Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 27, 2017

The Real Foreign Policy Scandal Is Its Sabotage By Trump Enemies

During the election campaign Donald Trump argued for better relations with Russia. He wanted to engage in a common fight against the Islamic State and other terrorists. Hillary Clinton argued for a confrontational policy against Russia and a new cold war. The foreign policy establishment, the media and the CIA were solidly on Clinton's side. The people of the United States made their choice. It was Trump and his views of policies that were elected.

After Trump had won the election, he advised his staff to set up a confidential track-2 communication channel with the Russian government. He rightfully did not trust the established official channels through the State Department and the CIA. His incoming National Security Advisor Flynn and his foreign policy advisor Kushner worked on his behalf when they soughed contacts with Russian officials. Such diplomacy is by nature not acted out in public.

But now the U.S. people are told by their media that it is a scandal, A SCANDAL, that President Trump's advisors pursue the policies the candidate Trump had argued for. Today's headlines: NYT - Kushner Is Said to Have Discussed a Secret Channel to Talk to Russia; WaPo - Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin; The Hill - Kushner wanted secure line with Kremlin before inauguration: report; The New Yorker - Jared Kushner’s Russia Problems; Reuters - Exclusive: Trump son-in-law had undisclosed contacts with Russian envoy - sources.

The various formulations in those pieces are painting the discrete diplomatic contacts as something sinister and illegal:

NBC News reported on Thursday that Kushner was under scrutiny by the FBI, in the first sign that the investigation, which began last July, has reached the president’s inner circle.
FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump, said the current U.S. law enforcement official.

But paragraphs down from that:

While the FBI is investigating Kushner’s contacts with Russia, he is not currently a target of that investigation, the current law enforcement official said.
There may not have been anything improper about the contacts, the current law enforcement official stressed.

The WaPo author has at least the honesty to note:

It is common for senior advisers of a newly elected president to be in contact with foreign leaders and officials.

As an aside the Washington Post leakers reveal that U.S. intelligence can listen to Russian diplomatic communication between the embassy in Washington and Moscow. This is a criminal breach of a "sources and methods" secrets that should be punished.

The scandal here are not various contacts of Trump advisors with Russian and other country's diplomats. The scandal is the undermining of the constitutional prerogative of the elected President of the United State to set foreign policy:

Under the Constitution, the President serves as head of state and head of government. [..] As head of government, he formulates foreign policy, supervises its implementation and attempts to obtain the resources to support it. He also organizes and directs the departments and agencies that play a part in the foreign policy process. Along with the Vice President, he is the only government official elected nationally. This places him in a unique position to identify, express and pursue the “national interests” of the U.S.

The scandal here is not Trump and are not his advisors' contacts with Russian officials. The scandal are the leaks by "officials" about confidential diplomacy, the sham FBI "investigations" and the general undemocratic hostility and resistance of the foreign policy establishment, the security services and the media towards the president's chosen policies. This is completely independent of whether one likes those policies or not.

Posted by b on May 27, 2017 at 9:38 UTC | Permalink

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The scandal is Clinton, the DNC BS and the murder of staffer Seth Rich.
All this msm noise is simply mass denial and paid for smoke screens.
Trump should have stepped forward and taken it head while he had the people's voice behind him. His retreat has undermined any credibility and momentum he may have had.

Posted by: x | May 27 2017 10:05 utc | 1

It is pretty sad to see you become a shill for Trump. It is the folly of being blind to our biases. You have written at times that you do not think well of Trump yet all I see are articles in support or defense of him. Just because he is pro Russia. While writing quite excellent analysis on most occasions, you have never been objective when it comes to Russia and now that is spilling into other areas. Trump is a huckster, a salesman and a bully. He is not a friend of anybody but himself. He is a reflection of what is worst in America and won because the democratic candidate was seriously flawed. Anyone who continues to hope for good coming out from him is setting themselves up for a fall.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 10:21 utc | 2

Khalid #2
Surely the issue isn't Trump's character, myself I loathe his piggy-eyed greediness with a passion but I still believe that since he won the election with a particular set of policies, in a democracy as amerika claims to be he should be able to implement those policies and exercise the mandate he has been given by the voters.

This isn't about Russia it cannot be because we all know that whatever contacts Trump's gang had with Russia, they would pale into insignificance compared with the 'unofficial' interactions between Obama & Israel, Bush & israel, plus england, Nixon & China or Reagan & Iran before they took office.
These mendacious assholes don't come up with a foreign policy objective announce it then set about seeing if the other party is up for it - well not if they're smart they don't because A) they would watch about nine outta every ten plans go down the gurgler in public & come across as incompetents or B)the other party would know what was coming that the prez had committed to it and stick him/her up for a one sided deal.
Out in the real world ambassadors are used exactly as they used to be - not some state department employee but an individual who is known to hold the trust of the asshole in charge.
Feelers or whatever you want to call 'em are put out ideas floated, then hopefully in a way that won't raise unrealistic expectations by either party a strategy that is mutually beneficial is developed.

Trump was doing what blokes in charge of their gang/suburb/city/nation/federation have been doing since other blokes waved clubs at each other.

If the trumpet is disallowed from operating that way, it will put the kibosh on any prez who has a plan that people want but the DC gang don't for evermore.
Catch the trumpet out for doing something wrong, don't be pulling him up for doing what he is meant to.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 27 2017 11:00 utc | 3

Here are latest developments on Kushner... Russia's U.S. ambassador said that President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner wanted to set up a secret communications backchannel to communicate with Russian officials, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Kushner proposed using secure Russian diplomatic facilities to communicate with the Kremlin during the presidential transition, the Post report said, citing communications intercepted by U.S. intelligence officials as Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow.
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.) is calling for President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner to be prosecuted after reports emerged that he didn't disclose at least three contacts with Russia's envoy to the U.S. during and after the 2016 campaign.

"Certification for my SF86 security clearance form," Lieu tweeted alongside a picture of the form. "Which says false statement punishable by imprisonment. Jared Kushner lied on his form."

Posted by: harrylaw | May 27 2017 11:33 utc | 4

Trump seems to be taking a different approach. The neo-cons/globalists/powers that be have blocked him from carrying out policies openly. His policy now seems to be fucking up every geo-political move they make or want make. What has come of his flashbangs and war talk so far since he appeared to go full neo-con. In each case the opposite to what appeared his neo-con intention, with a result closer to his campaign position.
US arms sales to the Saudi's? If its tanks and armoured vehicles, the Houthi's will turn them to scrap. From what I have read, Saudi's have more tanks and planes than they can ever use anyway. If it's smaller stuff that can be past on to the jihadists, that's a different matter. He seems to be milking the Saudi's dry and setting them up for a fall.
Iran. What will come of that? More war talk and flash bangs?
Obama wanted some sort of detente with Iran. Why? Because Obama was a benign forgiving sort of fellow?
Still some time to go to be sure of where Trump is headed, but at the moment, he is messing up the Obama/Clinton/Neo-con plans

Posted by: Peter AU | May 27 2017 11:43 utc | 5

It is a bit hasty to declare Trumpistas as innocent victims. The sinister narrative is that Russian equivalent of NSA got hold of valuable secrets of Democratic party and passed them to Republicans in exchange for favorable policies. The benign narrative that b favors is that Democrats have fallen victim of non-Russian related leaks and Trump wanted to change the policy in respect to Russia because he has a different perception of American national interests on those issues as he duly announced during his election campaign. Once elected, he had legal and moral mandate to discuss some stuff with Russians to "hit the ground running in January".

The benign narrative is spoiled by the existence of the actual leaks, moreover, if Trump wanted to exercise his moral prerogative, he should send Flynn, an associate that actually could figure out what he would be talking about with Russians, to the embassy to be duly photographed on the way there by reporters, giving them some soundbites about the purpose. He did not need any secret channels at this point.

The meta-narrative is that the "deep state" as personated by Comey actually hated Clinton, at least some segments do. Foreign policy of USA seems indeed to be infested by a cabal that spends considerable effort to tame anyone who comes to Oval Office. It is as if the most glorious pastime of our ruling class was fox hunting, something that offers only a faint pleasure to the outsiders, but each time there is a new lord, the dog pack spares no trick, being cute and friendly, or growling and nipping, whining and biting, until the glorious fox hunt runs again.

Trump is like the new guy who does not really hate hunting, to the contrary, but have never ridden a horse and given a choice, he would simply stick to golf and pussy grabbing. Could we modify the hunt with dog packs so I could use a golf cart, say, we could hunt badgers? (Iran? I am stretching the analogy to the limit.) You can see how the entire hunting establishment is barfing. Only the fox hunt lends itself to cooperation and elegance, shooting pheasants purchased by the dozen is a good for shooting practice but it will never, ever replace the pursuit of proper game for the nobles.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 27 2017 11:53 utc | 6

Khalid @ 2

Everything you said... ditto.

