Clinton

Fake News: The Russian Hacker Story

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Albert Bates

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on Peak Surfer on January 29, 2017

PeakSurfer

Discuss this article at the Newz & Multimedia Table inside the Diner

"If you can't maintain the dominant paradigm, at least you can subvert the emergent ones."

 

 

 

Jazz musician and iconoclast Harry Shearer observes that Donald Trump’s ability to openly lie and then deny he did and then move on to telling the same lie again is “profoundly transactional.

This trait is not new in US presidents, merely less concealed in our era by the RealPolitik that kept it more discrete before. We could go back and find examples from the very first presidency, but let’s just retrace to Franklin Roosevelt who, besides concealing his infidelities, of necessity had to dissemble about wartime secrets, as did Truman and Eisenhower when the wars grew cold. Nixon was profoundly secretive, arrogating to his office a false claim of constitutional authority, that, while it cost him his job, was kept around for his successors to use, more liberally with each administration.

To dissemble lubricates a slippery slope. Nixon was impeached for lying about the Watergate cover-up. Clinton was impeached for dallying with an intern. Mountains of lies invite being tunneled into and mined, and mining tools are getting better all the time. Is it any wonder then, that ‘secret’ lying by Reagan, Clinton, Obama, The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and others begat the baldface lying of Drudge, Fox, Trump and the new generation of fake news on steroids?

In the days before Christmas it easily escaped attention — certainly that of the mainstream echo chamber — that the US Lame Duck in Chief signed into law the LDNDAA (Lame Duck's National Defense Authorization Act) which legalized government propaganda — fake news — when deployed for national security against the citizenry of the US. The law gave the government sweeping powers to feed its minions — CNN, ABC, MSNBC — and covertly take down any competing news outlets that might dare to put out an alternative narrative or question the veracity of the fakes. RT Commentator Max Keiser called it a bailout for the bankrupt mainstream press.

If you can't maintain the dominant paradigm, at least you can subvert the emergent ones.

 

 

 

When our souls are mollified, a bee can sting.

 

— Cicero (Disp Tusc. II, 22)

 

 

[T]he Democrat / Prog coastal elite, hardcore Hillary, PC-and-unicorn crowd are moving through their post-election Kubler-Ross Transect-of-Grief from denial to anger….

 

 

Lately the Democratic Party in the US has adopted its own form of birtherism, which is using the “Russians hacked my homework” excuse for losing the last election. The evidence is flimsy, but that does not stop the handwaving, pompous haranguing, or other forms of smoke and mirrors. Lets look at the evidence.

 

 

According to the Obama spook estate, Russian hackers sent out volleys of phishing emails hoping someone would click. If you have email, you’ve seen this. They tell you that you won something, you qualify for a free trip, there is a bank error in your favor, or you have to upgrade some common piece of software like Java or Flash. Maybe, as in the case of a Russian hacker group that successfully phished Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party for 6 months in 2016, they’ll use un.org as their trojan domain. If you follow the link, they get your credit card info or your password. Maybe the password you are prompted for is the same one you use for gmail. That’s what happened to John Podesta.

He got a suspicious mail, sent it to an aide to look at, the aide thought it was legit and some lucky hackers in Moscow downloaded 60,000 messages from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager’s gmail account. So what do you do with 60000 messages if there is no money in it? Give it to Wikileaks.

 

 

At least one targeted individual activated links to malware hosted on operational infrastructure of opened attachments containing malware. APT29 delivered malware to the political party's systems, established persistence, escalated privileges, enumerated active directory accounts, and exfiltrated email from several accounts through encrypted connections back through operational infrastructure.

 

 

 

That was the normal part. Now comes the nasty part. Unnamed “security experts” in the employ of the Democratic National Committee but now cited by the White House and cyberwar apparatchiks within the beltway “believe two Kremlin-connected groups were behind the hack.” Take that apart: Two hyphen connected groups. For Kremlin, substitute Vladimir Putin, because surely nothing in the Kremlin happens unless he directs it (?). So boom: frontpage stories that Putin stole the US election and gave it to Donald Trump, and media cheerleaders go with that because, boy does that boost ad revenues. Soon to be a major motion picture. Saturday Night Live is having a field day.

The two groups were Moscow hackers known to Microsoft as APT (“advanced persistent threat”) 28, a.k.a. Fancy Bear, and APT 29 or Cozy Bear.

“We were shocked to find our names there,” Aleksey Gubarev [who alongside his IT company, has been listed in an FBI report as the cyberlink connecting Trump and Russian hackers, told RT-TV,  saying he had “never met” anyone listed in the report. “Nobody from the intelligence agency contacted me about this story… to verify this information,” he said. Neither did any journalists reach out to him.

The published report is “fake news,” Gubarev said. "I still do not understand why our names [are] there and we do not understand a reason of this report in general." It may not matter.

We are reminded of the Italian Memo. In a story for Vanity Fair in 2006,  Craig Unger recalled:

 

Though it may be unprepossessing, the Niger Embassy is the site of one of the great mysteries of our times. On January 2, 2001, an embassy official returned there after New Year’s Day and discovered that the offices had been robbed. Little of value was missing—a wristwatch, perfume, worthless documents, embassy stationery, and some official stamps bearing the seal of the Republic of Niger. Nevertheless, the consequences of the robbery were so great that the Watergate break-in pales by comparison.

In his January 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush let this shoe fall: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” What came next is too horrible to recount, and it continues today, with each U238-mangled baby born in Fallujah. [Footnote: The new US Secretary of Defense is General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, who ordered his marine tank corps to put a depleted uranium shell in every house in the city. More than 300,000 DU rounds are estimated to have been fired. The uranium dust in the air turned sunsets green. Birth defects are now much higher than those recorded among survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.]

The British government, of course, had learned nothing of the sort, although Tony Blair jumped on the Cheney bandwagon, calling it the “Dossier of Doom.” Within months, polls showed 90 percent of USAnians believed Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told CNN, “There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Unger reported:

 

 

On the same day the “mushroom cloud” slogan made its debut, The New York Times printed a front-page story by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller citing administration officials who said that Saddam had “embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb.” Specifically, the article [planted by White House Aide Scooter Libby] contended that Iraq “has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium.”

It was a clever hoax. Well, actually, not all that clever. Just repeated often, and loudly, from the bully pulpit. “That was their favorite bureaucratic technique —ruthless relentlessness,” Colonel Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell told Vanity Fair. The CIA had a mole inside Saddam’s war cabinet who told them there was no WMD program. The White House told the CIA that it no longer mattered and by the way they were the designated fall guy for the ensuing “intelligence failure.”

Disinformation of this kind was not new and the Italian bit players in the Niger ruse had entered the American political arena twice before. The first was during Reagan’s election campaign when embarrassing “facts” about Billy Carter, the President’s bubba brother, taking slush money from Libyan president Mohamar Khadafi to meet with Yassir Arafat. Never mind that Billy denied it, the news came out the last week in October, just before the election, and by then it was too late to track down the source: an Italian covert agency run by militant anti-Communists that had infiltrated the highest levels of Italy’s judiciary, parliament, military, and press, and was tied to assassinations, kidnappings, and arms deals around the world.

In 1981, the same covert network orchestrated a disinformation campaign saying Mehmet Ali Agca, the right-wing nut who shot Pope John Paul II, had been taking orders from the Soviet KGB and Bulgaria’s secret service. As Unger put it:

 

 

 

In light of the ascendancy of the Solidarity Movement in Poland, the Pope’s homeland, the Bulgarian Connection played a role in the demise of Communism in 1989.

When Nixon stepped down in 1974, two individuals ascended to positions of almost unlimited power in the Ford White House. Donald Rumsfeld was the sixth White House chief of staff. Dick Cheney was the seventh. Cheney was House Minority Whip during the Reagan years, Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and later  the Ranking Member of the Select Committee to investigate the Iran-Contra Affair. He became Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush and Vice President under Number 43.

