Friday, October 23, 2015

(A/C = Red-Baiting CIAer?)  Surveillance City USA USA USA  (Dick Picks Galore?)  Where's Waldo (Obama)?  (Trump:  "W" Knew About 9/11 Before Says NSA)  Whistleblowers Say Surveillance Makes U.S. More Vulnerable To Terrorism (Are the U.S. and Russia Forming 5 New States in the Middle-East?)  Trump Outs Bushes' Bad

If your lies are big enough and told loudly enough . . . .

When Anderson Cooper — worth $100,000,000 — red-baited Bernie Sanders, he was obviously speaking for his class (and maybe working for the CIA)
Who was the richest person in CNN’s Democratic presidential debate?

The richest person in the Democratic presidential candidate debate on October 10 was not a candidate. The richest person on that Las Vegas stage was CNN moderator and Vanderbilt heir Anderson Cooper, whose $100 million net worth ($100,000,000) is greater than all the candidates’ worth combined (about $84,000,000). In a very real, if unspoken sense, this “debate” was more like an exclusive club interview with Cooper vetting the applicants for their class credentials.

These class aspects of the debate went unmentioned. In American politics, class issues have traditionally gone unmentioned. The tacit understanding is that if you have the bad taste to ask, then you have no class. If you have class, you will have the right opinions. This year is different because of Bernie Sanders, part of whose popular appeal is that he is so clearly the scion of no great wealth and even less pretension. Sanders is calling for a social revolution against the ruling class of millionaires and billionaires, yet even he did not publicly object to having multi-millionaire Anderson Cooper of the One Per Cent running the show. Sanders likely understands that his best chance to win is not to confront the rich, but to surround them with everyone else whose net worth is more like his ($700,000) or less.

Net worth is notoriously hard to pin down with any accuracy, but ballpark figures are good enough at the highest levels, even if the numbers usually come from the candidates themselves. In a candidates’ net worth listing published October 13, the Democrats were evaluated as follows (with an alternative set of estimates in parenthesis):

Hillary Clinton: $45 million ($31.2 herself, with Bill $111 million)

Lincoln Chaffee: $32 million ($31.9 million, mostly his wife’s trust)

Jim Webb: $6 million ($4.6 million)

Bernie Sanders: $700,000 ($528,014)

Martin O’Malley: $-0- ($256,000)

By one recent measure, it takes a net worth of $1.2 million, minimum, to make it into the top One Per Cent of richest Americans (usually accompanied by pre-tax income of more than $300,000 annually). A US senator’s salary is $192,600, which is amplified significantly by perks and benefits.

Cooper’s life of wealth illuminates his gift as a glib carnival barker

Like most debate moderators, Anderson Cooper seemed most interested in promoting a food fight among the candidates. While he had snark for everyone, his most provocative and least conscionable jibes were saved for Sanders, served up with class-based relish.

What does yellow journalism red-baiting sound like? Cooper started with the lurking horror of every unjustifiably rich person:

“Senator Sanders. A Gallup poll says half the country would not put a socialist in the White House. You call yourself a democratic socialist. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?”

How could such a horror happen in America? That’s the question he seems to be asking. But to ask it that way, Cooper has to be deceitful and spin the Gallup poll to fit his meaning (Cooper’s spin reflects the conventional coverage of the poll at the time). The real news from the June 2015 poll was that 47% of Americans were OK with electing a “socialist” (not further defined by pollsters). That 47% is more than past polls, and those opposed to a “socialist” make up only 50%, a difference close to the margin of error. In other words, more than a year from the presidential election, Gallup finds America more or less neutral on the question of whether or not a candidate is “any kind of socialist.” For a Bernie kind of socialist, the simple answer to getting elected is to make the kind of progress in the next year that he’s made in the past six months.

Cooper’s approach uses “socialism” as something that is by definition pejorative and comes out of a deep, common bias in the US. The American ruling class has cultivated fear of “socialism” for close to two centuries, not because it’s a threat to people’s freedom but because it’s a threat to the wealth and power of people like the 158 families funding most of the 2016 race for the presidency.

Anderson Coopers class roots:   Vanderbilt, Dalton, Yale, CIA

Anderson Cooper was not only born into wealth and power, he has lived the life of that class, as even his official CNN bio affirms. After attending New York’s Dalton School, Cooper graduated from Yale College in 1989 with a BA in political science and two summer internships at the CIA. He also studied Vietnamese at the University of Hanoi.

