Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 17, 2021

How The Military Slow Rolled Trump

Axios has a series of deep dives into the last two and a half months of the Trump administration. Yesterday it publish Episode 9: Trump's war with his generals which explains how a weak Trump was pushed and tricked into approving policies which were contrary to his own preferences and instincts:

Once in office, though, Trump's ambitions to withdraw from Afghanistan and other countries were subdued, slow-rolled, and detoured by military leaders.

Trump was not assertive enough to use the power of his office to get things done. He also was not smart enough to beat the deep state in its own game.

As Kelley Vlahos of Responsible Statecraft comments:

This is an important read, which also includes new speculation about whether Gen. Milley was actively working against the civilian leadership in the Pentagon during this period. Interestingly, while Trump was railing about “stop the steal” he wasn’t doing what everyone had accused him of doing on the military side: he wasn’t using Macgregor, Miller, et al., to stay in office. Rather, he seemed to believe that following through with his pledge to “end forever wars” would be the ultimate revenge against Esper, Milley, and Generals H.R. McMaster and Jim Mattis. Too bad he did not achieve this one post-election fantasy.


Posted by b on May 17, 2021 at 15:13 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Which goes to show, when it comes to USA foreign policy it doesn't matter who the President is. The facts are fixed around the policy. The idea the USA is any form of a democracy is the height of magical thinking.

Posted by: gottlieb | May 17 2021 15:31 utc | 1

Mr. B

There is no deep state in US or a ywhere else.

It is like the late Joseph Stalin said; "Cadres decide everything."

Mr. Trump was played by those around him, cadres that put in front of him the option of assassinating the late General Qasem Solaimani.

In the end, he was a typical leader, surrounding himself with "yes" men.

He could have been re-elected except for COVID-19 crisis.

Posted by: Fyi | May 17 2021 15:35 utc | 2

I beetle be that it should be obvious by now that Trump inky has one loyalty, to himself. He was and is a con man and like all con men is willing to say anything to please the mark, so as to get what he wants. As such it is impossible to think of him as "weak" or "stupid"; he is just very very selfish. He did not need to be "outmanoeuvered" by his generals when cruise missiling Syria or increasing Barack Hussein Obama's drone strikes by three tubes or tearing up the Open Skies treaty and the Iran deal. He didn't need to be "outmanoeuvered" to start sending weaponry to the Ukranazis, which even their Lord and master Barack Hussein Obama hadn't, or to declare Guano president of Venezuela or Jerusalem the "capital " of the zionist entity. It is laughable that he was "outmanoeuvered " at any point of his term in power. He just was not interested at all.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | May 17 2021 15:36 utc | 3

Think, not beetle.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | May 17 2021 15:36 utc | 4

The narrative control for U.S. Presidents is palpable. Anyone that is appalled at such things as the rehabilitation of GW Bush and the silence about the Obama Administration's "wilful choice" to allow the rise of ISIS and pretending that bloodthirsty extremists were "moderate rebels" is aware of it.

Thankfully the first comment got it right (gottlieb @May17 15:31).


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 17 2021 15:54 utc | 5

So if Trump is/was against forever wars then why did he move the US consulate in Occupied Palestine to Jerusalem?

This mythical meme that Trump was not part of the elite inner sanctum but in support of the common man is total BS and I get tired of reading such hogwash.

Trump was brought in to try and intimidate China, Russia, the EU and other countries leadership. He failed to be a charismatic leader enough to get away with it and now we are back with more obvious puppet land fronting for elite decisions.

Trump is a Liberace grifter and attempts to turn him into some sort of humanistic populist leader is sickening.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 17 2021 15:56 utc | 6

thanks b.. it is as @ 1 gottlieb in the present and jackrabbit in the past have both noted.. same with psychohistorians viewpoint which i also share..

Posted by: james | May 17 2021 16:04 utc | 7

It should be obvious to anyone with any half a brain and any objectivity that Trump has no real core beliefs. Hell, while the fat azzz con man was telling the Rubes he wanted to end the forever wars and rebuild America, he was showering Israel and the Pentagon with obscene amounts of taxpayer money and committing brazen acts of war against Iran, Syria, and Venezuela.

Posted by: Boogity | May 17 2021 16:06 utc | 8

@6 I respectfully disagree. Trump had one great achievement; to force the deep State out of the shadows, however briefly, and show it's hand. Muller and "Russiagate" was a serious attempt to dethrone him; the shocking fraud of the election and subsequent totalitarian suppression of dissent were forced on the Deep State, which would much rather stay invisible. Now that the democratically elected president has been "cancelled", no-one can ever believe that the President runs the country.

Posted by: Tim | May 17 2021 16:12 utc | 9

- Obama also wanted to reduce military spending but he didn't know how to do it.

Posted by: Willy2 | May 17 2021 16:15 utc | 10

Trump got elected with the Make America Great Again line. A very nebulous promise but it sounded good to a lot of people. They also liked that he was anti-immigrant, anti-gay and anti-MSM. People who voted for him were not particularly anti-war. A lot of them work in weapons factories and have sons and daughters in the military.

Posted by: dh | May 17 2021 16:30 utc | 11

"Too bad he did not achieve this one post-election fantasy."

Which is?

Posted by: JaimeInTexas | May 17 2021 16:38 utc | 12

    US of A    US of MIC

Posted by: librul | May 17 2021 16:39 utc | 13

@Posted by: Willy2 | May 17 2021 16:15 utc | 10

- Obama also wanted to reduce military spending but he didn't know how to do it.

Barry once stole a dollar from the tip jar at the Pentagon.

Posted by: librul | May 17 2021 16:44 utc | 14

psychohistorian @6--

The same could be said about every POTUS since FDR. Outlaw US Empire policy is developed outside the president's office and delivered to the Duopoly to perform. A recent Global Times article dealing with the Empire's impeding a proper UNSC response to the current battle in Occupied Palestine points to the continuity of that behavior is excellent proof of that reality. As such, whoever's POTUS matters not for humanity. Rather, it's the hidden Cabal--a Star Chamber if you will--that are the criminal designers and needing exposure. Pressuring a Biden or Trump will change nothing when it's the Chamber that must be attacked and collapsed.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 17 2021 17:00 utc | 15

Muller and "Russiagate" was a serious attempt to dethrone him

You have to be a drooling idiot to believe that.
The whole thing was con created by Trump to make it look like Trump
was a hero doing heroic battle against an arch enemy. What a pile of BS

Posted by: jinn | May 17 2021 17:02 utc | 16

Trump has worked with Axios to deploy his spin and given them many interviews. Axios launched with a Trump interview

Agree with gottlieb (@1), psychohistorians (@6), James (@7)...

What % of Trump’s administrations came from the Bilderberg, CFR & Pilgrims groups? 100%? What changed? What happened to draining the swamp? We've yet to catch a glimpse of Trump fighting a "Deep State" or DRAINING the SWAMP. His bellicose conduct got him fired.

U$A’s financial, fiscal and foreign policies... & positions are controlled & defined by the Global Financial SYNDICATE. It has been the same in the Biden, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan… administrations. What are the core common characteristics among Biden, Trump, & Obama’s treasury secretaries? Imperialist Biden is the Financial EMPIRE FIRST, just as Trump and Obama and Bush and Clinton and ...

Posted by: Max | May 17 2021 17:13 utc | 17

Troll alert

Posted by: jinn | May 17 2021 17:02 utc | 16

As though you actually need a warning.

Posted by: librul | May 17 2021 17:20 utc | 18

Thanks, b, for pointing out this source. Albeit Vlahos, as always, is in the rumor mill (or rather, a cesspool) of the Beltway but even this shows precisely a complete political and human impotence by Trump who turned out to be absolutely not suited for the role of a leader. He had a chance by appointing Macgregor as his National Security Adviser, he failed even at that. Fact is, Trump is an Exhibit A of a proverbial Loser and an empty suit. But this is the best what current US political "elite" machine can produce.

Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | May 17 2021 17:23 utc | 19

In regards to the current situation and the Trump interregnum, I very much suggest Crooke's current essay dealing with what is actually overall Outlaw US Empire policy that exposes the Cabal's current set of assumptions that show it's living in the past:

"So intent were the Democrats on their ‘war’ to oust Trump at any price, it seems, that they took their eyes off the radical changes taking place around the globe. They did not envisage the possibility of Iran sticking a spanner in their works. Belatedly the window for a deal – if there is to be one at all – is now understood to be narrow indeed.

