Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 02, 2017

Enemies Are Always Dictators - Talking With Them Is Unpresidential

Welcoming and supporting dictators who act in U.S. interests is the usual behavior of any U.S. president. U.S. media support such.

Obama greeting the hereditary dictator of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev

But when Trump talks and meets some head of state who works for the interests of his own country, he is breaking some iron rule of established U.S. foreign policy. In FP-circles  "talking with the enemy" is seen as sincere crime. Trump invited the duly elected president of Philippine Rodrigo Duerte and mused casually about meeting the DPRK head of state Kim Jong-il. Both are seen as insufficiently deferring to U.S. diktats.

Thus someone in Washington DC ordered up a media campaign depicting Donald Trump as coddling dictators.

The Washington Post responded with an op-ed and an "analysis". Both border on satire:

Trump keeps praising international strongmen, alarming human rights advocates

As he settles into office, President Trump’s affection for totalitarian leaders has grown beyond Russia’s president to include strongmen around the globe.
In an undeniable shift in American foreign policy, Trump is cultivating authoritarian leaders, one after another, in an effort to reset relations following an era of ostracism and public shaming by Obama and his predecessors.
Every American president since at least the 1970s has used his office [at least occasionally*] to champion human rights and democratic values around the world.
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said “This is a man who has boasted publicly about killing his own citizens,” Cardin said of Duterte in a statement. “The United States is unique in the world because our values — respect for human rights, respect for the rule of law — are our interests. Ignoring human rights will not advance U.S. interests in the Philippines or any place else. Just the opposite.”
[* the words "at least occasionally" were added only after the original piece was mocked on Twitter and elsewhere.]

Yes, the U.S. of course never ignored human rights in the Philippines... (/snark)

There surely is a certain "uniqueness" in U.S. global political behavior. But its is certainly not engagement for "human rights". It is exactly the opposite. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt remarked about a blood dictator: "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."

The NYT joins today's anti-Trump/anti-Duerte campaign with an editorial and a racist cartoon:

The United States has long seen itself as a beacon of democracy and a global advocate of human rights and the rule of law. It has faltered, sometimes badly, undermining leaders whose views did not fit its strategic objectives and replacing them with pliant despots. Yet for the most part American presidents, Republican and democratic, have believed that the United States should provide a moral compass to the world, encouraging people to pursue their right to self-government and human dignity and rebuking foreign leaders who fall short.

Who believes such marketing bullshit? Fact is that the U.S. has always coddled dictators as long as they did what it asked them to do. Clinton, Bush, Obama all welcomed various theocratic sheiks and murderous dictators at the White House. Since World War II the U.S. has attempted or succeeded in "regime change" over 50 times. It did not care if those countries were dictatorships or staunch democracies like France or Australia. In fact none of these illegal interference was motivated by "human rights". Many succeeded in eliminating progressive democracies by installing murderous right-wing regimes.

Bush invaded Iraq based of lies willingly peddled by the New York Time and the Washington Post. Obama directly ordered American citizens killed by drones and without any legal procedure. U.S. police shoot dozens of innocent each year, but when drug dealers get killed in a Philippine police raid its elected president is called a "strongman". Meanwhile U.S. they U.S. directed war on drugs in Mexico has killed thousands.

It is obviously helpful for U.S. interest when its president meets and proselytizes those who are not fully on the U.S. side. One makes peace with one's enemies, not with friends. But such logic does work in the establishment's deluded minds.

Any head of state disliked by the establishment is called a strongman, totalitarian, autocrat or dictator. The real reason for such characterization has nothing to do with democracy, elections or "human rights". It is rather the "thuggish anti-American behavior" of some leader as one U.S. imperialist calls it. "Thuggish anti-American behavior" is automatically attributed to any head of state who works foremost in the interests of his own country.

What do writers and editors like the above think when they peddle such mythology? They know that it is evidently contradicted by facts their own papers report on other occasions.

George Orwell called this "doublethink", the ability to simultaneously hold two contradictory beliefs in one's mind and to accept both of them. Is that not just another form of insanity?

Posted by b on May 2, 2017 at 14:33 UTC | Permalink


"Who believes such marketing bullshit?"

What the targets of marketing believe may be true, false or imponderable (are big chain hamburgers delicious?), but marketing itself is a science with proven track record: a lot of people believe.

The problem with skepticism is that it is not catchy. There are some tunes of skeptical songs that are instantly memorized, but the message is absorbed by a few. The older of us remember how Ronald Reagan quoted a bitter anti-war song, "Born in the USA" with total cluelessness about the song's intention, and was warmly received by equally clueless public.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 2 2017 14:46 utc | 1

"Is that not just another form of insanity?"

I see it as depravity, pure and simple; the billboard-sized calling card of the Outlaw US Empire's immorality as it's existed for decades and is essentially its own autonomic policy. It's on par with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross saying the criminal missile strike against Syria was "after dinner entertainment." Depravity in the nth degree, not insanity.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 2 2017 15:00 utc | 2

From The Independent:

NewsWorld Middle East
UK government refuses to deny voting to put Saudi Arabia on the UN Women's Commission
Belgium's prime minister has apologised for his country's vote in favor

What is wrong with those chocolate makers? It was a secret vote, and the stupid Belgians did not keep their mouths shut. However, the high humanitarian tone of Her Majesty Government was disturb only for a moment. I can imagine dignified polished English toff accent "It is our policy to adhere to the spirit of the rules of the United Nations and thus we can neither confirm nor deny in which way our delegate casted her vote."

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 2 2017 15:07 utc | 3

U.S. police shoot dozens of innocent each year, but when drug dealers get killed in a Philippine police raid its elected president is called a "strongman".

That is direct consequence of the "legal system" created in England, and these days practiced in the Five eyes. System without a rules and legislations, ideal for rich and powerful to abuse the system, and get away with a murder.

The common-law tradition

The common law is law that is not written down as legislation. Common law evolved into a system of rules based on precedent. This is a rule that guides judges in making later decisions in similar cases. The common law cannot be found in any code or body of legislation, but only in past decisions. At the same time, it is flexible. It adapts to changing circumstances because judges can announce new legal doctrines or change old ones.

