Pay attention to what you think.

This blog is an OpEd.  It’s my considered opinion but I don’t make things up. I try to write with intelligence guided by experience and I don’t try to lead people down the garden path..  I try, but no guarantees.  I’m pretty opinionated.

I read a lot of things which are presented as truth but aren’t. Some things which are literally true are presented in such a manner as to lead the unwary into forming the conclusion the author wants them to form…in other words, they are propaganda.  For instance, everything you hear from the government is kinked as well as most of what you see on the ‘news’.  Campaign promises? Please!

I subscribe to a bunch of intelligence briefing sites.  They all depend on  open sources and public statements, tempered by the author’s …er..reasoned..opinion as to what it all means.  But the way the information is presented is sometimes as important as the information itself.

Lets take ‘Nightwatch’ for example.  I love it.  I read it religiously. But it isn’t always straight up.  Yesterday it contained this.  [My comments are in brackets.]

“Russia-Syria

The Russians presented chemical attack “victims” at the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).  As expected, the Russian delegation to the OPCW held a press conference during which they presented Syrian witnesses from Douma who denied a chemical attack occurred. One Russian witness was a healthy child who had been featured in an opposition video as a victim of the attack.

[The witnesses who were there state that no chemical attack by Assad occurred. That’s almost undoubtedly true – Assad had no reason to use Chlorine gas, which I  can make at home, against a few civilians, knowing that it would draw a US strike.  He supposedly did this TWICE but no proof has ever been presented by the US.  It’s a re-hash of the allegation that Saddam was making chemical WMDs, which he wasn’t.]

Separately, the Russian Ministry of Defense presented an elaborate display of what it claimed was US missile parts.  The Russians also said they captured unexploded US missiles.

[This is true but the comment is gratuitous and has nothing to do with the supposed Chlorine gas attack.  The US has fired hundreds of cruise missiles at the Syrian military.
This is after we invaded Syria without bothering to mention it, but we have combat troops engaged in Syria and we are shooting missiles at the Syrian army, so it looks like an invasion to me.  However, the fact that Russia has recovered some of the missiles and debris has nothing to do with anything except to verify that the US actually IS shooting missiles at the Syrian army, which we freely admit.]

The British and French have joined the US in calling the Russian display a stunt.

[The British, French and Americans have never presented ANY proof that ANY chemical attack by Assad ever occurred either time we shot missiles at Syria,  just like that bullshit tale that Iraq had WMDS.]

            Comment: The Russians have now tripled down on their version of the 14 April US-led attack. They also have presented at least three versions of what happened.

[The Russians are very careful about what they say because they don’t want to look like fools and so they always provide verifiable proof.  In this case, the Russians provided the US (and anyone else who would listen) with warnings that a terrorist group was developing a red-flag attack in order to ENABLE the US to shoot more missiles at Syria. But the US knew that already.  WE financed the terrorist group in order to have the excuse. We do that a lot.  We originally financed Bin Ladin, gave chemical weapons to Saddam, promised to protect Qaddafi if he gave up his nuclear ambitions, which he did, and gave Iran their first nuclear plant. Then we killed them all except Iraq and that’s in the works.]

The Russians are using propaganda techniques developed by the Nazis and the Bolsheviks to try to discredit the US and the Allies. The techniques are described in Alexander George’s seminal book, Propaganda Analysis. In short, tell a big lie often enough and people will believe it.

[The Russian don’t need to discredit the US and the allies. The entire world knows that the US is trying to remove Assad so we can build an oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia via Iraq to the EU.  The commentary has now turned into a hit piece against Russia and resorts to propaganda by comparing them to Nazis. Russians are the exact opposite of Nazis. Did you hear about the Russians TRYING to influence the US elections but not succeeding?  Sure you did. The Demoncrats made a big deal out of the UNSUBSTANTIATED allegation. So if Trump won but the Russian didn’t influence the election, who would have been President if they HAD succeeded? No one talks about that and you aren’t supposed to be smart enough to think it through, but the unspoken inference you are supposed to draw is that somehow the Russians got Trump elected even though they didn’t influence the elections. Listen:  The US is not a bit player.  We try to influence EVERY election in the world in order to get someone favorable to us elected. When we can’t, we try to stage a coup, as in Ukraine a couple of years ago.  When that doesn’t work, we send in the military to destroy the country.  In the process we kill a LOT of civilians. Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, etc.  If the military option isn’t expedient, we hire terrorists or start a civil war…Syria now, but we have proxy wars started against Russia in the Baltics and Ukraine and we are trying hard to get Taiwan to declare independence and fight China as our proxy. Taiwan will get screwed in the deal but we don’t care

Trade wars and sanctions are acts of war.  Using them is exactly how we got Japan into WWll. Now we are using sanctions against Russia, China, the DPRK, Germany, Japan, Venezuela and no telling who else and we expect them to all roll over and let us run the world on our terms.  All of these things have been done before by great colonial powers and all of them eventually went overboard and lost their asses. Greece, Rome, and even Holland and Portugal were once great nations, just to name a few.  After that, Spain, France, England…the US only exists because we didn’t want to be King Georges’ colony any more and pay unfair taxes because he demanded it. So we revolted and we won even though we had almost no chance against the greatest military power on earth. Now WE are the greatest military power on earth and damned if we aren’t doing exactly the same thing that destroyed every other country which ever tried to enforce its will on the world through military might. We expect a different outcome through technology but the outcome will be the same and the price will be paid in blood just like it always has.]