Did Cheney and Rumsfeld pull the Italian strings in Billygate and the Bulgarian Connection? No one is telling. What we know is that stationary stolen from the Niger embassy was used for a forgery and ultimately combined with other papers that were already in Italian secret service archives. A codebook and a dossier with a mixture of fake and genuine documents were delivered to Blair. Among the fakes, embassy stationery was used to forge a two-page memo purportedly sent to the president of Niger concerning the sale of 500 tons of pure uranium per year to Iraq.

 

 

 

The forged documents were full of errors. A letter dated October 10, 2000, was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Allele Elhadj Habibou — even though he had been out of office for more than a decade. Its September 28 postmark indicated that somehow the letter had been received nearly two weeks before it was sent. In another letter, President Tandja Mamadou’s signature appeared to be phony. The accord signed by him referred to the Niger constitution of May 12, 1965, when a new constitution had been enacted in 1999. One of the letters was dated July 30, 1999, but referred to agreements that were not made until a year later. Finally, the agreement called for the 500 tons of uranium to be transferred from one ship to another in international waters—a spectacularly difficult feat.
 

* * *

 

Over the next two years, the Niger documents and reports based on them made at least three journeys to the C.I.A. They also found their way to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, to the White House, to British intelligence, to French intelligence, and to Elisabetta Burba, a journalist at Panorama, the Milan-based newsmagazine. Each of these recipients in turn shared the documents or their contents with others, in effect creating an echo chamber that gave the illusion that several independent sources had corroborated an Iraq-Niger uranium deal.


A story by Seymour Hersh for The New Yorker suggested that retired and embittered C.I.A. operatives had intentionally put together a lousy forgery in hopes of embarrassing Cheney’s hawkish followers. If that was true it backfired. Never underestimate the gullibility of the press.

First Case in point: the fake National Guard documents that cost Dan Rather and Mary Mapes their jobs at CBS News.

Second Case in point: Russian hackers stole my election.

Another point we observe as we follow this thread was how language is used to frame subject. The “mushroom-cloud” and “smoking gun” visuals were so visceral they were repeated by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and became standard NeoCon talking points in the run-up to the Second Gulf War.

 

 

When RT says that President Obama leaves behind a “vast, unaccountable permanent warfare state,” or that levels of economic inequality in the West are “obscene,” or that Trump “terrifies European leaders,” it’s worth asking if it might be Russian disinformation. But it’s also worth asking if it might be true. Distrust but verify.

 

***

With the power to persecute and prosecute journalists, the American government is a dangerous media critic. Judging by the report on RT, it’s also a lousy one.

— Stephen Bates, Lawfare


The Russian hacking story gets reframed to appeal to different echo chambers. For the left wing it assuages the cognitive dissonance that comes when you try to wrap your mind around President… Donald… Trump. Never mind that what is said to have bent the election at the 11th hour was the content of the Podesta emails, not their source. For the right, it’s a chance to blame Obama for the “Cyber Gap” and the anticipation of another wondrous pot of gold at the end of a forthcoming defense authorization rainbow. Of course, neither side questions the veracity of electronic voting machines.

Next week we will look at how the same genetic program that allows us to swallow a yarn like the Russian hacker tale keeps us from doing the right thing about climate change. Later, we will learn how to turn that gene off. In the meantime, the best antidote to fake news is to take yours from as broad a spectrum of opinions as you can find and make your own judgment.

This Week In Doom: The “Hamilton Elector” edition


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Like us on Facebook

 

 

hamilton-400x400

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on December 11, 2016

“In a hundred years time, perhaps, a great man will appear who may offer… a chance at salvation.   He'll take me as a model, use my ideas, and follow the course I have charted."
–As quoted in “Der Führer als Redner,” Adolf Hitler, by Joseph Goebbels


On December 19 of this year, the 538 members of the electoral college will meet to cast their votes to actually decide the outcome of the election of 2016. Those people appalled or mortified by the election of Donald J. Trump as President are hoping that "Hamilton Electors" will rise up and in a fit of conscience serve as a deus ex machina to deliver the US from inaugurating a president who lost the national popular vote by somewhere north of 2.6 million votes.

What these people are hoping for is an electoral college revolt. I'm not liking their chances. We have to remember that the framers of the Constitution didn’t trust direct democracy, period. The Electoral College is a fail-safe to protect the presidency from a candidate who’s popular but unfit for office. The name "Hamilton Electors" stems from Alexander Hamilton's explanation of the need for a check upon the popular passions. Writing in Federalist 68 , he said the body would consist of 

A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

In other words, anything BUT a rubber-stamp for the popular will, a second level of discernment, to ensure that

"…the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."

In other words, a "break glass in case of emergency" device to prevent panderers, prevaricators and pussy-grabbers from ascending to the office of mountebank-in-chief.

To which I say, "good luck with that." I rank second to none in my loathing for Trump and the gaggle of foxes he has assembled to guard the public henhouse.  Yet, in a recent article in The Atlantic on the subject, College of Charleston political science professor Claire Wofford explained

“there is no explicit federal or constitutional ban on electors selecting candidates as they wish, even if that means departing from the popular vote of the state.”

Past practice enables us to believe we have voted for a slate of electors who will faithfully deliver votes in the "winner take all" fashion followed by most states. In almost every other presidential election in history, members of the electoral college have voted in accordance with the popular vote. With notable exceptions. The election of Rutherford B Hayes over Samuel Tilden 1876 provides an instructive example of our nation's capacity for electoral skulduggery.

The 1876 election was a "reform" election. The administration of Ulysses. S. Grant was one of the most extraordinarily corrupt administrations of all time, even given low 19th century standards. In 1868 Grant was swept to electoral victories by a nation grateful for victory. But he made the mistake of appointing an assortment of military and business cronies to important offices in his administration at a time of unparalleled growth, western railroad expansion, booming manufacturing, and abundant opportunities for corruption.

The list of Grant era scandals is impressive: the "Gold Ring" and the Black Friday Gold Panic of 1869, (starring Jay Gould at the center of a plot to corner the gold market), the New York Custom House ring, the Star Route postal ring, a treaty breach to allow gold mining in the Black Hills, the Whiskey Ring of 1876 (a tax evasion scam) and many more. Grant appointed reformers, but the public had had enough. Grant's personal reputation remained untouched by scandal. Yet In 1931, authors Frederic Paxson and Christian Bach wrote that 

personal scandal has not touched Grant in any plausible form, but it struck so close to him and so frequently as to necessitate the vindication of his honor by admitting his bad taste in the choice of associates.

In the conventions of 1876, the Rs nominated Governor Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, a reformer. The Ds nominated Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York, setting the stage for the most contested election in US history.

In a voting result that resonates today, Tilden outpolled Hayes in the popular vote with 4,284,020 votes to Hayes' 4,036,572. But Tilden's 184 electoral votes were still one short of a majority, while Hayes' 165 electoral votes left him 20 ballots shy.

These 20 electoral votes were in dispute in four states: in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, and Oregon. Each party claimed its candidate had won the state:  Democrats had won the state elections, and Republicans claimed the Democrats' used fraud, violence, and intimidation in the Southern states and "threw out" enough Democratic votes for Hayes to win in those states. Grant directed Congress to resolve the competing claims.

In January 1877 a 15 member Electoral Commission (comprised of eight Republicans and seven Democrats) met and voted to resolve the competing slates of electors. The result was the Compromise of 1877: the Electoral Commission ruled that the disputed votes belonged to Hayes, in return for which the last troops were withdrawn from Southern capitals. Quid pro quo: Hayes was awarded the White House with the understanding that Hayes would remove the federal troops whose support was essential for the survival of Republican state governments in South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana.

