Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 12, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-26

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Turkey called on Russia to end the Syrian operation but to no avail. The Syrian Army continues to make some progress. This will be slow and long fight with many interruptions.

See also Whitney Webb: Another Whistleblower Bites the Dust as The Intercept Adds a Third Notch to Its Burn Belt

See also Gareth Porter: Bolton Is Spinning Israeli ‘Intelligence’ to Push for War Against Iran

Other issues:

On Friday the Marco Rubio clownish puppet in Venezuela called for more demonstrations:

Guaido called for a national demonstration on Saturday to reject measures taken by the Supreme Court against opposition lawmakers.
"We're not going to stop, we're going to stay in the streets. This is a process that will end with Venezuela's liberty."

On Saturday the Random Guyaidó spoke to demonstrators in Caracas. This was in the richer part of the city, the oppositions stronghold.

The AP's report first version:

A modest crowd of Venezuelans has taken to the streets to show support for the opposition-led congress which has come under increasing pressure from the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
Guaidó on Saturday addressed roughly 1,000 supporters gathered in Caracas, reflecting both fear and demoralization among supporters after the attempted military rebellion.

AP later published a revised version:

Meanwhile, noticeably diminished crowds at opposition protests reflected a growing fear and demoralization that has permeated Guaidó's ranks of supporters after he led a failed military uprising on April 30. In previous months, thousands of demonstrators heeded his calls to protest.

On Saturday, a modest crowd of several hundred Venezuelans gathered in the capital of Caracas.

Guaidó wants foreign military support:

He announced Saturday a forthcoming meeting with U.S. military officials and said that new actions taken by the opposition will seek to "achieve the necessary pressure" to put an end to the Bolivarian revolution launched 20 years ago by the late socialist President Hugo Chávez.

Guaidó has said that as Venezuela's rightful leader he reserves the right to invite foreign military actions in the same way independence hero Simon Bolivar hired 5,000 British mercenaries to liberate South America from Spain. He says any such help should be considered "cooperation," instead of intervention, something he has accused Maduro of allowing in the form of military and intelligence support from allies Cuba and Russia.


Pompous snowflakes:

Macron driven along the Champs Elysee in a large convoy, smiling and waving to the crowd lining the street. The crowd? (vid)

BBC - Andrew Neil and Ben Shapiro on abortion, Obama and Middle East (vid, start at ~10min); When diligently questioned, Shapiro gives up and ends the interview.

New Yorker - Michael Oren Cuts Short a Conversation About Israel;

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on May 12, 2019 at 12:53 UTC | Permalink

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Regarding the “Radek” joke, capitalism collapses all the time. The capitalists loot the government (re-impoverishing the laborers) or attack another country and “all is well again”.

So, I wonder who wrote the joke, when, and for what purpose. And wonder whether the people who heard it understood its flaw.


I hear people say “socialism’s failed everywhere it's been tried”. The myopia (ignoring all of Europe and America itself from 1933-80, ignoring all the failed capitalist banana republics) is astounding. The truth is that capitalism has failed everywhere it’s been tried, too. The only “successes” are those nations that “blossomed” into bloody empires. And most of those fail, too.

Posted by: oglalla | May 13 2019 1:42 utc | 101

@94 Don Bacon

I remember in one of the booms - late 70's early 80s maybe - we saw a study by Dresser Atlas that said even if the oil price collapsed today it would take a year and a half for the drilling contracts and the whole industry to wind down.

A few months later the oil industry crashed overnight and within 10 days - 10 days! - there was no work for anyone. All those Rust Belt station wagons, that workers had been sleeping in, drove back north.

You can stop any boom in a heartbeat, and if the Dow Jones doesn't convince you, the oil patch damn sure will ;)

Posted by: Grieved | May 13 2019 1:46 utc | 102

@81 hoarsewhisperer.. well, some folks have a lot more faith in trump then me personally... i think the verdict on trump at this point is crystal clear and it isn't a good one... but we can agree to disagree.. cheers james

Posted by: james | May 13 2019 1:55 utc | 103

:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //
Zero Hedge -- Sun, 05/12/2019
UAE Says Four Commercial Ships Targeted By "Sabotage" After Reports Of Tanker Explosions

Something odd took place in the Persian Gulf today: early on Sunday, Lebanon's pro-Iran satellite channel Al-Mayadeen, quoting Gulf sources, reported that a series of powerful explosions had struck the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, reportedly targeting seven tankers. State and semi-official media in Iran picked up the report from Al-Mayadeen, which later published the names of vessels it claimed were involved in the incident.
// ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~:

Posted by: blues | May 13 2019 1:56 utc | 104

Those two links featuring Ben Shapiro and Michael Oren still have me shaking my head. I suspect much of "Ben's" outrage was due to his interviewer admitting he'd never heard of him before. Both of these heroes tucked tail and ran from their interviewers in the end. I suspect they wouldn't want to talk about this little example of how the Corporate/Zionist media handles the 'offensive' vs 'defensive' wars and after chanting their standard insults would quickly disappear again.


"Syrian government and allied Russian warplanes have intensified a week-long bombardment of Syria's Idlib province, targeting hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure as tens of thousands of residents fled toward the border with Turkey, activists and monitors in the rebel-held region said. The serial campaign has killed about 100 civilians and put at least 10 hospitals out of service." (Air strikes shatter Idlib truce, Zakaria Zakaria, Washington Post/Reuters/Sydney Morning Herald, 8/5/19)

"Waves of Russian and regime jets and helicopters have poured missiles and barrel bombs onto the enclave in the past week, destroying hospitals and killing scores of civilians." (Civilians, hospitals target of new Assad blitz, Richard Spencer, The Times/The Australian, 8/5/19)

defensive war

"In the course of [Operation] Cast Lead [2008-09], Israel had damaged or destroyed 'everything in its way,' and not in its way, including 58,000 homes, 1,500 factories and workshops, 280 schools and kindergartens, electrical, water, and sewage installations, 190 greenhouse complexes, 80% of agricultural crops, and nearly one-fifth of cultivated land. Whole neighborhoods were laid waste. It also damaged and destroyed 29 ambulances, almost half of Gaza's 122 health facilities (including 15 hospitals), and 45 mosques. By the time it withdrew, the IDF had left behind fully 600,000 tons of rubble and 1,400 corpses, 350 of them children." (Gaza: An Inquest into It's Martyrdom, Norman Finkelstein, 2018, p 127)

Defenders of Holy Israel talk themselves blue in the face about how important it is to "defend" themselves from the Palestinians they have caged up in the world's largest open-air prison camp. They really do regret having to use a wee bit of violence every now and then, but that's all those subhuman squatters understand.

As we see every day, the Corporate/Zionist 'mainstream' media endlessly tells us about the latest horrors done by the awful Venezuelans or Syrians or Russians. Even if they have to sort of invent some of the stories.

No, I think Virgin Ben or the Oren guy would prefer to avoid talking about the Special Right of God's Favorite Thieves and Murderers to slaughter the trespassers on the Tribal Lands.

Middle East Reality Check site

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 13 2019 1:57 utc | 105

It seems that there is discussion about ism stuff that I feel the need to wade in on.

Socialism exists all over the world to some degree or another. Government, by definition, should be socialism but in the West has been captured by the ruling elite. I keep throwing out Tacoma Power as an example of socialism that I learned about growing up.

The US interstate and state highways are mostly socialism as well as a subsidy to the trucking industry over rail and water....
Local water, sewage treatment are other examples of mostly socialism in the US.

Capitalism does not exist, except in theory with the invisible hand BS. Having studied economics, I now see it as a religion, where tomes are created to hide the fact that the lifeblood of Western society is controlled by a historical elite that own global private finance, along with lots of everything else. They make the significant capital directions/investments.....and milk them to death and beyond.

Look at mass transport in the US and the rest of the world. The West is over committed to air transportation just like the over commitment to the single use auto over mass transit that they ripped out when they inculcated the Car Culture. I don't have numbers but I posit that the people miles moved in relation to cost is much higher in the West. Ask yourself why the US has not built ANY high speed trains like all over EU and Asia....and especially China.

Even China has admitted that it is looking for a mixed economy and currently has something like a 80 percent private ownership economy.

The steam roller of the better way that public control over finance that China is offering has created all the spinning plates of conflict as dying private owned empire faces its sunset

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 13 2019 2:02 utc | 106

@62 William Gruff

I like the point you're making. It struck a chord, and I followed the discussions on it through the thread.

On balance, though, it's only the media you're talking about, is it not? I think that actions are not actually moving any more precipitously than before. But there sure are a lot of words. The words, perhaps, have simply inflated because their value has diminished?

Maybe the desperation we're seeing - and I agree we're seeing desperation - is actually just the jitteriness of the mockingbirds trying to calibrate the Wurlitzer, when the real world just turns, and changes to better advantage with every turn? And the leaders don't have daily directives enough to cover all their lapses anymore?