Cooper kept his CIA experience in the closet until September 2006, when an unnamed web site reported that Cooper had worked for the CIA. Cooper responded on his CNN blog in minimizing, dismissive fashion. He said the website didn’t have its facts straight, but cited no errors. His own facts are well fudged – “for a couple of months over two summers I worked at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia…. It was pretty bureaucratic and mundane.” Cooper doesn’t say what he did (of course) or even what years he was there (1987 and 1988, in the aftermath of William J. Casey’s directorship). Whatever Cooper did at the CIA, he was there when the CIA was running an illegal war in Nicaragua (and another in El Salvador) and the agency’s activities were subject to serious congressional efforts to curb them (the Boland Amendment).

When Sanders offered no direct answer to the question of how a “socialist” could win a general election, Cooper followed up more vituperatively and dishonestly:

“The question is really about electability here, and that’s what I’m trying to get at. You — the — the Republican attack ad against you in a general election — it writes itself. You supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. You honeymooned in the Soviet Union. And just this weekend, you said you’re not a capitalist. Doesn’t — doesn’t that ad write itself?”

Cooper’s first dishonesty here is asking the “electability” question here only of Sanders. Yes, everyone assumes Hillary Clinton is “electable,” ­but O’Malley, Chaffee, or Webb? . . . Cooper’s addressing the electability question only to Sanders may actually be a measure of how strong Cooper believes Sanders is or may be.

Then Cooper stated:  “You supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.” He said it as if there were no question that supporting the Sandinistas was a really bad thing. That’s the talking point on "Breitbart," "National Review," and other right-wing sites for whom Cooper was carrying water. On "Just Foreign Policy," Robert Naiman posted a prompt denunciation of Cooper for playing the knee-jerk, pro-war media honcho.

Cooper on record in support of illegal war supported by drug traffic

Supporting the Sandinistas in the 1980s was, and is, a principled position. The Sandinistas had overthrown the Somoza government, one of the most vicious of the US-backed dictatorships in Central America. President Reagan decided to wage an illegal covert war against the Sandinistas, using the CIA to recruit the Contra army to fight in Nicaragua, supported by CIA-supported drug traffic to the US. Cooper refers to none of this, which was all taking place while he was doing summer internships at the CIA. Is Cooper a CIA asset? Hard to know, but he plays one pretty well on TV. A Cooper-CIA tie is perfectly credible – there’s means, motive, and opportunity all round. And in 1988, Bob Woodward wasn’t getting any younger.

Supporting the illegal Contra war, run on drug money, is an unprincipled position, but Cooper clearly implies that it’s still his position. Like the US government, Cooper showed no respect for the International Court of Justice, which issued a 1986 ruling strongly supporting Nicaragua’s claims against the US, including the US mining of Nicaraguan harbors. The ruling awarded reparations to Nicaragua that the US never paid. The lone dissent in the decision came from Judge Stephen Schwebel, an American judge. The US defended its position in the UN Security Council in soviet-style, blocking any action with numerous vetoes. The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of Nicaragua, with only the US, El Salvador, and Israel opposed.

For Cooper to say that Sanders supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua would be high praise in most of the world. Only in the boxed-in, unilluminated world of American media can it pass for a criticism without bring the house down in laughter. That’s another of the US government successes brought on by secret agencies like the CIS and fellow-travelers like multi-millionaire Anderson Cooper.

Bernie Sanders challenged the yellow journalist on the issue of Hillary Clinton’s emails. His was an act of generosity and presidential stature. None of his fellow candidates had the courage or character to repudiate Cooper’s shameless red-baiting, not on Nicaragua, and not on his next slander, “You honeymooned in the Soviet Union.”

Integrity is not a quality Cooper showed much interest in

Almost surely Cooper knew that statement was a dishonest low blow, a neat way to brutalize the truth without actually lying. Again Cooper was irresponsibly peddling another right-wing trope, used with similar hypocrisy by George Will and others.

As a "Daily Kos" blog details, the Sanders honeymoon was also part of a 1956 sister-cities program initiated by the Eisenhower administration. In 1988, Sanders and his wife Jane were married, marched in a Memorial Day parade, then headed off to the Russian city of Yaroslavl on their “honeymoon.” Somehow that doesn’t have the same impact as when Anderson Cooper lies about it.

Cooper’s last dishonesty was:  “And just this weekend you said you’re not a capitalist.” Once again Cooper acted as if that was an undeniable evil, case closed. But the instance he referred to on NBC was not so simple, and Cooper provided no context. On NBC, Sanders bristled when his interviewer asked if Sanders was a “socialist,” since Sanders has referred to himself a “democratic socialist” for decades. Sanders asked the NBC toady parrot if he ever asked others if they were “capitalists” and the guy cowered out. He asked Sanders if he was a capitalist. And Sanders said, yet again, that he’s a democratic socialist.