Posted by: ex-sarajlija | May 2 2017 15:10 utc | 4

thanks b.. it is worth addressing from time to time and you provide some good comments/questions for anyone who has been asleep for the past 50 years, lol.. here are some i like.

"There surely is a certain "uniqueness" in U.S. global political behavior. But its is certainly not engagement for "human rights". It is exactly the opposite." growing up in the 70's and seeing the bs from the usa in south and central america opened my eyes.

"Who believes such marketing bullshit?" unfortunately a lot of americans who follow these news outlets and lack any critical faculties when it comes to understanding the usa's foreign policy agenda..

"Thuggish anti-American behavior" is automatically attributed to any head of state who works foremost in the interests of his own country." it would be hard for the nyt, wapo and wsj to come out everyday and say "We are the Greatest". this is a round about way of getting to that same place.. works like pablum with babies, lol..

Posted by: james | May 2 2017 15:35 utc | 5

@ #2.
Harbouring magnanimous beliefs TOWARD humanity and unconscionable beliefs AGAINST humanity, simultaneously, is insane.
Acting on the unconscionable beliefs, whilst preaching the magnanimous beliefs is depraved.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 2 2017 15:37 utc | 6

Who believes such marketing bullshit?...Is that not just another form of insanity?

unfortunately, b, i think most Americans still believe it, and yes, it does indicate some kind of deranged mind. the more interesting question would be, how does this insanity mostly manifest itself throughout society? and i guess i'd have to say, to make a big subject small, through fantasy and delusion.

but i think far more psychological damage will ensue when Americans can no longer deny the bloodcurdling chronicle of their exceptionalism.

Posted by: john | May 2 2017 15:48 utc | 7

I was travelling through parts of SE Asia last October and asked various people (in different countries) what they thought about Duterte. Many were on the fence but granted that Duterte - in their minds anyway - was actually "taking care of" some real problems faced in the Philippines. Some had relatives who lived there, and they claimed that Philippine citizens mostly support Duterte.

Speaking only for myself, I abhor what he's doing. OTOH, the USA has done nothing be murderous and genocidal (at least in terms of Native Americans, if not others) since the inception of Europeans here. We've definitely supported numerous muderous thug dictators around the globe. Some of our support comes under a "veil" so to speak, in that US citizens may not always be aware of what the thug dictators are doing, much less how much and what USA support is happening.

On another hand, our own home-grown PDs have taken to routinely murdering citizens on our streets with almost no provocation or reason. It sounds like - I have not way to verify and doubt it's true in all instances - Duterte is "at least" going after known criminals. I still very much disagree, but... Here in the USA, if you're a 12 year old black dude that the cops don't like the look of, well get ready to meet your maker in a violent way. So, eh? What's the difference, really? We have this thin veneer of allegedly - cough cough ha ha - being some sort of "democracy" with a purported (yeah, right) "rule of law," and that somehow makes up better than Duterte. Again, let me stress that I very very much disagree with Duterte's methods. He's despicable.

I speculate that Trump, in part, wants to "make nice" with Duterte because of Obama's opposition to Duterte. I truly think some small part of things motivating Trump is to be as anti-Obama as possible, even if it means doing horrible or ridiculous or counterproductive stuff.

But all the hand-wringing and freaking out over Trump wanting to talk to Duterte is the usual hypocrisy. I mean, the media did the same kind of bs freaking out with Obama, too. It's just endless. But Duterte makes for a convenient scapegoat - in a somewhat similar way as Putin - so now it's all about "How could he even THINK of doing that???!!!???" This from the same media constantly dissing Obama (disclaimer: I'm not an Obama fan) for various other things.

I dunno. It's all bullshite, propaganda, lies, hype and spin anymore. It's all meant to distract from what's really going on behind the curtain where the real damage is done.

Do people "believe" this stuff? Well yeah. When Obama was in office, it was conservative voters who got their knickers in a knot over every little alleged "horrible" thing that Obama was supposedly doing (mostly dumb stuff. they never ever said word one about the important stuff like drone killings, etc). Now with Trump we get the shrieking about Duterte, which Democratic voters can reliably get their panties in a bunch over.

Same old, different day. I fail to see how talking to yet another Thuggish World Leader will make much difference one way or the other. Team USA certainly has no human rights record to hold up as some sort of shining example. US Prison Industrial system anyone? Gitmo? Torture? Renditions? Drone Killings all over the place? MOAB? Tomahawks? Really? We're shrieking about Duterte? Really?

Posted by: RUKidding | May 2 2017 15:53 utc | 8

Among all the bad PR, Duterte has made statements that a free-thinking mind can appreciate and applaud.

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 2 2017 16:12 utc | 9

Duerte exhorted his people to kill drug dealers. I have no idea how bad the drug problem is in the Philippines nor do I give a fuck but declaring open season on any group of people is not kosher regardless if one is democratically elected or not. People get to settle old scores that may have nothing to do with the drugs. I know how I pissed I would be if someone shot my dealer and tried to write it off as a good thing.

No beef with the somewhat dog-eared premise that the US is an evil hypocritical empire of chaos, it's all true and I'm not sure we need to be reminded. But lets not pretend that Duerte was only doing what he thought best for his country. He essentially took the crime of murder off the books. He brags about the people he killed personally. Whether or not he should be invited to the White House is a question I'll leave to posters who are smarter than I am.

Posted by: peter | May 2 2017 16:18 utc | 10

I had hope that with a Trump presidency we would start to see an end to the uniparty, duopoly rhetoric that has infected the public here in the states so that this is the only reality: rethugz vs. Demoshits. Indeed, I had even taken to listening to Fox news at time on the radio because I detected that same change in the air as Trump was gaining ground and anti-establishment sentiments were flourishing over Fox's airwaves.

Fast forward three months into his presidency and boy do I feel like a total dipshit. A "turkey-butt" as my Dad used to call me. Now on Fox we are entering Bush 3.0, head-in-the-sand patriot drivel heard 1000x before. "We'll see which Democrat can challenge Donald next election." "He has to make consessions to look Presidential." And on. And on. Ad nauseum. Donald conceded the path way too fast and now we are back to comfortable tit-for-tat partisan bs everywhere one can view it or hear it.

At least Mr. Trump mentioned that we ain't so nice, you know. But the media is already running with it and soon we will be back to that golden vision of the city on the hill. But for how long can the charade carry-on?