"This American lacuna however, is not confined to Iran alone. The world has changed – perhaps decisively – yet America seems to be pursuing its policies of yesteryear."

Yet further proof of what's clearly the "Continuity Problem" I mentioned above and have written about previously. There's utterly no real imagination regarding policy when at this time it must clearly evolve simply because the same old ways are no longer affordable given the genuine state of geoeconomics and thus geopolitics.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 17 2021 17:31 utc | 20

Posted by: librul | May 17 2021 17:20 utc | 18

Why do you call jinn a troll?

Trump could have put a stop to "Russiagate" any time he wanted.

Ask yourself "Who has the power to declassify?"

The answer is that the President is always the ultimate authority (apart from doxxing undercover operatives a la Valerie Plame).

So why did all of the truth about the Russiagate scam come out AFTER the election.

He could have skewered Mueller and Comey anytime he wanted, but he chose to allow all of the misinformation to circulate.

He could have cleared General Flynn anytime he wanted.

It was, I'm afraid, all professional wrestling.

Posted by: John Cleary | May 17 2021 17:37 utc | 21


Posted by: librul | May 17 2021 17:55 utc | 22

@John Cleary #21
I would note that any President is unable to accomplish anything without at least a small group of people around him executing the policies. Trump had no such group to start with and didn't accumulate much of one while in office.
For example: There is no button for Trump to push which automatically declassifies anything - just look at the time it took to declassify what Trump publicly pushed for.
Note this is even without the active obstruction of the bureaucracies/military/intel agencies. With obstruction, it becomes even harder. Nor does this obstruction need to be overt.
All a bureaucrat needs to do is slow roll things continuously - if all or even just most of them are doing so, a President literally doesn't have enough time to keep watch on them and force them to act even incrementally.
Nor are your other views particularly cognizant of the realities of what a standing President can or cannot do. Trump cannot pardon someone who has not yet been convicted, for example. Flynn wasn't actually convicted of anything when he resigned; the very fact that he was arraigned is the issue.
Was Trump informed of the investigation before arraignment? Unlikely.
He certainly wasn't informed when the wiretapping was being done.
Is the FBI even obligated to report to the President that any member of his present or proposed Cabinet is under investigation? I would hope not.
Trump is no saint nor is he the devil. Ultimately his main accomplishment is likely that he publicly broke away from the American oligarchy's class interests in many but not all areas - but 2 of them are ones which I personally consider important:
1) Foreign adventures are not good for the American people
2) Offshoring jobs is bad for Americans
These 2 topics, plus health care, are the top 3 most vital issues facing Americans in my personal opinion - and represent a huge break from every single preceding and succeeding President for the past generation.

Posted by: c1ue | May 17 2021 18:04 utc | 23

The Trump administration was fundamentally compromised in many ways, from the outset. This particular administration never had the necessary leverage, or insular security, necessary to effect meaningful change relative to DC's domestic or foreign policy. The administration was very effectively and meaningfully compromised in a variety of ways, to include the vulnerability of the president's daughter and the president's business and personal interests and considerations to the imperial power structure as manifested via the Israeli lobby and the City of London. This, of course, proved to be very unfortunate.

Posted by: Josh | May 17 2021 18:17 utc | 24

As far as his support from within the positive and negative elements of the military and intelligence establishment,
Well, I think that the manifest results are reflective of the actual state of affairs, as regards the overall balance of opposing forces therein. His willingness, or unwillingness, to 'pick a side' and genuinely commit to a consequential and substantially manifest course of action likely reflects the vulnerabilities to which he was subject.

Posted by: Josh | May 17 2021 18:22 utc | 25

...he seemed to believe that following through with his pledge to “end forever wars” would be the ultimate revenge against Esper, Milley, and Generals H.R. McMaster and Jim Mattis. Too bad he did not achieve this one post-election fantasy.

Posted by b on May 17, 2021 at 15:13 UTC | Permalink

Yep, indeed.
Now Zelensky is facing exactly the same problem, caused by associates of the people who created the Ukraine SNAFU.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 17 2021 18:23 utc | 26

I find it exceedingly unlikely that the make believe administration of Kermit the Frog will be in any way less detrimental to life on our planet.

Posted by: Josh | May 17 2021 18:30 utc | 27

Trump had one chance at real change with Flynn -- and going in hard and early.
But that forgettable character Pence scuttled that option and then screwed him in the final days. Trump was another all talk no/slow action who had almost genious talent for picking the wrong people around him. I don't miss the braggard but the replacement is even worse in many ways.

Posted by: imo | May 17 2021 18:38 utc | 28

These kinds of essays by our host always attract protests from people deeply invested in the "Trump is a monster!" narrative. It must be frustrating for those people that the worst they can say is that Trump is just as bad as the rest and that everything turned out as Trump intended, even if the four years of mass hysteria and "Russiagate" conspicuously belies that.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 17 2021 18:41 utc | 29

This is an interesting piece of History, but not the essential point.

The question is not if Trump, individually, was capable of saving the American Empire, but why this condition arose in the first place. That is, what happened to the American "social fabric" (i.e. economic system) to lead the American Empire to the point this kind of friction (between rogue POTUSes and the whole imperial machine) existed. Put in simpler words: why the necessity of populist POTUSes arose in the USA in the first place?

We cannot individualize History. History is not the saga of the exceptional individuals, but of class struggle. If you don't accept that simple, axiomatic fact of History as a science, you'll degenerate into absurdities such as the presupposition the American Empire is eternal, that liberalism can be endlessly reformed etc. etc.

Posted by: vk | May 17 2021 18:42 utc | 30

Michael Hudson appeared again on Moderate Rebels in an examination of Biden's policy direction, some of which are clearly a continuity from Trump and others Neoliberal Obaman. This observation and the following discussion reveals the modus behind what was initially Trumpian:

"So if you look at the sanctions against Russia and China as a way to split Europe and make Europe increasingly dependent on the United States, not only for gas, and energy, but also for vaccines."

Hudson calls it "the intellectual property monopoly" which was a major point in the rationale he produced for his Trade War with China. But as we've seen, the global reaction isn't as it was during the previous era from 1970-2000:

"So what we’re seeing is an intensification of economic warfare against almost all the other countries in the world, hoping that somehow this will divide and conquer them, instead of driving them all together." [My Emphasis]

And what we're seeing is the latter occurring as the Outlaw US Empire's Soft Power rapidly erodes. As with their initial program, the discussion is long and involved.

And since I've been absent, I should suggest reading Escobar's latest bit of historical review, which I found quite profound and an interesting gap filler in the historical narrative of Western Colonialism.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 17 2021 18:45 utc | 31

Andrei Martyanov@19 " Fact is, Trump is an Exhibit A of a proverbial Loser and an empty suit. But this is the best what current US political 'elite' machine can produce." This person's name came up often fairly often in posts, treated as honest and insightful. The host and many of the regulars however absolutely disagree that Trump is a loser at all, committing to the idiotic claim he won the election. Further, it is repeatedly argued that Trump was a populist who broke with the Deep State (see for instance c1ue's comment for shameless idiocy, especially the fiction that Trump was a health care reformer.) If Martyanov wanted to honestly contest our host's/the larger part of the claque's Trump worship, trying to praise the use of a gossipmonger is no way to do it. Vlashos' unreliability is *not* a proof of our host's perspicuity, but evidence for the opposite. (Vlahos' website has editors who don't know the difference between "hoard" and "horde," by the way.) It makes one think the real objection to Trump is that he didn't succeed in overturning the election, thereby delivering a powerful blow to all that democracy nonsense the rich are so tired of. Paying for election campaigns haven't got enough ROI for them any more.

The second sentence quoted literally claims that Trump is a product of the political machinery. Yes, well, being elected president does make you a political elite ex officio (literally.) But Trump was not, not, not produced by a political machine, elite or otherwise. Saying this is either remarkably stupid or remarkably mendacious, take your pick. Martyanov clearly did not mean to say that Trump was a product of advanced political decay, either. That would be something of a commonplace, unworthy in itself of much thought. But that's not what Martyanov said.