Out here in the news we read, things are pretty calm. I think of the measured presentation of a Jimmy Dore as he fast-forwards through the latest mockingbird media gaffe, deconstructs it, applies reason, and reaches for valuable conclusions.

Maybe we are beginning to see the jitters of the empire. But we don't feel it, because we're too busy seeing how badly it's failing. Is it possible that the Wurlitzer is finally becoming self-aware of these failures too? If so, there's nothing that can be done, because this is history winning, not propaganda. We know the empire is impotent, as well as naked. Even treachery no longer works, because globally all trust is gone. Only the words remain, at fire-sale rates.

I'm not at all sure if my explanation is sound, so please stay focused on this point. If you're right about the jitters - from whatever cause - the mockingbirds themselves should in their desperation describe to us their angst and fears, and unwittingly reveal their dashed hopes and ambitions. Although, except as some players may admit enough real crimes that they actually may be punished, for the most part I suspect we won't much care.

Do the dogs bark louder, if the caravan has moved on with no one left to hear them?

Posted by: Grieved | May 13 2019 2:21 utc | 107

Jackrabbit 59
*Anyone foolish enough to get wagged by donkeys 'tale' is also deserving of scorn*

Are you saying those who response to donkey's asshit ?

Posted by: denk | May 13 2019 2:34 utc | 108

@ Grieved 102
Well yeah, I suppose the fracking thing in west Texas can stop in a heartbeat, but gawd it sure is impressive right now, with huge investments in men and materiel by people who can't be too stupid.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 2:46 utc | 109

A bit ago I saw a headline which really ticked me off, so please pardon this slightly unhinged rant. Background.

William Jefferson Clinton, Barack Hussein Obama, and Hillary Rodham Clinton are all power-loving & money grubbing louts. With the assistance of the Deep State, Zionist Billionaires, and the Corporate/Zionist Media they determined the best way to give Obama his third term was to force the election of Hillary. Because the woman was deeply and justifiably hated throughout the US, they hit on the idea of running her against somebody so horrible she'd look good - at least when compared to him. Their choice of Donald John Trump looked to be a good one, for the man really was awful. Trump played along with the scheme because he could see some good money rolling in from all the free publicity, so with the help of that same Deep State, Zionist Billionaires, and the Corporate/Zionist Media he got the Republican nomination. Since this was all a lark and a joke, on a whim he chose Michael Richard Pence as his VP running mate. Because the incompetence of Hillary was so badly underestimated (as was the degree to which she was despised), the US was saddled with Trump, and one-heartbeat-away backup Pence. Now to that headline:

Christians should prepare to be 'shunned' for their beliefs, Mike Pence warns as he reaffirms Trump administration's anti-abortion stance

And Mr Pence, who has said he would like to see the landmark Roe vs Wade decision overturned, reaffirmed the Trump administration’s anti-abortion stance, saying it stood “without apology for the sanctity of human life”.

Has Pence-the-holy-prig said anything about stopping the US-assisted slaughter in Yemen? Tens of thousands have died there. Pence has been a big cheerleader in Venezuela where US sanctions are killing humans by the hundreds and maybe by the thousands. Then there are the indiscriminate drone murders started by Obama and continued by Trump. (As we all know, those two-legged creatures in Gaza aren't really human, so no "sanctity" to worry about there). Does MRP care? Of course not. Pence is a cold-blooded religious monster who cares nothing about "the sanctity of human life" and everything about jump-starting the Second Coming.

We have a problem with Trump - the man is unfit to be President of the US. But even supposing an impeachment/conviction event was possible, look at what we'd get! Trading down to Pence makes no sense at all to me.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 13 2019 2:54 utc | 110

@109 Don Bacon

It's always impressive. And the people following the money aren't stupid - unless they invest beyond a timeline that they know can pay back. It's a wicked place to lay your trust.

Posted by: Grieved | May 13 2019 2:56 utc | 111

denk @108


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 13 2019 2:56 utc | 112

On abortion, the bible-thumpers are true-to-the-bible mysogonists, dedicated to their attacks on women and women's rights. As a woman said recently, if men got pregnant they would be able to have abortions at JiffyLube.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 3:06 utc | 113

@ Grieved 111
It's a wicked place to lay your trust.
Who said anything about trust? I don't give a damn if they succeed or fail, I just marvel at what they've done.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 3:13 utc | 114

jr 112

Scorn eh ?

During your epic battle with circe about Trump in 2016 [?], I was also 'wagged' to call out your insidious defense of 'the great white hope'.

Lately, I was pleasantly surprised that you've out growned your trumpsters stage and commended you as such.

It wasnt too long ago that you were 'wagged' enough
to engage donkey either.

Dont be such a pompous ass.

Posted by: denk | May 13 2019 3:14 utc | 115

Well, because it's an open thread...

Caitlin Johnstone has written up a deconstruction of what the hip rich hope for - immortality. Bezos is the subject of her latest article, and he reveals what he hopes for. Johnstone reveals how wrong he is. He will make a Faustian deal, and come to no good end - destroying the innocent along the way of course, because that's how the rich and the wrong roll:
Bezos Reveals His Ugly Vision For The World He’s Trying To Rule

Caitlin first quotes Julian Assange explaining how the rich think they can live forever:

“I know from our sources deep inside those Silicon Valley institutions, they genuinely believe that they are going to produce artificial intelligences that are so powerful, relatively soon, that people will have their brains digitized, uploaded on these artificial intelligences, and live forever in a simulation, therefore will have eternal life,” Assange said.

And then she actually puts into coherent words the misunderstanding that underlies all this thinking:

First of all, how stupid do you have to be to overlook the fact that science has virtually no understanding of consciousness and doesn’t even really know what it is? Even if these idiots find a way to upload their neurological patternings onto some AI’s virtual simulation, it’s not like they’d be there to experience it. It would just be a bunch of data running in a computer somewhere, mimicking the personality of a dead person and experienced by no one. People who believe that all there is to them is their dopey mental patterns have not spent any time whatsoever exploring what they are, and have no idea what it is to be human. The fact that anyone would think they could become immortal by digitizing their churning, repetitive personality patterns is crazy, and the fact that they’d want to is even crazier.

Cailtin Johnstone has obvious connection to the eastern teachings on how the mind actually works - as opposed to the clutchings of western theory at straws that are total delusion - and she combines this with self-investigation enough to verify the realities. She is able here to present the false path these people will take the world on, destroying everything good in order to elevate themselves, but ironicallly destroying themselves also, simply from not knowing which way is up.

I never would have tried to put this in words, because there's no common ground without that one key thing she correctly points to as experience, but she has the talent for putting things into words. And frankly, I think her take on this is utterly brilliant.

So, it's shared, for those who may be interested.

Posted by: Grieved | May 13 2019 3:21 utc | 116

With due respect to the utterly brilliant Caitlin Johnstone, come on, living forever, eternal life, is a central tenet of Christianity. It's how they get followers. It's better than immortality, when Christians die they go to a better place!

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 3:33 utc | 117

Grieved @107
"On balance, though, it's only the media you're talking about, is it not? I think that actions are not actually moving any more precipitously than before."
It is not (speaking for myself). There is a total economic blockade of 4 sovereign nations (the third and fourth being Syria and Cuba). I'm sure you know why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor,as does John Bolton, but probably not Trump.

Posted by: Schmoe | May 13 2019 3:37 utc | 118

@117 Eternal life is only for people who die in driverless cars.

Posted by: dh | May 13 2019 3:45 utc | 119

Trump has not started new wars, nor reinforced old ones. Bush did Iraq, Obama sent 70,000 troops to Afghanistan, and destroyed Libya and Syria. Trump has done less. He's killed less people. Progress.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 3:46 utc | 120

@ Grieved #116

Johnstone makes a lot of good points in her essay, but Bezos isn't a moron. He has a degree in electrical engineering, and while it's barely possible he was given that because of tons of bribes from his wealthy parents, it's not really likely. That he has even heard of the O’Neill space habitats suggests to me he once had time to do more than grub for a few extra billion dollars. And Bezos advocating them says something else entirely. The man is either a very shallow thinker for not quickly understanding these things are totally impractical with current and immediately foreseeable technology, or he is even more of a psychopath than Johnstone realizes. In his reading Mr. Bezos has obviously encountered science fiction, and one of those stories could have been this one by Cyril Kornbluth.

Isn't Mr. Bezos starting his very own space program? He could probably buy SpaceX and its monster rockets without breaking a sweat. "We're building a place for YOU!". IMO the necessary technologies to pull off a version of what Kornbluth wrote about exists right now. (NOT working habitats, but the scam) Bezos is already giving the "hype" a trial run:

“If we build this vision, these O’Neill colonies, where does it take us? What does it mean for Earth?” Bezos asked. “Earth ends up zoned, residential, and light industry. It’ll be a beautiful place to live, it’ll be a beautiful place to visit, it’ll be a beautiful place to go to college, and to do some light industry. But heavy industry, polluting industry, all the things that are damaging our planet, those will be done off Earth. We get to have both. We get to keep this unique gem of a planet, which is completely irreplaceable — there is no Plan B. We have to save this planet. And we shouldn’t give up a future of our grandchildren’s grandchildren of dynamism and growth. We can have both.”