[[Alexander George’s book about WWII is no longer in print which means it wasn’t ‘seminal’.  It was written during the cold war and, I am pretty sure, compares Nazis and Russians as two peas in a pod – I’m not positive but I’m not going to pay $750+ to read an outdated book. The books which ARE relevant are still in print. Sun Tzu and Machiavelli for instance, but there are hundreds.]]

In conjunction with the performance at the OPCW, the Russians appear to be trying to humiliate the US-led coalition. Their objective is to manipulate international sentiment to deter another attack against Syria. Disinformation is a component of every Russian military plan.”

[First the Russians are  trying to discredit the US…then they are trying to humiliate the US. Russia doesn’t need to humiliate the US-led coalition, thank you. We are doing that quite well by ourselves. And, BTW, disinformation and manipulating international sentiment – and every citizen of every country – has been a main component of EVERY military operation conducted by EVERY country throughout history. Governments couldn’t govern if they couldn’t tell people what to think.  The text implies that Russia and Syria are wrong for trying to protect Syria from a US/Turkish invasion.]

That column is a good example of demonizing a country that didn’t do anything wrong…at least recently..while ignoring the fact that the US/Turkey/Israel are the aggressors in Syria, not Syria or the Russians.

My gratuitous rant begins here:

I’m a patriot.  I served an extended combat tour with the Marine Corps in ‘Nam.  But my oath is to the Constitution.  I swore to defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic.   I didn’t swear to defend lying politicians who think the Constitution is bullshit, or to accept obvious lies because one President or another thinks I’m stupid enough to believe anything he says.

I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know. You know what you see and hear without anyone having to explain it. But people have their own lives and their own issues and no one really understands these things or cares about what is happening in some country they never heard of as long as the TV is on and McDonalds is open 24/7.  If your own government and your news outlets and all the talking heads reassure you that we are the good guys and we are making the world better, it’s easier to let the people in charge do the thinking and let reality shows entertain you.

Unfortunately, living is a vacuum means that people no longer know where their tap water comes from or where the sewage goes when they flush or how to get food or water – or even how to live without a transparent life support system which supplies all if their needs.

If the power goes out, our civilization will go out with it.  Want to see?  Turn off your main power breakers, your cell phones and your internet connections. Turn off your water main and your gas line.  That’s what will happen when the power goes out.  Now, without any transportation of any kind or stores or gas stations or ATM machines or police, fire, medical services or anything else, you can see what will happen if just one 1.3 megaton nuke is popped 400 km over Kansas. None of that will be back on in your lifetime – which, for most people, will only be a few days.

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Front page news that isn’t news.

Mt. Mantap collapse: Not news. Structural integrity was lost and partial collapse occurred in the last test, 3 Sept 2017 and was widely reported. Everyone understands that the site is no longer usable. However, as of yesterday, 38 North and other news outlets were still saying the site was fully functional so Kim can argue that he had the site dismantled and contrarian opinions will sound like whining and wheedling. The US will have to invent a bargaining position – it can’t use military threats if the DPRK does not pose a significant threat to the US and the threat to Japan seems fleeting at best. Kim and Moon, with China’s help, will work out a peace treaty between the North and South with or without the US, which the US will have to accept. It will not include the North getting rid of its nukes.

No chemical attack in Syria: Of course there wasn’t. Assad had no reason to invite a US attack, so it didn’t happen either time. The US pushed Russia into moving S-300s to Syria but they won’t be integrated into the Syrian air defense system or manned by Syrians because even with good weapons, Syrian defenses are transparent to Israel. Therefore Israel still has an open window into the Syrian military and Russia will develop work-arounds.

The US is off the deep end for myriad reasons and the rest of the world sees the glitter falling off. North Korea/Syria/Ukraine/Taiwan/Et al. could easily mark our loss of global hegemony.

Pakistan is still seeking NSG membership and the US is applying sanctions. Sanctions, trade restrictions and tariffs are relatively inexpensive acts of war and we are applying them globally, even to Japan and Germany. We are doing that because we gave away so many trading concessions in order to buy allies that we can’t sustain them any longer. But allies have to be earned, not bought. Our policy of “Do what I say or else” may work locally but it no longer works globally.

In point of fact, so much debt exists in the world that there is not enough money…or potential money..to cover it. Most countries (and even individuals) struggle to pay the interest. There is no possibility the principal amounts can ever be repaid. The only solution left is to renege on the debts. Invariably this leads to war.

Afghanistan: No one cares. It’s a shithole. We went there to ‘get’ Bin Ladin. Then we let him get away. After we found him in Pakistan, we stayed in Afghanistan and began supporting the Al Qaeda franchise in Syria. Why are we still there after 17 years? Not because of Bin Ladin.