B: cannot fathom your vociferous defense of Kushner, but next to nothing wrt to his back channel lobbying for massive Saudi arms deal. This is antithetical to everything you've written for years.

Posted by: jdmckay | May 27 2017 12:55 utc | 7

Trump adviser and son-on-law Jared Kushner under investigation in probe of Russia ties

The same week that Trump released a budget proposal that calls for $1.7 trillion in social cuts, including the virtual destruction of Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, the Democrats and allied media outlets have continued to focus on his alleged collusion with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This, in turn, is based on claims that Putin hacked Democratic Party emails during the election campaign and gave them to WikiLeaks to publish in order to embarrass Hillary Clinton and tip the election to Trump—claims that have not been backed up by any substantive evidence.

Also last December, Kushner met with Sergei Gorkov, the head of the Russian bank Vnesheconombank, which has been under US sanctions since 2014. That meeting points to the completely corrupt character of the Trump presidency, which has brought the criminality that pervades Wall Street into the White House. Trump officials described the meeting as routine and inconsequential, but the bank described it as a “negotiation” about “promising business lines and sectors.”

ABC News reported that the meeting was part of talks “with a number of potential investors” about the development of a skyscraper on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan owned by the Kushner family real estate firm, Kushner Companies.

when the rump talks about getting along with the russians, this is what he has in mind. oligarchic theft oligarch-to-oligarch 'globalist' money laundering. and wouldn't it be nice to have secure communications to conduct such discussions over.

the dnc/cia/clintons are up to their asses in the same trough, that's why they're making the 'patriotic' charges they are instead of airing the real grift and graft that they all engage in as part of their oligarchic bans. that chicken just might come to roost in their own hen houses as well, whereas with a 'clean' frame they can 'create' the charges, making sure that no one can validate or falsify them ... kill their victims via smoke inhalation, not burns.

Posted by: jfl | May 27 2017 13:01 utc | 8

Anti-Russian hysteria reaches levels that I would not guess that are possible. How a software businessman can get so deranged that he manhandles a reporter by grabbing him by the neck, slamming on the ground and punching on the face? Russian influence!

Richard Nephew, the former principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the state department, told the Guardian that “there is definitely a question here but my initial reaction is that this is not something to freak out about”.

He added: “Index funds [Gianforte has 0.1% of his holding in index funds based on Russian stocks] are usually just like mutual funds, excluded from consideration from a sanctions perspective because the ownership stake per person is incredibly small.”

But he noted that it did raise some concerns from “a Russia policy perspective” as a conflict of interest because “betting on Russia’s economy is problematic”.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 27 2017 13:31 utc | 9

It's all a distraction, basically. The way it works is that it keeps the left criticizing Trump and his people for the wrong things, which keeps them away from the criticism that matters.

Posted by: paul | May 27 2017 13:59 utc | 10

The Dems created the Trump-Russia "ties”, "alliance”, or what-not, as a multi-purpose tool.

> of course merely to keep the neo-cons-libs and **payers** on board, and persevere in the present scheme, with rah rah USA, Israel, KSA, Qatar (..), Muslim brothers and sisters and djhadists, against Assad, Iran, and Russia, in a multi-facetted proxy war. 1

> it provides an excuse for the Clinton loss - the whole mess, her unpopularity, lousy campaign, is blamed on Russian machinations via or with Trump, convenient scape-goats.

> DNC/Dem turpitude and crime and convolutions (fixing the primaries againt Sanders, e-mail scandal, Podesta mails, leaks, ex. Seth Rich - blowing up now, and much more!) are left in the shade, and/or become so confused that the ‘base’ just blames Russia, all can be attributed to the hidden evil influence of a powerful enemy.

> the accusation are so broad, amorphous (don’t point to any specific actions, sayings, so one can ratisser large - scan widely) anything will fly. This is the wedge a large section of the PTB has settled on to impeach Trump. A vicious underground war is taking place. Trump is defending himself, but not well, perhaps it is impossible, idk. The landscape was evident from the moment he chose Pence as VP (2) then he let Flynn go - collaboration and appeasement in Bizness and Politics don’t work in the same way.

1. Heh… “Social democrats” showing their true heart-heart for apartheid, fundamentalist oppressive religion, cabals of despotic cruel unelected royals, hyper control of women, murder of blacks, war and bombs on millions of innocent ppl, and banksters scammers!

2. From far off, surprising. A renewal and change agenda would have mandated a less marked figure - perhaps just a neutral place-holder, or a little-known appeal candidate (white youngish woman for ex. but not Palin!), or a total break-away thingie. Trump either did not understand this or could not effect it. Idk.

Posted by: Noirette | May 27 2017 14:14 utc | 11

The anti-Russian campagn is so well globally broadcasted that it serves as a ***WARING*** to French, German or British politicians (+ probably everywhere else on the planet). The REDS is the RED line. Now as before and a little more.

Posted by: Mina | May 27 2017 14:26 utc | 12

Yes, I agree with everything you said b. Trump is under constant, vicious, unrelenting attack from both sides, the question for me is why? What was planned to occur during a Clinton presidency that he has now, probably unknowingly, stalled? Was it war/war profiteering, was it the Climate Change 17 trillion dollar scam, has he somehow derailed the UN 2030 plan? They could have simply blocked everything and anything he advanced as they did with Carter, why the need to destroy him personally? I supported Bernie (clearly a mistake) and now I am flooded with anti Trump emails 24/7; I get about 20 a day. There is something we/I am missing, is it as simple as Clinton wanting to stay out of jail, is it Pizzagate, what drives this near blood lust to bring him down?

Posted by: frances | May 27 2017 15:20 utc | 13

For students of history, JFK set up alternate lines of communication with both the Soviet Union and Cuba in order to bypass the CIA, which Kennedy knew was continually trying to suck the US into their war against communism.

Students of history remember what happened next.

Posted by: Bob In Portland | May 27 2017 15:32 utc | 14

Trump is seen as racist, sexist and fascist in some quarters. Israel isn't too crazy about him either.

But it could just be a small group running the anti-Trump campaign. Sending out emails is a job. The idea is to impeach him or get him to resign. I'm not sure how much average Americans care.

Posted by: dh | May 27 2017 15:49 utc | 15

Wow, if having a secret back channel to discuss foreign policy is a crime, then let HENRY KISSINGER be the first to be put on trial, convicted and executed!

Posted by: DougDiggler | May 27 2017 16:32 utc | 16

Whoa, what about those jobs Trump promised? Making nice w/Russia will un-employ thousands of overpaid intelligence personnel and thousands of SA jihadis!

Russia is a mostly white, mostly Christian nation, a natural ally of Occupied America, unless our Overlord is PO about the rapprochement.

Posted by: Greg Bacon | May 27 2017 16:38 utc | 17

thanks b... i think the people who live in fantasyland rely on hollywood and the msm to tell them who they are supposed to be scared of.. aside from the new bogeyman isis, they have always had a thing for those big bad ruskies... we could go back further and it would have been the indians... the usa always seems to hold some demon in there head that they are told to hate... the usa could never have a normal relationship with russia.. hollywood and the msm won't allow it! which begs the question, 'who owns the msm and hollywood?' at some point soon, i hope all this becomes completely irrelevant..

@2 khalid.. i don't agree b is a shill for trump.. that is not a fair comment.. regarding the rest of your commentary - " While writing quite excellent analysis on most occasions, you have never been objective when it comes to Russia and now that is spilling into other areas." how so on the topic of russia? what is b supposed to be saying on this topic?

regarding the rest of your commentary... agree with you fully, but you aren't saying anything everyone else isn't aware of.. the question for me was would he be worse then hillary clinton? your quote.."Trump is a huckster, a salesman and a bully. He is not a friend of anybody but himself. He is a reflection of what is worst in America and won because the democratic candidate was seriously flawed. Anyone who continues to hope for good coming out from him is setting themselves up for a fall." i agree!

Posted by: james | May 27 2017 16:40 utc | 18

@14 bob.. yeah, but history always plays out differently... any chance the usa can implode soon??

Posted by: james | May 27 2017 16:42 utc | 19

The opening of secret back channels is almost routine with US presidents. Obama initiated contacts with Iran in the winter of 2011-12. The BostonGlobe published one of many stories on this. In Feb 2012 there was even a more informal envoy who went to Tehran (the person, I forget the details, was a private citizen and friend of Obama from his Chicago days) to sound out possibilities for the nuclear deal.

Khalid at #2 is dismally naive. We are not shilling for Trump, what we see is that the highly secretive US intelligence agencies are attempting to take over US foreign policy to thwart Trump's efforts at detente with Russia, which is the one thing he campaigned on and is trying to achieve. Maybe Khalid wants the US to go to war with Russia but we don't.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 27 2017 17:01 utc | 20

oops, messed up the html code to BostonGlobe

Posted by: ToivoS | May 27 2017 17:08 utc | 21

.... what drives this near blood lust to bring him down? frances about Trump at 13.

