Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 19, 2019

Why Iran Needs To Talk With The Taliban

The Trump administration is preparing a public argument for war on Iran. The Washington Times has some 'senior administration officials' claiming that Iran is allied with al-Qaeda and thus could and should be attacked:

Iran-al Qaeda alliance may provide legal rationale for U.S. military strikes

Iran is providing high-level al Qaeda operatives with a clandestine sanctuary to funnel fighters, money and weapons across the Middle East, according to Trump administration officials who warn that the long-elusive, complex relationship between two avowed enemies of America has evolved into an unacceptable global security threat.
The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in the days after the 9/11 attacks provided the legal framework for President George W. Bush to order U.S. military action against the Taliban for harboring Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. The law has underpinned the U.S. counterterrorism campaign and has largely gone unchanged for the past 17 years through three presidential administrations.

Congressional and legal sources say the law may now provide a legal rationale for striking Iranian territory or proxies should President Trump decide that Tehran poses a looming threat to the U.S. or Israel and that economic sanctions are not strong enough to neutralize the threat.

That Iran is colluding with al-Qaeda, which it actively fights in Syria and Iraq, is obviously nonsense. When the U.S. attacked Afghanistan some families of al-Qaeda fighters fled to Iran where they were put under house arrest. They were and still are hostages Iran uses to prevent al-Qaeda attacks against its country. The Washington Times admits this:

One captured 2007 document, apparently written by an al Qaeda operative, concluded that, in the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of neighboring Iraq, “Iranian authorities decided to keep our brothers as a bargaining chip.”

At the recent conferences in Warsaw and Munich the Trump administration failed to gain any European support for its anti-Iran strategy. Iraq has likewise rejected all U.S. attempts to position it against Iran. If the U.S. wants to attack Iran it will need to go it alone. Its 'allies' west of the Persian Gulf will give financial support but are not a serious military force. What they can do though is to ramp up terrorism against Iran.

The former Indian ambassador M. K. Bhadrakumar suspects that the U.S. is trying to envelope Iran from the east to establish land routes that can be used for such purposes. The plan includes Pakistan and even the Afghan Taliban:

[T]oday, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are Israel’s covert allies in West Asia. They are joined at the hips in the project to overthrow the Iranian regime. We may expect that the Af-Pak could become a major theatre from where their covert operations would be launched with the help of Pakistan under the watch and protection of the US to destabilise Iran. Tehran has repeatedly alleged that the two Arab states are working in tandem with the US and Israel.

After last Tuesday’s fedayeen attack in Iran’s southeastern region of Sistan-Baluchistan bordering Pakistan (in which 27 Iranian troops were killed in circumstances eerily similar to what happened in Pulwama), top Iranian generals have openly alleged the role of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. Unsurprisingly, Saudis and the Emiratis who are bankrolling the Pakistani economy, have come to call the shots in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Tehran is expecting turbulent times.
[W]e have an explosive mix today, such as we have never come across before in our region and which no one could have foreseen previously — except, indeed, the astute mind of Hamid Karzai — whereby the Taliban leadership has come under immense Pakistani pressure to eschew its “Afghan-ness” and accede to the US wish list on an open-ended military presence in Afghanistan (which is also backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as Israel.)

Bhadrakumar points to several recent incidents that suggest that such a plan is indeed in the making. He urges the Indian government to renew its alliance with Iran to counter such acts.

The Taliban will not like any plan that leaves foreign forces in their country. Removing all foreign forces from Afghanistan has always been their foremost aim. Yesterday the Taliban negotiators were supposed to meet their U.S. counterparts in Islamabad where they would also have talks with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and probably with Khan's current guest, Clown Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. They canceled the talks on short notice. They may want to avoid additional pressure to submit to the U.S. plans of keeping some troops on Afghan ground.

Iran is also in talks with the Taliban. It may be able to offer them an alternative to the support they get from Pakistan. The U.S. has left the Afghan government in Kabul out of its talks with the Taliban while Iran kept it fully informed. Kabul may also prefer Iranian help in mediating an end of the long conflict.

Securing its eastern flank will be a high priority for Iran. A bid to change the allegiance of the Taliban from Pakistan to Iran may be the best way to achieve that.

Posted by b on February 19, 2019 at 18:24 UTC | Permalink

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As shown in this article, Benjamin Netanyahu is doing his best to drag the world into a war with Iran:

Israel and the United States will not stop until Iran is "re-engineered" into a nation that succumbs to Washington's will.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Feb 19 2019 18:32 utc | 1

Iran and India needs to strengthen their ties pronto and take Russia support.

Posted by: AG17 | Feb 19 2019 18:33 utc | 2

He is not honest, this Bhadrakumar. Yes, good on commentary on other things, but never ever trust an Indian on anything Pakistan related, they make up things from fictional cross-border strikes to spy pigeons to God knows what else. The attack on Iran came in Balochistan.

Balochistan separatists, engaged in war against the Pakistani state since 2006 (same year Carnegie and Brookings openly advocated using Baloch separatists vs Pakistan and even Iran) are backed, and I mean openly backed, by India.

Iran has produced its greatest foreign policy gaffe in a long time in yelling at Pakistan. 'Oh the attack happened just as MbS is in Pakistan!' uh, yeah, no. Emotional IRGC generals, please bother checking to see that MbS hadn't even arrived in Pakistan yet. But these fellas still mouthed off, refusing to see reality and common sense.

Dear Moon of Alabama, MK Bhadrakumar will not tell you about an Indian spy, Kulbhushan Yadav, who'd worked out of Iran's Chabahar port city for years, being discovered and captured by Pakistan in March 2016 when he was crossing over into the Pakistani side. Revealed to have been doing what India does, supporting Baloch rebels as part of a larger strategy of trying to sabotage Pakistan-China economic expansion plans.

Do not, in addition, expect Bhadrakumar to inform you about India's 2008 Mumbai Attacks - a 4 day long affair where the Pakistani 'mastermind' was determined during the initial hours of the attack, where the gunmen camped a full day with supplies at a hotel run by an Israeli Orthodox Jewish group that runs lodges for Israeli tourists and other similar logic failures and holes and signs of India playing dark games exists.

This entire 'Saudi and UAE call the shots in Pakistan' is profuse garbage. I suppose this is why Pakistan refused to join the Yemen War and has not committed troops there, right? Or maybe this is why Pakistan refused to train anti-Assad terrorists when GCC requested it to, right?

I suppose this is why Pakistan, led by its military has recently rescued 5 out of the 12 kidnapped IRGC guards who were taken off into Balochistan somewhere on our side.

Do not, ever, expect an Indian analysis of Pakistan to be honest. Whether it is from Mr Bhadrakumar or anyone else.

Posted by: Agha Hussain | Feb 19 2019 18:40 utc | 3

thanks b... it sounds complicated... pakistan seems to be the most favoured pawn that the usa-ksa-uae-israel want to spite of @3 agha's comments, i don't think it is a stretch to say pakistan is in a hard place financially and would be happy to receive the money from these terrorist states to support a war on iran by converting the taliban into some type of wahabbi cult... and that is the key paragraph in M. K. Bhadrakumar's for me, which perhaps @3 agha would like to dispute??

""What the Saudis and Emiratis are expecting as follow-up in the near future is a certain “rebooting” of the traditional Afghan-Islamist ideology of the Taliban and its quintessentially natioanlistic “Afghan-centric” outlook with a significant dosage of Wahhabi indoctrination, which would make it possible integrate the Taliban into the global jihadi network and co-habitate it with extremist organisations such as the variants of Islamic State or al-Qaeda (who have proliferated in the Middle East in the recent years), so that geopolitical projects can be undertaken in regions such as Central Asia and the Caucasus or Iran from the Afghan soil, under a comprador Taliban leadership.""

these folks are truly sick in the head, and when i say that, i am not just talking about the mongrels in power in ksa-uae, but of the usa-israel leadership for entertaining this kind of sickness...

Posted by: james | Feb 19 2019 18:54 utc | 4

When it comes to Iran, Trump and his minions are just as crazy as Hillary Clinton. Plenty of commentators in the alternative media were worried Clinton would kick off nuclear war with Russia, yet when it comes to Trump and Iran, most say US cannot attack Iran. Trumps hatred of Iran is based on religion so sanity does not enter into it.
Energy dominance and the need to gain control of large oil reserves adds to the motivation.
A piece currently in Sputnik on Trump admin wanting to send 'sensitive nuclear technology' to the wahhabis, Flynn, supposedly the sane element in Trump's initial gang kicked this off. Flynn's hatred of Iran was no different than Haley's, yet for some reason the likes of Saker think him the good guy and all was lost when he was toppled.
Trump is gambling everything on energy dominance. Us will be finished as any sort of world power if he fails.
Alister Crooke has several pieces up at Strategic Culture, one of which karlof1 has linked to in another thread. One is on US finance required for Trumps arms race and the exceptional amount the US government will have to borrow in the near future, and the near impossibility of raising that sort of money through normal and legit means which includes wringing the blood out of their population.
Trump needs energy dominance up and running very quickly to fund his military and other projects.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 19 2019 19:29 utc | 5

I read Mr. Bhadrakumar's articles regularly. In this particular piece, he a bit of kite flying. Its not objective and seems to be influenced by the general atmosphere in India today. Alternative media sites are in love with Iran and see them doing anything wrong. They me fighting a just war in Syria but it doesn't mean they are perfect. Kulbhusan yadav, an Indian spy was caught inside Pakistan actively supporring and planning terrorist activities specially to disrupt CPEC. He was stationed in Iran and used to travel through Iran from where, along with Afghanistan, Indians were running covert ops against Pakistan. Pakistan never openly threatened or accused Iran even then but opted to improve the situation through bilateral dialogue. Uzair Baloch, a notorious gang war member from Karachi, fled Pakistan and was travelling on Iranian passport overseas. When arrested in Dubai, Iran requested that he be handed over to them. When interrogated he confessed to working for Iranian intelligence. All countries play dirty games including Iranians. Sorry to some members here but Iranians are no angels.
The attack on IRGC members was unfortunate and unjust but Iran must understand it is in interest of woeld powers to keep Pakistan and Iran apart. Tbey must not fall into this trap.
As for Mr. Bhadrakumar's assumption that Istaelis are cooperating with Pakistan, it is fotal nonsense. The plane incident he mentions in his article is pure bullshit as the Israeli journalist who reported it initially later claimed he was not sure about it. Also lately Indian media is publishing stories about Pakistanis warming up to Israelis. Its a ploy to divide Pakistan and Iran and Iranians must not get trapped for their own good and not play into the hands of Indians who want to destabilise Balochistan.
As a general rule of thumb whenever Indians give their analysis of Pakistan's motives, take it with a pinch of salt. We are arch ene8mies and are almost always on the edge on war.
Also please read up on Indian oppression in Kashmir which is the most heavily militarised region anywhere in the world. The brutality is mind numbing.

