Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 14, 2018

Consolation Post

[Some private issues are currently impeding my time for this site. Please bear with me.]

- It was long obvious that the U.S. was moving further to the right, but I still did not expect this. A rather main stream outlet, Politico, is arguing for the reintroduction of slavery (though they name it differently). Neither the economic logic nor the numbers hold up. But we should not let that, or any ethics, get in the way of a high dose of neoliberal extremism:

Under this new system, all citizens would have the right to sponsor a migrant for economic purposes.
Mary goes online—to a new kind of international gig economy website, a Fiverr for immigrants—and applies to sponsor a migrant. She enters information about what she needs: someone with rudimentary English skills, no criminal record and an affection for animals. She offers a room in her basement, meals and $5 an hour. (Sponsors under this program would be exempt from paying minimum wage.)
According to our calculations, a typical family of four could boost its income by $10,000 to 20,000 by hosting migrants. The reason is that migrants to the United States usually increase their wages many times, allowing them to pay as much as $6,000 to hosts for sponsorships (and our average family could sponsor up to four visas, one for each member).

- Netanyahoo may finally get indicted for taking bribes. The man has of course no shame. He will not step down but become more extreme:

Netanyahu’s supporters won’t turn on him, and his party colleagues won’t find the courage to demand his resignation. He’ll be able to continue portraying himself as the heroic victim of a sinister conspiracy. His aiders and abettors in Likud will continue to spin wild tales of coup d’états and putsches. His base will grow even angrier at the alleged plot hatched by the media, the left and the police – George Soros is waiting in the wings, of course – which will spur Likud politicians to go even harsher and more delusional.

- The Taliban are sending peace feelers and offer negotiations with the U.S. government. Interesting, but they will be ignored.

- Peter Lee, aka @chinahand, gives a good lecture on the history of Korea's testy relations with the U.S.-Japanese alliance - At the Olympics, South Korea Says “Enough” to a Century of Japanese and U.S. Betrayal

- Lots of outlets claim that dozens if not hundreds Russian contractors died in the recent U.S. attack in east Syria. I stand by my take on the issue. There was some kind of local deal made to hand over an oil field in which the Russian contractor Wagner was involved. The U.S. blew up the deal, literally, when it was about to happen. It wants to keep the issue under its sole control. Few, if any, Russians were hurt.

Posted by b on February 14, 2018 at 13:17 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Early America had a robust program of Indentured Servitude that worked very well. If that is brought back, and refined with what the Free Market has learned from the use of the Prison Labor Force, this could be one of the building blocks of Making America Great Again.

Posted by: Enrico Malatesta | Feb 14 2018 13:36 utc | 1

Politico's immigration proposal--human trafficking with a neoliberal sheen. Why shouldn't regular Americans get in on some of that profit?

If the immigrants try to run away? Just hold on to their passports and documents. Hell, Saudi Arabia already has the template. They'll come crawling back!

Posted by: sleepy | Feb 14 2018 13:38 utc | 2

Take your time B. After what happened to Robert Parry, "we" can't afford to lose another one.

Could I respectfully ask you cover the African angle(s) in more detail as I feel this will soon explode into the open soon.

Remember the Niger story you briefly touched on ?

As you and others below the line wrote, " has to wonder what an radiological 'expert' was doing in Niger ?

When that info is combined with:
1) US Special ops in Mali from 2006
2) US operation Oasis Enabler (2009) looking to infiltrate and control Elite Malian army units
3) March 2012 Coup brought to power American trained Capt. Amadou Sanogo
4) French Operation Serval, at the request of the 'interim government' fights to control northern Malian territory and URANIUM mines along the Mali - Niger border (they said they fought ISIS but what they actually fought was a Tuareg separatist movement)

Together with the presence of ISIS (the US trained, evacuated from Syria version?) in the area"... ?


Posted by: Skeletor | Feb 14 2018 13:38 utc | 3

Jeebus, Politico wants to legitimize human trafficking! I am totally gobsmacked that a supposedly serious publication would actually consider such an idea. How low can we go in this neoliberal cesspit? Do these people have no morals? Bring people over here, pay them almost nothing, and then make them pay for the privilege of being effectively enslaved. What a wonderful nation we live in. /sarc

Rules of neoliberalism: 1. Because markets; 2. Go die.

Posted by: John Zelnicker | Feb 14 2018 13:51 utc | 4

The Syrian special forces group ISIS Hunters have confirmed 20 killed among their ranks in the U.S. airstrikes. I have collected sources here: US airstrike on ISIS Hunters, February 7, 2018

Five Russians are confirmed to be dead. There are some convincing stories of over 100 PMC Wagner contractors killed. These include audio and transcript of Wagner fighters discussing the event and an interview with an alleged survivor. (audio here.) Allegedly many of the dead are actually from Donbass. It is possible that the audio files are fake. They may come from the same sources as the stories of hundreds or thousands of regular Russian soldiers dying in the Ukraine.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Feb 14 2018 14:12 utc | 5

Robert goes online, posing as Mary—to a new kind of international gig economy website, a Fiverr for immigrants—and applies to sponsor a migrant. She (he) enters information about what he needs: a young female helpmate with rudimentary English skills, no criminal record and an affection for animals. He offers a room in his basement, meals and $5 an hour. . . .bring her on, for "economic" purposes.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 14 2018 14:18 utc | 6

The rumor of hundreds of Russians killed would be exactly the kind of story they would want to spread before the presidential elections in Russia. It is highly doubtful a mercenary company would undertake such an operation such as this without Russian government support. And it is highly doubtful the Russian military woukd offer such support.

Posted by: lysander | Feb 14 2018 14:20 utc | 7

First, Dear B, please take good care of yourself. We appreciate the enormous amount of time you devote to this. Thank you.

To #4 A masterfully terse and accurate summation. Thank you as well.

Tp PavewayIV I hope you are well. I miss your erudition. Thank you as well.

Posted by: miss lacy | Feb 14 2018 14:23 utc | 8

The oligarchy’s desire to turn the clock back to 'the good old days' knows no bounds — they want it all and they want it know; they’re absolute ideal state for all us ordinary types would be a return to feudalism, so I guess bringing back slavery, all be it with a shiny new coat of point, is pretty much to be expected...

Once upon a time…many, many years ago in the land of Anywhere, in a world long since forgotten, there was, at one time, a kind of Golden Age. It was not, it has to be said, an age that was Perfect but it was agreed by almost all that it was an age that was much, much better than That Which Had Gone Before. That time is best described by quoting from a well-known article historical document contemporaneous to the period …

‘…after Generations Of Struggle against Social Injustice and two Catastrophic And Immensely Bloody Wars with the nearby land of Anotherplace, in which the Ordinary Folk had died and suffered to a catastrophic degree, it was decided by all except the Rapaciously Rich that Things Had To Change.
From that point on, Ordinary Folk were given access to Free Education, Free Healthcare, Pensions, Benefits to help those who fell upon Hard Times and all the advantages of what you would know in your world as a Welfare System. New taxes were introduced to redistribute some of the vast sums of money accumulated (mostly from Stealing, Cheating and Aggressive Tax Avoidance) by the Wealthy and the Aristocracy (known in the land of Anywhere as The Greedy One Percent) over the years and Political Reforms introduced to break their stranglehold over the Political And Economic Life of the country. Additionally, the Right to Vote was given to all.
And the land of Anywhere blossomed, for it was found that a populace Free From Hunger And Illness, that was properly Educated and Cared For, produced huge numbers of Talented men and women who previously had Languished due to Poverty And Lack of Opportunity. These Talented men and women drove the land of Anywhere to new heights of success, founding businesses, employing people, making a mark in the worlds of politics, science, medicine and culture. Slowly but surely, the Dead Grip of The Greedy One Percent, who had dominated and controlled the land of Anywhere for as long as anyone could remember, was broken.’

And the psychopathic Greedy One Percent, the Devil’s Children, hated this new world, this New Bargain and Better Society, and all it stood for. They vowed to destroy it…

Posted by: Rich | Feb 14 2018 14:33 utc | 9

I guess this is an open thread. . . .from The Cipher Brief--
On Tuesday the Senate intelligence committee grilled leaders of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI, DIA and NGA over the contents of the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
[comment: Not surprisingly, the assessment identified other countries as threats to world peace, but not the United States.]

DNI Dan Coats warned the U.S. is under cyberattack, by hacking campaigns backed by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, as well as terrorists and transnational criminals. He listed North Korea as presenting the most volatile and confrontational weapons of mass destruction threat. He said terrorists like ISIS, al Qaeda and Hezbollah would continue to be dangerous. And he warned that Russia, China and Iran are all trying to find ways to expand their reach, from land to sea to space.
Coats also mentioned a key warning from the Worldwide Threat Assessment: “The risk of interstate conflict, including among great powers, is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War. The most immediate threats of regional interstate conflict in the next year come from North Korea and from Saudi-Iranian use of proxies in their rivalry.” . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 14 2018 14:47 utc | 10

I find the politico article a breath of fresh air, as the publication is forgoing its usual spin and vestments of morality to show what an utterly contemptible tabloid rag that it is. Politico has always been a neo- liberal shill-fest masquerading as "serious" journalism.
At least when destitute Sri Lankis go to work in the Middle East, have their passports confiscated by their "employers" upon arrival, locked inside their place of "employment", often beaten and not paid with revolting levels of suicide, the local populace call a spade a spade as refer to them as what they are, "slaves".