Posted by: steven t johnson | May 17 2021 18:46 utc | 32

John Cleary
He could have cleared General Flynn anytime he wanted.

Its worse than that. Trump helped create the fake story that Flynn lied to the FBI.
Trump fired Flynn for lying to the FBI even though the FBI agents said that Flynn had not lied.

Russiagate was obviously designed to make it look like Trump was under siege
but it was also obviously phony. It was designed to turn into a nothing burger
and thus make all the fools who believed Mueller was going to perp-walk Trump out
of the White House in handcuffs look like fools.

Posted by: jinn | May 17 2021 18:50 utc | 33

The destruction of the AP press tower in GAZA is getting interesting.
Recap, Netanyahu insists that Hamas operatives (and Bogeyman) were using this building to plan terrorist attacks on Israel and that made it a legitimate target.

Follow up events:
1. AP denies Netanyahu's claim and insist they have never seen Hamas.

2. Netanyahu doubles down, saying that he shared Intel w/the Biden Administration and they agreed w/his assessment.

3. Blinken undercuts Netanyahu, meekly but enough to hurt. He says he asked for but did not see any Intel about Hamas presence in the tower.

4. Now the full court press is on,
The blob is attacking AP, saying that Matti Friedman wrote way back in 2014 about Hamas using that building for all kinds of things including Rocket manufacturing. Freidman essentially accuses AP of being Hamas collaborators. [does an old accusation prove that something is true?]

I did not find the 2014 article and even if Friedman wrote it, he still has to prove it's true. It could be a list of accusations waiting to be used. We hear many such mantras.

Where will this go?
Was Netanyahu so arrogant that he slipped up or was this a trap to discredit anyone who shows sympathy to the Gazans? (I admit it, I'm intimidated by the theory that Netanyahu and Israelis have super hi IQ's)

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 17 2021 18:56 utc | 34

Trump had one chance at real change with Flynn -- and going in hard and early.
But that forgettable character Pence scuttled that option and then screwed him in the final days. Trump was another all talk no/slow action who had almost genious talent for picking the wrong people around him. I don't miss the braggard but the replacement is even worse in many ways.

Posted by: imo | May 17 2021 18:38 utc | 28

These kinds of essays by our host always attract protests from people deeply invested in the "Trump is a monster!" narrative. It must be frustrating for those people that the worst they can say is that Trump is just as bad as the rest and that everything turned out as Trump intended, even if the four years of mass hysteria and "Russiagate" conspicuously belies that.

I disagree.... Trump's great weakness is his lack of loyalty to those who serve him...

General Flynn is a case in point. The FBI agents who interviewed Flynn in his office were privy to "Top Secret -- Eyes Only for the President" communications. Flynn, himself, should have known that.
Flynn should have shown the two agents into a conference room. Actually an interrogation room. And left them to cool their heels, while he, Flynn, called Trump and brought the president up to speed on events.

Trump then should have had Secret Service interrogate the FBI agents, AFTER he had personnel lay them off, so they weren't serving anymore and could be accused of impersonating federal officers, and of carrying firearms into the whitehouse without authorization. They then could have been charged with attempted assination of the President and his staff, making a deal possible, provided they spilled the beans to save themselves.

This would have given Trump sufficient reason to conduct a RIF of the entire FBI, basically reducing it to the director himself. The rump FBI director could have been shifted into the whitehouse office building under supervision of a pool secretary.

The FBI building could have been condemned, and demolished.

As for Smiley and the JCS, the solution to that is simple... Trump could have ordered immediate retirement of all flag officers with 30 year letters. With attendance at their retirement party on the White House lawn mandatory. That would have covered virtually all of them.

Trump could have claimed the need for fresh blood at the top to invigorate the services. There is little anyone could have done about this.

Instead, Trump ignored Cristie's attempt to create an inner circle for him, and the rest is history.


Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | May 17 2021 19:09 utc | 35

@32 "The second sentence quoted literally claims that Trump is a product of the political machinery. Yes, well, being elected president does make you a political elite ex officio (literally.) But Trump was not, not, not produced by a political machine, elite or otherwise." because WWE Raw, Casinos, Real Estate, TV and publishing are apolitical activities? b/c the stock market is apolitical? b/c business school is apolitical? b/c having fred for dad is apolitical? b/c getting loans is apolitical? b/c being illiterate and producing a bestseller just demonstrate how great a capitalist he is b/c he's also such a great, insightful writer?

i find these essays by B tiresome. trump was never any of these things that the author says. a person has to know something for his opinions to matter. what trump wanted or intended is purest speculation and utterly irrelevant to the operation of anything. his persona is useful. that's it.

this is not b/c there is no conflict w/in the ruling class. Trump is not cause. making him the center or cause of anything is to give him credit he doesn't deserve. what trump might have mumbled b/n bites of a big mac doesn't mean a goddam thing.

Posted by: jason | May 17 2021 19:10 utc | 36

Trump represented a FACTION of the establishment. Which one? He did their bidding and in the process alienated other factions. The other factions worked together to get him replaced. There are factions within neocons, neoliberals and establishment. It is a nuanced and complex structure, not monolithic. It is misleading to state, “he publicly broke away from the American oligarchy's class interests”.

Trump’s biggest MISTAKE was that he didn’t build a good sounding board of advisors. He surrounded himself with his family members and believed his orders will be implemented like a corporate president. Jared Kushner is a Bilderberg. So Trump was connected to the global syndicate and part of the swamp.

The unipolar order ended in 2014/15 and the multipolar order is establishing. The U$A or NATO can’t launch a foreign war like they did in Libya. Russia and China have warned the Financial Empire and defined the redlines. This is the reason behind Trump not launching a new major foreign war. Will Biden launch a new war? However, Trump did launch hybrid wars in Venezuela, Bolivia, Belarus,... Trump didn’t break from FOREIGN adventures.

During Trump’s term:
– How many bombs were dropped?
– How much new DEBT was created?
– How much did the money supply increase by?
– What happened to the trade deficit?

Posted by: Max | May 17 2021 19:15 utc | 37

AP tower attack follow up. Okay here is the ponderous Matti Friedman link to 2014 article
A lot of it is projection about how stories are manufuctured, guffaw, Israel does that all the time. When he says that Hamas understands that AP is an asset, that is dangerous as Neocons would infer that AP are terrorists. He is actually saying that Hamas manipulates them which I believe is true and is an entirely different thing.

The most interesting part of the article

"The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying."

1. I can understand the AP not reporting a specific location of or picture of a rocket launch because it compromises the military operation of the host authority (heads explode) BUT they should mention in a general sense that they observed rockets being launched from civilian areas.

2. For similar reasons, I can see them not filming wounded fighters. AP does give a break down but showing fighters compromises security and Israel loves bombing hospitals if they function as human shields.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 17 2021 19:18 utc | 38

not here, not here in this twittering world...TS Eliot, 4 q's.

distracted from distraction by distraction - ditto

thanks, Russiagate! b wrote lots about what nonsense this was. what about Trump isn't the same thing? though to his credit, he's sacrificed one less child to the US military Moloch than Biden has. they both tell others to kill their children for Uncle Sam but only one of the two of them was dumb enough to do it himself.

indeed, perhaps that is the only imitable thing about Trump: not sending his kids to the US military. i'll trumpet his demonstration of the value of non-participation and not swallowing every day all day. obviously this is not an endorsement of the rest of the trump child-rearing program.

Posted by: jason | May 17 2021 19:22 utc | 39

It seems to me that the "US" of the North A are redeploying: Handling Afghans over to commercial hire soldiers and redeploying their trained Uighur and other terrororists to the borders of China as locally bribed and bearded borderers, The Chiese government is doing its umost to counteract these US terorristic moves.

Posted by: Theo Oros אש תיצפ | May 17 2021 19:35 utc | 40

OT, forgive me...pepe's recent essay on the saker & unz is a must read.

Posted by: emersonreturn | May 17 2021 19:40 utc | 41

I posted ivermectin/mexico info on the open thread

Posted by: migueljose | May 17 2021 19:46 utc | 42

So sick of these hindsight second guessing, Trump was weak? Hmm, Well John Kennedy was strong. Until he wasn't. So, the only President in 60 years who did even a tiny bit of pushback was weak? Yeah. You keep believing that. The real fact is that Trump wasn't weak. He was prudent. He didn't misunderstand a thing. He understood only too well.