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H/T Scott G who contributed to this Middle East rant.

 

No one gives a shit about which shithole is in charge of any country so long as certain criteria are met. In fact, we installed the Shah of Ian who was the worst despot in the middle east. In the middle east, the criteria for being in power is agreeing to settle oil in Petrodollars – a brilliant invention which guarantees that no matter who sells oil to whom, the value of the US dollar is held up and, by virtue of exchange, we get a cut on every drop of it. Countries which don’t want to pay the tithe…Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venezuela China, Russia, etc. are ruled by psychotic despots which we have to remove to save the world; Before we destroyed them Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria may have been run by dictators but they had very high living standards for the majority of the people. Sure, there were terrible areas, but have you been to Detroit lately? It was so safe in Tehran that anyone could walk the streets 24/7 in complete safety. It was a point of pride. Not only that but everyone could legally own and carry firearms. The issues of violence were and still almost exclusively tribal/family revenge. If all of these places were left alone, they would live like they have for thousands of years, grovel in the sand and kill each other. Everyone else is treated like a guest.

The middle east is running out of light, sweet crude oil. We want it, Europe wants it and China wants it – and the gas reserves which have mostly been considered waste until now. And guess who has the majority of the proven oi and gas reserves left? Russia. We almost succeeded in buying Russia from Yeltsin until they noticed that we broke our word and started turning all of the Baltic states into NATO affiliates. Then we Tried to steal Ukraine with a coup in order to get Crimea for a huge NATO base. When Russia stopped it, Putin became a psychotic despot. But when we stopped the USSR from militarizing Cuba, Kennedy was just defending the US from aggression. See the double standard?

OK, back to Syria. We have wanted a pipeline from Saudi and Iraq via Syria for years, so we can supply oil and gas to the EU. Assad has always refused. So did Saddam. So they gotta go, especially since Russia is trying to get the Turkish stream pipeline built to supply the EU with THEIR oil and gas. That’s why the US is letting Turkey annex half of Syria permanently.
You never hear anything about Erdogan being a psychotic despot, but he really is one. He and the King of Saudi Arabia run two of the worst second world countries in the world and they both have budding nuclear programs. Do you know who shouldn’t nave nukes? Pakistan. Pakistan shared nuclear weapons technology with Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria and NORTH KOREA. But no one mentions Pakistan at all and now they are a de-facto protectorate of China, or at least China is trying to buy them off. But Pakistan is full of 11th century Muslims just like Afghanistan and they get pissed if anyone tries to interfere with them fucking boys, killing each other and making women dress in trash bags.

Chemical weapons: an excuse to attack countries which did not agree to VOLUNTARILY give them up. Syria did and it was verified. Libya gave up it’s nuclear AND chemical programs after the US promised not to destroy it. Russia did and it was verified. Actually, only one country who signed has refused to give up its stock of fresh chemical weapons Yep. The US.

Reply from Scott G:

There is nothing here that I disagree with. I’ll go you one further about local King turds sitting on their own shit-piles. You are more articulate than I am, but for the most part you mirrored my vantage on these topics.

In that neck of the woods the only method of gaining control is brutal power, and those people have no use for, and disrespect a society like ours because they see us as weak (because can’t/won’t remove our own filth) . In some ways they are correct I would say the populous HERE is ignorant, and unwilling to work at removing their own internal ignorance, and unwilling to accept their own role in how/who the shit-bag politicians are that get into office. The average person living over THERE “wants” the freedoms we have (HAD) but is unwilling to fight/bleed/die for it – so they don’t-fucking-deserve it. Because they are also individually unable to abide by the order they say they want, and like our inner city poor people they will not fight the brutal sub-scum operating inside their own communities.

It takes a psychotic despot to control those fiends. But in the end it is what it is. Ignorant, stupid, inconsiderate, filthy, immoral “humans” occupy much of this world, are we going to kill them all to make a paradise without killing ours selves at the same time? Funny how the libtards think we if kill off the white man’s sense of order, they will propagate a seamless, and ever lasting love-fest….. uh-huh.

The Paki’s, – I have not once had any use for those walking turds, billions of dollars go there yearly, and they knowingly, willfully hid Bin-laden from us.
Billions of our tax dollars to our enemies every-single year for what? To appease them? That is extortion. Thomas Jefferson Refused extortion and created the Marine Corps of the US Navy to combat the Barbary Pirates. I am sure you are fully aware of those details.

Although not a complete nationalist, and a fully conservative libertarian – I want to fix our own abuses first, help our people first. Restore our constitution first – before anyone else . Some of our allies need to remain allies, and keeping them as such means an occasional sacrifice. I fully disagree with how our country has been bled for decades.

Our foreign policy should be simple – we are going to spy on you, because you are spying on us- deal with it. We will not instigate violence so don’t bring us any or we will kill everyone, and everything dear to you – so please don’t fuck with us – not looking for a fight so don’t bring one here.

