17:47 utc | 35

@bbbb 28, @fastfredd 26

Taking both comments into considerations, the republicans more "...Anti-interventionism is anti-war by default. The democrat - the blood-soaked Yinon Plan Warmonger Clinton is a proud killer of innocents...." 100% concur and who know?

Hillary very likely drops dead before Nov. or shortly after January 2107. Trump can change anytime for the sake of becoming the most powerful man on earth today? Dun forgets Sanders supporters wishing and praying it might happen to replace Hillary or Joe Biden as the Democrat's replacement. Wishful dreams..

My safe bet for now either Dr. Stein or insane Trump. Absolutely NO Democrats!

Posted by: Jack Smith | Sep 14 2016 17:54 utc | 36

@35 I don't think you can convince enough Democrats to not vote their way. The only thing in their way is Hillary herself. Biden miraculously carries no baggage and is beloved. Yes it makes me smack my forehead as well, but to understand that would probably explain why we get the politicians that we get

Posted by: bbbb | Sep 14 2016 18:22 utc | 37

Biden, "I am a Zionist".

Without hesitation, a direct quote spoken from his own lips to our ears.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 14 2016 18:32 utc | 38

The decline of life expectancy in Russia in the 1990s was the first time that had ever happened in an industrialized nation. It is now slowly becomng a fact in Western countries, particularly among the lower classes. This is an absolute condemnation of neo-liberal economics.

It should be Friedman's job to be aware and knowledgable of issues like this. He obviously is not. It is therefore apparent - although most of us know this anyway - that his position is that of the courtier, and his job is to flatter his patrons.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 14 2016 18:50 utc | 39

OT yet of particular interest is this recent article about the massive financial shenanigans and such surrounding 911, some of which are connected to the massive criminal probe into Wall Street by Spitzer whose evidence was destroyed along with building 7,

An excerpt: "Here’s where Wall Street and the U.S. economy stood on September 10, 2001, the day before an attack in lower Manhattan provided the excuse for the Federal Reserve to flood Wall Street with unquestioned amounts of cash: The Nasdaq stock market, filled with the stocks of rigged analyst research from the iconic firms on Wall Street (the target of Spitzer’s investigation), had imploded, losing 66 percent of its pumped up value and wiping out $4 trillion in wealth. While it wasn’t yet known at the time, being only officially acknowledged long after 9/11, the U.S. economy had contracted for two consecutive quarters and was looking at another negative quarter of growth.

"Thus, it was quite advantageous for Alan Greenspan’s legacy as Chair of the Federal Reserve and what might have been an even worse economic slump that the Fed was given carte blanche to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street after 9/11 with the Federal government pumping billions more in fiscal stimulus."

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2016 19:04 utc | 40

Quiz 1: what is necessary for an American country to have a better life expectation than United States?

Answer: to have a name that starts with letter C: Canada, Chile, Costa Rica and Cuba. Mind you, Colombia does worse, so it is not exactly sufficient. Thus any serious effort to improve health in United States should start with finding a new name. E.g. given improvements in government secrecy, Clandestine State? Or, more optimistically, Cornucopia, the state of plenty (super sized meals and all you can eat deals come to mind).

Quiz 2: what is sensible about health care proposals in Trump's official program?

Answer: is there anything like that there? Personally, I think not. Rubio, Robot-American candidate, who sadly failed as there are not enough robots who vote, actually tried and wrote more than one page. And he observed that Obama care addresses the problem that previous "free market system" did not: providing insurance to people who do not have employer insurance and who have a "pre-existing condition". So he proposed an alternative solution that would be more "free market", which did not make much sense but, at least, he tried. Trump does not try to has few paragraphs of platitudes. By the way, do not expect anything better in Libertarian program.

Quiz 3: which state has best, and which has the worst, the rate of maternity deaths in this list: Russia, Texas, Uzbekistan? Again, alphabet determines the outcome! It was not always the case, but after Texan legislature outlawed giving funds to clinics that provided "reproductive services" at low prices and introduced severe restrictions on abortion providers (abolished to USSC), the ratio of mother's death/birth doubled.

