Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 31, 2019

Open Thread 2019-63

News & views ...

Posted by b on October 31, 2019 at 14:41 UTC | Permalink

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Despite their haste to rid America of the Trump Presidency, there is one very significant problem that plagues Congress that they will do absolutely nothing to solve:

It’s no wonder that Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of Congress and don’t believe their representatives share their priorities.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Oct 31 2019 15:03 utc | 1

@Sally in a massive display of cognitive dissonance, despite American's distaste for their "representatives", they keep voting them back into office by overwhelming percentages.

Posted by: Trisha | Oct 31 2019 15:11 utc | 2

Below is a Reuters posting about Mike Pompeo presenting the public/private finance "dog whistle" at a Hudson Institute think tank gala dinner....the pot calling the kettle black.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday stepped up recent U.S. rhetoric targeting China’s ruling Communist Party, saying Beijing was focused on international domination and needed to be confronted.

Pompeo made the remarks even as the Trump administration said it still expected to sign the first phase of deal to end a damaging trade war with China next month, despite Chile’s withdrawal on Wednesday as the host of an APEC summit where U.S. officials had hoped this would happen.

Pompeo said the United States had long cherished its friendship with the Chinese people, adding the Communist government was not the same thing as the people of China.

“They are reaching for and using methods that have created challenges for the United States and for the world and we collectively, all of us, need to confront these challenges ... head on,” Pompeo said in an address to a gala dinner in New York of the conservative Hudson Institute think tank.

“It is no longer realistic to ignore the fundamental differences between our two systems, and the impact that … the differences in those systems have on American national security.”

I posted the above about 6 hours ago on the Weekly Open thread and now get up to read that the financial markets are down and Trump is tweeting that it is the Fed's fault for not lowering rates even further even though there are a couple of ZH postings that refer to China's response to Pompeo's remarks as offensive and maybe a trade deal won't get signed...

We are in a civilization war about the global social contract and whether sovereign public finance gets a chance to be compared against the Western centuries old private finance controlled world.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 31 2019 15:18 utc | 3

BTW, thanks, karlof1. Although I read the UN argument before, I forgot where I read it and forgot the timing (“October ‘45”).

Posted by: oglalla | Oct 31 2019 15:23 utc | 4

What are your opinions on the Sunday 3rd of November Seattle doomsday conspiracy? I was very sceptical at first but it started to freak me out a bit since there really are a lot of Seattle/terrorism/nuclear weapons and 3/11 references in movies and series. With Israeli embassies closed world wide and Israeli mass casualty exercises going on something seems to be brewing.

Posted by: Xaderp | Oct 31 2019 15:36 utc | 5

@ Trisha

Because the sheeple are trained to not “throw away their vote” by voting for third party or independent candidates. They’ve yet to learn that voting for candidates deemed “electable” by the regime’s political machinery gatekeepers is the ultimate waste. Anyone over 40 should’ve learned by now. Instead, they’re told “democracy works!” and “vote harder!” (donate more money, cuz “this time it’s personal” or something...).

(Not telling you what you don’t already know. Just appending to your statement.)

And I finally understand why people in other countries sometimes boycott their elections.

Posted by: oglalla | Oct 31 2019 15:36 utc | 6

Bank of Japan suggests future rate cut, not now

Translation from the "Politiquese": the BoJ will, absolutely, 100% sure, lower its interest rates in the near future.

Japan is a clown show. After 40 consecutive years of recession and stagnation, people should finally give up.

Speaking of clowns, the USA has lowered its interest rate -- again:

Stocks rise, dollar falls as Fed cuts rates again

Chairman Jerome Powell, however, signals that it expects to hold off on further rate changes for now

No, you don't. And you know you won't.

Let's just remember: just one year ago, Powell was the "rise the interest rates" guy. Now he's speaking of an "expectation to hold off further [downwards] rate changes".

American corporate debt is through the roof. Any interest rate rising will trigger another 2008. Only this time, it will be the jewels of the crown (Apple, Microsoft etc.) which will be in the bail out queue.

Continuing on the economic front, we have that the USA has lost the trade war:

US manufacturing has bottomed but isn’t improving

And, from Michael Roberts' Blog facebook:

US real GDP growth slowed to an annual rate of 1.9% in the third quarter of 2019, according to advance official estimates, only slightly slower than the 2% annual rate in Q2. The year-on year rate slowed to 2% from 2.3% in Q2.

But the big news was the sharp contraction in business investment, which fell 3%, the worst figure since the mini-recession of 2015-6. Structures investment (oil rigs etc) dropped 15% from Q2, which had also seen an 11% fall. Equipment investment (computer hardware, transport etc) also dropped nearly 4%. Only so-called 'intellectual property' investment (software, patents etc) held up.

History shows that when business investment falls consistently, real GDP follows in a year or so. So far, on a year-on-year basis, business investment is still positive, but slowing fast. Business investment is falling because corporate profits are also stagnating at best.

As I've been saying here for some time now, Trump's "decoupling" strategy is failed by design. Even if manufacturing goes out of China, it won't go back to the USA. The reason for this is that the USA issues the world's universal fiat currency -- the USD -- so, when it raises its debt, inflation won't go up but costs of production do: the USA pays its debt in the form of deindustrialization, not rising inflation (as is the case of the rest of the world).

And manufacturing won't simply go out of China. Yes, low value manufacturing has been exiting China for two decades now, mainly to India and Vietnam. But the Chinese already knew of that, and were preparing for this before Trump even dreamed about being POTUS. That's why it changed its short term economic paradigm in 2012, redirecting its development towards higher technology, sustainable (but lower) growth with a focus on domestic consumption.

This is the true nature of socialist "praxis". As Lenin once wrote: Marxism is the analysis of the concrete situation in a concrete moment. Deng Xiaoping translated it to the Chinese people when he said that communists don't have a style: they get the job done (the cat who can kill the mouse, regardless of its color). These teachings still reverberate to the newer generations:

China’s growth inseparable from its system

In the article "Farm lessons from China" published on The India Express, Indian scholars Ashok Gulati and Sakshi Gupta suggest that India should pay attention to China's three lessons to improve agricultural production.


What is more worthy of mention are China's water conservancy, highways, and other infrastructure. In the 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, China's investment in water conservancy has created a record in human history. By the end of 2018, China had completed more than 11 million rural water supply facilities, benefiting 940 million rural people, and the rural centralized water supply rate reached 86 percent.

These achievements would be impossible with any single or group of private companies. Without such large-scale and organized national input, it is unlikely China's agriculture would have reached the level it has today.

Last but not least: game is over for the EU, too:

Lacking market space, German economy trapped in overproduction ‘black hole’

The writer of this article uses bourgeois economics terminology, but he essentially is saying that Germany's profit rate is secularly falling, thus confirming (once more) Marx's Law of the Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall.

Numbers came out for the EU as a whole today, signalling total stagnation (+0.2%) in Q3. Nothing is going to come out of there, and it's no wonder even Germanophile Putin is focusing on partnership and cooperation with China -- after all, cultural and ethnic identities won't bring food on the table of the little Russians, will it?

Posted by: vk | Oct 31 2019 15:45 utc | 7

The "whistleblower" is reportedly Eric Ciaramella. here
also: photo of Biden with caption: Joe Biden: Invited Ciaramella to state luncheon with Italian premier. Also invited: Brennan, Comey, Clapper.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 31 2019 15:51 utc | 8

@ 10 don bacon... ghostship posted that same link in the previous thread @29... i guess you don't read others comments...

here is a video that covers the same ground as the article and etc.. i left this on the previous thread as well...

Posted by: james | Oct 31 2019 16:00 utc | 9

My time is valuable, so I don't waste it on OT comments.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 31 2019 16:19 utc | 10

except it wasn't ot in the previous thread.. i'll skip your posts here forward...

