Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Today's links

The collective inertia or resistance of the federal bureaucracy disintegrates in the face of a presidential order. The notion of non-compliance is wrong. All within the bureaucracy understand that if they are detected in non-compliance, they are finished. The Borg is the foreign policy establishment (media, government employees, academics, etc.) as a collective. The notion of a Deep State requires belief in a conspiracy to control the state from within the bureaucracy.  Colonel Pat Lang 

I despise ISIS as much as anyone, but let me just toss out a different question: Should we be arming ISIS? Or let me ask that differently: Why are we, for the third time since 9/11, fighting a war on behalf of Iran?...ISIS, with all its awfulness, emerged as the homegrown Sunni Arab response to this crushing defeat of Sunni Arabism — mixing old pro-Saddam Baathists with medieval Sunni religious fanatics with a collection of ideologues, misfits and adventure-seekers from around the Sunni Muslim world. Obviously, I abhor ISIS and don’t want to see it spread or take over Iraq. I simply raise this question rhetorically because no one else is: Why is it in our interest to destroy the last Sunni bulwark to a total Iranian takeover of Iraq? Because the Shiite militias now leading the fight against ISIS will rule better? Really?
  go ahead, ruin my day

“The Saudi-born Takfiri ideology acts like the predator species, which seeks to have all other species go extinct. The Saudi government, Saudi charities, and Saudi-backed organizations continue to support this lethal poison (Takfirism), which provides the necessary hardware and software for terrorism and extremism.”

1--How I became a Kremlin Troll, saker

when the entourage of Eltsin suddenly appointed an unknown nobody to acting President of Russia, I was rather dubious, to put it mildly.  The new guy was not a drunk or an arrogant oligarch, but he looked rather unimpressive.  He was also ex-KGB which was interesting: on one hand, the KGB had been my lifelong enemy but on the other hand, I knew that the part of the KGB which dealt with foreign intelligence was staffed by the brightest of the brightest and that they had nothing to do with political repression, Gulags and all the rest of the ugly stuff another Directorate of the KGB...

Then, two crucial things happened in parallel: both the “Free world” and Putin showed their true faces: the “Free world” as an AngloZionist Empire hell-bent on aggression and oppression, and Vladimir Putin as a real patriot of Russia. In fact, Putin slowly began looking like a hero to me: very gradually, in small incremental steps first, Putin began to turn Russia around, especially in two crucial matters: he was trying to “re-sovereignize” the country (making it truly sovereign and independent again), and he dared the unthinkable: he openly told the Empire that it was not only wrong, it was illegitimate (just read the transcript of Putin’s amazing 2007 “Munich Speech”).

2--Weapons shipments continue despite Trump promise

Abdulaziz Yunus, who is in charge of foreign affairs of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has revealed to Sputnik that the US and the coalition continue have never stopped arms supplies, despite earlier reports that President Trump promised President Erdogan to put an end to deliveries to the Syrian Kurds.
"The US and its coalition continue providing their military aid. Any reports that the US has halted its arms’ supplies are wrong and do not reflect the situation on the ground," Abdulaziz Yunus told Sputnik Turkiye.

3--Flynn's turn in the docket?

When Flynn was head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and afterwards, he blew the whistle on the U.S. and its allies willfully allowing Islamic terrorists to flourish in Syria.
That didn’t ingratiate him with the Deep State …

FBI Whistleblower Says Gülen Is a Terror Kingpin...

Edmonds has said that – when she worked for the FBI as a translator – she saw documents showing that:
  • Gülen is the leader of one of the world’s largest terror networks, with terrorist training centers throughout the Middle East and central Asia
  • He is a key player in false flag terrorism in Turkey and other areas
  • He was key in changing Turkey from a secular country to an Islamic country, and electing dictator Erdogan
  • He is involved in heroin and other drug networks, selling nuclear material on the black market, and money-laundering
  • Gülen has contributed large sums of money to the Clintons through the Clinton Foundation
  • Gülen’s handler in the U.S. is former long-time CIA officer – and current CIA contractor – Graham Fuller
  • When Mueller was the Director of the FBI, he was instrumental in covering up Gülen’s terrorist activities and spiking prosecution against Gülen
  • Mueller is now trying to throw Flynn in jail, to silence his efforts to expose Gülen

4-- Repressive political agenda of the “sexual harassment” campaign comes into the open

Collins online dictionary defines witch-hunt (British) as “a rigorous campaign to round up or expose dissenters on the pretext of safeguarding the welfare of the public” and (American) as “an investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover disloyalty, subversive political activity, etc., usually conducted with much publicity and often relying upon inconclusive evidence and capitalizing on public fear of unpopular opinions...