DT is an interloper, a maverick, a time-bomb. He has made enough threats, has enough dirt to bring down the central Gvmt. US apparatus. (E.g. Finance/Banking, Clinton Foundation, Pizzagate, no doubt more, other.)

He is a threat to the whole status quo, the fake duolopy (Dem-Rep), but is using this power in a Mafia-like landscape (as are the others), in true corrupt fashion, for personal advantage, which includes acclamation and admiration. In that sense he is part of the system and playing within it. That is one of the reasons he is gingerly tolerated, and hasn’t been ‘suicided’ (yet.) Still, someone ‘breaking in’ like Trump did (the Republicans in lame disarray, the media running their own agenda, the Dems asleep at the wheel, nobody in charge, everyone just on their personal profit gig) is terrifying, and shows up the extreme vulnerability of the instituted powers, which is unbearable to all of them, so they loathe, despise, Trump with a supreme passion.

Posted by: Noirette | May 27 2017 17:27 utc | 22

You can't criticise the Jewish media nor point out the Obvious
Power movers who influence both USA/Trump and Russia/Putin.
Here's why Putin would not shoot down IAF,Turk or US aircraft
Over Syria.
Iran is the next target, ...full court press,....Trump will Ovey!
Putin has to play the centuries old Masonic game which is Intrigues,betrayal and war.
The MIC of all** the Masonic/Rothschild players profit from the Fake war on terror.
Putin has not broke with Rothschild Central bank....It's his Kook
Lubavitch vs USA/Trump kook Lubavitch.
These people thought Schneerson was the Moshiac/Messiah.
So ya...big money,national military extortion power,and obsessive
Psychopathy .

Posted by: Brad | May 27 2017 17:35 utc | 23

Obama faced crazy opposition too. Trump was part of that ("birthiers").

IMO crazy opposition is a key part of what I call the faux populist political model.

One has to wonder if Trump is a Clinton protege. Sanders was a sheep-dog and Clinton ran a poor Campaign. Media loved Trump and establishment Republicans were comically ineffective.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 27 2017 18:07 utc | 24

Russia is really not that important. It has an economy that is shrinking relative to the rest of the world. It is a wounded bear that has potential to be dangerous but not the strength to fight a long battle. Russians know this and work to preserve their influence of power as best they can. America keeps prodding and poking to not engage the bear in a war but keep trying to make it weaker.
Trump is not interested in all this. He is interested in making money for himself and weak dictators are perfect for his purpose. He can bully them, make promises and now as President he can actually deliver some of the cherished toys. Hence the trip to Saudi Arabia. He makes a huge sale, Ivanka picks up 100M plus for her obscure charity and he sells them weapons they probably will need help trying to use; and to be sure he is personally making money in all this. His interest in Russia springs from the same purpose. He can smell an opportunity to make money, lots of money in Russia. To understand Trumps actions at any time one needs to only ask WIFH (whats in it for him). The answer will always explain his actions correctly. There is no great policy at work.
Finally we hear very little about Rex Tillerson. I would think he is flying all over getting the troops in line for the new order. The state dept. WILL sing to his tune. So there was really no need for a back channel to Russia. Its just that Trump is fidgety and keeps trying stupid things. Trump wants to make money from Russia and looks like he will be successful. Russia really is not that important and if one is objective this would be obvious. Peace.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 18:21 utc | 25

Why does the U.S. Borg State hate Russia and China and Iran, but loves Israel and Saudi Arabia and Ukraine?

1) The American Empire program is suffering a collapse in global influence in the 21st century, much as the British and French Empire programs collapsed after in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. GW Bush's Iraq invasion, and Obama's Libya-Syria regime change program, will almost certainly be viewed by historians as the last gasps of the Empire program (comparable to Britain in Iran and the Suez Canal issue in Egypt in the 1950s, the independence of Pakistan and India, France's loss of Indochina and Algeria, etc.). This is what the Borg State is trying to reverse. Their only allies in this are pet client states like Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Ukraine - all with serious human rights and lack-of-democracy issues. Borg State efforts in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria have all been major debacles.

2) Russia in particular is upsetting the Borg ever since Putin rejected the Boris Yeltsin-era programs (takover of the Russian oil industry by U.S. and British banks in particular) and imprisoned America's favorite Russian plutocrat, Mikhail Khordokovsky and booted out Berevozsky and Gusinsky (the latter two being key players in electing Boris Yeltsin to a second term in 1996, if you want to talk about foreign influence in elections!). China is behaving similarly, running its own Central Asian economic integration plan through to Iran (note: not a military invasion) and exerting influence over the South China Sea (which is rather like its Gulf of Mexico, isn't it? Don't see any Chinese naval vessels doing "freedom of navigation there". Ditto for Russia's Black Sea.

There's another big issue for the Borg State: loss of domestic political control. Their agenda for the election was a puppet show featuring Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush; they almost lost complete control (which would have meant a Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump general election). They managed to put Clinton in the general election by nefarious means, with corporate media support (as in Russia in 1996), but then Trump won - with once-Democratic states like Ohio, etc. that were hit hardest by neoliberal trade policies giving him the edge.

But Trump is quickly demonstrating that he's can be just as much a tool of Borg State interests as Hillary Clinton was - his love-in with the Saudis being exhibit A, followed by typical bowing to the Israeli government, along with loading his administration up with the very Wall Street insiders who've spent decades screwing over the very people who supported him in Ohio and other industrial wastelands whose jobs have been shipped to Mexico, China and India so fat cats can get fatter. Trump looks to be playing the same games Hillary Clinton did with the Saudis; something like $100 million from the Saudis & UAE has been deposited in a Ivanka Trump-related foundation/endowment. This has been GCC Arab policy for decades - bribe U.S. politicians for support; bailing out GW Bush, dumping millions into foundations linked to the Clintons and McCain, buying billions in U.S. arms - it's the only reason they're still in power, otherwise Saudi Arabia would have seen a democratic revolution and the House of Saud's 15,000 members would be getting drunk in Europe and Switzerland after being evicted.

Meanwhile, under this media circus spilling over the U.S. (which is best just ignored), we have the U.S. military in Mosul coordinating with Iraqi Army efforts to kick out ISIS, the Iraqis also coordinated with Iranian-backed Shia militias. No reporting on this in the U.S. media but here's a good clip from France24:
Exclusive: Inside the Battle for Mosul, May 26

All you can really say about American corporate media is that it's almost useless as an information source on global events. It's consolidate Borg State propaganda and until some politician dares to bring anti-trust legislation aimed at breaking up the media cartels into hundreds of independent outlets, none of that will change.

Posted by: nonsense factory | May 27 2017 18:32 utc | 26

toivo, it was Sultan Qaboos the Sultan of Oman who was the instrumental go between for obama and iran.

i agree with khalid "Trump is a huckster, a salesman and a bully. He is not a friend of anybody but himself" and fully agree with everything b has written. i think, more than anything, the establishment dems controlling the dem party have determined the best way to take down trump and ensure they will win the next election plus distract american from their culpability for hoisting the most undesirable candidate imaginable into the election process is -- this cold war replay of demonizing russia.

Posted by: annie | May 27 2017 18:38 utc | 27

As far as Trump and Iran, this from a few days ago should raise questions about whether Trump has come around to the Clinton view on foreign policy agendas:

The U.S. Treasury is reviewing licenses for Boeing Co and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran, department head Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday, telling lawmakers he would increase sanctions pressure on Iran, Syria and North Korea.
And for your full video clip of Trump and Glowing Orb of Satanic Illuminati Power:

Posted by: nonsense factory | May 27 2017 18:55 utc | 28

annie 27 toivo, it was Sultan Qaboos the Sultan of Oman who was the instrumental go between for obama and iran.

And? That doesn't contradict my point. There were numerous players in that back channel between Obama and Iran. The point is that it was secret at the time and there is nothing wrong with conducting diplomacy in that way.

Also Khalid's comment @25 simply confirms my initial impression that he is dismally naive. His assessment of Russia is not just wrong but dangerously wrong should US policy makers believe that nonsense.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 27 2017 19:07 utc | 29

Russia has an economy that is smaller than that of South Korea, smaller than Canada, smaller than Italy. It has a population multiples larger than any of those nations, needing more of their resources to support this larger population; leaving very little for military adventures. Russia has a lot of nukes, that makes it dangerous but they do not have the capability or infrastructure to support a serious war and I have no doubt the Russians fully recognize this. They continue to retrench as best they can. What is naïve is to think such a nation has the capacity for a large war and what is foolish is building fantasy scenarios based on that assumption.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 19:35 utc | 30

khalid.. the usa is really not all that important either.. however, we hear endless talk about it and it's bullshit export of democracy and freedom.. all it does at this point is rubber stamp foreign wars to look after it's financial and military complex... many on the planet have had enough of it.. trump is the perfect buffoon to lead this nation of ignoramus's at this point..