Posted by: james | Oct 31 2019 16:26 utc | 11

@ Sal P | Oct 31 2019 15:11 utc | 3

Sal, that was an interesting link referring to text of Trump's discussion with Zelinsky.

I am not very astute in the details, it appears to me that the impeachment "charge" of Trump strong-arming the foreign president for political gain has no merit. This will be the second time (at least) that the dems have embarked on agenda to disrupt the functioning of the executive because they do not approve of the intent - first case was intent to improve relations with Russia, second being intent to investigate an attempt at strong-arming foreign government (already admitted to).

Even if the charge(s) had some merit I imagine it is unlikely that the Senate would allow the removal of Trump (as long as he is playing ball on ziocon agenda).

So dems will (potentially) damage themselves politically for the purpose of disrupting the executive, again.

It's not a swamp. It's a waste tank gone septic.

Posted by: jared | Oct 31 2019 16:30 utc | 12

Looks like ISIS is being dusted off and brought back into play as the bogyman. Rueters quoting from Amaq.
Went looking for Amaq but couldn't find direct links. Looks to be just an Arabic version. perhaps the en outlet...

Rita Katz... "For her unique contributions to FBI counterterrorism investigations, Ms. Katz received special recognition from FBI Director Robert Mueller for her “outstanding assistance to the FBI in connection with its investigative efforts.” "
"Ms. Katz is the author of Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America (Harper Collins, 2003).
Born in Iraq and a graduate of Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, Ms. Katz is fluent in Arabic."

Looks like another bellingcrap type setup.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 31 2019 16:32 utc | 13

4 @psychohistorian Haha. The fight is an old one. Who is to be master and who is to be slave. China was supposed to happily be the world's cheap manufacturer and not get too big for its britches. The USA has been successful at bribing foreign leaders, taking them under their wing, and getting them to accept their place in the world order. They think they can do this with anybody. They think every leader is a budding Lenin Moreno or that they can arrange a coup and force into office another Lenin Moreno. Russia, China, and India will not allow it. All have at one time or another (Russia quite recently) been under the heel of Western empire. All have old and proud civilizations. The US never really counts on foreign leaders taking their peoples interests at heart and standing up to the hegemon. As far as Pompeo goes this is classic projection. It is a sign they are losing and are worried about it.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 31 2019 16:35 utc | 14

Well, in my excitement, I neglected to mention:

The intent to investigate corruption in our own government
- By FBI/CIA in support of disruption of the executive and perhaps that is the main driver.

Posted by: jared | Oct 31 2019 16:35 utc | 15

The thoughtful James Kustler, (and I too) have doubts about election 2020... "...a colossal Three-Card-Monte game that produces a lot of “money” without producing wealth. Even worse, financialization destroyed the indexes that accounted for the measurement of real wealth, or capital, and replaced it with accounting fraud, so it’s very hard to see the damage.

What it boils down to is that the USA is no longer a credit-worthy borrower. If the..."


He's wrong, of course, somebody will take the oath...

Did it matter last time?

Is it already over? ("it" being Murka itself) If, as we see, the Basic Law (USC) is discarded (it has) what's left?

A simulacrum...


James @ 11 / 12 People who might imagine that rudeness is a good may possibly decide later that it is not. It is hard to undo.

I myself read and re-read all the comments...often, in fact, they're more interesting when they are "OT"...subjective, of course.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 31 2019 16:48 utc | 16

US drone downed in Hodeidah. Photo at the link shows the engine section of the drone, a large turbo prop.
Air Defenses of the Army and Popular Committees downed on Wednesday evening a spy plane belonging to the US-Saudi aggression in Ras Issa area in Hodeidah with undisclosed missile.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 31 2019 16:58 utc | 17

Sui Gushiku (Shuri-jō), the Ryukyu Kingdom Palace, was almost completely destroyed in a fire today (last time it happened in 1945). I wonder if this is connected to Okinawans' continued struggle to kick the U.S. military out. Previous Okinawa governor, Onaga Takeshi, has put up a strong fight against relocating U.S. bases to another place on Okinawa, demanding that the U.S. military leave the prefecture altogether. He died of cancer a year ago, but has named a successor, Tamaki Denī, who proceeded to win the elections against an LDP candidate heavily supported by the mainland politicians. In a referendum held on February 24, 2019, 70% of Okinawans have rejected the relocation plan (in favor of removing U.S. bases altogether). But, of course, in the finest traditions of Western "democracy", their vote was non-binding, and the relocation continues as planned. Just yesterday Okinawa protested another parachute drill that violated U.S.–Japan agreements.

Posted by: S | Oct 31 2019 17:02 utc | 18

@jared #14: Zelensky and Zelinsky are different surnames.

Posted by: S | Oct 31 2019 17:19 utc | 19

Below is a link to the 1st of a 10 part series written by Ramin Mazaheri about the Western financial system that uses as its jumping-off point the 2018 book Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World by Nomi Prins, a former Wall Street executive who saw the light and is now informing on the crimes of Western imperialism-capitalism.

If you want details about the financialization of the Western world, this looks like a good series to read up on.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 31 2019 17:24 utc | 20

U.S. efforts to derail Nordstream 2 have failed. Hehehe. All those sanctions were bypassed; the partnerships of Nordstream 2 - Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie, and the Netherlands’ Royal Dutch Shell - were converted to loans and Gazprom owns it all.

Nord Stream 2 clears major hurdle as Denmark OKs gas pipeline

COPENHAGEN/BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Denmark on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, removing the last major hurdle to completion of the Russian-led project that has divided opinion in the European Union.[.]


Trump Loses More than Just the Battle Over Nordstream 2

For the past three years the U.S. has fought the construction of the Nordstream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany every inch of the way.
The battle came down to the last few miles, literally, as Denmark has been withholding the final environmental permit on Nordstream 2 for months.
The U.S., especially under Trump, have committed themselves to a ‘whole of government approach‘ to stop the 55 bcm natural gas pipeline from making landfall in Germany.[.]

In a sense, this pipeline is Germany’s declaration of independence from seventy-plus years of U.S. policy setting. Never forget that Germany is occupied territory with more than 50,000 U.S. troops stationed there.

So it is supremely rich of President Trump call Nordstream 2 something that could make Germany a “hostage of Russia” when it’s been a hostage of the U.S. sinced 1945.

Then again, history isn’t one of Trump’s strong suits.[.]

How is that song again? do not know much about geography or geology.

Posted by: Likklemore | Oct 31 2019 17:24 utc | 21

@ 1 Sally Snyder Screw elections. Let's switch a draft. We'll draw names out of fish bowls. The only people not eligible will be ex politicians, lawyers, and bankers... we'll make up for the discrimination by allowing ex convicts and convicted felons in as long as they have served their time.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 31 2019 17:29 utc | 22

New poll confirms Gabbard benefitted from increased media exposure caused by Clinton outburst. She's now at 5%, while initial establishment darling, the female Obama Kamala Harris is down to 3%.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 31 2019 17:43 utc | 23

@23 Thanks for the Nordstream 2 news. The Danish objections were critical to completing the pipeline. Apparently the problem was more environmental than political as far as the Danes were concerned.

Posted by: dh | Oct 31 2019 17:53 utc | 24

@ Trisha | Oct 31 2019 15:11 utc | 2; oglalla | Oct 31 2019 15:36 utc | 8

Thanks for inspiring a contribution that is well-suited to a Halloween Open Thread:

Even if you've seen it before, check out this excerpt from a 1996 "Treehouse of Horror" episode of "The Simpsons", originally aired during the home stretch of the Clinton-Dole campaign:

The Simpsons - "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Kodos"

It's a remarkably hilarious and trenchant piece of political satire that showcases the absurdity of conventional Amerikan electoral politics. For one thing, it stands the test of time: it's chock-full of the exact same themes, attitudes, and conflicting opinions we see in comments threads every day. Besides-- it's funny because it's true! ;)

Trick or treat!

