Thursday, June 29, 2017

Alexander Mercouris: Assessing a Murder Case Against Putin

The first accusations against Putin that I know of is the Litvinenko case in the UK. From there things just got worse.  Before his death Litvinenko spoke about how he was going to blackmail people, but this was ignored in the public enquiry which wasn't really a trail, as there was no jury or barristers defending the accused, nor was there was no right of appeal. Apparently, the British Government is embarrassed about the trail.

This analysis shows why the Litvinenko Inquiry was a farce and why its report is in the end worthless.

The Judge who headed the Inquiry was obsessed with proving the Russian state murdered Litvinenko.  In order to prove what he always believed he threw legal procedure out of the window and interpreted the evidence how he wanted.


In the end even he could not prove that the Russian state murdered Litvinenko, which is why he could only say they “probably” did.


In reality the facts – if looked at objectively – show the Russian state almost certainly did not murder Litvinenko and played no part in his death.


The Inquiry and its report actually say more about the pathological hostility to Russia of some sections of the British establishment than they do about the Litvinenko case.


The first point to grasp about the Public Inquiry that has now delivered its verdict in the Litvinenko case is that it should never have happened at all.


The second point is that Inquiry’s decision that the Russian authorities were “probably” behind Litvinenko’s murder is unsustainable and makes no sense.


The Public Inquiry that has now delivered its verdict in the Litvinenko case has thrown all this out of the window.

There was no jury.

Part of the evidence was secret and the defendants and their lawyers were denied sight of it. Some of the witnesses gave their evidence to the Judge in secret and their identities were not disclosed to the defendants.

Since technically it was not a trial and the Public Inquiry is not a court there is no right of appeal.
Since the defendants – Lugovoi and Kovtun – were denied sight of part of the evidence, they refused to take part.  The judge who tried the case – Sir Robert Owen – commented at length in his judgment about their refusal to take part, but failed to state the reason for it.

The trial nonetheless proceeded in the absence of the defendants though that is almost unprecedented in Britain.  Moreover no lawyers were appointed to represent their interests in their absence as it is perfectly possible to do, and as happens from time to time in other kinds of proceedings.

The result is that the evidence of what we must call the prosecution went entirely unchallenged.
Moreover since what happened was technically speaking not a trial but a Public Inquiry, the Judge felt free to look at evidence that was not produced to the court, including especially the possible evidence of potential witnesses who did not attend the court, but which was provided to him at second hand, whilst engaging in all sorts of speculations on the evidence that he would not have been able to engage in in a proper trial.

Needless to say any notion that the guilt of the accused had to be proved beyond reasonable doubt went out of the window.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/27/assessing-a-murder-case-against-putin/

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Reuters — U.S. says its warning appears to have averted Syrian chemical attack


Read Generals Mattis and McMaster got a leash on the WH.

Reuters
U.S. says its warning appears to have averted Syrian chemical attack
Phil Stewart and David Dolan

Update:

Sic Semper Tyrannis
MATTIS WALKS BACK FROM SYRIA CW CLAIMS
Harper

Zero Hedge — It Begins: WalMart Warns Truckers It Will No Longer Work With Them If They Move Goods For Amazon


Titans prepare to do battle to the death.

Zero Hedge
It Begins: WalMart Warns Truckers It Will No Longer Work With Them If They Move Goods For Amazon
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge — Putin Accuses "Foreign Spy Agencies" Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia

In the first public accusation that "foreign spy agencies" are seeking to destabilize Russia made in recent years, during a meeting with Russia's foreign intelligence agency President Vladimir Putin said that "some foreign special services" are directly supporting extremist and terrorist groups to destabilize the situation near Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.
“In general, the growing activity of foreign special services against us and our allies is obvious,” Putin said quoted by Bloomberg during the televised speech in Moscow on Wednesday, without specifying which nations he was referring to. “There are operations to influence the domestic political and social processes in our country.”
Tangentially, the AP reported that according to an unclassified report by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, released on Wednesday, Kremlin leaders are convinced America is intent on regime change in Russia, "a fear that is feeding rising tension and military competition between the former Cold War foes."

"The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine," the report says, referencing the claims by President Vladimir Putin's government that the U.S. engineered the popular uprising that ousted Ukraine's Russia-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovich, in 2014. Russia responded by annexing Ukraine's Crimea region and supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine....
Zero Hedge
Putin Accuses "Foreign Spy Agencies" Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge — Bernie Sanders Says FBI Probe Is "Pathetic" Attempt At Political Retribution

Echoing remarks made to a local reporter in May – before the existence of a federal investigation was known to the public – Senators launched into a diatribe about how the investigation is nothing more than a political attack perpetrated by Republicans.
“My wife is about the most honest person I know. When she came to that college it was failing financially and academically when she left it, it was in the best shape it’d ever been. Five years later, coincidentally no doubt, when I am a candidate for president of United States Donald Trump’s campaign manager – vice chairman of the Republican party of Vermont – launched this investigation. 
Zero Hedge
Bernie Sanders Says FBI Probe Is "Pathetic" Attempt At Political Retribution
Tyler Durden

Pat Lang — Unsupported assertions from the WH, or anywhere ...

STOP LISTENING TO THIS GUY WHEN HE TWEETS OR PRESS ANNOUNCES TO THE WORLD!
Sic Semper Tyrannis
Unsupported assertions from the WH, or anywhere ...
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

US Threatens Syria Again: Treading on the Path of War

Strategic Cultures is now okay with my Malwarebytes.

The US is losing the war in Syria but seems intent on not giving up. The US are the 'good guys' who will see to Assad if launches a chemical attack. More war propaganda.

Here and there, there are signs that the United States is planning a large-scale military operation in Syria. The plans include combat operations against the Syrian army and its allies, such as the foreign pro-Iranian Shia militias and Hezbollah.


The White House said on June 26 it had reasons to believe the Syrian government is preparing another chemical weapons (CW) attack. The statement warned that the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad and his military would «pay a heavy price» if such an attack takes place. No specifics on the intelligence showing a chemical attack by the Syrian regime was imminent were provided. Nothing was said about what a US response such an attack would entail.

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Twitter: «Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people». Neither the White House, nor Nikky Hailey explained in detail what prompted the warning.

Strategic Cultures


But the 'good guys' blanket bombed and napalmed Laos for a decade.


John Bacher, a historian and a Metro Toronto archivist once wrote about “The Secret War”: “More bombs were dropped on Laos between 1965 and 1973 than the U.S. dropped on Japan and Germany during WWII. More than 350,000 people were killed. The war in Laos was a secret only from the American people and Congress. It anticipated the sordid ties between drug trafficking and repressive regimes that have been seen later in the Noriega affair.” 
In this biggest covert operation in the U.S. history, the main goal was to “prevent pro-Vietnamese forces from gaining control” over the area. The entire operation seemed more like a game that some overgrown, sadistic boys were allowed to play: Bombing an entire nation into the Stone Age for more than a decade. But essentially this “game” was nothing else than one of the most brutal genocides in the history of the 20th century.

 https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/02/southeast-asia-forgets-about-western-terror/




Chris Dillow — Why libertarians should read Marx


Very good post. Of interest to all.

Marx was a libertarian of the left, that is, he was concerned with not only the individual but also the person.

As individuals, each human being is unique. Libertarians of the right emphasize this aspect.