Returning to his distorted framing bias, a “Republican attack ad,” Cooper asked, “Doesn’t that ad write itself?” Well, so what if it does? That just means Republican ad writers have as little integrity as Cooper, and maybe that’s what they’re all paid for.

As Sanders put in on CNN at the end of his opening statement:

“What this campaign is about is whether we can mobilize our people to take back our government from a handful of billionaires and create the vibrant democracy we know we can and should have.”
We are at the beginning of what might be a long learning curve as we find out what our country is truly about. Bernie Sanders offers an opportunity to look at realities in broad daylight and make up our minds about them. Anderson Cooper is but one of a legion of self-serving, self-preserving One Per Cent propagandists who will do all they can to keep the Sanders message in the dark.

Paul Ryan – Liar, Hypocrite, Charlatan, and Right-Wing Extremist
US Approves $11.25 Billion Military Sale to Saudi Arabia
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Dream on.

If you’re a science fiction fan, a movie buff, a child of the 1980s, or just happened to be online earlier this week, you probably know that yesterday was "Back to the Future Day." For those not familiar with the movie's plot:  After Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrived back in their own time of 1985, Doc departed for October 21, 2015.
Once there though, he was only able to find a minimum wage job and - realizing that his wages had less buying power than they did in 1985 - he quickly went back.
Okay, we made that last part up. But let’s be serious:  An inflated cost of living, low wages and the widening gap between the rich and the poor - these are very real issues for millions of American workers in 2015. If we’re really living in the future, it’s a pretty dystopian one.

And not only that, but this.

Surveillance as far as the eye can see (or the ear can hear):

In other words, any time anyone tries to present Obama as having failed to implement a "liberal" agenda because the right was too powerful is either an apologist or ignorant. Obama has achieved precisely what he intended to achieve, which was to implement center-right economic policies with tepid social justice measures to divert attention from how he was serving the interests of the 1% and even more so, the 0.1%

As usual, I'm with Yves.

And have been, on this issue particularly, since the beginning.

Take it away, Yves.

Debunking Attacks on Sanders That Depict Obama as Lefty Failure, Not Neoliberal Success

22 October 2015
Yves Smith
Naked Capitalism

A sign that the progressive cause is moving out of the wilderness and starting to rattle The Powers That Be is that the messaging apparatus is starting to attempt to demonize Sanders as a hopeless cause. That means he's moved from the "first they ignore you" phase in Gandhi's classic trajectory of activism to somewhere between the "then they ridicule you, then they fight you" phases.

A sign that the progressive cause is moving out of the wilderness and starting to rattle The Powers That Be is that the messaging apparatus is starting to attempt to demonize Sanders as a hopeless cause. That means he's moved from the "first they ignore you" phase in Gandhi's classic trajectory of activism to somewhere between the "then they ridicule you, then they fight you" phases.

We'll use a particularly noxious article from "Slate," flagged by reader Jeff W, called, No, He Can't - Bernie Sanders Is an Inspirational Candidate, But His Theory of Change Doesn't Have a Chance. Jeff W thought it warranted an NC version of "Where's Waldo?" as in "How many errors can readers spot in this article?"

Mind you, what is important about pieces like this is not that they go after Sanders per se. The headline conveys the much bigger message:  Change based on popular will won't happen, so all of you voters should just stop trying.

Now this is a ratcheting up of anti-democratic messaging when we are seeing major cracks in the institutional ice in the US and other countries that had moved strongly in the neoliberal direction. Jeremy Corbyn's trouncing of the Blairites has had the elites in the UK frothing at the mouth.

The magnitude of Justin Trudeau's win in Canada caught pundits by surprise. And in the US, Bernie Sanders was written off by the chattering classes from the very start of his campaign. Yet with virtually no media buys, the Democratic party turning away Sanders backers at the local level, until recently, a press blackout on his campaign, Sanders polls at somewhere between 25% ad 35% of Democratic voters, and nearly met Clintons' fundraising level last quarter at far lower cost, meaning he almost certainly raised more money on a net basis.

I encourage readers to shred the details of the "Slate" article, but let me go after its thesis, which regular readers, and anyone with any political savvy, will recognize as bunk. As Jeff W summarized it:  "Bernie Sanders will fail because Barack Obama failed."