Johnstone gets carried away when she dumps on the "upload" of human personalities to silicon brains. This is almost certainly possible, but I can't see it happening in time for today's super-rich. But they have another option. Travel to the distant dream planet/space habitat/wherever will require hibernation techniques. That's just a step away from storing bodies or brains for much longer periods - say in liquid helium or some such. When the "upload" technology becomes available, then the person can be revived in a basically eternal form. Billionaire forever and ever. What's not to like?

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 13 2019 4:15 utc | 121

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, talking about Venezuela: "The president has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do."

In support for this mission the US military has prepared a roadmap for creating a resistance the take out any country that opposes the Empire. Ironically the introduction leads off with the following justification for military action "A desire to resist oppression is implanted in the nature of man." – Tacitus
Support to Resistance:Strategic Purpose and Effectiveness

The US has proven oil reserves of less than 39 billion barrels and consumes 4.3 billion barrels/year/ Time is running out for the Empire.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 13 2019 4:16 utc | 122

I love Bezos. Amazon is a true value, a well-run company that is an excellent addition to our lives.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 4:27 utc | 123

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, talking about Venezuela: "The president has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do."
The secretary of state has no credence on military matters.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 4:31 utc | 124

@ Don Bacon who wrote about Trump
He's killed less people. Progress.
Damned with faint praise I think it is called.

Somehow the face of Trump as a kinder, gentler empire makes me smile....would you buy a used car from this man?

It is interesting how Trump has religious followers that think he projects some advanced form of humanity hidden behind his BS, bulling and perfidy. It reminds me of talking to blind Obama followers that think that because he is black that he had to represent "progress" for humanity.

The Trump axis is trying to slip another private finance shiv to the populace of the West while being cheered on by Trump supporters believing progress.

The West isn't broke, its FIXED and too many can't seem to see the forest for the trees.....I keep asking for examples of humanistic words or actions in Trump's history and yet these folks have faith that progress is occurring in their favor somehow.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 13 2019 4:31 utc | 125

Zachary Smith @110: Because the incompetence of Hillary was so badly underestimated...

I see such reasoning a lot. It seems that it is 'OK' to express this because it appears to be in sympathy with the MSM narrative during 2015 and 2016 that Hillary was destined to win.

But MSM has no problem spinning a false narrative when its in service to the Deep State. There are plenty of examples of this: Iraqi WMDs, White Helmets, etc.

Anyone that care to actually THINK about the 2016 election will grapple with many peculiarities. Sanders sheep-dogging is one that stands out. Sanders pulled punches such as refusing to bring up "character issues" like the Clinton email scandal.

So, why didn't Trump pull punches also? I mean, if Trump was there just to ensure that Hillary won, why did he make a real effort to win? No one would've questioned his making a few big mistakes 'cause he had never ran for office before. Instead, Trump fought hard to win, even talking about Hillary's smearing of women that brought complaints against her husband.

But it was seasoned campaigner Hillary that made the mistakes (!), and they were big ones, among them:

Alienating important voter groups
snubbing and insulting progressives; taking the black vote for granted (including dismissing the Black Lives Matter Movement); calling white's "deplorables";

Not campaigning in the three mid-western states that would decide the election
Her running mate, Tim Kaine, grew up in the Mid-west! She those three states by only a few thousand votes each.

Why would she make such mistakes when (we are told) she desperately wanted to make history as the first women President??

While your scratching you're head about THAT, consider this: Hillary isn't incompetent. Oh, she isn't always right, but she's far from incompetent. Does anyone seriously think she'd have the following that she does among the establishment if she were incompetent?

Perhaps it was TRUMP that was meant to win? (As I've been saying for months.) Why is that so difficult to grok - even for those that participate in alt-media?

The "Hillary's incompetence" canard is paired with the canard of Russiagate as Hillary's way to deflect from her loss. Here again, the silliness is of the canard is easy to see for anyone that is willing to THINK a little: Hillary won the popular vote. So the apparent loss is not the disgrace that some would have you believe.

Isn't it much more likely that Russiagate was pursued because the Deep State wanted to initiate a new McCarthyism after Russia had interfered with the Empire's plans in Syria and had prevented the seizure of Crimea which has strategic Russian military installations?

Now, if we had evidence that the Deep State wanted a MAGA nationalist to be the winner of the 2016 Presidential election Kissinger, then shouldn't a Trump win become our baseline belief? Well, in fact, Kissinger had called for MAGA days after Russia-aligned Donbas rebels had prevailed against Ukraine (August 2014 WSJ Op-Ed). It was needed to meet the challenge from Russia and China to the US hegemonic post-war World Order:

… 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.

Trump was the MAGA candidate and the only populist on the right (in a field of 19 candidates!)

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

I've given my analysis of the 2016 election many times now. It explains a lot. Like Trump as a faux populist and Trump's bringing his supposed enemies into his Administration (Pence, Barr, Bolton, etc.).

There have only been a few objections:

1) The Deep State doesn't care who's President - they will force any President to work with them;

2) US elites often fail to achieve their goals, so it's not surprising that they failed to get Hillary elected. (by Wm Gruff)

3) Hillary was setting herself up to throw the race long before the election
Her glee at the death of Qaddafi and her speeches to Goldman Sachs, among other things were ill-advised for someone that intended to run for President

IMO these counter-arguments are inaccurate and insufficient.

The Deep State does care if its Hillary or Trump. Hillary can not play the nationalist very well. And she doesn't have the respect of the troops (the Empire needs troops that are willing to fight - few would fight for Obama or Hillary).

US elites have actually been very good achieving goals but they are often blind-sided by hubris and greed. That's why they won the Cold War but lost the peace and continued to aid China's "peaceful rise" even after failing to bring Russia 'on side'. Some achievements:Their control and mastery of propaganda is notable (there is STILL no peace movement). And they recognized the challenge from Russia and China and have taken steps to meet that challenge. I will not belabor the point.

As for Hillary's setting up to throw the race long before the election, my response is: 1) she was probably affected by elite group-think that the West had triumphed and would control the world; and 2) I think Hillary did want to be the first female President but the recognition that the West had NOT triumphed meant a change in priorities.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 13 2019 4:33 utc | 126

@ ph 126
That was not one of your best comments. I think you need a night's sleep.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 4:35 utc | 127


Something strange happened or more likely did not happen in the port of Fujairah outside the Strait of Hormuz yesterday. I suspect the fake news was intentionally created by United Arab Emirates and fed to pro-Iranian news organizations. The scheme is similar to the one used by UAE in 2017 to cause the Saudi-Qatari diplomatic crisis. Emirati intelligence services hacked* into Qatari web servers and published a fake story that the Emir of Qatar had said something positive about Iran. This lead Saudi Arabia to cut all relations with Qatar and almost launch an invasion.

The fake news of yesterday's fake attack was first published by Libanese pro-Hezbollah Al Mayadeen TV channel. I believe their eyewitnesses in Fujairah were compromised and fed a fake story of an attack. To make the story more appealing to the Libanese and the pro-Iranian audience fake claims about an attack by American and French airplanes was added.

At first the Fujairah authorities (quite correctly) denied the whole story. Later, when the next phase of this "Gulf of Tonkin" style false-flag was put in motion they claimed that four ships in the roads outside Fujairah were the target of "sabotage".

The whole operation was preceded by US claims of an impending attack by Iran or "Iranian proxies" on US interests. This too may have been part of the well-planned false-flag attack.

I expect the US will today accuse Iran of the "sabotage" attack on Saudi and Emerati ships. Iran has already confirmed that an attack did happen, so they look guilty as hell.

In reality no attack ever happened. At most some pyrotechnic show was arranged on a few Saudi ships. No one was hurt and no real damage was done.


I have collected sources here: Fujairah oil tanker explosions

* For the fake news attack on Qatar, see the Washington Post, July 17, 2017: UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 13 2019 4:44 utc | 128

@ Don Bacon who wrote
@ ph 126
That was not one of your best comments. I think you need a night's sleep.
I called you on your fatuous use of progress connected to Trump and asked for proof of some sort that
1. Trump's version of progress is in humanities best interest (big picture, not body count
2. Trump has a humanistic bone in his body and has shown society such in x, y, and z instances

Respond to my points please and thank you

You also wrote
I love Bezos. Amazon is a true value, a well-run company that is an excellent addition to our lives.
I will let others chew you to pieces over that flatulence but know from previous workmate that his supply chain organization is inhumane/immoral in their treatment of staff.....and we worked together at Koch brothers Georgia Pacific...grin

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 13 2019 5:04 utc | 129


pleasantly surprised that you've out growned your trumpsters stage

I supported the Greens until the last 2-3 weeks of the race and frequently argued that b's support for Sanders was misguided.