Posted by: Bilal | Feb 19 2019 19:38 utc | 6

Peter AU 1 @6: Trump is gambling everything on energy dominance.

Adversarial relations with energy-rich countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela span at least 3 US Administrations (GW Bush, Obama, Trump) and in cases more.

And it was decades ago, that Zbig Brezinski asserted that USA had to bring Ukraine and Iran into the Western orbit to ensure global hegemony.

It's sloppy to refer to Trump when it is really USA Deep State policy that is at issue. Such sloppiness has a real effect: it promotes the illusion. Presidents are figureheads but people really really want to believe the illusion.

Also, IMO "energy dominance" is really about dollar hegemony and trade relations, especially wrt the EU poodles.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 19 2019 19:55 utc | 7

Craig Murray just returned from Pakistan and promises to write about what he's learned while there for 3-weeks.

Maybe he will touch on some of the issues Bhadrakumar has written about.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 19 2019 19:59 utc | 8


As he is on so many other issues now, Roger Waters is totally woke on Venezuela:

Ya gotta love the part where he takes a swipe at Richard Branson!

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Feb 19 2019 20:13 utc | 9

It is sloppy to talk about entities without faces and the rest of the bullshit. Trump may well be just a figure head but it a reasonable name to put to current US direction.
Sometimes the US changes direction very little when a new figurehead is put in place. There have been some radical changes under the current figurehead.
Obama I would term as a ladder climbing bobbling head, but Trump, rather than just a bobbling head is part of the team.
The radical change I do think is due to a split in the US. Most here could see the US was on its way down. I believe the split is between those in the elite, the people of influence or whatever they be termed, who could see this and wanted to move to a new business model, and those who believed they could keep propping up the old business model forever.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 19 2019 20:18 utc | 10

The Washington Times is only a valid newspaper in that it will disclose what the right wingnuts are hoping for in the USA.

It rarely has solid reporting; it's not the WSJ.

Everyone understands that delusional theocrats like Pence see a war with Persia as a necessity for bringing on the "end times".

Posted by: Jay | Feb 19 2019 20:47 utc | 11

Thanks to the pro-Pakistani comments correcting some of the statements from the India side. It is always a good thing to have both sides of the argument represented here, and indeed we are learning as we go the continuing perfidy of the US and its so-called allies. One statement on the side of India that the Pakistani trend would be towards encouraging the Wahabbi extreme is nonsense. The people elected a leader who has vowed to fight terrorism in his country, not an extremist. Kashmir is a beautiful place; and what has been happening there for decades is a tragedy.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 19 2019 20:58 utc | 12

I was wondering why Trump moved so quickly on Venezuela, before they had all of their ducks in a row.

The answer is, of course, Iran. The U.S. needs an alternative to Iranian oil, when they move on Iran. Having screwed over the Saudis in November, it is now highly unlikely that the Saudis will cover for lost Iranian oil again.

I believe that the U.S. moved so quickly on Venezuela because they thought that they could grab control of Venezuelan oil in time for implementing the sanctions against Iranian oil in April. This makes sense, if we are to believe the reports that they thought that they could overthrow Maduro in 24 hrs.

Having made a mess of this, with Maduro going nowhere, it looks to me like the U.S. will have trouble proceeding against Iran as planned.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Feb 19 2019 21:25 utc | 13

To all these Pakistani lovers such as Agha Hussain, Bilal, and Juliana how do you guys think Taliban came into existence? Was it not Saudi Wahabi state and so called freedom loving US that financed and trained those terrorists? At that time the slogan was to stop the communist expansion, so what did the Afgan people end up with after all this terrorist funding? A strictly Islamist state but some what moderate. Do you know the plight of Pakistan after Afgan war? Fundamental Islam slowly morphing into Wahabism. The Pakistani army put this new guy so called secularist Imran Khan, who couldn't do a damn thing about Asia Bibi's plight and she had to flee to Canada. Of course like the bible says "What thou shall sow thou shall reap". Welcome to Wahabi Paradise Pakistan. A bright Wahabi future awaits you.

Posted by: Murali Penumarth | Feb 19 2019 21:37 utc | 14

Seamus Padraig @9

Branson had this to say about investing in Ukraine in April 2015.

“Personally, I think that Ukraine is a good place to invest. I don’t think it can get financially any worse than it is today,"

The guy is a financial genius, I tell ya!

Posted by: Yonatan | Feb 19 2019 21:51 utc | 15

It would be most ironic if the US government's continued hostility and aggression eventually result in Iran and Afghanistan (and Tajikistan) as well coming closer and forming an alliance. The three countries have a fair amount of history in common and some form of the Persian language is used in all three.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 19 2019 22:10 utc | 16

"The U.S. needs an alternative to Iranian oil". Why? The US is almost even in terms of oil imports v. exports. If I had to guess, one intended consequence of attacking Iran is that Iran will try to close the Strait of Hormuz, and oil will be $250/barrel. This will destroy China, but the US can skate by in the short term due to fracking. As a bonus, it will also throw Europe into a massive recession.

Posted by: Schmoe | Feb 19 2019 22:37 utc | 17


The U.S. needs an alternative to Iranian oil in order to ensure a balance of supply and demand on a worldwide (not U.S.) basis in order to prevent a price spike, which will damage the U.S. economically, and Trump politically.

That is why Trump asked Russia and Saudi to increase their oil output last June, in order to offset the Iran sanctions. It is also why Trump gave 6-month waivers to a number of countries on November 1, enabling them to continue to import Iranian oil. A side effect of the waivers was to cause a $30 drop in oil prices, thus screwing over Saudi Arabia.

Having screwed over the Saudis, the U.S. desperately needed another source of oil, under their control. Thus the urgency to overthrow Maduro.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Feb 19 2019 22:52 utc | 18

the following poem and video were written for Palestinians, however it's also for Iranians, as they both have the same enemy

The Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was arrested and sentenced to five months in prison, charged for Facebook postings (the poem below translated into English) and the video below, posted to YouTube.

Here, the poet Tariq al Haydar translates Dareen Tatour’s words into English:

Resist, My People, Resist Them

Resist, my people, resist them.

In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows

And carried the soul in my palm

For an Arab Palestine.

I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”

Never lower my flags

Until I evict them from my land.

I cast them aside for a coming time.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist the settler’s robbery

And follow the caravan of martyrs.

Shred the disgraceful constitution

Which imposed degradation and humiliation

And deterred us from restoring justice.

They burned blameless children;

As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,

Killed her in broad daylight.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.

Pay no mind to his agents among us

Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.

Do not fear doubtful tongues;

The truth in your heart is stronger,

As long as you resist in a land

That has lived through raids and victory.

So Ali called from his grave:

Resist, my rebellious people.

Write me as prose on the agarwood;

My remains have you as a response.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Posted by: Lydia | Feb 19 2019 22:56 utc | 19

Looks like the move on Venezuela will kick off on the 23rd.
"According to the presidential spokesman General Otavio Rego Barros, Brazil will put humanitarian aid on Venezuelan border on 23th February at request of opposition leader Guaido, adding that he would be responsible for its distribution."

As in a comment earlier in the thread, the US needs the Venezuelan oil before the war against Iran can commence.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 19 2019 23:07 utc | 20

@ Peter AU 1 #20

Your mention of Brazil caused me to make a sudden connection with the "Lawfare" coup against Dilma Rousseff. The neocons needed a right-wing govenment in Brazil to ensure there would be no friends on any border of Venezuela.

And in turn that caused me to veer into another line of thinking. Does the Orange POTUS understand that he has been snookered into completing one of Saint Obama's 'nation destruction' projects? I doubt it.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Feb 19 2019 23:31 utc | 21

No one ever mistook me for an expert on regional variations in oil pricing, but what prevents a massive variation in price between Texas oil v. Saudi or Iraqi oil? They already trade separately. The market will demand something closer than $55/fracked Backen oil v. $250 for Saudi oil, but is there any reason you could not have $100 for fracked oil v. $250 for Middle East oil? Gasoline priced off $100/barrel would annoy US motorists, but the money would stay in the US and of course be a windfall for investment funds that have supported the fracking industry.

Posted by: Schmoe | Feb 19 2019 23:37 utc | 22

"Securing its eastern flank will be a high priority for Iran. A bid to change the allegiance of the Taliban from Pakistan to Iran may be the best way to achieve that."

There won't be any alliance between Iran and the Taliban. Unthinkable. The Taliban are about to win in Kabul, if Trump wants to get out. No reason to concede.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 19 2019 23:54 utc | 23

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 19, 2019 6:07:39 PM | 20

The below is also happening on the 23rd.

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 19 2019 23:59 utc | 24


The oil market is an international market, not a domestic market (unlike Natural Gas which is primarily domestic).

The U.S. currently consumes about 21 million barrels of petroleum liquids per day (about 20% of the world total). It imports about 9 million barrels of liquids per day, and exports about 7 million barrels of liquids per day, for a net import of about 2 million barrels per day.

The U.S. is a big importer of 'heavy-sour' crude oil, such as comes from Venezuela, because it has refineries designed specifically for these grades. On the other hand they export 'light-sweet' crude which comes from fracking', principally to Asia, because it is easy for less sophisticated refineries to process, and it does not match U.S. refinery needs. The U.S. also exports a significant quantity of refined products, essentially acting as a custom refiner for other countries.

What you propose has two major problems. First, it would require import and export controls, which would be a hard sell for a 'free-market' economy. Secondly it would require a massive reconfiguration of the U.S. refining industry. Something that is unlikely in either the short or even medium term.

In the oil business, the U.S. is not an island unto itself. This is why Trump has paid so much attention to the international price of oil.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Feb 20 2019 0:03 utc | 25

“That Iran is colluding with al-Qaeda, which it actively fights in Syria and Iraq, is obviously nonsense.”