Quiz 4: Kern County, California has most deadly police force, killing more than several largest American cities combined. What party controls the local governments there (and in Oklahoma City county which is the runner up in the category)?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 14 2016 19:04 utc | 41

On a positive note, AFAIK, Moscow Times operate legally in Moscow, Russia, which is a good testimony to the freedom of press in Russia. Thus Tom Friedman has an excuse, he could think that he is reading a reliable source. Too bad that he did not use more reliable sources, like flying to Moscow himself and chatting with A Moscovite taxi driver. Best works of Friedman were based on conversations with drivers, high time for him to return to his roots.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 14 2016 19:09 utc | 42

Daily Mail: Trump grows his lead to FIVE points -- both nationally and in key battleground of Ohio:

Hillary Clinton's calamitous weekend has her running five points behind Donald Trump nationally in a daily tracking poll and in the state of Ohio.

The Democratic White House contender was pulling ahead until a video came out of her going wobbly in the knees as she entered a van after a 9/11 memorial ceremony on Sunday. Her campaign acknowledged after the fact that she'd secretly been battling pneumonia for two days.

Clinton's share of the vote in the LA Times' survey has dropped three percent since then and Trump's has increased by as much. They now stand at 42 percent and 46.7 percent respectively.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 14 2016 21:05 utc | 43

bbbb @ 36:

It's my understanding that Joe Biden's son Hunter is on the board of directors of Burisma Holdings which has a licence to drill for oil in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. Burisma Holdings is a subsidiary of Privat Group whose major shareholder (if not outright owner) is Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky who holds three passports (Ukrainian, Israeli, Cypriot). Incidentally Ukrainian law forbids dual citizenship.

If Biden were to become POTUS, you can expect more of your taxpayer money (if you are a US citizen) to be spent on the Kiev criminal regime and its security forces who are dominated by extreme right-wing Nazi / Bandera groups. Much of that money will mysteriously end up in the bank accounts of the likes of President Petro Poroshenko (formerly Valtzman), Kolomoisky and other oligarchs, several if not most of whom happen to be Jewish or part-Jewish and who like Kolomoisky may have dual loyalties. (Yes, a Jewish power elite relying on Nazis to oppress the general public and stop ordinary people from finding out about their wealth and power: that's a bit difficult to get our heads around but these people are operating out of expediency and greed and never think of the consequences and possible blowback.)

And if Ukraine is to be "protected" (so that Biden junior can benefit) from Russia, the Baltic states and Poland will demand more NATO protection as well. So even more of your tax money will go towards NATO bases and arming those countries, even as their economies go down the toilet.

Eventually of course there'll be a war but it may not be the war we're expecting. Poland and Ukraine might end up fighting each other rather than fighting Russia together. Given past historical record (Poland invading Ukraine in the 1920s and taking territory, Polish nationalists polonising Ukrainians, Ukrainians later butchering Poles during WW2), that future war won't be a pretty sight.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 14 2016 21:07 utc | 44

I smell desperation in the wind. I wonder if they feel comfortable in their plains to continue rigging the economy and politics. Makes one wonder.

Posted by: P Walker | Sep 14 2016 21:47 utc | 45

Friedman is so in love with the notion of his amazing perception (even if he actually knows he's only "middle brow"). He grabs an idea and wrings a column out of it, not bothering to put it in a drawer for an hour or sleep on it overnight - much less wonder "is this even common-sensical?""
Someone should ask him about the obvious American analog, the often reported rise in premature deaths of lower-class white Americans, mostly males, seen since 1999... so far not "turned around" but shared -- how fortuitously -- by Bush and Obama for 8 years each ... someone should ask him ... nyt: Why Are White Death Rates Rising?
(Psst! Neoliberal economic polices are implicated, but noteworthy also is that the 2008 crash occurs midway in this "trend" as monitored thus far ... )

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Sep 14 2016 21:55 utc | 46

@Jen | Sep 14, 2016 5:07:31 PM | 43

You pretty well sum up more than many here, myself included and had forgotten: Biden, son, the Baltic States, Poland and Ukraine. What happening now in the Arab's world will be pale in comparison adding Joe Biden into the equations.

Betcha Biden working hard behind the scene for the POTUS job - October surprise?

Posted by: Jack Smith | Sep 14 2016 22:00 utc | 47

@43 Jen I agree with you and think you're correct, but I'm just speaking from the perspective of the DNC. Hillary has significant negatives now that might cost her and the DNC the election. I think she is very driven on becoming a female president and the first female president, but if she has Parkinson's disease then she might literally lack the stamina to finish out the campaign, and she, of course, has all of her baggage as the wife of Bill and the Sec. of state that oversaw the destruction of Libya.