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 2 2017 16:23 utc | 11

hrw agitating in new york with a new report on asad's supposed systematic use of sarin, let's wait 8th may and see how they ll pressure macron on that (he already said he ll send troops if the UN says so)

Posted by: Mina | May 2 2017 16:42 utc | 12

Since you mention Orwell, may I recommend his essay, 'Freedom of the Press' ( intended as a preface to 'Animal Farm'), which describes the media's toxic self-censorship. It is, however, pre-Cold War, so does not cover the complete volte face performed by the media in relation to the Soviet Union.

When it comes to politicians effusing about strongmen, how about this by Churchill in the House of Commons, November 1945:

"Therefore, I say that it is the profound desire of this House—and the House speaks in the name of the British nation—that these feelings of comradeship and friendship, which have developed between the British and Russian peoples, should be not only preserved but rapidly expanded. Here I wish to say how glad we all are to know and feel that Generalissimo Stalin is still strongly holding the helm and steering his tremendous ship. Personally, I cannot feel anything but the most lively admiration for this truly great man, the father of his country, the ruler of its destinies in times of peace, and the victorious defender of its life in time of war."

Stalin ticked off Molotov for publishing it in Pravda. He did not need flattery from imperialists.

Posted by: Shakesvshav | May 2 2017 16:45 utc | 13

In yet another excellent example of USA Depravity, we have Alabama R-Rep Mo Brooks saying it's the fault of people with pre-existing conditions that they have them and ought to pay higher insurance premiums because they didn't "lead good lives, they're healthy, they've done the things to keep their bodies healthy,"

So, we have a Cabinet Head saying killing people is entertainment and an elected official saying people already suffering through no fault of their own ought to suffer further. And I'm sure more such sentiments are uttered daily and can easily be found since that's the mindset of far too many people within the Outlaw US Empire. It would seem to be Puritanical Thinking's logical conclusion, and one can find many examples of it beginning at Plymouth.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 2 2017 17:22 utc | 14


ASEAN affairs, Cambodia could not be theirs, 100 percent, it is an ally of China. Laos, it is always an ally of China. Vietnam, same thing. Widodo of Indonesia is neutral. Duterte of the Philippines is veering towards China. [applause]

Because China has the character of an Oriental. [applause]
It does not go around insulting people, insisting on policies to follow them and trying to control the money of the world through the IMF and the World Bank. [applause] Dito (here) Asian Development Bank.

Now go that of late, China decided to make a counterbalance here and that is the AIIB. And so, America is really checkmate here. It is not ready for war because they are not ready to die anymore.

And you can see it when in the special forces when they go home, there’s a lot of crying and criticism and a congressman talking there, filibustering about the lost of an American life.

Filipinos, if you want to go to war, go. As long as it is really the desire of the nation, to protect itself.

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 2 2017 17:22 utc | 15

When you're exceptional, anything is possible! A dictator can become a symbol of democracy, while an elected leader can become a brutal tyrant. The US owns the mainstream media's lexicon and the NY Times, WaPo, CNN, etc. always carefully toe the line of what the powers that be consider proper terminology. It's so much better than overt censorship!

Posted by: WorldBLee | May 2 2017 17:23 utc | 16

Duarte is advocating and practicing (due-process free) vigilantism, see also lynching, which is often very very popular with everyone who is not a target ... the problems are many, most glaringly that of proportionality and mission-creep (see also lynching and/or Emmett Till) ... seriously, eventually in all likelihood, as with McCarthyism or 6 degrees of separation or NSA surveillance, you will likely become a target or collateral damage.

Posted by: susan_sunflower | May 2 2017 17:54 utc | 17

Just another stupid day in the liberal west, but after all these are the same guys that say: Russians Are Using Humor to 'Undermine the West'!

Posted by: Anon | May 2 2017 18:04 utc | 18

As to the marketing bullshit, I suspect virtue morality naive realists believe it. The people who believe these things, including many (former) leftists, are naive, in the sense that they do not hold a prior theory or information of the world, and often lack means or willingness to develop such theories or find such information. A prior theory need not be an absolute bedrock, and it should be modified *logically* per the normal logical process of science, as expressed in the tautologies:

for all a,z, ((a) AND (a implies z)) implies z
for all a,z, z implies ((not a) OR (not (a implies z)))

Let a be composite (c AND d AND ...), and apply de Morgan's theorem ((not c) OR (not d)...) with OR being inclusive or (a OR b = a OR b OR both). Let c be the fact that US supported (mis)information peddlers/propaganda houses claim a given violation, and d be the truth of a claim. Z is "Assad used Sarin," or "The rebels are moderate," etc. Attention to prior claims, especially long after the claims have served their purpose, may disabuse one of a high probability of d being true for a given c.

Allow that d is probably false in a given case. If d is false, then no logical conclusion follows on z, although it should be assumed to be false until evidence to the contrary arrives; compare this situation to the defendant in a criminal case, who has been suborned to institutionalised perjury (plea bargain)---even if the defendant perpetrated the alleged actus reus, the particulars of the complaint are likely to be in error due to police sloppiness, efforts by the police to hide their own crimes, and erroneous presuppositions on the part of the police.

There is a non-zero probability that a given claim, no matter how ridiculous on its face, may be substantially true. Put aside the fear of being abused verbally or prosecuted legally for de facto abetting a serious crime---leftists, and even apolitical journalists, will often face that risk, based on their beliefs and evidence before them, and proudly so. Rather, the problem is facing oneself, and living with oneself given the possibility that the propaganda is true. Once one caves once, caving to the propaganda in the future may become easier, and harder to recognise.

Thus we may understand this problem of the left, and of otherwise critical journalists, not so much as prior fecklessness and dishonesty, but as subconscious fear of unvirtuous conduct. Some examples:

Chomsky (and his hangers on, e.g. Amy Goodman, Michael Albert and similar folks), repeat lurid fantasies from the propaganda, about Assad, for example, but given an external reference (Postol), he may make a principled stand---his conscience may bear it.