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Feb 14 2018 14:56 utc | 11

Reintroduction of Slavery?

In the DIY (do it yourself) world of the West, certain groups of high-productivity people are working themselves to death. The monkey is always on your back. You can’t even go to a fast food outlet without having to deal with a computer user interface. Self service this and that until you can’t take it anymore. Why is it wrong to trade funds for personnel help?

Throughout history and even today outside of the West, people with less money work for people with more money. And as you know, successful Arab man even take on several wives. So what is the big deal?

So right now in most countries, for example in the Philippines, a fairly poor person can have a helper to clean and do household tasks. Is that helper a slave? What if I transport that helper to my house and pay her more? I am now a slave holder even if this helper has not been forced to do anything? All voluntary?

Sure any system can be abused, but having affordable help in the West would be a win-win situation in my eyes.

Posted by: meshpal | Feb 14 2018 15:30 utc | 12

The US is moving leftward.....The Alt Right opposes importing nonwhite scab labor and legalized homo filth marriage....

Posted by: Denis Kearney | Feb 14 2018 16:17 utc | 13

Syria's friendly skies

I am truly dismayed by Syria's friendly skies. Is this a new way of applying
Gandhi's non violence teachings? Will the enemy's arms ache from beating
on Asad's loyalists?

Even drones, drones!, mind you, are decimating Asad's forces? Not even a Strela S
expended to save elite forces.

Quousque tandem America abutere patientia nostra? Habemus at nauseam.

The bear has been poked and repoked and re-repoked with no response. I would
not rule out that the recent Antonov crash was an explosion in mid air. The wide scattering
of the aircraft parts points to a mid air explosion. This is not the crash of a whole
aircraft hitting the ground. It adds to a long list of sufferings in recent times
inflicted on the bear and his allies with no response.

The "restraint" shown by Putin is leading to a dangerous boldness from Russia's

Are we going to witness an explosive outburst from an enraged lamb? Is the refusal
to "escalate" leading to an uncontrolled paroxysm of pent up rage?

Al Tanf should have been responded to with and appropriate slap on the wrist. Since
it did not happen, we are witnessing an increasing audacity from the illegal and uninvited
American Forces in Syria.

The mere fact that Lavrov can enunciate the goals on the US as a will towards
a continued presence in Syria, is a de facto acceptance of Washington's intentions.
Since Russia acknowledges the pretense, it must state and affirm it's opposition if
it opposes these views.

If not, it acquiesces tacitly. The only thing Russia can do now is provide Syria with
the means to make a stand against the violations of its airspace. Not verbally but
with missiles.

If not, everyone will have to accept the fact that Syria has new boundaries. And pretty
soon a new government.

Russia would then have to accept the loss of leadership it has been showing. The SDF
is less a cause than Syria.

Posted by: CarlD | Feb 14 2018 16:18 utc | 14

CarlD @14

If Putin and the Russians sincerely wished to resist the anglozionists, then why are they propping up the anglozionist regime by de facto BACKING the anglozionist DOLLAR with Russian oil and gas (and also Russian arms sales) which are still conducted and transacted in anglozionist dollars (or other currencies backed by the dollar like the euro and the yuan).

It is disingenuous for the Russians to claim that the Russians are doing all that they can under the circumstances. Putin can STOP the Israelis and the Americans without firing a single shot--let alone an S-400 rocket in anger--simply by repudiating the DOLLAR.

Just STOP selling valuable Russian oil and gas for anglozionist dollars. The Russians sell Russian gas to the Americans CHEAPER than the Americans themselves produce it for in America. Isn't this simply SUICIDAL on the part of the Russians?

The dollar is WORTHLESS and ILLEGAL according to the Constitution of the United States!

All Putin and the Russians have to do is, cite the US Constitution and pull the plug on the economic foundation of the the anglozionist MIC. No one is going to fire nukes in anger towards Russia for the "crime" of respecting the US Constitution, are they?

Why does Putin keep supporting America and Israel if he's not a zionist? Why does the Russian government give away Russian natural resources and Russian arms essentially for free (by selling them in exchange for illegal thus worthless dollars) when it can turn off the economic spigot that feeds the anglozionist Beast and remove this menace against all of humanity?

Posted by: Lester | Feb 14 2018 16:32 utc | 15

Perhaps Russian soldiers did get bombed by the USAF (Russia denies it)

and there was a plane accident in Russia to cover it?

After terrorists claim they killed TAF soliders, a day or two later we have fatal road accidents involving army vehicles.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 14 2018 16:43 utc | 16

If we would quit blowing up other countries, stop stripping them of all liquid assets and actually invest in growing their societies and economies, their people would likely want to stay home and we wouldn't have to build a wall.
As my father used to say, "You can't starve a profit."

Posted by: John Merryman | Feb 14 2018 16:54 utc | 17

@14 carld and @15 lester.. i don't see it the same way as you guys.. first off - russia continues to openly state the usa is doing a land grab and wanting to divide up syria with any characters they can find... they are doing it in the eastern part of syria - the least populated, but with the most oil/gas resources.. it is plain for anyone to see what is going on and no one misses this.. what does the un say when russia brings it up? the un is a joke..

meanwhile - the whole financial ponzi scheme with the us$ at the center is not something that just goes away, in spite of all the blather about the us$ being worthless... the international financial institutions - imf, world bank, international bank of settlements and etc etc - all continue to hold sway internationally.. one only needs to understand how all countries are bound by these agreements to know that it is not a cake walk to just stop selling russian oil in us$ for example! and it is no coincidence that after bretton woods agreement - which is also still in place - oil was denominated in us$...

but - you guys figure russia is being a sissy here.. okay.. well, i disagree... i think they are and they have to play the long game here... there is no other way.. now, if china was to get involved, it would be different, but china is moving even slower then russia here probably for good reason as well... i just don't see it the same way as you two, but i appreciate your angst!

Posted by: james | Feb 14 2018 16:56 utc | 18

- Netanyahoo is simply another example of how corrupt even Israeli politics has become. Ehud Olmert (a previous prime minister) also went to prison for a while. And it's tied to the "real estate development" on the Westbank/Judea & Samaria.
- When/If Netanyaho goes then I expect that Naftali Bennett becomes prime minister and he is even MORE "right wing". Netanyaho simply is FORCED to become more extreme otherwise Bennett will "undermine" Netanyaho even more.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 14 2018 16:58 utc | 19

@ james with the concept of the day

Go long angst! (it is an investment term if you don't know)

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 14 2018 17:00 utc | 20


From a ZH article

"Already Grigory Yavlinsky, a veteran liberal politician who is running for president in elections next month, has called on Putin to disclose how many Russians had been killed in Syria and in what circumstances."

Sounds to me like fodder for regime change operations.

Posted by: foo | Feb 14 2018 17:01 utc | 21

CarlD@14 The partition of Syria according to the US is a fait accompli,presumably the Kurds/SDF will be invited to govern almost one third of the oil rich and fertile parts of Syria, without them being asked. Syria, Iraq, Iran,Turkey or Russia will not like this arrangement, but as you know, when the US occupy a state, they never leave until militarily forced to do so. At this time it is not wise for the five states to fight the US directly even Turkey who have potentially just as much to lose as Syria and have promised to strangle this new state at birth, must do so by at least..
1/ Not letting any trade [particularly oil] cross the border.
2/ Stop any arms shipments to the Kurds.
3/ Since Incirlik air base is essential to the setting up of this state, US forces should be persona non grata there.
If this fails they should do what the coalition have done, us proxies, unattributed of course and ensure they have the weapons to do the job...IED's,EFP's mortars, rockets and manpads. The only langauge the US understands.

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 14 2018 17:13 utc | 22

Politico's role is to trigger division. In a way they are dog whistling the Left. Every man must be at his neigbous throat. The US is being walked into a desperate place in order for it to fulfill eschatological purposes. The Israelis think it is the King of the South and they want to provoke the US into attacking whom they believe is the King of the North, namely Russia. They have made a great show of the US pitching its tents between the holy mountain and the sea ala Daniel 8. Pity they don't understand that Syria is now and was in biblical times the King of the North.

Posted by: Whorin Peace | Feb 14 2018 17:14 utc | 23

- Peter Lee had one other interesting story: Harry Truman fired surpreme commander Douglas McArthur in 1950 because McArthur wanted to provoke an incident with China and start a war with China.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 14 2018 17:17 utc | 24

Can't wait for Bennett to become prime minister, so we will have some fun news from south Syria and Lebanon. With Isis gone, Irak quiet(according to their standards), KRG submitted, we have only Erdogan to provide some entertainments in the news.

I am totally for the re-introduction of Slavery, as long as I am guaranteed to be the master, otherwise I strongly stick to Human rights. Got a big garden here and some acre of grass to mow, while my neighbor is young and solid, even seems happy. I could determine better useful activity (to me) for his time.