The sexual misconduct campaign is dishonest in so many ways. There is the ludicrous pretense, for example, that Hollywood or the entertainment industry generally is the measure of sexual and workplace relations in America. In the 2014 General Social Survey, a random sample of Americans was asked, “In the last 12 months, were you sexually harassed by anyone while you were on the job?” In response, 3.6 percent of women said yes, a decrease from 6.1 percent in 2002. Not a conclusive statistic by any means, but not an indication of the “state of siege” described by the various columnists and pundits.

The latter could not care less about the conditions of the broad mass of the American or global population, female or male. Poverty, the destruction of pensions and health care benefits, the vicious rescinding of abortion rights, the attack on Planned Parenthood and other critical women’s health programs, homelessness, the opioid crisis and the jump in the rate of suicide do not concern them in the slightest. And where are their protests about the mass killing in Iraq and Afghanistan, about illegal drone strikes and “kill lists”?

The Democratic Party in particular is deeply immersed in the sexual crimes business. In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton’s strategy for victory was based on the Brock Turner case at Stanford, bathroom access for transgender people and “white privilege.” The Democrats invested enormously in all this, and it failed. Now they are doubling down. “White privilege” has been supplemented by “male sexuality.” This is lodged in a definite, privileged section of the population

5-- Democrats posture as opponents of Wall Street in CFPB dispute--Wall Street wins again

More broadly, the obvious determination of the Trump administration to stamp out even a fig leaf of accountability for the big banks allows the Democratic Party as a whole to adopt the stance of opposition to Wall Street.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer met with Leandra English and Elizabeth Warren Monday afternoon, and then denounced Trump for “putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.” So says the paid agent of the foxes, who has received more campaign contributions from Wall Street than anyone else in Congress.
Schumer’s deputy, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, hailed the CFPB, declaring, “Wall Street hates it like the devil hates holy water”—perhaps uttering an inadvertent truth, since the CFPB is precisely as useless as holy water in fighting the domination of Wall Street over the US economy.

6-- Thomas Friedman of the New York Times: A sycophant in the House of Saud

In the past quarter century of Washington’s unending wars, Friedman has offered himself as the unflagging cheerleader for every act of US imperialist aggression....

Friedman makes it clear that he much prefers a “Spring” orchestrated by an autocratic crown prince than one arising from a mass popular revolt...

7--The FCC’s Order Is Out: It Will End Net Neutrality and Break the Internet. We’ve Read It, and Here’s What You Need to Know

8-- US Provides Military Aid To More Than 70 Percent Of World’s Dictatorships

9--UNSEALED: Fusion GPS Bank Records Show Russia-Related Payments

10--Trump has also increased airstrikes in Afghanistan dramatically in addition to U.S. troop presence there. As of October 31, the U.S. has dropped 3,554 bombs in Afghanistan in 2017 so far, which is almost three times the 1,337 it dropped in 2016 and almost four times the 947 bombs dropped there in 2015. A United Nations report in October claimed civilian deaths had increased by 50 percent in Afghanistan compared to the same point last year, suggesting Trump's new strategy in the country has been taking a huge toll on noncombatants

11-- “Fusion’s specialty is seeding its opposition research into news stories, a modus operandi highlighted by a 2011 interview with co-founder Peter Fritsch,” the House attorneys said. Mr. Fritsch is also a former Wall Street Journal reporter.

BuzzFeed posted the entire 35-page dossier in January 2017. House Intelligence Committee Democrats have used the document to recite unverified allegations against Mr. Trump and his team.

The journalists initially briefed at the end of September 2016 by the Second Defendant (Steele) and Fusion at Fusion’s instruction were from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker and CNN,’ Steele’s lawyers said, adding that he “verbally and in person” briefed the first three organizations in mid-October and a reporter from Mother Jones via Skype.”