Biden is a rectal-puppet like Obama and was in on the same crap as Hillary, but he's probably immune from the negative fallout as crazy as it sounds.

I'm just throwing this out as a possibility. It's been mentioned elsewhere, so I didn't come up with the idea.

Posted by: bbbb | Sep 14 2016 22:15 utc | 48

The scariest thing is that Tom Friedman - as terminally ignorant as he is - is actually one of the smartest American opinion makers. Most of the others routinely display the degree of idiocy that is far more breathtaking. Of course in a country that worships mediocrity (Obama didn't even know how many states the USA is comprised of, which didn't prevent him from becoming the CEO of the place) that's par for the course. With regard to Russia, majority of Americans simply live in an alternative Universe, where wishful thinking reigns supreme, and facts are avoided like a plague. And they prefer it that way.

Posted by: telescope | Sep 14 2016 23:11 utc | 49

b, 'In the 1990s the Harvard boys taught Russia a lesson in laissez-faire robbery. Life expectancy fell from 63.76 years for men in 1990 to 58.53 in the year 2003.'

That's the takeaway from this story, for me. Someone - himself- posted a link to How Harvard Lost Russia (pdf), and enriched themselves in the process. Larry Summers, the 'smartest guy in the room', is quietly nested in the middle of the whole caper. I can remember naively thinking then that a whole new world had dawned, the end of the cold war, the 'peace dividend', US and Russian cooperation to put the new Russian economy on 'a solid footing'.

The USA showed its true colors at that time. Grand Larceny. That is the story, unfit to print at the NYTimes.

The 'touching' part of the story is that Putin still believes in the neo-liberal tooth-fairy, as does Friedman ... if he believes in anything. I imagine that Friedman is a nihilist, like Barack the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, purveyor of death, devastation, destruction and deceit worldwide, extender of the Cuban blockade, funder of the US-Israeli Palestinian genocide ... Obama.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 14 2016 23:25 utc | 50

Noirette @ 34

Well said.

I'm heartily sick and tired of born-again "rebels" whose "rebellion" kicks in just as soon as their fucking pension rights are secure. Worse than whores, they're cowards.

Posted by: Cortes | Sep 14 2016 23:31 utc | 51

Thanks for reading the NYTimes so we don't have to. However, I couldn't resist the intellectual car crash that is Friedman so I read his article. Just the same cliches about Putin, but in the summation he states "Putin is a leader who is always looking for dignity in all the wrong places — by investing in bullying wars, not in his own people..". Invest in the Russian people??

I felt a bit dirty but I looked up his articles on investing in the American people, and low and behold, he pushes for the "reform" of entitlements and social programs. By that he means cutting the programs. His spiritual home is the Catfood Commission so vaunted by Obama.

I just read about how bad food insecurity is in the US that teenagers are trading sex for food. A number of years ago with Obama The Greatest (according to Friedman) in the White House, and the dems controlled the Senate, the country ended up with eight billion dollar funding cut for food stamps. In the current Pentagon budget, Obama the Greatest added about eight billion defending Lithuania from a fantasy invasion.

But returning to Putin. Correct me if I am wrong but hasn't his government increased spending in pre and post natal care, and paying young parents money for having children in a country with a negative population growth? Guess what Obama signed in on the budget? Cuts to WIC.

Posted by: Erelis | Sep 15 2016 1:23 utc | 52

I've read all of the above: original article, commentary, counter-commentary.

Is this really an issue? Or is it a series of bs being blathered about?

Friedman is an dufus. Worrying about what he says is blatantly silly. The NYT is a grey-lady twirling in her tomb. The readers simply haven't figured that out.

Pay-backs for genocide by europeans will happen ... North and South America, Africa, Middle East, Asia ... globally. All I can say is: it is long over due!

Posted by: rg the lg | Sep 15 2016 3:18 utc | 53

After the above post, I offer this for everyone's consideration, especially in the aftermath of the recent blather about 911/9-11/9-1-1.

It skips over some oldies but goodies ... Polks American Blood on American Soil, the Battleship Maine ... and who knows how many false flags against native peoples. It doesn't take into account 'protecting American Interests in ... ' Guatamala, Mexico, Cuba, the Philippines, Vietnam, et al ... .

But, it is worthy of reading ... unlike the crap put out by Friedman in the Grey Lady.

Posted by: rg the lg | Sep 15 2016 4:10 utc | 54

bbbb @ 47:

Thanks for your reply clarifying your remark about Joe Biden not carrying any baggage.