When Circe showed up with his Trump hate, it was about the same time that Trump was elected and "Never Trump" people (including neocons) were saying that they would oppose everything that he did. It seemed to me (and others) that it was likely that Circe was associated with these "Never Trump" people.

In May 2017, soon after Trump had bombed Syria with the bogus claim that it was "for the babies" I came to the realization that Trump was a faux populist like Obama had been. I started my blog to make this point because its difficult having to say the same thing over and over here. I described how the faux populist leadership model fits perfectly with USA's inverted totalitarian form of government.

In July 2018 I went further: I wrote about how Trump was SELECTED by the Deep State to win the 2016 Presidential election (see my comment @127 for more). If my reasoning is correct, Trump is illegitimate by virtue of this manipulation. Later, I also wrote about how the Deep State likely had other goals in the 2016 election: to initiate a new McCarthyism and also to 'get' political enemies like Wikileaks and Michael Flynn (who was never forgiven for having said that the Obama Administration had made a "willful decision" to allow the rise of ISIS).

I written of these things many times here over the last two years. Where have you been?

It wasn't too long ago that you were 'wagged' enough to engage donkey ...

I have found it nearly impossible to prevent people from engaging with trolls. I've argued "don't feed the troll" to no avail. People in a "free forum" don't like when others (even long-time contributors) telling them who to engage with. Then there are people that don't read the blog closely so they don't know that someone has been identified as a troll.

So I did engage with donkey and proved, time and time again, how he was trying to play us. In addition, there have been several warnings about donkey's activities on other blogs - similar to what blues tells us @123.

I had hoped that people here - especially those who follow the blog closely - would've learned to be wary of donkey. As for me, I'm frankly tired of pointing out donkey's disinfo. I was glad to see someone else had while also disturbed that Don Bacon had tried to engage positively. My "scorn" is directed at Don's engagement with donkey, not his presence here or his contribution to discussion that don't involve donkey's 'asstrolling'.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 13 2019 5:19 utc | 130

Jack rabbit, Donkey tale, why don't you two animals just get a room. Seriously.

Posted by: jonku | May 13 2019 5:29 utc | 131

Petri Krohn@129

Yes, I've been watching that one too, reeks of spooky bullshit. As in Venezuela, Skripals, etc. they don't really seem to have their shit together either, and the Persians don't seem intimidated or disinclined to take credit.

Thanks for the links, nice ...

A couple recent headlines:

Pompeo Cancels Moscow Trip to Hold Iran Talks in Brussels - Report Sputnik 04:11
US Military Presence in Persian Gulf Has 'Reached Its End' - Iranian Navy Sputnik 01:39

Posted by: Bemildred | May 13 2019 6:39 utc | 132

Posted by: Bemildred | May 13, 2019 2:39:01 AM | 133

EU is not thrilled by Pompeo visit.

“We will be here all day with a busy agenda. So we will see during the day how and if will manage to arrange a meeting. He’s always welcome obviously, but there are no precise plans at the moment,” Mogherini said.

This is unprecedented. The foreign minister crashes a meeting of EU foreign ministers to - presumably - individually threaten them.

Posted by: somebody | May 13 2019 9:06 utc | 133

In other news the US have stopped their resistance to Huawei's 5G network.

And there it is - vulnerabilities have been found in Huawei's equipment because Huawei's equipment has been ripped apart in the hunt for vulnerabilities. It seems that Purdy doesn't want to publicly spell out the obvious conclusion. And so I ask the follow-up question twice. He hesitates and then in a measured tone suggests "all vendors’ products should be evaluated both for back doors and for vulnerabilities and issues with software development - I would be surprised if there weren't issues found with our competitors' products." ... On Sunday, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported that "America no longer requires Germany to ban China's Huawei Group when 5G is introduced," and is "highly satisfied" with the security arrangements proposed by Germany's Federal Network Agency, setting out the standards for 5G "regardless of the provider."

Regardless of the provider - this is the key point for Huawei.

Ten days earlier, the U.S. Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence told an industry conference that "we are going to have to figure out a way in a 5G world that we’re able to manage the risks in a diverse network that includes technology that we can’t trust. You have to presume a dirty network." Sue Gordon was clearly referring to the U.S. failure to secure widespread bans of Huawei equipment. "That’s what we’re going to have to presume about the world."

Purdy brings this up. "The Principal Deputy to the DNI acknowledged the product can be tested for back doors. That’s what takes place in the U.K. and Canada, and it sounds like that’s what’s going to take place in Germany. So that’s a pretty big concession by a senior intelligence official in the United States."

Posted by: somebody | May 13 2019 9:16 utc | 134

@113 Don Bacon

I'm not so sure they would. Whilst there's the bootstrap of "keeping women in their place", I'm fairly certain that the same rules would apply to men.

Because having kids ties you up and slows you down. When you're single, you only have to fend for yourself. You're also willing to rough it to some degree. A child, especially a baby changes this. It makes you settle.

There's also the guarantee that you'll be consuming for some time too. From clothes, through consumables to furniture and maybe even a car.

Posted by: Some Random Passer-by | May 13 2019 11:05 utc | 135

Fracking produced a record amount of oil last year and to someone driving through a region where there is a lot of activity it may look like a boom but the truth is, it is a boom not unlike the housing boom that led to the collapse in 2007. The fracking companies have a desperate need for capital as their wells lose seventy percent of their production after the first year and eight-five percent of their production after three. Thanks to artificially low-interest rates that have created demand for the fracking industry's debt, that capital has been available. But fracking companies now have 240 billion in debt that is due in 2023. Ninety percent of that debt is rated B2 or lower. An analysis of 32 mid-sized fracking companies revealed that in last years "boom" those companies had a total negative cash flow of over a billion dollars.
There is a day of reckoning looming for the US fracking industry that will have profound implications for the broader US economy.

Posted by: David | May 13 2019 11:44 utc | 136

Posted by: Some Random Passer-by | May 13, 2019 7:05:40 AM | 136

It is not a male versus female issue.

Neither conservatives nor liberals will win an election on morality with 33 to 33 percent on issues and I guess 33 percent who perceive a lot of shades.

Donald Trump will not nor cannot run on moral issues anyway. Democrats would do well to concentrate on the income and insurance of their voters.

Posted by: somebody | May 13 2019 12:00 utc | 137

add to 139

These are the numbers:

We combined data from the 2013-2017 surveys and found that almost half of Americans see abortion as morally wrong, with only 20% saying it should be totally illegal.

That means that almost three in 10 Americans have the combination of attitudes that is our primary focus: viewing abortion as morally wrong but at the same time believing it should remain legal (at least in some circumstances).

Posted by: somebody | May 13 2019 12:07 utc | 138

@ Posted by: bevin | May 12, 2019 9:01:24 PM | 100

It is very unlikely the USA will desintegrate like the USSR. It social structure is very different.

The most probable scenario is for capitalism to wither away, die by "a thousand cuts". That is because capitalism is, by definition, a very fragmented social system. Capitalist governments can effectively dissapear or being virtually inexistent and the system as a whole is still capable of working; this is true because, contrary to the Soviet system, the government is not the owner of the means of production.

That is why, e.g. the American Government can literally shutdown and, for 99.99% of its people, life goes on as usual. That would be unthinkable in the USSR, where everything orbited around the central government. Somalia literally doesn't have a government -- yet the capitalist system still survives there (essentially, piracy and organized crime). The means of production in capitalism are at the hands of atomized owners who produce and sell in the free market independently, where they engage. That's why the tendency is for vote turnout to fall in the so-called Western Democracies: the politicians are pretty much irrelevant to their daily lives; it is their employers ("boss") who are everything.

But, just because a system collapses one brick at a time doesn't mean it will be less dangerous and violent. Capitalism objectifies the human being, turn society into a permanent bellum omnium contra omnes. The more it declines, the higher the exploitation rate, the more violent conflicts and wars. The Soviet Union is an exception to the rule in this case, not the rule, since it desintegrated suddenly, and virtually in a pacific process. A person who was already an adult in 1991 told me that "nothing happened" when the USSR desintegrated: it literally woked up, turned on the TV and received the news the Union was no more.

Posted by: vk | May 13 2019 13:02 utc | 139

Dow futures down 500 -

Looks like China is retaliating on Trump's trade war.

Posted by: arby | May 13 2019 13:26 utc | 140

Sweden reopens rape case against Julian Assange:

“After reviewing the preliminary investigation carried out so far, I find that there still exist grounds for Julian Assange to be suspected on probable cause of the charge of rape,” Persson said. “It is my assessment that a new questioning of Assange is required.”