Our internal policy should include drug tests for welfare recipients I believe in a safety net, not Beamers for Bastards. Too many off-spring w/ no father at home? Sterilization after 2 w/o fathers (unless truly tragic events have unfolded). Felons – no death penalty- HARD HARD labor all the rest of their lives this will end the “right of passage” behavior, and the never-ending cycle of crime, and all the anal sex a guy can handle. Sex in prison should result in hand emptying out-houses with dixie-cups, and clean-up with tooth brushes. But then, that’s not really a compassionate way to see things is it?

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Israel has never had a domestically generated school shooting.

Google:  Israeli girls with guns

See?

In Israel, young men and women serve mandatory military terms.  When trained, they can carry 24/7. No one thinks anything about it.  Automatic weapons and handguns are not a problem.  People stop terrorism instantly. Of course, Israel is surrounded by enemies and can be at war in ten minutes.  But the rest of the time an armed society is a polite society and no one has to cower in fear of …well, just about anything..like street crime or gang violence  The murder rate for the whole country is a fraction of most American cities…except Plano, Texas. Everyone carries a gun in Plano.  There is almost no crime in Plano.  Israel has never had a school shooting. Neither has Plano.

The government doesn’t try to take their citizens’ guns- they GIVE them guns. Just like Switzerland.

Guns aren’t a problem there.  They aren’t the problem here, either.

 
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Short memories and erratic policies.

in 1959 after Castro’s successful popular uprising in Cuba, he came to the US to ask us for aid.  The stories and photos are online if you want to look.  Not only would no one talk to him, we literally laughed him off.  So he went  to Russia and asked Khrushchev.  A few years later we almost went to nuclear war and we blamed Castro ( Cuba is still under a virtual US blockade) and Khrushchev/ the USSR..and that has carried over to Putin/Russia because of Crimea (which ONLY happened because we caused a coup in Ukraine).  But Russia didn’t invade Crimea. Crimea had always been part of Russia until Khrushchev, who was from Ukraine, got drunk one night in the 50s and gave it to Ukraine. If you traveled there and asked ANYONE, you’d find out that they are Russian and want to be part of Russia.  Thus no one was killed in the so-called ‘Russian invasion’ of Crimea because it didn’t happen.

This story repeats over and over.  We put the Shah of Iran in power to do what we told him.  He was repressive and SAVAK tortured and murdered anyone who opposed him and we looked the other way – like we do now in Saudi Arabia.  When he was deposed Iran had every reason to dislike us for foisting him on them.  A few years ago we were all hot to bomb Iran because they were a threat to the US. It wasn’t true then and it isn’t now.  But that’s what we were told.  We export ‘Freedom and Liberty’ at the point of a bayonet by demonizing leaders for allegedly what ours really do (Rendition camps, Gitmo, torture)…we are still killing farmers in Afghanistan using drones..we are bombing places in Africa, Syria and five or six other countries, none of which invaded us.

Then we were told that Saddam had WMD factories and he was all set to attack the US so we had to invade Iraq.  It wasn’t true.  There were none. We invaded anyway because Saddam wanted to drop the petrodollar and trade oil for gold.  We invaded Afghanistan too and after 17 years we are still in both places. Strangely, we never invaded Pakistan which IS an established nuclear power.

Then we destroyed Libya.  We cut a deal with Qaddafi to give up his nuclear aspirations in exchange for a promise of security.  We broke our word.  Because he also wanted to trade oil for gold and drop the US Petrodollar.

Guess who else wants to drop the Petrodollar and trade oil for gold.  Syria.  And so does China, Russia, Venezuela and, secretly, South Africa.

Which, if it happens, will drop the us from ‘The Superpower” to a has-been second world country.  That’s why these countries are our enemies and we are doing it to ourselves.

North Korea is ZERO threat to the US.  the DPRK wants nukes because it knows we can knock it out in a couple hours if China doesn’t step up.  China will step up.  An as much as we babble about making a deal to guarantee their security in exchange for denuclearization, they can see what happened to Qaddafi after we made the same deal with him – and in fact, what we are trying to do to Russia (there are US tank armies and nuclear capable missiles on Russia’s eastern border this minute) and China. Apart from the bogus trade war, we are pushing Taiwan hard to proclaim independence from China – something we know will cause a hot war with China.  And we are after ‘regime change’ in Venezuela. We are doing in Venezuela exactly what we did in Ukraine a few years ago; and what we have done to everyone else who won’t be our pimp.

Bottom line:

(1) The US does not keep its promises; we aren’t the Good Guys anymore.

(2) North Korea will never give up nukes until China makes them.

(3) Neither Russia, China, Venezuela, nor anyone else will trust us again.  NO country will even negotiate with us in good faith because we do not negotiate in good faith. Our government doesn’t even keep the faith with We the People.  I remember Dubya Bush saying, and I quote:  ” The Constitution is just a Goddamn piece of paper”.

So much for Democracy.

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Donald Trump hired the wrong people. He should have called me.

From Consortium News:  https://consortiumnews.com/2018/04/19/war-fever/

War Fever

There is a fever that seizes this land from time to time and it is the fever of war, a condition that this time seems immune to all known cures, starting with reason, as Daniel Lazare explores. 