There is one thing that might hurt Biden if he were to replace Hillary Clinton and that happens to be his support for a bankruptcy bill in the 1990s that would have made seeking bankruptcy more difficult for credit card holders. The bill was supported by the financial services industry and credit-card issuer MBNA Corporation who gave about $200,000 to Biden's election campaigns between 1989 and 2010. Biden supported the bill whenever it came up for discussion and voting on. The bill eventually became law in 2005 after various amendments.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 15 2016 5:30 utc | 55

''Eventually of course there'll be a war but it may not be the war we're expecting. Poland and Ukraine might end up fighting each other rather than fighting Russia together. Given past historical record (Poland invading Ukraine in the 1920s and taking territory, Polish nationalists polonising Ukrainians, Ukrainians later butchering Poles during WW2), that future war won't be a pretty sight.''

Good news for Germany and Russia. Lets get the idiots killing themselves. Germany also could take advantage and highlight its troops to ''protect'' the dumb Poles, thus recovering their occupied lands Silesia, Danzig, East Pomerania and Posen.

Posted by: Nick | Sep 15 2016 5:43 utc | 56

Bill Van Auken has been reading a different page of the NYTimes ...

Pentagon openly challenges US-Russia ceasefire deal in Syria

The US secretary of state “thinks” the Pentagon is prepared to abide by an agreement approved by the US president, while stressing that he is not asking the military brass to “abrogate their standards.” Kerry’s remarks express the real relations within the US state apparatus, the overriding influence of the vast military and intelligence apparatus and its ability to exercise what amounts to veto power over the country’s elected civilian officials.

If Kerry and the military are at loggerheads, it is bound up with the conflicting priorities in the prosecution of US imperialist policy on a global scale. The support of Kerry and others for the ceasefire is driven not by any humanitarian concern over bloodshed in Syria, but by their desire to use collaboration with Russia as a means of salvaging at least some of the proxy forces that they have backed, which are on the verge of a complete rout by Russian-backed government forces. They hope that they can employ a combination of diplomacy and military threats to pressure Moscow into acquiescing to some form of the regime change that Washington has pursued through its bloody intervention in Syria over the past five years.

... emphasizing the weakness of Barack Obama and the increasing readiness of the US military to take matters into their own hands.

I haven't read the NYTimes itself, haven't savored its spin on this bit of 'news'.

So who's running B-the-NPPL-O? The Financiers and/or the Fossil Fuelers? The Fusiliers seem in near open rebellion. I really have to wonder what Joe6pac thinks of their rebellion? Has all the talk spewed forth by the Friedman and others sufficiently demented him, does he buy their crock of horse manure?

Apparently Barack Obama is not weak enough for them. Adds clarity to their choice of the twin weaklings, Clinton/Trump.

Need I offer my opinion again? No to Clinton, no to Trump. Every time 'we choose a new leader' and the carousel starts up again, we're in an even worse position than we were the last time around. No one left to stop the spinning but us old guys.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 15 2016 8:56 utc | 57

rg the lg #53

Thanks for the link to the “False Flag Terror “Has Succeeded For Millennia, To Compel War””. It is the most inclusive article I have seen for listing and documenting false flag events not only by the US but globally.

My main interest is having access to credible and reliable information that support the thesis, so well understood here at MoA, that the US Empire is a ruthless, unscrupulous and aggressive entity that fosters a popular mindset that allows them to perpetrate the most heinous crimes in furtherance of their hegemonic agendas. Most Americans that I know cannot believe just how callous and unrestrained our elites (proxy, surrogate leaders-government) are. They will not even entertain the thought that “we” would sink so morally low. US exceptionalism eh?

With the help of MoA (b and many commentators) I can stay informed enough on geopolitical events to continue to help open the eyes of the naive. I think informing the misinformed is a huge step in helping to regain a world free from the demonic posture of today’s elites and their lackeys.

Thanks rg the lg, b and many others here that elucidate so much on a daily basis.