As persons, all human beings are equal. Libertarians of the left emphasize this aspect.

Personhood is the basis of key tenets of liberalism — equality before the law and democracy as necessary for political freedom as the self-determination by a people. It is also the basis of equal rights and equal opportunity for self-development. It is fair to say that liberalism as an integrated social, political and economic theory hangs on the understanding of personhood relative to individuality and freedom.

Individual freedom needs to be tempered with personal freedom. All animals are free individually in the state of nature. Only humans are capable of personal freedom in society, and personal freedom is a necessary condition for living a good life in a good society fully.

Marx and Engels got that.

Stumbling and Mumbling
Why libertarians should read Marx
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Bill Mitchell — When the top-end-of-town realise their strategy is failing

There was an interesting article in the Financial Times on Monday (June 26, 2017) – Why US big business is listening to Bernie Sanders – which, despite the somewhat misleading and over-the-top headline, tells us a little of the way the full neo-liberal attack on workers is in regression. Not, I might add because of any philosophical or moral consideration. But, rather, the top-end-of-town is starting to work out that their headlong race-to-the-bottom approach over the last three years is not actually in their best interests. The top-end-of-town is not that bright. More brutish than bright and it takes some time for them to work out what we have known all along. Globalisation mixed with neo-liberalism is poison. Globalisation mixed with social democracy is progress.
The difference between zero-sum (competition) and win-win (cooperation). Adaptability and coordination increase returns in the biological world to paraphrase Roger Erickson. Instead of fighting over the size of shares of a pie, make a bigger the pie so all get more.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
When the top-end-of-town realise their strategy is failing
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Young Americans against Fake News - with Brittany Pettibone & Inessa S


In light of CNN revealing that all their Russia stories are fake, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdP8T... ; I recently sat down with US based current affairs YouTuber, Brittany Pettibone, for a chat about Russia. Brittany has been offered numerous roles on proper network channels, but has refused to sell her soul to the devil. Here’s how our chat went down. (We had a terrible internet connection between Idaho, USA and Serbia, and my audio was fading out, so I included subtitles in the more tricky bits. )


Inessa S translates into English subtitles of what Putin says and puts the clips out on YouTube. We've all seen some of the clips. This is a very interesting interview.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Moon of Alabama — White House Says It Will Fake "Chemical Weapon Attack" In Syria — and more


Laying out coalition strategy to escalate in Syria in response to the recent success of the Syrian military supported by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Look for a false flag to justify it and a lot of reporting of fake news in the Western media.

Incidentally, Seymour Hersh's latest, published in Die Welt, hasn't been published in any US or UK mainstream media. It contradicts the false flag-fake news narrative and cites evidence.

Moon of Alabama
White House Says It Will Fake "Chemical Weapon Attack" In Syria
b

See also

Publius Tacitus deconstructs the fake news at the source of media propaganda on Syria.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Bellingcat Buffoonery on Khan Sheikyoun
Publius Tacitus
A few hours after the publication by Welt of Hersh’s story White House spokesman Sean Spicer rushed out a warning that the US has detected Syrian preparations for a further chemical attack like the one which supposedly happened in April in Khan Sheikhoun. The warning threatens President Assad and the Syrian government that they will “pay a heavy price” if such an attack takes place.
The State Department knows nothing of this supposed intelligence. Nor do the US military. The warning is said to have come from the White House straight out of the blue with no attempt made to coordinate it across the US government. Note that there have been no supporting comments for the White House’s warning from any senior US officials apart from the US’s ghastly UN ambassador Nikki Haley. General Mattis, Secretary of State Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster have said nothing in public about it.
Meanwhile there has been no official word in response to Seymour Hersh’s Welt story from the US government, and the story is being ignored by the media in the US and Britain.
Does anyone see a connection?
The Duran
White House ‘warning’ of ‘imminent threat of chemical attack in Syria’ is phoney. Here’s why
Alexander Mercouris

Basically censorship.

Counterpunch
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Jonathan Cook


Julian Assange Explains Why The Democrats Are Doomed


I was surprised to learn that Russia has a lower GDP than South Korea. This Jimmy Dore show goes a lot into the 'Russian hacking' fiasco.

Macron Is Doing Merkel’s Dirty Work With Russia Over Syria

Europe is rethinking its role in Syria, and Macron is able to say things that Merkel can’t directly without causing more tensions within NATO


French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement yesterday changes the game in Syria.
Until yesterday France had been the most vocal supporter of U.S. regime change policy in Syria. Now it is its most pragmatic critic.

This signifies a multitude of changes geopolitically.

First, it dovetails with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that the EU should no longer consider the U.S. a reliable partner in foreign affairs. The EU will, indeed, pursue a more independent foreign policy.

But, more importantly, it opens the door wide for a growing rapprochement with Russia that began with Merkel right after her meeting with Donald Trump back in March. We’re seeing the dam break now in Europe to defy U.S. policy in the Middle East and with Russia.


As the narratives erected by the U.S. oligarchy crumble, EU leadership sees the opportunity to jump ship and save their reputation while leaving the U.S. holding the bag.

If reports are true that Iran is ready to provide damning proof that the U.S. is backing ISIS in Syria (which is all but confirmed anyway) then backing away from regime change there is simply good politics.

Russia Insider: macron-doing-merkels-dirty-work-russia-over-syria



Ellen Brown: Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese-Style

Japan has found a way to write off nearly half its national debt without creating inflation. We could do that too.

Let’s face it. There is no way the US government is ever going to pay back a $20 trillion federal debt. The taxpayers will just continue to pay interest on it, year after year.
A lot of interest.

If the Federal Reserve raises the fed funds rate to 3.5% and sells its federal securities into the market, as it is proposing to do, by 2026 the projected tab will be $830 billion annually. That’s nearly $1 trillion owed by the taxpayers every year, just for interest.

Personal income taxes are at record highs, ringing in at $550 billion in the first four months of fiscal year 2017, or $1.6 trillion annually. But even at those high levels, handing over $830 billion to bondholders will wipe out over half the annual personal income tax take. Yet what is the alternative?
Japan seems to have found one. While the US government is busy driving up its “sovereign” debt and the interest owed on it, Japan has been canceling its debt at the rate of $720 billion (¥80tn) per year.

How? By selling the debt to its own central bank, which returns the interest to the government. While most central banks have ended their quantitative easing programs and are planning to sell their federal securities, the Bank of Japan continues to aggressively buy its government’s debt. An interest-free debt owed to oneself that is rolled over from year to year is effectively void – a debt “jubilee.” As noted by fund manager Eric Lonergan in a February 2017 article:


Bill Mitchell — France has received its orders from the masters


Angela Merkel and Bundesbank's Jens Weidmann rain on Charles DeGaulle wannabe Emmanuel Macron's parade. There will be no fiscal union with the North picking up the tab for the South.

This is a long post setting forth the issues standing in the way and why they are unlikely to be overcome. The chief obstacles are cultural and political rather than economic. A federation among sovereign nation states is not possible without restrictive concessions that the German elite reject.
Conclusion
The point is clear.
Macron can say what he likes. But unless he can get it past the masters (Germany) anything he says will be hot air.
And it is clear from history that Germany will never tolerate the creation of a true federal fiscal capacity.
Which tells me the Eurozone is never going to work in the way the leaders claimed it would at the outset – it will always be prone to stagnation and crisis.
Macron destined to be another Hollande? Bill thinks so.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
France has received its orders from the masters
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Republicans Still Pushing False Flags In Syria And Cold War With Russia

Sixty two percent of the US electorate believe that there is no hard evidence that the Russians hacked the election. The majority of Americans think this Russiagate nonsense is taking too much time of congress.