Posted by: james | May 27 2017 19:37 utc | 31

then why is it such a pain in the ass to the usa and it's western poodles, with msm in tow? ask yourself.. who gains? it is the same bullying of your buddy trump, as expressed thru the imf, world bank, financial complex, when it is not looking after the military complex...

Posted by: james | May 27 2017 19:39 utc | 32

@18 James
If you look at the past few months b has written a lot of stories in defense of Trump while ignoring some blatant ones like the bizarre fascination that Trump carried on about 3 million illegal voters or that his inauguration crowd was much bigger. The stories make him out to be a complete lunatic, which he isn't but he is a egomaniac. And that is difficult to ignore when given rationalizations for some of his actions.

On the world stage Russia is a fairly small player. I guess if you look at all my comments the response is the Russia story is not that big a thing that needs anyone's focus. There are a lot of other things happening that are far more significant.

I do realize, given the strong sentiments a number of people on this blog have for Russian, that my comments are akin to calling someone's baby ugly but there is no disrespect meant. It is just cautioning that ALL of us are capable of developing blind sides based on our biases where logic and reason fail us. We all need to be aware of this general human tendency and be vigilant in spotting it in ourselves. Russia has an economy 1/15th the size of US with a population that is 1/2 the size of US. But for the nukes nobody would be talking of Russia as a global power.

Finally, in most cases b's critiques of the US are valid. There is a lot to be concerned about where US actions are concerned. Much of his analysis on the Middle East is excellent. But coverage of issues involving Russia is not up to the same standard.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 20:03 utc | 33

Noirette | May 27, 2017 1:27:12 PM | 22

All good points, thank you:)

Posted by: frances | May 27 2017 20:11 utc | 34

@31 & 32
:) I am afraid the US is important. With military presence in what 150 plus countries, 25% of the world economy, a military budget larger than the next 5 nations combined. Alas it is important. The rest of your comments show anger I have not seen from you but I cant disagree with the essence of your anger. In history any nation with power has abused it sometimes despicably. US has more power currently than any nation has ever had in the history of the world and unfortunately there is a lot of abuse of that power.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 20:12 utc | 35

So I guess the point is that when we lose our objectivity it eventually weakens the impact of critiques where we were objective.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 20:13 utc | 36

Posted by: Khalid | May 27, 2017 2:21:52 PM | 25

Russia really is not that important and if one is objective this would be obvious.

First, it is important to Russians. It is quite important to Europeans.
And it is important to Americans too, judging how much they are obsessing over her alleged meddling in the last US elections. Congress, Senate, all SEVENTEEN intelligence agencies, all MSM every day just keep huffing and puffing, yelping and squealing.
Now it might be that Russia is not important to you, and that is perfectly fine. And irrelevant too.

Posted by: hopehely | May 27 2017 20:14 utc | 37

@33. 'Russia has an economy 1/15th the size of US with a population that is 1/2 the size of US. But for the nukes nobody would be talking of Russia as a global power.'

you're using the us' funny money yardstick to measure things in the real world. that's the neocon delusion ... although real neocon's are not deluded, i don't imagine. they are just egging on the us and it's potential rivals ... let's you and him fight ... so that they may profit, again, from the markdowns in the 'war surplus' market.

Posted by: jfl | May 27 2017 20:21 utc | 38

Just to clarify: Does the US has the power to control which military weapons systems are used, due to its having the most weapons? Does that mean the NATO nations must buy from the US military weapons makers? Or can they develop their own systems?

Along with that, what would prevent EU NATO states from telling the US that developing the best climate change preventions possible are actually a very effective means of supporting NATO? And then sell the most efficient of these solar, wind, whatever new technology they develop on to the US? To any nations wishing to lower greenhouse gasses, etc.

Posted by: jawbone | May 27 2017 20:30 utc | 39

@ 30 and on and on.

Obviously you have been exposed to a lot of MSM. Get rid of the TV and come back again in about six months.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 27 2017 20:33 utc | 40

@39 These are complex questions really but just to pick a couple of examples. Every so often we hear about the Echelon system like when Merkel's conversations with the Russians were taped. But everyone still lives with it, a communication system with only US having the highest level and so able to monitor all other communications.
There was also the case of the F16's sold to both Israel and Turkey where the Turkish ones could not fire on the Israeli ones because of the software US installed while the reverse was not true.
Nobody is happy with any one nation having this much power and there are always efforts going on to curb it but in the meantime they all live with the reality of today and daily make unhappy decisions based on that.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 20:39 utc | 41

@40 :) haven't watched MSM or other TV news in years. MoA is one of 4 or 5 sites I get news from.....but I do think independently.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 20:42 utc | 42

Thr National Security establishment doesn't like having people in who they feel they can't control or who aren't "made". It's not enough to be a billionaire or a former ex-FBI informant. Obama was establishment. Vetted. Clintons ditto. Bushes are of the royal blood. Someone like Perot: have to make them look craaazy! Really they are all crazy and these are clique fights. Don't believe Trump and his gang won't in the end irradiate anyone that stands in the way of their dominance. The tip-off is the torture. They're all depraved. The UN Committee Against Torture states the US tortures today, not just under Bush/Cheney. Press and politicians and lazy Americans yawn. So what? Meanwhile blacks shot down in greater numbers. Refugees and Muslims cower in fear. The superannuated elderly are slotted for the kind scythe of medical neglect. But Lockheed and Raytheon and General Dynamics and their ilk dine in splendor. The journalists of the people at the NYT, Washington Post, etc. make out at $200 grand per year. Dancing, dancing on the good ship USS NukeApocalyse.

Posted by: Jeff Kaye | May 27 2017 20:52 utc | 43

Trump is like an untrained circus animal - untrained that is by Anglo-Zionists. In contrast, and waiting in the wings is steely-eyed Pence, trained to psychopathic levels. Trump has no idea what he has got himself into. He is in a maze precisely because he has neither done the study nor has he been trained. How long did it take people on this site to work it out? In my case a hell of a long time plus two hundred or more books.

Trump seems to function on some primordial level of hunches and we should be grateful for some of them. Almost daily news of new equipment or troops being sent to the Baltics/Poland etc. that we saw in the Obama days seems to have died down. He does not like Poroshenko’s Ukraine. The fight is in Washington where it is safe, at least for the time being. Yes, he sold the Saudis a bunch of new stuff but you felt he was happy because business-wise he had them over a barrel (pun excused I hope). I can just see him give out the order, “Send ‘em a load of junk.”

Trump is an elite spanner in the works. Due to his enormous ego he was bound to make it difficult for the political elites because he's an elite.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 27 2017 21:01 utc | 44

Toivo, my intention was not to contradict your point, one that i agree with actually.

Posted by: annie | May 27 2017 21:20 utc | 45

Lochearn @44

See my comment @24

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 27 2017 21:25 utc | 46

It’s pretty clear where the anger is coming from but some of you still aren’t getting it. Trump has support among people who don’t like crime, illegal immigration and transgender washrooms. That's how he got elected.

Disgruntled Hillaryites are out to get him and they’ve decided the Russia connection is the best tool because it plays well with Repubs.

I personally think he’s an ahole but aholes aren’t rare in the USA.

Posted by: dh | May 27 2017 22:29 utc | 47

Khalid, it would be helpful if you were to provide the links to the relevant sources and statistics that prove your point that Russia's economy is minuscule in size compared to Italy.

I guess the World Bank would not be one of your sources however.

Posted by: Jen | May 27 2017 22:29 utc | 48

@Khalid, I think B. has some good points you're ignoring.

First, one of Trump's best policy proposals was to cut funding for NATO and say to European countries, if you want this big Cold War-era military juggernaut, then why don't you pay for it? The argument against NATO is pretty clear - just as the Warsaw Pact was dissolved after the Cold War, so should have NATO been dissolved. If EU countries want a military cooperation agreement, fine, but why should the U.S. taxpayer pay for it? We have this massive infrastructure collapse problem that would be money better spent, that would do far more for the average American citizen.

But, this was something that drove the unelected Borg State bureaucrats crazy and was one of the main reasons for their attacks on Trump. They want to go back to Cold War era thinking - and Russia is not a military threat, it's just that they're the dominant gas supplier to Europe and they've thwarted the rise of ISIS in Syria and prevented a Libya-like outcome in Syria. Russia's main problem is that it hasn't diversified its economy away from fossil fuels, particularly its exports, unlike China. But the Russian government does recognize this (see Putin's most recent "State of the Union" speech).