Now tell me what President of the last 70 years did better? Go on. I'm waiting.

Posted by: restless94110 | May 17 2021 21:06 utc | 43

"Now tell me what President of the last 70 years did better? Go on. I'm waiting.
Posted by: restless94110"

I could not resist the irony that you have post #43 because 41, George H. Bush was better than his clown son 43, or Trump. He had Baker as Secretary of State.

1. He treated Russia w/respect and kept his promises.

2. He did NOT go into Baghdad precisely because he kept his promise that he made in the UN resolution that WE sponsored. I am always amazed that Neocons assume that we had the divine right of kings to do whatever we feel like. It's true that he started the sanctions regime but since he did not get a 2nd term, we do not know how it would have played out. It's possible that our foreign policy would have taken a better trajectory.

Bad things: the Panama invasion was standard Monroe doctrine BS but Trump's man handling of Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia was worse.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 17 2021 21:18 utc | 44

Mr. John Cleary | May 17 2021 17:37 utc | 21

I completely agree, which shows to prove that the man did not have the requisite Presence of Mind to be an executive.

Posted by: fyi | May 17 2021 21:30 utc | 45

Posted by: Boogity | May 17 2021 16:06 utc | 8

It should be obvious to anyone with any half a brain and any objectivity that Trump has no real core beliefs.

I admit I may not have half of a brain, but I certainly believe Ole Trump does have real core beliefs: He is a racist and a con. Neither of these two beliefs matter in topics that are usually discussed in this bar, but they are features that define Ole Trump nevertheless.

The same actually is true of most politicians of the United States, either Party.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | May 17 2021 21:32 utc | 46

I have to agree with vk @30. This is just simplistic 'big man in history' explanation best shunted down to the History (aka 'Hitler') Channel. History is not shaped by rational actors but by groups of human beings acting within parameters set socially, culturally and economically. Trump was merely an epiphenomenon and not worthy of consideration as though he were some kind of real agent. It is rather a question of the prevailing conditions which called for, and produced, his type. If there were no Trump it would have been necessary to invent him.

Posted by: Patroklos | May 17 2021 21:40 utc | 47

How do we know who the orange man was? He lied to the tune of over 20,000 lies while in office. Weak, strong. Psh.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 17 2021 22:01 utc | 48

@vk #30 For sure, there are powerful social currents of history. But on reflection I think you will see that individuals do make a difference to the way in which the current flows. I am sure you can think of countless examples, both big and small.

Posted by: Tim | May 17 2021 22:22 utc | 49

My musings on the subject:
When reality as we knew it disintegrates as it has for people the world over in the past few years, it is temptimg at some point to try to re-assemble the old beliefs, hopes and ideologies. In this case the old left/right paradigm. Those on the right always wanting to paint Trump as a victim in order to keep some sherd of their belief in the old paradigm alive. Those on the left also falsely painting themeselves as victims, this time of Russia.
I think we accept this political victimhood because we ourselves feel like victims when it comes to politics. Even life a lot of the time.
What would happen if we just let it all fail and disintegrate, personally and or collectively?
But with an understanding that it has to go for the sake of sanity, peace and happiness.
Wouldn't this be a positive beginning? To let go of all the beliefs that divide and conquer us which is the means of control of the few over the many.
In this regard it is not important if Trump was or wasn't well intentioned, how can we ever know? what is important to notice is that he supported divisive tactics and advanced the priorities of the few over the many. This does not make him uniquely evil, it just makes him more of the same.
When will we stop being enamoured by such personalities and giving them so much power over our lives and realise that it is we the ordinary people who have the power if only we would use it and not hand it over to modern day kings and queens hoping they will save us.
These are not all my original ideas obviously, but they are ideas that 5 years ago I would not have understood hardly a sentence of them. Personally I feel like I've had my eyes pinned open sort of forcefully so that I can see and accept the way things actually work in this world of ours, rather than the way I was propagandised to believe things work.
I am grateful to Trump for being the first and only US president who told some truths about US foreign policy, even as he gave permission to keep doing the evil. He was never apologetic in his declarations so it clearly was not for the purpose of "draining the swamp". I would say the more realistic purpose was simply bragging in his brash New York fashion. But his revelations certainly contributed to the alternate media getting a lot more attention and to many more people waking up to the fake system.

Posted by: K | May 17 2021 22:48 utc | 50

Trump was a corporatist scumbag Biden is a congressional scumbag

They are identical warmongering scumbags.

They are beneath contempt.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 17 2021 22:51 utc | 51

l like psychohistorian's description of Trump as a "Liberace grifter" LOL

for confirmation, please see Watch Donald Trump Take Down WWE's Vince McMahon Back in 2007

Posted by: Perimetr | May 18 2021 0:01 utc | 52

I struggle to see the point of these discussions. We have seen demonstrated time & time again on these boards that the amerikan political system has been corrupted by the power of wealthy supplicants since its initial inception to the point that it has become impossible for any honest, decent or public service motivated human to win office at any level. Local, state or federal.
That in turn means that examination of any president, be it examination of character or actions always reveals the same things.
That is a shallow, selfish human intent on using the arcane, only the experienced can possibly know the rules & means, DC 'system', to game the best possible, most selfish outcomes for his/herself and cronies.

Trump had the same qualities of selfish mindset focussed on 'winning' as all previous successful prez beauty contest winners, but he his limited intellect which had been devoted to celebrity culture which is what gained him his victory was useless when it came to the whole point of the exercise, grabbing the goodies, sure he tried hard and he & bagman kushner may have looted a few million, but nothing like what he could have snaffled. Winning is only the start of the scam, what comes next is far more important for all prezes.

Trump revealed himself to be a poor gamer as he set about trying to grab as much as possible for family & cronies without either familiarising himself with the arcane systems or hiring others who had.
The result was the chaotic four year term everyone saw.
The first couple of months where Trump & Bannon set about trying to force the long entrenched methods of governing to buckle under the weight of multiple daily presidential orders were a disaster.
Every part of the DC machine from bureaucrats in state to the supremes turned against trump's prez orders as anyone with the slightest cognitive ability could see they must. This was easy because the initial moves were so divisive that screwing them over garnered support from several quarters especially the media.
These weird and impossible to externally discern systems had evolved over centuries as a way for the diverse factions of DC's power structure to retain and exercise each faction or department's modicum of power.
The way that Bannon & trump started off sent an immediate message to all of them that they had to fight back lest they become irrelevant & worse, powerless.
The dingbat's next move was so stupid it defies belief. After sacking Bannon following the collapse of the initial whateveryoucallit, strategy it wasn't because strategy implies forward thinking; dingbat made the most stupidly naive move of thousands of stupidly naive decisions he made in the four years.

He understood that high ranking military types had considerable knowledge of Washington's systems and many of the players within it - OK on the surface that seemed fair enough, but the assumption he made next was where the naivety showed.

trump assumed that since these former generals had served in the military they would follow orders. Only a non-military type would make that assumption. Sure a private does as his sargeant tells him and a sargeant obeys his lieutenant - up to a point because it is about this level where smart ncos can play their commissioned officers. From then on up in the military hierarchy though, the most successful officers put more effort into 'managing upwards' than they spend on keeping their staff in line.
The types dingbat picked to work for him were all highly successful officers all having made general rank, so all of them were skilled at managing their boss and that is precisely what they did so the chaos continued.
Trump may have gotten away with pulling amerikan military outta Africa & the ME if he had attempted it during his term, before he lost the election, although that would have been difficult and would have required the attention to detail trump obviously lacks.

He had no chance of pulling off that trick after he lost the election as every senior military human, careerists to a fault was devoting all the energies to what comes next. What gig can they finesse post trump? Anyone who had helped to scupper the scams by reducing amerika's footprint was gonna be kicked to the kerb by the defense contractors real fast, so it was in everybody's interests to make sure that didn't happen. The best gigs would go to those who had increased that footprint.

This is exactly what happened and I frankly don't get why anyone would see that as anything other than inevitable.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 18 2021 0:37 utc | 53

May 18 2021 0:37 utc | 55

'looted a few million' should read "looted a few billion"

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 18 2021 0:40 utc | 54

Just my humble thumb stuck in the mixed pie of consensus ..