Posted by: Ort | Oct 31 2019 18:12 utc | 25

Chinahand points to a twitter thread featuring an essay on China's efforts to "de-radicalise" the Xinjiang province. Lee notes "actually a pretty good & useful description of the XJ system as conceived by the PRC highlighting the sizable resources of time, money, & personnel needed & the unlikelihood that true deradicalization will take hold."

The original twitter poster, however, adopts the "human rights" line, and denounces the essay for not foregrounding alleged human rights abuses - even to the point of complaining that the originating journal should never have published the piece. "it is completely inappropriate to frame the continuing crackdown in Xinjiang through the frame of de-radicalisation. It is the forced imposition of a system that allows zero alternate thought and the complete removal of all freedoms from those who do not buy in."

What surprises me about complaints such as expressed above is the lack of perspective. Other "de-radicalisation" efforts ongoing in places like Afghanistan and the Middle East represent far greater human rights failures, most notably the removal of a right to one's life let alone personal freedom, within a structured organized operation led and maintained by the same national interests who foreground attention on Xinjiang. I don't see why China should be the focus of all the attention when the human rights abuses in programs of similar intent are far more serious.

Posted by: jayc | Oct 31 2019 18:19 utc | 26

dh @ 26
"more environmental than political"

and the fact that Mr. Putin had at the ready an alternative route

geography, geography.

Putting pressure on Germany and the Gazprom "partners" was a huge mistake.

The free cash hoards of these EU companies have mighty sway. Just ask the illiquid banks with cap in hand. How are their overnight loans?

Posted by: Likklemore | Oct 31 2019 18:27 utc | 27

jayc 29

The Xinjiang propaganda comes from US and UK. Virtually all western propaganda is projection - they project onto others what they themselves are doing.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 31 2019 18:28 utc | 28

jayc @29--

Absolutely! The Outlaw US Empire has no right whatsoever to lecture others about being respectful of human rights, not just because of its behavior but also due to its refusal to ratify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--the creation of one of its greatest women Eleanor Roosevelt.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 31 2019 18:35 utc | 29

@23 Likklemore.
Northstream II is a gift from Trump. Remember how he insulted the Danes by suggesting to buy Greenland and then again insulted the Queen by cancelling his trip to the country because she refused to discuss the offer? It was that moment back in August when I thought "Thank you Trump, you just gave us Northstream II". This is how Trump defeats the Borg so now and then.

Posted by: Joost | Oct 31 2019 18:47 utc | 30

@ Likklemore 23
There's also UNCLOS as a factor on the Denmark decision for Nordstream 2:

In the exclusive economic zone, all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy, subject to the relevant provisions of this Convention, the freedoms referred to in article 87 ["freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines"] of navigation and overflight and of the laying of submarine cables and pipelines, and other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to these freedoms, such as those associated with the operation of ships, aircraft and submarine cables and pipelines, and compatible with the other provisions of this Convention. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 31 2019 19:02 utc | 31

It's only starting

Posted by: Mina | Oct 31 2019 19:16 utc | 32

Jeffrey Epstein's autopsy more consistent with homicidal strangulation than suicide, Dr. Michael Baden reveals (Fox News):

… The bombshell claim by Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner who has worked on high-profile cases during a five-decade medical career, is certain to reignite suspicions that surfaced immediately after Epstein, who was awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges involving underage girls, was discovered dead in his cell on Aug. 10. Baden, who was hired by Epstein’s brother and observed the autopsy, told Fox News its findings are more consistent with homicidal strangulation than suicidal hanging. He noted that the 66-year-old Epstein had two fractures on the left and right sides of his larynx, specifically the thyroid cartilage or Adam’s apple, as well as one fracture on the left hyoid bone above the Adam’s apple, Baden told Fox News.

“Those three fractures are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation,” Baden, who is also a Fox News contributor, said.

While there’s not enough information to be conclusive yet, the three fractures were “rare,” said Baden, who's probed cases involving O.J. Simpson, President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, record producer Phil Spector, New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez and many others.

“I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case,” the 85-year-old medical legend told Fox News.

Baden, who's examined more than 20,000 bodies and hosted HBO's "Autopsy," explained that if a person weighed 120 pounds and their head weighed 10 pounds, there would be 110 pounds of pressure on the neck at the jaw during a hanging. But, if someone put a hand around a person's neck and squeezed, that could double or even triple the pressure on the neck, Baden said.

There were also hemorrhages in Epstein’s eyes that were common in homicidal strangulation and uncommon, though not unheard of, in suicidal hangings, the forensic pathologist said.

New York City Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson ruled Epstein’s cause of death to be a suicide by hanging.

“It appears that this could have been a mistake,” Baden said. “There’s evidence here of homicide that should be investigated, to see if it is or isn’t homicide.”

On the day Epstein was found dead, the prison security had experienced a “total breakdown” in procedure, according to Baden.

“It was determined that the two guards who were supposed to be working in that area of the prison had allegedly fallen asleep and hadn’t made their 30-minute rounds for more than 3 hours,” he said.

Then there were security cameras that were supposed to be recording the cell and the hallway outside, to see who went in and out. Both apparently had malfunctioned, according to Baden.

Posted by: S | Oct 31 2019 19:19 utc | 33

@30 The Danes had geographic and economic reasons for sure. I like joost's theory too. Offering to buy Greenland and insulting the Queen was no way to get the Danes to block the pipeline.....if that's what Trump really wanted. That would be sheer genius on Trump's part.

But I don't think the Danes will say that was the reason. I'm guessing they'll say they had environmental concerns.

Posted by: dh | Oct 31 2019 19:25 utc | 34

re: human rights
The US, as far as I know, is the only country on the world that publishes an annual human rights report (State Dept) and which regularly comments on what it sees as poor human rights in other countries. This is despite the fact, as indicated above, that the US has a poor record of human rights throughout its history, and still does with definite underclasses separated geographically from the general public and in prison.

Regarding China, quite a few Chinese people were instrumental in building the railroads that greatly contributed to the settling of the West. Then, after they had been used and abused, and the tracks laid, Chinese were evicted from the country under the Chinese Exclusion Act which technically only prohibited immigration, but was also used for eviction. There are many Chinese descendants currently in Mexicali Mexico as a result. Also the US Border Patrol (now used against Hispanics mostly) was originally formed to keep Chinese people out. . .China is probably too polite to bring this up.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 31 2019 19:25 utc | 35

US-lapdog Australia is piling on.
"Canberra has told President Xi Jinping via a statement that it will hold Beijing to account for human rights transgressions in the country's Xinjiang region.". .here
Australia will hold its major trading partner to account! A counry it expects to increase trade with!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 31 2019 19:36 utc | 36

@ dh | Oct 31 2019 19:25 utc | 37

I suspect that is the case.
They cannot easily stop Trump from making a fool of himself in a way that reveals to corrupt nature of our covernment: "We will take the oil."
That had to cause some frustration.
That and the tweet recognizing what a self-defeating and inhumane effort was the US war on the middle-east, followed by complete reversal - truly inspired.

Posted by: jared | Oct 31 2019 19:38 utc | 37

Don Bacon 39

Weve been doing that ever since a US admiral told us that China was throwing up great walls of sand in the SCS.
This was the point when Australia turned solidly against China and anti China propaganda is constantly featured in ABC 'news'.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 31 2019 19:49 utc | 38

@goldhoarder #16
Indeed. Latin and South American countries are all dominated by 200 or so families each, some overlapping nations. These criollo families don't give a crap about the rest of the society in any way, so long as they can keep their money and power. It is easy for even ham-handed Americans to keep bribing one or another of these families to keep the rest mollified and the rest of the population pacified.
Russia, China and a few other nations have different goals. Not at all necessarily altruistic, but absolutely more cognizant of national goals and needs rather than personal enrichment.
What's really interesting now is how the Europeans are going to turn out. Will they continue to allow themselves to be suppressed by their Atlanticist ruling classes, even when both absolute and relative measures of prosperity are no longer positive?