Trump just doesn't have the bureaucratic infighting skills, he's basically folded on everything the Borg State and the corporate media wanted on foreign policy, supporting Saudi Arabia, bringing in McMaster, bombing Syria, supporting the war on Yemen, etc. He's also loaded up his administration with just as many Goldman Sachs insiders as Hillary Clinton would have, and his energy and infrastructure plans are just idiotic, compared to countries like China and Germany - it's a giveaway to private financial interests, just like Bush and Obama did back in 2008. Trump is looking more like Boris Yeltsin every day, really.

Posted by: nonsense factory | May 27 2017 22:53 utc | 49

@24 Jackrabbit

Before Trump entered the race for POTUS he apparently was "close friends" with the Clintons. There are plenty of YT videos of Trump speaking highly of them and endorsing their politics, and magazine photos of the Trumps socializing with the Clintons (and looking very cozy I might add). The people who think Trump is some sore of anti-establishment hero on the side of the working man are thoroughly deluded.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | May 27 2017 23:30 utc | 50

@48. Thanks Jen. I had to go look at the figures. The article you reference is incorrect. On GDP World Bank figures put Russia in #12. However there is another measure called GNI where Russia is indeed #5 (China is #1 and US is #2, and Indonesia is #9!. GDP Indonesia is #16). This is an indicator of a significant population that is working outside the country and sending home money to help family survive. Mexico and Pakistan, both of which score much higher on GNI are hardly pictures of prosperity. Both do have very large populations working abroad. Seems like so does Russia. It is good that this is happening and people are not in desperate situation but GDP is a better measure of what is available to each country for domestic use.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 23:33 utc | 51

@49 Thanks nf.
Trump made campaign promises. He only kept those which were beneficial for him. Others he simply acted as if he had never said these things. There are videos after videos documenting this, his saying one thing and later saying the opposite. He railed against wall street and Hilary's connections and then turned around and, as you point out too, loaded his cabinet with Wall street types. This was not capitulation, this was his intention all along. Saying he folded implies he had a position. He has never had any position beyond, What's in it for me. Most of his voters were shocked at the speech he gave in Saudi Arabia but hey it was good for Trump. He probably will make half a billion from that trip. That is all he cares about. Trying to understand his actions in terms of policy positions can put one through awful mental gyrations. Analyzing the same with the standard of what's good for Trump and you get a straight line.

Posted by: Khalid | May 27 2017 23:45 utc | 52

@52 I doubt if 'most of his voters' were shocked. They are probably looking forward to jobs in arms factories.

Posted by: dh | May 27 2017 23:51 utc | 53

@53 in those hitech, automated, robotized factories.

Posted by: hopehely | May 27 2017 23:56 utc | 54

Hilary lost the election because of the rural(mostly white) blue collar voters who are really struggling financially. It isn't that they believed Trump but they hoped he would do something to help them. He won't, he will do less than even what Hilary would have done for the blue collar workers. By this time next year they will be in revolt against Trump but the damage to them and to the country will already have been done. I think ultimately all his shenanigans will make America a lot weaker. But maybe this will be good for the world at large.

Posted by: Khalid | May 28 2017 0:02 utc | 55

@54 Somebody has to push the buttons at Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

@55 Not just blue collar workers voted for Trump. A lot of middle class mutual fund holders will appreciate Trump's efforts.

Check out LMT stock price since Trump's Saudi visit.

Posted by: dh | May 28 2017 0:21 utc | 56

May the monster's god kiddies join him promptly - Nuland can hand all the neo con scum, scorched cookies.

Posted by: Giap | May 28 2017 0:22 utc | 57

@56 It was a messy election with two of the worst candidates in history, and that is saying something. But in the final analysis it was the blue collar rural voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin who turned the election.

Posted by: Khalid | May 28 2017 0:37 utc | 58

@58 That sounds right. They were unhappy about all the jobs that got exported. If Trump brings them back he'll be a hero.

Posted by: dh | May 28 2017 0:41 utc | 59

Khalid #55 Hilary lost the election because of the rural(mostly white) blue collar voters

Wrong again Khalid. If you knew anything about America you would not say "rural blue collar voters'. Blue collar workers refer to workers who live in cities. Rural folks in the US are farmers and their hired help are NOT referred to as "blue collar". And when it comes to the rural (field hands) workers most are not white.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 28 2017 0:44 utc | 60

Khalid @ 51:

"... but GDP is a better measure of what is available to each country for domestic use ..."

I've now found where you've got your information about Russia having a smaller economy than South Korea, Canada and Italy. It's at this link:

The same list tells me that Saudi Arabia had a greater GDP than Sweden, Belgium, Norway and Denmark did in 2015. But does this information tell us anything about the health or long-term prospects for the Saudi economy compared to the economies of the other countries I just mentioned? Does the information tell us how well average Saudi citizens live compared to how well the average citizen lives in Sweden? Does the information say anything about what Saudi Arabia produces and/or exports, and about the range of products the KSA makes, compared to what Sweden does?

I'm sure you can do better than come up with a stack of numbers and nothing else that explains or qualifies them.

Oh and BTW, most labour migration between Russia and other countries is made up of Central Asian migrants travelling to Russia to work in construction and other jobs requiring little or no technical skills, or to study in the country's universities, and going back home to visit family on special occasions (like Persian New Year) or help gather in local harvests. Money flows in the form of remittances between Russia and Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan tend to be out of Russia and into those other countries.

"Tajikistan: Migrant Remittances Now Exceed Half of GDP"

"Remittances Inflows to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in 2016: Current Trends and Prospects"

The Economist "From Russia with Love"

Posted by: Jen | May 28 2017 2:02 utc | 61

@Kalid @Toivos

Hillary ran a very poor campaign. Very strange for some someone that has. Even in politics for decades.

She basically conceded the white blue collar vote to Trump just as Sanders had conceded the black and female vote to Clinton. In fact, she stopped campaigning in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania (states she needed to win)!

That makes Trump's closeness with the Clinton's very suspect (see nonsensefactory's comment @50). One of the fist things Trump did after winning the Presidency was make it clear that he will NOT prosecute Hillary.

Trump is driven by ego and money. He can leverage his business interests to make huge profits from his time in office. The Clintons have also milked ME interests for financial gain via the Clinton Foundation pay-to-play scheme.

One can hope that Trump will ultimately make peace but we should be wary of those that argue forcefully for or against Trump. Avoid getting sucked into partisan politics. It's a mind-trap.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 28 2017 2:23 utc | 62

@60 not so fast. There are industries all over the rural south because they are right-to-work states.
Before that, there were many textile mills in the south, steel mills up north and scattered all over really.. Blue Collar workers are indeed in rural areas as well as in urban.

In any event, Trump won because the DNC were idiots and did not recognize that the rustbelt states had extensive gerrymandering and republican governors. The DNC also did not notice that Trump got mainstream republicans on board to ride his train.

Trump is under massive attack and probably made some big botches after his election - namely by not marginalizing his enemies in congress as well as giving his enemies in the press way too much material to nip at him. His office has been somewhat disabled so far, and it might get worse if the probe-frenzy gets deeper. The biggest risk is for Trump to finally check-out and delegate policy to the likes of Nikki Haley, etc.

Hopefully he has a mind to avoid warfare and to seek accords with the East. His hostility at Merkel and NATO members offers some hope

Posted by: aaaa | May 28 2017 3:50 utc | 63

Jen 61
In support ! When one looks in toto at Russian society and economics the small scale of Russia's population compared to other competing 'systems ' may ultimately be a great advantage . The Bolsheviks educated women so Russian women have not overpopulated and have formed a skilled population . The 350 million in the U S may yet prove more difficult to organize and provide with resources then one would suppose . As in all things one must look holistically and to the long term .

Posted by: ashley albanese | May 28 2017 5:12 utc | 64

@61. So GDP is a measure of what is produced in the country. GNP adds or subtracts from it money that is sent from elsewhere. Russia with a significantly larger GNP compared to GDP is a net recipient of income inflow, the Central Asian migrants not withstanding. There are two potential problems with higher GNP. Firstly, Taxes on the income being sent have been paid in a different country. So for example the millions of Mexicans who send money from US to Mexico pay their taxes in US. The Mexican government does not see any of that revenue. Secondly the money coming is primarily spent via consumption. While this may help the local economy a little bit there is also demand for more infrastructure to support this added consumption but the government is not getting revenue to address this need for greater infrastructure and is always trying to play catch up. Most countries with higher GNP (compared to GDP) continue to have weak economies susceptible to the ravages of the World economy. Russia is no exception. A weak economy cannot support a strong military without significantly sacrificing spending for improving it citizens well being. There are a number of countries maintaining large armies (for various reasons) that are disproportionate compared to their economic power. Russia is an extreme case of this. And the Russian citizens suffer because of this.