The American people, indeed much if the world, has shown since 2001 there is no lie too ridiculous they wont believe or at least quietly go along with

As for Europe not going along, they dont care. Europeans are Trumps poodles, only useful for providing him with wives or loans from Deutsche Bank. Back in the day when the US wanted international law to be respected they needed European support. Now that they have smashed the NWO based on international law, they can and do act unilaterally.

In order to create a New New World Order, the existing order must be smashed. As a construction guy he knows you have to demolish old buildings before you can build new ones. Which buildings (used as a metaphor) get brought down this time is the question. Soviet Union needed to fall to create the current NWO, along with Chinas Communism/Socialism (all but in name), perhaps Trumps mission is to bring down his own House (US) this time, or at least demolish what little credibility it had left after Bush/Obama years following the literal demolition of WTC buildings

I am coming to think Iran is just a ruse, or just an excuse to stay in the region and give him an excuse to stay in Afghanistan and Syria. Then again I dont think anyone knows what they plan. Obviously it seems likely Venezuela will fall and another puppet regime that will allow global corporations a free reign will take over.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 20 2019 0:21 utc | 26

Thanks. I was aware of most of issues re: oil grades, but not aware of the amounts involved.

Posted by: Schmoe | Feb 20 2019 0:29 utc | 27

@20 Trying to get the aid in through Brazil doesn't make much sense logistically. I assume they are talking about the Pacaraima border which is quite remote.

Guaido may have more luck at Cucuta if he can get a large enough crowd to overwhelm the Venezuelan military and border guards. I guess he's hoping to provoke a serious incident where somebody gets hurt.

Posted by: dh | Feb 20 2019 0:38 utc | 28

My guess is it will be here.,-61.2583347,10.23z
A major highway linking Brazil and Venezuela.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 20 2019 0:47 utc | 29

@29 That is Pacaraima. I've been there. Not exactly a major highway and it won't be easy to bus people from Caracas. That will probably just be a diversion from the main action in Cucuta.

Anyway we can expect to see a few angry 'starving activists' shouting at border guards.

Posted by: dh | Feb 20 2019 0:56 utc | 30

From the link provided by jo6pac @24

"“The situation in Venezuela is unfolding at an alarming trajectory. For February 23 an event is expected that, to paraphrase the great Latin American Gabriel García Márquez, could be called ‘a chronicle of an anticipated provocation,'” announced Zakharova.

A spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that plans were being made to introduce “humanitarian aid” to the Venezuelan people from the territory of a neighboring country. However, taking into account the position of the country’s legitimate authorities, the plaintiffs say it is “an incursion,” causing border guards and military personnel to use force, Zakharova said.

They hope to bring about a division between the military or symbolic victims, a wave of demonstrations, that allow to put in motion the version of a force action from the outside, she pointed out."
I had not read this before but the way Zakharova puts it is exactly my thought on the US game plan.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 20 2019 0:57 utc | 31

Posted by: dh-mtl | Feb 19, 2019 7:03:35 PM | 25

Perhaps a more explanation of the need for "heavy crude". You need a more expensive refining for heavy crude, and that makes heavy crude cheaper per ton. In other words, the profits of a heavy crude refinery come from matching a larger investment in cracking facility with the smaller price of the crude. Most probably, they may process the light crude too, but the will have too small profit margin in relation to the amortization of their capital.

Then there can be the problem of product mix. That said, US can manage without Venezuelan oil, but some companies can be hurt. But as the large majority of the crude is currently domestic, a conflict that increases oil price is in their favor. I do not expect American oilmen to cry for Venezuela. Integrated large companies and smaller domestic producers gain now, and if in the future Venezuelan oil is managed as rationally as in Angola, they will profit in the future (Angola has a lot of oil extracted by American companies, and the resulting profits are most efficiently looted. The population seems scarcely better of than in African countries without oils.)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 20 2019 0:57 utc | 32

"Having screwed over the Saudis, the U.S. desperately needed another source of oil, under their control. Thus the urgency to overthrow Maduro."

I don't see the logic behind this: right now the US doesn't have Iran's oil so there is no need to find a substitute for it. On the other hand, if the US wants Venezuela's oil-that is what Venezuela wants too- for the US to buy it, barrel by barrel, as they did throughout the last century.

There are undoubtedly interests in the States that would love to get Venezuela's oil but the Brazilian-US-Colombian axis is after something else, much more urgent, they want to wipe out all the bases for socialism in south America. And Venezuela is the one with the most potential importance.

Ever since WWII the US has been trying to eradicate socialism and radical movements likely to breed socialism around the world. They have killed millions of people but to some people this is a history that never happened. The US likes it that way, it wants people to believe that it is just interested in oil or resources. But it isn't, the resources are there for anyone ready to buy them. And just as in Venezuela the US isn't really looking for oil: it is looking for an opportunity to decapitate socialist movements, because it is determined to keep the capitalist racket going.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 20 2019 2:05 utc | 33

One overlooked point on Venezuela is they own Citgo and a couple of refineries in the US . Almost 50% is pledged to Rosneft as collateral for loans. If Venezuela defaults on its loans Rosneft becomes a controlling owner of a large refinery/gasoline operation in the US

As for Venezuelas oil, the US seeks to control its production and distribution, not necessarily to extract it. They already buy 50% of what Venezuela produces. Most countries cant refune their heavy crude. Control makes it easier to manipulate prices and deny access to countries who dont play along with the Empire.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 20 2019 2:41 utc | 34

Peter AU 1 @ 20, DH @ 28:

Indeed, sending humanitarian aid through two remote border towns along a highway in a thinly populated tropical forest area doesn't make sense when the aid could be transferred as air cargo from Brasilia or any other large city in Brazil to Caracas or Maracaibo or any other large city in Venezuela with good transport infrastructure.

That is why it is likely the humanitarian aid being sent to Pacaraima / Santa Elena de Uairen is not humanitarian aid as we know it. It's likely to be guns and ammunition for gangs roaming in the area. And, as at Cucuta near the border with Colombia, Venezuelan armed forces would be right to stop it.

Venezuela cannot afford to fight on two fronts to its west and southeast, with US armed forces ready and waiting to its north.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 20 2019 4:13 utc | 35

@33 bevin - "the US isn't really looking for oil: it is looking for an opportunity to decapitate socialist movements, because it is determined to keep the capitalist racket going."

Thank you for putting that into words. I believe this is exactly the case. It explains all the hatred. Same thing for Iran, Cuba, China. These are all beyond the pale.

Of course the western oil companies want to take profits directly from the fields. Just as the arms makers want to sell their weapons in conflicts. And all the other interests want their pound of flesh. But behind it all is that prime reason for enmity.

Only one thing really threatens that racket, and that's socialism.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 20 2019 4:32 utc | 36

Jen 35

Very much my thought.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 20 2019 4:49 utc | 37

I do have one comment that's on-topic, I hope. Magnier's latest piece is a great summary of the war on Syria, but also illustrates how Iran has evolved out of the Syria experience [my emphasis]:

Iran has adopted a new ideology: it is not an Islamic or a Christian ideology but a new one that emerged in the last seven years of war. It is the “Ideology of Resistance”, an ideology that goes beyond religion. This new ideology imposed itself even on clerical Iran and on Hezbollah who have abandoning any goal of exporting an Islamic Republic: instead they support any population ready to stand against the destructive US hegemony over the world. - Reshaping the Middle East: why the West should stop its Interventions

So, the idea of Iran playing a role with the Taliban is by no means strange, and we've seen indications of this involvement for some time now, I think. But also China is working on Pakistan, and Russia is working on India. And although each country has its own separate interests, there is common cause and common gain to be made by laying aside separateness and taking up cooperation.

It's worth combining Iran's new interests with Pieraccini's latest offering of how Russia and China are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order. And even with this little snippet that analyzes how half the world's population came together at the UN to stop the US action against Venezuela: Hands Off Venezuela: Historic Stance at the United Nations against US Imperialism.

The point here is that any country wishing to cultivate its independence can easily find, at this stage of history, that its principal interest lies in helping to contain the US. Increasingly it becomes easier to decide that the most good for a free country right now is to support, in whatever way it can, the resistance axis that Magnier suggests Iran sees as its direction.

It seems like a natural imperative then that Iran MUST be vitally interested in greater involvement with both Afghanistan and Pakistan. And that Russia and China, of course, are too. And that all these countries are very gradually combining in a shared direction, just as Turkey, in its halting way, has also without doubt been snared into what might be called the "Pax Eurasia".

The One Road will make everyone rich. All anyone has to do is allow it all to happen. The US wants to wreck all of it. The greatest aim, and profit, then for any country must surely be to join the attempt to contain the US, and let the One Road be developed.

This is the ethos that will emerge in words over time from the Af-Pak/Iran-Russia-China confluence.


Lavrov said a wonderful thing at the Munich conference: "Patience always pays off. We are patient people, strategically as well."

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 20 2019 5:18 utc | 38

Peter AU 1 @10

It is sloppy to talk about entities without faces and the rest of the bullshit. Trump may well be just a figure head but it a reasonable name to put to current US direction.
This logic escapes me. When you attribute motives and actions to a figurehead, you implicitly convey the sense that he/she is not a figurehead. TPTB love it when we blame transitory figureheads for all the problems and welcome the next figurehead. You would blame the snakeskin for your snake bite?

Oh my! that snakeskin just bit that women ... I sure hope the next snakeskin is nicer!/sarc

Sometimes the US changes direction very little when a new figurehead is put in place. There have been some radical changes under the current figurehead.
Obama I would term as a ladder climbing bobbling head, but Trump ... is part of the team.

The Bush-Obama transition was just as big as the Obama-Trump transition.

Obama was also part of the team. Not sure why you fail to see that. Obama came from a family that was connected to OSS/CIA, and he actively worked to finesse dissent to CIA/NSA and other powerful interests.

Note: Some have expressed the belief that new Presidents are trained and/or threatened to make them conform to Deep State wishes. This is bonkers. Powerful interests would not take the chance of having a President that might oppose them. It makes much more sense that a President is already vetted and approved by the Deep State well before the Presidential election. Hillary, Trump, McCain, Obama, Romney - all of these Presidential contenders have done,or would have done, what the Deep State wanted.

The radical change I do think is due to a split in the US. Most here could see the US was on its way down. I believe the split is between those in the elite, the people of influence or whatever they be termed, who could see this and wanted to move to a new business model, and those who believed they could keep propping up the old business model forever.
Radical change? Looks like business-as-usual to me. You've mistaken adjusting to changing circumstances as fundamental change.