By Daniel Lazare  Special to Consortium News

What happens when an unthinkable war meets an unbeatable case of war fever?  Thanks to Russia-gate, unsubstantiated reports about the use of poison gas in Syria, and a slew of similar factoids and pseudo-scandals, the world may soon find out.

In saner times, including during the Cold War at even its most heated, political leaders knew not to push a conflict with a rival nuclear power too far.  After all, what was the point of getting into a fight in which everyone would lose?

Cooler heads thus prevailed in Washington while more excitable sorts were shipped off to where they could do no harm.  This is what kept the peace during the U-2 affair, the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban missile crisis and what promised to continue doing so even after the advent of American “unipolarity” in 1989-92.

But that was then.  Today, the question is no longer how to avoid a fight that can only lead to catastrophe, but how to avoid a showdown with a country that “in the past four years has annexed Crimea, intervened in eastern Ukraine, sought to influence the American election in 2016, allegedly poisoned a former Russian spy living in Britain and propped up the murderous government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” to quote the bill of indictment in a recent front-page article in The New York Times.

Given that the list of alleged atrocities expands with virtually each passing week, the answer, increasingly, is: no way, no how.  Since Russia is bent on spreading “conflict and discord” throughout the west – if only in the eyes of the U.S., that is – confrontation grows more and more likely.

A Very American Coup

This is despite the fact that the offenses cited by the Times

The neo-Nazi Wolfsangel symbol on a banner in Ukraine.

are each more complex or dubious than the “newspaper of record” is willing to concede.  The annexation of the Crimea, for instance, was a response to a US-financed, neo-Nazi-spearheaded coup in Kiev in February 2014 that caused the rickety Ukrainian state to collapse and sent Russophones in the east fleeing for protection into the arms of Moscow.  After investing more than $5 billion to steer the Ukraine in such a disastrous direction according to then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the US blamed Russia for the consequences.  (See quote beginning at 7:42.)  As for charges of interference in the 2016 election, the Times itself noted back in January 2017 that the formal CIA-FBI-NSA “assessment” blaming the Kremlin was notably bereft of factual back-up. As the paper put it:

“[T]he declassified report contained no information about how the agencies had collected their data or had come to their conclusions.  So it is bound to be attacked by skeptics and by partisans of Mr. Trump, who see the review as a political effort to impugn the legitimacy of his election.”

Quite right.  But now evidence-free assertions are accepted as fact while anyone who says otherwise is ignored or shouted down. Questions linger with regard to the March 4 poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, most notably why a supposedly ultra-powerful nerve agent would not take effect for more than seven hours.  (Someone supposedly smeared the nerve agent on the front door of Sergei’s home in Salisbury, England, which he and his daughter left around nine in the morning.  Yet it was not until 4:15 p.m. that they were found incapacitated on a park bench after visiting a pub and eating at a local restaurant.)

As for “the murderous government of President Bashar al-Assad,” such talk would be silly if the consequences weren’t so dire.  After all, it wasn’t Assad who flooded Syria with tens of thousands of jihadis bent on massacring Christian, Druse, Alawites, and secularists.  To the contrary, it was the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the other Arab Gulf states.  As a now declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report noted back in August 2012:

—  “The Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency”;

—  “The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the [rebel] opposition”;

—  “If the situation unravels further, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria”;

—  “…[T]his is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition [i.e. the US, Turkey, and the gulf states] want in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion….”

A Sectarian War 

In other words, the US and its Sunni Arab allies launched a sectarian war against the Alawite-backed Syrian regime with the full knowledge that an Al Qaeda state in eastern Syria might well be the result.  Yet now they blame Assad for defending himself against the Salafist onslaught and Russia for helping him.  It is a case of launching a neo-medieval sectarian war and then crying foul when the other side dares to fight back.

One would think that cooler heads might inject a note of sanity before things get completely out of hand.  But the opposite seems to be the case.  The more temperatures rise, the more congressmen, journalists, think-tank experts, and other hangers-on conclude that it is advantageous to jump on the bandwagon and drive passions up even more.  Pro-war frenzy leads to more of the same.  The more reason is needed, the scarcer it becomes.

Reason is scare. (Illustration by Chesley Bonestell of nuclear bombs detonating over New York City, entitled “Hiroshima U.S.A.” Colliers, Aug. 5, 1950.)

Indeed, it sometimes seems that the only halfway sane person left in Washington is Donald Trump, who, according to a strange report inSunday’s Washington Post, is fighting a desperate rear-guard action against neocons bent on ratcheting up tensions to ever higher levels.

Reporters Greg Jaffe, John Hudson, and Philip Rucker described a bizarre scene at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida resort last month in which aides were only able to persuade the president to expel sixty Russian diplomats in retaliation for the Skripal poisoning by promising him that allies would toss out an equal number in Europe.  When France and Germany only expelled four Russians each, Trump felt double-crossed.  “I don’t care about the total,” he reportedly screamed when the aides tried to explain that the number expelled by all European nations would eventually approach the U.S. figure.  “There were curse words,” one official told the Post, “a lot of curse words.”