The departure of Federal troops meant Reconstruction was over. The net result was the abandonment of American blacks, civil rights, and the effect of federal law in the South. Political power in the Southern states devolved to the Democrats. Jim Crow was born, and hard won civil rights gained by blacks disappeared for generations. And to enforce the new order, "strange fruit" hung from southern trees. 

So in the same way that George W. Bush a 5-4 vote of a stacked Supreme Court to stop the Florida recount in 2000, Hayes won a presidency having lost both the popular vote and the Electoral College. But he did win the 8-7 vote of the Electoral Commission. Proving that laws are as perfectly elastic as they need to be.

So absent Hamilton Electors, an alien invasion or proof that the Russians hacked the election, we will have to deal with the horror of a Trump Presidency and his Chamber of Horrors cabinet whose members seem chosen precisely for their opposition to the premises of the agency they have been chosen to lead. This ought to be good for the doom industry.

When Reagan's "Sagebrush Rebellion" looks like a polite exercise in manners in comparison, what will "normal" look like? These people have, in Charlie Pierce's phrase, "a sweet tooth for authoritarian solutions to the inconveniences of democratic government." The game will be to get the feds out of the regulation business and send responsibility back to the states, who will avoid the responsibility like cancer and force it onto already broke localities, where it will disappear for lack of money.

Want an abortion, too bad, so sad, goodbye. Not a choice you get to make. Freedom from government regulation only applies to corporate persons and their owners and does not apply to use of your private parts. 

As Paul Ryan turns Medicare into a voucher system, and the voucher pays about fifty per cent of the premium, Trump-voting Uncle Fud will have to decide whether he can live on kibble and cat food in order to pay the premiums. 

As Trump-voting rural whites on disability suddenly have to work and there is no work to be had because automation took their jobs, who will they blame? They didn't realize those moochers and takers they threw under the bus during the campaign were themselves. Time to start cooking meth again.

As Betsy DeVos gets that hated federal money diverted from your local district, and public schools become charter schools where the voucher covers a fraction of the tuition, they'll at least have a choice as to which religious affiliation they choose for their kids. Snapping the spines of public teachers' unions is just an added bonus!

As the roads stop being paved, streetlights stop being replaced, as trash collection becomes occasional, as the drinking water becomes a fetid hellbroth of god-knows-what (a la Flint), as the bills mount and when people lose their homes, as we "Make America Great Again" by rediscovering the family values of three generations living together in a two bedroom house, who will they blame?

Trump voters will savor the satisfactions of having "gotten the government off their backs."  

 


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere, and once quit barking and got off the porch long enough to be active in the Occupy movement. Where he met the woman who now shares his old Virginia home and who, like he, is grateful that he is not yet taking a dirt nap, and who, like he, will be disappointed to not be prominently featured on an enemies list compiled by the incoming administration.

Doomstead Diner Election Coverage: Live Updates

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Doomstead Diner on November 8, 2016

trump kong v hillzilla

Discuss this article at the Geopolics Table inside the Diner

Check below for Live Updates through the day.

The Big Day has arrived at last!  Millions of Amerikans are streaming to the Polls to vote for the Imbecile of their Choice.  We *MAY* have a POTUS Elect by some time late tonight or tomorrow morning.  If we do, you'll hear it here first on the Diner, at least unless you are monitoring one of the same sites I am to get the latest results and who is calling a victory (or tie) in the popular vote.

I say may, because as we all know by now between Pussy Grabbing by The Donald and further Email crimes by Killary, the polls have been swinging wildly toward both sides, and WTF really knows what anybody will actually do when they get inside the booth and press the touch screen on the rigged voting machine which will be hacked by Vlad the Impaler?  Besides, even if the polls were not bouncing up and down like a Yo-Yo on Steroids, polling lately in all of these major popular contests has been notoriously wrong by a large margin, the BREXIT vote a prime example of that.

The possibility here also exists that neither major party candidate will get the required 270 votes from the Electoral College, thus throwing the election into CONgress to decide the final outcome.  Also possible is that vote tallies will be challenged as having been rigged, as was the case in Florida when Gore ran against Bush and the Supreme Court got in the act to make a final decision.  In that one, Gore did win the Popular Vote pretty handily, but by the time the SCOTUS got through with it, Bush got more Electoral votes.

As we go into this, I am currently of the opinion that the election will get thrown into the House, and then numerous fistfights will break out as some Repugnants Jump the Trump ship to vote for Killary.  Other Diners seem to think Killary still probably has more ways to win than The Donald, so it's a total tossup here.

If it does end up going to the House, whoever the LOSER is here is not going to be a happy puppy, especially if the loser actually got a plurality of either the popular vote or electoral college vote.  If the LOSER has a plurality of BOTH of those, but CONgress picks the other Imbecile as Puppet-in-Chief, then you'll really see post-election fireworks.

For those of us with a Collapse Focus (pretty much anyone who reads the Doomstead Diner), one does have to remember that regardless of which Imbecile gets installed in the Oval Office, Collapse will still proceed onward.  No worries that either of these clowns can possibly resolve the problems of resource depletion and population overshoot.  The only differences are perhaps in what the trajectory of the collapse will be and which one can make it go faster.

Besides the POTUS election, numerous seats are up for grabs in the House & Senate, and the possibility exists that the majority party there could change also, so we'll keep watch on these races too.

To conclude for now, unless a clear victory comes to one side or the other in the results coming down the pike here through Wednesday morning, the excitement and drama of human competion, the Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat in the Wide World of Sham Democracy will not be over that fast.

Check back below for regular updates as the results come in.

———————————————————–

Live Updates

9:20 PM

At the moment it looks like The Donald will be the new POTUS, and not only that the Repugnants will control both House and Senate, so the FSoA willbe full on Fascist-Righty as we spin down here.  Wall Street is currently unhappy, but likely will become happier when The Donald slashes Medicaire and Social Security.

It's not OVAH yet though, and because all these races were so tight I'm not sure it will be ovah by tomorrow morning either.  I think you can count on challenges to the vote counts, especially if Killary won the popular vote.

Not gonna stay up all night on this one.  Another nap is in order.  Perhaps when I wake up we'll have  a better idea here on who the next POTUS will be,

8:30 PM

It's looking ever more likely that we will have a Pussy Grabber for POTUS instead of a psychopathic liar and war criminal.  Is this a good thing?  Apparently the markets don't think so…

As the votes roll in across the U.S. and Donald Trump's chances for an upset win in the tight presidential election increase, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 700 points in volatile futures trading and investors moved their money into safe havens like gold as as traders reacted to the possiblility of a Trump presidency.

Global markets were wildly volatile, with stocks, currencies and bonds swinging wildly as investors reacted to the possibility that the Republican businessman could best Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

On the upside for the Kollapsniks, maybe this will be the straw that broke the camel's back and the TBTF Banks will finally go tits up?

7:45 PM Alaska Time

The Donald is now projected to WIN Florida, Ohio and North Carolina by WaPo!  I am looking forward to the fistfights on the House Floor! 🙂

The presidential race was extremely close on Tuesday evening, with Republican Donald Trump — who entered the night as an underdog – seizing the advantage over Democrat Hillary Clinton in a series of battleground states.

By 11 p.m. Eastern time, voting had ended in 49 states, everywhere but Alaska. Together, they represented 535 of the country’s 538 electoral votes.

Trump was on track to prevail in Ohio, a key bellwether state that has backed the losing presidential candidate only once since 1944. The GOP nominee appealed directly to the sense of economic grievance in the Buckeye State, which has been buffeted by a declining manufacturing industry. Locking up the state’s 18 electoral votes boosts his options to getting to 270 electoral votes.

 

6:30 PM Alaska Time

According to CNN, Slate & Votecastr got this ALL WRONG and in their reality The Donald is out in front in FL by 150K Votes, and this is an"Epic Battle" in the swing states!