Uh-oh, the orange-haired snakeskin is about to strike Maduro! Surely the peace-loving snake will grow a friendlier snakeskin next time!/sarc

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 20 2019 5:40 utc | 39

I have a request.
Could everyone please stop using the term al-Qaeda and start using that outfit's correct name - al-CIA-duh?

We all know that the CIA recruited and sent ter'rists to Afghanistan in the 1980s to destabilise that country. We also know that the Afghan Government, realising that the CIA's ter'rists were winning, asked Russia to provide expert assistance to help solve the problem. And we know that the CIA's response to Russia's 'interference' in Afghanistan was to AUGMENT its existing ter'rists with MORE ter'rists to create a QUAGMIRE to 'punish' Russia.
We also know that the CIA armed and branded this new batch of additional anti-Russian ter'rists with the label al-CIA-duh because the folks at CIA HQ have got a wonderful sense of humour and love jokes about mass murder.

The CIA is chock full of brainwashed psychopaths and "Israelis" who have always thought that murdering innocents can be terrific fun, unless the wrong(?) "Israelis" are being culled, er...killed. Zionist-occupied AmeriKKKa's fingerprints are all over 90%+ of the World's anti-Muslim ter'rist outfits. It's way past time to give credit where it's due by correcting the names bestowed on the CIA's ter'rist groups, by the CIA, to better reflect their usually, but not always, obvious origins.

When that time arrives and sanity prevails then every ter'rist group, regardless of what AmeriKKKa calls it, will be called al-CIA-duh or the ??? Branch of al-CIA-duh.
Thanks in (patient) anticipation.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 20 2019 5:49 utc | 40

@ Grieved and others

America is not the core of empire but an instantiation of its face like the British empire. The core of empire is global private finance which now owns all "things" while the rest of us own the overhanging global debt.

I just want to make clear that America is being vilified for being imperialistic when it is the core of empire than has bent America to its will since WWII

Please be clear in your characterization of the evil that we face.
90+% of Americans are not the problem and have not sold out their republic to the highest bidder like the other plus/minus 10%

Yes, the US needs to be stopped from doing the bidding of empire and prosecuted for its misdeeds along with the "war criminal leadership". And it is good to see nations combining to do do..............But if that is all that is done and the world of global private finance not brought to task for its role in our world events then what will have been gained?

A grand charade is being set up by the ruling elite to manufacture a global crisis that rearranges everything while still keeping global private finance tools in primary control while throwing America under the bus for being imperialists.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 20 2019 5:52 utc | 41

Jacko, your naive belief of honour amongst thieves and psychopaths, that they behave as a school of bait fish, the school twisting and turning as they they are a single mid and body is touching in its innocence.
If you wish to keep trying to drop bags of rabbit shit on my head every time I mention the word Trump, with lines of large black lettering like the stencils on a wool bale, I may start giving you a hard time.
Time for mumma rabbit to tuck you into bed and read you a fairy tale before you get yourself into trouble.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 20 2019 5:57 utc | 42

al qaeda is a good enough term to distinguish one arm of the cia proxy force.
A name is a name. Anyone that bothers to do a little research will understand that this is an arm of the cia. Those who do not bother will not be changed by alternative political correctness.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 20 2019 6:20 utc | 43

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 20, 2019 1:20:07 AM | 43
(al qaeda is a good enough term to distinguish one arm of the cia proxy force. A name is a name.)

They're fake Islamic names and the only reason there are so many 'arms' is to help the MSM to create confusion. If it didn't matter what they call their proxies then they'd give them less deceptive names. But it does matter and if the CIA is too cowardly to give them transparent names then we should do it for them by giving ALL of their proxies CIA-prefixed names.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 20 2019 7:34 utc | 44

Grieved @38 magnier presents the culture of resistance as something iran developed in the war of syria and as something it "evolved" "developed"
Thats is absolutely wrong. That way of thought is Pillar in shia thought
This is article 154 of Islamic Republic of Iran Constitution 1979
Article 154: The Islamic Republic of Iran considers human happiness throughout human society as its ideal. It considers independence, freedom, and the governance of justice and truth as the right of all the people of the world. Consequently, while it completely abstains from any kind of intervention in the internal affairs of other nations, it supports the struggles of the oppressed for their rights against the oppressors anywhere in the world.

Posted by: Ox | Feb 20 2019 7:55 utc | 45

It has always, and I repeat always, been an Indian tactic to make it seem like Pakistani wrongdoings alongside the US and Saudi in Afghanistan in the nineteen eighties, for which Pakistan has given tens of thousands of martyrs combating and defeating since the 2000s, somehow affected India.

It did not. India fights no terrorism. India gangrapes Kashmiri women, shoots Kashmiris in the eyes with pellet guns, has all sections of its society from professors to artists to Bollywood celebs to student unions to the Indian Twitterati in general call for Kashmiri genocide and so on.

KASHMIR IS NOT TOUCHED BY PAST PAKISTANI ADVENTURES ABROAD. Kashmir has no significant extremist element. Kashmiri groups recruit young Kashmiris to lash out at the occupation.

The 'terror attack' of Pulwama was not a terror attack, it was backlash.

Posted by: Agha Hussain | Feb 20 2019 8:34 utc | 46

Zachary Smith 21

There has been plenty of commentary in the past of Trump dismantling anything Obama had done with the reasoning that it was just to give Obama the middle finger.
Trump has been dismantling many things, some that had originated at the end of WWII and throughout the cold war. But at the same time, Trump is keeping a number of things.
My thought is that he is simply dumping any any institution or so called norm that is not useful for taking the US the way Trump or his backers want to take it.

It is for that reason I don't think he has been snookered, rather, a part of what Obama was doing is useful for the new project so Trump is using it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 20 2019 9:10 utc | 47

Using the fake AQ-alliance-with-Iran intelligence is right out of the Neocon pre-Iraq invasion playbook. I already wrote some time back that Trump and his Neocon warhounds would be fabricating fake intelligence as an excuse to attack Iran. I agree that desperate times call for strange bedfellows and talking to the enemy of your enemy strategy. What's to lose? The Taliban definitely can't trust the U.S. and AQ brought only hell raining down on them, so it's time they finally aligned themselves with a steadfast resister of the AZEmpire--Iran.

I also agree that the Machiavellian Kissinger protege, Trump, wants Venezuela's oil as leverage for his scheming grand offensive against Iran.

Only one way to stop the orange Neocon crazy train. Impeach the Mthrfkor conductor! Hope the trial lasts right up to the election so Pence doesn't try to salvage the Zionist MAGA cause.
Rashida Tlaib said it best...Mthrfkor, cause that's what he is. Palestinians were born resisting! Build the RUSSIA, IRAN, CHINA WALL OF RESISTANCE. Trump is creating legions of Western traitors ready to fight back his Zionist MAGA.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 20 2019 9:39 utc | 48

I know The Guardian is pretty slimey but sometimes they get it right. That piece of pond life, Jeremy Hunt, is complaining to the Germans about their moratorium on issuing export licenses for weapons being sold to Saudi Arabia which are being used in Yemen and might be used against Iran if the Saudi Arabians had any cojones (which they don't). With big multi-national defence companies such as Airbus Industries being partly-owned by the German government and private defence companies using German-manufactured parts, the German ban is very effective against non-German defence companies.
Second link is to a reposted Washington Post article

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 20 2019 9:43 utc | 49

Thank you Jackrabbit @7 "It's sloppy to refer to Trump when it is really USA Deep State policy that is at issue. Such sloppiness has a real effect: it promotes the illusion. Presidents are figureheads but people really really want to believe the illusion."

but @ 10 Peter AU 1 cites "Jackrabbit @7 and tries to hold journalism to its cover up format. what is the cover up format used by Journalism? Journalism uses a figure head, in order to hide the real players behind the scene. By not naming names and naming the parties pushing these Armed RULE_MAKING (nation) state (ARMS=USA in this case). Who in the deeply hidden, low profile members of the various groups in the so called deep state, is or are pushing this or that agenda? .. Who are the lobbies, where are the registered, who are their clients, that have been hired and who in various departments of the ARMS=USA is pushing this or that,

I believe the audience for Alternative News has not already accomplished a larger audience than the fake news because it continues the store bought(college taught) format to explain things by leaving out the details, news is useless, and I think it has been the purpose of Journalism to keep it that way.
Hypothesis: News made useless by journalist format soon puts the audience to sleep.
what is meant by useless. No one call a congress critter and invoke a opposition force to what ever is planned behind the scenes. So when the news provides useless information after a while the entire audience goes to sleep.

Look a little deeper into the true meaning of things if the hypothesis turns out to be true, and you will see that a audience that has been put to sleep (develops a feeling that nothing they can do will change things) by news that gives them no basis for action, is a necessary precondition to the effectiveness of propaganda.

Here is what Peter AU_1 said:
It is sloppy to talk about entities without faces and the rest of the bullshit. Trump may well be just a figure head but it a reasonable name to put to current US direction.
Sometimes the US changes direction very little when a new figurehead is put in place. There have been some radical changes under the current figurehead.
Obama I would term as a ladder climbing bobbling head, but Trump, rather than just a bobbling head is part of the team.
The radical change I do think is due to a split in the US. [<= but no indication of where the split is ...or why it has occurred or how long it has been going on, or what it might mean to the news article?] Most here could see the US was on its way down. I believe the split is between those in the elite, the people of influence or whatever they be termed, who could see this and wanted to move to a new business model, and those who believed they could keep propping up the old business model forever.Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 19, 2019 3:18:48 PM | 10

Nearly everyone agrees, you talk to Trump if he agrees with urging of your talk, what you want happens. So who talked to Trump or to whomever? What was said, what does that person or corporation or foreign corporation, person or government want and why would someone give it to them? We must know that information to fully understand why things are being done the way they are.

I am very concerned that Journalism, and those who teach it, and those who hire those who have been taught, are part of the propaganda scam the world's intelligence services have used to control ARMS. Its intricate, complicated, but masking the details with figure heads may be the essence of explaining how special interest manages population control.

Posted by: snake | Feb 20 2019 9:55 utc | 50

Israel and Iran are evidence of the obvious difference between Obama and Trump. Ignoring the difference by terming Trump's foreign policy "US" policy instead of Trump's policy or "deep state" policy is false. Trump is out of step with norms of US foreign policy of the Obama administration. Whether you agree or disagree with those differences or abhor both. Trump is not a figure head. His GOP toadies in Congress are figure heads. And rubber stamps for his obscene leadership.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 20 2019 11:37 utc | 51

@35 It will be easy for the police to throw up a few road blocks on the road to Pacaraima.