Similarly, when Congress approved a new round of anti-Russian sanctions in July, the article says it took aides four days to persuade Trump to sign the bill even though it had cleared with a veto-proof majority that made it a virtual fait accompli.  The Post said the same thing occurred when aides tried to convince him to sell antitank missiles to the Ukraine for use against pro-Russian separatists.  “Why is this our problem?” he reportedly asked.  “Why not let the Europeans deal with Ukraine?”  When CIA Director Mike Pompeo, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis added their voices to the chorus, all the president could do was whine, “I just want peace.”

Everyone Agreed–Except Trump

Trump: Out of step.

Of course, when Donald Trump is the sole remaining voice of reason, then we’re really in trouble.  The infighting escalated even further on Monday after Haley vowed to slap still more sanctions on Russia for the crime of backing Assad.  “They have done nothing but brutalize their people and destroy their land, all in the name of power,” she said of the Baathists on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”  So Russia would have to pay the price.

Everyone agreed, Republicans, Democrats, and the corporate media – everyone, that is, except Trump.  Defying his neocon captors, he undercut Haley by declaring that sanctions would not be forthcoming after all.  White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was left to gamely assert that “the president has been clear that he’s going to be tough on Russia, but at the same time he’d still like to have a good relationship with them.”

Times columnist Michelle Goldberg was so flabbergasted by Trump’s about-face that she wondered whether reports that Putin was using a secret “pee tape” to force him into line might not be true after all.

But of course – who else would want an end to hostilities with Russia other than a crazy man or someone under duress?  War with a nuclear power is something that no sane person really wants to avoid, right?

U.S. foreign policy is caught in a powerful contradiction.  A military showdown with a fellow nuclear power is unthinkable.  Yet pausing for a moment to consider where all this madness is leading is out of the question.  Two forces are colliding, war on one hand and a general inability to think things through in a clear-headed way on the other.

It’s a case of a herd of independent minds stampeding over a cliff – not because someone is forcing them to, but because they don’t know how to stop.

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique, and his articles about the Middle East, terrorism, Eastern Europe, and other topics appear regularly on such websites as Jacobin and The American Conservative.  

 

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Why no one trusts the US anymore

From Asia Times, 19 Apr, 2018

http://www.atimes.com/article/russia-exposes-british-lies-skripal-trail-leads-us/

The page is returning a 404 error in the US..  but I grabbed it:

Russia exposes British lies on Skripal, but trail leads to US

Moscow says it has proof that the agent used in the UK attack is a chemical weapon patented in the US. So was this a covert operation aimed at ratcheting up tensions between the West and Russia?

April 19, 2018 6:10 PM (UTC+8)
A police officer stands guard outside of the home of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

A police officer stands guard outside of the home of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Peter Nicholls
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America: the new global Humbug.

We don’t have any patriots or heroes anymore.

We can’t look up to anyone as role models except grossly overpaid Hollywood types, the great majority of whom are brainless.  We no longer trust our government and for very good reason:  it is neither trustworthy nor does it operate in our best interests.

Our citizenry has become a motley collection of psychotropic-sotted liberals, drug dealers, and uneducated grape-nuts, most of which should have been drowned at birth. We are lazy, obese, self-centered,  juvenile and for the most part totally incompetent in our jobs. As institutions, marriage and personal responsibility have become meaningless.  98% of the population lives beyond its means and endures lifetime debt by design.  Personal ownership no longer exists.  You think you own your home, but stop paying exorbitant taxes and see what happens.

We have allowed the earth and the oceans to become polluted with our detritus.  We have enabled the global population to increase to twice what the planet can sustain and so we have precipitated an anthropocentric extinction event which began in 2017 and will, probably by 2035 and certainly by 2050, kill most of the life on the planet including ours.

We only exist now because we use engineered GMO crops and GMO animals, but the weather can no longer be predicted and is becoming more erratic and violent on a daily basis – so the seasons are blurring and climate extremes are becoming the norm.  That will destroy the ability of anyone anywhere to grow crops successfully, even GMO crops. And we are killing our bees.  No bees and no crops mean no people.  The fish are gone because the ocean food chains are gone.  I won’t rehash the ocean conveyors, the jet stream, the clathrate gun or the fact that people are getting crazy and killing each other because there are too many people –  for the same reason rats get crazy and kill each other when there are too many rats.

What are we doing about it? We pretend it isn’t happening.  We blame everyone else and we become erratic.  The US is at war, albeit undeclared, with about seven countries.  We are sending cars into orbit. We lost the mindless and misguided ‘war on drugs’, so now we are having a war on prescription painkillers.  Not because they are any worse than, say cars.  But because the government feels a need to control every facet of everyone’s life.  Our medical system spends most of its money taking care of welfare recipients and people in prison. or ‘discovering’ that 80% of two and three year old children need Prozac. We spend most of our time obsessing over things which make no difference – because we can’t tell anymore what is important and what isn’t.  I’ll tell you what is. Almost no one can do any of it.