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are fighting an epic battle over the swing states that will decide who becomes the next president.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump has a narrow edge in Florida, a state he likely needs in his column to have a viable path to the White House. He leads by 140,000 votes with 93% of the vote counted. Trump is also leading in Ohio and North Carolina, though significant numbers of votes remain to be counted. The GOP nominee is running a surprisingly close race in Virginia, home to Clinton's running mate and a state that Democrats had felt was safely in their column.
The mood in the Clinton campaign has shifted dramatically as they frantically try to understand what's happening in Florida. A senior adviser conceded the campaign's modeling was off, but still believed Clinton has enough votes still out to take the state.
The tight contests suggest Trump has an increasingly possible path to the 270 electoral votes he needs to win.
So far, Trump has won 17 states, including Texas. Clinton has come out on top in New York and nine other states and the District of Columbia. Trump has come out on top in 17 states, including Texas. Trump has 136 electoral votes compared to 104 electoral votes for Clinton, according to CNN projections.

Slate & Votecastr on the other hand made their FINAL PREDICTION on the outcome of the swing states they are following:

VoteCastr’s Final Vote Estimates in All the States We’re Tracking

 

VoteCastr’s trackers have now submitted their final reports from the field in all seven states they were tracking today, so the numbers you see in our interactive shouldn’t change for the rest of the evening. For posterity, then, here are VoteCastr's final estimated vote totals in all seven states. We’ll be comparing these numbers to the official returns once they come in, at which point we’ll be able to draw some conclusions about this grand Election Day experiment.

Estimated votes in Florida as of final update:

Clinton: 4,959,569

Trump: 4,644,007

Estimated votes in Iowa as of final update:

Clinton: 659,498

Trump: 645,935

Estimated votes in Nevada as of final update:

Clinton: 504,108

Trump: 496,633

Estimated votes in New Hampshire as of final update:

Clinton: 311,833

Trump: 289,125

Estimated votes in Ohio as of final update:

Clinton: 2,534,965

Trump: 2,516,534

Estimated votes in Pennsylvania as of final update:

Clinton: 2,557,627

Trump: 2,401,513

Estimated votes in Wisconsin as of final update:

Clinton: 1,366,876

hTrump: 1,193,322

 

 

 

 

 

Slate appears to believe Killary will WIN just about every swing state, whereas CNN's numbers appear to indicate The Donald is in the Driver's seat!

Meanwhile, in the Senate race the latest is that the Repugnants have taken the Lead, and now are 44-42 over the Demodopes.

 

This is going to be a long night.

6 PM Alaska Time

WaPo has a significantly different take on this so far than Slaate does, and has The Donald leading in FL by about 100K Votes

As the polls closed Tuesday, anxious Americans awaited an indication of who would prevail at the end of a historically bitter presidential contest — whether Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would hold on to her narrow pre-election lead or Republican Donald Trump would secure a stunning upset.

By 9 p.m. Eastern time, voting had ended in more than three dozen states that together represent 429 electoral votes.

Trump was showing surprising strength in the early battleground states, especially in Florida – where he held a lead of more than 100,000 votes with 90 percent of precincts reporting. That state remained too close to call.

Who to believe here?

The GOAL IMHO is to make the election as CLOSE as possible, so that just a few votes can swing it whichever way TBTB want it.

5 PM Alaska Time

The Senate Battle currently still has the Demodopes in the lead, 40 to 38, according to WaPo.  Goobernators and CONgress Critters appear to be leading in those races though.

Not sure what happens if you get a perfect 50-50 split in the Senate though?  Which party gets to have the Senate President Pro-Temp in this case?

Whatever the case is here, we are certain to have legislative lockup on about all issues.  Well, except the issue of Bank Bailouts.  Regardless who wins here, they'll keep doing those.

4 PM Alaska Time

BREAKING NEWZ!

Voting place Shoot-em-Up in California!

Wrong place, wrong time to cast your ballot!

1 dead, multiple people shot near Azusa polling station; active shooter heavily armed, officials say

3 PM Alaska Time

While the POTUS election is getting the most dominant coverage, the battle for control of CONgress is really more interesting, and more important too.  As far as the Senate goes, the Demodopes have 37 Senators not up for reelection this round, the Repugnants have 30. Senate total is 100 2 per state, so that leaves 33 Seats up for grabs in this election.  Nothing has been called in this battle so far.

On the current best guess that Killary is going to win POTUS, if she can get a majority for Demodopes in the Senate, this will make it much easier for her to push through her agenda, including getting who she wants for the new SCOTUS position approved.  No idea yet of course who that person will be, although I would like to see Liz Warren in that spot.  Liz did a lot of work for Killary as Chief Attack Dog on Twitter against The Donald, so she might get that juicy reward.  On the other hand, Killary' backers at Goldman might not like that.

We'll be following the Senate battle through the night I expect.  The POTUS decision should come much sooner.

2:15 PM Alaska Time

Latest numbers from the Votecastr Tracker show Killary leading across the board in all the key battleground states.  Turnout has already surpassed Obama-sama from 2012.  The only reason not to call the election now is Votecastr system is new and probably weighted toward the Demodopes since Slate is a partner. If it's a good system though and they're being honest, Killary has this in the bag.  No fistfights in CONgress. 🙁

http://media.fyre.co/OgTpsGpdSJyrnlGVE7wj_445OmbnibusGraphic.png

 

2PM Alaska Time

Guess where the most problems voting are coming from?

Tens of millions of Americans descended on the polls today as election watchdogs reported hours-long lines, sporadic equipment failures and confusion about polling places — but few signs so far of violence or vigilantism.

Problems cropped up Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and other key battleground states that could decide whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the presidency. Most involved election administration issues that have plagued the polls for decades, however, rather than incidents of voter fraud or intimidation fueled by Trump's warning of a "rigged" election.

You guessed it, the poor neighborhoods.  It's not fraud you see, it's just that poor people are so disorganized.  This is why the game is set up so the voting is so close.  Only a few votes have to be "lost" or not counted in order to swing an election one way or the other.  The easiest place to do that is in poor counties, with the cheapest people to bribe.  This general favors Repugnants in winning, although in this cas may be favoring the Demodopes.

1PM Alaska Time

According to the latest exit polls from Slate, Killary is leading the horserace in FL, 48.6% to 45.2% for FL.  FL is supposedly a "must win" for The Donald, so not looking too good for the pussy grabber at the moment.  It certainly is ironic that one of the first states to sink under the rising sea level will likely decide our next POTUS!

9AM Alaska Time

OK, I need a nap.  The stress is wearing me out. lol.

By the time I wake up, should be near poll closing times on the East Coast of the Lower 48 and the REAL MARATHON BEGINS!  This sucker was just a warm-up in the Bullpen!

8AM Alaska Time

If you want to overload on video and have plenty of bandwidth, here's the livestream from Votecastr

7AM Alaska Time

Now we got the issue of "down ballot" voting.  You know, all those state legislatures, Goobernators and of course CONgress Critters subsidiary to the POTUS.  At least according to this map of the Down Ballot folks, I can't figure out HTF Demodopes have any say at all and how they managed to get Obama-sama elected when at the SAME time they manage to elect Repugnants everywhere else????  Here's a map from WaPo.

Based on this map, the majority of the FSoA ia Repugnant, by a LOONG shot.  Yea OK, the blue states have higher populations, but I STILL can't account for this one on the national level.  OK, honestly I know how it is done, through gerrymandering of districts and all of that, but then I ask myself, WHY are all these plebes Repugnant?

Then I read Joe Bageant and I know why.

6AM Alaska Time

From the WaPo, here is some more to convince you that YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT!  This gives you some clue as to how the statistician geniuses come up with these odds:

With a national election coming up, and with the publicity at its maximum, now is a good time to ask, is it rational for you to vote? And, by extension, was it worth your while to pay attention to whatever the candidates and party leaders have been saying for the past year or so? With the chance of casting a decisive vote that is comparable to the chance of winning the lottery, what is the gain from being a good citizen and casting your vote?