Posted by: Khalid | May 28 2017 5:40 utc | 65

@ #65 yeah whatever - you are missing the point entirely IDC whether that is down to being obtuse or just some lame propagandist stunt. The numbers you are working with have been generated by the empire's crooked shill scheme and don't mean fuck all since the accountants/economists & rating agencies who generate that stuff have been caught titling the table so often it's not funny.
say the country I live in elected a government which decided to get rid of the neoliberal claptrap and actually spread the wealth around a bit, overnight Moodys and the rest of the crooks would change the 'ratings' from AAA prolly to B+ nothing has changed yet and in fact nothing is even likely to change because the real outputs of the nation's economy hadn't changed nor were likely to, all that had altered was the greedheads' diminished belief in their chances of ripping the place off. Yet those numbers on those tables would change for no discernible reason other than a reluctance of gangsters optimism about getting an asset appreciation bubble happening. In fact it is that asset appreciation which dollar based economies are so fond of that slows a nation's ability to produce down; as not only do input costs increase during an asset 'boom' wealth is diverted from productive enterprise into non-productive scams like property and resource speculation.

World bank and OECD figures which are based on forward estimates are more reflective of the moneyed elite's desires than reality. This is why after all the emphasis on forward estimates, actual performance against estimated performance is rarely if ever studied.
"Why look back?" the technocrats cry "lets consider what's gonna happen next quarter/year/decade". Why do I say that? Cause I have worked in economic planning units and know the rort inside out.
But by all means drag out yer dodgy stats but don't expect many to grok 'em.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 28 2017 6:14 utc | 66


thanks for your comments and kind spirit was shows thru in your comments...i like what you have to say and i like the fact you are willing to challenge the host b on his position on trump.. all that's fine by me.. as far as the economic position of russia in relation to other countries and these types of analysis is concerned, i have to thank @66 debs for articulating better what would take me much longer to do.. i agree with debs strongly in a number of his comments on '''the numbers''' and the types of magic i mostly consider hocus pocus by these same institutions, gdp bean counters, and etc. attached to this same financial complex i made mention of earlier today.. i tried to address it mostly with anger as opposed to reasoned analysis, as you correctly observed!

i'm curious if you live in the usa, as you seem to have more of a handle on the usa and the views that i would associate with someone living inside the usa.. regardless of this, i don't see the usa doing very well here in spite of all of it's military bases in faraway countries and etc. etc.. i don't think a lot of the kleptomaniacs/murder merchants that are profiting from death, and suffering of innocent people have an actual country that they indeed care any for, with the possible exception of israel, which might seem bizarre for me to say this, but i am speaking without filtering much.. they're in a class i call predators.. predators don't bother with identifying with a country.. it's unnecessary baggage,maybe useful for predatory purposes from time to time, but not much about that at all..trump strikes me this way.. sales people are good talkers, but talk is indeed cheap and irrelevant, compared to there actions.. trumps to speak loud and clear so i agree with you on his nature... meanwhile the rest of us non predators on this planet try to get along and get by- not looking to fuck over others.. i would put most all the folks i know who post here including you in this category - just trying to get by and make sense of the madness.. i would include b in this as well..

thanks again for your comments..

thanks also for the many others commenting, especially @26 nonsense factory who i always enjoy reading..

Posted by: james | May 28 2017 7:07 utc | 67

Kalid @50:

Russia has an economy that is smaller than that of South Korea, smaller than Canada, smaller than Italy.
On the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP), Russia has an economy that is more than TWICE that of South Korea or Canada and 61% greater than Italy's.

The Russian economy is about 20% that of USA but the Russian per capita GDP economy grew faster than USA, Canada, or Italy from 1990-2015.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

2015 per capita, adjusted for PPP multipled by current population (from Wikipedia):

> USA: 18.244

> RF+Crimea: 3.639

> Italy: 2.258

> South Korea: 1.782

> Canada: 1.556

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 28 2017 7:40 utc | 68

Russia is not weak.

Russian nuclear forces, 2017

Posted by: Perimtr | May 28 2017 10:23 utc | 69

65) Depends where you sit. Europe is pretty much dependent on Russian gas. And yes, Europe in its history has failed to occupy Russia. It simply is the largest country in the world with a vast hinterland and Russians know how to fight.

As the US withdraws Europe will find a way to live with Russian interests. And Europe has not united enough to do it as a collective.

This here is Macron.

The meeting is timed to coincide with unveiling of a grand exhibition at the royal palace dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Russian Czar Peter the Great’s visit to France in 1717, which paved the way for long-standing diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The first meeting in the so-called Normandy Four format was held in France, on June 6, 2014, during celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the landing of allied troops in Normandy, when the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany for the first time discussed the settlement of the conflict in southeast Ukraine.

Posted by: somebody | May 28 2017 10:56 utc | 70

Sic Semper Tyrannis has a May 27 article up by Patrick Armstrong called When Intelligence Isn't. It's short and lucid and would be a handy addition to the Bullshit Detector Reference File, for anyone interested in grass-roots analysis.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 28 2017 11:04 utc | 71

Posted by: dh | May 27, 2017 11:49:10 AM | 15
"Trump is seen as racist, sexist and fascist in some quarters."

You see, the cringeworthy, endless repetition of words like "fascist, racist, sexist" is the very reason why liberals are losing every election in the USA.

Let's see definitions. First, fascism. The inventor of fascism, Benito Mussolini, defined it as "the state at the service of the private sector". Which means Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and all the presidents of the USA were/are fascists. If you think about it, that is the plain truth.
Then, sexism. It means "prejudice or discrimination based on sex". Which makes feminists sexist too. Please let's forget that word, it's too misleading.
Then, racism. The whole of the USA is profoundly racist, Democrats and Republicans alike. Did you know that the very Constitution of the USA allows slavery to this day? Check the 13th amendment: in case of incarceration, you can be used as a slave. That's the reason for the rates of incarceration of the USA, the highest in the world -- they provide a free workforce. And guess what? Blacks go to jail much more than whites.
When have you seen a "left-wing" US President suggesting any Constitutional review to get rid of the slavery for good? Never. Not even Obama said a word.

Which makes the US liberals "anti-racist" moralizing an obscene joke. And, justifiably, the hypocrisy is why they keep losing political ground. Because, even if the people generally don't know the points I have delineated above, they can feel all this virtue is empty posturing.

Posted by: Lea | May 28 2017 11:24 utc | 72

Lea | May 28, 2017 7:24:38 AM | 72

Lea, spot on comment; a small quibble though.
Facism predates WWI in Italy; Benito Mussolini brought it to the fore around 1919 and on into WWII.
I haven't been able to sourc its origins yet.
In any event; keep on keeping on...

Posted by: V. Arnold | May 28 2017 13:08 utc | 73

Ah, this from Wiki;
The historian Zeev Sternhell has traced the ideological roots of fascism back to the 1880s, and in particular to the fin de siècle theme of that time.[68][69] The theme was based on a revolt against materialism, rationalism, positivism, bourgeois society and democracy.[70] The fin-de-siècle generation supported emotionalism, irrationalism, subjectivism and vitalism.[71] The fin-de-siècle mindset saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution.[70] The fin-de-siècle intellectual school considered the individual only one part of the larger collectivity, which should not be viewed as an atomized numerical sum of individuals.[70] They condemned the rationalistic individualism of liberal society and the dissolution of social links in bourgeois society.[70]

I've learned not to trust Wiki 100%; but I'll cross reference this later.

Posted by: V. Arnold | May 28 2017 13:13 utc | 74

Jen 61
Interesting point to think about Russian economics. Their economy sounds more diverse/robust. They lack a large financial industry (house of cards) like the US so it seems smaller.

aaaa 63
Right. Many blue collar industries are in small towns which is why the towns are devastated when one moves outside the US. As to HRC loss, she and the DNC assumed they would have the black votes that Obama did. This would have allowed them to take states just by lazily concentrating on the cities. Some Dems were very disgusted with partnerships with Wall Street, the destruction of Libya, and the backstabbing of Sanders. It's not a surprise they lost in 2016.

Posted by: Curtis | May 28 2017 13:22 utc | 75

nonsense factory @ 26. Agree with the gist of what you wrote ...

Still overall there is a kind of mystery. What does this Trumpet foreign policy amount to? The first real move was it seems to me that Tomahawk missile attack, 59 o-them, on the airfield outside Homs (April) as a riposte for one of those mythical ‘chem’ outrages. (Talk about sanctions etc. doesn’t count.) The Russians were warned, and it seems like there were not more than 10 deaths and little or no damage (didn’t follow this closely)? The MSM and PTB came out in praise, saying Good Boy! as to a dog or cute toddler when they finally get with the agenda and jump through a hoop.

Then DT runs off to the only ones who hit the like button 50 times, KSA and Isr. (Plus off to the Pope for balance?) Previous he attempts some links with China while adopting a sorta belligerent attitude - and making a huge sturm und drang about N Korea.