(1) The ability to obtain enough food, water and clothing for the rest of your life without depending on anyone else.  (2)  A warm, safe place to sleep and a moderately clean place for sanitary purposes.  (3) The ability to defend yourself and your family.  That is and always has been YOUR PERSONAL responsibility.  Not the government.  Not the police.  You.  If you can’t do these things,  a million years of evolutionary imperatives have been wasted on you and you will be toast as soon as the power goes off for a month.

What’s the good news?  We won’t be able to pollute the universe and destroy it like we have the earth.  In fact, we won’t be sending humans even to Mars any time soon because the ability to begin to explore space seems to coincide with a civilization using up all of its planets renewable resources; at least that is the case with the only class 1 civilization we know about..

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A day in the life….

“What is that smell?”

‘I’m cooking bacon because the avocados are all getting ripe.’

(I’m too smart to ask what ripe avocados have to do with bacon, but I persevere.)

“It doesn’t small like bacon.”

‘It’s Irish bacon.  I got it on sale.’

“Hahaha!  Irish bacon indeed.  Is it green? (snicker)”

‘Yes.  The man said it came in too late for St. Patrick’s day so it was on sale for $.25 a pound. He said Irish bacon might smell and taste a little different from American bacon.’

(I go look.  It’s greenish gray and obviously bad.)

Where’s the package it came in?  ( I look.  It’s
Farmer John bacon and the date code is fine – but the package wasn’t sealed correctly and wasn’t airtight.)

“OK, toss that to the chickens.  It’s not ‘Irish’.  It’s rotten.  The man at the store was having a little joke.”

So I looked up Smithfield brands.  They produce pork in the US, they say.  GMO pork from GMO feed crops.

What I didn’t know and what you may not know either is the name of the parent company which owns Smithfield:  Henan Luohe Shuanghui Industry Group. The Chinese also own AMC movie theaters, Legendary Entertainment Group, GE Appliances, the Waldorf Astoria and a bunch of other high-end hotels,Riot Games, Ingram Micro, Motorola Mobility, etc…

I’m not suggesting the bacon is bad because a Chinese company owns all this.  I’m suggesting that ‘Caveat Emptor’ applies at the grocery store.

Smithfield

The Smithfield® brand’s heritage of quality pork began in 1936 when Joseph W. Luter and his son founded their small meatpacking company in Smithfield, Virginia. Almost 80 years later, Smithfield continues to delight consumers with premium-quality hams, smoked meats, bacon, and fresh pork. Flavor hails from Smithfield.

www.smithfield.com

Smithfield
Eckrich

From a small meat market that opened in 1894 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Eckrich® products have grown to be among the most popular in the supermarket meat case. Eckrich smoked sausage is naturally hardwood smoked, just one example of the craftsmanship and pride that goes into every one of our products.

www.eckrich.com

Eckrich
Nathan's

From a nickel stand that Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker opened in Coney Island in 1916, Nathan’s Famous® has grown to be the world’s most popular hot dog. Produced under license by Smithfield Foods, more than 400 million Nathan’s Famous hot dogs are enjoyed every year.

www.nathansfamous.com

Nathan's
Farmland

Rooted in America’s Midwest, Farmland® has had a passion for pork since 1959. Whether it’s fresh pork or bacon, hot dogs or sausage, a dedication to quality is evident in every Farmland product. At breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can taste the Farmland difference in every bite.

www.farmlandfoods.com

Farmland
Armour

Since 1867, Armour® has been a trusted brand for smart, sensible families seeking convenient, delicious, and affordable meal options. America’s most popular frozen meatballs, LunchMakers portable meal kits, and a wide range of pepperoni products are just a few Armour favorites.

www.armourmeats.com

Armour
Farmer John

Based in California since 1931, Farmer John® is known as the local provider of fresh and high-quality pork on the West Coast. From bacon, hot dogs, smoked sausage, lunchmeat, and breakfast links to holiday hams and fresh pork, Farmer John carefully crafts quality meats and foods that you can be proud to share with family and friends.

www.farmerjohn.com

Farmer John
Kretschmar

Kretschmar® premium deli meats and cheeses have meant quality since 1883—from hams made with a unique hardwood smoking process to hand-trimmed poultry and beef using the best cuts. Consumers who choose Krestchmar enjoy the finest ingredients and legendary taste.

www.kretschmardeli.com

Kretschmar
John Morrell

The John Morrell® brand’s tradition of excellence began back in 1827 in Bradford, England, and continues today across the United States. Shoppers know that the John Morrell name stands for premium-quality meat products, including ham, hardwood-smoked bacon, smoked sausage, and much more.

www.johnmorrell.com

John Morrell
Cook's

Cook’s® is the nation’s leading brand of traditional and spiral sliced smoked bone-in ham, corned beef, and smoked picnics. Slow-cured with natural ingredients such as real honey, brown sugar, and maple syrup, Cook’s hams are then smoked for hours using real hickory wood for the perfect finish.