I sense this from most people, everywhere ... graveyarding as it were ... whistling as they traipe nervously towards what they hope is a bright new sunrise, full of 'normal ... when what's briskly approaching, is the heated event horizon of global resource depletion, not fully realizing how truly stretched things will get. Hence "Build Back Better" for those lordly few who preside over us ... whilst everyone else gets put through the matter rearranger!

Posted by: polecat | May 18 2021 0:46 utc | 55

A lot of Irish in senior military command positions. Why? Where are all the Polish generals?

Posted by: Robert Browning | May 18 2021 0:47 utc | 56

@ Posted by: Robert Browning | May 18 2021 0:47 utc | 58

Well, the Irish won the Civil War for the North (Union). Fair game they control the upper ranks of the military now.

Posted by: vk | May 18 2021 0:58 utc | 57

...along the lines of Debsisdead 55. . .
Many readers are tough on Trump for not doing what he said he'd do and not doing what he tried to do. But there is nothing in the Constitution that says the president is an autocrat. Yes, presidents have proclaimed that they have "executive authority" to do things, but there's no Constitutional basis for that. None.
That, by the way, applies to the bad things that presidents have done as it does to the good things. Presidents have no constitutional authority to start wars, nor to end them. In a democracy those decisions are best made by the citizens. That's what democracy is, governance by the citizens via their elected representatives.
But in the US the governance is by the institutions who control the representatives, and by extension the president. Presidents have been killed for not recognizing the facts. I'm sure that lesson was not wasted on Trump. I mean Dealey Plaza.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18 2021 2:26 utc | 58

Mr. Don Bacon | May 18 2021 2:26 utc | 60

The United State Congress gave the President of the United States the carte blanche to wage war against enemies of Israel. It was called AUMF.

US Congress supports the Forever Wars to safeguard Israel.

US Judiciary, is waging its own war against enemies of Israel. One example are multi billion USD judgements against Iran for 9/11/2001 attacks against the United States.

You guys have very deep problems in USA.

Posted by: Fyi | May 18 2021 2:32 utc | 59

Long ago, at the start of the trumpeter swan event, I stated that trumps leadership style was 'asymmetrical' - as in guerilla tactics.

His history of business deals was a litany of using the system against itself.

He never demonstrated the ability to build anything, either short term or long term.

His tweeting was classic asymmetrical tactics used against the MSM, hijacking its power for his own narcistic ends.

But when it came to building a team, a vision, a policy, or even devising a simple constructive strategy- trump floundered.

In his wake you have a plethora of groups doing the same thing. Like parasites they feed off the system, hollowing it out for their own profit.

As they have seen, so they reap.

Posted by: les7 | May 18 2021 2:46 utc | 60

As they have sown so they reap

Posted by: les7 | May 18 2021 2:47 utc | 61

Tel Aviv thanks Biden for blocking UN ceasefire statement

Trump failed so Biden took over <=the link answers Christian J. Chuba @ 38 and others..

When you wake up, and discover the world over is under common management. the oligarch have removed bottom up politics from the nation state system: voting, demonstrating, elections whatever makes no difference, the outcome is predetermined to favor the wealthy Oligarch in charge.

The nation states are management franchises given to territorial oligarchs chiefs. The total people in the 256 nation states add up to the 8 billion the number who live in the world. So the Oligarch have divided the management of people they control into piece meal national governments, each with authority over a portion of the earth. At the macro level globally managed, at the microscopic level domestically managed, and at the lesser political sub divisional levels nano-scopically managed. But its a trickle down management; the top layers dictate, everyone else follows.

So the nation state is a hierarchically arranged system is designed to completely control humanity, and to direct the allocation of resources, and the cummulative production of mankind, into the hands of the wealthy oligarchs. Those same Oligarchs who oversee the management of each of the nation state franchises.

A few wealthy Oligarchs run the nation state franchised world. They shall be known as the franchisor.. and the 256 nation states as the franchisees.

Posted by: snake | May 18 2021 2:50 utc | 62

@ 64 Snake, well said.

Would you be a CEO (President) of an organization if all the financial decisions were to be made by the CFO? Why then do people want to be a President or Prime Minister and let the Central Bank Chairperson make all the monetary decisions? No democratic oversight of the monetary system. There is no sovereignty without monetary sovereignty.

More than 90+% of nation’s money supply is created by PRIVATE BANKS controlled by the Global Financial SYNDICATE. What we have is “representative” democracies designed by the economically powerful solely for their interests and in this sense would always be functioning anti-democratically.

Why do many not question the fact, that the nation’s money creation and allocation being in the hands of private coterie is effectively prima facie evidence that the administration is already under the thumb of the private Money Power?

Why should a small private group of people profit by renting humanity its money supply?

Name a democracy that isn’t a SUZERAINTY. A Feudalistic Suzerainty?

"The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or, what is most important of all, the banker of the backer."
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by: Max | May 18 2021 3:09 utc | 63

Like it or not, but Trump has a real chance of winning the 2024 elections.
This in fact will be the best thing ever because the whole world will immediately turn their backs on USA the way they did.
Personally I can't wait for him to f*ck USA up and try to start a war with either China or/and Iran. About time USA get its ass whipped.

Posted by: Hoyeru | May 18 2021 3:28 utc | 64

Meanwhile on the propaganda express:

Since when is Netanyahu an "ex commando"? That was his older brother. While HAMAS was, as even the zionist entity admits, created by it to weaken the PLO, Dyer cannot possibly be so uninformed as to be able to innocently imply, as he does, that the Palestinian resistance this time is restricted to HAMAS. Even in Gaza - the world's largest ever concentration camp - groups opposed to HAMAS, such as Islamic Jihad and the PFLP, are resisting the zionist entity. In the so called state of "Israel", ordinary civilians are rising in resistance.

Also, of course, Dyer is deliberately silent about the rather important fact that the zionist entity itself began this cycle of violence by illegally evicting Palestinian families from their homes in Occupied Jerusalem in order to create yet another illegal racist settler colony of apartheid imports.

Another load of Dyer claptrap, in other words. I do not remember when Dyer last wrote a word of truth, so this is rather what could be expected from him.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | May 18 2021 4:14 utc | 65

@Don Bacon 60

I'm not even Amerikastani and I know perfectly well that the Amerikastani Congress gave the president the authority to commit the ultimate war crime, that is, wage aggressive war. That is called the AUMF.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | May 18 2021 4:17 utc | 66

Vk @30
..why the necessity of populist POTUSes arose in the USA in the first place?

Perhaps it might be useful to examine the case of the first Western populist of the modern era: Louis Napoleon. It's been a while since I read Marx's 'The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon' but the short (hopefully not too vulgar) version is that the French ruling class was too divided (between different flavours of Royalist and Republicans, finance capitalists and industrialists etc) for any faction to provide a coherent class project to move France forward and either co-opt or repress the working people of France.

The workers were also divided and not yet ready to articulate a revolutionary project of their own. With France caught between its imperialist rival Great Britain and an awakening Germany, and the threat of revolution working to focus their minds, the French Ruling class came up with a way out of the impass: a populist leader who could stand above the social divisions and 'Make France Great Again'.

Bonaparte's nephew Louis Napoleon was by most accounts a mere grifter and stuffed-shirt, but he had name recognition and the ambition to play the part. The gambit was wildly successful in rolling back the gains the workers had made in 1848 and resulted in the 'second empire' that reinvigorated French imperialism. Well, wildly successful until Louis went up against against a rising power (Prussia/Germany) and the second empire folded like a house of cards.

When Trump was first elected it seemed probable that we were dealing with another 'Bonapartist'. With the ruling class floundering after the 'GFC' of 2008-11 and the crisis of US imperialism after the rise of China and defeat in Ukraine and Syria, some faction of the ruling class was seeking to put the pieces back together under a new strongman. But in this case the attempt was a resounding failure in unifing the ruling class.

The weakness of the US working class may be the key to understanding the failure of Trumpism. While French workers of 1850 may have struggled to create a unified revolutionary project of their own, they were organised and poliicised enough to provide the muscle in removing the Monarchy in 1848 and were a constant threat to French ruling class power. The US working class of 2016 was none of these things. Without the threat of revolution there was no incentive for the dominant ruling class factions to devolve some of their power to a strongman.