Another example is Stan Goff, who has written at some length on virtue ethics, complaining about Tulsi Gabbard, and sounding uncharacteristically like Louis Proyect; he has omitted to post my first comment, in which I gave a detailed criticism of the background to the current situation, especially regarding Ukraine. Allow that what he says about the character of Gabbard to be true---if she is not bound by virtue ethics, and judges matters based on self-interest, or on ethical frameworks other than virtue ethics, she can observe the reality in Syria far more keenly.

Perhaps this is why universities have ethics courses that lay special emphasis on virtue ethics (when convenient)---my experience was a course on ethics for engineers, although the usual practice is to give the example of killing an infant, in order to save the lives of many infants. The purpose of such examples is precisely to produce an inability to act of one's own volition outside of social(ly engineered) norms. Goff's own example in the one link (crime novels) may serve a similar purpose.

Because of the general weakness of logical thinking, especially in the west at the moment (elimination of Euclidean geometry a generation ago in most syllabi, followed by the elimination of syllabi for rot such as "outcomes based education", and general incoherence when that farce is ended), a naive realism takes hold, in which the reality that is held to be true, is the information given.

I abused Proyect recently, to rub in his face his support for aggression against Syria, but perhaps the problem is greater. He studied Turkish some years ago; this would have made him particularly receptive to Turkish propaganda on Syria. The fact that his background is programming, should not lead one to think that he has a good formal logical background---many programmers do not have such a background, and have simply developed a large set of algorithms that work, and algorithms to develop new algorithms, rather than clear logical thinking. I nearly ran into a similar problem when studying Ukrainian (around the time of the first Maidan), and if it weren't for prior information about Ukraine, and information from counterpunch at the time, I might well have gone down the same route.

Thus there is a danger to see these individuals as necessarily unvirtuous, which is a precise misdiagnoses. A better solution was presented by Ward Churchill, who suggested deliberately non-virtuous conduct (guns, less than ideal feminist attitudes toward sex) as a curative for what ails the left. Once one can willingly do something evil, even as one generally avoids such conduct, and the fear of evil conduct (including abetting) no longer dominates how one approaches situations in which the information is incomplete, it becomes easier to resist the lurid propaganda.

Posted by: Johan Meyer | May 2 2017 18:14 utc | 19

Then of course, accompanying the Imperial Doublethink is its Junk Economics, an ideological system economist Michael Hudson's made a career of bashing/debunking. To further his mission, Hudson embraces what he calls "The economics of the future" in the form of Steve Keen's new book, Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis?,


"But mainstream models [Randian Neoliberal Economics, ie Junk Economics] ignore the overgrowth of debt, as if the economy operates on a barter basis. Keen calls this “the barter illusion,” and reviews his wonderful exchange with Paul Krugman (who plays the role of an intellectual Bambi to Keen’s Godzilla), who insists that banks do not create credit but merely recycle savings – as if they are savings banks, not commercial banks. It is the old logic that debt doesn’t matter because “we” owe the debt to “ourselves.”

"The “We” are the 99%, the “ourselves” are the 1%. Krugman calls them “patient” savers vs “impatient” borrowers, blaming the malstructured economy on personal psychology of indebted victims having to work for a living and spend their working lives paying off the debt needed to obtain debt-leveraged homes of their own, debt-leveraged education and other basic living costs."

Posted by: karlof1 | May 2 2017 18:17 utc | 20

fastfreddy @ 15 hit on it, I think. the USG does not give a hoot about anyone gunning down its own people, be they citizens, terrorists, drug dealers, minorities, migrants, refugees, homeless, witches, adulterers, etc.

Philippines is about China, that big base there in Subic Bay, etc. trump knows what's up w/that. is he just sweet talking duterte for other reasons? and folks like at WaPo have to make a show of hand-wringing, Nicholas Kristof runs to buy another Thai out of the sex trade or whatev. propaganda for us rubes. is trump "the strongman coddler" in on this performance? a wink-wink nudge-nudge thing going on b/n the unitary executive & the msm?

Posted by: jason | May 2 2017 18:20 utc | 21

off topic, but i know others share my respect for Chas Freeman, so here is his latest:

Greater Israel and the Prospects for Peace in the Middle East
by Chas W. Freeman, Jr.

Posted by: mauisurfer | May 2 2017 18:29 utc | 22

most folks who were adults in the 1980's can remember how quickly hand-wringing over China's human rights issues (particularly wrt Tiananmen Square 1989) and "Buy American" and even "buy union" campaigns evaporated into the ether when size of the money to be made from off-shoring became apparent.

Posted by: susan_sunflower | May 2 2017 18:35 utc | 24

@19 Johan

For myself, exposure to the working class as a laborer has undone much of my liberal arts programming where during the 90s in public education, post-feminist and generally postmodernist thought was idealistically tainting a healthy world view. You want geopolitics and how this shapes one's place say here in America? History can inform!

Read Thucydides and pay attention to the Mytelanian Debate. Or the debate before Athens sailed to Sicily where it's empire was destroyed. Shades of John McCain...

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 2 2017 18:36 utc | 25

Hey Duterte! Bring your own food and water when you visit The Imperial City.

Signed, Hugo Chavez

Posted by: ALberto | May 2 2017 19:15 utc | 26

Good piece, b!

This essay, too, adds another dimension to why we fight evil:

"In the United States, conquests are frequently labeled as humanitarian interventions whose sole purpose is to unilaterally help various people across the world. This has become an official mantra, despite the long-term outcomes of such actions. Within the context of the humanitarian interventions narrative, a framework of personalizing foreign evil holds great significance. American people have to be convinced that actions are indeed helping the people in distant lands get rid of evil dictators, and to feel that sacrifice is worth the promised outcome."
"Depending on national security interest, individual evil located somewhere between 90 and 10,000 miles from our country’s shores has one of the three forms."

Posted by: 47 | May 2 2017 19:27 utc | 27

"Who believes such marketing bullshit?"
... "but marketing itself is a science with proven track record: a lot of people believe."

Unfortunately Piotr, 95 or better % of the American sheeple who read (sorry, see/hear, most can't read past a seventh grade level) and believe the prestitutetic MSM. A major roadblock to intelligence, sanity and peace.
Yes, Edward Bernays style, not just marketing, but propaganda. In these times, a highly developed and effective science. Ronnie was just one of the trial balloons.

Posted by: juannie | May 2 2017 19:54 utc | 28

The article in the link from Zok Palivic just above is hilarious, thanks "47".