I stated here that this was likely to happen while many others dismissed the possibility. I also denounced Craig Murray's position on Swedish extradiction, which effectively (and conveniently) took him out of the Assange camp:

I agree with the Blairites that should a warrant arrive from Sweden that Swedish request should be prioritised for extradition over the US request, not least because rape is much the more serious crime. As the only reason Julian Assange ever claimed asylum was that he saw the Swedish allegations as a ruse to get him into custody for extradition to the US, I would also say that should a warrant from Sweden arrive he should now voluntarily go without further legal resistance

Craig Murray's latest is just as awful: The Re-Opening of the Swedish Assange Case Should Be Welcomed . Murray says:

Julian only entered Ecuadorean political asylum because he feared onward extradition to the USA, not extradition to Sweden.

This is bonkers. Craig must be aware that Assange fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy because an extradition to Sweden - whatever the circumstances that prompt it - will almost certainly result in an easy extradiction to USA.

In comments to Craig's new post, Blissex writes:

Another commenter a few weeks go wrote:

“The reason Assange fought and fled eventually (into political asylum) from the Swedish extradition was because Sweden has a special arrangement with the US which is unusual in normal extradition proceedings. Sweden has an arrangement with the US for “Temporary Surrender”, which means that anyone in Swedish custody who the US wants will be immediately handed over without any real Court process – on the condition that after the US has finished with them they must be sent back to Sweden. This process has been used before and would certainly be used against Assange.

Assange offered to go voluntarily to Sweden IF he was given a guarantee that he would not be surrendered to the US. Sweden refused.”

If he remains in UK, Assange can rely on the British precedent for refusing extradiction for computer crimes. UK imposes restrictions on any extradiction so Sweden or US would have to agree not to charge Assange for other crimes and not to impose the death penalty (and maybe other things as well). But if extradicted to Sweden, those guarantees would apply only to Sweden. Sweden would then be free to extradict to USA (under current US-Sweden arrangements) with the only guarantee being that Assange is returned to Sweden when USA is done with him.

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

We have to assume that Craig Murray has been compromised.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 13 2019 13:36 utc | 141

@ somebody 137 138

The bible-based anti-abortion legislation severly limiting women's choice is currently taking place at the state level.

from LA Times

For years, conservatives in Southern and Midwestern states have been passing laws that restrict women’s access to abortion: mandating women wait as long as 72 hours for the procedure after receiving counseling, banning widely used surgical abortion methods, limiting state Medicaid programs from covering most abortions.
Now they are pursuing a more extreme legal strategy. Emboldened by the rightward tilt of the U.S. Supreme Court, states are passing more severe restrictions and near-total bans in a deliberate attempt to trigger a lawsuit that could push the Supreme Court to overturn its landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, which recognized a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. . .here

As conservatives point out, there is nothing in the US Constitution that protects these rights. In fact I believe that the whole idea that the Constitution provides rights is bogus. There are some rights that are protected, but human rights ought to be basic not dictated by a bunch of rich white guys two hundred years ago. But that's not the prevalent thinking, rather the Supremes will be pushed to decide a woman's rights to her own body.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 14:26 utc | 142

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13, 2019 10:26:33 AM | 142

It is rich against poor. You can bet that women with the information, the means and the will can get abortion anywhere in the United States.

There is no huge cultural war about abortion in Germany, but women have to pay for abortion if there is no medical or criminological (rape) indication UNLESS they prove that they cannot pay.

Posted by: somebody | May 13 2019 14:39 utc | 143

Could be argued that the upcoming EU votes are the mother of all protest votes. Some Random Passer-by @ 38.

Yes, how, why?

The vote for EU MEPs is insignificant in terms of internal UK politics (health care, housing, school fees, etc.) and one could argue that they shouldn’t have taken place at all (exit date 29 March, etc.) So this will be a relatively purist pro vs. anti Brexit vote.

The % pro will be higher, maybe even far higher than expected as:

— ten days to go, more polarisation will grip in

— as usual, the more determined are for change (vs. status quo or ‘lame’ proposals, etc.), and will vote more massively, i.e. pro-Brexit, with unsure ppl etc. not participating - plus: what is the rationale for convincing Remainers to go vote?

— the ‘populist right’ / ‘hard right’ (utterly meaningless terms, except insofar as they designate ppl whom the MSM scorn and consider vile) is always underestimated, because polling generally favors those ordering/conducting the polls, and for other reasons. E.g. French pollsters usually simply add 3 to more % to the National Assembly / Marine Le Pen, rationalising with some obscure guff about ‘weighing’ etc, which is why French polls are a tad more predictive than British ones.

— The MSM has published a lot about ‘Leavers’ regretting their vote, completely ignoring the other side, Remain voters who may have ‘given up’ (> non-participants), or even joined ‘Leave’ ..

What is the upshot, what does it all mean? These pseudo-elections will only serve to as a shoddy barometer of UK public opinion and won’t have any policy consequences of interest or importance that I can discern. Democracy in any case is political key-word marketing, selling an overlord control as ‘the will of the people’ - total BS.

Both the Tories and Labour by now expect huge losses, they will be surprised at the extent. Let them both hit the dust, RIP.

Posted by: Noirette | May 13 2019 14:40 utc | 144

In Germany they use the strange construct of "illegal but not punishable".

Posted by: somebody | May 13 2019 14:40 utc | 145

The Gulf sabotage stories are escalating.
from Al Jazeera--

Saudi Arabia says two of its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in attacks that caused "significant damage" to the vessels. One of the ships was en route to pick up Saudi oil to take to the United States, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday.
The announcement by al-Falih came as the UAE's regional allies condemned the reported sabotage on Sunday of four ships off the coast of the port city of Fujairah. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 14:58 utc | 146

re: Persian Gulf
from US Maritime Administration
US Dept of Transportation
MSCI Advisory
2019-006-Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Bab-el-Mandeb, and Red Sea-Threats to U.S. Interests from Iran
1. Reference: U.S. Maritime Advisory 2019-004.
2. Issue: Reporting indicates heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and interests.
3. Since early May, there is an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 15:11 utc | 147

news report
Pompeo skips Moscow to meet with European officials on Iran
Decision comes a day after Saudi tankers were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz and a week after the secretary of state changed his travel schedule at the last minute due to intelligence suggesting Iran or its proxies were planning an attack against American targets in the Middle East.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 15:16 utc | 148

@141 jackrabbit... yes, you have called most of that correct... however, it is not a given that it plays out as you state.. however, i am not familiar enough with all the in's and out's of it to comment with any authority.. ""et tu, craig?"" states your position clearly...

Posted by: james | May 13 2019 15:58 utc | 149

jr 130

YOu could've cleared things up at 112 !

Posted by: denk | May 13 2019 16:21 utc | 150

Just to add some levity to all the ongoing madness we are witnessing, the latest political weapon here in the UK is the milkshake.

Tommy Robinson has two milkshakes thrown at him in two days

Antifa Attacks Sargon of Akkad With a Milkshake

Posted by: TJ | May 13 2019 16:30 utc | 151

Noirette @144
Your lengthy appraisal of the political situation in the u k has more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese!
It appears to be crafted to deliberately mislead the reader. Very biased and completely lacking in any truth.
It’s much easier and quicker to deceive than it is to pick apart your trap ! so I won’t.
Are you right wing your selve ? Government troll, Atlantic council ?
We’re onece again in critical times ! This is a very important blog. a truth site ! I’d wager there are half dozen or more proxes snuk in on this thread.

Posted by: Mark2 | May 13 2019 16:32 utc | 152

Grieved @116 - Many thanks for the CJ link; seems near-infinite wealth can't cure superficial thinking.
Jrabb @126, 141 - Excellent analyses; I've been following your assertion re: Trump for a while, and going from my own observation of US politics it makes perfect sense to me. "Accidents" like Trump's election just don't happen in the US; this has been painfully obvious since at least 2000. As for Craig Murray, I guess it's understandable, though really disappointing; since he maintains he was the physical recipient of the Podesta/Clinton/DNC material, one can only think he's trying to forestall any bumpy, legal rides in his future in the fallout of Assange's pesecution.
Petri @128 - Thanks for the links; taking all events into consideration, it begins to appear in a suspiciously "convenient" light indeed. The deviousness of these scumbags in drab suits and garish uniforms should never be discounted, nor underestimated.

You really have an awesome bar here, b; cheers ^_^

Posted by: robjira | May 13 2019 17:10 utc | 153

Macron waving to invisible crowds

Posted by: arby | May 13 2019 17:13 utc | 154

arby @154 - yeah, I watched that yesterday; straight outta Monty Python.

Posted by: robjira | May 13 2019 17:19 utc | 155

What i find interesting about DNC leaks and "USB Thumb Drive" theory is that arguments for it are rather weak, vague, inconclusive.

Frankly, there should be no problem for the discourse mongers to face them head on and dismiss on purely technical merit.

However they avoid this issue like imps avoid holy water.