Posted by: juannie | Sep 15 2016 12:50 utc | 58

53;Jesus save US from crazy non white revenge filled idiots who think their shite don't stink.Who are you,Titonwan?Someones gonna break your little hammer,wah!
Joe Bitem is one step up from a retard,and has failed repeatedly to receive more than 10%? of the electorates faith.He is a corrupt hack from Delaware,an insurance and chemical lackey.a plagiarist and another HB clone in drag.And his son is employed by the Ukrainian nuts,another sign of family corruption.
And all this Trump hysteria;Know a man by his enemies,and his enemies are ours.
Will he bring US a rose garden?Nah,but anything is better than the neoliberal nightmare of zion we endure daily.
And Friedman cares not one whit for white deplorables,only for white wanna be Zionists.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 15 2016 13:29 utc | 59

Saw an interesting thing by a Kennedy at CP? about the Syrian War starting in 2000 with the refusal of Assads father? to OK Qatar pipeline,and the promotion of the Iranian Russian one.
Just a confirmation article of what has already been discussed here.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 15 2016 13:45 utc | 60

I smell desperation in the wind. P. Walker at 44.

Me too. I listened to HRC + DT at that meet for military types. (Half an hour each.) I’d have a lot to say about HRC’s health - she is in terrible, absolutely awful, mental shape - but it would be speculation, etc.

I also watched some MSM US tv clips on YT, plus reading MSM print and attacks on it, see b, comments on various boards. For the MSM to go so completely off the rails, wild, all-out crazed, smacks of utter panic, no place to turn. Something is going on, beyond hmm, what we can see or outline for the moment.

I have now shifted my view-point on the underlying issues and ramifications of this US Prez. election, see my previous posts or, I can detail if interest or considered relevant...


1) HRC’s dire health risks were, I now understand, clearly very well-known to the PTB (Dem insiders but not only, anyone at ‘top’, incl. R and MSM) and thus collusion at high + all levels to maintain her as a candidate was needed and implemented full-guns, by Obama amongst many others, incl. R’s. This was sort of evident before, but various reasons could explain it (Dynastic power, HRC being 'chosen', etc.)

2) The revelations about the Clinton Foundation, which I had assumed was a ‘fake charity’ used for paying ‘buddies’ and having parties and minor fraud etc. (very common in the US), now looks more like a global crime syndicate for money-laundering, criminal financial fraud, and probably or most certainly worse. (goog Charles Ortel for ex.) This is linked to the e-mail scandal.

The PTB (MSM…FBI -no indictement for e mail-.. Gvmt.. pundits..) stood behind not just the ‘Establishment’ candidate HRC (while vilifying DT, etc.) but behind a person who is an important part of a deep and hallucinatingly corrupt circuit with world-wide tentacles (of which Obama is a part. And which Putin knows all about…)

They expected to prevail as they hold the levers of power and information. However they are being undone by hackers, leaks, by DT himself (in some measure?), and by the electorate who is deeply angry, hates HRC, now has alt-media (from Alex Jones to twitter etc.) at hand. The R’s obviously preffered to sit this one out, and have D’s take the total melt-down hit (corrupt Washington, social upheavals) and therefore, Trump, an ‘outside’ candidate, who can later be hailed or rejected or whatever.

At present, the only crucial question is, how far if in *any direction* will DT go to clean house? If the pop. vote prevails, he will win by a landslide (it will be very difficult to fudge or annul it + the US PTB has a huge investment in maintaining the image of a democracy)? This is the question nobody can answer, but one can see from the 6 Sept (CNN poll) the polls playing catch up. It is slowly becoming accepted that Trump will be P, and the failure of the Ds will be blamed on HRC ‘health issues, poor lady, too sad’ .. ‘choosing the wrong candidate who turned out to be sick, a liar and a crook we now realise…’ and so on, hoping to get away with few mild indictements etc. to keep the current system going with just a few (if any) fall guys. The Rs are complicit.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 15 2016 13:56 utc | 61

WikiLeaks Editor Sarah Harrison Reveals Details of Snowden, Assange, Hillary Emails

Afshin Rattansi from RT’s current affairs program Going Underground interviews Sarah Harrison on the Thames opposite Britain’s MI6, discussing the Moscow-bound journey of NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden, as well as the Oliver Stone film, “Snowden.” With the Hillary’s emails in hand waiting for release, Wikileaks is now center stage. Watch:

Posted by: Jack Smith | Sep 15 2016 14:29 utc | 62

bbbb 18. Gorby wrecked the USSR? It was on a downward slide anyway. He simply enjoyed the ride. Realpolitik was how he dealt with external relations as it fell apart. I still have a US point of view and not that of the USSR. It sounds like the 70s economic textbook was wrong about the USSR as economists are about the house-of-cards US economy. Their system was corrupt and so is ours.