The short answer is, quite a lot. First the bad news. With over 100 million voters, your chance that your vote will be decisive in the presidential election is, at best, 1 in a million in a battleground state and much less in a noncompetitive state such as New York. The calculation is based on the chance that your state’s vote will be exactly tied, along with the chance that your state’s electoral votes are necessary for one party or the other to secure an electoral vote majority. Both these conditions are necessary for your vote to be decisive. So voting might at first not seem like such a good use of your time.

But here’s the good news. If your vote is decisive, it will make a difference for 300 million people. If you think your preferred candidate could bring the equivalent of a $100 improvement in the quality of life to the average American — not an implausible hope, given the size of the federal budget and the impact of decisions in foreign policy, health, the courts and other areas — you’re now buying a $30 billion lottery ticket. With this payoff, a 1 in 10 million chance of being decisive isn’t bad odds.

Excuse me?  Payoff?  What Payoff?  Whoever you vote for, unless you happen to be a member of the .01%, you're not gonna be PAID OFF here, you're going to be RIPPED OFF!  You got a 1 in a BILLION chance of making a difference in which POTUS candidate will fuck you up the ass and shift whatever money you still have left to the TBTF Banks, but either way, you still get fucked!

Have you ever seen ANY return on the Investment of your Vote in ANY election, regardless of which candidate of whatever party you voted for?

ROI on Voting is very low.

5AM Alaska Time

More subtle spin doctoring.  What happens if the LOSER doesn't "concede"?  According to NBC:

As Election Day begins, some are asking what would happen if Trump loses and declines to concede.

The answer is: Nothing.

There is no legal or constitutional requirement that a losing candidate publicly concede, experts told NBC News.

A refusal to concede in the face of a clear loss would certainly be unusual — and probably controversial — but it would not impact the formal results in any way.

"The act of conceding is not a legal act," political scientist Rick Hasen said.

"It doesn't have any legal effect as to whether or not someone is declared a winner," added Hasen, who runs the Election Law Blog.

Notice the spin here.  The assumption is that it is The Donald that is the Sore Loser here and pouts refusing to concede defeat.  But what if it's Killary that loses and won't accept defeat?  In either case, how long can the LOSER make hay and get coverage in the MSM that he/she REALLY won the election and deserves to be POTUS?

How about the LOSER declaring him/her self the TRUE WINNER here and setting up an Interrnet Election for a NEW CONgress and Senate, and declaring THEY are really the new Goobermint of the FSoA?  They can then appoint an entirely NEW SCOTUS to cover the legislative branch of Goobermint and have all the "checks & balances" that the Founding Fathers of the FSoA deemed necessary for a stable and representative Goobermint!  Then we can have the "Battle of Da Goobermints" as each Goobermint tries to prove they are REALLY the best Goobermint!

4AM Alaska Time

According to the Mathematicians-Statisticians Pierre Antoine Kemp and Andrew Gelman courtesy of Slate, here are the chances your vote will decide the POTUS Election:

161107_SCI_VoteMatters-Prob_MAP

WTF was the algorithm they came up with to generate this map?  Regardless of that, if you live in one of those bright YELLOW states, why are you going out to vote?  While you are at it there, buy a few Powerball Tickets!  You got a better chance of winning the Powerball and becoming an instant Billionaire than making a difference in this election.  If you are in a RED state, by all means, go out and vote!  You have a 1:1,000,000 chance of making a difference!

Notice Alaska & Hawaii aren't even considered on this map.  That's because the chances of anyone living in these states can make a difference is 1:10100. I worked that out scientifically.

Even IF your vote makes a difference in whether Killary or the Donald is the Winner, does this make a difference as far as whether Industrial Civilization will collapse or not?  OF COURSE NOT!  We are going down the toilet regardless of which Imbecile is Crowned as Marionette-in-Chief!

3AM Alaska Time

According to the NYT, there are  2 Paths by which the Election Might Proceed.  I think this is because the editors at the NYT can't count past 2.  Apparently though, we will need to wait quite a while, if ever for Killary to win the Popular Vote.

A Long Wait for the Popular Vote

If Mrs. Clinton wins the presidency, she might not take the lead in the national popular vote for hours. If she barely wins the popular vote, it could be weeks before she retakes the lead.

WEEKS!  ACCCKKKKK!  It could be WEEKS before we kow what this bullshit and manipulated result is!  Fucking Climate Change happens faster than this!

2AM Alaska Time

Early spin doctoring on Google Newz top headline has the Democraps "supremely confident" of a Killary victory.  Is this good or bad spin doctoring?  Does it inspire more Killary voters to go out to the polls or more Donald voters? Democratic insiders near-certain of Clinton win.

Reuters has now put the odds of a Killary victory at 90%. " With hours to go before Americans vote, Democrat Hillary Clinton has about a 90 percent chance of defeating Republican Donald Trump in the race for the White House, according to the final Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project."

 

Dammit, It Should Be Bernie Running Against Trump

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Eddie

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Doomstead Diner on November 4, 2016

bernie-diners

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

If there is a place this election got stolen, it was in the Democratic primary.

Wikileaks has revealed a whole slew of dirty tricks the Clinton campaign played on Sanders during the primary campaign. I won't bother to try to list them all, but the evidence is there, for anybody who wants to look.

Maybe it was nothing illegal, but it certainly reinforced what I already thought, which was that the Sanders campaign was squashed using the muscle of a well-oiled party machine run by professional electioneering sharks, using the cooperation of a willing media, who were always willing to do what it took to discredit the honest socialist.

If Bernie had gotten the Democratic nomination, we'd be having an election with a clear choice, and one that would allow most ordinary Americans to find a comfortable position in one camp or the other, because Sanders and Trump were the real peoples choices, for sure. Many Republicans don't like Trump, but he IS the conservative people's choice. And much to Paul Ryan's chagrin, the Republican Party was not as good as the Democratic Party in preventing the people from getting the candidate they wanted.

A few clueless Democrats are as happy as a clam about Hillary. She's a woman, after all, and we haven't had a woman President, so obviously we should have one. Because diversity. It's the Correct choice. And she likes black people…at least in public. Those people are unaffected by Wikileaks. You can probably spot them out and about this week. They are the ones with their fingers in their ears, chanting La-la-la-la-la-la and smiling a nice Prozac smile. Most of them voted early, out of sheer joy.

But there are a whole bunch of really disappointed younger Americans, and a few older ones too, who were really happy to see a man with integrity and decent principles take a shot at it, and so what if he was a self-proclaimed Socialist. America is a socialist country already, just an extremely perverted version that can't own it's real feelings.

The younger generation embraces the idea of a social welfare state, for better or worse. The older generation is in denial, like that old queen Senator Lindsey Graham, who can't admit he's gay, even to himself. Don't try to take our Medicare, or our Social Security benefits. But we hate Obamacare. Did you hear about those Death Panels? Shocking.

The biggest gripe most people have about Obamacare is that somebody forced them to assume responsibility for a premium toward their medical bills. They had to pay money. I heard some Trump supporter on the radio the other day crowing that he'd have an extra $200 in his pocket every month if it weren't for Obamacare. The same guy, if he went in the hospital, would be happy to stick the rest of us for his million dollar hospital bill. That's socialism too, of a slightly different variety.

Me? I'm stuck between a rock and hard place on election day.  I see one candidate whose picture should be in the dictionary next to the definition of sociopath…whose track record is one of decades of slimy graft and corruption. Not to mention a history of poorly considered meddling in the affairs of other sovereign countries. The kind that end up with missiles and drones and bullets and human misery on a global scale. I see another candidate who knows how to pander to the lowest common denominator in our society. A clever bullshit artist who couldn't possibly deliver the goods on his promises. One whose one and only recommendation is that he isn't a part of the party machine.