Almost Hitler is an evil dictator who may have been our friend and ally at one time, but is not any more. Change occurred when he, in an apparent moment of madness, decided to simultaneously (A) run his own affairs and (B) for no reason begin torturing his own people.
Hitler, or better say, the New Hitler, is the next form of evil. He not only tortures his own people, but tends, for example, to nationalize the country’s oil industry and have economic and military interaction with other New Hitlers.
Worse than Hitler is evil that has fully graduated. He not only tortures his own people and exports terrorism, but may have attempted to generate even worse crimes against humanity. Among them are attempts to abolish the country’s central bank, return to a gold standard, and trade oil and goods internationally in currencies other than the dollar.

I'm re-posting this in hope that we can return to some of the fun and snark of the Moon's early days ... not that I don't value the imformation-rich yet somehow monotonic, serious posts of recent times.

Also popping my head up in harmony with other founding moonbats. Hey y'all!

Posted by: jonku | May 2 2017 20:02 utc | 29

Lest we think this is some kind of new standard, Obama was raked over the coals for suggesting he even meet with Iranian diplomats. It cuts both ways of course. We were quite cozy with Sadaam until we decided it was not cool to be cozy with him so that we could go to war. Both the media and the government play us when it comes to who we should and shouldn't form relationships with.

Posted by: Kronos | May 2 2017 20:20 utc | 30

Bemusing stuff---ancient adventurists for our neocons versus realist imperialists, although the ancient Hellenes lacked the bomb. Then again, on Syrian Perspective, there is a commenter who uses the name Thucydides, and he always suggests that we learn to love the bomb...

Posted by: Johan Meyer | May 2 2017 21:11 utc | 31

the angel to evil making process

Posted by: Curtis | May 2 2017 22:07 utc | 32

An intriguing story from Germany. A cleaner working at Vienna airport found a handgun hidden in a restroom. The Austrian police checked the fingerprints and they matched those of a Syrian refugee in Germany. When the Germans called the refugee in, they found out that he was actually a soldier in the Bundeswehr. He had been pretending to be a Syrian refugee for 18 months, receiving the full benefits refugees are entitled to. In his original application, he claimed to be from a French colonial part of Damascus, in order to explain his lack of Arabic and fluency in French. Followup investigations found evidence suggesting a hit list of left wing German politicians. The soldier had right wing views (revealed in a Masters dissertation he wrote at an elite French university) and the theory is that he was planning to frame refugees for attacks. A whole can of worms has been opened.

Posted by: Yonatan | May 2 2017 22:26 utc | 33

Go back and read the NYT's thing about beacon of democracy while humming Pomp and Circumstance. The BS sounds even more noble then.

Posted by: Curtis | May 2 2017 22:26 utc | 34

Indonesia must not be too neutral, as DT seems busy there:
The empire never sleeps, it seems...

Posted by: GoraDiva | May 2 2017 22:42 utc | 35

Oh - I forgot, neutrality has always been a crime in the eyes of the empire...

Posted by: GoraDiva | May 2 2017 22:44 utc | 36

i don't think it's a question of 'belief' ... i think most people accept the role of lying propagandists for 'our side' ... people are fearful of losing what 'benefits' they enjoy from the lopsided system, stacked in their favor, and will support anything they feel will safeguard their 'privilege'. until it doesn't anymore.

unless and until the 'tried and true' system is seen to be absolutely broken, unfixable, and an alternative proposed, one capable of eliciting mass faith and belief ... the beatings will continue, and the drivel to drip out of the tnc msm trumpets.

people need to accept that the 'old way' is done, and a 'new day' is being born. certainly it seems the collapse of faith in the continued 'viability' of the old system must come before an opening can be found for an alternative.

the present level of 'play' has sunk below all levels of believability - mina above mentions HRW's death by chemicals, the blueprint for the continued p2p destruction of syria.

and people have linked the destruction of syria and other nations to be named later, somehow, with foreclosing the end of their own 'good thing' in the west.

it's becoming clear that it's 'not working'. the way for an alternative is opening up.

Posted by: jfl | May 3 2017 0:28 utc | 37

Re the topic ... much more than just 'talking' to them ... some New York City 'Ticker-tape' Parades of note:

1953: October 1 – José Antonio Remón, president of Panama.

1954: August 2 – Syngman Rhee, president of South Korea.

January 31 – Paul Eugène Magloire, president of Haiti, &
November 4 – Carlos Castillo Armas, president of Guatemala.

1957: May 13 – Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam.

1959: November 4 – Ahmed Sékou Touré, president of Guinea.

1961: October 13 – Ibrahim Abboud, president of Sudan.

1962: April 16 – Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Empress Farah of Iran.

1965: May 19 – Chung Hee Park, president of South Korea.

And a bonus, special mention:

Fulgencio Batista, Cuba 1933-1959, with U.S. Army Chief of staff Malin Craig in Washington, D.C., riding in an Armistice Day parade, 1938 (Image/Jpg & JFK quote, etc ...)

Posted by: Outraged | May 3 2017 0:52 utc | 38

RUKidding @ 8 and others:

The Philippine Communist Party has published online its assessment of Rodrigo Duterte's first 100 days in office as President.
"Philippine Communist Party (PKP-1939) - Assessment of the first 100 days of the Duterte administration"

It makes for very interesting reading, not least because Duterte has adopted socialist initiatives and has expressed interest in a Cuban-style healthcare policy.

Barry Desker has also written an analysis of Duterte's likely style of leadership.
"President Duterte: A Different Philippine Leader – Analysis"

Also try Googling "Duterte" with words like "gender" and "equality" and see what you get - you will be surprised!

Pia Ranada "Duterte, the 'benevolent sexist'?"

Posted by: Jen | May 3 2017 0:58 utc | 39

RUkidding @ 8 said: " they claimed that Philippine citizens mostly support Duterte."

I just had a stay in the hospital, and, most of my attending RNs were from the Philippines.
they ALL said they backed Duarte, so, maybe most of what we hear about him is BS?

At any rate, as long as the U$A backs a murderous regime like the KSA, who cares?

If such nations act in our interests, the rulers of the U$A don't care what they do...

Posted by: ben | May 3 2017 1:05 utc | 40

I appreciate all of b's efforts to deconstruct the nonsense of the MSM - perversely, this leaves me free not to care that much.