The ruling class attack on Trumpism seems to have consolidated the power of the dominant factions of the ruling class under the Democratic party, while hopelessly dividing the working class between those who support the strongman and those that tail after the ruling class attacks on him. So while Trumpism has failed to create a reborn and unified US empire, it has accomplished the next best thing: disorienting and demoralising the greatest threat to that empire. Perhaps it will take a diastrous collision with a rising power to change that. For France's second empire it was Germany and resulted in the Paris Commune. For the US, China and ?

Posted by: S.P. Korolev | May 18 2021 5:26 utc | 67

@ S.P. Korolev | May 18 2021 5:26 utc | 69 with the nice description of Trump's Populist failing

Thanks for that...nicely done and, yes, the China/Russia axis is the challenge to the US faced axis....I keep calling it a civilization war because that it the only result I see meaning we have evolved from barbarism and haven't gone extinct trying...

Commenter vk is the MoA ideologue troll that should go create her own web site and stop polluting this one, IMO, and that of others on an ongoing basis....see the latest Week in Review Open Thread about Ivermectin for example.
vk is the main reason I scroll to the bottom of each comment to find the author before reading

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 18 2021 5:56 utc | 68

apologise for OT and please do not take my strong suggestion that MoA-ites read, then disseminate this important perspective on life as a Palestinian resident of Sheik Jarrah as any endorsement of the guardian site I found it on, because it is avowedly not.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 18 2021 6:32 utc | 69


Cheers psychohistorian, praise from an esteemed regular at the bar is much appreciated. However it's a shame you don't read vk's comments anymore, they're probably my favourite commenter here. If you find vk overly-ideological and combative you must not have met many Western 'Marxists', s/he is positively pleasant and constructive in comparison. And a great souce on Roman history, not many Marxist Classicists out there..

Posted by: S.P. Korolev | May 18 2021 7:21 utc | 70

I think Trump is a man for the moment. He is not particularly intelligent. He is not particulary honest. He is not a natural leader. He loves to play to the gallery.He can be dominated.He is weak. He is disingenuous.He is rich. I don't think he can ever be called a self made man. He was chosen to do the job by those more connected and powerful than him. Remember you always get the leader that you deserve.

Posted by: Cryogenicman | May 18 2021 7:46 utc | 71

(marginally off-topic)

This is huge:

Alongside the hostilities in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, a concentration of NATO forces appears to be happening nearby.

On May 16th, a French carrier group was concentrated south of Cyprus.

On May 17th, four US Air Force B-52H strategic bombers arrived in Spain, and this is in addition to the six already based in Qatar.

On May 18th, three missile destroyers from the US Navy aircraft carrier group operating in the Arabian Sea are making a transition with the explicit intention to get, if not to the Mediterranean, then at least to the northern part of the Red Sea, closer to Israel.

This is likely an attempt for Israel’s allies to guarantee that it can continue carrying out its operation, while being undeterred by Iran, or other Palestinian allies.

If this is a suggestion that the NATO powers are concerned that forces in the middle east will rise against israel in support of the Palestinians, perhaps there are serious discussions among the Turks and others about intervening directly in the conflict.

The suggestion by Turkey for the formation of a protection force for the Palestinians may be an example of this:

Posted by: Arch Bungle | May 18 2021 10:05 utc | 72

The weakness of the US working class may be the key to understanding the failure of Trumpism. S. P. Korolev @69 < The nation state system of government makes private corporate accumulation of profit making public goods and services possible. (Economics not politics is the driver; instead, politics within a nation state operates like the customer complaint in an Oligarch owned department store [nation state], you can get your money back, but forget changing the system). Such a design disenfranchises inalienable human rights, and invites use of the system to extract from the operation of the government itself public goods and services for private use. The nation state is a people control tool, capable to control every aspect of the lives of those the governments govern.

Indirect democracies are propaganda fronts, there are no direct democracies of consequence.

The nation state system turns the management of the governed over to the Oligarchs. The Oligarchs use the nation state management system to extract into the Oligarch owned private corporate treasuries, economically profitable market rights and monopoly powers [this leaves raped, the governments, that must: find ways to tend to the costly obligations people depend on; those things governments are supposed to supply to those the governments govern].

After the rape, the capacity of nation state to serve the needs and wants of the governed, depends on the ability of the govern to fund the costly things governments must provide to those it governs. True because the self funding capacity of government has been privatized by the rape.

Extracting and redirecting public wealth and wealth producing public rights into private oligarch wealth (by use of the rule of law) is the business of the nation state. The entire system (256 nation states) serve as oligarch owned government operated branch transfer agencies. Everything of value is transferred from the public side to the private side. This is true because the governed masses have been excluded from the forces that decide matters. The vote, needs and wants of the governed, are not the concern when decisions are made, the governed have been denied admission to the meetings that allocate the resources and privatize powers that governments engage in daily. In USA governed America, it is often illegal to possess a document, or to express a fact, deemed secret by the government in violation of the first amendment.

I think it is not the weakness of the working class that accounts for the mess we have been given, but instead the right of government, or any of its employees, contractors or executives to keep secret anything about anything no matter what that accounts for mess.

Nation State law making currently means redirecting goods, services, rights and powers from the public to private domain.

Understanding governmental purpose to be: to convert public property, public rights and profit making government monopoly powers (such as utility and energy services, and the practice of storing, developing and hiding assets protected by copyright, private property ownership, and patents, and private:government contracts) account for dominate private rule by a few.

For example, As soon as Government grants supported research, discovers economically promising new principles capable to enable new industry the ownership and use of those public funded discoveries are made mobile by copyright and patents. Once mobilized the profitable discovery can be easily privately owned by the wealthy few (copyright and patent monopolies transfer ownership of public power and wealth to private monopoly power and wealth). So ownership of every discovery and all technology of value is mobilized by copyright or patent monopoly law). In other words the oligarch uses the nation state system to transfer into privately owned oligarch control wealth and monopoly power and the oligarch stores that wealth in his private corporate tower and his monopoly power in his file entitled nation state made grants of monopoly power.

High technology is supported by public grants (by and thru the various agencies of government) and by the legal system that gates access to loans that never needs to be paid back (stocks); the private loans made from investor pockets made by Wall Street to the Oligarch few.

MSM funding that comes from tax deductible advertising. Every corporation of any substance provides a portion of its income to fund the privately owned MSM. MSM has access to nearly all corporate owned technology, so the corporate system is a joint and several partnership with the MSM. The MSM is used by the Oligarch to keep the governed people[deplorables] contained within the non functional [political] part of the nation state (the outcome of nation state politics does not control the operation of the nation state).

I don't think it is the nations money supply controlled by private banks and syndicated financial giants that took control of the nation state from the governed masses, I think the culprit is the design of the nation state system. It was the USA, a nation state, the Oligarch used to privatize the banks (FEDERAl RESERVE ACT of 1913) and to collaterize the banks (Income Tax Act of 1913), and it was the Nelson A. Aldridge 16th amendment ratified 1913, that made private banking possible, in the case of USA governed America.

The 16th amendment negated in nearly word for word rebuke: Article I, Sec. 9, para 4 "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken (overruled by the 16th amendment)" but the 16th amendment reads "The congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without any regard to any census or enumeration.

My point is private banking is not the cause the nation state system is. Anything the Oligarch wants the nation state system delivers and since it is all done in secret, there is no way for the governed to balance the powers. That is why I argue we need a government made up of those who are governed, who would, in that 2nd government, govern those who are the governors.

Posted by: snake | May 18 2021 10:51 utc | 73

"Trump was not assertive enough to use the power of his office to get things done. He also was not smart enough to beat the deep state in its own game."

Hmm. Is this really about being assertive enough and smart enough? I'm not so sure about that.