Does Politico provide a photo catalog of female subjects ? I have some shopping to do and willing to pay with the crypto-currency I mined using the Hospital computer. I prefer older specimens, they run away more slowly and are easier to catch while they eat less.

Posted by: murgen | Feb 14 2018 17:18 utc | 25

Denis Kearney = Closeted Homosexual

Posted by: SlapHappy | Feb 14 2018 17:30 utc | 26

What convinced me that the "Dozens of Russians Killed by U.S. Air Strike" story is primarily propaganda was the inclusion of the following quote towards the end of the article that appeared the other day in the NYT:

Grigory A. Yavlinsky, a veteran Russian opposition politician who is a candidate in next month’s presidential election, called on Tuesday for Mr. Putin to disclose the number of Russians who had died in Syria.

“I demand an explanation as to why Russian nationals take part in ground military operations in Syria, despite the statements by the president and defense minister that Russian military formations will be withdrawn from this country,” Mr. Yavlinsky said in a statement. “I also think there needs to be a public report about relations with the U.S., as there is a growing threat of an accidental or deliberate direct military clash between Russia and America.”

To identify Yabloko founder Yavlinsky as "a veteran Russian opposition politician who is a candidate in next month’s presidential election," the reporters don't even have the courage to call out Yabloko by name, that's how discredited the party is, is like saying Lydon LaRouche is a veteran U.S. opposition politician.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Feb 14 2018 17:39 utc | 27

I notice that as Moon of Alabama has received more deserved attention - the number of trolls has multiplied exponentially. The best thing to do is just ignore them as their intended purpose is to destroy the relevancy of the comments section. The comments deteriorate into back and forth about the trolls' ridiculous contentions rather than just differing viewpoints and sometimes comments with good but differing sources.

Posted by: gepay | Feb 14 2018 18:00 utc | 28

James @18

There are more dollars than roubles in Russia! How is this situation in any way or shape compatible with a viable national security? How can the Russians claim any degree of independence when their economy is more dollarized than that of Israel or Turkey? Read about it from the horse's mouth:

Posted by: Lester | Feb 14 2018 18:23 utc | 29

Enrico Malatesta : British colonial indentured servitude did NOT work out well. It was terrible. First, it took advantage of tens of thousands of people who were uprooted by market capitalist forces into vagrancy and homelessness. As vagrancy was a crime under British law, those who became indentured servants really had no choice but to sell themselves on a temporary slavery contract. Second, there was very little, if any oversight, of the system. Abuse was rife, and there was no punishment for literally working a servant to death. Third, the servants endured conditions as bad as chattle slaves, if not worse (given that a slave was an expensive lifetime investment rather than temporarysource of labor). They did the same type of backbreaking work as slaves, were subjected to beatings & rape, and enjoyed very little freedom, including mobility. They had no civic identity. Consequently, when opportunities for waged labor came about with the Industrial Revolution, most would-be indentures stayedhome, preferring deadly coal mines (etc) to indenturedservitude. Four, Four , the headright system allowed the planter class to accumulate a ridiculous amount of land & political power Fifth, those who survived their indenture, & gained their freedom, very rarely became independent landholders. After they left the plantation, they entered a hierarchal New England in which a few had consolidated most of the land, wealth, & political authority. Hence, many former indentured servants became vagrants yet again. Hence, the violent uprisings across the 1600s of united African slaves, indentured servants & poor whites who use to be indentured servants.

Posted by: Sue | Feb 14 2018 18:25 utc | 30

Don Bacon | Feb 14, 2018 9:47:45 AM | 10

"DNI Dan Coats warned the U.S. is under cyberattack, by hacking campaigns backed by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea"

Those who control the US also pull the strings on the China+NK side. IMHO.

Trump vs. Globalists
Trump targets China+NK and also their oil supplier Iran. Russia is a different story (Trump is ok with Russia who is also vs. Globalists)

Russia hacks? Must be a friendly hack
China+NK hack? Must be detrimental to Trump only.

You can't put them in the same basket.
USA (Trump vs. Globalists)
London (Queen's City vs. Globalists' City)
Germany (Berlin vs. Bavaria)
Iran (also 2 different camps)

Hackers: Russia, Iran, China, NK... 1 block?

No way!


Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 14 2018 18:30 utc | 31

I think some Russian mercenaries were killed, maybe like a dozen or so. No Russian soldiers died and it's highly doubtfull that the number of casualties run in the hundreds. Keeping that quiet would be next to impossible. The reason for overestimation are most likely the political oposition in Russia who will work with anything they can get their hands on to make Puton loose face.

I also believe the effective defense against the Israeli military aggression is a result of the attack in Deir Ezzor as it serves as a warning that the bombings from the air which are increasingly occuring with impunity should seize.

Posted by: xor | Feb 14 2018 18:47 utc | 32

@ gepay | 28

FWIW, I agree with your succinct rationale. It can be further boiled down to "Don't feed the trolls", but it's worth pointing out the hazards of doing so. I gravitated to this position shortly after my first immersion in Internet discussion sites, c. 2005 or so. I coined the term "trollshunning" to describe my attitude, or policy.

But you probably know that there's also an abiding opposing viewpoint. Some commenters are acutely offended and outraged by trollish provocations, just as the trolls intend and hope. They see blatant lies, distortions, and the vast range of posted madness and badness as a scourge that must be constantly countered.

They seem to view comments forums as both a quasi-official "record", and further assume that naïve or ignorant visitors are susceptible to being fooled or unduly influenced by trollish ranting and raving. So they are compelled to spring forth and do battle with these evil truth-saboteurs.

They can't abide trollish disinformation and nonsense being "left unchallenged", as they see it. Again, one often sees anti-troll zealots righteously insisting that if troll fakery is "merely" ignored-- why, innocent, unsuspecting neophytes or complacent, trusting types will assume these unchallenged narratives are credible!

It's worth mentioning that at first, I was naïve enough to try to proselytize my "trollshunning" philosophy. I learned the hard way that those who choose to engage trolls on principle are oblivious or indifferent to the negative consequences.

To me, a troll who gets sought-for attention and hijacks the discussion has "won", even if the hijacked thread is bloated with opposing comments to "set the record straight". The trollfighters are like goalies in ice hockey, programmed to counter every shot towards the net; they value winning the "debate", as they see it, even if the discussion thread is mangled to a fare-thee-well in the process.

I think people are simply predisposed to gravitate to one side or the other of the "don't feed/feed" dichotomy.

Posted by: Ort | Feb 14 2018 19:04 utc | 33

Putin or at least Ru military leadership sandbagged the SAA and his own troops more than once in the northeast region. With no air support, Americans can strafe any forces with aerial bombardment. USA will say 'OOPS MISTAKE', or the 'they crossed our allies border to attack base'.. And Putin seems to do nothing in response. USA also seems to have strong intelligence about movements and operations.

If the Western casualty numbers are real, then the northwestern front could be severely degraded, and vulnerable to SDF, formerlly-known-as-ISIL raids.

I guess it's a difficult situation for Russia, but USA and Israel have prodded Russian-occupied Syria for the past two years, and are one step away from dramatically escalating their provocations. Putin pulled a GWBush 'Mission Accomplished', and seems to be more concerned about other matters

Posted by: aaaa | Feb 14 2018 19:04 utc | 34

@ sue excellent. Bacon's rebellion of 1676 started the fall in the abyss for U.S. - Americans, it has been a long struggle to reverse that social experiment pitting newly freed servants against those legally defined as property.

Posted by: Thirsty | Feb 14 2018 19:19 utc | 35

@22 harrylaw... well, the kurds did get another usa shipment that came in thru iraq - don't have the story handy to share it - so iraq remains a part of the usa empire still at this point.. the usa is getting their way still their and thus the shipment of arms continues to come in via iraq... then again turkey could flip at any point in time as well, so turkey slowing things down, or stopping the usa looks sketchy at this point as well... it is true the usa only understands one language at this point, just like the english language they use - imperialism where might is right..

@29 lester... the whole structure of central banks, and this includes the russian central bank - are at the whim of the imf... read up on it... the room for maneuvering around the elephant in the room ( us$ ) is indeed difficult.. the change is going to happen, it just can't happen as soon, or quick enough for those who think russia has more clout in this area then they actually do have..

@28 gepay / @33 ort... yes, i have been guilty of engaging the trolls from time to time.. there is one particular one here at moa that is constantly changing their name.. it is quite laughable actually, but what happens is a newbie will come along and respond to the harbara shit artists comment and on and on it goes... there were a few folks that were pissed with b for not posting something or responding to them a particular way and so now they come back and say stupid shit and ultimately - the only way is to completely ignore then.. so - that is where i am at with it.. either laugh it off, or ignore them.. they are pretty easy to read..

Posted by: james | Feb 14 2018 19:31 utc | 36

At this point it is clear that Russia is very much in cahoots with its supposed enemies. Either that or the bear truly is a toothless old thing.