And it was damned successful according to Kimberley Strassel:
Among the dossier’s contents were allegations that in early July 2016 Carter Page…held a “secret” meeting with two high-ranking Russians connected to President Vladimir Putin. It even claimed these Russians offered to give Mr. Page a 19% share in Russia’s state oil company in return for a future President Trump lifting U.S. sanctions. This dossier allegation is ludicrous on its face. Mr. Page…has testified under oath that he never met the two men in question or had such a conversation.

Yet the press ran with it. On Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff published a bombshell story under the headline: “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.” Mr. Isikoff said “U.S. officials” had “received intelligence” about Mr. Page and Russians, and then went on to recite verbatim all the unfounded dossier allegations. He attributed all this to a “well-placed Western intelligence source,” making it sound as if this info had come from someone in government rather than from an ex-spy-for-hire.
The Clinton campaign jumped all over it, spinning its own oppo research as a government investigation into Mr. Trump. Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director, the next day took to television to tout the Isikoff story and cite “U.S. intelligence officials” in the same breath as Mr. Page. Other Clinton surrogates fanned out on TV and Twitter to spread the allegations.

12--Ending Syria’s proxy war  video

13--Why Is Trump Fighting ISIS in Syria?                         

Why should our goal right now be to defeat the Islamic State in Syria? Of course, ISIS is detestable and needs to be eradicated. But is it really in our interest to be focusing solely on defeating ISIS in Syria right now?...

“territorial ISIS.” It still controls pockets in western Iraq and larger sectors of Syria. Its goal is to defeat Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria — plus its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies — and to defeat the pro-Iranian Shiite regime in Iraq, replacing both with a caliphate....
So what else could we do? We could dramatically increase our military aid to anti-Assad rebels, giving them sufficient anti-tank and antiaircraft missiles to threaten Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian helicopters and fighter jets and make them bleed, maybe enough to want to open negotiations. Fine with me...

What else? We could simply back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria and make it entirely a problem for Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Assad. After all, they’re the ones overextended in Syria, not us. Make them fight a two-front war — the moderate rebels on one side and ISIS on the other. If we defeat territorial ISIS in Syria now, we will only reduce the pressure on Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah and enable them to devote all their resources to crushing the last moderate rebels in Idlib, not sharing power with them....

Trump should want to defeat ISIS in Iraq. But in Syria? Not for free, not now. In Syria, Trump should let ISIS be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hezbollah’s and Russia’s headache — the same way we encouraged the mujahedeen fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan

14--Russiagates journalists 'for hire'

The committee also seeks records “related to Fusion’s payments to journalists who have reported on Russia issues relevant to its investigation.”
In a memo filed Tuesday, lawyers for the House panel said they are seeking transactions related to nine payments made to “three individual journalists…each of whom have reported on and/or been quoted in articles regarding topics related to the Committee’s investigation, some of which were published as recently as October 2017.”

The names of the journalists are redacted in the filing.
It is not clear from the requests whether Fusion GPS paid active journalists for their work. The firm is known to employ a stable of former reporters. Simpson and his two founding partners, Peter Fritsch and Thomas Catan, worked together at The Wall Street Journal.
The unsealed filings show that Fusion argued against releasing records related to payments to journalists.

In a Nov. 3 declaration, Fritsch argued that “transactions between Fusion GPS and certain journalists…are not pertinent to work related to Russia or Donald Trump.”
And in a Nov. 2 email to the Intel committee’s legal team, Levy argued that “records related to payments to the journalists and ‘individuals’ are protected by the First Amendment and confidentiality, and they are not pertinent.”

15-- The US tax bill: A massive handout to the financial elite

16--How Obama shrunk the federal work force graph

The public sector grew during Mr. Carter's term (up 1,304,000), during Mr. Reagan's terms (up 1,414,000), during Mr. G.H.W. Bush's term (up 1,127,000), during Mr. Clinton's terms (up 1,934,000), and during Mr. G.W. Bush's terms (up 1,744,000 jobs).  However the public sector declined significantly while Mr. Obama was in office (down 268,000 jobs).