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 31 2019 19:51 utc | 39

likklemore #23

That pipeline approval is a big surprise. The blow back from USA will be enormous. Watch for anaemic colour revolution.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 31 2019 20:00 utc | 40

@ Don Bacon | Oct 31 2019 19:36 utc | 39

"A counry it expects to increase trade with!"

Yes, smells of desperation - a bit of "rules-based order".

Posted by: jared | Oct 31 2019 20:03 utc | 41

Why is denmarks approval needed for nordstream 2 ? Is it due to the danish island of bornholm?

Posted by: Breadonwater | Oct 31 2019 20:05 utc | 42

Don Bacon

Thak you for that UNCLOS reference. And in light of your information on chinese exclusion combined with joost comment on Trump insults I am astounded at the continuous insulting ignorance of USA leaders and legislators. I guess they have vassals but never allies.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 31 2019 20:15 utc | 43

psychohistorian @22--

Thanks for that link! Read the item and left a comment. Went and found this Democracy Now! Prins/Hudson interview from 2008--I bet the two of them talked a lot afterwards as much of what she's writing echoes Hudson. Korten ought to publish an updated version of his When Corporations Rule the World by qualifying the type of corporations. One thing the essays, interviews and papers make clear is that public banking won't be enough by itself as the national treasuries must be retaken from the corporate interests that have captured them, which in turn implies the need to either free the national treasury from the Executive or capture the Executive.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 31 2019 20:28 utc | 44

Two Movies

In 1946, Encyclopedia Britannica produced a 10-minute classroom movie titled “Despotism,” intended for showing to students in what used to be called “social studies” classes, which compared the characteristics of despotism with the characteristics of democracy, and showed how to recognize the clues that indicate where any given society falls on the scale between the two.

This movie would never be allowed to be shown in any classroom in the US today, nor on any TV network, as all the characteristics of despotism portrayed in the film have come true.
There is a companion movie – “Democracy”

Which claims, among other things, that democracy means shared power, which the US has never had, (although the people of Venezuela do) and that it depends upon “a large middle class,” or bourgeoisie, outnumbering both workers and the wealthy. So -- no “Workers' Paradise” for us.
Oh, also – only men are qualified to participate in the governing of a society.

Thanks to my friend George who alerted me to the existence of these two films.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Oct 31 2019 20:32 utc | 45

@joost #33 I like to think that Trump's saying that the US army are going to steal Syria's oil is very much the same strategy. What better way to turn world opinion against US occupation of Syria?

Posted by: Tim Glover | Oct 31 2019 20:37 utc | 46

breadonwater @45--

Yes. The route goes within its 12 mile limit, but the okay is provisional and won't become final for @ 4 more weeks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 31 2019 20:37 utc | 47

Good historical rundown of Uncle Sam's blatant theft of resources in Syria .. has historical precedent too I believe; the wars in southeast asia (the golden triangle and the drug trade). Afghanistan (heroin and the poppies); imagine, we come and destroy your country and then steal your resources in the aftermath. Sickening

Posted by: Maximus | Oct 31 2019 21:06 utc | 48

Breadonwater @ 45:

Looks very much as though you are right.

Nordstream II follows Nordstream I closely near Bornholm, which makes one wonder what the environmentally based objections were to the second pipeline's route. The pipeline can be laid down in three to four weeks so construction issues would not appear to be a major problem.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 31 2019 21:16 utc | 49

Here we go, the story of how crucial Uncle Baghdadi intel was delivered to the unsuspecting US: Kurdish general reveals details about who sold Baghdadi out to US. What a colorful tale, and so full of details, smuggling underpants out of Idleb!

Alright, please file under "too good to be true" then, thx.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Oct 31 2019 21:19 utc | 50

@Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Oct 31 2019 21:19 utc | 53

Yeah, the story about underpants is the touch of humor...but as Nazanín Armanian tells us today in her 15 notes on the assassination of Al Bagdadi, the Sackman from the US,

American brigadier general Kevin Bergner already told us in 2007 that Abu Bakr Al Bagdadi, the alleged Daesh chief was actually a fictional character whose voice was provided by an actor named Abu al-Adullah Naima, and that the Islamic State is a fictional entity . Those who had invented this fiction allegedly intended to locate the origins of the terrorist group in Iraq, not in the dark basements of the CIA, Mosad and MI6, as well as Al Qaeda, as revealed by Edward Snowden, the former official of the American intelligence

Also that Trump, in his usual style and record, lied all the way during his adress to comunicate the killing of Al Baghdadi:

According to The Washington Post, until October 14, President Trump had released 13,435 lies, although what he told on October 27 was the icing: that the US Delta Special Forces attacked the home of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Bagdadi, in locality of Barisha, located in the province of Idlib, 5 kilometers from the border of Turkey, and Trump himself saw, in direct transmission, how that man was "crying all the way" to take refuge in a tunnel along with his two wives and five children, and then activate the bomb vest they wore: "he died like a dog", "we had no casualties", and that "it was like a movie". But, the press rebelled that:

-The movie that Trump saw without popcorn had no sound, so he couldn't see him whining-

-He was not at the White House at 3:33 pm, watching the operation, but playing golf, Newsweek betrays him. Fact corroborated by former White House photographer Pete Souza who points out that the photo of the president and his team, with those faces without any emotion, is subsequent to the events and was taken at 5:05 p.m., as shown in IPTC data from the camera.

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 31 2019 21:37 utc | 51

@49 Tim Glover. Exactly, imagine Obama saying that. Trump seems to have a habit of using reverse psychology on people. This strategy works very well when nobody likes you and you have the power of Twitter at your disposal.
People tend to overestimate the power of the US president. Every one of them, being democrat or republican, gets assimilated by the borg. Resistance is futile, unless you are perceived to be an idiot and do just enough to please your overlords. The Borg likes what he says, "we are there for the oil" and they are getting reckless, exposing themselves for what they are. Group think distorts perception and that is their weak spot. The borg will get more open about their crimes and their true intentions. This breaks global support for the petrodollar and that will be the end of the "outlaw" US empire.

Posted by: Joost | Oct 31 2019 21:40 utc | 52

Have anyone heard about the general strike in Israeli Embassies who keep them shut down?

I have seen the news reported at Fort Russ...It seems that it has to od with poor wages and conditions...Man this is new...and along with the difficulties to form government, I wonder what influence could this have in the Lebanon protests....or whether the Lebanon protests could influence Israel...

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 31 2019 21:51 utc | 53

"It is doubtless important to the good of nations that those who govern have virtues or talents; but what is perhaps still more important to them is that those who govern do not have interests contrary to the mass of the governed; for in that case the virtues could become almost useless and the talents fatal."

- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America vol 2, 1840

Posted by: spudski | Oct 31 2019 21:59 utc | 54

No evidence...Why making such show off with Gaddafi and Sadam Hussein, and with Bin Laden and Al Baghdadi we have no corpse, nor cruelty with it, and moreover both are awarded the Islamic Burial in the sea...???

Assad also doubts the elimination of the leader of Daesh Al Bagdadi in a US operation

Assad declared that "they knew about their own "collaboration" in the operation by the media"

At the same time, Assad emphasized that "the death of Al Bagdadi and all the combatants will not change the situation in general as long as the "terrorist ideology" remains alive".

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 31 2019 22:01 utc | 55

@Posted by: Sasha | Oct 31 2019 22:01 utc | 58

RT publish a wider coverage of Assad´s interview, with the main points made by Syrian President on "Operation Al Baghdadi"....

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 31 2019 22:20 utc | 56

AntiSpin @ 48

That 10 minute video is great. Actually sounds like a "How To" on what is necessary to create a Despotricy.