But Cucuta is a busy border crossing. Lots of people will be tempted by the free stuff. (A few may even want to see Peter Gabriel). The aid could even be empty boxes….it’s just bait. Obviously Elliot Abrams and Guaido are hoping the border guards will be violent. They want pictures of border guards beating up ‘starving protesters’...preferably women.

The whole point of this expensive charade is to show the world that Maduro is a brutal dictator who starves his own people.

Posted by: dh | Feb 20 2019 14:15 utc | 52

I read the linked Bhadrakumar article, and also several other of his recent articles related to Pakistan including the links in the Indian news media.

Bhadrakumar has written some excellent articles in the past but I agree with @3 and @6 that in recent attacks on Pakistan he has lost his mind impeccably. I also read the transcript of the response of Imran Khan to the Pulwama attack, which seemed - in stark contrast to Bhadrakumar's totally irrational rant - eminently reasonable and on the face of it at least totally consistent with his professed opposition to islamism, terrorism and military conflict between neighbouring countries of the region and his preference for dialogue and accommodation. Modi, in contrast to Khan, gives the impression of the petulant child that is consistent with his established behaviour. Bhadrakumar doesn't have a leg to stand on.

I suspect that the US are far more likely to be up to their eyeballs in bringing about the terrorist Pulwama attack than Pakistan - and contrary to Bhadrakumar's claims have a mega-strong interest in provoking conflict between India and Pakistan just when China and Russia are trying to edge them together. By trying to wreck tentative accommodation between India and Pakistan the US is trying to throw the wrecking ball into India, Pakistan, Russia, China, Afghanistan, and Iran, as this particular wrecking ball intimately concerns all of those countries.

If Russia happens to have concrete intelligence supporting this theory and shares it with both India and Pakistan, that just might cause the US' sadistic plot to unravel and bring about the exact reverse of what the US miscreants are trying to achieve. I hope that is what will happen. As Imran Khan said soon after his election, it is time for India and Pakistan to mend their fences and start building a win-win relationship, instead of playing out idiotic roles as proxies for the global hegemon.

As for the claim that Pakistan could/would persuade the Afghan Taliban to accept US permanent presence in their country in total capitulation to US strategic interests, that seems the height of insanity and implausibility. I am certain that is wholly against Pakistani geostrategic and national security interests, let alone the Talibans.

Bhadrakumar, your knickers are in a twist. Untangle them.

Posted by: BM | Feb 20 2019 14:48 utc | 53

Peter AU 1:

behave as a school of bait fish, the school twisting and turning as they they are a single mid and body
Sadly, "go along to get along" is all too common. There's a cost, often severe, to objecting/protesting against powerful interests and those that represent them. Few wish to incur those costs. Craig Murray is a good example of this.

Steve Cohen has noted that there are no more "wise men" left in government - no 'old hand' realists remain. By the early 2000s neocons had taken over.

bags of rabbit shit on my head every time I mention the word Trump

If you look back @7, what I took issue with was your phrase:

"Trump is gambling on energy dominance ..."

This gave Trump far too much credit. Is he really capable of forming a complex strategy related knowledge of an industry that he isn't known as having interest in and the ability to initiate and see-through operations that could take a decade or more? And would powerful Deep State interests allow him to 'gamble' on anything of importance?

You are not the only one that refers to Trump when "Trump Administration" or "Deep State" is what you really mean. But the phrase "Trump is gambling on energy dominance" was a clear example of how well the Presidential figurehead/spokesperson works for the Deep State.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 20 2019 15:28 utc | 54

@46 Agha Hussain - i think that is a terrorist act when over 40 people die from an explosive device.. why call it something different? i do believe Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility... why say it isn't a terrorist act?

@53 BM... you might be right.. i don't know for sure.. i think Bhadrakumar is unhappy with modi... that much i did get from the article.. thanks for sharing your take either way...

Posted by: james | Feb 20 2019 17:06 utc | 55

@48 Snake
@54 Jackrabbit

"Its intricate, complicated, but masking the details with figure heads may be the essence of explaining how special interest manages population control."

It is also mentally lazy to label so many competing interests as "THE DEEP STATE".

What is increasingly being referred to here as 'the deep state' are competing moneyed interests.

Unidentified Co-conspirator 1

Unidentified C0-conspirator 2

Unidentified Co-conspirator 3

A corrupt entrenched bureuacracy

These guys

I could keep going

To simplify it for some, cosider these companies all being run by Madeleine Albrights. These people will eat their way through a pile of dead babies to rape and slaughter their mother if it was an obstacle to some thing they desire.

All the wasted space here dictating what this "Deep State" is needed was a couple of links to NASA and it could all be blamed equally on aliens....


Posted by: b4real | Feb 20 2019 17:11 utc | 56

Wait... I thought Al-Queda were the good terrorists and Taliban were the bad ones.

Posted by: Jared | Feb 20 2019 17:19 utc | 57

@56 b5real... thanks for the links! not to discount your post, or anyone's for that matter, but simplifying and saying 'deep state' or 'corporatism' aren't completely wrong either...

people use these terms to state more quickly what you imply in your post..

Posted by: james | Feb 20 2019 19:09 utc | 58

The Zionists know 99.99% of people are asleep and will fall for this hilarious link.

Posted by: Kevin | Feb 20 2019 19:39 utc | 59

@kevin... that is true for the most part... look at the usa going into afgan to get osama bin laden... what the fuck was that about?

however, it is a real stretch to suggest al-CIA-duh is alive and well in iran... you pretty well have to be brain dead to fall for that..

Posted by: james | Feb 20 2019 19:41 utc | 60

Zarif goes off at Munich in defense of Iranian defense capabilities. Yes, as Zarif notes, Europe has a lot to answer for.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 20 2019 19:47 utc | 61

@51 karlof1... that is a good rant from zarif... no one needs to be reminded of the hypocrisy on regular display from the west, but that is as good a place as any to see it thanks zarifs comments..

Posted by: james | Feb 20 2019 20:08 utc | 62

#61 The tone and behaviour of that Imperial shill is totally unacceptable. She's talking to an acting Foreign Minister.

Posted by: S | Feb 20 2019 22:10 utc | 63

b4real @56:

Yes, you're right that moneyed interests are ultimately the unseen power and beneficiary of "Deep State" actions. Like Ford said decades ago:

"The business of America is business."

But that doesn't make those employing the term "Deep State" mentally lazy. It is still the best term we have, and much more accurate than referring to Presidents themselves ("Trump", "Obama", etc.) as policy formulators and deciders.

IMO, 'Deep State' also generally connotes:

Powerful individuals
IMO, the moneyed interests work through an array of cut-outs, proxies, 'hired guns', and sympathizers including lobbyists, think tanks, politicians, industry-connected champions (former execs, for example), nonprofits, etc. But this army of influencers has a pecking order so it's generally not difficult to know the most powerful advocates for a certain industry(s). For example, Chuck Schumer is known to be a strong advocate for the financial services industry.

It is generally the most powerful influencers (like Chuck Schumer, Clintons, heads of intel agencies, etc.) that are meant when we talk about the "Deep State". Such people generally seek monetary rewards for their pro-industry positions - sometimes months or years later (after leaving office).

Foreign affairs
IMO "Deep State" is more often used wrt foreign policy than it is domestic policy. All industry groups want to expand their overseas business (and profits) via "Deep State" taking actions that allow for new trade or more trade.

I think the reason for this is that the office of the Imperial President (not the President himself!) has great power in foreign affairs but domestic policy making is much more complicated.

IMO the establishment or The Powers That Be ("TPTB")are used for either domestic or the combined domestic and foreign affairs power centers.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 21 2019 4:05 utc | 64

@64 Jackrabbit

The business of America is business

Like I said, mentally lazy.


Posted by: b4real | Feb 21 2019 16:40 utc | 65


Thanks for correcting my mistake. It doesn't alter my point, though, nor does it address the main issue: what is the best shorthand for powerful interests that direct policy.

AFAIK, no one has suggested a better term than "Deep State".

Referring to Presidents as makers of longstanding policy (like antagonism toward Iran, Venezuela, Russia, etc.) is fraught as it allows TPTB to better pull the wool over our collective eyes. Obama turned the page on the Bush years, and Trump turned the page on the Obama years.

We are virtually enslaved by Party and personality. Until people can see beyond these emotionally-charged chains, the duopoly/establishment/Deep State wins.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 21 2019 23:14 utc | 66

@66 Jackrabbit

No, Jackrabbit, you may be enslaved by party and personality, however, I and many others do not suffer that condition. You got a suffering mouse in your pocket?

Fact is, quantity is not quality, (and this just does not apply to you) but the ability to fill a page with characters does not a well informed person create. Your premise is lazy and idiotic and a distraction. That a few others bite the hook you dropped adds no value to the claim.

You need to think. I wouldn't want to hang my hat on what you're doing here, it serves no one.

Listen, you are going to keep trying to feed me bullshit, and I am already going to be reluctant to put any energy into fact checking your shit.

What did hoarsewhisperer recently quote...

"what can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, (or something close). Your entire theory falls into that category.

It is a waste....


Posted by: b4real | Feb 22 2019 1:51 utc | 67

b4real @56

The "competing interests" that you link to in your post are actually "complementary interests". In no way are media, military, food, oil, etc competing against eachother; there is an obvious need for these interests to work together and, the evidence would suggest, that is exactly what they do.

Posted by: ADKC | Feb 22 2019 2:00 utc | 68

B4real @68

No you are wrong about Jackrabbit. He is proposing a theory which is very possible and does fit the facts. "If a theory can't be dis-proven then it must remain a valid theory!"

Many here claim that Trump is really out-thinking everyone (i.e the military, neo-cons, Mueller, the FBI, Democrats, Republicans, etc.). This may be true but it's just far more unlikely than Jackrabbit's theory.

And I would have expected that most reading this blog would have some concerns about what "The Deep State" is up to.

Posted by: ADKC | Feb 22 2019 2:16 utc | 69

b4real @68

This article by Eric Zuesse in Strategic Culture gives plenty of evidence that supports Jackrabbit's theory:

Who Was Secretly Behind America’s Invading and Occupying Syria?