A new Seymour Hersh article is out showing that the US knew there was no Assad chemical attack in April, but President Trump decided to bomb anyway. Republicans cannot let go of "regime change" for Syria and new Cold War with Russia -- even as the Democrats are starting to back away. Will the mainstream media stick with the narrative as well? Or is it all about to come crashing down?

Brad DeLong — David Brooks: The G.O.P. Rejects Conservatism

David Brooks is wrong, I think, in his claim that the current crop of Republican politicians have no vision of American society. I think they do have a vision....
WCEG
David Brooks: The G.O.P. Rejects Conservatism
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Lars P. Syll — Marketization undermining the welfare system


1. Privatization is supposed to reduce cost by increasing efficiency. However, "efficiency" can be increased by trading off effectiveness and reducing quality.

2. The argument about privatization and deregulation generally assumes that there is no distinction between public and private goods, and it often also ignores externalities.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Marketization undermining the welfare system
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Economic Growth And Private Sector Debt Levels: Lessons (Not Yet?) Learned — Investment Cycle Engine, Inc

Summary
  • High private sector debt/GDP ratios will continue to hamper US economic growth.
  • Mainstream macroeconomic models by design ignore the financial cycle and do not provide any insights about the financial cycle.
  • Macroeconomic models should have macroeconomic foundations and incorporate financial stability considerations.
Good post based on a Post Keynesian analysis. But doesn't mention either Hyman Minsky, whose financial instability hypothesis explains the financial cycle, or MMT, which would bolster his argument. However, I understand the scope of posts at blogs is limited, so he had to make choices, and overall the post is well done the way he sets it up.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Russia Insider — BREAKING: White House Threatens to Murder More Syrians Over Imaginary 'Chemical Weapons Attacks'

Is this Trump's insane way of reacting to Seymour Hersh's story?
Russia Insider
BREAKING: White House Threatens to Murder More Syrians Over Imaginary 'Chemical Weapons Attacks' 
RI staff

Also

Raw Story
Defense officials ‘caught off guard’ by White House statement on Syria chemical weapons prep: report
Elizabeth Preza

Crooks and Liars
Sean Spicer Issues Statement On Syria No One Should Believe
Karoli Kuns

David Fields — Capitalism is national & transnational, but what about the money?


Marxians picking up on MMT.

Radical Political Economy
Capitalism is national & transnational, but what about the money?
David Fields

Cyra Master — White House warns of Syrian preparation for chemical attack


Setting up a false flag after US cut off in race for Syria-Iraq border to justify further incursion? Hey, you didn't expect the US to give up and throw in the towel, did you?
Such an attack “would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” Spicer added, noting the activity is “similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.”
The April 4th "attack" was debunked by Seymour Hersh in Die Welt. Hersh previously debunked the previous "sarin attack" in 2013 in his London Review of Books article, "Whose sarin?"

The Hill
White House warns of Syrian preparation for chemical attack
Cyra Master

See also

For more details.

Zero Hedge
Seymour Hersh: US Lied About Syrian Chemical Attack Then Bombed Them Anyway
Tyler Durden

Notice that no of this is published or even mentioned in the "lamestream media" (Sarah Palin did come up with a few good ones.).

The US media propaganda drive continues in high gear.

beowulf — June 14, 1946 or how to pay for universal healthcare

As I’ve mentioned before, the guy who had universal healthcare figured out was the gruff former Congressman Pete Stark. His Americare bill from 2009 should be updated and made the Democratic alternative to the Senate bill….
Monetary Realism
June 14, 1946 or how to pay for universal healthcare
beowulf

Ramanan — The Los Angeles Review Of Books On Liberalism

Rensin says:
The most significant development in the past 30 years of liberal self-conception was the replacement of politics understood as an ideological conflict with politics understood as a struggle against idiots unwilling to recognize liberalism’s monopoly on empirical reason. The trouble with liberalism’s enemies was no longer that they were evil, although they might be that too. The problem, reinforced by Daily Kos essays in your Facebook feed and retweeted Daily Show clips, was that liberalism’s enemies were factually wrong about the world.…
Comeuppance.

The Case for Concerted Action
The Los Angeles Review Of Books On Liberalism
V. Ramanan

Pepe Escobar — House of Saudi Cards: The Inside Story


Backgrounder.

Sputnik International
House of Saudi Cards: The Inside Story
Pepe Escobar

David F. Ruccio — This is the end—or is it?

Where I think Mishra goes wrong is in arguing that “A new economic consensus is quickly replacing the neoliberal one to which Blair and Clinton, as well as Thatcher and Reagan, subscribed.” Yes, in both the United Kingdom and the United States—in the campaign rhetoric of Theresa May and Trump, and in the actual policy proposals of Corbyn and Sanders—neoliberalism has been challenged. But precisely because the existing framing of the questions has not changed, a new economic consensus—an alternative common sense—cannot be born.
To put it differently, the neoliberal frame has been discarded but the ongoing debate remains framed by the terms that gave rise to neoliberalism in the first place. What I mean by that is, while recent criticisms of neoliberalism have emphasized the myriad problems created by individualism and free markets, the current discussion forgets about or overlooks the even-deeper problems based on and associated with capitalism itself. So, once again, we’re caught in the pendulum swing between a more private, market-oriented form of capitalism and a more public, government-regulated form of capitalism. The former has failed—that era does seem to be crumbling—and so now we begin to turn (as we did during the last system-wide economic crisis) to the latter.**
However, the issue that keeps getting swept under the political rug is, how do we deal with the surplus? If the surplus is left largely in private hands, and the vast majority who produce it have no say in how it’s appropriated and distributed, it should come as no surprise that we continue to see a whole host of “morbid phenomena”—from toxic urban water and a burning tower block to a new wave of corporate concentration and still-escalating inequality.
As long as it is assumed that capital (ownership of means of production) must be favored over labor (people) and land (environment) because capital formation in the sine qua non of growth, then the frame remains it place.

A frame that integrates people, environment and productive capacity needs to be developed to replace the flawed frame, which can never work satisfactorily for all the factors. hence, will always lead to social and environmental problems if balance is not restored.
Questioning some dimensions of neoliberalism does not, in and of itself, constitute a new economic consensus. I’m willing to admit it is a start. But, as long as remain within the present framing of the issues, as long as we cannot show how unreasonable the existing reason is, we cannot say the existing era has actually come to an end and a new era is upon us.
For that we need a new common sense, one that identifies capitalism itself as the problem and imagines and enacts a different relationship to the surplus.
For this it is necessary to acknowledge that the problem is based on the expropriation of workers and the environment, which is not sustainable in the long run and leads to periodic breakdowns. Short term fixes just put off dealing with the causes.

Occasional Links & Commentary
This is the end—or is it?
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Bill Mitchell — When Austrians ate dogs


Bill covers a lot of ground on work in progress and future publications. Important in keeping current on MMT work in progress.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
When Austrians ate dogs
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

CrowdStrike’s Out on Russian Hacking



RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky breaks down just how the DNC’s favorite Cyber Security Firm just struck out on Russian Hacking and how will that effect the rising McCarthyism on Capitol Hill.