Posted by: paul | Feb 14 2018 19:39 utc | 37

About that slavery thing being proposed to be reintroduced to America. IMO, that sort of attitude comes with fealty to the God of Mammon. Some of the world still operates at that level as is shown by the example from Malaysia below

Maid dies in Malaysia after being left to 'sleep outside with dog'

I was in favor of Trump beating Clinton II for the presidency because I saw the need for society to face its ugly parts. Will humanity rise to the challenge of confronting its own anti-humanitarian leanings?

I keep rooting for aliens to come and pop our hubristic ways.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 14 2018 20:05 utc | 38

Slap Happy=homosexual filth and disease...Lindsay Graham’s kind of filthy degenerate....

Posted by: Denis Kearney | Feb 14 2018 20:22 utc | 39

@18 james, 20 psychohistorian,

I completely agree. Russia and China have learned to take the long view. In the USA, too many people think like Wall Street investors, looking for the next quarterly payout, not even thinking a year ahead. Our media operates on the same cycle.

As far as Putin, he seems to think first about the effects of his actions on the Russian economy and the local standard of living. Hence he doesn’t make ideological gestures; he doesn’t throw temper tantrums (something the neoliberals and neocons always do when they don’t get their way). When Turkey shot down the Russian jet, he basically let them off the hook; he didn’t get sucked into some tit-for-tat retaliate-and-escalate game, and thus Russia-Turkey relations were better than ever in a few years.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 14 2018 20:43 utc | 40

“News” of Russian. deaths in Syria might be an attempt to hinder Putin’s re-election but not accurate. That ssiid, Russia/Syria’s response to that event was strong.

Posted by: Alaric | Feb 14 2018 20:49 utc | 41

'Netanyahu’s supporters won’t turn on him, and his party colleagues won’t find the courage to demand his resignation. He’ll be able to continue portraying himself as the heroic victim of a sinister conspiracy. His aiders... continue to spin wild tales of coup d’états and putsches'

It's official: Trump is the goy Netanyahu.

Posted by: Sigil | Feb 14 2018 20:58 utc | 42

Nonsense Factory @ 40: Russia did place economic sanctions against Turkey after the shootdown of the Russian fighter jet in Syrian airspace near the Turkish border. Russian tourism to Turkey also declined and that apparently was catastrophic for the tourism industry in Turkey. Several months after the shootdown, Turkish President Erdogan apologised to Russian President Putin but not after the Turkish economy suffered some serious losses.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 14 2018 21:09 utc | 43


I don't think you understand how the global banking system works. The Russian Central Bank is a member of the Bank of International Settlements. It is not independent and follows the policies the City of London (or whichever cabal is in power).

This is what happens when you have a drunk President allow the United States write the Russian constitution:
USA instructs Russian Central Bank how to strangle Russian economy

There is no other central bank in the world that would not be allowed to support the national economy. The Russian Central Bank is the only exception. This is a specific peculiarity of the Russian Central Bank. The law even says that the bank is a branch of foreign companies in Russia. For example, the Russian Central Bank is a depositary of the IMF. The law of the Central Bank does not have a word about the Russian economy. Yet, it contains detailed instructions on how to follow and execute instructions from abroad. The law was made during the 1990s. Putin tried to amend it in the 2000s, but it did not work out. As a result, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation works for a foreign country under the Russian Constitution. This state imposes sanctions on Russia. The Russian Central Bank is obliged to execute instructions from the USA - the Americans set an official task to weaken the Russian economy

Things are changing though. Russia just announced that they are ready stop using the SWIFT interbank cash transfer services:
Russian banks ready to switch off SWIFT – official

The potential disconnection of Russia from SWIFT has been under discussion since 2014, when the EU and the US introduced the first round of international penalties against Moscow over alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis and the reunification with Crimea.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Feb 14 2018 21:21 utc | 44

That Politico article must have been written by people who have never lived among migrants and/or know nothing of human trafficking. One of the writers (Eric Posner) is a University of Chicago (neoliberal economic birthing centre) law professor whose father Richard was a Reagan administration appointee to the US Court of Appeals.

The Politico writers' hypothetical scenario of Mary hiring Sofia is sheer fantasy. (Never mind that laid-off and low-paid factory worker Mary can hardly afford hiring local people let alone sponsor an immigrant.) These writers must not know of people who already hire maids and other domestic servants from Latin America or the Philippines through agencies to clean their homes, water their gardens and, uh, walk their pets. The most laughable bit is where the authors claim Sofia can leave her employment any time she likes if she does not like her conditions; where would Sofia go, where would she find accommodation, given that her home is tens of thousands of kilometres away?

And if Politico's idea were adopted, what would stop criminal groups and paedophilia rings from using the scheme to bring in underage sex slaves or new gang members?

Posted by: Jen | Feb 14 2018 21:32 utc | 45

@41 Alaric

I'd be interested to hear you expand upon that.

Posted by: foo | Feb 14 2018 21:51 utc | 46

I was enjoying this blog for Syria news but your take on the Wagner thing is so bizarre that now I'm wondering if this whole website isn't just more Kremlebot propaganda.

Posted by: dave | Feb 14 2018 22:03 utc | 47

@5, Petri Krohn | Feb 14, 2018 9:12:40 AM

Have a look/read at/of this report.

What do you think?

Posted by: maningi | Feb 14 2018 22:26 utc | 48

B, will keep you in prayers.

The MOA blog is being overrun by dimwits and trolls. A huge sign of success and "reach" into Internet distribution.

Write when you have time and energy. Troubles abound and will be waiting your return.

Maybe do 2-3 short topics, each separate for comments of their own, would take pressure off for your long form opinions.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 14 2018 22:32 utc | 49

James @36

Tobin Paz @44

The IMF prohibits usage of gold as money. Russia being an IMF member just like China, cannot back the Rouble with gold. However this doesn't explain why Russia under Putin doesn't demand Roubles instead of dollars in payment for Russian oil. Buyers would then be forced to bid up the Rouble's exchange value (just as the petrodollar arrangement bolsters the dollar's strength) and reduce or eliminate the ability of the Americans to freely finance their guns and butter policies by printing dollars at will out of thin air. This, the Russians MUST do in the name of their national security but they don't as though the Russian government were acting as the agents for foreign interests trying to undermine Russian sovereignty and power.

Posted by: Lester | Feb 14 2018 22:54 utc | 50

@Jen 45

Eric Posner, the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law at University of Chicago, most certainly sees and interacts with immigrants every day. He would almost certainly know more than a bit about human trafficking. If you are at all familiar with U of C, ideas like those in the Politico article are common. Called by the proper name of slavery University of Chicago types would still support the idea. I was there today, I live nearby and have lived in Chicago all my life. This is par for the course. Only change is they feel free to talk about their dreams in public. Domestic help in my experience, in Chicago, are often held as chattel. The owners of that domestic help used to conceal their practices, now they boast about it.

b is correct. America has gone that far to the right.

Posted by: oldhippie | Feb 14 2018 23:19 utc | 51

To enlarge - there were more Irish indentured servants than English - during the English Civil War (Cromwell et al) Irish prisoners were regularly transported against their will to the Carribean and sold as indentured servants. Historians quibble about whether being forcibly abducted (and many Irish were - just like many poor English lads were impounded and made sailors) and sold as an indentured servant was slavery. Although indentured servants (unlike black slaves) were acknowledged in court it doesn't have much meaning when the courts were vastly prejudiced for the landowners. I imagine there were not many indentured servants among the jury of their peers.
Virginia passed its first miscegenation law in 1691 as part of “An act for suppressing outlying Slaves.”
"Another section of the law closed the loophole created by the 1662 birthright law, which mandated that children born of a free white mother and Negro father were technically free. This amendment stated that a free white woman who had a bastard child by a Negro or mulatto man had to pay fifteen pounds sterling within one month of the birth. If she could not pay, she would become an indentured servant for five years. Whether or not the fine was paid, however, the child would be bound in service for thirty years."
Imagine the idea that a master of slaves and indentured white Irish women in her last 6 months of contract might misuse this law. Also imagine how the treatment of an indentured servant might change in the year that contract expired.
Although Britain outlawed slavery in 1833, indentured servantude continued - in Guyana (former British colony of Jonestown infamy) the largest single ethnic group is India Indians - brought there as indentured servants. "who ya gonna get to do the dirty work when all the slaves are free?".
Why is it so unimaginable that when robots are perfected (as they appear to be winning the race with androids) that the 1% will bring the world population down to a manageable 1 billion?

Posted by: gepay | Feb 14 2018 23:58 utc | 52

We just had a thread about the Outlaw US Empire's terrorism. Today, we had yet another domestic version of that occurring at a school--17 dead as of the latest count. Shooter had designs on becoming one of the Empire's Professional Terrorists, like Mattis.

On a lighter note related to the topic of domestic help, I trust all barflies have seen The Help which began as a book of the same name. If you haven't, it does provide needed comic relief, although the humor is tempered by the savage nature of The Help's existence.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 15 2018 1:03 utc | 53

south front has an interesting take on the recent US strikes against the "russian fighters" in the East of syria. Sounds like a lot of pro-western propaganda to me, very little of which can be confirmed. To sum up at the end:

".....Meanwhile, the analysis of open info, including reports from relatives and friends of the PMCs involved in the operation, allowed all the concerned sides to find out that 5 Russians reportedly died in the aforementioned period. However, no details are available.