All of which - I mean all of it - amounts to very little in terms of foreign policy actions. It is as if he was pretending to don a role, or is playing a double game. What is in question here of course is not DT’s personal aims/understanding but the actions of the USA. I feel I am missing some parts of a puzzle. But maybe I am over-analyzing the ‘death and convulsions of Empire’ situation (point 1, very important and mostly denied.)

Posted by: Noirette | May 28 2017 13:42 utc | 76

@76 Good question. He was acting tough mostly I think. He did shut down some media criticism.

The Korea armada thing was interesting. China was supposed to help there. They didn't. The possibility of WW3 got a little too real so he backed off.

There are still people pushing for an attack on Iran but I don't think the generals really want to risk it.

Is it all posturing? Barring some kind of false flag let's hope so.

Posted by: dh | May 28 2017 13:59 utc | 77

@65, 66 &67.
There is a book written some years back "Don't think of the Elephant" that made a strong point about human psychology using modern understanding of the brain. To boil it down, our brain is not a computer. It likes stories, narratives and it stores information in narratives. So once a narrative is strongly built the brain wants to maintain it and does to the extent of rejecting new information that does not agree with a existing narrative. The author showed the application of this principle in politics and especially how the Republican party in US was using this (with able help from FOX news). One of the strong narratives the Republicans help build was anti Muslim. And the full blast of it was evident to me when there was a story about the color green and its being for peace. I commented that yes that is the case and in Islam Green has always been the color of choice for that reason and in support mentioned that flags of most (75%) Muslim countries have the color green in them. The comment generated a lot of vitriol and all I could reply was just look at the flags they are green. But most responders were not willing to accept that.

There really is no response to the numbers are no good. Except to caution you to consider for a moment, what numbers would be good and how can you generate them objectively? If Russia is the land of milk and honey, everyone is living there at a standard better than most advanced countries (they have electricity, means of transportation, plenty of food, clean air and water, great places to spend time, are healthy, good infrastructure, good roads, hospitals etc. etc.) then there should be a way to measure that and compare to other advanced countries. I do live in America and have travelled most of its states. I have also travelled in a lot of Europe and some in South America, Africa and Asia. So I have a fair idea of standards of living across the globe. I have not been to Russia but reports from friends who have do not compare favorably with most advanced nations. But maybe they were mistaken. We should be able to objectively create data for such a comparison.

I will end by repeating the comment I made in #36: When we lose our objectivity it eventually weakens the impact of critiques where we were objective. To me that is the tragedy of MoA. It makes a lot of very good points but the loss of objectivity primarily on Russia makes it easy for many to discredit it. And, if I may, this loss of objectivity on Russia in the long run is not helpful to Russia itself either.

Peace to all.

Posted by: Khalid | May 28 2017 14:05 utc | 78


My favourite theory at present - Trump is a communication guy. You can't nonverbally communicate a no - to start doing something and then not do it is the closest you can get.

As talking to the Russians is made impossible by US politics this is how he gets the message across.

My second favorite theory - Trump is the type of boss who storms a meeting with "something has to be done". So people do something, just something ...

Posted by: somebody | May 28 2017 14:47 utc | 79

Why all this crap about "Democracy" and "since Trump "won" he gets what he wants? Trump did win by our rules but our rules are decidedly anti- democratic. He lost the popular vote by a not insignificant margin. So why defer to his policies just because our founding fathers were scared to death of actual democracy? I am as happy as anyone that Hillary did NOT win but Trump's "victory" is quite hollow. Trump's hubris about his "mandate" may comeback to bite him.
That stated, while i might support impeachment for Trump nominating the worst cabinet in history, particularly the Odious Sessions, and the worst VP in history, those do not appear on any list of impeachable offenses I am aware of. And the Russia hearings, etc ARE Total bullshit. But then, most of our foreign policy is. Whatever happened to the grave threat we faced from tiny North Korea but a few weeks ago? I was hearing about it 24/7 from the media and then poof ...

Posted by: Chromex | May 28 2017 16:29 utc | 80

@78 khalid.. thanks... objectivity in all things is worth striving for.. however, when you have known institutions using deceit regularly, you have to question what is or isn't all that objective.. you're right about some aspect of the usa holding up the anti-muslim or islam banner and running with it.. i am not sure it was only the republican party.. i thought it was more widespread then that... the usa has had a very long problem with slavery and racial issues.. i don't know it ever has moved forward from it. i see the more recent attitudes towards muslim in the usa as an extension of that.. i live in canada and don't have a proper read on it living here.. i have a problem with the term 'america' being used to describe the usa.. i always have... something about it lacks objectivity.

it's interesting what you say about the colour green and the flags of many muslim nations. many of them also have the early crescent moon on them as well.

i don't know about the living standards of people in russia.. i have had a few different friends who have traveled there.. i spoke with a bass player friend of mine a few days ago who was in crimea in 2012 - yalta... he said the place is amazing.. he visited the house where kalinnikov lived.. he didn't mention anything out of the ordinary.. another friend - bass player too - who lives in berlin - has traveled there and gave a picture of it being more chaotic in terms of traveling around.. he was also playing music in russia.. i also have a couple of friends who traveled with paul horn as part of his band back in the 80's prior to the gorbachev transition - both of them had fond memories of the places and people.. maybe all these musician friends were given a more positive view of russia due them performing music.. i don't know...

i think it goes into what you are saying about being objective.. that is always hard to do at the best of times.. numbers can be used to fool people.. i would be careful with using well worn financial barometers to assess how well a country is doing.. i honestly think we are in the middle of one big ponzi scheme when it comes to finances and financial markets at present.. thanks again for your comments.

Posted by: james | May 28 2017 16:52 utc | 81


I AGREE that there are *some* here that have a blind spot about Russia. But there are comments here from Trump skeptics as well as those who are hopeful that Trump will bring peace.

In particular, refuting your estimates about the Russian economy doesn't mean that I have some preference for Russia.

I think that there are plenty of people here who are PRO-WEST. They are just dismayed and disgusted at the corruption, the hubris, and the inhumanity of Western leadership. When these same western leaders talk of upholding the values of the West, it is merely double-speak to justify their undemocratic, unaccountable rule.

US/NATO won the Cold War but lost the peace. Neocons and MIC turned their attention to remaking the ME and it has been a complete disaster. So they have tried to cover it up by doubling down and ramping up propaganda.

If we are going to lead the world, we have to be able to turn off the militarism and deceit and inhumanity. We haven't. And so, increasingly, the world opposes the West and goes it's own way. To neocons and neolibs, that is unacceptable.

IMO, most people come to MoA not to admire Putin or root for Russia but to understand what is really happening with respect to this fundamental global conflict that some term Cold War II.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 28 2017 19:36 utc | 82

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 28, 2017 3:36:04 PM | 82

I think that there are plenty of people here who are PRO-WEST. They are just dismayed and disgusted at the corruption, the hubris, and the inhumanity of Western leadership.

How on Earth a sane individual can be dismayed and disgusted of Western leadership, and be pro-West at the same time?
To me, that is totally crazy, it makes not sense at all.
If you assume that the West is democratic, that means the leadership is chosen and elected by its people to cater to their needs and wants. If you are disgusted at the leaderships inhumanity, you must be disguised at the system they come from too, so you cannot be pro-West.
OTOH, if you think that the western leadership does not reflect needs at wants of the people, that means they are usurpers, satraps and tyrants, so the system is not democratic but autocratic. Again how can you be pro that system, unless of course you are member of the ruling elite, but then why would you be disgusted at it?

Posted by: hopehely | May 28 2017 20:14 utc | 83


Short answer: leadership are usurpers that benefit from an undemocratic system but Western culture has much to offer if we can throw off the basterds and the parasites.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 28 2017 22:15 utc | 84

"During the election campaign Donald Trump argued for better relations with Russia. He wanted to engage in a common fight against the Islamic State and other terrorists. Hillary Clinton argued for a confrontational policy against Russia and a new cold war. The foreign policy establishment, the media and the CIA were solidly on Clinton's side. The people of the United States made their choice. It was Trump and his views of policies that were elected."

The people elected Clinton, the Electoral College elected Donald Trump. Arguing the will of the minority should prevail may be popular with the masters and their lackeys but it is ultimately against the people. Furthermore, Trump's real platform was that he would win the wars. It is insane to think he hires all these generals because he has no plans to make war. And so far as fighting Islamic State goes, nobody who fights ISIS makes love to Saudi, like Trump just did. Selling the Wahhabis a military infrastructure is a recipe for endless defeat. Last and least, Clinton was not the favorite of the military, which is part of the foreign policy establishment too, nor was she the favorite of the security/police establishment. Their psychotic campaigns over emails and Benghazi and Clinton Cash and pizzagate was exactly the same kind of McCarthyite witch hunt being leveled against Trump over Russia. The sudden shock at the unfairness of it all and the sinister power of the deep state is just the discovery that it hurts when it's your ox that gets gored. Claiming a new depravity is just Trumpery.