Could it be that it's simply impossible to beat the deep state? By design. Feature, not a bug.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | May 18 2021 12:27 utc | 74

...actually, the idea of 'assertive enough and smart enough' reminds me of an old cartoon. Here, I found it:

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | May 18 2021 12:40 utc | 75

I rarely read Newsweek, I found my way to a Newsweek article via a link at

Exclusive: Inside the Military's Secret Undercover Army

The newest and fastest growing group is the clandestine army that never leaves their keyboards. These are the cutting-edge cyber fighters and intelligence collectors who assume false personas online, employing "nonattribution" and "misattribution" techniques to hide the who and the where of their online presence while they search for high-value targets and collect what is called "publicly accessible information"—or even engage in campaigns to influence and manipulate social media. Hundreds work in and for the NSA, but over the past five years, every military intelligence and special operations unit has developed some kind of "web" operations cell that both collects intelligence and tends to the operational security of its very activities.

This is not news to anyone here at MoA. Rather, it is puzzling to me to find such an article at Newsweek (I didn't finish reading it).
Newsweek is a more compliant whore to the Deep State than the NYT.

Good morning to the Deep State sub-contractors and sub-sub-contractors. I can almost hear you sipping at your morning joe.
How often do you folks troll each other? Kinda like friendly-fire, except digitally.
No way is there a index somewhere that you folks can use to identify each other.
Would be amusing to discover that *everyone* here at MoA is a paid sub-sub-sub-contractor.
A total friendly-fire shooting gallery. No one knows that the other person they are addressing
is a paid whore too. I feel certain that that is *not* the situation here at MoA
but I'll bet it happens in cyberspace aplenty.

Posted by: librul | May 18 2021 12:41 utc | 76

Mao Cheng Ji @May18 12:27 #76

Could it be that it's simply impossible to beat the deep state?

More likely: every President is groomed/selected by the Deep State and Trump vs the Deep State is just kayfabe?

The independent-minded, all-powerful President is a fairy-tale. Just like "Change You Can Believe In" and "America First". USA is "Empire First".

See comments #1 and #5 for more.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 18 2021 12:44 utc | 77

@librul 78

They also use expatriates to try to influence people in their former homelands. My school alumni WhatsApp group had one such, who shares my surname (Purkayastha) but isn't a relative. I remember him as an insufferable little twerp. Last year, this character was spraying "Chinese Wuhan bioweapon virus" crapaganda all over the alumni group. I not only provided counter links and facts but called him to his face a CIA propagandist. He seems to have disappeared after that.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | May 18 2021 12:46 utc | 78

@79 "every President is groomed/selected by the Deep State and Trump vs the Deep State is just kayfabe"

Nah, without a doubt, Trump vs the Deep State was (and still is) for real. HC was supposed to be the groomed/selected one.

It's just that there is a procedure for a glitch in the system, which is what happened 11/09/2016. The procedure got activated. And we saw what it looks like.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | May 18 2021 13:04 utc | 79

@Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | May 18 2021 12:46 utc | 80


How does one avoid becoming *too suspicious*?
I read your post (thx) but spotted something that made me...well...suspicious.

I remember reading an article about the USS Liberty. And it seemed to push all the
right anti-zionist buttons for me. But within the article was a virus of sorts - a seed , a fly in the ointment.
(Ideas are like viruses).

Encapsulated virus ready for delivery: The article pointed out that the USS Liberty was an NSA ship.

The USS Liberty was an NSA ship. Was I therefore being given reason to like or sympathize with the NSA?
Was that the whole purpose of the article? A tasty morsel of an article which served as a delivery system
for a nasty seed of a thought? I should be sympathetic to the NSA.

So I read your post and it was supportive, and agreeing with me and adding to what I had said. But encapsulated
in it's midst you said " this character was spraying "Chinese Wuhan bioweapon virus" crapaganda".

I don't necessarily disagree with your point about "Chinese Wuhan bioweapon" - I am still undecided about the origins.
But my point is not whether you are right or wrong about it being a Chinese bioweapon,
my point is a question:
Were you, by intention and design, using the technique of Encapsulation?

Posted by: librul | May 18 2021 13:06 utc | 80

snake @75

The nation-state will always reflect the underlying power relations in the economy. If the balance of power leans towards the capitalists then they will also acquire control over the state. If the balance of power shifts to working class organizations (unions and mass-based revolutionary parties) then control over the government will likewise shift to the working class. Of course, big business has "held the throne" in the US for so long (many generations now) that it might seem like the natural state of affairs for the government to only concern itself with the interests of the rich and powerful, but such a perspective does not comport with historical reality.

The working class in the US is not weak due to attacks by the government. The labor movement is always opposed by the state until that labor movement gains dominance over capital because until that point the state is controlled by big capital. Through much of American history labor organization was an outlawed activity. It was only legalized AFTER the working class developed escalation dominance. The idea that organized labor gained or lost power due to this or that law is shallow and crude analysis that neglects to take into account who in society has the power to force the adoption and enforcement of that law.

S.P. Korolev @69 is correct about the historic weakness of the American working class. This weakness is due not to attacks by the state, which the working class could otherwise easily counter, but because the working class has lost its own perspective; its own ideology, and has instead adopted the ideology of the ruling class. This in turn is due to America being the center of a massive economic empire (there really is no other kind than economic) which allows the capitalists to buy off the population with cheap trinkets and baubles sourced from the empire's economic colonies. Food and distractions are plentiful so the American working class allowed itself to be leashed and domesticated.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 18 2021 13:08 utc | 81

to: Fyi & Biswapriya Purkayast

I am SOOO happy that you know about the AUMF.

read my comment #60 again:
Presidents have no constitutional authority to start wars, nor to end them. In a democracy those decisions are best made by the citizens. That's what democracy is, governance by the citizens via their elected representatives. But in the US the governance is by the institutions who control the representatives, and by extension the president.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18 2021 13:09 utc | 82

re: AUMF -- current news--
WASHINGTON ― After a years-long fight to reclaim Congress’s war powers from the presidency, supporters say they are in talks with the White House for a potentially game-changing “green light” from the Biden administration. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 18 2021 13:17 utc | 83

Mr. Don Bacon | May 18 2021 13:17 utc | 83

I think you are quibbling.

Judeo-Christians are not yet ready to end their wars for Israel's safety.

I predict that AUMF will continue its catastrophic existence for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: fyi | May 18 2021 14:41 utc | 84

Jackrabbit wrote:

"More likely: every President is groomed/selected by the Deep State and Trump vs the Deep State is just kayfabe?"

That is certainly an accurate statement.
Mao Cheng Ji wrote

"Nah, without a doubt, Trump vs the Deep State was (and still is) for real."

Do you believe pro wrestling is "for real" also?

What the staged phony battle between Trump and the deep state accomplished was it made Trump the most popular president in our life times. No other president in recent memory has had such a loyal following. This was nothing new. Reagan in the 80's did the same thing, coming to Washington to do battle with the ruling powers and to clean house. But trump took it to whole new level. And of course just like with Reagan the ruling powers got everything they wanted: Huge tax cuts, Huge rollbacks of govt regulation of corporations and Huge pay increases for the MIC. They would have gotten none of that if Hillary was elected.

You have to be a complete idiot to believe the phony story that TPTB don't like Trump. TPTB got everything they could possibly hope for and the stupid morons that got sucked into the phony battle between Trump and the deep state and showed up in record breaking numbers to vote for either Biden or Trump got the shaft.

Posted by: jinn | May 18 2021 15:36 utc | 85

Does anyone remember the 2016 presidential campaign? The Republican Party had no potential candidate who did not provoke laughter. Trump was selected early. The media gave him massive free publicity all winter spring and summer. All television became Trump Television all the time. This was of course instigated by his friend HilaryClinton. Media was happy to go along with that tack as the man had at least some on-camera experience and the other candidates were continuously embarrassing. Or we should say even more embarrassing than Trump.

The Democratic candidate was unopposed and selected well in advance. She simply did not campaign. Then she lost consciousness very publicly on 9/11. The only constituents she was willing to talk to were wealthy donors. Even within the wealthy donor class she barely acknowledged any below the rank of Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Even those handing her cash were unimpressed.

Two such trivial candidates should tell you your owners and rulers fundamentally did not care who would become President. A sideshow for the plebs. My guess, which is a guess and barely matters, is that once the rulers saw that Hillary could not consistently manage to remain vertical they pulled the plug. Suspect they were also annoyed by her pretensions.