Instead, I find the greater matter to be how Trump is behaving. I have a theory that he will come to be seen as the greatest Teflon president of all time, far surpassing Reagan in his ability to make a gaffe one day and rebound effortlessly the next.

Indeed, perhaps only someone like Trump could play the card of actually meeting with Kim Jong-Un - which China wants - and make it sound, in his insouciance, like the US is holding a better hand than DPRK, when in fact both nations are holding lesser hands than China's, in my opinion.

But everything about Trump requires time to see the full extent of the sine waves he rides: up and down, this and that - where does he come to rest? We have yet to see this because not enough time and motion have gone by. We and the Pentagon both have known all along that the US has no real violence it can lay on North Korea without reciprocal damage to itself an order of magnitude greater. And yet, all this bluster.

I've maintained for some time that the US has no effective material power left that it can exert against serious opposition. All it has left is treachery and theater - theater aided and abetted by a servile MSM that loses the plot as quickly as it relays new ones, as shown by b's current analysis. And of these two tools, treachery loses its effectiveness as more people come not to believe you in the first place. But perhaps the theater still works?

Is it possible that the true purpose of the US is served as soon as it manages to scare investment money away from this part of Asia, in capital flight to US Treasuries?

We began a discussion about this in an earlier thread, and it was off topic. I'm not sure it fits here, but maybe we can keep carrying it forward. The original discussion occurs here, principally in comments 31 and 39.

These contain links to an Alasdair Mcleod analysis of a Chinese appraisal also presented in an alternative translation - all essentially saying that capital flight to the US dollar from trouble spots in the world, is actually the reason that the US incites trouble in those spots in the first place.

Posted by: Grieved | May 3 2017 1:10 utc | 41

Thanks for claiming Australia is a democracy, the fact that the prime minister is a former goldman sacks banker and the ruling party are us supporting, brain dead, empathy bypassed, mainstream thinkers (who have ratified the tpp in the absence of the us) shows that murdock owning 65% of all the media was a good investment.
The marketing bullshit works here too.

Posted by: bolt | May 3 2017 1:27 utc | 42

You know the MSM is completely full of shit and yet you accept that Duterte is the murderous thug they claim him to be. Nothing more to the man. Murderous thug.

Why do you suppose they present him in that light?

Subic Bay for the Chinese, baby. Dollar can take a shit.

Posted by: fast freddy | May 3 2017 1:27 utc | 43

@27 - 47.. thanks for that! very succinct on the thread topic at hand..

@32 curtis.. good video.. thanks

@33 yonantan.. wonder where that story ends? one wonders how he could have pulled that off - being a cop and getting the refugee benefits... sounds like the records are not cross checking names, or he gave a different name, or? interesting.

@38 outraged.. good overview... i am sure the nyt covered it well, lol.. collective amnesia is alive and well at the nyt and in it's readership..

syrian perspective has an article up today on the ridiculous mechanisms of the western msm - with the usa in the lead!

Posted by: james | May 3 2017 1:36 utc | 44

@33 @44

penelope linked to an 'analysis' of the german false flag attempt ... claimed it was a no-go link from typepad ... i haven't tried it.

Posted by: jfl | May 3 2017 3:02 utc | 45

gen. arthur macarthur:

When the Filipino people realize the grandeur of their future destiny by reason of association with the great Republic, and come to understand that they are a chosen people to carry not only American commerce, but also republican institutions and the principles of personal liberty throughout Asia, they may be relied upon to rally to the inspiring thoughts thus suggested and follow and support the American flag in whatever contests the future may have in store for it as the symbol of human liberty throughout the world.


We are now living in a heroic age of human history. ... There is one very noticeable feature in the American occupation of that archipelago. It arises from contrast with the inspiring motives that have actuated and controlled the action of other branches of the Aryan race, which have worked their way back, coming in the opposite direction. We are planting in those islands imperishable ideas. All other governments that have gone to the East have simply planted trading establishments; they have not materially affected the conditions of the people. ... The contrasting idea with our occupation is this: In planting our ideas we plant something that cannot be destroyed. To my mind the archipelagois a fertile soil upon which to plant republicanism. ... Beneficient republican American institutions once planted in the Philippines will last forever, and therefore, will radiate an influence the appreciation of which it is hard to estimate. But that fact in itself is beyond any possibility of dispute. We are planting the best traditions, the best characteristics of Americanism in such a way that they never can be removed from that soil.

testimony of general arthur macarthur, american imperialism and the philippine insurrection: testimony taken from hearings on affairs in the philippine islands before the senate committee on the philippines - 1902, little, brown and company, 1969

alfred w. mccoy:

..this study's first substantive conclusion: the creation of sophisticated modern policing was crucial to the U.S. pacification of the Philippines.

..a second major conclusion: the U.S. colonial regime's reliance on police for pacification and political control embedded this securty apparatus within an emerging Philippine state, contributing ultimately to an unstable excess of executive power after independence.

..a fourth conclusion: by collaborating in the refinement of covert techniques for internal security, these two states have forged powerful instruments to fortify themselves against the processes of political change, slowing progress toward civil rights in America and social justice in the Philippines.

The study of U.S.-Philippine security relations also serves as a microcosm for America's changing role in international affairs. No other nation has felt the force of American power so closely, so constantly throughout Washington's century-long rise to world leadership. No other nation can reveal so much about the character of America's international influence, both direct colonial rule and diffuse global hegemony.

policing america's empire: the united states, the philippines, and the rise of the surveillance state, the university of wisconsin press, 2009

Posted by: b real | May 3 2017 4:17 utc | 46

There is no doubt that some of the strategies Duterte has promoted in a sensationalist attempt to address the Philippinnes crystal meth problem are beyond questionable, but equally Filipino politics have finally elected a president from outside the five ruling families of Luzon. Duterte himself originates from Mindanao - altho his origins are from the language group of an island that lies between Luzon & Mindanao.