Posted by: arby | Oct 31 2019 22:25 utc | 57

I am surprised that I've not seen any commentary regarding the US's announcement that they will continue to steal Syria's oil, and more importantly what anyone - Syria, Russia or anyone else - might do about this blatant crime.
Clearly this challenges Syria's sovereignty as well as Russia's declared aim to restore Syrian territory in full.

Any thoughts how this situation might evolve? IMO Russia has to remain a facilitator rather than an actor. A "no-fly zone" enforced by Syrians and SAA ground troops?

Posted by: augrr | Oct 31 2019 22:30 utc | 58

@61 Several reports of armoured vehicles heading to 'protect' the oilfields. It's pretty obvious that it's just a pretext to keep the pressure on the Syrian government.

A lot depends on how the SDF feel about it and who the customer, if any, will be for the oil. I've been trying to find a comment from Conoco/Phillips but no luck so far.

Posted by: dh | Oct 31 2019 22:47 utc | 59

Thread summarzing main points of Assad interview. English transcript of President al-Assad’s interview given to al-Sourya and al-Ikhbarya TVs. There's a lot on the Turks; here's a bit:

"President Assad: Let us take another example, which is Idlib. There is an agreement through the Astana Process that the Turks will leave. The Turks did not abide by this agreement, but we are liberating Idlib. There was a delay for a year; the political process, the political dialogue, and various attempts were given an opportunity to drive the terrorists out. All possibilities were exhausted. In the end, we liberated areas gradually through military operations. The same will apply in the northern region after exhausting all political options.

"We must remember that Erdogan aimed, from the beginning of the war, to create a problem between the Syrian people and the Turkish people, to make it an enemy, which will happen through a military clash. At the beginning of the war, the Turkish Army supported the Syrian Army and cooperated with us to the greatest possible extent, until Erdogan’s coup against the Army. Therefore, we must continue in this direction, and ensure that Turkey does not become an enemy state. Erdogan and his group are enemies, because he leads these policies, but until now most of the political forces in Turkey are against Erdogan’s policies. So, we must ensure not to turn Turkey into an enemy, and here comes the role of friends – the Russian role and the Iranian role."

Yes, it's a very long and complex interview. Be sure to take your time reading.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 31 2019 22:48 utc | 60

Whole interview with Assad where he tlaks about the Russian-Turkish agreement...

President al-Assad’s interview given to al-Sourya and al-Ikhbarya TVs

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 31 2019 22:58 utc | 61

I'm reposting here a comment I made on the earlier open thread about Syria and the US plans for the oil patch

So about the situation in Syria...

Southfront reports that the Syrian govt has called on the SDF fighters to join the SAA...but this has been rejected by the SDF leadership...

In particular the SDF chief Mazloum Abdi...who is still clinging to the US apron strings like a total fool...[recently he went on western news shows to talk about how his fighters stole Baghdadi's underwear prior to the alleged raid...]

So clearly the Pentagon move to try to stay in the Syrian oil patch depends on keeping at least some faction of the SDF on board...

But there are many problems with this...first one is that Turkey is going to distance itself even more from the US orbit and into deeper partnership with noted here by a legit scholar and expert...

The second problem is that the Kurds don't own that oil patch to the is Arab tribes there and they have their own axe to grind with the Kurds...

Arab fighters and tribes who accepted Kurds in leadership since they had American support and key cities in north.

Many of those Arabs are already switching and joining the Syrian Army. “Securing” oil for benefit of the Kurds is likely to antagonize the Arab fighters and tribes in the region.

That from a Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment...published on zero hedge...

Here's Why Trump's "Secure Syria's Oil" Plan Will Prove Practically Impossible

As I have already noted, this is a quite stupid enterprise that Trump has acquiesced to in the face of huge pressure from the establishment that wants to remain in Syria [and other places] forever...

I will give my own opinion here that this Mazloum Abdi character is clearly betting on the wrong horse...the Turks are demanding that the US hand him over since he is actually listed on an Interpol Red Notice arrest warrant [he is the adopted son of Abdullah Occalan, the PKK leader who is in jail in Turkey...]

He is also pissing off the Syrian government and all the millions of Syrians that support that government, by continuing to put a stick in the spokes of the SAR and the inevitable political process that will lead to peace and a unified Syria, since all the major players want that...Russia, Iran and Turkey...

The US is not now, nor has ever really been a major player in Syria...its grip was always tenuous on that northeast territory, and now it has lost the bulk of it...including most importantly the border...

So even from a military perspective it is quite do you expect to sit inside a country's territory, when you no longer have access to the border...?

This is just one more example of the delusional character that characterizes Sodom on the Potomac...

The Russians by contrast play the long game...they don't need to do anything now but wait for the inevitable internal contradictions of this scheme to fall apart...

For instance, we see in the north that the Kurds are pitching in with the SAA to fight the Turks and their proxies [who are breaching the Sochi agreement by attacking the SAA south of the border town of Ras Al Ayn...the SAA has a right to be there according to the agreement...

In very plain terms, the Kurds can thank the Russians and the SAR for retaining much of their heartland along the Turkish border...two thirds in fact, since the Turkish plan was to take the entire 450 km stretch...they only got one third of that...

Plus the Kurds have retained, again thanks to Russia and SAR their key cities of Manbij and Kobane...

Now this Mazloum character thinks he's going to prevail on ordinary Kurds to throw all that away and move south into Arab tribal lands as Trump fucking crazy is that...?

From where I sit I don't see this US puppet retaining any legitimacy among the Kurds, since their heartland is to the north, which has been secured by the Sochi agreement...

[A a sidebar we note that Al Masdar reports that SAA held Tel Tamr was about tp fall to Turkish militias has proved false...I have long suspected Al Masdar as not reliable...Syrian troops with heavy weapons are moving in, plus the Turks released to Russian military police those 19 SAA soldiers captured by the takfiris in clashes the other day.]

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 31 2019 23:09 utc | 62

63 Cont'd--

I'm going to post one further excerpt, Was Obama better than Trump:

"President Assad: We should not bet on any American President. First, when Erdogan says that he decided to make an incursion or that they told the Americans, he is trying to project Turkey as a super power or to pretend that he makes his own decisions; all these are theatrics shared between him and the Americans. In the beginning, nobody was allowed to interfere, because the Americans and the West believed that demonstrations will spread out and decide the outcome. The demonstrations did not spread as they wanted, so they shifted towards using weapons. When weapons did not decide the outcome, they moved towards the terrorist extremist organizations with their crazy ideology in order to decide the outcome militarily. They were not able to. Here came the role of ISIS in the summer of 2014 in order to disperse the efforts of the Syrian Arab Army, which it was able to do, at which point came the Russian intervention. When all bets on the field failed, it was necessary for Turkey to interfere and turn the tables; this is their role.

"As for Trump, you might ask me a question and I give you an answer that might sound strange. I say that he is the best American President, not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president. All American presidents perpetrate all kinds of political atrocities and all crimes and yet still win the Nobel Prize and project themselves as defenders of human rights and noble and unique American values, or Western values in general. The reality is that they are a group of criminals who represent the interests of American lobbies, i.e. the large oil and arms companies, and others. Trump talks transparently, saying that what we want is oil. This is the reality of American policy, at least since WWII. We want to get rid of such and such a person or we want to offer a service in return for money. This is the reality of American policy. What more do we need than a transparent opponent? That is why the difference is in form only, while the reality is the same."

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 31 2019 23:11 utc | 63

Posted by: Breadonwater | Oct 31 2019 20:05 utc | 45

Why is Denmark's approval needed for Nordstream 2? Is it due to the Danish island of Bornholm?