.....SouthFront’s military experts aware of the situation say that the possible number of the casualties could be higher than 5, but not more than 15-20.

The entire story about mass casualties of Russian PMCs is based on unconfirmed and fake data, that includes a few real facts like the US strikes, some PMCs casualties and the participation of the ISIS Hunters in the incident. The rest is an orchestrated campaign in keeping with the best traditions of propaganda.

The goals of which would be that:

the US is able to fight back against the Russians in Syria;
Russia is not able to defend its interests;
the Kremlin is not concerned over killed Russian citizens or is not able to carry out any pay back."

Posted by: michaelj72 | Feb 15 2018 1:59 utc | 54

@50 lester.. i think the financial world is more complicated then many might want to entertain... you might find this pdf link on rouble nationalization educational... it is a pdf of the book which has been out for a few years.. i have read parts of it, but not all of it..

here is page 19, which addresses some of your comment "The financial world is not a group of geeks in front of computers, it is not
polite clerks in banks and not even traders at stock exchanges. The financial
world is aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, tanks, fighters and
helicopters. It is infiltrators and assassins, snipers and spies, politicians
and public figures. And all of that is only needed to preserve the existing
financial order of the planet, to retain their dominance and even assert
it. The most interesting thing is that despite clear physical signs of such
world order, most people do not even have a slightest idea how everything
functions. And those who dominate, those who created this theatre of the
absurd, need exactly that.
In order to understand what is happening around you today, you have to
realize three things, and they should be understood in combination.
1. The keystone of the modern financial world is the dominant part of
the dollar. That means that all prices in world economy are only defined in
dollars. Oil, gas, gold, aluminium etc. are only sold for dollars. All natural
resources, all metals and all their derivatives. That means that it is in dollars
that prices for production are defined. To put it short, everything, nearly
everything that is sold at the global market, is only sold for dollars. This
is how world economy works. If you want to buy gas or nickel — get your
dollars out. It is impossible to buy them for euros or Norwegian Kroner.
You have to exchange your currency for dollars. And that means creating
extra demand for them."

and this a bit further down on page 20
"3. It is not the United States of America but a private institution called
the Federal Reserve System of the USA that issues the main currency of
the world.2 Private initiative has nothing to do with it. The US dollar just
does not belong to the USA. The fact that the dollar is issued by a private
institution is even stated on the dollar bill. But who reads that? Meanwhile,
it says everything quite clearly. No one hides anything. American money
says nowadays: Federal Reserve Note.
You are not holding a US dollar, you are holding a dollar of the Federal
Reserve System.3 But this strange situation has not always existed in the
USA. It will soon be 100 years since the American government decided to
privatise emission of the dollar."

on another note - here are a few recent posts from alaistar crooke in case you missed them..

the usa forever wars and would american foreign policy please stand up so that we may see you..

Posted by: james | Feb 15 2018 2:50 utc | 55

Mmmmmmm, many new names here as posters. Could it be MoA discourse is de-volving just as the U$A is? As far as the "new slavery" issue goes, its been back a while in the form of prison labor. And constitutionally legal at that.

I'd like to believe Russia/China and others have a real concern for the workers, but, it's beginning to look like they're owned by the same kind of oligarchs that hold sway over the empire.

Big organised global money is winning the day. Workers please bend over, the "new feudalism" is coming.

Posted by: ben | Feb 15 2018 2:51 utc | 56

P.S. As to the latest school massacre. Nothing will change, because, in the world today, what are a few peon lives compared to massive profits?

Profits uber alles!!

Posted by: ben | Feb 15 2018 2:57 utc | 57

The campaign in Syria is going very well from the Russian point of view. So is the disengagement from the western dominated financial system, but the trends being bucked are very old, centuries old, and well established.
The prime mover in the campaign against the dollar is the US government, and it moves by over reach, the more rope it is given the sooner it will hang itself. Every tactical victory, on the battlefield or in domestic politics is a strategic loss.
The bloated budget, the incredible waste in military expenditure, which appears to be inversely related to threats, the increasingly regressive tax system, transferring the burden from rich to poor, the cuts in social programmes all add up to certain disaster; the government is losing its legitimacy at the moment when it is increasing its demands on the people. And decreasing its servicing of their needs. There has never been a time in which both parties have been so focused on looking away from the real concerns, the anger and desperation of the great majority of the population. The Democrats are not even pretending to be reformers, the Republicans are finally wallowing in unmasked greed.
As to Syria, the position of the US Special Forces is very delicate, their supply lines are long and easily broken, their 'allies' are generally unreliable, they are in Syria on sufferance, they may boast otherwise but the reality is that everyone around them hates them and what they represent. A Sicilian Vespers may come any day.
As many others have suggested the current jockeying is all about weakening Putin's election campaign, Incredibly enough there are still idiots in Washington who, after years of boosting his position into an Alexander Nevsky like saviour of the nation, now believe that they can cut him down by accusing him of endangering Russia by defending it.
Nothing is ever certain but the balance of probabilities is moving inexorably against the US and its clients in the Middle East. Only those with an irrational faith in the US military and economy cannot see this.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 15 2018 3:15 utc | 58

So Korean anger at Ramo's comments finally induced NBC to give him the flick. Unfortunately Ramo won't be sweating it as the article I linked to by Japanese academic Joseph Essertier points out. Ramo is thoroughly entangled with the DC political/intelligence elite. He is a former CEO of mercenary zionist lobby corp Kissinger Associates, ex-senior editor of Time magazine as well as a host of other elite gigs which doubtless came his way thanks to grandaddy who put the 'R' in TRW. It amazes me that many amerikans remain largely unaware of TRW, now a division of Northrop Grumman. TRW took a PR hit in the 70's when Christopher Boyce one of their operatives got caught hawking the communications between Langley and the amerikan embassy in Canberra that laid out the strategy for the 1974 coup against the Gough Whitlam government. Yeah yeah I know, ancient history - well that is certainly the way that all Oz politicians and media look at it but for some of us the rage will never subside. Amerikans's fixation with the JFK assassination, a pretty odd fixation since Kennedy was just another arsehole, comes close, but in the case of Gough he did have principles, acted on them, albeit reluctantly, and the smoking gun to the CIA is established.

TRW is interesting - well not really I got pissed with a bunch of mid-level TRW execs at the Frankfurt Hilton one night and what a boring bunch of straightlaced & unimaginative fuckwits. I had just arrived from Northern Thailand, was jonesing like fuck - I had staggered across to the joint and booked a room & hit the bar to get sorted for Europe. The Frankfurt Hilton is right by the airport.

This probably didn't help my sense of tolerance but honestly these guys had no class, it was a wonder they let them outta Cleveland. As standard the bar was chocka with German sex workers looking to make an earner. This was pre 1990 so they were mainly German, but I've never seen the like of these TRW blokes. The women were attractive in that painted manner certain amerikans prefer, no doubt about their beauty and skill, but they were the end result of amerikan post euro war imperialism - preying on victims has no interest. These idjits from TRW were obviously really attracted to the young women, so they were pulling all sorts of weird stunts to engage with the workers while seeming disapproving of their occupational choice. One even pulled out a bible! The women appeared to be well used to this nonsense, after all, a sex worker's primary training is in how to overcome humiliation and go home better than than she/he arrived, so on one level it was amusing.

AFAIK TRW has been winning contracts to provide 'clerical and communications support' to military and intelligence services since euro-war part 1.
The communication stuff was beyond the abilities of the double entry bookkeepers; just like with the NSA, inviting smart imaginative fellows in proved their undoing.

This then is Ramo, an unimaginative trust-funder who has sold his soul to empire.
I have no doubt that he knew Koreans would react badly to the insult but that was of no concern. The point was to sow the seed among the great amerikan herd that Koreans are notorious for their ingratitude so one just shouldn't stress over their possible nuking - North or South Koreans. South Korea's kissy kiss to their friends and family in the North should be considered in that light, just another manifestation of that ingratitude.
There is no reason to suppose Ramo's handlers are incorrect in this assumption, after all the most egregious act of the post war amerikan-japanese war criminal conjunction, the proven rendition of Japanese biological warfare research scientists to Fort Dietrick and the subsequent use of germ warefare weapons containing bubonic plague, anthrax and smallpox on Koreans during the 1950 amerikan invasion is unknown to most amerikans and those who are aware, airily dismiss this horror as "propaganda".

In a lot of ways there is nothing at all noteworthy about any of this. Tune your discriminators correctly, and this manner of deliberately subjective, misleading dross comprises the majority of every 'news bulletin'. The difference here of course is that this wasn't a news bulletin, it was a sportscast, allegedly a celebratory sportscast. The celebration was meant to be congratulating South Korea on their capitalist victory over 'the stalinist' North. Nirvana by outproduction of disposable techno tat. Hmm.
Instead of appreciating the opportunity provided by amerika and Japan to pollute their nation and turn the fuckers at the bottom into toxic, diseased slaves, those ungrateful Koreans were cuddling up to the 'stalinists' - Those fucking unappreciative parasites!