Posted by: ADKC | Feb 22 2019 2:30 utc | 70


The guy whose pointing out the power of Party and personality is enslaved by it? LOL.

Competing interests also have SHARED interests. And most US/Empire commercial interests share an interest in dollar hegemony and expanding markets for US goods and services.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22 2019 2:33 utc | 71

b4real "what can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"

There is strong circumstantial evidence for a Deep State. From 1960's assassination of Kennedy . . .

. . . to Iraq:

No less a student of the American political establishment than The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman speculated to a reporter from Haaretz that the Iraq war would not have happened without the machinations of two dozen people inside the Beltway:
It’s the war the neoconservatives marketed. They had an idea to sell when September 11 happened and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. This is not the war the masses demanded. It is war of an elite. I could give you the names of 25 people, all of whom are at this moment within a five block radius of this office, who if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

. . . to Syria:
The whole Syrian escapade might also be attributed to the Deep State. The phony bombing of ISIS, the phony red-line (to justify bombing Syria), the phoney "train and equip" operation to funnel arms to the Jihadis, etc. These were not likely to have been thought up by Obama - but he willingly provided political cover for them. Just as he refused to hold CIA accountable and dismissed NSA spying saying: if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

. . . to present day:
We now see the same neocon asshats that pushed for the disasterous Iraq War being welcomed into the Trump Administration.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22 2019 3:04 utc | 72

@68 ADKC

They are only complementary in the fact that they are on planet earth. They would destroy one another immediately if it were possible.

I mostly like your style, you have been like a breath of fresh air here. You put out a lot of info.

It is late for me, but here is a link to what was going on in Trump HQ on election night. It is an interesting read.

Then tell me again about the people who knew trump was already (s)elected.

I'll read the rest of your post tomorrow.

Posted by: b4real | Feb 22 2019 3:10 utc | 73

@ b4real with the link to GQ article about (s)election night and who wrote
Then tell me again about the people who knew Trump was already (s)elected.
I read the puff piece because I have respected your comments in the past but I do think Trump was (s)elected

I agree that all those folks in the article played their part but posit that they are mostly pawns under puppets...yes, the article wrote of billionaires milling around....BUT

Tell me why there is not a Fortune 500 largest Trust funds but we get this Fortune 500 richest individual myth instead?

Is there infighting at the elite level? The media would have you believe it is the left/right myth instead of God of Mammon fueled cat fighting.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 22 2019 4:26 utc | 74

psycohistorian @74:

all those folks ... played their part

They likely had no special knowledged. They were just doing their job and coming to their own conclusions about what to expect.

Hillary and Trump were the protagonists. If there was a conspiracy to select Trump, few would need to know of it besides these two - as well as a few other trusted top people like Brennan, Clapper, McCain, and maybe Kissinger (who urged MAGA in 2014).

Tell me why ...
Other good questions to ask are:

>> Can a populist outsider really win the Presidency in the US money-based political system?

>> How important would it be to have a popular nationalist as President when attempting to counter the challenge from Russia and China?

>> How strange is it that Trump and the Clintons were close for years? Even their daughters were close (until recently).

>> Why was Trump the only populist among 19 contenders for the Republican nomination?

>> If Russiagate is completely bogus (as far as we can tell, it is) then how could so many top people participate in this ruse? Due to loyalty to Hillary? Her power declined greatly after her loss, her collusion with the DNC, and her having compromised national security with her email server.

>> Why has Trump brought people into his administration that are loyal to his (supposed) enemies: VP Pence (buddy of McCain), William Barr (close to Mueller), Gina Hapel (Brennan's gal at CIA), John Bolton and Elliot Abrams (neocon's were "Never Trump", remember?), etc.

>> Why the heck is Pelosi Speaker again? Why did Trump invite her to the White House to talk about "the Wall" before she was elected Speaker? Doing so gave Pelosi 'street cred' via butting heads with Trump.

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Although we debate what "Deep State" means, the fact is that Zionist neocons have been the primary force in US foreign policy for two decades. They make alliances behind the scenes and they are very sensitive to the fact that Israel needs a protector - at least until she has vanquished all (perceived) enemies in the region. Although Israel tries to play all sides, Zionists simply don't enjoy any where near the influence in Russia and China that they do the West.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22 2019 5:19 utc | 75

Trump outsnookered a very poor field of characterless GOP pretenders in the 2016 promaries and then beat the worst prepared under strategised low energy low personality not to mention female candidate in herstory.

Lightening will not strike twice. Jackrabbit your conspiracy theory is entertaining but as b4real states it is a dead end road. I appreciate that you are not as solidly in Trump's camp as many here who are inexplicably and like all good CT you are generally on solid ground while sinking in quicksand on particulars.

What you call conspiracy is simply the ongoing forward movement of party political interests working through the institutions of governing from administration to administration from Congress to Congress.

Influence peddlers exert influence. Trump needed toadies to back his harebrained schemes so he gave them judges, he gave them tax cuts, he tried to repeal Obamacare.

He walked his own line on foreign policy and immigration along the nativist path that he dug out of the dirt to form and electrify a solid bloc of "fed up" white base males and enough females to just so eke out a victory.

It is one of the stranger occurrences much like Brexit, exhorted and finding a nonsensical base response from enough of the non preferred "fed up" base of aging dying white caucasians seeking to destroy the world on their watch, the most selfish pampered generation in the history of the world aka baby boomers instinctivelly dying in cowardice and despair and wishing to pull the curtain down on everyone along with ourselves soaked to the bone in chemical toxins, plastic, rubbish and our own overproduction of excrement.

I believe at bottom those who hate the US like Trump because he is tearing apart normative US relationship dynamics, pouring his energy into socially and economically destructive ideas, legislation and now the piece de resistance, the national emergency executive order. I grok the hate teh Evil Empire ethos as the negative fascistic expression from the right infects many on the left who have outed themselves as rightists by default, or anarcho libertarians or wtf political fantasia.

You see, "the left is dead" of course is the excuse by aging former lefties who believe they can only rescue humanity after armageddon clears the air of the seven human sins and the few survivours recognise a need to band together in socialist rojava of the nuclear winter. Alas, this too is fantasy as a substitute for action in the present reality of time. Luckily it appears to be a deadend dreamt by dead enders at the end of our lifespand and thus relativeky harmless.

Trump is part of the capitalist imperialist conspiracy and he also stands enough apart from it....too far outside the mainstream expression of globalist banksterism to ever be considered preselected. He is a gangster who found a way to beat back those who were preselected, produced from a disfunctional conservative movement turned nihilist.

The Trump Presidency as an event is right up there with the Kennedy Assassination and the Twin Towers. No wonder we see JR obsessively spinning CT around Trump just as these other inexplicable tragedies (which may have in fact been the result of artful constructions by a few conspirators come to successful fruition out of the countless unknown sea of thousands of other low grade conspiracies that fail) all come with active cottage industrial strength CT attached for fun and profit.

None of it actionable by anyone because there is no way to attack an institional conspiracy woven within the fabric of society. Because the purveyors of CT are unable or unwilling to fight back against the known PTB, the corporations, the financial titans and the system itself, they sit back and express their powerlessness through CT mythologising.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 22 2019 12:40 utc | 76

donkeytale: nothing to see here, just a few butt-hurt lefties spinning CT

LOL. We are not supposed to notice that lefty darling Obama betrayed his base just as Trump has?

The standard establishment-friendly answer as to why populist outsiders betray their principles and their base is that they are convinced/pressured to do so AFTER winning office. But it's much more likely that they are vetted well before they get their Party's nomination. Obama, for example, came from a family with CIA ties and his cabinet was chosen by Citibank. Anyone that thinks TPTB allow the possibility that the office of the President is held by someone that is not on the Deep State team is smoking something.

My "conspiracy theory" is constructed of facts and logic. Few seem willing to address the logic.

That investigations of the Kennedy assassination and 9-11 are flawed is a fact. The conspiracy against Syria is a fact. The White Helmets psyop is a fact. Populist outsider betrayals are a fact. I won't belabor the point but when old lefties are the only ones seeking accountability, we are in a very sad place.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22 2019 15:19 utc | 77

@68 ADKC

You will get no dispute from me that these interests sometimes work together. At the same time, you must admit that at times they work against each other.

It seems like peeps here and elsewhere use the term deep state to refer to what they don't understand. I think most use the term deep state when they are actually referring to the MIC. (Military industrial complex.) Even the MIC fight among themselves at times.

@69 ADKC

""If a theory can't be dis-proven then it must remain a valid theory!"

That is a pretty foolish statement. Silly semantics, I can see why you would say it remains a "theory", however your additon of 'valid' is nonsense and your biases are showing.

@70 ADKC That is a pretty informative article, by Zeusse. Funny thing is it does not have the term 'deep state' in it anywhere. He actually investigated and chronicled individuals and events which can be substantiated.

@71 Jackrabbit

"The guy whose pointing out the power of Party and personality is enslaved by it? LOL."

These are your words at 66:

"We are virtually enslaved by Party and personality."

Then you link to a weekly standard article and cite Friedman as a source?

Also your paragraph that follows " Syria" is not found in the article you cited and has no attribution, so are those your words or do I need to go find them?

Just stop...

@74 Psycohistorian

Hi PH,

If you read the article, it could hardly be described as a puff piece. It reads more like a journalist tasked with an assignment that he really did not want to perform.

Tell me Psycho, what billionaires were present at trump tower that evening?

"Tell me why there is not a Fortune 500 largest Trust funds but we get this Fortune 500 richest individual myth instead?"

That is not my function and I personally do not care.

One thing I fundamentally disagree with you on is that you would take the gross and corrupt proceeds from your god of mammon and use them for some purported good. I believe the gross and corrupt profit should be removed from the system entirely and a more equitable financial system be created that removes debt slavery. Your rants are only paving the way for a new master. Who would you trust to implement your program?

FYI, I don't buy into either the left or right paradigm. What we are experiencing now (I believe and as you mention) is the preface to the end of this financial system and those greedy folks some label as 'deep state' are jockeying for position. It's musical chairs with a twist. When the music stops, the guns are going to come out and some wealthy people are positioning themselves accordingly.

@76 donkeytale

LOL, the fact that you kind of agree with me is going to make me re-think my entire line of reasoning. :) j/k but since I have your attention...Please stop torturing sentences. Your writing has improved greatly, but too many times you try to squeeze too many thoughts into one sentence. I don't frequently share your opinion, but I appreciate the effort you put into your posts and try to follow your train of thought (most times) cuz I do see the potential of your writing.