Yes, you have read all about it here, but this is the video version which has some interesting facts in.














Sunday, June 25, 2017

Paul Robinson — Not so intelligent


Anonymous sources. Real, or …...
The distinct lack of concern about the disclosure of a source allegedly so stunningly valuable that their information is restricted to just four people, is extraordinary. There can be only two explanations:
  • People in Washington don’t give a damn about protecting the CIA’s sources, no matter how valuable they are, and are quite happy to throw them under the bus if it gives them some political advantage. That includes both the people who leak such stories to the press, the press itself, and also the wider political establishment, which doesn’t seem to be too upset by such stuff. That in turn would suggest that these people are utterly untrustworthy, so we should take what they say with the largest pinch of salt; or
  • People aren’t concerned by the ‘leak’ for the simple reason that the source ‘deep in the Russian government’ doesn’t actually exist. The story is straightforward BS, pure and simple.
Personally, I tend toward option b.
Count me in.

Irrussianality
Not so intelligent
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

A Baseless Justification for War in Syria — Dennis J. Bernstein interviews Francis Boyle

U.S. government officials, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., claim the current U.S. authority to mount military operations in Iraq and Syria is legally based on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force [AUMF] declaration to go after Al Qaeda and related terror groups after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. But how does that cover the recent U.S. attacks on Syrian government forces that have been battling both Al Qaeda and its spinoff, Islamic State?
Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, asserts that the recent U.S. shoot-down of a Syrian government jet inside Syria on June 18 was not only illegal under international law but amounts to an impeachable act by President Trump.
In an interview with Flashpoints’ Dennis J. Bernstein, Professor Boyle said, “What the U.S. government is getting away with here is incredible.” Boyle also talked to Bernstein about the questionable Russia-gate investigation and the darker history behind Special Prosecutor Robert Swan Mueller III, the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Dennis Bernstein: Will Syria’s hot war and the recent U.S. bombings there lead us into a hot war with Russia? Well, the generals are saying this shoot-down in Syria is legal. You want to jump into this?
Francis Boyle: You know Dunford doesn’t have a law degree that I’m aware of. But, of course, still the Pentagon is going to try to justify whatever war crimes it can. They always do.
Clearly the U.S. invasion, which we have done, and now repeated military attacks against Syria constitutes a Nuremberg crime against peace, and in violation of the Nuremberg charter, judgment and principles, and, of course, a violation of the United Nations’ charter. [It is] an act of aggression as defined by, oh even the new element of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court that is not yet in force. But it has a definition based upon the 1974 definition of aggression which the World Court found to be customary international law in the very famous Nicaraguan case when it applied it against Nicaragua....
Quite an interview. Professor Boyle unloads.

Dennis J. Bernstein interviews Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law

Ray McGovern — Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Questioned

Legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh is challenging the Trump administration’s version of events surrounding the April 4 “chemical weapons attack” on the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun – though Hersh had to find a publisher in Germany to get his information out.
In the Sunday edition of Die Welt, Hersh reports that his national security sources offered a distinctly different account, revealing President Trump rashly deciding to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian airbase on April 6 despite the absence of intelligence supporting his conclusion that the Syrian military was guilty.
Hersh draws on the kind of inside sources from whom he has earned longstanding trust to dispute that there ever was a “chemical weapons attack” and to assert that Trump was told that no evidence existed against the Syrian government but ordered “his generals” to “retaliate” anyway.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Marine General, now Defense Secretary James “Mad-Dog” Mattis ordered the attacks apparently knowing that the reason given was what one of Hersh’s sources called a “fairy tale.”
They then left it to Trump’s national security adviser Army General H. R. McMaster to further the deceit with the help of a compliant mainstream media, which broke from its current tradition of distrusting whatever Trump says in favor of its older tradition of favoring “regime change” in Syria and trusting pretty much whatever the “rebels” claim.
Another tale of perfidy.
As of this writing, there is no sign in “mainstream media” of any reporting on Hersh’s groundbreaking piece. It is a commentary on the conformist nature of today’s Western media that an alternative analysis challenging the conventional wisdom – even when produced by a prominent journalist like Sy Hersh – faces such trouble finding a place to publish.
The mainstream hatred of Assad and Putin has reached such extraordinary levels that pretty much anything can be said or written about them with few if any politicians or journalists daring to express doubts regardless of how shaky the evidence is.
Even the London Review of Books, which published Hersh’s earlier debunking of the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin-gas incident, wouldn’t go off onto the limb this time despite having paid for his investigation....
Consortium News
Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Questioned
Ray McGovern | veteran CIA analyst, Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch; prepared the President’s Daily Brief, and conducted the early morning briefings of President Reagan’s top national security advisers

Sandwichman — Marshall's Magic Confidence-Wand


Alfred Marshall quote.

EconoSpeak
Marshall's Magic Confidence-Wand
Sandwichman

Warren Mosler — Credit Check


US domestic private credit continues to be weak.

The Center of the Universe
Credit Check
Warren Mosler

Lars Syll — Keynes & MMT


Keynes quote.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Keynes & MMT
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

See also

Mainstream monetary theory — neat, plausible, and utterly wrong

Bill McBride — Goldman on the Next Recession

CR note: Some day there will be another recession, but I don't see signs of a recession in the next year or more.
Calculated Risk
Goldman on the Next Recession
Bill McBride

Seymour Hersh — Trump‘s Red Line


How Trump overreacted at the time of the putative (faked) sarin attack in Syria.
President Donald Trump ignored important intelligence reports when he decided to attack Syria after he saw pictures of dying children. Seymour M. Hersh investigated the case of the alleged Sarin gas attack.
Trump is a loose cannon on deck in a storm. Scary when the captain is the loose cannon.

Welt
Trump‘s Red Line
Seymour M. Hersh
ht Jesse at Jesse's Café Américan

Moon of Alabama — Locked Into Al-Tanf U.S. Military Concedes It Lost The Race To Occupy South-East Syria

NEWSFLASH: The Pentagon and, even more important, the U.S. commanders in the Middle East, have finally recognized the basic facts of life.
There is no way the Syrian government and its allies will let the U.S. have south-east Syria or let it occupy the country including the Syrian army garrison in Deir Ezzor which is currently surrounded by Islamic State forces. The Syrian army and its allies will liberate Deir Ezzor and the whole Euphrates valley. The U.S. military has now conceded that.
There will be some huffing and puffing from the neoconservative corners but I doubt very much that this that this decision will be overturned or that this is a ruse. There is simply no strategic value for the U.S. in occupying south-east Syria and no will to defend it against determined resistance of capable opposing forces.
My congratulations to Syria and its allies. This battle is, for now, won.
Game (almost) over. But no doubt John McCain and various neocons won't be taking Sunday off after this news abut their plans being foiled.

Lesson: You can't bluff an invasion when Russia is in the game. 

But apparently it's all the military had in its toolbox, since for more direct action that might have led to direct conflict with Russia, the generals would have had to get permission from the politicians and president, and that would either have been a dead-end or else taken so much time as to scuttle the operation.