Can it be that all those Intelligence Veterans only published little of arguments and have a lot up their sleeves? And the discourcemongers, knowing what actually happened inside DNC, understand it and refuse taking the bait by dismissing weak arguments made public yet?

If that is not the reason, then why?

Posted by: Arioch | May 13 2019 18:02 utc | 156

In the Syria-OPCW thread, karlof1 linked this Escobar article on the US moves on Iran.
Magnier has this article on the ship bombings

With the US propaganda build up to war with Iran, it was odd that the US did not use this incident and run with it. The two options I can think of, is that Iran hit faster than expected leaving the US flat footed. perhaps the US needs Venezuelan oil before launching its false flag incident to enable war against Iran. The other option is that the warning put a scare into the gulf arabs. Iran version of mutually assured destruction as Escobar terms it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 13 2019 18:29 utc | 157

The dogs of war still not barking.
"Hook said Pompeo, while in Brussels, also discussed reported attacks on several oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Asked if Pompeo was blaming Iran for the attacks, Hook said: “We discussed ... what seemed to be attacks on commercial vessels that were anchored off Fujairah ... we have been requested by the UAE to provide assistance in the investigation, which we are very glad to do.”
Asked if he himself believed there was the possibility of an Iranian role, Hook had no comment."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 13 2019 18:48 utc | 158

@bevin #100
Arguably, the collapse of capitalism was narrowly averted in the 1930s and 1940s by FDR. The United States has had several episodes where capitalism was in deep trouble but was "righted": Andrew Jackson and the 2nd Bank of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt and his trust busting + campaign finance reforms, and FDR with the New Deal (And Glass Steagall, and gold confiscation/repricing and many other things but most importantly World War 2).
In each of these cases, the nation was rescued by a member of the oligarchy who forced the rest of his peers to understand that a change in course was necessary otherwise capitalism would destroy itself (and them).
Where are the Andrew Jacksons and Roosevelts today? If Trump is it, then we're in deep trouble...
As for the Soviet Union: the collapse of the Soviet Union was more a case of overstretch than anything else. The reality is that Leninism (not "true" Communism) took Russia from a 3rd rate power to a high 2nd rate in a single generation, and without the enormous subsidies which the CCP/China enjoyed from the United States.
The swathe of neighboring Baltics and Eastern European nations which Stalin took on as a buffer region after World War 2, some of which were ex-Imperial Russian territories but were never "Russian" ethnically or economically, were simply too expensive to maintain - which the EU is finding out to its dismay today.

Posted by: c1ue | May 13 2019 19:05 utc | 159

@ somebody | May 13, 2019 10:40:56 AM | 145

Re: In Germany they use the strange construct of "illegal but not punishable".

It's not just German jurisprudence that comes up with contrived and convoluted verdicts.

There was a local case in which a police officer shot a man in custody while the man was allegedly "tussling" with another officer in his cell. The officer explained that he'd meant to use his Taser, but mistakenly drew his gun and fired instead.

The local DA predictably let the cop off the hook with this legalistic rationalization: “After careful consideration, I have determined that (the officer’s) shooting of arrestee Brian Riling on March 3, 2019, was neither justified, nor criminal, but was excused.”

It was an "honest mistake"! No harm, no foul!

Posted by: Ort | May 13 2019 19:08 utc | 160

Regarding the u s - Iran, tanker situation
Here in the u k , the main afternoon news lasting one and a half hours, yet not one mention of the tanker incident ! (Radio) have they slapped a ‘D notice ‘ on it ? The silence is deafening ! ‘The dog that did’nt bark’ very similar to the Skripal affair.
Also Pompeo cancels his planned Russia vist to meet E U deligates to discuss tanker/Iran situation . I would suggest this ‘ chainge of plan’ was planned ahead for dramatic affect.
We are witnessing the very beginning of a us false flag like the Skripal affair! We should there for follow this v closely looking for the fresh smoking gun. evidence !!

Posted by: Mark2 | May 13 2019 19:09 utc | 161

To follow up on "true" communism: Marx's vision was an industrialized society which oppresses its work force so much that said work force rebels.
Russia was not an industrial nation in 1917. Neither was China in 1949. North Korea and Vietnam were, in some respects, significantly more industrialized but were bombed to bits by the US in 1950s and 1970s, respectively.
The US today, even were it to become "communist" - isn't really an industrialized nation either.
Of course, prediction is an impossible business; industrial policy in Marx's time was a function of government whereas today it is a function of the multi-national corporation.
Nonetheless, it seems clear that the vision of impoverished workers made angry by the machinations of the capitalists is still valid - only it is globalization which is the mechanism.

Posted by: c1ue | May 13 2019 19:10 utc | 162

I recently learned that the vile Mike Pompeo was a tank commander in the Army.

This explains his diplomatic "technique", to dignify his bumptious proclamations with that term.

Obviously, he's still driving that tank! And he's driving it all around the world, like the Second Coming of General George S. Patton.

Posted by: Ort | May 13 2019 19:13 utc | 163

Pompeo is playing soldier but others will remind him, if necessary, that he represents the State Dept and not the Defense Dept. State is responsible for foreign relations, employing diplomacy. State's motto: Diplomacy in Action.
Defense is responsible for national security, military stuff. (The other guy, Bolton, is an adviser and not a decision maker.) The Pentagon would mightily resent and repel any effort to box in Defense w/o options, and war with Iran is not an attractive option especially with a carrier (which was planned long go) in Iran's bailiwick. As Tehran says, a carrier is not a threat it's a target.
So we can look on as Pompeo makes a childish fool of himself, especially with the adults in Europe. If he meddles in military affairs then we have a true constitutional crisis, and I don't believe Trump and/or Shanahan would put up with it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 20:00 utc | 164

Gruff @ 64

Oh there will be a deal. I'll bet you a drachma on that. And your summation of my comically flawed understanding is itself comically flawed, evidently because you have a comically incomplete lack of understanding of why China and the US need each other...hint: it has zero to do with a fraction of + or - GDP points in either country and everything to do with the dynamics of global capitalism...especially who profits most and how they profit. This is still class based analysis at the end of the day and not the Olympic-style nationalist team event you seem to want to play for some reason, William.

Products produced in China make zillions for shareholders in Apple for instance. These shareholders exist everywhere, and the wealthiest investors make the most from their investments (aka wealth inequality). As we both know even if you may not wish to admit, both China and the US are controlled politically and economically by a tiny sliver of elites who profit mightily from the current global structure. Those elites have interests in both countries. They may even live partially in both countries, or in Russia, Europe, Africa or other parts of the world. Many have private jets and yachts. They can live well pretty much anywhere they want at any time.

Broadly speaking, the global capitalist structure contains both financial and industrial/manufacturing components. Currently, China's macroeconomy benefits more from the latter while the US benefits more from the former. Different stages of capitalist development and all that rot.

But the elites of both countries (and worldwide!) benefit tremendously from the results of the system regardless (yes, at the expense of workers everywhere) without regard to whether China makes products or finances them or whether the sales are consummated in dollars, yuan or drachmas. Thus, there is tremendous pressure on all sides of the upper classes to come to a deal so all profiteers can continue moving along their merry ways screwing over the workers of all countries without having to uproot industries, find new markets for their products, find new companies in which to invest.

Taking on more risk, iow.

Trump sees an imbalance on the manufacturing side and yes there is an imbalance. China sees an imbalance on the financial side and yes there is an imbalance. From a capitalist perspective, Trump is beating his head against the wall of the historical late stage of imperialism. China better understands where they are in the cycle and will play Trump for the fool he is.

But they will make a deal. Watch and see. Because China wants to keep that production in their own countries to keep their workers working and industrialists. And I agree it will be a bad deal for Trump dressed up as a "GREAT DEAL. MAGA."

Posted by: donkeytale | May 13 2019 20:30 utc | 165

Trump beats his head against the wall because the only solution is the very one he's committed to opposing....socialism and/or the welfare state supported by higher taxes. And his solution? racialist, nativist authoritarianism (aka fascism).

Why did all you Trump backers back Trump again?

Posted by: donkeytale | May 13 2019 20:36 utc | 166

And know should read no,
Been a long day sorry.

Posted by: Mark2 | May 13 2019 21:47 utc | 167

Ort @ 163:

Are you sure the information actually said that Pompeous Who Grates was once a "tank commander" and not a "tanked commander"?