Clinton is a might have been. Counterfactuals are not arguments, and the relentless campaign against her is now all about supporting Trump's acceleration of the drive to war against even more targets. Supporting Trump is supporting war.

Posted by: steven t johnson | May 28 2017 22:21 utc | 85

Jackrabbit #84
Western culture has much to offer (to the rest of the world), like: democracy, human rights, napalm and white phosperous.

Posted by: From The Hague | May 28 2017 22:25 utc | 86

Posted by: From The Hague | May 28, 2017 6:25:00 PM | 86
As well as mortgage backed securities and credit default swaps.

Posted by: hopehely | May 28 2017 23:23 utc | 87

Khalid thinks there is a pro-Russian blindspot at MOA and wants to reminds us that the economic numbers show that Russia is really insignificant.

This slippery premise consists of "proving" Russia has a relatively smaller economy in order to "prove" that it is not a military threat like the neocons present it to be, in order to prove the anti-neocon "pro-Russia" blindspot contingent has been sucked into thinking Russia is significant when it really really isn't.

It is difficult to grasp the intricacies of this fabulous chain of conflations as it manages to miss the entire substance of the geopolitical significance of Russia.

We have a well finessed anti-Russia campaign that has been going on for a century but in this new age it started about 15 years ago as the neolibcon hegemony hit their first wall when post-Yeltsin Russia wouldn't play their rigged game anymore.

Since that time Russia has maintained a political independence from the US imperium and its fellow travelers, and has of late exposed that the emperor has no clothes. It is well understood that Russia is the only power that can and has taken on the imperium's destructive hubris and the Putin/Lavrov team have shown outstanding skill in doing so.

B's post was addressing the neocon sabotage of Trump's foreign policy, specifically Trump's common sense intention to work with Russia in an equitable manner and his oft stated intention to reset away from the neocon/RTP regime change and humanitarian slaughter program.

Posted by: Vigo | May 28 2017 23:28 utc | 88


Democracy,respect for human rights, and technological progress are cultural achievements. The decision to use napalm and white phosphorus is a failure of leadership.

But your point stands. Our inability to safeguard our democracy and hold our leaders to account is a cultural failing. Change only happens after a disaster - and even then, there is a concerted effort to distract, excuse, intimidate and otherwise finesse public anger.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 28 2017 23:29 utc | 89


Trump may go on to futile his promises but as of today he has rushed to bomb Syria and danced with the Saudis.

Obama was also a populist that promised change that he didn't deliver.

I am hopeful but skeptical. IMO Trump is more likely to be another faux populist than a savior.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 28 2017 23:42 utc | 90

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 28, 2017 7:42:24 PM | 90

Trump may go on to futile his promises but as of today he has rushed to bomb Syria and danced with the Saudis.

Don't correct that. It is straight to the center.

Posted by: hopehely | May 28 2017 23:50 utc | 91

@88 vigo... good post.. thanks..

Posted by: james | May 29 2017 0:05 utc | 92

Anti-Russian witch hunt will die soon, and rather abruptly. It probably has a month at most of life left in it. Once the Kushner - Israel's Trojan horse inside Trump's administration - got involved, the issue had become too costly to propagate any further. Kushner's idea of "secret line to Moscow" is directly connected to the promises given by the Russians to Netanyahu with regard to Syria's partition (yes, it's going to happen) and exposing the details is simply too detrimental to Israel's own interests to continue. Expect anti-Russian decibel level to start subsiding fast, as Israelis employ their lobby to memory hole the phony absurdity asap.

Posted by: telescope | May 29 2017 0:49 utc | 93

Vigo @ 88

> B's post was addressing the neocon sabotage of Trump's foreign policy, specifically Trump's common sense intention to work with Russia in an equitable manner and his oft stated intention to reset away from the neocon/RTP regime change and humanitarian slaughter program. <

This clearly was B's "take", going back well before the election.

But... Trump has not fulfilled any of that. Beyond that, his policies across the board... domestic and foreign, have been a obscenely Federalist Society pipe dream: more-so than any US president in modern history. I hope B' soon admits DT has been a complete fraud, cuts his losses and moves on with what he is best at here.

Posted by: jdmckay | May 29 2017 1:59 utc | 94

You got to be joking.
Perogative . Pax -american has only one perogative it's called the deep state and the crony ,rigged capitalism. Lo Stato Corporato. remember that all it is , be it in the US or any western country is only a functional plutocracy . We are living Mussolini's dream THE CORPORATE STATE.
UNO: Look at the EU since they have esatblished the single currency
DUE: Look at Canada since 1973-74 when they got off the gold standard and introduced thjeir own version of the Federal reserve act of 1913 . The privitised the money supply. their debt has benn growing exponentially
TRE: look at New -Zealand and Australia since they started floating their dollars and started neo-liberal economic policies.
QUATRO:Since Thatcher and Reagan years when neo -liberal economics or trickle down economics starting being implemented. They have financialised all aspects of our society
CONCLUSION: With reference to the article it is called the deep state and they are all over every western country. Voting has become a spectacle for the masses democracy well I find Iran more democratic than any country in the west. Corporations high finance and the deep state is what is running and ruling the west. Choices are far and few.
We all know were this is leading with regards to TRUMP . Either he will resign or he will be impeached PENCE was put there for that one purpose to make sure they get their guy cuase they did not get their gal Hitler in drag.
Keep it up Moon of Alabama still the best site that questions more and knows BULLSHIT when he sees it.

Posted by: falcemartello | May 29 2017 2:42 utc | 95

Trump could end all the Russian's influenced the election nonsense just by pointing out the influence of Israel and Saudi Arabia on US elections. He doesn't.

Jared's backchannel to Russia? Haha. Jared & Ivanka have other bachannels' that are much more worrisome. Like Jared's loan from Soros and Ivanka's friendship with Chelsea.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 29 2017 3:13 utc | 96

I hope B' soon admits DT has been a complete fraud, cuts his losses and moves on with what he is best at here.
Posted by: jdmckay | May 28, 2017 9:59:13 PM | 94

But vigo's critique of Khalid's drivel was a bullseye.
And I hope b does what I'm doing - maintaining a wait and see attitude to Trump, and remembering, and understanding why, Rome wasn't built (or destroyed) in a day.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 29 2017 4:19 utc | 97

aaaa @63: In any event, Trump won because the DNC were idiots and did not recognize that the rustbelt states had extensive gerrymandering and republican governors. The DNC also did not notice that Trump got mainstream republicans on board to ride his train.

I would dispute that account. DNC were not idiots, merely morons. So they definitely were aware of gerrymandering, role of republican governors etc. These people are passable technicians. At least rank and file, I would be less sure about Debbie Wasserman Schultz. On the technical note, Democrats lost by tiny bit a number of state wide races for the Senate and electoral votes, and in those cases gerrymandering is irrelevant. Perhaps there were some technical errors. But the dominant factor was the selection of a candidate under cloud without a compelling message when they had a perfect understudy in Bernie Sanders. Sanders consistently polled better than Clinton and specifically, in the rustiest part of the Rust Belt that were wobbly leaning toward Democrats but were lost.

It was not DNC but the inability of the Democratic establishment to understand why Sanders was superior. If they had "any brain", or sufficiently broad vision, they would use all backroom tricks, never mind whether clean or dirty, to push Clinton out.

Jackrabbit @ :96Jared & Ivanka have other bachannels' that are much more worrisome. Like Jared's loan from Soros and Ivanka's friendship with Chelsea.

I have my share of misspellings, but here I do not understand: did Jared and Ivanka take part in more worrisome bacchanalia? Without jesting, Counterpunch has a good account. The quality of articles in Counterpunch is variable, but I like this one; I mean that too many articles there are superficial, but this one explores the issues in depth. My private view is that Trump should not use any back channels, instead Flynn or some other person literate in international and strategic issues should boldly go to the Russian embassy and talk in a secure room with nary an electronic device, and explain the general purpose to the reporters. Foreign policy is a presidential prerogative, and criminalization of contacts of a President elect would fail, even if attempted. But squeezing some monetary gains is a different beast altogether, it is actually prohibited in the same Constitution.

Flynn talked with Russians and lied about it. It was a bit of a trap, but unlike Jared, Flynn should know what could happen, and if he did not, it is a prima facie proof that he is an idiot. And in retrospect, Trump can not explain any strategic reasons for the contacts because he does not have any strategy (mutually contradictory opinions do not add to a strategy).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 29 2017 4:33 utc | 98

Sorry for the misspellings everyone, I'm writing from a mobile device 'cause I'm traveling.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 29 2017 5:04 utc | 99


A simpler explanation is that the entire election was a farce:

>> Sanders was Hillary's sheepdog

>> Trump is the Clinton's protege.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 29 2017 5:09 utc | 100

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