The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) from 1958 guarantees to all countries the right to lay cables and pipes in international waters. This is part of the freedom of the seas. Laying cables and pipes is not "economic" activity as defined in the 1982 treaty that gave countries the right to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Pipe laying is affected only by the little-known Espoo Convention from 1991 that obliges the parties to carry out an environmental impact assessment of certain activities at an early stage of planning. Nowhere in the treaty does it say that it can be used to stop the freedom of navigation or other freedoms of the seas.

NordStream 2 will NOT pass through Danish territorial waters, as Russian and Western media often falsely impliy.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Oct 31 2019 23:13 utc | 64

Carolina Army Guard troops move into eastern Syria with Bradley Fighting Vehicles

WASHINGTON – National Guard members from North and South Carolina began moving into eastern Syria with heavy armored vehicles on Thursday as part of the Pentagon’s new mission to secure oil fields wrestled from the Islamic State, a military spokesman said.
Soldiers with the North Carolina-based 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment and the South Carolina-based 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade were deployed to Deir al-Zour to protect American-held oil fields around that city, Army Col. Myles Caggins, the spokesmen for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS mission known as Operation Inherent Resolve, tweeted Thursday. Caggins’ tweet included photos of soldiers loading M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles onto Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo jets to be used on the mission. . . . .For now, the new deployment will not include M1 Abrams tanks, the Pentagon official said

When use regulars when we can call up the National Guard?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 31 2019 23:14 utc | 65

Marwa Osman is reporting that the alleged protests in Lebanon just turned into war
She says that Hariri only resigned to put himself at the head of his thugs in the opposition, who are already cutting off roads in South Lebanon to put villages there on siege..

Tonight seems to be a very hard night in Lebanon. Things look bad. North Lebanon and the Beqaa are revolting with guns against the Lebanese Army. Road blocks in Beirut, Saida and Jaledib are back. This is no longer a protest or an uprising. This is war. I smell US and MBS.

Harriri resigning from government was no more than a tactical retreat which would allow him to position himself as an opposition figure in the face of President Aoun and Hezbullah.

His supporters last night have gathered in the streets, armed and chanting sectarian slogans, closing major streets and intersections across the country.

Hariri and Junblat thugs, mainly Islamists and fanatic PSP followers are causing severe traffic jams. Thousands of families were trapped for hours.

Hariri and Junblat thugs are cutting the main roads between Beirut and the southern villages.

Tripoli protests: “Sheikh Saad [Hariri], we did not overthrow *you*, we overthrew a government that doesn’t resemble you. This square is yours, and this audience is yours.”

Also she reports that...

Israel top foreign agent drops by to "discuss regional developments"

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 31 2019 23:19 utc | 66

How the Army officer who testified against Trump could end up in a court-martial

When Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman appeared before members of Congress on Tuesday to discuss what he knew about President Trump’s conversations with Ukraine’s president, he was violating an order from his commander in chief not to cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry.
He is likely protected from legal ramifications from showing up to testify, a former Army judge advocate told Military Times on Thursday. But it remains to be seen whether what he told legislators could get him charged with a crime ― and, of course, how his choice to rebel against his White House chain-of-command will affect his career.
It comes down to whether Trump’s order was lawful, he said. If Trump was trying to prevent Vindman from sharing sensitive information, it could be. If he was trying to prevent testimony, period, it’s not.
The Military Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits government officials from interfering with a member of the military in communicating with Congress or an inspector general. Adding to the complexity is that the president gets to determine what is and isn’t classified.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 31 2019 23:27 utc | 67

Sasha @ 56:

So the Israeli Foreign and Defence Ministry staff in Israel's embassies and consulates around the world are on strike, not only over low pay and bad working conditions but also over a ruling that requires them to pay back thousands in reimbursements for expenditures made as part of their day-2-day diplomatic / consular business.

Makes me wonder if the former embassy employee Shai Masot will be required to pay back the equivalent of 1 million pounds he gave in funding (or promised to give) to the Labour Friends of Israel in Britain for funding trips to Israel for members of that organisation.

I'd be curious to know how the sudden dehydration of funding to Israeli embassies and consulates might affect both major British political parties, and indeed political parties in most other Western countries.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 1 2019 0:06 utc | 68

US hold on the oilfields depends mostly on Iraq. The oilfields of Deir Ezzor are in open country with few towns and apart from the Euphrates flood plain is sparsely populated. The only cover for guerrilla style attacks against US or its proxies on the oilfields will be the occasional dust storm. Apart from Iraq, syria setting up S-300 at deir Ezzor and taking control of the airspace would also be a game changer but this may not happen.
Lebanon and Iraq are both undergoing US color revolutions at the moment so its a matter of waiting for the dust to settle on both these moves to see where US is positioned in the region.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 1 2019 0:23 utc | 69

@ Peter 72
Lebanon and Iraq are both undergoing US color revolutions at the moment
Really? I thought the protests were like many other protests around the world, over economic issues.
Anyhow, back to the oil -- the US will need a buyer, one with protection. And the only possibility I see would be someone in US-occupied western Iraq.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 1 2019 0:34 utc | 70

@Sally #1

Yet the US military is overwhelmingly the #1 most trusted US institution among Americans, despite it forcibly wasting their hard earned money to kill tens of millions of innocents abroad. At the same time the US is also filled to the brim with draft dodgers.

If anybody thinks Bolton and his chickenhawking buddies isn't representative of the whole US, think again.

Posted by: JW | Nov 1 2019 0:50 utc | 71

@ Joost 33

My link @23 to Tom Loungo, who reads and cites MoA, observes "history isn't one of Trumps's string suits." We may add etiquette and good manners. Trump thinks he can insult friends and adversaries into surrender.
I had a $100 bet that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Nordstream 2 Project Chairman and Mr. Putin would prevail.

@ Don Bacon 34

Thanks for expanding on the various factors in play.

@ UncleT 43

The beatings (color revolutions) will continue until the petrodollar goes into the rabbit hole. It's almost there. China, Russia, India, Iran.

Russia, China, EU are motivated to shift away from USD.

A growing club of 'very powerful countries' is steering away from using the dollar
One of those reasons driving their shift away from the dollar is the prospect of being subject to U.S.jurisdiction if they transact in dollars.

@ Jen 52

It was economic warfare. Attempts to derail Nordstream 2 was all about selling uncompetitive U.S. LNG. We will soon see how that works for Poland. Oh my, and Ukraine.

Posted by: Likklemore | Nov 1 2019 0:51 utc | 72

I highly recommend taking the time to read the interview with Assad I linked to above. He answers questions being asked on this thread and provides insight into his and Syria's thoughts in numerous other areas. On his recent visit to Idlib and how he perceives the terrorists there, a perception shared by many Syrians I encounter on Twitter:

"This has been common practice for me; the visit to Idlib in particular was because the world perhaps believed that the whole Syria question is summed up in what is happening in the north, and the issue has now become a Turkish Army incursion into Syrian territory, and forgetting that all those fighting in Idlib are actually part of the Turkish Army, even though they are called al-Qaeda, Ahrar al-Sham and other names. I assure you that those fighters are closer to Erdogan’s heart than the Turkish Army itself. We should not forget this, because politically and in relation to Turkey in particular, the main battle is Idlib because it is linked to the battle in the north-eastern region or the Jazeera region." [My Emphasis]

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 1 2019 0:51 utc | 73

@18 walter.. thanks.. i agree with you.. no one is perfect... i am guilty of not reading all the comments fully, but i try to pick up on important conversations that are happening and that one was one of them in the previous post!

@karlof1... thanks for posting a link to the article.. i am reading it and part way thru.. it is excellent - assad interview from today...

@flankerbandit.. it is interesting what you say about al mashar news... in fact, i am reading the interview on al mashar news at the moment.. you might be right.. i haven't picked that up personally..

music video i saw earlier today that i enjoyed..

usa press release from today.. more typical bullshite..

Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of the Small Group on Syria

The Foreign Ministers of Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America welcome the launch of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva on October 30, 2019.