Posted by: Jen | May 13 2019 22:08 utc | 168

@ donkeytale 165
But they will make a deal. Watch and see. Because China wants to keep that production in their own countries to keep their workers working and industrialists

from T Rowe Price

“CHEAP MANUFACTURED GOODS AND COPIED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY”. .This is another misconception that no longer describes modern China. As wages have risen, China has become less competitive and has moved out of a range of manufacturing areas. Much of the manufacturing capacity concentrated in Southern China, for example, has been either closed or moved away. China is now moving up the value chain, with a growing amount spent on research and development (R&D) in high-tech areas like artificial intelligence. R&D expenditure has risen to OECD levels of 2%–2.5% of GDP. . .here

China moving up the value chain under its Plan 2025 is what the US wants to stop. The objective is to keep China where it is and get them to agree to it. Of course they won't agree to it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 22:15 utc | 169

R.I.P. Doris Day.
Secret Love was the best clip-clop enhanced musical performance of all time, a tad behind Grofe's On The Trail (Grand Canyon Suite) and Donkey Serenade.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 13 2019 22:32 utc | 170

Pompeo was a bit more than a tank commander, his bio is here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 13 2019 22:34 utc | 171

William Gruff @ 62, Jayc @ 66: Jen @85

Following oil articles on ZeroHedge, their take is that the long chained hydrocarbons that both Iranan Heavy, Venezuelan oil, and Canadian Tar Sands are most suitable for diesel, which they estimate given the current US Sanctions against EVERYBODY will result in a diesel shortage by Christmas. Also reported is that the Koch Jokers have heavy oil refineries sitting partially idle, since there has been too many lawsuits in the US on Canadian Tar Sands. Fracking oil is too light for diesel.

Posted by: Michael | May 13 2019 23:11 utc | 172

Ort @ 163, Don Bacon @ 173:

Looks like part of the Wikipedia entry on Pompeous Who Grates referring to his military service made him somewhat more than a tank commander in the past.

From 1986 when he graduated from West Point to 1991, he served as an Armor Branch Officer with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the 4th Infantry Division, reaching the rank of Captain. The CIA entry might need proper editing to clear that bit about him being a cavalry officer.

Posted by: Jen | May 13 2019 23:38 utc | 173

Don I'm not arguing with you, in fact you are simply confirming the point I'm making. I'm well aware that as China moves into the "higher stages" of capitalism and into imperialism (the highest form of capitalism according to Lenin) they are already off-shoring lower value production and exploiting cheaper labor in less developed parts of the world.

This is Globalism 101 my friend. What I'm saying. All fine and dandy....if you're a globalist and China's elites are globalists. How this makes a better future for the world's oppressed I'm not sure. A more enlightened form of imperialist exploitation I guess. Lol. Zen Buddhist Imperialism with Chinese characteristics.

Also, the jobs I mentioned in my comment above are the higher level jobs US corporation have off-shored to China, such as manufacturing high technology "finished products" such as cell phones, I-pads, laptops, automobiles, motorcycles and so on. I mentioned Apple as an example.

These are the ties that bind the US and China at the corporate level and why a deal will be made because in globalism the governments bow to the corporations end of day.

Posted by: donkeytale | May 14 2019 0:10 utc | 174

@ donkeytale 178
You are slippy-sliding away from your contention that there will be a deal despite the fact that China will not agree to the US terms, which require China to remain stagnant on moving up the value chain so the US can stay paramount.
The fact is that China has a better economic model and they know it in Asia (and Africa too) where the growth is. China will not abandon it for any "deal." And so there will be no way to stop China from accomplishing most of their growth objectives while the US continues to fall behind, wasting vast sums of money on an incapable military.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 14 2019 0:41 utc | 175

donkey is a moron.

Anyone that looks will see its not just "dumb speculation".

Pathetic, once again.

I hope you get the help you need.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 0:41 utc | 176

Mark2. Thanks and no worries. I'm not the grammar police. I'm a grammar criminal.

Posted by: donkeytale | May 14 2019 0:50 utc | 177

Don Bacon, I'm not slippy sliding away at all.You are reaching too deep for a gotcha here. You are missing my point. Sure, of course Trump is unhappy that China is in the bright shiny growth phase of their capitalist development (we were there once too post war and the US was also bright and shiny with great growth, infrastructure investment at home and around Western Europe and Japan, relatively decent income equality, tax fairness etc.) but of course Trump can't stop China's development and the investor class around the world has nothing to gain by him stopping China even if he could. Which he can't. He and his base are delusional.

You obviously believe China (because they have a plan!) will somehow remain just as bright and shiny as they ascend the higher stages of capitalist develpment. OTOH, I believe in the Marxist critique of capitalism.

What I am stating to you is there will be a deal between Trump and China and I'm stating unequivocally the deal will be on China's terms (except for whatever face saving they graciously allow Trump) for a variety of reasons, mostly related to Trump's ignorance and his need for a deal, any deal, to get his fat ass re-elected.

He will simply spin the deal as a win no matter what and his base will buy it just like so many desperate people bought his worthless Trump University real estate training scam.

After all, the tariffs (which started with Trump) are hurting US farmers, consumers/importers of Chinese goods, and US companies who depend on Chinese machine parts... and when Trump folds the tariffs will end and this will look like a win to many who aren't smart enough to see they've been flim-flammed by a master con artist. He created the pain and by merely removing the pain the relief will seem like a win.

Posted by: donkeytale | May 14 2019 1:39 utc | 178

So the meeting in Sochi is between former CIA and former KGB. What could go wrong?

Posted by: thecelticwithinme | May 14 2019 2:03 utc | 179

No proof of Iran involvement, but hey let's blame Iran anyhow.
from Stars and Stripes--

WASHINGTON — An American military team's initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives Sunday to blow large holes in four ships anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. official said Monday.
The official said each ship has a 5- to 10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, and the team's early belief is that the holes were caused by explosive charges. The team of U.S. military experts was sent to investigate the damages at the request of the UAE, but American officials have not provided any details about what exactly happened or any proof as yet about the possible Iranian involvement in the explosions. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 14 2019 2:09 utc | 180

Don Bacon 186
I posted the link to Magnier's take on the bombing @157
The bombing was odd from the start - US having no prepared narrative and the oil kings unsure what to say or do so does not seem like a false flag setup.
I think Trump's US intends war against Iran, but this (most likely fast response from Iran) has caught them flat footed.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 14 2019 2:49 utc | 181

Four ships according to UAE damage control, five according to Magnier. All reports say one explosion was heard. Four to five small attached mines or charges detonated simultaneously by remote control....

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 14 2019 2:53 utc | 182

@188 Peter AU 1

Having now read the Magnier piece, I must say it's a compelling view. I hope it's correct. Escobar's latest piece makes a parallel with N. Korea and suggest that the IRGC now thinks that having a nuclear weapon might make life easier - but we don't know that's the case, and personally I disagree: Iran has chosen a morally governed path with regard to nukes, and will have to remind the US that conventional explosives can still do a lot of damage.

The Iran war must remain below the nuclear threshold. If Magnier is correct - and I hope he is - the resolve of Iran not to bluff, and not to dance around the matter at hand but to confront it head on, should become increasingly apparent, visibly elegant, and ruthlessly effective, over the next 60 days.

Posted by: Grieved | May 14 2019 3:55 utc | 183

@ Grieved who wrote
The Iran war must remain below the nuclear threshold.
The US has used nukes before. The game is now for all the marbles so I would not be shocked to see a nuke used somewhere in a Hail Mary of exerting control....yes, we all know that it would be counter productive but faith leads one to delusion.

I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 14 2019 4:27 utc | 184

Grieved 189
My take on Escobar's piece was that Iran's version of MAD was conventional not nuclear.
The US would not be devastated militarily as Iran would be, but US (and vassals) economy would be devastated as would its sole superpower status.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 14 2019 5:07 utc | 185

jackrabbit.. i posted this on murrays site, along with another comment to ort... but this one is really for you and i thought i would share it here in case you miss it..

jr - i would quibble with you on one point.. the uk is a very dishonourable place at this point in time.. one only has to consider the sentence they have given assange here to know that they are quite capable of playing an evil role when it comes to assange. they do it with russia and the skripal case, they have done it via blair and the iraq war, and on and on it goes.. the uk could easily manipulate the system to screw assange this way and that.. they already have! thinking assange would be safer in the uk is a bit of a pipe dream as i see it... there are no easy paths for assange given the subservience the uk and sweden happily provide the usa... i am not sure you see how little difference it is where assange is at this point... being anywhere near the sphere of the uk or sweden is a bad situation for assange.. one really isn't any better then the other as i see it..

Posted by: james | May 14 2019 7:07 utc | 186

BBC version of Israel targetting human rights activists via What's App voice functions has on the front page "WA discovers surveillance attack. 'An advanced cyber actor' exploited a major flaw...' which everybody will read as "the Russkies", especially in these days where the MSM in Europe have daily reports about 'Fake news and the Russian trolls' because of their supposed influence on the coming European election! As if showering us with Trump news for a longer time than the rest of the news had no influence.
In fact, it is about an Israeli company, but that we won't read on the front page.

Posted by: Mina | May 14 2019 7:14 utc | 187

Sweet irony

donkey badgers Don Bacon who continued to engage despite my objection @59 to his "feeding the troll".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 7:18 utc | 188

james @192: i would quibble with you on one point...