Moon of Alabama
Locked Into Al-Tanf U.S. Military Concedes It Lost The Race To Occupy South-East Syria
b

The CIA, Khomeini, & Secrets of the Islamic Revolution Exposed with Margot White


I thought it was a conspiracy theory that the CIA put Ayatollah Khomeini in charge but I did a search and came across this 2015 video about a book written by Margot White called Waking Up in Tehran. I also came across that in 2016 the CIA has released documents about how they put Khomeini in power.

The Shah was deeply unpopular and people wanted a change and were demonstrating in the streets so the CIA brought in the right wing, anti communist, anti socialist, Khomeini to take control. Khomeini wasn't very well known in Iran at the time as he hadn't lived in the country for 16 years because the Shah had banished him. The media gave him loads of coverage which only pop stars like the Beatles would normally get and he promised them democracy and equal rights for women. After the Shah left Iran Khomeini then became leader taking control but things did not turn out as the Iranians expected. When Khomeini took power he brought in a brutal, fascist, theocratic regime which turned on the people. Khomeini and his mullahs receives hundreds of millions from the CIA. The ultra right wing Khomeini wanted Reagan to win because Carter had cut off the millions that the US had been paying him

Soon after Khomeini took power and before he turned on the people Iranian students seized the American Embassy because they believed that they would find loads of documents there about how the CIA had organised the 1953 coup and what the CIA were up to now which they hoped this would help Khomeini, but the students hadn't realised that Khomeini was also a CIA asset who had promised to keep the oil flowing cheaply to the US. They only intended to stay there a for a few days but Khomeini saw how popular they were and so he encouraged then to stay longer boosting his own popularity. Morgan-Chase hoped the students would stay there a month because the Shah had put his billions into their bank accounts and under American law they were allowed to allowed to seize the money because if an American asset has been taken. Iran never got the money back.

One of the deals the Shah made with the US was that he would buy their weapons if they helped him stay in power, but this led up to massive build up of arms. Khomeini found a use for these weapons in the Iran-Iraq war which helped to keep demand for them as they were losing value.

This is another story of G.O.D, as Margot White says, guns, oil, and drugs. Margot White says there is nothing in this story about the morality that the West proclaims, it just about the money that wars, guns, and control of the oil can bring in just as it is in the ME today. The right wing Islamic mullahs have no problem with capitalism and imperialism as they hated the communists, but loved corruption and money. The British had used the Muslim Brotherhood for the same reason.

So we can see how the ME has been torn up to seize the oil, start wars to sell lots of weapons, and gain control the opium poppy fields which has made western bankers trillions. This is the morality of the West, and Putin is said to be the 'bad guy' because he is stopping them, but he is dealing with Satan.

As we have learnt here recently, the war with Russia is not intended to become hot, it is intended to be a tepid mini war moving beyond the cold war to strengthen NATO and to frighten Europe to buy €billions of new weapons. And the US has started a bogus cold war with China to get American taxpayers to pay for $billions of new weapons. Will it ever stop?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Zero Hedge — CIA Director Mike Pompeo: Trump's "An Avid Consumer" Of Intel, Will "Punish Leakers"


Apparently President Trump is learning the ropes. Which doesn't bode well for peace. America First is likely to remain a campaign promise that DJT will report that he "doing great" on, as in war to end wars.

Much more in the post than the title implies. Of course, Israel is not mentioned but Iran happens to the the arch-enemy of both Israel and Saudi Arabia, which is mentioned. Syria is to be portioned or turned into a Sunni puppet state of Saudi Arabia, and Hezbollah is the only Arab organization to have beaten Israel (in 2006). Go figure.

 They really have it for Iran, and Wikileaks too. Israel and Saudi ArabiaIsrael and Saudi ArabiaIsrael and Saudi Arabia! USA! USA! USA!

The problem is that Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and leakers such as Wikileaks are not threatening US national security in any substantial way. Their sin is getting in the way of the US elite. 

Why is that a problem. Because then TPTB react in a way that is not completely rational and that means losing touch with reality. When one losses touch, with reality it seldom ends well. And the real problem is that this will affect all living American and Americans for generations to come.

Zero Hedge
CIA Director Mike Pompeo: Trump's "An Avid Consumer" Of Intel, Will "Punish Leakers"
Tyler Durden


Taylor Link — Jill Stein denies being a puppet of Russia, blames Democrats for scapegoating election loss

WTF?  How long will take for the Democratic Party to erase the blot of McCarthyism in smearing Donald Trump and Jill Stein, and conspiring to deny Bernie Sanders a fair shot at the nomination?

Unless candidates for office in upcoming elections denounce it. And start critiquing themselves in earnest for their mistakes rather than trying to foist the blame on others by smearing them.

Democratic losses in special elections recently are sending a signal that is apparently not be received, or being interpreted badly.

And it is not only the Democratic Establishment that is caught up in this folly. A lot of so-called Progressive Democrats aka Bernie Democrats are too.

Losers.

Salon
Jill Stein denies being a puppet of Russia, blames Democrats for scapegoating election loss
Taylor Link

Publius Tacitus — Our Grand American Delusion

City on a Hill? Leader of the Free World? Defender of Freedom? How about a mass of delusional crazies?
See? It's not just us saying this.

Publius Tacitus gets the economics wrong about borrowing by the currency issuer in its own currency and public debt, but his background is either military or intel, or both, so it is not in his realm of expertise.

Sic Semper Tyrannis 
Our Grand American Delusion
Publius Tacitus

RT — Long-range missile that can fit in shipping container test-fired at sea by Israeli contractor


The merchant marine is now a legitimate military target. Brilliant "innovation."
An Israeli defense contractor has successfully test-fired a missile with a 400-kilometer range that can fit into a standard shipping container. Launched from a ship, it joins the trend of weaponizing civilian freighters.

The missile that was fired on Tuesday, dubbed LORA or Long-Range Artillery weapon system, is produced by state-owned defense giant Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). According to company specifications, the solid-propellant ground-to-ground 1,600-kilogram projectile has a range of 400 kilometers and can be fired at a target in just 10 minutes.
First revealed in 2006, the missiles were originally designed to be secretly deployed. To protect them from detection, the missiles are stored in dedicated sealed canisters that can fit inside a standard shipping container and have a shelf life of seven years without maintenance....
RT
Long-range missile that can fit in shipping container test-fired at sea by Israeli contractor

Potpourri


Potpourri. I have not attempted to verify these posts, but they are interesting owing to the events and people they cover and they would be significant even if only partially true.

Investigative reporters act very much like the analytical sections of intelligence agencies.

Analysts working for intel comb published information, correlated it, and assess it. From this they draw inferences and assign a probability index in term of "confidence."

Investigative reporters are often less disciplined and either draw conclusions based on inference that exceeds the evidence and present them as fact, or else have sources that they cannot even allude to in order to protect not only the sources but also continued access to them.

Readers have to act as their own analysts and use critical thinking in assessing information, distinguishing fact from inference and closely scrutinizing inference.