We greatly appreciate the work of the UN Secretary General and UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen in launching this effort. This is a long-awaited positive step that requires serious engagement and commitment in order to succeed. It can complement implementation of other dimensions of Security Council Resolution 2254, including the meaningful involvement of all Syrians, especially women, in the political process. We support efforts to create a safe and neutral environment that enables Syria to hold free and fair elections, under UN supervision.

We recall our statement in New York on September 26 and continue to call for an immediate and genuine nationwide ceasefire in Idlib. There can be no military solution to the Syria crisis, only a political settlement on the basis of UNSC resolution 2254.

Posted by: james | Nov 1 2019 1:02 utc | 74

Don Bacon 73 "Really? I thought the protests were like many other protests around the world, over economic issues."

As was the Syrian 'revolution'. Plenty of small US companies willing to go in. US already has buyers as they have been shipping oil out of east Syria for some time. Turkey, Israel ect plus many more willing to buy at a discount. And considering the oilfields are simply stolen, oil can be sold at a discount.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 1 2019 1:12 utc | 75

one line from assad in the interview that i liked..

"Western logic is an intentionally and maliciously up-side-down logic. It says that the military operation should be stopped in order to protect civilians, whilst for them the presence of civilians under the authority of terrorists constitutes a form of protection for the civilians. The opposite is actually true. The military intervention aims at protecting the civilians, by leaving civilians under the authority of terrorists you extend a service to terrorists and take part in killing civilians."

Posted by: james | Nov 1 2019 1:18 utc | 76

Excellent article. Highly recommend reading it:

Absolute Capitalism - by John Bellamy Foster

Thanks to Pepe Escobar's Facebook for the recommendation.

Posted by: vk | Nov 1 2019 1:25 utc | 77

My take on Burisma: Vlochevsky corruptly collected a slew of gas licenses
using the influence of his office as energy minister. He sells the licenses
making a personal fortune. Then he sets up Sunrise energy, disguising his
ownership with a labyrinth of shell companies. He launders his ill gotten gains
through burisma by purchasing sunrise energy from himself. Sunrise energy goes
out of business having exhausted its already depleted EP gas fields. Burisma is
now a worthless shell company and vlochevsky sells his interest to kolomoiski
who continues the fine tradition of money laundering by funneling over 100 million
to poroshenko and the bidens for who knows what sinister purpose. Maybe this is the key
to understanding the "advice" consigliere hunter biden gave to the oligarch mafiosos, besides
giving a veneer of respectability to burisma to prevent pesky investigators from sticking
their noses into cosa nostra.

Posted by: evilempire | Nov 1 2019 1:30 utc | 78

Don Bacon 73

Iraqi PM and Lebanon President were figures that were acceptable to all factions in their respective countries. Both tried to accomadate the US and the resistance countries.
Bush's ultimatum "you are either with us or against us" still stands.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 1 2019 1:34 utc | 79

Assad "American politicians are actually guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around."

This is the only way to veiw the US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 1 2019 1:52 utc | 80

yeah - that was a good line in the interview as well peter! bang on in fact...

Posted by: james | Nov 1 2019 2:38 utc | 81

james @ 79; Thanks for the link. If our MSM was anything but a propaganda outlet, they would air interviews like this.

Posted by: ben | Nov 1 2019 2:46 utc | 82

From the link @ 79:

"About Trump, you might ask me a question and I give you an answer that might sound strange. I say that he is the best American President, not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president. All American presidents perpetrate all kinds of political atrocities and all crimes and yet still win the Nobel Prize and project themselves as defenders of human rights and noble and unique American values, or Western values in general. The reality is that they are a group of criminals who represent the interests of American lobbies, i.e. the large oil and arms companies, and others. Trump talks transparently, saying that what we want is oil. This is the reality of American policy, at least since WWII. We want to get rid of such and such a person or we want to offer a service in return for money. This is the reality of American policy. What more do we need than a transparent opponent? That is why the difference is in form only, while the reality is the same."

Posted by: ben | Nov 1 2019 3:02 utc | 83

ben - i liked that quote as well... the interview is really quite good for sharing many of assads insights which are typically bang on!

Posted by: james | Nov 1 2019 3:14 utc | 84

evilempire @81

I think Burisma was going to do fracking in eastern Ukraine. US fracking tech applied to the right terrain could be very very valuable.

After Donbas rebels defeat of Ukrainian army & irregulars, Burisma did a fracking deal in one of the central asian countries.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 1 2019 3:21 utc | 85

@33,55 Joost

I have just about had it up to the wazoo with people around here who justify Trump's shet, like occupying Syria's oilfields as using reverse psycology!!!

How do you explain his escalation with Iran??! Or his meddling ambitions in Venezuela, or his unbridled support for the war in Yemen, or the deal he cooked up to turn over the West Bank to Israel after giving Israel the Golan Heights?

ALL THAT IS REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY??! Give me a break! You'd sell ice to the Eskimos to make Trump look good. Quit making shet up and trying to make believe it smells like a rose!

@70Don Bacon

Straight out of the orifice of FOX, no doubt.

Wishful thinking, much?

@81 evilempire

Sure would like to see why Trump wants to fight making his taxes public all the way to the Supreme Court. Those taxes are the declared tip of the corruption iceberg.

Posted by: Circe | Nov 1 2019 3:27 utc | 86


Thanks for sharing the music video.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 1 2019 3:28 utc | 87

karlof1 @63 @66

Assad's suspicions about Erdogan and USA mirror suspicions expressed here by james, myself, and others. Erdogan is playing both sides but favoring US-backed extremists and the overall objective of regime-change in Syria.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 1 2019 3:41 utc | 88

S @36: Epstein

Whitney Webb:

This story, to me, is to keep us arguing about suicide vs. homicide until the cows come home.

Meanwhile, Epstein's accomplices are all free.


This pathologist, Michael Baden, was hired by Mark Epstein, who owned the building where Epstein kept underaged girls (which was never raided btw).

Baden has a long history of aiding the CIA, FBI in cover-ups; was once hired by Alan Dershowitz


This story, along with Michael Baden's track record of cover ups for the CIA and FBI, plus the fact that he was hired by Mark Epstein, major accomplice in his brother's crimes, is the strongest evidence yet that Epstein was extracted as opposed to "suicided"

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

I agree with Whitney.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 1 2019 4:02 utc | 89

@90 jr - glad you enjoyed that! / @ 91... yes.. it was very revealing regarding assads views on erdogan.. no confusion their! we all read him the same way...

Posted by: james | Nov 1 2019 4:17 utc | 90

I'm seeing lots of cognitive dissonance in this thread. How anyone can hold the core concepts of MAGA/America First in their heads along with the full court press of Full Spectrum Dominance against every country that doesn't completely roll over to US dominance and yet simultaneously think that things like insulting the Danes to get Nordstream 2 passed, Those 2 things are fundamentally opposed. The Hopium and outright bullshit mythos around Trump is as pervasive and persistent as it was with Obama, just with a different set of oligarch backers.

The continued drip drip drip of outlandish lies about the Bagdhadi farce is the typical DC move of adding more and more details to a story to try to sell it while contradicting the original story and sometimes even the latest update.

Posted by: sorghum | Nov 1 2019 4:35 utc | 91

@ james $ 77 with the video link....THANKS!

It took JR thanking you for it to get me to check it out and now I have sent it on to others in email

Amazing talent on display there....thanks again

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 1 2019 4:47 utc | 92

sorghum @94: The Hopium and outright bullshit mythos around Trump is as pervasive and persistent as it was with Obama ...

Yup. In fact, I've proposed that they both follow the same faux populist political model, repleat with apologists of the populist hero and crazy opposition that questions the President's loyalty to America.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 1 2019 4:53 utc | 93

@ sorghum who wrote
The Hopium and outright bullshit mythos around Trump is as pervasive and persistent as it was with Obama, just with a different set of oligarch backers.
I agree. America is getting thrown under the bus along with a culling of the "rich" while the elite that own global private finance position themselves and their institutions to stay in control.