Mindanao has been treated like a garbage dump ever since imperialists chose Luzon as the administrative base for their takeovers.
Spanish, amerikan, Japanese and then amerikan again, greedy fuckers. They didn't just fuck over Luzon, the uncaring assholes destroyed the ancient cultures of Mindanao by dint of slave driven resource extraction. Initially by using the low level conflicts that had been happily bubbling away between different clans on Mindanao. But it didn't take the indigenous people long to recognise that unity was needed to overcome the external threat; they unified so the next trick was to destroy the social fabric & cultures of the island by indulging in a program pretty similar to the Indonesian transmigration program. Indonesian transmigration caused many formerly peaceful & productive islands in the Indonesian archipelago to be 'javanised' due to the forced migration of thousands/millions of people from the slums of Djakarta to outlying islands.

The same on Luzon. With a practice which appears to have been invented by the englanders & Australia, millions of Luzonese have been forcibly removed to other islands.

Selecting the already disadvantaged as the forced migrants ensured that Mindanao, once a home to several successful if competong cultures, became anarchic and uncontrollable. Little surprise then that when Duterte was just a Mindanao pol, he promoted himself as the 'great bridgebuilder' whose stated aim was to restore a semblance of order by favouring neither indigenous nor the bigger population of exotic cultures. He became popular & he went on to dominate national politics.
To also paraphrase FDR, Filipinos may believe Duterte is an asshole but he is their asshole.

I don't wanna sound all drug elitist - there is no doubt that people who do bad shit when intoxicated, do that shit as a result of who they are - their behaviors - not the drug's; but one cannot deny that crystal meth does inspire/enable more people to do more dreadful shit that most other illegal intoxicants do.
The shit meth heads can get up to reduces much more ordered societies than the Philippines' chaotic tightrope of a developing culture to near disaster.
Most people just want to 'get by'. That is the unfortunate reality for those of us who understand the world could be much better for humans if more of us gave a fuck about more than just the immediate needs of our whanau, that is not how most people think however, so Duterte was elected in a reasonably honest (definitely a more accurate & true reflection of voters wishes than say, amerikan elections) ballot as the president of the Philippines.
He announced he was going to go to war with the metho's and he did.
There are many concerns particularly about the concentration on street level dealers who are frequently only in the game to fund their habits, whilst the 'Mr Bigs' have largely escaped the old double tap to the base of the brain, but even so most filipinos support his strategy.
We all know what this dislike of Duterte by western media and to a lesser extent the trumpet himself, is really about.
Firstly he is not a regular example of what a philippines prez should be. Ke doesn't prostrate himself in kneejerk obeisance to the biggest amerikan asshole in the room.
Neoliberalism is only partially accepted - where the benefits are palpable and the 'deal' has been examined for fish hooks - worst of all President Duterte has taken on a few activists formerly with NPA (New Peoples Army) links into his team. amerika views them in still in 1950's terms as "Chicoms". Duterte understands that the Philippines has a substantial Islam population and that the only real hope the nation has of not being destroyed by sectarian civil war is if the primary driver of dissatisfaction towards the established order, inequality and its inevitable partner, poverty is seen to be addressed.
Even that could be considered 'tolerable' by the assholes in DC, London, Paris and Tel Aviv, if Duterte led the way in allowing his nation to be a battleground for the coming war on China.
Duterte may be old but he isn't stupid or senile; he knows that the only opportunity his people have lies in not taking sides in the coming blue.
Hence he has backed away from previous governments' (amerikan poodles all of em) antagonism toward China particularly in regard to disputed territories.
Not because he is a commie, but because he understands that if he can successfully negotiate a way through without overly antagonising either side, filipinos will benefit long term. As China shifts much of its low wage low skills work offshore, the Philippines can benefit and hopefully enjoy a similar move up the laddr as China has.

We (correctly IMHO) can consider that to be a bad deal longterm for the Philippines, but OTOH if you have spent any time in that beautifully cursed nation you must concede that 'things cannot continue as they are'.
amerika believes that things must continue as they are and has always blocked any move (even pointlessly cosmetic base closures by previous filipino govts) as being unacceptable.

When the trumpet & Duterte talk, the trumpet will doubtlessly adopt the usual bully-boy tone towards Duterte that State, amerikan military and corporate assholes have always used.
Except they cannot, if Duterte drops Xi Jinping's name as a more frequent dinner partner of his than trumpet's, amerika has to listen. Listen and alter the way they consider the Philippines in future.

In the old days they would simply off Duterte, but just as with Latin America, the amerikan concentration on ME 'terrorism' since the late 90's, has left them somewhat impotent. Plus of course Filipinos would be understandably outraged & the country would either sink into a chaotic civil war with jihdists on one side, duterte-ists another and Luzonese neolibbs another, if somewhat less popular, third grouping.

That doesn't prevent the Davos loving neoliberal cocksuckers from trying to revert back to the old days using their media propaganda. It won't work, but it could encourage amerikans to naively support the truly outrageous - the rape of Manila or something equally awful.
So, for want of a viable alternative, it is Duterte who is the one most deserving of our support.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 3 2017 5:18 utc | 47

B writes: "Meanwhile U.S. they U.S. directed war on drugs in Mexico has killed thousands...."

in fact, this figure is in the many tens of thousands of lives, all a direct result of blatant US foreign policy dictates to the president/congress of mexico to start and continue this awful phony "war on drugs"

...Mexico stepped up its drug war in 2006, bringing a new wave of homicides as Mexican officials and drug cartels clashed in horrific violence that killed soldiers, police, drug cartel members, and civilians.

The researchers noted, "The mortality rate for males ages 20–39 in Chihuahua in the period 2005–10 reached unprecedented levels: It was about 3.1 times higher than the mortality rate of US troops in Iraq between March 2003 and November 2006."..... shown by Mexico's war on drugs, in which as many as 80,000 people have died....

from this July 2015 PBS article: "...Last week, the Mexican government released new data showing that between 2007 and 2014 — a period that accounts for some of the bloodiest years of the nation’s war against the drug cartels — more than 164,000 people were victims of homicide. Nearly 20,000 died last year alone, a substantial number, but still a decrease from the 27,000 killed at the peak of fighting in 2011...."

Posted by: michaelj72 | May 3 2017 5:57 utc | 48

@46 b real

thanks for that unbelievable quote from a macarthur jr. perfectly believable of course, just so opposite to reality, only someone in uniform or an american politician of the first water could have made it.

and thanks for the link to the mccoy ... our russian friends have it on tap ... another paper by mccoy, touching on the philippines and his current penchant for analysis of the us information/surveillance regime, IMPERIAL HUBRIS: Information Infrastructure and America’s Ascent to Global Power.

i'm certainly no mccoy scholar, but i had always thought of him as a 'right' guy ... his more recent stuff makes me think he's been cia all along.