NEO
Ted Turner, CNN, Putin, and the Amazing Oligarchs Drama Unfolding
Phil Butler

Geopolitica

RT
White Helmets member caught on camera disposing of Syrian soldiers’ mutilated bodies (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Sputnik International
Intel Agent Reveals How NATO Planned to Tear Russia Apart
25 Sputnik International

Moon of Alabama — Israel's Fire Support For Its Al-Qaeda Mercenaries Started Three Years Ago

Al-Qaeda attacked a Syrian Arab Army position in Madinat al-Baath (map) next to the Israel occupied Golan heights. Al-Qaeda requested Israeli fire-support by launching some mortars towards empty space in the Israel occupied area. The Israeli Defense Force accepted the request and destroyed two Syrian Arab Army tanks. Two Syrian soldiers were killed. The SAA held steady and the al-Qaeda attack on its position failed.
This was very easy to predict. Israel has supported al-Qaeda in the area since at least 2014. The al-Qaeda fire-request-by-mortar scheme has been in place for at least three years. In October 2014 the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which back then still covered the area, reported to the UN Security Council:

On 23 June [2014], Israel targeted nine Syrian army positions with tank fire and air strikes after mortar fire from the Syrian side the previous day killed an Israeli civilian. Israel’s assessment is that most of these incidents are due to errant fire resulting from fighting in Syria. Israel said that armed opposition groups were probably responsiblebut that its forces fired on Syrian military positions to stress that Syria was responsible for security on its side of the ceasefire line.
The UN observers mentioned the "black flags" the "rebels" were using. The "rebels" in that area are al-Qaeda forces. This "fire support request by mortar" scheme has been repeated again and again. The Israeli argument is an insult to logic: "The Syrian army is responsible for keeping al-Qaeda out of the area so we respond to "errant" al-Qaeda fire by destroying the Syrian army."
But "western" and Israeli media did and do not report or analyzed the obvious scheme. This even as this theater act gets repeated over and over again. They lie and simply report the "errant fire" nonsense even when it is clear that this is coordinated military support for al-Qaeda. For years they have hidden Israeli support for al-Qaeda and its deep involvement in the Syrian war. Witness Haaretz which only today(!) headlines: Analysis - Israel’s Slow Creep Into the Syrian Civil War. That "slow creep", which Haaretz describes and analyzes as a new phenomenon, started at least three years ago and was neither slow nor a creep. It is full fledged support for terrorism and has been such since its beginning....
Moon of Alabama
Israel's Fire Support For Its Al-Qaeda Mercenaries Started Three Years Ago
b

See also

SouthFront
Isreali Air Force Strikes Syrian Army Artillery Pieces And Battle Tanks In Quneitra Province
ikb22

Jake Tapper Calls Out DNC’s B.S. On Russia Hacking


The whole Russiangate business is based on a pack of lies. The Clinton's won't let anyone near their server which they say was hacked, not even the FBI. They won't even let the Department of Homeland Security look at the server who wanted to help them to make more secure. If we had a true independent media this DNC hacking business would go anywhere because no evidence has been presented. A proper independent media would ask why hasn't the FBI or the Homeland Security been allowed to look at the server?


Michael Scheuer drops truth about Trump Russia story and BBC cut him off


Michael Scheuer disputes the evidence that Russia hacked the DNC. He say's all we have a private company hired by Hilary who say the DNC was hacked but they have not presented any evidence. The interview then gets promptly stopped.

Merkel Is Angry with America over Russia Sanctions but Will Do Nothing

There’s no doubt that S. 722 – which passed the Senate by a vote of 98-2, with only Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voting No – is a terrible piece of legislation. Its fundamental purpose is to tie President Trump’s hands so that he cannot exercise his constitutional authority to conduct relations with foreign states. Specifically, Senators of both parties want to ensure that he doesn’t have the ability to reach out and normalize ties with Moscow. To do that, a super-majority of Senators is willing to violate every principle of international law and comity, as well as damaging relationships with our top security and trade partners.

Even the broad authority for the president to waive sanctions when he deems it in the national interest, a standard feature in U.S. sanctions legislation, is denied Trump in this bill without Congressional permission. Whether this defect may be remedied in the House of Representatives is unclear. (Meanwhile, the power of Congress to decide upon war continues to be usurped by the Executive Branch without a murmur of protest. As the late Joseph Sobran once observed, the nice thing about the U.S. Constitution is that it poses no serious threat to our form of government

The sanctions bill, if it becomes law, will be just another illustration that Germany and all other members of NATO and the EU are vassal states of Washington.

What sense does any of this make in terms of U.S. national interests? The key is Rapoza’s observation that «Trump has been beat up so severely on Russia that defending any sort of detente with the Kremlin seems futile.» As with the worsening danger of U.S.-Russian confrontation in Syria, American policy on Europe, Ukraine, and Russia, along with related energy issues, is still in the hands of the Swamp Creatures. Nothing good can come of it unless and until Trump manages to gain effective control of the government of which he is the constitutionally elected head.

Robert Parry — Policing ‘Truth’ to Restore ‘Trust’


De facto censorship on the way? If the Establishment gets its way, and they own the media channels.

"Truth algorithms" would get the propaganda machine control of the media including the Internet. This would potentially drive alternative accounts back to the alternative media like the "free press" and "underground press" of the Sixties and Seventies in the US, and samizdat (самизда́т) in the days of the USSR by excluding from the Internet alternative views that question or contradict the official view, after the manner of China.
There’s been a lot of self-righteous talk about “truth” recently, especially from the people at The New York Times, The Washington Post and the rest of the mainstream news media. They understandably criticize President Trump for his casual relationship with reality and happily dream about how nice it would be if they could develop algorithms to purge the Internet of what they call “fake news.”
But these “truth-loving” pundits, the likes of star Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, never seem to reflect on their own responsibility for disseminating devastating “fake news,” such as the falsehoods about Iraq’s WMD, lies that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of American soldiers and spread horrific chaos across the Mideast and into Europe.
Nor does that Iraq experience ever cause Friedman and his fellow pundits to question other Official Narratives, including those relating to the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or the New Cold War with Russia. Meanwhile those of us who ask for substantiating facts or observe that some official claims don’t make sense are subjected to insults as fill-in-the-blank “apologists” or “stooges.”
It seems that any deviation from Officialdom’s pronouncements makes you an enemy of “truth” because “truth” is what the Establishment says is “truth.” And, if you don’t believe me, I refer you to Friedman’s Wednesday’s column.…
However, if you keep reading Friedman’s column, you learn that the real problem is not that “cyberhacking” is generating “fake news,” but rather that it has let Americans see too many ugly truths about their leadership, as happened when WikiLeaks published emails showing how the Democratic National Committee unethically tilted the playing field against Sen. Bernie Sanders; how Hillary Clinton pandered to Goldman Sachs in return for lucrative speaking fees; and how the Clinton Foundation engaged in pay-to-play with rich foreigners.
Friedman’s column acknowledges as much, again citing Seidman: “Social networks and hacking also ‘have enabled us to see, in full color, into the innermost workings of every institution and into the attitudes of those who run them,’ noted Seidman, ‘and that has eroded trust in virtually every institution, and the authority of many leaders, because people don’t like what they see’.”
In other words, the answer to restoring “trust” and to respecting “truth” is to hide ugly realities from the unwashed public. If the people are shielded from the facts, the Establishment will regain its control over “truth” and thus win back the people’s “trust.”
If all this seems upside-down to you – if you think that the real answer is for America’s leaders to behave more responsibly, to let the public in on the real “truth,” and thus to make the people’s “trust” mean something – you must be a “Kremlin stooge.”...
Good post. It's the weekend. Take a couple of minutes and read the whole thing. It is really important that people understand what the Establishment has in mind for them.
The Times and the Post, in particular, have consistently conflated any deviation from their preferred groupthinks with “fake news” and “propaganda.” That is why it is particularly troubling when they and other self-proclaimed arbiters of truth, including the pro-NATO propaganda site Bellingcat, sit on Google’s First Draft Coalition and salivate over the prospects of unleashing high-tech algorithms to hunt down and eliminate information that runs counter to what they call the “truth.”
The real truth about truth is that it is almost always complex and often hidden by powerful interests. It requires skepticism, hard work and even courage to reveal it.
Sure, there are occasions when creeps and crazy people purposely make up stuff or ignore reality in pursuit of some nutty conspiracy theory – and that deserves hearty condemnation – but there are many other times when the conventional wisdom is wrong and the people demanding inconvenient facts and asking probing questions turn out to be right....
Consortium News
Policing ‘Truth’ to Restore ‘Trust’
Robert Parry

Lars P. Syll — What is a statistical model?