We can analyse this stuff and see exactly how transparent it all is, but for the bloke relaxing into his couch with a beer looking forward to an evening trying to check out the latex enveloped skater's bods, political analysis is the last thing on their mind. The next time the subject comes up with the boys in the bar, they will know why 'we' have to stay intransigent - "those koreans are just ungrateful assholes - remember that family which had the 7-11 on Jefferson? Everything was overpriced and past its use-by".

That stuff works which is why the arseholes have been using it for centuries - and that is why the seeming nonsense such as "the Russkies stole the election" must be resisted - fought hard. The net has provided the world with a wide vista of alternative viewpoints - even though most of us hang where we see what we want to see, alternative points of view still slip thru in a way that they never did before. The arseholes are working that out now which is why this site like every other woke joint is subjected to an increasing barrage of lunatic nonsense - no wonder b needs some time off; not only are his threads getting congested with haters (ask yourself if MoA is so awful why do these derps hang around here like spare pricks at a wedding?) some site users are perpetuating the nonsense by engaging with them.
I dunno what to say unity doesn't come about by some little arsehole issuing orders, it happens when people decide for themselves to put the interest of a group asset ahead of their need to purge their liver at an obvious fuckwit. I realise that the concept of unity is alien to most amerikans and increasing numbers of non-amerikans, but of itself that should be considered objectively and the subtle indoctrinations which created that resistance considered before acting out.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 15 2018 3:17 utc | 59

Ooops for hilton read sheraton. crook as I was no point in throwing dosh away.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 15 2018 3:21 utc | 60

B, I hope your personal issues turn out OK.

Posted by: worldblee | Feb 15 2018 3:34 utc | 61

Debs @ 59 said:"That stuff works which is why the arseholes have been using it for centuries - and that is why the seeming nonsense such as "the Russkies stole the election" must be resisted - fought hard."

Yep, you bet!!

In my book, HRC's incompetence was intentional. Same owners... They own Trump, they've owned the Clintons for ever...

Posted by: ben | Feb 15 2018 3:47 utc | 62

these guys are thinking that they are there to stay (article re Tillerson meeting with Erdogan this week)

"....The Pentagon requested $300 million for Syrian “train and equip activities” and $250 million for border security requirements, according to a copy of the budget. While it did not specify how much of this, if any, was earmarked for YPG-led forces, Turkish media interpreted it to mean that the Pentagon had allocated $550 million to the YPG in 2019..."

Posted by: michaelj72 | Feb 15 2018 4:08 utc | 63

@33, @3
I disagree wholeheartedly. Trolls seem to try to steer you to a topic that was pre-planned and in tune with a political objective--all of which is missing from Tacitus' post.

I would like to hear dissenting opinion if yo all do no mind; please speak for yourself but do not include those of us who truly have an open. Tacitus, although is opinionated, I would like to hear his POV.

There is little fervor on this site when hasbarat is allowed free reign. Why not not those who may disagree. I cannot recall the last time MoA deleted hasbara talking points. It's only fair, from my vantage point to allow others--who do not exhibit troll features, although outspoken and perhaps controversial--the same opportunity to state their vase as those who spout the Israel first and therefore cannot never be wrong line. What day you b?

Posted by: benny | Feb 15 2018 5:08 utc | 64

Sorry to for misspelling as it is very cumbersome to see these mistakes on s relatively small device.

In any case I still recall that Tacitus provided very informative links to speeches by current and former government officials who seemed to renounce the US relationship with Israel. Those individuals were both Jew and non jew.

So please do not attempt to speak for me, as I found, based at least on his history here, very informative poats, which simply struck me as passionate, rather than deceitful or disingenuous. Where am I wrong?

B, please if you have banned this person, please consider otherwise. I for one would be grateful.

As to other trolls, whose intentions are obvious, do what you will. Thank you and be wrll, and above all use common sense here.

Posted by: benny | Feb 15 2018 5:21 utc | 65

The war on dissent from Black Agenda Report:

Posted by: ben | Feb 15 2018 6:11 utc | 66

Hey b, my grandfather had a hand on his farm. He lived in the basement, helped raise my father and uncles, and, eventually, my grandfather sponsored his education at the university level. I think there are a lot of bases you aren't covering here.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Feb 15 2018 6:12 utc | 67

OT: I watched this discover docu about the su-25, which turned into a feature on the Russian war experiences of Afghanistan and Chechnya war I.. One of the commanders interviewed is Valeri (valery?) Burkov. So after looking him up, I arrived at this page about his life, in which he has become an Orthodox monk. Great read about the redemptive path of a true Russian hero

Posted by: aaaa | Feb 15 2018 6:28 utc | 68

You hit the nail with "sponsoring a migrant" = having a slave. It makes a lot of things much easier to understand. We're back to slavery or on the way towards it.

Posted by: DidierF | Feb 15 2018 7:17 utc | 69

NemesisCalling | Feb 15, 2018 1:12:57 AM | 68

FFS history has proven that in circumstances where one human has power over another, the majority of time the first human mercilessly exploits the second - maybe not in every instance, but most.
There are no bases to be covered that shit has happened since the year dot - time after time after time. This why sensible nation states regulate against this sort of nonsense, it corrupts far more than it 'helps'.
As someone upthread has pointed out, this is the sort of arrangement which Sri Lankans and Filipinos enter some ME states under; rape, false imprisonment and even murder are rife among the 'indentured servants there.
Right now in england there have been numerous instances of migrant or mentally disabled slavery and not just by recent migrants and diplomats the 'locals' have been at it too.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 15 2018 7:43 utc | 70

FFS history has proven that in circumstances where one human has power over another, the majority of time the first human mercilessly exploits the second - maybe not in every instance, but most.
There are no bases to be covered that shit has happened since the year dot - time after time after time.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 15, 2018 2:43:38 AM | 71

Well, it could have been much worse - he could for example have decided to just lie outright and pretend that slavery was only ever something white people did to black people.

So look on the bright side - At least he didn't decide to be a complete asshole about it and decide to tell outright lies about the whole subject.

Posted by: Waori | Feb 15 2018 8:13 utc | 71

for example

    The participants in the Atlantic slave system included Arabs, Berbers, scores of African ethnic groups, Italians, Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, Jews, Germans, Swedes, French, English, Danes, white Americans, Native Americans, and even thousands of New World blacks who had been emancipated or were descended from freed slaves but who then became slaveholding farmers or planters themselves.

    Responsibility, in short, radiated outward to peoples of every sort who had access to the immense profits generated from the world’s first system of multinational production for a mass market—production of sugar, tobacco, coffee, chocolate, rum, dye-stuffs, rice, spices, hemp, and cotton.

Posted by: Waori | Feb 15 2018 8:38 utc | 72

The practice of slavery was never confined merely to the trans-Atlantic trade, and nor were victims of slavery exclusively African:

From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, it is estimated that the Barbary pirates captured and enslaved anything between 800,000 and 1.25 million Europeans. Their predation extended throughout the Mediterranean and even, on one occasion at least, as far as South America. They also on occasion raided far into the North Atlantic, taking slaves from the coasts of France, the Netherlands, Britain, Ireland, and even Iceland. But their main theatre of operation was the western Mediterranean, where islands such as Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearics suffered intensely. And their raids inflicted severe damage upon coastal towns and villages in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal.

Some estimates suggest that "three million Slavic peasants from Russia, Poland and the Ukraine were captured and sold to the Ottomans." and It was to counter this incessant predation that the Cossacks, mounted peasant warriors, were originally formed; and indeed the Cossacks formed the vanguard of the resistance to the raiders over three centuries.

Posted by: Waori | Feb 15 2018 8:55 utc | 73

@ money

What matters here is not what is used as medium of exchange.

What matters is who owns the medium of exchange.

If we agree that private property is a desirable feature of progressive societies, then our current monetary system presents several problems at many levels.

In a first instance, modern exchange media belong (legally) to a third party that is unelected and immune from prosecution.

This effectively means that when we exchange our labor, our time and our ideas for a salary, we are exchanging something we own outright for something we do not own.

Right there, that is the first fundamental problem inherent in our monetary system. The exchange of labor against a salary in a centralised monetary system is an exchange that is not equitable.

In a second instance, given a political construct that runs perpetual fiscal deficits, in exchanging our labor and time for money means that the exchange is immediately subject to devaluation.

In a third instance, in a context of perpetual fiscal deficits, accepting a salary in exchange for labor subjects our exchange to gradually increasing fiscal pressure.

The above ineluctably results in the gradual but inexorable transfer of wealth from individuals towards the owners of the medium of exchange and the entities that gravitate around it.

The diminishing marginal utility of debt guarantees that these dynamics accelerate till they go parabolic. Hence the reason, for example, that US sovereign debt more than doubled since 2008.

This situation can be palliated for as long as interest rates can be manipulated lower.

Direct ramifications of this monetary system are the gradual but increasing need for fiscal revenue, which translates in progressively more complex legislation which, in turn, results in raising of barriers in business and industry, which in turn contribute to offshoring of industry and, therefore, increasing under/unemployment and the failure of social safety nets.