This is utterly ludicrous because Obama did not fail. He was always a neoliberal, pro-status quo candidate who artfully presented himself when campaigning as being well to the left of where he actually sat. He used his early opposition to Iraq and his short tenure in the Senate, where he was absent from a remarkably high proportion of votes, to play on deep antipathy to Bush. But as readers know, he's for the most part continued Bush policies with slightly improved optics.

I was not a very close watcher of politics then, and I have to confess to believing for a bit that he might be tough on banks by virtue of having Paul Volcker as his most visible economic policy advisor. But anyone who knew Obama's history would recognize that he was a made man of the powerful Rubin wing of the Democratic party, which a colleague who is deeply knowledgeable about bank regulatory politics has long called the Rubino syndicate.
But even if you had not made that much study of Obama, the key tell came before the election, when Obama whipped for the TARP, which insiders say was critical to its passage. And right after the election, the "save the incumbents" trajectory of financial services policy was made crystal clear with Obama's choice of New York Fed president Timothy Geithner to head the Treasury Department.
Volcker was exiled to the political version of Siberia, given a prestigious-sounding committee with no real mandate to baby-sit . . . .

A critical part of the history of the Obama Administration that is repeatedly airbrushed out of existence is that when Obama came into office, he not only had majorities in both Houses, but he had a country that was frightened and desperate for leadership. The banks were cowed and uncertain of their survival. As we wrote of this period in 2010:
Recall how we got here. Early in 2009, the banking industry was on the ropes. Both the stock and the credit default swaps markets said that many of the big players were at serious risk of failure. Commentators debated whether to nationalize Citibank, Bank of America, and other large, floundering institutions.
The case for bold action was sound. The history of financial crises showed that the least costly approach is to resolve mortally wounded organizations, install new management, set strict guidelines, and separate out the bad loans and investments in order to restructure and sell them. An IMF study of 124 banking crises concluded that regulatory forbearance, the term of art for letting impaired banks soldier on, found:
The typical result of forbearance is a deeper hole in the net worth of banks, crippling tax burdens to finance bank bailouts, and even more severe credit supply contraction and economic decline than would have occurred…
Shuttering sick banks is hardly a radical idea; the FDIC does it on a routine basis. So the difference here was not in the nature of the exercise, but its operational complexity.
This juncture was a crucial window of opportunity. The financial services industry had become systematically predatory. Its victims now extended well beyond precarious, clueless, and sometimes undisciplined consumers who took on too much debt via credit cards with gotcha features that successfully enticed into a treadmill of chronic debt, or now infamous subprime and option-ARM mortgages.
Over twenty years of malfeasance, from the savings and loan crisis (where fraud was a leading cause of bank failures) to a catastrophic set of blow-ups in over the counter derivatives in 1994, which produced total losses of $1.5 trillion, the biggest wipeout since the 1929 crash, through a 1990s subprime meltdown, dot com chicanery, Enron and other accounting scandals, and now the global financial crisis, the industry each time had been able to beat neuter meaningful reform. But this time, the scale of the damage was so great that it extended beyond investors to hapless bystanders, ordinary citizens who were also paying via their taxes and job losses. And unlike the past, where news of financial blow-ups was largely confined to the business section, the public could not miss the scale of the damage and how it came about, and was outraged.
The widespread, vocal opposition to the TARP was evidence that a once complacent populace had been roused. Reform, if proposed with energy and confidence, wasn't a risk; not only was it badly needed, it was just what voters wanted.
But incoming president Obama failed to act. Whether he failed to see the opportunity, didn't understand it, or was simply not interested is moot. Rather than bring vested banking interests to heel, the Obama administration instead chose to reconstitute, as much as possible, the very same industry whose reckless pursuit of profit had thrown the world economy off the cliff.
There would be no Nixon goes to China moment from the architects of the policies that created the crisis, namely Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers.
Defenders of the administration no doubt will conten(d) that the public was not ready for measures like the putting large banks like Citigroup into receivership. Even if that were true (and the current widespread outrage against banks says otherwise), that view assumes that the executive branch is a mere spectator, when it has the most powerful bully pulpit in the nation. Other leaders have taken unpopular moves and still maintained public support.
Obama's repudiation of his campaign promise of change, by turning his back on meaningful reform of the financial services industry, in turn locked his Administration into a course of action. The new administration would have no choice other that working fist in glove with the banksters, supporting and amplifying their own, well established, propaganda efforts.
Thus Obama's incentives are to come up with "solutions" that paper over problems.
Potemkin reforms dovetail with the financial service industry's goal of forestalling any measures that would interfere with its looting. So the only problem with this picture was how to fool the now-impoverished public into thinking a program of Mussolini-style corporatism represented progress.
With the benefit of hindsight, treating Obama as perhaps having "failed to see the opportunity" was too charitable. His health care reform program was deeply cynical, with no consideration given to single payer, and the public option a merely decoration that the Administration dropped rather than traded away.