Best explanation or best guess?
As Bertrand Russell put it at the end of his long life devoted to philosophy, “Roughly speaking, what we know is science and what we don’t know is philosophy.” In the scientific context, but perhaps not in the applied area, I fear statistical modeling today belongs to the realm of philosophy. — Rudolf Kalman
This is important. Since the scientific revolution the progress of knowledge has been moving information from best guess using reasoning (philosophy) to best explanation based on testing hypotheses of a theory against data obtained from observations (science).

Science is true explanation where truth is based on criteria and comparison with criteria. 

Philosophy asks why, that is, for reasons. Science asks how, that is, for mechanisms. 

Philosophical accounts are based chiefly on reasoning from assumptions and it is therefore speculative. 

Scientific explanations are based on how things stand and move in terms of observable relationships, ideally able to be expressed formally. Therefore, science is, well, scientific.

See Richard Feynman, Cargo Cult Science. Engineering and Science, Volume 37:7, June 1974. (pdf) (This is a seminal article in philosophy of science, and as a bonus for reading it, it's funny, too.)

A lot of economic, social science and political science fits Feynman's description of cargo cult science. 

A lot of putative scientific knowledge is actually philosophy, that is, speculation, because it rests on speculation based on assumptions rather than explanation based on rigorous observation. However, some it is even flawed formally because the reasoning process is invalid.

Doing good philosophy is difficult because it is easy to fool oneself by falling into logical traps, as Ludwig Wittgenstein spent the later par to his live exploring. 
Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language. — Philosophical Investigations, § 109
Thus, philosophy in Wittgenstein's sense is a prerequisite to critical thinking.

Doing real science is harder because it requires careful attention not only to logical but also to data collection and processing data into information, keeping the signal to noise ratio within tight boundaries. As Feynman points out, a lot of putative science is mostly just noise.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.
I would like to add something that's not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you're talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you're not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We'll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen. Feynman, "Cargo Cult Science," cited above.
Lars P. Syll’s Blog
What is a statistical model?
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ricky Twisdale — BOMBSHELL: Trump told Saudis to stop funding terror


Game-changer?
The real purpose of my being there, was to make sure these countries do not fund terror any longer.….
Earlier in his address, Trump had strongly reiterated his campaign rhetoric decrying the havoc caused by decades of US military intervention:
Our country has spent $6 trillion in the middle east – wasted. And the lives, the lives…thousands and thousands and thousands of lives. We started 16 years ago, and it’s in far worse shape than it was 16 years ago. So we spent all of this money, all of these lives…and let me tell you, I came in and took over a very, very difficult hand. But we’re going to get it fixed – that’s what you put me here for.
Needless to say, Trump’s rhetoric is at odds with Pentagon policy, which seems to have changed little since the turnover in administrations. There is clearly a discrepency between the US president’s views and the deep state’s demands....
The Duran
BOMBSHELL: Trump told Saudis to stop funding terror
Ricky Twisdale

Darius Shahtahmasebi — Everything You’re Not Being Told About the US War Against ISIS in Syria


The battlefield as the endgame approaches.

AntiMedia
Everything You’re Not Being Told About the US War Against ISIS in Syria
Darius Shahtahmasebi

Pepe Escobar — Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road

It is a categorical imperative for Beijing to expand BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] across the Levant, linking China to the Mediterranean overland just like the Ancient Silk Road did. And yet that clashes frontally with the crucial fact admitted on record by Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn himself: that the Obama administration made a “willful decision” to let Islamic State fester, with the objective of arriving at a “Sunnistan” across “Syraq” as a means to accelerate regime change in Damascus. Translation: let ISIS break up the BRI in the Levant.
Counterpunch
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Pepe Escobar

TASS — Deutsche Welle sees Russian international broadcasters as threat to European ideas


Of course, no awareness that international broadcast of "European" ideas might be viewed the negative way in traditional societies.  Germany doesn't seem to be modified its superiority complex anymore than the US or the UK, or France, all of whom believe that German, American, British and French ideas  are respectively superior. American's even have names for it — "American exceptionalism" and "the indispensable nation." 

Edward Harrison — Baumol’s cost disease, aging societies and inflation expectations

I have been banging on about lowflation, repeatedly suggesting it is here to stay. The Fed, on the other hand begs to differ and is pre-emptively normalizing rates, as a result. No matter how you look at this, there’s a rub though: We all consume different products, so we each experience a different individual inflation rate.

Even as the statistics say inflation is dropping for you and me, it’s not dropping for everybody….

Jacob Pramuk — Obama reportedly approved 'cyberweapons' against Russian infrastructure before leaving office


Is anyone else's crap detector going off?

CNBC
Obama reportedly approved 'cyberweapons' against Russian infrastructure before leaving office

So let me get this straight. President Obama and 17 intelligence agencies knew that Russia was mucking with the election and did nothing about it beforehand and waited until after HRC had lost ignominiously to do anything about it. Right.

Alice Sales — Only 2% of US Politicians Actually Want to Stop Arming Terrorists — Here’s Why


Ka-ching.

Anti-War
Only 2% of US Politicians Actually Want to Stop Arming Terrorists — Here’s Why
Alice Sales

The Saker — The Latest Escalation in Syria – What Is Really Going On?

By now most of you have heard the latest bad news of out Syria: on June 18th a US F/A-18E Super Hornet (1999) used a AIM-120 AMRAAM (1991) to shoot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 (1970). Two days later, June 20th, a US F-15E Strike Eagle shot down an Iranian IRGC Shahed 129 drone. The excuse used each time was that there was a threat to US and US supported forces. The reality is, of course, that the US are simply trying to stop the advance of the Syrian army. This was thus a typical American “show of force”. Except that, of course, shooting a 47 year old Soviet era Su-22 fighter-bomber is hardly an impressive feat. Neither is shooting a unmanned drone. There is a pattern here, however, and that pattern is that all US actions so far have been solely for show: the basically failed bombing of the Syria military airbase, the bombing of the Syrian army column, the shooting down of the Syrian fighter-bomber and of the Iranian drone – all these actions have no real military value. They do, however, have a provocative value as each time all the eyes turn to Russia to see if the Russians will respond or not.
Russia did respond this time again, but in a very ambiguous and misunderstood manner. The Russians announced, amongst other measure that from now on “any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets” which I reported as “Russian MoD declares it will shoot down any aircraft flying west of the Euphrates river”. While I gave the exact Russian quote, I did not explain why I paraphrased the Russian words the way I did. Now is a good time to explain this....
The first step towards understanding how the Russians function is to stop expecting that they would act just like Americans would.