I read today that Trump, if elected, intends to put his campaign money man in as Treasury Secretary. A money man whose credentials include a stint at…you guessed it. Goldman Sachs. And he used to work for the Soros fund.

Something tells me that six months after the election, Trump and Clinton will be pals again, just like they used to be, before The Donald decided to run for President.  Maybe sitting down together at some charity event, sharing a nice bottle of Pinot noir.

I miss Bernie.

…and the WINNER is…

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Doomstead Diner on November 1,, 2016

http://www.screeninsults.com/images/the-tonight-show-starring-johnny-carson-carnac-the-magnificent.jpg

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

We're down here to the last week before the big POTUS election, at last.  Whoever gets elected here, it will be a welcome relief from the insanity of electoral politics we have been suffering through for around 2 years now.  From the heady days when Jeb Bush was the "Front Runner" for the Grand Old Party to the meltdown of the Dark Horse Billionaire for Pussy Grabbing, from the Brief Shining Moment of the Bernie Sanders candidacy to Killary Clinton's emails and coughing fits, no election ever has been a better demonstration of the failure of Amerikan electoral politics and the purported "democracy" we live under.

https://toraradical.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/obama.jpg?w=474 Millions will rejoice as the nearly universally despised Kenyan Golfer finally leaves office, leaving behind a legacy of ever increasing war for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the failed reformation of the Medical Insurance industry known as Obamacare and a lot of expensive Hawaiian Vacations on the taxpayer dime.  Not to mention of course the Federal Deficit now pushing some $20T, not including all the unfunded liabilities simmering in the stew of a failing economic system.

Whoever they get to replace Obama-sama as Puppet-in-Chief, it's not going to matter much at all.  The President doesn't call the shots on when we go to war and with who, nor does he call the shots on who Da Federal Reserve dishes out funny money to either.  Those decisions are all made in the board rooms of the TBTF Banks and the major energy corporations of Exxon-Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum.  All CONgress and the POTUS do is put their signatures on laws and policy papers drafted up by the legal departments of these corporations.  It doesn't matter which side of the Righty-Lefty divide the politician comes from, he's not going to get campaign funds if he doesn't put his John Hancock on these bills as they pass across his desk, and generally speaking neither he nor his constituents knows what is in those bills either in any detail.  Trade Agreements like NAFTA and TPP are thousands of pages of legalese nobody except a corporate lawyer paid to do it would ever work through.  Homeland Security bills like the Patriot Act and NDAA are signed off on pro forma, SECURITY is the #1 Priority, the Constitution be damned.  Any vestige of "Liberty" that once existed in the FSoA is long gone now, and neither of the POTUS candidates who have a chance of winning this election are going to put a stop to that.

Besides the fact that whoever is nominally "in-charge" in the White House doesn't really have all that much power and is mostly just a figure head, the other reason whoever gets elected doesn't much matter is that not even the Puppet Masters pulling the strings can do much other than try to maintain their own perks as the spin down progresses.  Collapse in one form or another is going to occur here, and it is doubtful any policy maker anywhere can control whether it goes nuclear or not.  Even without a nuclear denoument, on the grand scale it is unlikely there will be a very good outcome here for most of the Homo Saps currently walking the earth.

So why do people worry and obssess over who will be the next POTUS?  Does it really matter whether it is a Pussy Grabbing Billionaire or a Pathological Liar and Power Seeker with a philandering husband?  There's no chance either 3rd Party candidate can win, Green or Libertarian all those votes do is swing the voting in the major parties one way or the other.  A vote for the Green Party is a vote for the Donald, because it is one less vote for Killary.  A vote for the Libertarian Party is a vote for Killary, because it is one less vote for the Donald.  So if you are going to vote, why not just vote directly for the two major party candidates?  It all amounts to the same thing anyhow.

As regular Diners know, this is not a concern of mine, because I don't vote at all.  I have considered this so called "franchise" to be a travesty and rigged game since before I was even old enough to vote, and nothing has changed my mind in the intervening years.  I am not going to drop my vote (which is my "stamp of approval") on any of these candidates.  If I do that, I take some responsibility for what they then proceed to do in office, which is NEVER what they said they would do on the campaign trail.  Even if you voted for somebody who was halfway decent as a human being like Jimmy Carter, what good did that do?  It never made a difference, the trajectory of the Industrial Civilization has been an unstoppable juggernaut since the very beginning.  The power unleashed so great that a few nation-states that got in early in this game were able to roll over every other nation on earth by force, to raid them of resources and employ their populations as slave labor.

Now this paradigm is falling apart, both because most of the cheap energy resource has already been burned, and because the population of Homo Saps walking the earth was artificially inflated past its carrying capacity in the absence of the fossil fuel resource.  Beyond that, the extreme advantage that Western society had by getting to the resource first and building a war machine that uses it is also defunct.  At one time, the Europeans could go in and enslave stone age people with gunz and cannon.  Now everybody has gunz and cannon, and a whole lot more too, like cruise missiles.  You can't just roll over the Chinese or Ruskies like you can a small country like Syria or Afghanistan, and even that kind of small proxy war is a waste of time, money and energy.  Nobody "wins" these wars, they just go on interminably, bankrupting everyone who pursues them eventually.  But still they go on, regardless of who is elected POTUS and regardless of what the general population thinks of them or wants to do.

Nobody can win these wars, everybody loses.  Well, not EVERYBODY, there are always war profiteers running the biznesses of making munitions and uniforms for the cannon fodder who make a profit on the enterprise.  But at this point, what is there really left to WIN in any of these wars?  The landscape is already denuded of trees and agriculture has become impossible as water tables are depleted and there is nothing left to irrigate with.  The oil still left in the ground is mostly too expensive to still pump up and sell to your own increasingly impoverished population.  The countries are filled with impoverished populations who if you "win" said war become a liability on your own balance sheet, vast populations in need of support.  Why doesn't Putin go in and roll over the Donbass with his tanks and annex the Ruskie speaking people there who just WISH he would and get them out from under the thumb of the Neo-Nazis running Ukraine at the behest of their NATO masters?

Not because Vlad the Impaler is afraid of the consequences of such an adventure, if he saw a profit in it he would do it.  No, it is because he realizes that annexing Donbass is just adding more liabilities to his already overburdened balance sheet.  Right now, Mother Russia is better off than most places, they have their own energy resource, their own agriculture and for their size geographically, a realtively small population with a powerful military to protect and defend it.  Why would they want more?  They don't, they just want NATO to stop further encroaching on their borders, trying to steal what they still have left.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/external_clips/2111138/China8-1250x650_article.jpg?1475168786 The Chinese are another story altogether.  They do NOT have their own energy reserves to power their industrial machine, they are seriously into population overshoot even given they occupy a large portion of the land mass of the earth, and as a result of their rapid and basically unregulated dive into industrial production have thoroughly polluted both their arable land and their water table.  Beyond that, their banking system is a Ponzi scheme that puts Da Federal Reserve to shame, so who would expect this country to go anywhere but down the toilet as the industrial economy comes grinding to a halt?  They are entirely dependent on their export model, but who are they going to export to?  A few Ruskies in Moscow?  China is TOAST, it's an accident waiting to happen and I doubt the Ruskies can support them.  In this evolving War Phase though, they are allies of convenience, and so long as the Chinese are manufacturing good missiles and good electronic guidance systems for them, together with the Ruskies they are at least equal to the military power of the FSoA and NATO.  For either side to directly confront the other is mutual suicide, so one can only hope the folks running the show can see this and avoid it.