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 15 2016 14:36 utc | 63

@62 Curtis.

It sounds like the 70s economic textbook was wrong about the USSR

Somehow a defining factor in Soviet collapse--the fact that USSR was a multicultural society--escapes the "US point of view". I wonder why? These were centrifugal forces, which were in formation for decades, which tore USSR apart, by far not just economics. In order to understand that one has to ask a question of why really USSR invaded Afghanistan.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Sep 15 2016 14:52 utc | 64

I remember reading Andrei Amalrik's Can the Soviet Union Survive Until 1984? when I was stationed in Berlin with the U.S. military around 1970. At the time, I found it hard to accept his view that the Soviet Union was on its last legs. But he only got the date of the collapse a bit wrong.

I increasingly wonder whether the U.S. (or at least the neoliberal system in the U.S.) is now on its last legs.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 15 2016 15:00 utc | 65

SmoothieX12 | Sep 15, 2016 10:52:08 AM | 63
In order to understand that one has to ask a question of why, really, USSR invaded Afghanistan.

Now that is a damn good question, for which I have no immediate answer.
My bad, I should know the answer...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 15 2016 15:07 utc | 66

@65, V.Arnold

Now that is a damn good question, for which I have no immediate answer.

I have. It was and is a common knowledge in former USSR--Islamic radicalization of the Middle Asia republics, especially of Fergana Valley, which was emanating from Afghanistan. That was the main reason. When Dmitry Rogozin and General Gromov, the Commander Of The 40th Army, wrote in NYT: "In fact, we were the first to defend Western civilization against the attacks of Muslim fanatics. No one thanked us. On the contrary, everyone was impeding our actions: The United States, NATO, Iran, Pakistan, even China. After the withdrawal of the Soviet Army, the Najibullah government that we left behind in Kabul remained in power for another three years."

they meant what they wrote. But with the exception of Lester Grau, I don't know any more or less serious study of that war in the "West" in relation to processes within Soviet Union itself and one of the main of those processes was becoming more and more obvious failure of nationalities policies. Paradoxically, it came about not because of the weak but an enormous economic success in developing these republics in post WW II period. With that development came formation of highly nationalistic intellectual "elites". How and why, it is a different issue altogether.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Sep 15 2016 15:28 utc | 67

Well, the New York Times suddenly prints this stuff

Mohammad Javad Zarif: Let Us Rid the World of Wahhabism

Mohammad Javad Zarif is the Iranian Foreign Minster.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2016 15:34 utc | 68

@ 67 somebody.. thanks.. pretty good landing in the nyt, even if it is an opinion piece..

they are giving a vivid description of the 'moderates' that the usa likes to support too..

"Tehran — Public relations firms with no qualms about taking tainted petrodollars are experiencing a bonanza. Their latest project has been to persuade us that the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, is no more. As a Nusra spokesman told CNN, the rebranded rebel group, supposedly separated from its parent terrorist organization, has become “moderate.”

Thus is fanaticism from the Dark Ages sold as a bright vision for the 21st century. The problem for the P.R. firms’ wealthy, often Saudi, clients, who have lavishly funded Nusra, is that the evidence of their ruinous policies can’t be photoshopped out of existence. If anyone had any doubt, the recent video images of other “moderates” beheading a 12-year-old boy were a horrifying reality check."

further on in the article "Though it has attracted only a minute proportion of Muslims, Wahhabism has been devastating in its impact. Virtually every terrorist group abusing the name of Islam — from Al Qaeda and its offshoots in Syria to Boko Haram in Nigeria — has been inspired by this death cult." ditto that..

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2016 15:47 utc | 69

Biden? Joe Biden? You mean The Senator From Dupont?

Do you think it mere coincidence that the Bidens' "luck" rose as Dupont's nightmare of Teflon-contamination was exposed after ecades of cover-up?

Check-out the pandemic PFOA scandal. Or you can just wait until it comes to you.

IMO, there has been huge and long term push, quietly orchestrated, to get Biden into position to snuff the Dupont's hellacious tyranny.

Posted by: chu-teh | Sep 15 2016 17:08 utc | 70

Every so often, the MSM reveals a bit of truth mixed with its boilerplate propaganda. But, the bullshit War on Terror narrative remains preeminent. It is the framework within which new events and stories are made to fit.

The majority of the US Public buys the GWOT Narrative and all the concocted fear mongering.