(e.g. I find this paragraph by you insightful and poignant)

"None of it actionable by anyone because there is no way to attack an institional conspiracy woven within the fabric of society. Because the purveyors of CT are unable or unwilling to fight back against the known PTB, the corporations, the financial titans and the system itself, they sit back and express their powerlessness through CT mythologising."

This is something I think about often, why do people accept others rule. It seems everyone is waiting for a hero, the next MLK or Malcolm to lead them out of the darkness. Nature or nurture? It's gotta be nurture...

@Anybody else who wandered back here....

Trump was obviously not expected to win the election in 16. Yet some would push a view that it was all pre-arranged but kept secret from those who could only be most deeply involved in such an endeavor.

I find this train of thought to be both lazy and harmful. Problem solved, "the deep state did it". With this declaration you have made the problem unsolvable because you have created an enemy you can neither identify nor touch. You have made them huuuuuuuge and ustoppable when the proper subpoenas would readily make motives apparent.


Posted by: b4real | Feb 22 2019 15:56 utc | 78

What President, including Trump, hasn't "disappointed" the base at various times?

As long as we have some form of constitutional separation of powers, filibuster rules in the Senate and some form of divided govt it is inescapable for a president to not be able to deliver on all or even most of his campaign promises.

Besides, was Obama elected by a leftist "base"? I recall in 2008 he ran a centrist campaign not a populist one. He won votes across the political spectrum including much of the now Trump base.

His fantasy was he could make the GOP and Demotards compromise enough to do what was right by the country. Remember, "There is no blue Amrikkka there is no red Amerikkka there is United States of Amerikkka?" That isnt populist rhetoric. If anything, Obama was a slightly to the left of center left of Clinton Dem who ran and governed as a centrist always trying to compromise with a GOP who stated from the get-go their only desire was to defeat Obama at every turn and boot him out of office asap.

That was also Trump's main point of agreement with the GOP. "I will overturn everything Obama accomplished. " Yep including, taking away poor peoples healthcare (medicaid reduction or block grants which failed) the Iran nuclear deal, etc and all this can be spun as a continuation of the deep state? It can and you are but it's only accurate when you squint your eyes and close your ears to all the facts instead of just the ones that support your theory.

It is disingenuous of butthurt lefties to still cling to this huge disappointment from ten years ago when we weren't truly his base or his main audience in the first place. We just wanted Bush/Cheney neocons out primarily.

IMHO, ideologically and historically, Obama was to the left wing what Nixon was to the right wing. The compromiser who opened the door a crack for those succeeding him to push the agenda further left (Obama to Sanders, AOC, Gabbard, Omar et hopes) or further right (Nixon to Reagan to Trump).

Obviously, the right has been much more successful at a higher level to date. Better organized, better funded and smarter tactically. Citizens United.

Yet Sanders invented the $27 donation as a counter to CU....

There is definitely a logic to what you are promoting and I agree with you in the general sense of all grand conspiracy theories, which ride on an internal logic supported by [some] facts, or at least interpretations of what the facts mean, but the only grand conspiracy that can be acknowledged and potentially defeated, imo, is the globalist system itself.

The conspiracy is in the institutions.

But carry on. I see value in your work JR, Srsly. You arent a Trump, Putin or China kool-aid drinker and I appreciate that for sure. Your theory provides context and points of departure from generally accepted dogma. And dogma reduction is always welcome, at least by me.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 22 2019 16:12 utc | 79

b4real. Thanks. Today Im on limited time and rushing out thoughts and ideas haphazardly then pushing "post". Not good for my writing reputation, such as it is. Plus sometimes I'm on and sometimes I'm off. I recognise that.

When you see my writing appear to be improved is when I actually have a clue, I take the time to edit, reconsider, erase, start over etc. the real process of a real writer, iow.

Generally only on the weekends when my wife is out of the house and it's just me and Fido....who is also a democratic socialist....

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 22 2019 16:23 utc | 80

A real writer which of course I dont take myself to be. The arrogance and know it allness that infects my style would be replaced by my real life humbleness if I were a real and good writer....

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 22 2019 16:33 utc | 81


"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, their yours."

Richard Bach

I think you have a lot of potential.


Posted by: b4real | Feb 22 2019 16:54 utc | 82

b4real @78

You argue by nitpick while ignoring the bigger picture:

In my statement: "We are virtually enslaved by Party and personality", the "we" is meant to mean society in general, not me and a few other individuals. I think most people would read it the way I intended. Perhaps English is not your first language?

You complain that "" Syria" is not found in the article". Well yes, because I wrote the "to Syria" part. Funny that you don't seem to object to the POINT MADE but only want to nitpick.

"Just stop." Waiving away after nitpicking. Classic obfuscation.

Big Picture
USA was surprised by Russia's protecting their interests in Syria and Ukraine. Until that point, Russia was expected to eventually join the West; but with those actions, it became clear that Russia's participation in SCO was a real threat to AZEmpire's global hegemony.

Kissinger wrote an Op-Ed in August 2014 that urged a strengthened US to counter Russia-China:

Even as the lessons of challenging decades are examined, the affirmation of America's exceptional nature must be sustained. History offers no respite to countries that set aside their sense of identity in favor of a seemingly less arduous course.
Ten months later, Trump entered the Republican primary race touting MAGA.

Hillary Clinton is a poor choice as a MAGA nationalist. She just is. She has way too much baggage. President pantsuit wouldn't inspire the troops and as a former Obama Administration official, she wouldn't be able to "turn the page" on the Obama years or play "good cop" to the Deep State's bad cop in an effort to bring Russia back into the Western fold (which I believe is exactly what happened).

Also: Obama's family is connected to the CIA and his cabinet was largely chosen by ex-Clinton Administration officials at Citibank. How does this vie with Obama as a populist ("Yes We Can!") outsider bringing "Change You Can Believe In"?

Note: I've actually explained this 'big picture' several times at MoA. ADKC is supportive because he's seen my prior comments and understands the logic.

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Now, I'll turn to the heart of your complaint:

Trump was obviously not expected to win the election in 16. Yet some would push a view that it was all pre-arranged but kept secret from those who could only be most deeply involved in such an endeavor.

I find this train of thought to be both lazy and harmful. Problem solved, "the deep state did it". With this declaration you have made the problem unsolvable because you have created an enemy you can neither identify nor touch. You have made them huuuuuuuge and ustoppable when the proper subpoenas would readily make motives apparent.

1) So as long as everything that is expected occurs, there are no conspiracies?

Why do you think dozens of mid-level people have to be involved/informed? This notion is a red-herring. Trump and Hillary themselves could "arrange" for a Trump win. Only a few other powerful people are needed to approve of Trump's election and push the Russiagate meme. People such as: McCain, Brennan, Mueller, Comey, Clapper.

2) When the point is to revive American patriotism, a come-from-behind win against a complacent, 'globalist' establishment is perfect.

3) You seem to accept that there is a "Deep State" but reject the possibility that they would conspire, or approve of a conspiracy, to elect Trump. But isn't it the nature of the 'Deep State' to conspire?

4) "The Deep State did it." You are again ignoring the big picture. And the Deep State would not see this as a crime but as a necessary response to the challenge from Russia and China.

Also, I'm not using "Deep State" to absolve responsibility. I'm using it to explain how a populist outsider could win in an electoral system that makes that impossible and the reason why: as a response to the challenge posed by the Russia-China alliance.

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Do you ever ask yourself: why did Trump run at all? Trump may be narcissistic but he is not foolishly so. I don't think ANY very wealthy person would put themselves in a position of angering the establishment or the 'Deep State' by seeking the Presidency without the backing of powerful 'Deep State' actors. The pretense that Trump did so is shown to be false when we see who Trump has brought into his administration - friends and associates of his (supposed) Deep State enemies.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22 2019 18:05 utc | 83


What President, including Trump, hasn't "disappointed" the base at various times?

But these populist outsiders are a different breed. They are trusted for who they are. And their betrayals are profound.

Besides, was Obama elected by a leftist "base"?

His populism was signaled by "YES WE CAN" and his outsider creed was reinforced by "Change You Can Believe In". Lefties bought that message hook line and sinker, just as Trump supporters have bought Trump's MAGA messaging.

We just wanted Bush/Cheney neocons out

Obama promised much more than that. He proved to be a stooge whose public persona was used as cover.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22 2019 18:24 utc | 84

@78 b4real quote "@Anybody else who wandered back here....

Trump was obviously not expected to win the election in 16. Yet some would push a view that it was all pre-arranged but kept secret from those who could only be most deeply involved in such an endeavor. I find this train of thought to be both lazy and harmful. Problem solved, "the deep state did it"."

you have a good point.. i agree with you.. however, you have taken a lot of ink to get here, lol.. what is the desiderata quote i am looking for?

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story."

why not be on good terms with jackrabbit, regardless of your different view on matters here?

Posted by: james | Feb 22 2019 18:29 utc | 85

@83 Jackrabbit

If you want to call pointing out your errors and inconsistencies nit-picking feel free. Every rebuttal you post reinforces my position.

Let me nitpick you some more:

You wrote: "In my statement: "We are virtually enslaved by Party and personality", the "we" is meant to mean society in general, not me and a few other individuals."

So now you are saying that your "we" does not include you?

You wrote: " Just as he refused to hold CIA accountable and dismissed NSA spying saying: if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

Link please or are you pulling this quote out of thin air? Or is this another instance where I am supposed to infer your supposed meaning from what you literally wrote?

My time does have some value Jackrabbit, and to invest it in someone who has repeatedly proven themselves error prone and inconsistent is just not how I choose to spend it.

I have made my position clear and every time you respond, it is another error prone, easily debunked waste of space. Yet you manage to somehow surmise this: "3) You seem to accept that there is a "Deep State"

Are you trying to put words in my mouth or is your comprehension that seriously challenged?

I could "nitpick" you some more and may do so in the future should your posts get too egregious.

In the meantime, I appreciate you being able to keep a civil tongue in your head throughout this discourse. I didn't think you would be able to, so I commend you on your progress.


Posted by: b4real | Feb 22 2019 19:05 utc | 86

There's just too much about the 2016 election and the aftermath that doesn't make sense unless Trump was meant to win. Just off the top of my head (not meant to be a complete list):

>> Hillary conspires with the DNC then brings disgraced Debra Wasserman-Shultz into her campaign?