Posted by: guidoamm | Feb 15 2018 9:48 utc | 74

guidoamm | Feb 15, 2018 4:48:19 AM | 75

You covered that quite nicely; and inevitably, here we are.
Which gives me no reason for optimism for the working poor; under any president, in today's system.
Broken by design...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 15 2018 10:31 utc | 75

James @55

I quote from your post below:

"...@50 lester.. i think the financial world is more complicated then many might want to entertain... you might find this pdf link on rouble is page 19, which addresses some of your comment "The financial world is not a group of geeks in front of computers, it is not polite clerks in banks and not even traders at stock exchanges. The financial world is aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, tanks, fighters and helicopters. It is infiltrators and assassins, snipers and spies, politicians and public figures. And all of that is only needed to preserve the existing financial order of the planet, to retain their dominance and even assert it."


Yes, I acknowledge that this is all true. You, on the other hand, seem dead set on trying to not see what I'm saying. I'm not denying the reality of the situation described in your quote.

Please address the issue I'm raising instead:

WHY is Russia not only going along with the status quo but de facto supporting the US dollar's dominance by continuing to sell Russian oil for American dollars?

In terms of Russian national security; this self-defeating policy allows the Americans to easily print dollars out of thin air and create and maintain the biggest and most powerful army mankind has known.

Demanding Roubles for Russian oil would stop this deleterious state of affairs by removing the de facto Russian oil BACKING of the US dollar, creating extra demand for, and thus raising the value of, the Rouble instead. This would weaken the US of A and Israel and strengthen Russia.

There is NO rational reason for Russia under Putin to NOT stop selling Russian oil for American FRNs (a.k.a and erroneously accepted as US dollars).

NO ONE can militarily attack Russia proper, and prevail, in retaliation for the removal of the Russian oil backing of the dollar. Not even America.

Russia is already under economic attack which amount to ACTS OF WAR so it's not even like Russia has a choice here. Russia only has the choice of defending herself or not, by keeping the Russian oil backing of the FRN aka the dollar in place.

Therefore, Russia's NOT demanding Roubles (or gold or silver etc.) for Russian oil and NOT removing the Russian oil backing of the American means of mass economic extortion aka the dollar, is simply SUICIDAL. Why keep on aiding and abetting the American Military Industrial Complex which is dead set on destroying Russia, by continuing to subsidize American dollars with Russian oil? The same dollars that feed and succor the American MIC so that it can kill and destroy more better and faster?


Please give me ONE good reason why Russia is obligated to continue backing the US dollar (or FRNs) with Russian oil instead of demanding Russian Roubles in its place. (You are after all suggesting that Russia is forced to continue backing the dollar with Russian oil.)

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Lester | Feb 15 2018 11:08 utc | 76

With little fanfare, Russia and Saudi Arabia have reached an agreement wherein Moscow will invest in the forthcoming IPO of Aramco


""With China and Russia both investing heavily in Saudi Arabia, the stage is being set for a gradual Saudi shift from the Petrodollar to the Petroyuan. Even without Chinese and Russian investment, the Petroyuan is fast becoming a new reality that soon all energy producers and buyers will have to adopt. As China is the world’s largest oil consumer and will soon be the world’s largest overall economy, history dictates that such a country will be able to set the standard for the international trading/reserve currency as economic leaders always have throughout history.""

""will make Saudi economic diversification all the simpler, as it will not have to contend with a US financial/monetary apparatus that is hostile to any attempts among its partners to adopt a more multipolar economic model.""

""In this sense, Saudi Arabia could shift from an ambitious regional bully, to a country integrated into the win-win economic schemes that characterise the 21st century’s largest economic interconnectivity initiative, China’s One Belt–One Road. In this sense, the Russian Aramco deal is one small step for joint wealth creation, but one giant lead for multipolarity in the most unexpected of places.""

Posted by: financial matters | Feb 15 2018 12:36 utc | 77

Moscow Preliminarily Confirms Death of 5 Russians in Coalition's Strike in Syria

Posted by: test | Feb 15 2018 13:38 utc | 78

Lucky those who can say 'the USA'.

We have 4-5 different USAs talking to us over here.
We have no idea who is in charge of the country anymore.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 15 2018 14:39 utc | 79

So there was a new school shooting in the US. This is actually not new. It happens on a weekly basis. It is only widely reported when the casualties reaches a threshold. It is fascinating to ponder that 17 dead and 15 wounded is treated as "normal" when it happens in the US, but if it happens in Syria, everybody is yelling, from MSM to HRW to the UN SC. Think about it and you will see it is true, a slow mass murder is perpetrated in the US, it is not war, it is just unavoidable killings.
The instigators go unpunished, no, they are cherished as men and women of vision: Their politicians.

The US is disintegrating in slow motion. From dawn of time, the fabic of any form of society has the notion of being together, communal, a common benefit, a common interest. From centuries ago the notion of being heavily armed in a society, community was frowned upon, you made fellow man nervous and unsure of your intentions. This has been true in all recorded history. Except in the measly 200 years of American miserable history.
School shootings are MEANT to dismantle society. The victims are chosen because they are plentyful, defenceless, unguarded, unprepared and fragile. No mass shooter ever attacks a football event or a demonstration, because police is abundant. But schools, cinemas, theatres, places of worship are vulnerable and hence chosen. And the benefit to the shooter is disruption and fright.
The US already entertains "gated communities" on a domestic level. Other nations have borders.
With this in mind it is not impossible to conclude that the US is slowly dissolving or fracturing as a nation. All of it made easier because of the right to arm yourself to the teeth.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Feb 15 2018 15:04 utc | 80

@71 deb

Cosmopolitan elites in London and oil-rich Wahhabis and their barbarism is not the perfect sample size for applying your template over the whole question. I'm just saying it worked brilliantly for the scandanavian farm hand in South Dakota who helped raise my father. Prudence would probably mean erring on the cautious approach you take and many here would think the same, but it is a damn shame we can't "have nice things" like the mutual benefit of taking another under your wing. It takes a lot of courage to be a teacher and leader, but it is also beyond profitting in dollars that the teacher gains from a student.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Feb 15 2018 15:26 utc | 81

Latest ridiculous talking points out of the Trump Adminstration (which seems to have gone all Hillary Clinton neocon at this point):

“BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday warned Lebanon over the Iran-backed Hezbollah group’s growing arsenal and said the Shi‘ite movement’s involvement in regional conflicts threatened Lebanon’s security.”

Back in the real world, Hezbollah played key supporting roles in helping the Syrian Army defeat ISIS forces, as well as being the main reason Israel doesn’t invade Southern Lebanon in another land grab effort. This would generally be seen as defending Lebanon’s security. As far as what Israel wants in Syria:

“Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that Iran poses a greater threat than the Islamic State, and that if the Syrian regime were to fall, Israel would prefer that IS was in control of the territory than an Iranian proxy. - Times of Israel, Jan 19 2016”

I don’t know what Tillerson is really angling for here, maybe he thinks that if the Kurds control Syrian oil, then eventually ExxonMobil can come in and pick up some production contracts. That’s where his loyalties lie, certainly. Then you have the pro-Israeli neocons playing their usual stupid games. . . Trump should just appoint Clinton his next Secretary of State, that would be good for a few laughs.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 15 2018 15:39 utc | 82

test @79
Why do you link to a junk site like that, rather than direct to the sputnik article?

On the subject of Russians killed in the US attack at Deir Ezzor, I see Ivan Sidorenko who mainly posts photograghs of Tiger Forces, is spreading @JulianRoepcke disinformation on the US attack.
Feb 13
 More Ivan Sidorenko Retweeted Julian Röpcke
Translation is from this guys Post

From what I can see, it was ISIS Hunters, a Syrian unit trained from scratch by Russia, that were hit hardest by the US attack with 10-20 killed.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 15 2018 16:18 utc | 83

@ Lester
If you had been following what Russia is doing financialy, you would see that since 2014, Russia has cut its US$ holdings to the bare minimum. To go any further at this time would only hurt Russia rather than the US. To dump the dollar completely at this point would mean that Russia could only trade with those very few countries who will trade in currencies other than the dollar.
Putin has been around long enough now to see how he operates and it is always careful step by step change - evolution rather than revolution - to take Russia to where he wants it to be.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 15 2018 16:35 utc | 84

Eva Bartlett interviewing Magnier

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 15 2018 16:50 utc | 85

@76 lester... okay... do you think russia wants to be a slave of the us$ and by extension continue on in this particular ponzi scheme? is that what you think? i suggest you are not appreciative of the complexities involved, which is why i thought you might benefit from reading the pdf i shared... all i can say to you is - keep asking, as i don't have a simple straight answer for you, but i can tell you for a fact the reason that the usa has been intent on financial sanctions on russia, is russia is indeed setting it's own agenda that is apart from the us$ agenda that you seem to believe russia is a okay with at this point in time.. i don't believe you are looking at this objectively, or have the necessary facts to challenge why russia continues to do what it does here... i am sorry, i can't give you a more simple and better answer..

you could always ask Elvira Nabiullina.. she seems to know what she is doing...