17-- Janet Yellen and Barack Obama’s Economy Is Looking Good

The overall unemployment rate for October was 4.1 percent. ....
The good news on the unemployment rate must be qualified given the large number of people who have left the labor market. If we look at the employment rate (EPOP), the percent of people who are employed, it is still down for prime age workers (ages 25 to 54) by 1.5 percentage points from its pre-recession peak and by 3.1 percentage points from the high hit in 2000....

The economy has done very poorly on this measure in recent years with productivity growth averaging less than 1.0 percent annually over the last five years. This compares to a nearly 3.0 percent growth rate in the years from 1995 to 2005 and the long Golden Age from 1947 to 1973.

18--Verizon and the Death of the Internet

NOTES--- http://www.doctorhousingbubble.com/home-equity-withdrawals-home-atm-heloc-home-loans-moving-higher/#more-9063






Thus the “Sunni axis” is really a “Saudi axis.” This isn’t a group of Sunni countries driven by religious hatred of a Shi’ite country; rather, the common denominator that unites its members is their dependence on Riyadh or their desire to be its economic ally. Moreover, the claim that there’s a risk of Shi’ite Islam spreading in Sunni states portrays Sunni countries as being weak and on the defensive – as if the sweeping Sunni majority, comprising some 90 percent of all Muslims, were actually afraid of the power of the Shi’ites, who comprise only about 10 percent of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.822643

Militarily, Hezbollah is in no condition to launch an attack on Israel. It is still fighting in a number of locations in Syria and has to rebuild its units before embarking on a new war
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.821488

There are some voices in the Israeli security establishment that are in favor of a preemptive strike against Hezbollah’s rocket positions in Lebanon at the present time, but they are in a minority.
                                                Benjamin Netanyahu, for all his anti-Iranian rhetoric, is loath to expand hostilities with Iran’s main proxy, beyond surgical pinpoint attacks. The lessons of 2006 are still fresh in the minds of Israeli military planners, and anyway Netanyahu is much more risk-averse than his belligerent image and has never been a fan of wide-scale operations that necessitate mobilizing the entire army. He would of course be more than happy to see someone else take Iran head-on – like the Americans, for example – but while there has been no lack of anti-Iran rhetoric from the Trump administration either, there doesn’t seem to be an appetite for going beyond a war of words in Washington.



14--More embarrassing Friedman quotes

Only if you give the Palestinians something to lose is there a hope that they will agree to moderate their demands.… I believe that as soon as Ahmed has a seat in the bus, he will limit his demands.
  • New York Times (10 December 1986).
One might ask what the reaction would be if a prominent journalist urged South Africans to "give Sambo a seat in the bus," or proposed that Jews be granted something to lose, because "if you give Hymie a seat in the bus, he may limit his demands." Promotion to chief diplomatic correspondent, perhaps?   Noam Chomsky, Letters from Lexington (2004).

Indeed, McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. And these fighting forces and institutions are paid for by American taxpayer dollars.” (p. 464)

In 1999, during the U.S. bombing of Serbia, Friedman showed off his glib warmongering style: “Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation (the Serbs certainly think so), and the stakes have to be very clear: Every week you ravage Kosovo is another decade we will set your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too.”
Before George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, Friedman offered the witty observation that it was time to “give war a chance,” a flippant play on John Lennon’s lyrics to the song, “Give Peace a Chance.”

You win the presidency by connecting with the American people's gut insecurities and aspirations. You win with a concept. The concept I'd argue for is "neoliberalism." More Americans today are natural neolibs, than neocons. Neoliberals believe in a muscular foreign policy and a credible defense budget, but also a prudent fiscal policy that balances taxes, deficit reduction and government services.

Meet the Press (23 July 2006), referring to the Central American Free Trade Agreement
  • ." free tradeI was speaking out in Minnesota — my hometown, in fact — and a guy stood up in the audience, said, "Mr. Friedman, is there any free trade agreement you’d oppose?" I said, "No, absolutely not." I said, "You know what, sir? I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn’t even know what was in it. I just knew two words:
    • The only engine big enough to impact Mother Nature is Father Greed.
      • "Off to the Races". New York Times. December 19, 2009. Retrieved on December 22, 2009.
  • One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.
    • The New York Times, September 8, 2009.[1].
    • New York Times (11 June 2002) "Read My Lips".

    journalists paid for disseminating trump dossier lies

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