www.mycooksham.com

Cook's
Gwaltney

P.D. Gwaltney began producing quality meats in 1870 in Smithfield, Virginia, and the Gwaltney® brand continues to stand for superior bacon, hot dogs, bologna, and much more. In fact, Gwaltney Great Dogs are America’s #1 chicken franks, and Gwaltney Great Bologna is America’s #1 chicken bologna.

www.gwaltneyfoods.com

Gwaltney
Carando

Carando® classic Italian meats stay true to the traditional recipes that founder Peter Carando brought from Torino, Italy, to America nearly a century ago. From prosciutto and pancetta to salami and soppressata, one taste is all it takes to discover the authentic Italian difference of Carando.

carando.com

Carando
Margherita

Margherita® fine Italian meats add inspiration to otherwise ordinary meals. The Margherita brand offers a diverse selection of 35 traditional and specialty Italian meats sure to add delicious and unique flavors to all your creations and excitement to your gatherings. There’s Italian, and then there’s Margherita.

www.margheritameats.com

Margherita
Curly's

The Curly’s® brand has become synonymous with restaurant quality BBQ that can be made at home quickly and easily. From pulled pork, beef, and chicken to baby back ribs, Curly’s products are smoked for hours and ready in just minutes. Heat, serve, and enjoy!

www.curlys.com

Curly's
Healthy Ones

Healthy Ones® is the heart-healthy lunch meat—low in sodium with no artificial flavors or fillers. Certified “Extra Lean” by the American Heart Association, you can feel good about serving it to your entire family. Healthy Ones can be found at the deli and prepackaged in your grocer’s lunch meat section.

www.healthyones.com

Healthy Ones
View some of our regional and international brands that have captured significant shares in their respective markets.

Seriously…I like Nathan’s Famous hod dogs.

 

 

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An open letter to President Trump.

Dear Mr. President.

As regards Assad in Syria, the question is not whether some group or another managed to kill a few handfuls of  people with chemical weapons.  The question is why would Assad do it, knowing that if he did, he would draw a military response from the US.  Twice.

The first time it happened, I didn’t believe it. The victims weren’t military targets and killing civilians at random in such an inefficient manner made no sense.  It was obvious that someone – probably someone funded by us – created a false flag so we could destroy 20% of Syria’s Air Force.

Now you expect people to believe that a year later Assad again targeted a bunch of civilians for no particular reason except to draw another military response from the US.  The first time was not believable and didn’t happen; the second time pushed the bounds of reason right off the top floor and when it splats on the sidewalk below, you will get splashed.  Furthermore, since you aren’t stupid,  you know it didn’t happen but you told the world that it did and shot up Syria anyway.

Whether you are colluding with Israel to secure their border while they annex Lebanon; or with Turkey as Erdogan grabs half of Syria as he tries to rebuild the Ottoman empire; or with the oil companies in order to get pipelines from Saudi Arabia and Iraq through Syria to the EU (which Assad won’t permit), or for some other reason I haven’t thought of yet, every thinking person knows the reason you gave for shooting at Syria yet again is nonsense.  If we had wanted war with Syria, Russia and China, we could have elected Hitlery.  We elected you so she couldn’t do exactly what you are starting to do.

Granted that half of the population is by definition below median intelligence and most of the other half lives by liberal applications of  nonsense and rampaging emotions instead of rational thought, I can understand why people can’t think through the bullshit.  In fact, you claim to have invented the term ‘Fake News’ – which you did not – and seem to be the Messiah and progenitor of most of it:

“Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!”
“Don’t let the FAKE NEWS tell you that there is big infighting in the Trump Admin. We are getting along great, and getting major things done!”
“Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!”
“FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!”
“Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!”
“Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media.The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.”
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
“The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. @MSNBC & @CNN are unwatchable. @foxandfriends is great!”

I’m not thrilled with your obsession over North Korea either.  North Korea isn’t a threat.  No one would shoot one or two missiles at the US knowing that half an hour later their country wouldn’t exist.

I will mention in passing that we are punishing Russia for ‘attempting’ unsuccessfully to influence the US election.  More bullshit.  We are punishing Russia because we caused a coup in Ukraine and installed our puppet Poroshenko as president there so we could buy Crimea from him to build the largest NATO military base in the world to isolate Russia and Russia stopped us – just like we stopped the USSR from turning Cuba into a SOVBLOC military base.

And the ‘trade war’ with China?  Oh, PLEASE!  It’d not a trade war.  It’s a real war and it’s over Taiwan.  We want Taiwan as a bulwark on China’s border. But China is going to get Taiwan back regardless of what we do and they are going to let the DPRK have nukes until they get Taiwan back.

I can go on and on and I’m sure I will, but unless you want another liberal Demoncrat  who will emasculate men, try to make private ownership of firearms illegal instead of  making parents assume responsibility for raising their spoiled, undisciplined, gender-fluid, Prozac-sodden little bitches and bastards and turn the US into some Edward Scisscrhands version of Disneyland to win the next election, you had better start treating people like adults.  It might prompt them to begin acting like adults

 

 

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