>> Hillary - knowing that she wants to run for President - gives a speech to Goldman Sacks for $750,000, then resists calls for raising the minimum wage;

>> The Republican establishment preferring Hillary over a billionaire LOL!

>> Trump brings friends and associates of his (supposed) enemies into his administration;

>> Obama having also been a similarly false populist that served Deep State interests;

>> DNC not allowing FBI to investigate the supposed "hack" of their systems?

>> Russiagate: nothing more than neo-McCarthyism and a means to settle scores against Wikileaks and Flynn;

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22 2019 19:07 utc | 87

@85 James

I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. ;)


Posted by: b4real | Feb 22 2019 19:26 utc | 88

@ b4real with their response to my comment

The call out for the Fortune 500 largest trust funds was to say that we don't know who owns the world but only that it is probably not the billionaires in the GQ story.

B4real wrote
One thing I fundamentally disagree with you on is that you would take the gross and corrupt proceeds from your god of mammon and use them for some purported good. I believe the gross and corrupt profit should be removed from the system entirely and a more equitable financial system be created that removes debt slavery. Your rants are only paving the way for a new master. Who would you trust to implement your program?
You evidently don't read many of my comments. My goal is to replace private finance with public which remove the incentives for your "I believe the gross and corrupt profit should be removed from the system entirely and a more equitable financial system be created that removes debt slavery."
As to who I would trust to run the public tools of finance, anyone but those who believe that the elite who own private finance make good societal decisions. There is NO visibility or societal input into decisions that are made today and any improvement there is what public governance is suppose to provide. If government is not working, fix government so it works for the masses instead of the few

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 22 2019 19:55 utc | 89

@89 Psychohistorian,

Yeah, maybe for the last six months or so, I've skipped the majority of your stuff. Unless, I am not understanding you, what we disagree upon, is that I believe that all debt is bad and compound interest should not be allowed; and you believe in a kinder gentler version of the credit based system we have today in which the profits do not go to a private individual/group but to (?)govt agency for the public good?

How far off am I?



Posted by: b4real | Feb 22 2019 20:28 utc | 90

I watched a speech/news conference in which Obama said: "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

Obama's defense of NSA is well known:

As a senator, Obama condemned the Patriot Act for violating the rights of American citizens. . . .

[Yet] In 2011, Obama signed a four-year renewal of the Patriot Act ... [and] Obama initially defended NSA mass surveillance programs when they were first leaked [by Snowden in June 2013]

[Then] In August 2013, Obama argued that his administration was already in the process of reviewing the NSA surveillance programs when they were leaked by Snowden. [bullshit!]

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22 2019 21:54 utc | 91

@88 b4real... okay, lets start with the first part first, lol...

Posted by: james | Feb 22 2019 22:15 utc | 92

@ b4real who has missed my rants about usury

Usury is a private finance based concept that is as sick as the whole elite nature of global private finance.

I have written extensively in comments about the need for investment with risk management that should be the sole responsibility of government .......not credit based system built under private finance to feed private finance and not the public good.

All that said, folks keep asking where do we start and I posit that making finance public with all that entails shold be first and then work on all the other infrastructure that is built/designed/maintained with the profit narrative at the center instead of doing the best that we know how at this time for the public commons narrative.....the example that comes to mind is the evolution of sewage treatment that b linked to the history of in London....its all about money and not about doing the right thing for the yes, we have to re-invent lots of public services to take the profit motive out and insert best for the species instead.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 23 2019 0:45 utc | 93

Do you know William Cobbett's 'Paper against Gold'?

Posted by: bevin | Feb 23 2019 1:06 utc | 94

@ bevin who asked if I know William Cobbett's 'Paper against Gold'

I just looked it up and will read over the weekend....I may not finish if nonplused

After a while one does not need further reinforcement of the core understandings about how the world works but it is always good to read others "enlightened" perspective for pearls of wisdom.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 23 2019 1:16 utc | 95

ot - whatever the paper on gold is, gold is an insane way of storing money/wealth.. it kills the one time it made sense.. not now.. until we have some type of public money system, we are going to have to slough thru all these different viewpoints..

Posted by: james | Feb 23 2019 1:26 utc | 96

@92 Psychohistorian

I am understanding you a little more clearly. I always thought you were half right, but perhaps our differing opinions may be based on verbiage.

Are you able to provide any examples of "investment with risk management that should be the sole responsibility of government"?



Posted by: b4real | Feb 23 2019 1:28 utc | 97

@ bevin who asked for examples of "investment with risk management that should be the sole responsibility of government"

I see two basic types.

The first is easy and there are lots of examples. I continue to use Tacoma Power as my example of what we might want to call commons infrastructure socialism because that is where I grew up and knew a bit about because my uncle was an engineer for them. I don't say Tacoma Power is perfect but is an example of NON-PROFIT provision of human needs and there are lots of others that would operate a whole lot better if the profit narrative of our social structure were to go away.

Let me set the context for the second type of investment which is for the production/distribution/service/etc of all else that is not decided by the public to be part of the first type above. The example I always use even though I don't drink anymore is Macallan single malt scotch. I don't expect my government to produce such an item for my consumption but I still believe it should exist so how does the initial investment for the product come about? And how are all those organizations that provide alternative goods and services managed?
The second is hard because the West forbids non usury arrangements but I think that China is trying such. If one looks aback at the history of corporations in the US they will see that they were early on tightly authorized to exist and regulated about what they did. (see video series called The Corporation). The early days of Corporations would be my starting point for the management issue.
As for funding one has to get very big picture and tied into other changes. Education in my mind should be free up to a point and then be negotiated to include appropriate social payback. Funds to develop/run businesses that provide product of service would go through some risk management process and maybe like China is testing out, assessment of the social scores of the individual(s) involved.

In a truly evolving world of these sort things would also go in and out of the first type as the public deems appropriate.......change is the only constant; manage to it and make it your friend.

How about providing your thoughts....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 23 2019 2:08 utc | 98

JR @ 84 - I don't disagree with most of your opinions wrt Obama or Trump. Trump used a populist platform shrewdly. And as you say he was obviously a fake populist.

However, Obama was not a populist at all, did not run as a populist and can only be considered an outsider because of his ethnicity.

For instance, Obama, a US Senator from Illinois, obtained a coveted speaking slot at the 2004 Dem Convention where he was introduced as a rising star largely on his anti-Iraq war stance. This promotion by the party insiders also makes him an insider by definition.

Hilliary began the 2008 campaign with the super delegate votes. However as soon as Obama began to turn his superiour retail political skills (just as Trump would also do to Hapless Hillary in the general election 8 years later) into primary victories those same super delegates, who represent the very essence of party insiderism, quickly and easily began peeling off into Obama's camp. Obama was easily very acceptable to the Dem insiders once he demonstrated he would trounce Hillary at the polls.

By the California primary (I believe without googling) he had the majority of them in his pocket and the nomination was more or less wrapped up.

Obama's "base" was much too broad to be defined as "populist." His base were blacks, latinos and limousine liberals, the well to do urban professionals, younger voters, as
a voting class none of whom can be considered "populist" as that term applies historically in the US. He was also able to stitch together the white underclass votes (the essential "populist" base historically) and then hold them through his re-election by the very good electoral fortune of the severe recession which hit right before the election and was blamed on Bush and the GOP.

But the recession actually hit late in the campaign and economic populism was not truly a part of Obama's campaign at all. His deal was more on the fairness and meritocratic side, a message of inclusion.

Obama co-opted radical slogans from the 70s but mainstreamed them in an effort at gaining mass appeal in response to the Bush/Cheney years. Sure, maybe butthurt lefties fell for mere slogans to their later chagrin.

And for the butthurt lefties who all went home and sat on their hands after Obama won....congratulations for becoming inactivists. That's not on Obama. That's on the butthurt lefties themselves. Hopefully you wont make that mistake again. It appears Trump has invigorated a more activist left and the Dems + independents have trended leftier in response to Trump.

Bernie is much more representative of populism than Obama. He expresses rage in support for the working classes against the bigshots, he presents divisiveness of the leftist bent (class warfare against the upper classes). He doesnt take corporate money or take his financial advice from Wall Street. His message isn't racist but his one weakness has been an inability to connect in the minourity communities.

Perhaps you were faked out by Obama's rhetoric against Trump when at the end of his second term he tried to redefine and improbably own the populism mantle for himself. Obama's was merely a rhetorical trick not substantive. He was trying to subtly warn the public against Trump's fake populism but as so often, Obama was too subtle and not honest.

His definition of populism was in fact still an all inclusive progressivism. Big tentism, the exact opposite of populism

Obama was basically an ethnic Hillary, slightly younger and more to the left, who just so happened to be against the War in Iraq and this is what animated most liberal voters in fact to vote Democratic in 2008.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 23 2019 15:02 utc | 99

@97 Psychohistorian

Well first, it wasn't bevin asking....

My first thought is that I need more information, but I do like the not-for-profit aspect of Tacoma Power. (I'll look into how it is structured later) I would lean toward all necessary utilities (i.e. water, trash, electric, gas, data) should be not for profit entities.

In regard to the financial system, I don't think it is possible for any change of this magnitude to be implemented over an existing system and will unfortunately only become viable after the collapse of the current system.

I am not well-versed in MMT, (I think it is voodoo and more akin to a religion than a science) but I would bar the monetization of money. IOW, you can't charge people for money, no interest should be allowed to accrue. I think a flat fee combined with a really flexible repayment plan and stringent enforcement of the rules, (e.g. you can only have one loan at a time....{told you i'm not a mmt guy, but smarter peeps can work out details} could be a starting point.

The bad side of this type of system is that there is a danger of it becoming a bureacratic nightmare if there are too many rules and exceptions.

On education, I believe (quite similar to you) that schooling should be free and available as long as students are able to make the grade. Costs could be recovered via a civil service program which also pays a livable wage.

I think the best idea of our future lies in old episodes of the Jetsons, because automation is coming, and it is going to become either accomodation or destruction of the useless eaters.

On corporations you are quite correct and this is somethig more people should be aware of. Corporations were initially allowed only for limited purposes and a limited time. The best example I have heard is when a bridge needed to be replaced at a popular crossing. A corp was allowed to be formed, to get the funding, arrange construction and make sure project was completed satisfactorily. Once these conditions had been met, the corporation would be dissolved. That Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad supreme court decision really needs to be re-visited.


Posted by: b4real | Feb 23 2019 15:46 utc | 100

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