For four years the Trump Show dominated the airwaves. Never anything but a sideshow. Now we have the Sleepy Sideshow. Your owners do not care.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 18 2021 15:39 utc | 86

@ Debsisdead | May 18 2021 0:37 utc | 53.. good comments, especially the last paragraph and added sentence.. thanks debs..

@ S.P. Korolev | May 18 2021 5:26 utc | 67... great comment as well... thanks s. p... i agree with your conclusions towards the end and like the parallel you have drawn..

Posted by: james | May 18 2021 16:15 utc | 87

@ S.P. Korolev | May 18 2021 5:26 utc | 67

Your last sentence defines the strategic inflection point well. The morning China and Russia announce that they won’t take the US$ for their goods and launch a different payment system, it will be the dawn of a new era. They have already stopped buying the U$ treasuries and are de-dollarizing in multiple realms. The trigger for change will be external forces. The internal forces for change are non-existential in our nation. However, change is coming!

Posted by: Max | May 18 2021 17:49 utc | 88

The premise of the large majority of posters here, including the host, is that Trump really did win, really was a lefty on world peace and national reindustrialization, really was in a titanic struggle with the Deep State and that the Democratic Party candidates are always the direct agents of nefarious forces, traitors to the international cabal of financiers (not quite sure if the *majority*) is committed to the proposition that it's the Jews and that the Democrats are committed to international finance, war, sexual depravity (again, not quite sure if the *majority* is committed to the proposition that it's all pedophile conspiracy,) modern racial corruption/miscegenation and all manner of bad manners to boot. The claim now that Biden is just as bad as Trump is not only a hope pretending to be an accomplished fact is a kind of neurotic projection: It's the Trumpers who have contradicted themselves. The savagery of the Zionists is a product of Trump's support (along with domestic causes, to be sure.)

The majority of posters here are not as forthright as oldhippie, who simply mixes in grand lies with a self-serving amnesia. Mao Cheng Ji is still lying about how billions of dollars of free PR for Trump and decades of fake news stories about Clinton means she was the Deep State favorite. If anything, Biden was the elites' favorite, then as well as now.) oldhippie lies about who won: It was Clinton who won the vote. Clinton came to a town hall in my town and talked to relatively ordinary people---and told the truth! which profoundly irritated fools who swallowed Trump. Only a vicious fool like oldhippie would believe a ginned-up MSM storm over a faint made any difference.

If LBJ could muzzle the military over the assault on the Liberty, then Trump could make the generals come to order. Trump didn't want to, which refutes every pitiful excuse to justify Trump-worship.

Posted by: steven t johnson | May 18 2021 18:52 utc | 89

@67 S.P. Korolev
@81 William Gruff - and several others

I wrote this last night but it was late and I didn't post it. Now I think W. Gruff and others have made good work out of your analysis, so I'll add it in case it serves any purpose - I think it agrees with what people are saying:

An excellent analysis, thank you.

If we turned your narrative into a graph we could see a rising and falling curve of strength and weakness in dividing and ruling the populace. Sometimes the divisiveness is great and rulership is untroubled; sometimes the division turns to solidarity and the rulership is gravely endangered.

Against this one axis of the chart we could overlay another one, the graph of charismatic, populist leader versus institutional order. This too derives from your analysis.

Neither of the two curves would depend on the other, but the composite chart would show where we are in terms of the four quadrants presented by the intersecting curves.

Right now in the US, we have strong division and institutional calm. This is out of the four possibilities of arrangements of these two factors.

Before this, we had charismatic leadership and strong division.

What would happen if we have charismatic leadership that combines with strong solidarity. The rulership would be gravely endangered, just the way we like it.

Even better, what if we had strong solidarity and institutional calm - something like a party of revolution committed to clear principles, with a base of support that was in strong solidarity.

I don't mean to be a dilettante here with your history. But I happened to see it in a graphic equation, and thought to work it through.

Looking at the options through this lens, it seems we need solidarity far more than charismatic leadership. Only solidarity provides the possibility of representative government.

I like the Gruff analysis - that we get the "deep state" we allow, and that even subterfuge is representative in a way of the mass consensus.

It all really hinges on the working class insisting on its real worth - from this, multiple problems simply evaporate.

Posted by: Grieved | May 18 2021 23:02 utc | 90

Kept in the dark
Fed on bullshit and lies
The illusion of choice
Is something everybody buys
Cookie cutter candidates
Actors in a show
All of this is just a ploy
To maintain the status quo

They demonize a ghost
They fabricate a need
To strip you of your rights
So you'll willingly concede
Open your eyes
it's time you realized
You've become the instrument
To hasten the demise

They pound the drums
And wave the sword
Then they march you off to war
The fodder isn't even sure
what he's really dying for
In the end his life's blood bought
some billionaire another yacht

You think you’re free
Well it’s just a misconception
You live a lie
In this matrix of dreams
It's a rich man's trick
A monstrous deception
To keep you chained
To their killing machine

Posted by: ld | May 19 2021 6:09 utc | 91

@Mao Cheng Ji (75)
Never thought I'd see a reference to Sinfest.
Just managed to find the original, in case anyone is wondering.

Posted by: Digby | May 19 2021 8:26 utc | 92

ld @May19 6:09 #91

One of your best lizard.



Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19 2021 13:12 utc | 93

steven t johnson @May18 18:52 #89

Nice summary but you're wrong about who was supposed to win in 2016.

The Deep State got the public face they wanted ... as they always do (at least since the JFK). The Presidency is too powerful to leave to the whims of democratic choice.

Few Americans care to consider that THEY'VE BEEN HAD. If you try telling someone, citing 'Empire First' priorities that trump democracy like militarism and absolute support for Israel, you will get protest (conspiracy theory!), then excuses (politics is strange), then push-off (anyway, I just don't care).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19 2021 13:29 utc | 94

overt establishment troll: "You're all just a bunch of stupid-head meanies and all you care about is Trump and Trump is a stupid-head meanie who hides under my bed at night and whispers mean things to me while I am trying to sleep and the teacher should punish you and I'm telling my mommy on you and my daddy Biden will beat you up and..."
covert establishment troll: "Nice summary..."

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19 2021 14:54 utc | 95

If Trump had any sense, instead of pushing crackpot election fraud claims, he should have given an address on primetime TV conceding the election and announcing that he had given the order to withdraw all the troops from all of the Forever Wars, effective immediately, with no conditions, stating that he had wanted to do this for years, but was stymied every step of the way, but now that he no longer needed any favors from anyone and owed no favors to anyone, now at least he was free to do this one thing for the American people.

Trump would ride off into the sunset a hero, and Biden would be left sputtering, having to explain why the Forever Wars really had to go on forever.

Posted by: Feral Finster | May 19 2021 15:50 utc | 96

I should have added - assuming that Trump even wanted to do any of these things.

Posted by: Feral Finster | May 19 2021 15:51 utc | 97

@ Mao Cheng Ji | May 18 2021 12:40 utc | 75... thanks for that!

@ Digby | May 19 2021 8:26 utc | 92... the original doesn't load here..

Posted by: james | May 19 2021 16:08 utc | 98

Posted by: William Gruff | May 18 2021 13:08 utc | 81

Very well said. The US of A provides the archetypal, quintessential case for the "cultural hegemony of the elite". The result is gun owners arguing like they are CEOs of Raytheon and farmers as if they are shareholders of agribusiness corporations like DuPont or the infamous - now bought -Monsanto.

Posted by: Constantine | May 19 2021 19:10 utc | 99

@76 librul

You are probably correct about paid commenters fake-slugging it out and steering the synthesis of their bs towards where they both wanted you to go in the first place: to dejection, demoralization, to fatalism.

Go to main-stream neolib outlets and see what disgusting zionist spins they can muster.

Re: DJT-phenomenon. It does not matter if POTUS was really a Nationalist, himself. It only matters that he spurred the awakening on and brought about an opening in the lexicon of national discourse: globalism.

As in the Tao Te Ching: "Take the good, discard the bad."

The fact that DJT will now travel and perform on the road again will provide the clue we need to know if HE was real or not. If he goes hard against the Palestinians and starts mouthing off against socialism, you know he is and was always a NeoLib. If he rails against the globalists and and further encourages isolationalism, then he will once again be conjuring the specter of a resurgent nationalism.

We shall see.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 19 2021 20:23 utc | 100

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