Which brings us back around to the upcoming POTUS election, where either Killary or The Donald will be appointed as the Public Overseer of the spin down, renege on any and every promise they made in their campaigns and do the very best they can to make sure that as it progresses downhill, the Rich stay Rich and the Poor stay Poor, with as little internal violence in maintaining this status quo as is possible.  Whoever is elected, if it is possible to do so the TBTF Banks will be bailed out still further in the attempt to keep BAU running.  Somewhere along the line here though, this charade will come to an end, the tide will run out and our leader will be left Naked and impotent to do anything about the mess they have made here.  Not a moment I look forward to by any means.  The thought of seeing either Killary or The Donald naked is not something I wish to witness.

http://abiyamo.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Naked-Portraits-Statue-Of-Hillary-Clinton-Released-By-Donald-Trumps-Fans-SHOCKING-PHOTOS-4.jpg   http://www.tinparis.net/thoisu16/Naked%20Donald%20Trump%20statue%20in%20Cleveland%20Ohio.jpg

Sizing Up the Endgame

gc2smFrom the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Like us on Facebook

 

fingers-from-the-hand-of-fear                                                                                                                                                           Anthony Freda

 

Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  October 3, 2016

 


All Hillary had to do last week was show up and stand at a podium for ninety minutes without swooning while Donald Trump barked and grunted his way through the half-assed press conference we like to call a “debate.” It was all I could do to keep watching the nauseating spectacle. It made you want to reach out and whap your TV upside its head, or maybe just shoot the fucker, like Elvis used to do.

The torment of who or what to vote for has become unbearable. I’d considered casting mine for Johnson / Weld, until Gary Johnson demonstrated that the front end of his brain is missing. Aleppo? Wasn’t he one of the Marx Brothers? I sense that Jill Stein of the Green Party is more Social Justice Warrior than EcoWarrior, and the last thing I want is for the rest of America to become one big college campus rife with trigger warnings and micro-aggression persecutions. Vote for Trump? Not if you chained me to the back bumper of a Toyota Landcruiser and dragged me over six miles of broken light bulbs. Hillary? Make that nine miles, and throw down some carpet tacks.

But wait a minute…! Here’s something to consider: a proposition put out by David McAlvany on his podcast last week: To Understand Election 2016 You Have to See 2020. (The new podcast is posted on Wednesdays, so to listen after Oct 5 you’ll have to click back a week.) The idea is that the winner of the presidential election is sure to be the biggest loser because the global economy is in the process of tanking, Long Emergency style, and the global finance system is going down with it. Whoever presides over this fiasco from the White House is going to be a bigger bag-holder than old Herbert Hoover in 1929.

The salutary part of the story is that such an epochal crack-up will sweep the establishment out of power. In the present case, this means discrediting the crony-capitalist, revolving-door grifters of the Wall Street / Washington axis, plus the neo-con military empire-builders bent on starting World War Three for profit, plus the economic central planners of the Federal Reserve whose desperate meddlings have nearly destroyed the necessary operations and meaning of money. And the cherries on top to get thrown out with the rest of this giant shit sundae would be the campus cultural Maoists. In short, vote for Hillary and let history flush them all out of the system.

A vote for Trump would let the aforesaid villains and bunglers off the hook because supposedly Trump represents free market business interests, and if he got elected they would be blamed for the economic and financial cataclysm which has been in motion for going on for two decades — and has accelerated mightily under the genial Obama. Whatever else you might say about free markets, had they been allowed to operate naturally, a lot of dead wood might have been cleared out of the financial forest by allowing failing institutions and companies to crash and burn. Instead, they were artificially propped up and hosed down with bailouts and other accounting frauds at all costs. The cost turns out to be the coherent workings of markets.

There can be little question that Hillary represents so much that has gone wrong in American public life under the Baby Boomer regime. The fact that she will be the oldest president ever at inauguration itself says a lot about the limitless cupidity of the Boomer political gen. They just don’t know when to stop. It’s history’s job to stop them now, nature’s way, by seating them at the banquet of consequences for all their poisonous cookery and quackery.

Watching these lamebrain debates, you get the impression that the folks running things, including media stars like the debate moderators, lack the slightest clue about the gathering economic storm. They are too busy reading the false weather reports posted by the Fed and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both Hillary and Trump seem to believe that we can winkle our way back to a 1962-style economy if we click our ruby slippers three times. That is not going to happen.

There are too many people on-board the planet and too few resources to keep them all going. It’s hard to say whether we might have managed the necessary contraction, say, starting back in the 1970s when the writing was on the wall and a truly honest president (one Jimmy Carter) spelled it out in plain English. We blew it, electing Ronald Reagan to enable the final feeding frenzy of the techno-industrial age.

Now it’s up to natural forces — and their galloping horsemen — to get the job done. So let us by all means throw our votes behind Hillary and let her rip so we can move on from there sooner rather than later and find new ways to remain civilized in the coming disposition of things.

 


James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Collapse Cafe 8/6/2016

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the cameras and microphones of Steve & RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Aired LIVE on Collapse Cafe YouTube on August 6, 2016

Discuss this Collapse Update inside the Diner

 

Hillarism

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Albert Bates

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on Peak Surfer on April 24, 2016

PeakSurfer

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

 

"The Irish Water crisis, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, offshore tax-avoidance havens, the collapse of ecosystems, Occupy Hong Kong, Australian greedy banks, and the rise of Donald Trump link to a single bad gene in our political DNA."

 


It is the political silly season, although these days it never seems to be otherwise. Delma Rouseff, Brazil’s heroic anti-establishment, anti-corruption President, has been impeached by the lower house on (dubious) charges of corruption, but the former, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called it more accurately a "coup d’état.”

Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned after it was revealed he owned an offshore company with his wife to channel millions of kroner. British Prime Minister David Cameron admitted he owned shares in a Bahamas-based trust up until 2010. In Malta, protesters demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for the same tax-avoidance activities.

Scores of countries will hold national elections in 2016. In January, Portugal elected Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, former leader of the Social Democratic Party and supported by the Social Democratic Party and the CDS – People's Party. Portugal, which rationalized recreational drug policy in 2001, tilted left.

Ireland, which has a gender neutral election law, requiring any election to be supported by at least 30% male and 30% female voters, in February elected a right-leaning Dáil Éireann (parliament). Sadly the coalition is still too fractious to choose a Taoiseach (prime minister)

In 2013 Ireland consolidated separate county and local water authorities into a single national utility, which proceeded to install meters everywhere and raise rates. In 2014 and 2015 local protests blocked meter installers. Four percent of Ireland's population showed up at one demonstration in Dublin. Irish Water is a wedge between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, so no prime minister for Ireland.

Legislative elections for 450 Duma seats will be held in Russia on 18 September. Polls April 10th give Dmitry Medvedev’s conservative United Russia 46%, Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s right-wing anti-communist Liberal Democratic Party 11%, Gennady Zyuganov’s left-wing Communist Party 9%, A Just Russia People's Freedom Party 5% and the remainder to 10 other parties, including the Greens led by Oleg Mitvol.

In Peru, the first round on April 10th narrowed the field to Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, of the Popular Force party, and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski candidate of the Peruvians for Change party. Fujimori has a healthy lead and the second round of voting comes June 5th. Peru is interesting if for no other reason than the names of its political parties (as translated): 

Popular Force
Peruvians for Change
Broad Front
Alliance for Progress
Popular Alliance
Popular Action
Direct Democracy
Possible Peru
Hope Front
Order Party
Developing Peru
Everybody for Peru

These names seem like something you might read on post-its on the wall of the “creatives” room in an ad agency.

In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said last November: "I would say around September–October is when you should expect the next election to be.” However, when parties predictably deadlocked over bills to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission, a bone of contention for the opposition Labor Party, Turnbull this week announced he would dissolve Parliament on May 3 and call for new elections July 2. Turnbull himself is well known to Australians and his party the clear frontrunner. But lately he has been losing ground to Labor leader Bill Shorten in the polls. Labor needs to win 21 seats to take power, a swing of 4.3%. BBC reports:

“Mr Turnbull will attempt to paint Mr Shorten as a union lackey who cannot manage the economy; Mr Shorten will say Mr Turnbull is an out-of-touch protector of greedy banks leading a divided party that stands for nothing.”