And please don't try the excuse "Obama never had the votes."

First, Obama never made the slightest effort to campaign for universal health care. The legislation was written by the health care industry and both Big Pharma and health insurance stocks traded up when the ACA was passed. Second, even though health care was supposedly one of the incoming President's top policy concerns, he did not try to push it through in the first 100 days when Presidents have the most leverage.

Third, the loss of the 60-seat majority in the Senate was the direct consequence of the bank-friendy approach to the crisis. As political scientist Tom Ferguson has demonstrated through granular analysis of voting results in the Senate election that produced the Scott Brown win, the Republican votes were highest in districts with the greatest declines in home prices.

We even had several staunch liberal voters in Massachusetts write us saying they had voted for Brown out of disgust with how the Democrats had handled the crisis. That pattern was repeated in each Congressional election under Obams, as neoliberal Blue Dog Democrats were turfed out in all but the most secure districts while progressives held their seats or were even voted in.
If you still harbor doubts at to the depth of Obama's commitment to the interests of the wealthy, a remarkable piece of evidence comes from a speech made by Robert Fitch on heels of Obama's historic election. I'm embedding this must-read at the end of this post. [The document can be found here.] From a 2012 post:

A remarkable speech by Robert Fitch puts Obama's early career in a new perspective that explains the man we see now in the Oval Office:  one who pretends to befriend ordinary people but sells them out again and again to wealthy, powerful interests - the banks, big Pharma and health insurers, and lately, the fracking-industrial complex.
Fitch, who died last year, was an academic and journalist, well regarded for his forensic and archival work, as described by Doug Henwood in an obituary in the Nation. He is best known for his book Solidarity for Sale, which chronicled corruption in American unions, but his work that is germane to his analysis of Obama is Assassination of New York. In that, he documented the concerted efforts by powerful real estate and financial interests to drive manufacturing and low-income renters out of Manhattan so they could turn it over to office and residential space for high income professionals.
Fitch gave his eye-opening speech before an unlikely audience at an unlikely time:  the Harlem Tenants Association in November 2008, hard on the heels of Obama's electrifying presidential win. The first part contains his prescient prediction:  that Obama's Third Way stance, that we all need to put our differences aside and get along, was tantamount to advocating the interests of the wealthy, since they seldom give anything to the have-nots without a fight.
That discussion alone is reason to read the piece. But the important part is his description of the role that Obama played in the redevelopment of the near South Side of Chicago, and how he and other middle class blacks, including Valerie Jarrett and his wife Michelle, advanced at the expense of poor blacks by aligning themselves with what Fitch calls "friendly FIRE":   powerful real estate players like the Pritzkers and the Crown family, major banks, the University of Chicago, as well as non-profit community developers and real estate reverends.
In other words, any time anyone tries to present Obama as having failed to implement a "liberal" agenda because the right was too powerful is either an apologist or ignorant. Obama has achieved precisely what he intended to achieve, which was to implement center-right economic policies with tepid social justice measures to divert attention from how he was serving the interests of the 1% and even more so, the 0.1%
And the fact that his allies in Congress have in large measure been voted out of office, that Sanders is going from strength to strength despite his lack of big corporate support, and that the neoliberal diehard Clinton is being forced to feint to the left are signs that the political tectonic plates are shifting.
Much more is possible now than was six years ago. That does not mean progressives will prevail, but it means there's a real opportunity to make very serious inroads. The pundit classes clearly recognize this opening; hence the eagerness to stanch populist energy and engagement through heavy doses of defeatism.
(Yves Smith has been in and around finance for more than 30 years as an investment banker, management consultant to financial institutions across a large range of wholesale banking and trading markets businesses and a corporate finance advisor. She has also written for the New York Times, Aljazeera, the New Republic, Salon, the Conference Board Review, the Australian Financial Review and other financial publications. Her TV appearances include NBC News, CNBC, Fox Business, PBS, Bill Moyers, Real News Network, Democracy Now, Russia TV, ABC (Australia), Aljazeera, and BNN (Canada). You can follow her on Twitter at @yvessmith.)
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These guys are nothing but newsy, aren't they?

So much news. So little time.

For those asking why is the lumbering lazily Jeb! (Ha!) "running," the Donald chimes in friendly-like that it's only because he's loyal to his family.