The BS about Trump being a nationalist is delusional.....just look at how many countries Trump has investments in.

I agree with the comment by ADKC in comment #131 on the Who is suppose.... thread who ended with
The US/West are on the verge of a big financial collapse. When this happens Americans are going to find that everything has been hollowed out and everything (savings, pensions, public services, etc.) is gone. The "deep state" carpetbaggers will then emerge and buy up everything for pennies on the dollar just like what happened to Russia and Ukraine. One difference, that allowed Russia to survive, is that Russians routinely refer to themselves as brothers, Americans/westerners now tend to regard each other with hate and division. Another difference was a Putin figure who will work patiently over 20 years to rebuild Russia and require Russians to make sacrifices to enable this; I don't see such a person emerging in the US, I don't see that trust, and I don't see that patience.

It's already too late, miserable times are coming for the US/West and we have only ourselves to blame.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 1 2019 5:12 utc | 94

President Bashar al-Assad on Israel:

Journalist: The sensitive question in this regard is: the Turks are occupiers, so if I am willing, or if I have the chance, or if I believe that I might meet the Turks, the Turks are occupiers, exactly like Israelis, so it would be possible to meet the Israelis. This is a sensitive issue, but it is being raised.

President Assad: It was actually raised when we started these meetings: how can we meet occupiers in Afrin or other areas, even if there are not occupiers, they support terrorism; they are enemies in the national sense. The difference between them and Israel is that we do not recognize the legitimacy of its existence as a state. We don’t recognize the existence of the Israeli people. There is no Israeli people except the one that existed for several centuries BC, now they are a diaspora who came and occupied land and evicted its people. While the Turkish people exist, and they are a neighbouring people, and we have a common history, regardless of whether this history is good or bad or in between; that is irrelevant. Turkey exists as a state and it is a neighbouring state. The Alexandretta issue is different from the situation in which a people without land replace a land and a people; the comparison is not valid. Even when we negotiated with Israel in the 1990s, we did not recognize it. We negotiated in order to achieve peace. If this was achieved and the rights were returned, we would recognize it; as I said, the comparison is invalid. Turkey will continue to exist and the Turks should remain a brotherly people. Erdogan was betting at the beginning to mobilize the Turkish people behind him in order to create hostility with the Syrian people, and consequently be given a free hand. We have to be careful not to look at things in the same way. I stress again that some people, not the political forces, but within the Turkish Army and security institutions are against Erdogan. This was the reason behind our drive to meet them.

Furthermore, and this was the subject of discussion with our Russian and Iranian friends – who said that yes, we are defending you, but in the end, you are the owners of the cause. This is true, the land is ours, and the cause is ours and so we have a duty to carry out by meeting them directly, even if we do not expect results. Maybe there will come a day when we can achieve results, particularly with changing circumstances inside Turkey, in the world and within Syria.

Journalist: Concerning Israel, some people describe it as the absent present in the events in Syria, the greatest beneficiary of what happened in Syria. Indeed, it is more comfortable now than in any other time before in comparison with weakening Syria, Hizbollah and Iran, as analysts say.

President Assad: It is the always-present. It has never been absent. It might be absent in terms of language, because we fight its proxies, agents, flunkies or tools, in different ways, some military some political. They are all tools serving Israel directly or through the Americans. Since the battle on the ground is with these forces, it is normal that the terminology describes these forces and not Israel. Israel is in fact a main partner in what is happening, and as an enemy state, that is expected. Will it stand by and watch? No. it will be proactive, and more effective in order to strike at Syria, the Syrian people, the Syrian homeland and everything related to Syria.

Journalist: Benefiting practically from what happened?

President Assad: This is self-evident. Even if we do not discuss it, it is one of our national givens in Syria.

Posted by: Sarah | Nov 1 2019 5:13 utc | 95

U.S. efforts to derail Nordstream 2 have failed. Hehehe. Posted by: Likklemore | Oct 31 2019 17:24 utc

I do not understand the mirth of my fellow commenter. It is truly sad when a poodle looses its pride of being a faithful poodle. And just because the master gave it some kicks and insults?

BTW, I read a commentary full of glee (in Russian) laughing at Lithuanians who found themselves on a list of EU countries with American sanctions on their aggro product in spite of their most exemplary anti-Russian policies. I would add the dispute leading to sanctions concerns Airbus vs Boeing, and Lithuania has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 1 2019 5:22 utc | 96

@ 95 psychohistorian - you're welcome! it was interesting reading about the guy who started that group post modern jukebox..scott bradlee... there is a book on him - outside the jukebox - how i turned my vintage into my dream gig - which looks interesting too! i am playing some of this type music with some friends and i just tripped on the book today.. it looks inspirational.. good for him for making it all happen and for those who are a part of the experience..

Posted by: james | Nov 1 2019 5:32 utc | 97

vintage music obsession... was the complete line! messed up!

Posted by: james | Nov 1 2019 5:33 utc | 98

the financial system
Psychohistorian @ 22.. thanks . for that link.. very, very good information.

jayc 29 The Xinjiang propaganda comes from US and UK. Virtually all western propaganda is projection - they project onto others what they themselves are doing. by: Peter AU 1 @ 31
yes that's number 5 in the debunk propaganda list
1. EN Establish the narrative 2. WR they wrong, we right
3. PF Cherry pick the facts 4. IS Ignore stuff
5. BV blame the victim 6. MU make stuff up
7. AC attack any challenge 8. RL (Repeat the lie)^infinity.

@ 1 Sally Snyder Screw elections. Let's switch a draft. We'll draw names out of fish bowls. The only people not eligible will be ex politicians, lawyers, and bankers... we'll make up for the discrimination by allowing ex convicts and convicted felons in as long as they have served their time. by: goldhoarder @ 24 < = good idea but its not constitutional.. lets change the constitution, or create a new one and get it ratified.. so we can adopt your idea.

According to The Washington Post, until October 14, President Trump had released 13,435 lies, Sasha @ 54. <=not one of them impeachable?

People tend to overestimate the power of the US president. Joost @ 55, <= I think the president underestimates his power. Trouble is the power of the Article II clown comes from the governed people and nothing Article II clowns want is congruent with what the governed Americans want so the president cannot use his power.

re: those who governed by spudski @57.. <=The world would be better off if there were no history of leaders to be had. America is a democracy, the USA is a Republic. There are no leaders in a democracy, but a Republic consist of nothing but leaders.

Tim Glover @ 49, Aurgrr @61, dh @ 62 flankerbandit@ 65, Circe @89 IMO, the theft of Syrian Oil narrative may be a trap designed to force Iran to attack so the war can be moved from Syria to Iran.

I agree with Jackrabbit @92 and Whitney re: S@36 Epstein was extracted.. and possiblity sustituted for Uncle Baghdadi see underpants link by: Scotch Bingeington @ 53

Posted by: snake | Nov 1 2019 6:26 utc | 99

on the domestic scene. who could have predicted it?

Keystone pipeline shut after spilling 9,000 barrels of oil in N. Dakota

....The initial estimate makes it one of the biggest onshore crude spills in the past decade and the largest for Keystone, according to U.S. Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA) data back to 2010.

The cause of the rupture has not been disclosed.

Pipeline operator TC Energy is seeking to expand its pipelines linking Western Canadian oil fields to U.S. refineries with its proposed Keystone XL project. The $6 billion project has faced regulatory and environmental hurdles despite backing by U.S. President Donald Trump.

....The latest release also affected a wetland area, a statement from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality said."

oh yeah and screw Trump and all of his environmental policies; he and his party of neanderthals are a total threat to the future of the human race

Posted by: michaelj72 | Nov 1 2019 6:56 utc | 100

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