And I would reject your quibble but agree that Assange should leave the UK at the first opportunity.

I think we can agree that the worsts place for Assange is USA. It is simply much more likely that Assange is sent to USA if he is extradited to Sweden.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 7:25 utc | 189

No Jackrabbit I'm not "badgering" Don Bacon. I am responding and providing my considered opinion, FWIW, whereby I agree with him mostly, but question his rose colored view of Chinese capitalism. He may be proven correct in his view that Chinese capitalism will evolve into a kinder gentler form of imperialism at its highest stage of development but the Marxist view of history to which I subscribe indicates something very different in store. I may be wrong but its useful to debate. I enjoy thinking these thoughts about the implications of globalism, researching and trying my best to write them up whether anyone agrees or not. I believe there is a deficit among some of the smart posters here (not you of course) regarding how global capitalism works everywhere to the benefit of the global elites, including in China.

For instance, did you know Apple now has the largest number of its outsourced high-end manufacturing operations in mainland China, more than anywhere else in Asia and more even than in the US?

What you are doing is trolling me because you are butthurt and of course can't argue with my facts and opinions so you simply continue to spin like a top and toss out adhoms in your pathetic little game to get people to ignore me. Whatevs, bro. Here's a quarter, call someone who cares.

Posted by: donkeytale | May 14 2019 13:10 utc | 190

donkey: I'm not "badgering" Don Bacon

You're badgering Don Bacon to agree with the same false equivalence that you've been pushing here for months.

You seek to deflect and diffuse anger over AZ Empire malfeasance.

Chinese and Russian elites are not responsible for the coups/attempted coups and humanitarian disasters in Russia (in the 1990s after end of Cold War), Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela, Palestine, etc.

The AZ Empire seeks global domination and the donkey asstroll carries water for the Empire.

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

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

- Harold Pinter. (2005) Nobel Prize Speech.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 13:56 utc | 191

@189 jr.. okay, thanks... we'll see how this unfolds..

Posted by: james | May 14 2019 16:41 utc | 192

Mike Pompeo appoints Sergei Lavrov to the post of Prime Minister of Russia: Pompeo and Lavrov hold joint press conference in Sochi (vid, skip to 9:35). LOL.

Posted by: S | May 14 2019 18:20 utc | 193

Where are the Boeing trolls to defend the recent release of this audio

“My question to you, as Boeing, is why wouldn’t you say this is the smartest thing to do?” said American Airlines pilot and union official Michael Michaelis on a leaked audio recording of the meeting in November, just after the Lion Air crash. “Say we’re going to do everything we can to protect that traveling public in accordance with what our pilots unions are telling us … These guys didn’t even know the damn system was on the airplane, nor did anybody else.”
People are not in jail for the murders that followed because the West lives under the God of Mammon religion that has brainwashed all into zombies.

I have no interest in flying on anything with Boeing's name on it because the profit evil surely spread into parts for all their other airplanes. It is a point any serious journalist would pursue but no MSM folk will pay/ask you for it.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 15 2019 1:06 utc | 194

S @ 193:

I'm sure Lord Vlademort aka the Russian President with his rich sense of humour would find that news quite funny.

He'll call Dmitri Medvedev on the phone and tell him, "Dima, I have bad news for you ... Serzha has replaced you as Prime Minister ... no, no, that wasn't my decision, it was the decision of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo ... and these American partners of ours accuse us of meddling in their politics!"

Then they'll both guffaw and later congratulate Lavrov on his sudden rise to power.

Posted by: Jen | May 15 2019 1:46 utc | 195

lol - yes, thanks S for sharing that with us.. i 2nd jens comment.. lavrov must have gotten a kick out of his new position too! it's a wonder pompeo knew whether he was in russia or iran for that matter... thanks for sharing.. listening to pompeo talk - it is all the tired rhetoric...nothing ever changes with these zombies.. i may as well be watching night of the living dead... pompeo is straight out of that movie!

Posted by: james | May 15 2019 1:54 utc | 196

I didn't provide source for the above and I won't for the below...because
“Nominal GDP growth over the past five years would have been negative if U.S. public debt had not increased,” said Gundlach. “One thing everybody seems to miss when they look at these GDP numbers ... they seem to not understand that the growth in the GDP it looks pretty good on the screen is really based exclusively on debt - government debt, also corporate debt and even now some growth in mortgage debt.”
The US economy has collapsed of its own weight but is shown as nominal growth by ongoing debt fiction. China and Russia are trying hard not to let the Western drunken asshole with the punch bowl do too much damage on the way to passing out.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 15 2019 1:54 utc | 197

at this point it's ludicrous to state that murray has been compromised, especially if you are relying on the uk to protect assange. you say there's precedent, what was the precedent for keeping assange locked in the embassy for 7 years, or setting up the whole skripal farce, or keeping the swedes from dropping the investigation in the first place? we will only know what the easiest way to extradite assange to the u.s. when we see the u.s. reaction, if they support keeping in the uk they will argue against the swedes.

Posted by: pretzelattacks | May 15 2019 3:14 utc | 198

@ Don Bacon with the love of Amazon

Below is a link to a techie article that is generally praising Amazon's development practices

HP use to be a great company, like Boeing, etc.
The take away quote
The lack of transfer pricing means that teams are generally focused on making better services, not on keeping track of funny money. Resource usage is tracked by the finance team who looks for spikes and requests explanations or optimizations.
The bean counters are not in control of this area and it speaks to its success.

And Don, I don't want to live in a Bezos, or any other individual led world that is structured on the God of Mammon (profit/usury based) religion

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 15 2019 3:22 utc | 199

pretzelattacks @198

It is almost certain that Craig Murray is aware of the danger that Assange faces if placed in Swedish custody. In which case, "compromised" is being kind. Murray's blog posts, which attempt to convince his readers to accept extradition to Sweden, suggest that he may be a willing accomplice to a future extradition to USA.

Here is a good summary of the legal hurdles to extradition from UK to US

In many cases, the home secretary in the UK, and not a judge, is the final decision-maker on extradition. At each level, judges decide whether to send the case to the secretary to approve or deny an extradition request. If the judge handling his case now rules in favor of sending his case to the secretary, Assange can still appeal to the High Court, the equivalent of an intermediate appeals court in the US.

If the secretary decides to approve extradition, Assange could then try to appeal to the High Court. A ruling by the High Court can be appealed up to the UK Supreme Court, the equivalent of the US Supreme Court.

Assange can raise a host of defenses against extradition, including arguing that he should be protected as a journalist and that the prosecution is politically motivated. Given the prominent role of the home secretary in the process, Assange could pursue a public relations campaign to place pressure on Home Secretary Sajid Javid. In 2012, then–home secretary Theresa May — the current prime minister — blocked the extradition of Gary McKinnon, who was wanted in the US on computer hacking allegations. May said at the time that McKinnon was “seriously ill” and that extradition would violate his human rights.

. . .

Even if Assange loses at every level of the UK court system, he still has options. He could petition the European Court of Human Rights to intervene. That court, established in 1959, considers cases claiming violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK is a member of the court, which is separate from the European Union, so even if the UK goes ahead with its exit from the EU, Assange could still appeal to that court.

UK Labour leads “rape” smears against Julian Assange demanding Swedish extradition
A coordinated state campaign is now underway to shift the political narrative, smearing Assange and diverting public attention from the grave threat to democratic rights posed by US extradition proceedings. This is the purpose served by the bogus Swedish “rape” allegations. Assange’s onward extradition to the US can be fast-tracked under Temporary Surrender treaty arrangements in place between Sweden and the US.

. . .

In fact, the warnings by Assange and his legal team over US extradition—long denounced as “conspiracy theories”—stand confirmed. Ecuador granted political asylum to Assange in 2012 because of his “well-founded” fears of persecution by the US, British and Australian governments, after revelations of a secret Grand Jury investigation into the WikiLeaks publisher. In relation to the “rape” allegations, Assange offered to travel to Sweden if authorities would guarantee against onward US extradition. He invited Swedish prosecutors to the Ecuadorian embassy so he could clear his name, but such offers were refused.

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

In short, while in the UK, Assange can avail himself of:

- public opinion

- the precedence of denying extraditing to US for human rights reasons
the treatment of Chelsea Manning has been called torture; Assange's expulsion from the Ecuadorian embassy has been denounced as a violation of asylum law; Press Freedom is a human rights issue: Assange has published truthful information; etc.

- UK law

- EU human rights law

But if Assange is placed in Swedish custody, a US-Swedish arrangement ("Temporary Surrender") makes extradition quick and easy.

Also Note:
Some people are saying that the Assange has nothing to fear from the bogus allegations/weak case in Sweden so Assange shouldn't object to extradition to Sweden.

BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER that the Swedish allegations are weak. As long as Sweden can obtain custody of Assange they can sent him to USA under the US-Sweden "Temporary Surrender" arrangement.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 6:09 utc | 200

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