Imagine that.

Trump:  Bush Had “Advanced Notice” of 9/11

October 20, 2015

by WashingtonsBlog
Donald Trump says that George W. Bush knew 9/11 was coming and had “advanced knowledge” of the attack, but he failed to stop it:

He’s right …

Overwhelming evidence shows that 9/11 was foreseeable. Indeed, Al Qaeda crashing planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was itself foreseeable. Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable.

A top NSA whistleblower says that the NSA had all of the information it needed prior to 9/11 to stop the attacks. The only reason NSA didn’t share that information with other agencies is because of corruption … in an effort to consolidate power.

In reality, widespread spying by the U.S. government on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here). And the government tapped the 9/11 hijackers’ phones, and heard the 9/11 hijackers’ plans from their own mouths.

Why didn’t this stop the terror attacks?

Top security experts agree that mass surveillance is actually ineffective … and actually makes us more vulnerable to terrorism, because it distracts people and resources from tried-and-trued counter-terrorism efforts which are effective and actually work.

For example, the former head of global intelligence for the NSA – Bill Binney – says that the mass surveillance INTERFERES with the government’s ability to catch bad guys, and that the government failed to stop the Boston Bombing because it was overwhelmed with data from mass surveillance on Americans. And see this.

Binney says government officials and contractors actually don’t want to solve the terrorism problem … Because once they solve it, they don’t have the “problem” to use as a basic justification to get more money (note … the video clips below are very brief clips which are well worth watching):

Binney says “the primary reason [the government is spying on everyone] is for money and building an empire”. But that – by pulling in information on all Americans – it’s making us more vulnerable to terrorism:

. . . And he says that it would be easy to audit the intelligence community to avoid corruption, fraud and waste … but intelligence managers don’t want any oversight . . .

It’s not just Binney … high-level NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake (and see this), NSA whistleblower Russell Tice, very high-level congressional committee security staffer Diane Roark and Edward Snowden all say that mass surveillance within the U.S. is a corrupt power grab … not an effort aimed at stopping terrorism.

Power Grab Weakens National Security and Leaves America Vulnerable

America is vulnerable to terrorism because our government officials have been more concerned with building an empire more than stopping terrorism . . .

And we’re vulnerable to terrorism because we keep backing corrupt corrupt foreign dictators and launching wars to grab other countries’ resources.

And because our counter-terror efforts – including mass surveillance, drone strikes and torture – only increased terrorism. The type of torture used was a special type which is only used for a corrupt reason:  to produce FALSE confessions.

And the Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee – Bob Graham – says that the Paris terror attack, ISIS, and other terrorist developments are a result of American officials covering up the truth about 9/11.

Bottom line:  Americans’ safety and security is being sacrificed on the alter of corruption by the military-industrial complex.

Click on the title link for the entire tale of woe and despair.
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The U.S. and Russia don't seem to be working together right now at all.

And yet . . . .

Are the U.S. and Russia Forming 5 New States in the Middle-East?

The Middle-East map is being redrawn in Syria and Iraq by Moscow and Washington.
By Keith K C Hui
October 16, 2015

The Mideast map-redrawing ‘Act One’ has begun. Ba’athist/Alawite Syria, Sunni Syria, Kurdistan, Sunni Iraq and Shi’a Iraq are the first batch of new ‘states’ to be formed as the Obama Administration has finally accepted Russia’s role in preserving a Ba’athist Syrian state for the Alawis — the religious sect who makes up about 12% of Syria’s population and remains “loyal to the (Assad) regime even as the economy deteriorates” [Note 1].

Without some sort of compromise beforehand, it is common diplomatic sense that the Obama-Putin private meeting on September 29 could not have crystallized. The picture turned clear when Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, “standing shoulder to shoulder somewhere in the United Nations building” on September 30, announced their common vision of resolving Syria’s war through “political process”, thus sealing “an American stamp of legitimacy on Russia’s Syria intervention” [Note 2].

Ba’athist/Alawite Syria

After having hammered out the Iran deal in July, Washington has already been on a set-go position to redraw the Mideast map. What has probably speeded up the move is the rather sudden large influx of Muslim refugees flooding Europe’s heartland since early September. Despite Germany’s bravo opening of gates, it is beyond everyone’s imagination how the United States’ European allies could absorb, let alone assimilate, one to two million non-Christian immigrants. Consequently, such a gigantic pressure on the White House to “ease the humanitarian burden” [Note 4] on the allies’ shoulders is so unbearable to the extent that President Obama must drop the ideal of having “Bashar al-Assad and his supporters … forced from power” [Note 5] and then, as reported on Sept 23, “decided to meet with … Putin in New York, if it can be arranged, for their first face-to-face encounter in nearly a year” [Note 6], even though he still insisted Assad must go in his United Nations speech.