Brett Heino — The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of Law

There are few components of a capitalist society that penetrate as deeply and pro-foundly into the lives of the people as law. Whole swathes of social life, ranging from the labour–capital relationship, the make-up of the family, the regulation of crime and the relationship of citizens to one another and the state (to name a few) are structured and governed by the legal form. Capitalism is, in short, legalized to a degree that is historically unprecedented. Given this reality, it is both surprising and disappointing that sophisticated Marxist analyses of law are uncommon. Many attempts fall apart in the always-difficult exercise of articulating theoretical rigour with empirical sensitivity. Against this backdrop, Brett Christophers’ The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in the Court of Law stands out as a fine example of both the method and the fruits of a successful effort at such an articulation....
As world capitalism continues to change and evolve, we must understand the roles played in this process by the full gamut of economic, political and cultural institutions, including the law. The Great Leveler stands as a beacon for those of us who have been arguing for law to be taken to the heart of political-economic study.
Neoliberalism, which promotes privatization and deregulation, is very much engaged with law and law-making as a political theory based chiefly on economic liberalism and political conservatism. Economic liberalism holes that property relations should be free of government intrusion, and political conservatism holds that ownership of property is evidence of the ability to govern, which President Trump just affirmed in his appointing billionaires to cabinet level positions. Also strong features of this are lobbying and the revolving door.

Progress in Political Economy
Brett Heino

Moon of Alabama — The Saudi-Qatar Spat - An Offer To Be Refused

(Qatar is surely "supporting terrorism". So is the U.S. - the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services just rejected an asylum request because the person in question has relations with the Free Syrian Army which it considers to be an "undesignated terrorist organization". The CIA built and supports the FSA. But the biggest terrorist sponsors of all are and have been the Saudis.)

Moon of Alabama
The Saudi-Qatar Spat - An Offer To Be Refused
b

Gareth Porter — How America Armed Terrorists in Syria


Another tale of infamy involving the usual suspects.

What Porter does not mention is that this was largely covered up domestically by US media propaganda demonizing Assad personally.

The American Conservative
How America Armed Terrorists in Syria
Gareth Porter
Reposted at Consortium News

Jada Thacker — Deep History of America’s Deep State

The idea of an elitist Deep State – erasing a “mistake” by the people – pervades current efforts to remove buffoonish President Trump, but the concept has deep historical roots dating from the Founding, writes Jada Thacker.
Does the sudden presence of an American Deep State – loosely defined as an unelected elite that manipulates the elected government to serve its own interests – pose a novel, even existential, threat to democracy?
Not exactly. The threat seems real enough, but it’s nothing new. Consider these facts: 230 years ago, an unelected group of elite Americans held a secretive meeting with an undisclosed agenda. Their purpose was not merely to manipulate lawful government in their own interests, but to abolish it altogether. In its place, they would install a radically undemocratic government – a “more perfect” government, they said – better suited to their investment portfolios.
History does not identify these conspirators as the Deep State. It calls them the Founders. The Founders did not consider themselves conspirators, but “republicans” – not in reference to any political party, but rather to their economic station in society. But their devotion to “republicanism” was transparently self-serving. A current college text, The American Journey: A History of the United States, explains though does not explicate “republican ideology”:
“Their main bulwark against tyranny was civil liberty, or maintaining the right of the people to participate in government. The people who did so, however, had to demonstrate virtue. To eighteenth century republicans, virtuous citizens were those who were focused not on their private interests but rather on what was good for the public as a whole.
“They were necessarily property holders, since only those individuals could exercise an independence of judgment impossible for those dependent upon employers, landlords, masters, or (in the case of women and children) husbands and fathers.” [Emphasis supplied]
Republicanism was a handy idea if you happened to be a master or a landlord, who were the only persons this ideology considered “virtuous” enough to vote or hold political office. Thus, “republicanism” – virtually indistinguishable from today’s “neoliberalism” – created the original Deep State in the image of the economic system it was designed to perpetuate....
The Founding Fathers were bourgeois (property-owning) liberals that held fast to the fundamental conservative principle that some are better than others and deserve to govern. The basis of classical liberalism is private ownership of property, which combined with conservatism results in a property requirement to hold office. The chief domestic adversary is "the rabble," now called "the little people."
How this was accomplished is not a comforting tale. But it cannot be related nor understood without an appreciation of the historical context in which it occurred....
The history behind the myth of American democracy.

Consortium News
Deep History of America’s Deep State
Jada Thacker, history teacher at Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, TX

Barkley Rosser — Saudi Succession Shuffle


Backgrounder.

Angry Bear
Saudi Succession Shuffle
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

Michael Roberts — Europe’s crisis: the Cluj debate with Mark Blyth


Michael Roberts reports on the debate between Mark Blyth representing the Post Keynesian view and himself representing the Marxist view of the main cause of the Global Financial Crisis that led to the imposition of austerity.

I think this is probably an undecidable argument since such issues have a constellation of causes and identifying all of them and prioritizing them is hampered by lack of agreed upon criteria. So they are probably both correct in claiming that they have identified a significant causal factor among others.

Michael Roberts Blog
Europe’s crisis: the Cluj debate with Mark Blyth
Michael Roberts

Report: U.S. Killing More Civilians Than T-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t-s


I found this riveting but it's a shame it isn't longer as I would like to have seen the whole thing. Jimmy Dore reports on US terrorism and the amount of innocent people who died which is never reported in our media.   

Sputnik International — Gulf States to Qatar: Limit Iran Ties, Shut Turkish Base, Close Al Jazeera


Will Turkey sit on the sidelines? Turkey has the largest military in the region.

Sputnik International
Gulf States to Qatar: Limit Iran Ties, Shut Turkish Base, Close Al Jazeera


Zero Hedge — Whites Are The Slowest Growing US Group; Will Lose Majority Around 2040


Demographic shift in full swing.

Zero Hedge
Whites Are The Slowest Growing US Group; Will Lose Majority Around 2040
Tyler Durden

Marko Marjanović — The First Shots of America's New War for Eastern Syria Have Already Been Fired

When US shot down the Syrian Su-22 jet Sunday this may have been intended as a warning to Syria that US intends to take eastern Syria for itself -- and that a Syrian push into eastern Syria will be violently opposed....
As the ISIS threat diminishes quickly, will Russia and Iran stand by and let the US continue to push forward its invasion of east Syria in order to partition the country and establish a military foothold? Tense times.

Russia Insider Marko Marjanović

John T. Harvey — No Poor Need Apply: Four Reasons Why President Trump Is Wrong

Wednesday, President Trump uttered the following now widely-publicized statement regarding the top economic positions in his administration:
And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that makes sense? Does that make sense?
While this has provided wonderful material for critics and satirists, are they really being fair? On the surface of it, there’s a certain logic to his statement. Shouldn’t those who have been the most successful in the economy also be the ones to offer advice?
Unfortunately, no. Here are four reasons why putting rich folks in charge is in no way a guarantee of superior economic performance:
Forbes — Pragmatic Economics
No Poor Need Apply: Four Reasons Why President Trump Is Wrong
John T. Harvey | Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University