Posted by: jfl | May 3 2017 10:28 utc | 49

@47 debsisdead
one of the best comments ive read here in a long time

Posted by: martin | May 3 2017 12:07 utc | 50

"Chomsky (and his hangers on, e.g. Amy Goodman, Michael Albert and similar folks), repeat lurid fantasies from the propaganda, about Assad, for example, but given an external reference (Postol), he may make a principled stand---his conscience may bear it."

You should be aware that Postol is brain damaged.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | May 3 2017 12:23 utc | 51

If anyone told me they're avid readers of the Washington Post, NY Times, etc I'd walk away immediately, they're a lost cause and cannot be reasoned with. I almost feel physically ill when even an excerpt from those rags is published on a site like this.

Posted by: Nick | May 3 2017 12:59 utc | 52

People who quote BellingCat are either brain damaged or willfully malevolent. Postol's point about the explosive being placed outside the container stands---which begs the obvious question of when the container was filled with Sarin, if it is to be believed that the container in fact contained Sarin. But then again, as Hersh correctly pointed out, Turkish prosecutors had prosecuted these 'rebels' before for being in possession of Sarin---hence the AKP and 'rebel' rubbish about anti-freeze, following a certain US movie, where the liquid form is identified as being green, where in fact it is colourless. But keep on spinning---the US/Saudi/Turkish sponsored rebels need their own industrial base, rather than use the industrial base of their sponsors---your claim. Once US policy changes, I hope to see you legally prosecuted, for abetting after the fact. The funniest thing in your link is your apparent lack of knowledge of highschool physical chemistry---you claim that special technology is needed to separate HF from Sarin, yet the boiling point of Sarin is 158C, while the boiling point of HF is 19C, at standard pressure.

Posted by: Johan Meyer | May 3 2017 13:09 utc | 53

The even more disgusting aspect of your comment about the need for an industrial base for separation of Sarin (the utter nonsense of it aside), is the looting, and shipping off to Turkey, of Syria's industrial base, by your so-called rebels. You clearly lack any sense of shame.

Posted by: Johan Meyer | May 3 2017 13:27 utc | 54

Proyect = JAZT - just another zionist troll - many kangaroos loose in the top paddock and best left unfed.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 3 2017 13:57 utc | 55

Blowing the White Helmets ruse out of the water…..

Father of Invention: Media Portrayed Grief Stricken Dad Turns Out To Be al-Nusra Front Terrorist -

“Now You See Me” – Over 100 White Helmet Self-Posted Facebook Images Expose Fake Humanitarian Group as FSA Terrorists Linked with Al-Qaeda -

Massive White Helmets Photo Cache Proves Hollywood Gave Oscar to Terrorist Group

False Flagger: Al-Nusra Front Terrorist ‘Reporter’ Hadi Abdallah First Responder to Chemical Massacre in Idlib, Syria on April 4th, 2017

Posted by: Liam | May 3 2017 17:02 utc | 56

Thanks for the chemistry lesson, Johan. I certainly could use some instruction on the boiling point of sarin but I certainly know the difference between 2013 and 2017.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | May 3 2017 21:19 utc | 57

The point about the boiling point of Sarin versus Hydrogen fluoride being that one can separate them by evaporation at room temperature. If degradation of Sarin is a concern (too slow separation), one can cool the mixture e.g. -40C/F and use vacuum distillation with a rough to low vacuum pump to lower the boiling point---no industrial base needed.

As you cannot answer the substance of Postol's charges (local detonation outside vessel) nor Hersh's (Turkish prosecutors prosecuted your 'rebel' friends for possession of Sarin), you distract with a fumble of similar events in different years, by an elderly man (Postol). Your claims, that it is necessarily (let alone probably---again, not) Assad that launched a chemical attack, when even the rescue videos disprove a Sarin attack, speak to your habitual dishonesty, though I suspect that that dishonesty is in the first instance to yourself.

Posted by: Johan Meyer | May 3 2017 22:00 utc | 58

are wayoutwest and louisproyect actually the same person? or are their often convergent views brought about by their common provenance ... retired cia/state/dnc/mic hangers-on? they never die ... just fade away. too. poor wow has just about faded completely. may lp slowly hasten to join him.

Posted by: jfl | May 3 2017 22:15 utc | 59

The chemistry lesson is a reaction to the bunkum that you wrote, to which I linked in 53, to wit:

In a must-read article on Bellingcat by Dan Kaszeta, we learn that Sarin gas is extremely volatile and cannot be stored as the final product used in military strikes since the main chemical reaction that produces Sarin creates one molecule of hydrogen fluoride (HF) for every molecule of Sarin. This hydrogen fluoride byproduct destroys nearly anything the Sarin would be stored in and quickly degrades the Sarin gas itself.

Basic Boltzmann statistics and phase diagrams are enough to understand that what you wrote is idiotic. My comments on chemistry are of the spelling out variety that an irritated instructor might make to mock an arrogant and stupid (Dunning Kruger effect) student, and give a laugh to the capable students---a tactic I've seen a number of times in my day.

Posted by: Johan Meyer | May 3 2017 22:24 utc | 60

"Double think" --

Rex Tillerson makes an interesting distinction between foreign policy missions/aims and 'values' ... not sure it all makes sense but there is some clarity in his expose of the situation in hand. Numerous internal re-org messages for a department under the 'change' banner, but also some good insights into US thinking at the top on global role and balance. I think he articulates his vision rather well although I'm not sure that vision is shared by others who see the large gap between the talk and the walk. Interesting omission at the end of a certain three-letter agency (CIA) in his linking of DoD and State Dept. Perhaps there is hope if Tillerson and Sergey Lavrov can establish a working relationship. Yet the emerging future will be based on the how close the Americans can actually get to their espoused set of immovable values in practice. Well worth the 39min, imo.

"Secretary of State Tillerson Addresses Department of State Employees"
(Published on May 3, 2017)

Posted by: x | May 6 2017 13:04 utc | 61

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