The Russian air strikes in Syria mean that Moscow is attempting to grab as much land as possible on Assad’s behalf during the transitional period which was probably agreed at the Kerry-Lavrov meeting in order to cultivate a fait accompli for the Alawite Syria with Damascus as its capital city. While it is uncertain whether Assad may step down or not, it seems the ruling Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party would stay in power.

Sunni Syria

The rationale behind President Obama’s reluctant but sensible acceptance of Russia’s direct intervention is very simple, namely, the Alawite-Sunni dichotomy. The in-power Alawis are a religious sectarian minority, whereas the Sunni Muslims comprise over 70% of the population.    Since “the dominant Sunni tradition has always considered Alawites as infidels”, the (Ba’athist) regime, because of its secular character and the fact that it is dominated by members of the Alawite minority, never enjoyed any kind of religious legitimacy among Sunnis” [Note 7]. Given neither side can knock out each other after almost five decades, a quick fix before the Sunni Muslim refugee problem will get worse in Europe is to let both sides settle down in newly bordered territories in certain form of secession jointly masterminded by Obama and Putin.

On October 9, when the Washington officials revealed their plan “to assemble a group of Sunni tribes in a ‘Syrian Arab Coalition’ to fight alongside Syrian Kurdish forces against the Islamic State” [Note 8], there was no mention of fighting the Assad government. It is apparently a more mature plan to, after the compromise with Moscow, tailor-make a cradle for upbringing a Sunni political party with a view of governing a new Syrian state, hopefully with Aleppo as its capital city.

A peaceful co-existence between the two new regimes in Syria would gradually stabilize this war-torn country, thus not only alleviating the pain of the indigenous Sunni Syrians but also inducing those refugees being adrift in Europe to return home.


The Kurds, despite bloodshed everywhere, benefit from the chaos in this region partly because they are no longer governed by Damascus as well as Baghdad, and partly because the “U.S. doesn’t trust anyone except the Kurds” [Note 9]. Although the 6.9 million Kurds living in Syria and Iraq have been disunited by different dialects (northern dialect in Syria vs Zaza and south-eastern dialects in Iraq) and political party affiliations (PUK, KDP and PKK), it has always been their common goal to have the “state of Kurdistan” (proposed by Treaty of Sèvres 1920) realized in the 21st century.

The major selling points to the White House for fostering a Kurdistan state (which will definitely become a faithful agent) are not simply to balance out the influence of Damascus and Baghdad but to place the increasingly disobedient Ankara and Riyadh in check and simultaneously insert an ethnical de-stabilizer inside Iran (4.7 million Kurds in Iran and 15 million in Turkey). With Washington’s trust and the continuous U.S. reinforcement, it would be just a matter of timing for the Kurds to turn their already de facto> independence into a real sovereign state.

Sunni Iraq and Shi’a Iraq

The dangerous liaison between the post-Saddam Shi’a Iraqi administration and Tehran is certainly not in the interest of the United States. Strategically speaking, occupation of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militias and thereafter, loss of nation-wide control by Baghdad may not be unwelcome by Washington.

As millions of Sunni Iraqis who are now living along Tigris River from Mosul to Takrit and Euphrates River from Anah to Fallujah are already beyond the reach of the Shi’a authority, a better choice to alienate them from the ISIL is self-government. Such a new Sunni Iraq could further trim the Shi’a government’s political and economic spheres of influence over the already delimbed Iraq after the Kurds’ departure.

A pragmatic reason for the necessary dissolution of Iraq is that the Western mode of democratic system may not function normally in a deeply ethnically - and/or religiously-divided country as voting for the same ethnic or religious group is usually highly binding on each citizen. The ‘tyranny of majority’ without protection for the minorities is very often the result of a series of elections, however open and fair they may be, over time. The inevitable outcome is non-stop sectarian confrontations and violence, thus feeding the extremists’ growth.

Negotiated Secession As a Political Solution

The Obama Administration is co-leading with the Kremlin to help slice the Syria-Iraq area into five or more political states so as to “deconflict” [Note 10] this region and hopefully reduce the attractiveness of ISIL. China, who is eager to see restfulness in this region to facilitate its Silk Road projects, might have made some contribution to the U.S.-Russia deal, bearing in mind that President Obama happened to have several chats with Xi Jinping in Washington three days before his private meeting with Putin in New York on Sep 28.