A little bit of real information adds color and texture.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 15 2016 17:21 utc | 71

Boris Yeltsin destroyed Russia, he had been handpick by Sakes. With extreme neo-lib policy.
Boris Yeltsin came to power with a wave of high expectations. On June 12, 1991 he was elected president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic with 57% of the vote, becoming the first popularly elected president. But Yeltsin never recovered his popularity after a series of economic and political crises in Russia in the 1990s. The Yeltsin era was marked by widespread corruption, economic collapse, and enormous political and social problems. By the time he left office, Yeltsin had an approval rating of two percent by some estimates

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 15 2016 17:30 utc | 72

@61 Noirette

I can go along with most of what you've said, but I think the 'co-ordination' is all added after the fact. It's like 'capitalism' ... everyone blindly pursuing their own perceived interests, keeping their cards as 'close to their vests' as they can - ridiculous, and then everyone uniting and embracing Rosemary's Baby after its born, the result of their combined efforts - no one sure of its paternity - as the alternative to hard time in prison.

We - all of us - were never a factor in their decisions and so, of course, are all on our own after 'our' plane crashes, having been flown into the ground by our 'elected' pilot ... or was it sabotage by the airline, or the FAA? No, Putin, of course! They've actually screamed that already, haven't they, at the top of their voices?

Do you think we the people will at least repudiate them at the polls? 'Other' got just 1.6% in 2012 ... think folks have caught on yet?

Or will they be 'caught by surprise' when our plane crashes?

Posted by: jfl | Sep 15 2016 21:32 utc | 73

SmoothieX12 | Sep 15, 2016 11:28:52 AM | 67

Excellent, thanks for the info and link. That fills in an important part of history I didn't know.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2016 0:37 utc | 74

@ V. Arnold, SmoothieX12

It's the other way around.

US/UK/KSA weaponed and trained Islamic extremists to fight Russia/USSR.
So you can say that without Russia there had been no Al Quaida.

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 16 2016 1:40 utc | 75

From The Hague | Sep 15, 2016 9:40:38 PM | 75

Yes, I'm well aware of "Charlie Wilson's War"; that much I did know. Yes, we damn sure did create Al Qaeda and it all falls from there...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2016 2:20 utc | 76

Cleese: because humour is found at the interface of islands of insanity floating in a sea of sanity. When you have reversed this, when you have a sea of insanity with a few islands of sanity, you are being asked to laugh at sanity. And this you cannot do.
Posted by: C I eh? | Sep 14, 2016 9:46:18 AM | 7

Good catch.
Short and sweet, and right on the money.
Big contrast with the bulk dross factory known as TLF!

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 16 2016 4:51 utc | 77

@74, V.Arnold

Excellent, thanks for the info and link. That fills in an important part of history I didn't know.

No problem. You may also consider looking at Lester Grau's work in re: Soviet-Afghan War. It is made even more impressive that it is from the cadre US Army senior officer (Grau is Lieutenant-Colonel, if my memory doesn't fail me)and is a contribution to the body of Soviet/Russian military studies at US Army Staff College at Leavenworth. Some people in US just can not face reality and for many Grau's works (Grau speaks perfect Russian btw) is like a pin in the ass--makes them face reality.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Sep 16 2016 13:09 utc | 78

SmoothieX12 | Sep 16, 2016 9:09:50 AM | 78

Well, bummer; the link doesn't work; "page unavailable".
If you can get a working link, I'll read it.
Oh well...
Ever since Vietnam (1963 - 1974) I want the unvarnished reality (truth is rather nebulous) regarding U.S. policies in foreign ventures.
It seems that from its founding, the U.S. has been anything but what it projects.
Breaking from the Matrix is not easy but doable.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2016 14:49 utc | 79

Well, bummer; the link doesn't work; "page unavailable".
If you can get a working link, I'll read it.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16, 2016 10:49:31 AM | 79

Must be something wrong with your setup then, certainly the problem is at your end because it worked perfectly for me

Posted by: PD Effs | Sep 16 2016 15:05 utc | 80

PD Effs | Sep 16, 2016 11:05:14 AM | 80

Well, that's no surprise; being in S.E. Asia; connections are often failed.
I'll try again tomorrow, thanks.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 16 2016 16:20 utc | 81

- It's Always good to know what Friedman thinks & writes. He Always knows what's the consensus is "inside the Beltway" and Friedman also knows to how much criticism is allowed in political circles.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 19 2016 6:50 utc | 82

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