Posted by: james | Feb 15 2018 18:07 utc | 86

And if Politico's idea were adopted, what would stop criminal groups and paedophilia rings from using the scheme to bring in underage sex slaves or new gang members? Jen

I have two objections to that question. One is that raising issues of extremal situations is easy to rebut -- "we do not propose to decriminalize active paedophilia etc.". And what is so OK with sexual slaves, say, older than 21?

The second objection is that Politico perhaps tested the envelope, but the article was totally rejected by the readers and the editors added a disclaimer to decrease the multitude of pitchfork bearing readers. I would add that the ideas are not only morally offensive but also non-sensical from micro-economic perspective. In short, larger companies, farms etc. are doing it already while barring few exceptions, it is unworkable for low income individuals.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 15 2018 18:19 utc | 87

Peter AU 1 @84

The solution would be simple if Russia wasn't ruled by vassals of zionist bankers: gold and silver.

james @86

Yes indeed, the current crypto-zionist Russian government under Putin "wants to be a slave of the US$ and continue on in this particular ponzi scheme". I practically begged you to come up with an alternative explanation for the present-day self-defeating policies of the Russian government. The best you could come up with was a rhetorical question with an obvious answer.

One word: treason.

Posted by: Lester | Feb 15 2018 19:47 utc | 88

@88 lester... there have been a few posters of late that have suggested a direct like as you do here...

i am not going to dismiss it automatically, but i do question it..

please explain the rationale for the steadily increasing financial sanctions on russia? is this based on the idea that causing ww3 will be a net profit for the cypto-zionist gang too?

so, just for clarity, you are accusing putin and Elvira Nabiullina of treason.. okay.. got it... i ain't buying that.. sorry..

Posted by: james | Feb 15 2018 20:23 utc | 89

like - link..

Posted by: james | Feb 15 2018 20:23 utc | 90

James @89

You're assuming that the American administration must have a well-planned rational foreign policy. You're taking it for granted that the US Congress wouldn't pass sanctions against Russian oligarchs and Russian Companies if they were somehow secretly on the same side as the Russians, collaborating with them to advance the interests of the same powerful supranational elements.

First of all, none of these leadership types are normal human beings. Being a psychopath is a requisite for the job. American or Russian, the "deciders" are sick, depraved creatures whose primary function in life is to cause as much confusion and suffering as possible in sustainable fashion.

For example, Secretary of State Tillerson just declared that they could make the same Kurdish fighters fight against themselves, just to please the Turks (PKK/PYD against PKK/PYD)!

If you start from false premises, you'll end up with the wrong conclusion. The false premise in this particular instance being, that American or Russian decision makers are rational people.

Proof? Just look at what they've all done in Syria. Everybody's lying, torturing, assassinating, mass murdering, destroying nature and infrastructure alike.

For what?

Posted by: Lester | Feb 15 2018 23:07 utc | 91

Personally, I would love to see Russia do more to stop my country from terrorizing and robbing; but they are outnumbered 75 to 1 at this point in time. Texas has a larger GDP than Russia.
"America’s second largest state economy – Texas – produced $1.59 trillion of economic output in 2015, which would have ranked the Lone Star State as the world’s 10th largest economy last year." (quote and chart from Wikipedia)
So, honestly what more could they be doing at this point of reinventing themselves? One mistake, one mis-calculation and the hounds will asset strip them. It's hardly a fair fight. So, I have to concede that Russia is to be commended for their bravery for doing as much as they are today. As a whole they are doing more than I personally have the courage to contribute. (shame on me)

Per the World Bank (2016)
Rank Country GDP

World 75,543,543
1 United States 18,569,100
— European Union 16,397,980
2 China 11,199,145
3 Japan 4,939,384
4 Germany 3,466,757
5 United Kingdom 2,618,886
6 France 2,465,454
7 India 2,263,522
8 Italy 1,849,970
9 Brazil 1,796,187
10 Canada 1,529,760
11 South Korea 1,411,246
12 Russia 1,283,162
13 Spain 1,232,088
14 Australia 1,204,616
15 Mexico 1,045,998

Posted by: mrd | Feb 16 2018 1:04 utc | 92

Lester | Feb 15, 2018 6:07:39 PM | 91

Listening to the ignorant rantings of ad hom Lester on Russia is an exercise in futility.
Russia is buying more gold per month than any other country. Presentl having 2,000 tons and counting.
Oil is in fact being sold in Rubels, Yuan, and gold. The dollar hegemon on oil is effectively broken.
Nabiullina has gotten the inflation rate down below 4%, for the first time in history (if I am not mistaken).
Putin has overseen Russia's debt to GDP at 14%, and reserves (cash) just under $500 million USD.
Russia is stronger now than since the height of the USSR's power. But, of course, Putin and Nabiulina are both traitors.
I'm not going to waste any more time on Lester and his conspiracy theories; life's too short.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 16 2018 2:30 utc | 93

mrd | Feb 15, 2018 8:04:26 PM | 92

One very important thing to remember; comparing GDP's of countries is meaningless, in and of itself.
There is so much more than GDP.
One small example; the US military budget is more than $700 billion dollars; Russia's is roughly $80 billion; and yet produces arguably the world's best anti-missile defense in the S-400. It leads in hypersonic flight by years; I could go on.
But, I'll just say it wholly depends on how much bang one gets for their spent buck...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 16 2018 2:58 utc | 94

@91 lester,

for the record, i am a bit different then v. arnold and must have a generous attitude about my own use of time... but i do agree with v. arnolds comments regardless...

lester - i do not make the assumption you suggest i am making on the usa admin..far from it... however, i do believe that financial sanctions are the first step in an open declaration of war, and i do believe this financial sanction attitude - expressed towards, iran, north korea and russia is fairly plain to understand for anyone who is interested..

i don't share a belief in what @92 mrds quotes from the world bank either fwiw... it is like trusting an economist who think they know how the world works thru economics, when in fact it is much more complex then that too... in fact, if i trusted economists, i would believe that inflation is under control - it is always under control, even when the prices of everything goes up and my wages remain stagnant..

but, i definitely see where we are at here differently then you lester, so i think in the absence of any way of moving forward with a final answer to our questions, i think we will have to watch how things unfold over the short and long term.. i do believe we are moving towards a major war with usa on one side, russia and china on the other and some others caught in between... it is being played out as we speak in the middle east... the usa seemed to want to run it out of ukraine, but that didn't exactly work out as planned..

i believe russia has acted honourably in syria, unlike most all the other actors who have done as you say... so we are viewing this and everything to do with russia very differently here as well... happy trails..

Posted by: james | Feb 16 2018 3:11 utc | 95

V. Arnold | Feb 15, 2018 9:30:49 PM | 93

Oops, wrong by $499,ooo,ooo; make Russia's cash reserve just under $500 BILLION USD.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 16 2018 4:43 utc | 96

Okay, wrong again; it's 500$ billion not million. And no, I haven't had a drop or puff.
Just math challenged today. ;-)

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 16 2018 6:58 utc | 97

V. Arnold @93

According to major Russian newspaper Pravda, there are more US dollar assets in Russia than Russian Rubles. You yourself state that the Russians have 500 billion US dollars as reserves? Dollars are the private property of the zionist Federal Reserve. The Fed can confiscate US dollars (aka FRNs) AT WILL and impose how and where said dollars will be disposed of = ZERO Russian financial independence.

This situation has not changed but is not being reported anymore. Instead, it's being censored.

Posted by: Lester | Feb 16 2018 8:31 utc | 98

James @95

I am not arguing against what you are saying here. I agree with you: "...[I] do believe we are moving towards a major war with usa on one side, russia and china on the other and some others caught in between... it is being played out as we speak in the middle east..."

I believe the same.

What I think that you're missing is the following. The ruling classes the world over; American, Russian, European, Chinese, Jewish, and Indian alike, are working together to cull the human race. Hence what you perceive as contradictions: 'Why would the Americans pass sanctions against the Russians if they were not enemies?' The answer is, To fool you into believing that there's enmity between the peoples of the two nations and at the same time HIDE the fact that the leadership of both countries are in cahoots and working together against the interests of their respective populations.

Millions died in two world wars. Why? When you read history, you realize that there was not a single rational reason for that to take place. All issues between nations were artificially created by the ruling classes. All of which could have avoided and/or solved without conflict.

There is also the thesis/antithesis/synthesis fetish of the elite. The rich and powerful like playing these ritualistic games with human lives. Hence the creation of artificial problems: "A certain pipeline can only go through Syria to transport a certain commodity and its refusal is a casus belli.' No! Obviously false argument as it is common knowledge that your gas can be shipped and sold to Europe via a multitude of ways. The Russians themselves just sold natural gas to their supposed enemy, the US of A, for God's sake, and transported it all the way to the American continent by ship:

Take care.

Posted by: Lester | Feb 16 2018 9:05 utc | 99


Pretty good. In essence that's how I see things. It's just that you seem to have studied the case in greater depth and you are being more articulate.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 16 2018 10:19 utc | 100

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