The Chinese foreign minister’s call for political solution to the Syrian crisis on Sep 30 therefore may not be just coincidence [Note 11]. Having garnered the endorsement of Russia and China, such a state formation project is unlikely to be vetoed at the United Nations Security Council meetings.

Down to earth, ascertaining how the Wahhabist Saudi Arabia and Shi’a Iran may participate in this Sunni-Shi’ite tug-of-war is not easy [Note 12] but what is sure is that, so long as the Arabian tribal traditions remain here, the national borders arbitrarily set by the Western powers during the colonial era to contain antagonistic clans inside a tent can do nothing but ignite fire. For long-lasting peace, with reference to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, why not apply the Platonic principle of “mind your own business” to let the various ethnic/religious groups find a habitat of their own to live their local socio-economic, cultural and political lives?
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The Donald Signifies the End of JEB!

As the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
The phrase seems applicable right now to Donald Trump, who has lately made it his business to shout, at increasing volume, as many empty slogans, detail-free policy plans and grossly racist and xenophobic inaccuracies as he can think up. Trump gets an awful lot of things wrong, an awful lot of the time. But right now, we’re in one of those rare moments when Donald Trump is right — and even more astoundingly, he’s the only one. As the billionaire calls BS on mythologizing around 9/11 and how George W. Bush “kept us safe” — a myth Jeb Bush has turned into a mantra on the campaign trail — Trump deserves credit for actually nailing it this time, and for saying what neither Republicans nor Democrats have had the courage to publicly utter in more than a decade.
The kerfuffle started last week with a Bloomberg TV interview in which Trump stated about George W. Bush, “Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president.” He continued, “The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”
Jeb Bush responded via Twitter, calling Trump “pathetic” and insisting, “We were attacked & my brother kept us safe.”
“No,” Trump returned, “you’re pathetic for saying nothing happened during your brother’s term when the World Trade Center was attacked and came down.”
The kerfuffle started last week with a Bloomberg TV interview in which Trump stated about George W. Bush, “Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president.” He continued, “The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”
Jeb Bush responded via Twitter, calling Trump “pathetic” and insisting, “We were attacked & my brother kept us safe.”
“No,” Trump returned, “you’re pathetic for saying nothing happened during your brother’s term when the World Trade Center was attacked and came down.”

George W. Bush’s Military Lies:  The Real Story About the Undeniable Service Gaps He Got Away With

Indeed, the gaps in Bush’s service record were undeniable. They were reported, but virtually ignored four years earlier, in the 2000 election cycle, when the media was monomaniacally focused on their self-fabricated narrative of Gore being the untrustworthy one who told tall tales about his past.

On May 23, 2000, "Boston Globe" reporter Walter V. Robinson reported finding a “one-year gap in Bush’s Guard duty,” saying that “22 months after finishing his training, and with two years left on his six-year commitment, Bush gave up flying — for good.”

Beyond a momentary flurry, there wasn’t much other corporate media interest in that cycle, though Martin Heldt published a detailed analysis of Bush’s guard records at the "Online Journal" in September 2000. Fast forward to the morning of the “60 Minutes” report, and Robinson wrote another story “Bush fell short on duty at Guard,” with “Records show pledges unmet,” as the subhead. The framing had shifted from Bush’s attendance gap, to Bush violating his sworn duty — and getting away with it:

Bush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a "Globe" reexamination of the records shows:  Twice during his Guard service — first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School — Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty.

He didn’t meet the commitments, or face the punishment, the records show. The 1973 document has been overlooked in news media accounts. The 1968 document has received scant notice.
The "Globe"’s analysis was supported by two other independent analysts. The first, retired Army Colonel Gerald A. Lechliter, wrote a highly detailed 32-page analysis, which the New York Times put on its website, but never seriously built upon in its reporting, or its editorial page. Lechliter was also interviewed by the "Globe."

The second was a civilian analyst, Paul Lukasiak, whose website the AWOL Project, [Sept 2004 web.archive version] had attracted considerable attention online, and was discussed at length by Eric Boehlert here at "Salon" the day after the "60 Minutes" report. Both Lechliter and Lukasiak placed the Bush documents in the framework of contemporary military rules, regulations, policies and procedures, which were absolutely crucial for understanding what was really going on, and not being easily spun by Bush apologists. All three of these analyses reached similar conclusions, without any reliance on the “60 Minutes” memos. I summarized the broad outlines of these misadventures in a story three weeks later:

Read the entire article at the title link above.

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