The Philippines just concluded its presidential debate cycle and is headed to national elections May 9th. At the top of the ballot is the election for successor to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. The leading candidate is the current VP Jejomar Binay. His opponents include Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (People's Reform Party) who is suffering from stage 4 lung cancer. Called "the Iron Lady of Asia,” she was the widely expected winner of the 1992 Philippine Presidential Elections, but lost after an inexplicably unscheduled power outage during the counting of votes. The Supreme Court of the Philippines recently declared optical scanner counting devices “corrupt” and forced precincts to return to hand counts.

Santiago announced her candidacy for president in the launch of her book, Stupid is Forever, on October 13, 2015.

Other candidates include Rodrigo “Courage and Compassion” Duterte (PDP–Laban), Grace "Government with a Heart” Poe (Independent) and Mar "Continue the Straight Path” Roxas (Liberal).

While the People’s Republic of China will not be holding national elections this year, what is brewing at the grass roots in Hong Kong is QI — quite interesting.  Wikipedia reports:

The emergence of new political groups led by young activists is set to shake up the political landscape of Hong Kong. Hong Kong Indigenous, a pro-independence localist group, faired well in the February New Territories East by-election by receiving more than 66,000 votes, coming third after pan-democratic Civic Party and pro-Beijing DAB, gaining about 15 percent of the total votes. A day after the election, localist groups including Wong Yuk-man's Proletariat Political Institute, Wong Yeung-tat's Civic Passion and Chin Wan's Hong Kong Resurgence Order announced a plan to field candidates in all five geographical constituencies.

On 10 April 2016. six post-Occupy organisations, Youngspiration, East Kowloon Community, Tin Shui Wai New Force, Cheung Sha Wan Community Establishment Power, Tsz Wan Shan Constructive Power and Tuen Mun Community, political groups formed after the Umbrella Revolution, formed an electoral alliance planned to field candidates in four of the five geographical constituencies with the agenda to put forward a referendum on Hong Kong's self-determination. Hong Kong Indigenous and another new pro-independence Hong Kong National Party also stated that they will run in the upcoming election.

On the same day on 10 April 2016, the student leaders in the Umbrella Revolution, Joshua Wong, Oscar Lai and Agnes Chow of Scholarism and Nathan Law of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) also formed a new party Demosisto which was inspired by Taiwan's New Power Party which was formed by the Sunflower Movement leaders and fared well in the 2016 Taiwanese legislative election. The new party calls for referendum on Hong Kong's future after 2047 when the One Country, Two Systems is supposed to expire. The party aimed at fielding candidates in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon East, facing competitions from other new political groups while posing challenge to the traditional pan-democracy camp.

Finally, turning to the USA: With Bernie Sanders’ inability to unset the Hillary Clinton base in New York (Manhattan 66% – 33%; Westchester County 67% – 32%) on Tuesday, it looks more and more like a Clinton victory at the convention is a lead pipe cinch. Who knows? She might even have the team to out-Diebold the Trump machine. In Brooklyn, tens of thousands of voters discovered too late that they were ineligible to vote. The New York City Elections Board confirmed that more than 125,000 Brooklyn voters had been scrubbed from the voter rolls and the NY Attorney General's office is on the case. Clinton can now win less than half of the remaining primaries and still gain the required number of delegates.

Can she throw some kind of a aikido move on the Trump steamroller? We don’t yet know who controls the machines, but it is a pretty good bet it ain’t the Donald.

This past week George Monbiot penned one of the best essays of his career, although it was actually a teaser for his new book, How Did We Get into This Mess? published by Verso for £12.99.

In naming Neoliberalism as the root of all our problems, Monbiot linked the Irish Water crisis, the slow collapse of public health and education, rigged Philippine elections, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, offshore tax-avoidance havens, the collapse of ecosystems, Occupy Hong Kong, Australian greedy banks, and the rise of Donald Trump to a single bad gene in our political DNA.

Monbiot writes:

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

When George W. Bush attributed the rise of Islamic jihadis to “they hate our freedom,” what he was doing was reinforcing the neoliberal meme. As Monbiot puts it:

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

Hillary Clinton likes to tell audiences that because of the Affordable Care Act, "We now have driven costs down to the lowest they've been in 50 years.” Actually, health spending in the United States is higher than it's ever been, so the statement on its face is inaccurate. The U.S. spends more per capita than every other country in the OECD; and twice as much per capita as the system in France, with considerably worse average outcomes.

Monbiot writes:

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income.

Unearned income is what buys elections, and not just in the United States.

What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. And that is what none of the elections in 2016 seem to be doing.

Feeling the Bern

bernie-dinersgc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of K-Dog

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 28, 2016

Bernie Sanders at the Seattle Rally (photo credit off the Smart Phone of Son of K-Dog)

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

I leave work, it is Friday night and Bernie is having his biggest rally ever about a mile away.   Normally I'd pass the stadium and hop on a cantilever called Edgar Martinez Way, getting on the western end of I-90 heading east over long Lake Washington then south on I-405 to home.  Generally it is twelve miles or forty five minutes, whichever comes first. 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ea/Downtown_Seattle_from_Kerry_Park.jpg/360px-Downtown_Seattle_from_Kerry_Park.jpg The trip around the south end of the lake, perhaps from twenty one to twenty five miles depending on how I decide to drive through the city takes closer to the forty five minutes traffic might mean the way north and across the floating bridge over the lake but always less than the stop and go traffic times that way can bring and a more consistent trip.  There are places to stop at for doggie treats.

Generally starting north to the stadium is the way to go but I've noticed the area in the last two days (SODO) has been crawling with law enforcement of every conceivable kind and some kinds of which you can't even conceive of.  A baseball game at the stadium can severely inter-fear with the commute as it is and I guessed with Bernie Sanders in town the northern route might be a bit dicey.  It was also Friday and stopping for doggie treats on the way home and avoiding stop and go traffic altogether is what I generally like to do on Fridays.

I headed south.  I knew Bernie would be arriving soon but I had no desire to rally and there is nothing Bernie could possibly say to make me a supporter because I already am.  I was not in the mood for circus.

One donut and coffee later get home and no Mrs. Dog.  Turns out she is with our son at the Sanders rally and they lucked out and got seating four rows back from the home plate stage about a hundred feet from Bernie.  A top seat and they get this in spite of deciding to go to the rally at the last minute.  Other people not so lucky had been lined up to get into the stadium since noon.  Fair Fortuna had been with my family.  The people outside had a festive time waiting for the doors to open and the weather was good.

After I spend a lonesome evening alone by myself I ventured out for a late night snack and when I returned Mrs. Dog and son had come home.  They were both animated and inspired muttering things like 'political revolution' and 'get out the vote'. 

With wry pleasure; knowing that neither one of them are morning people, I looked at their wide eyes and said to them.  'Since you are both so inspired you have to get up in the morning and get to the Democratic Party Caucus at Newcastle Elementary to see Bernie is chosen as the Democratic party candidate choice from our district then.'  I knew about the district democratic caucus in the morning only because a Sanders volunteer had called the house earlier in the evening urging me to be there for Bernie.  To be nice to him, I had said I'd think about it not telling him how protective I am about my Saturday mornings which usually involves at least a couple of hours laying about in a Hugh Hefner bathrobe being contemplative sipping coffee and that is all.  As I was talking to the Sanders volunteer the future with coffee was the future I was anticipating.  With my utterance about attending the caucus all that had changed.

That is the story of how I wound up at our local Democratic Caucus Saturday morning with Mrs. Dog.  Our son who had left later in the night to hook up with his girl friend must have gone to her Democratic Caucus because he wasn't at the Democratic caucus where he is registered to vote. 

It was an interesting experience.  Audience participation of a well thought out ceremony.  A retired but still well known Seattle sports announcer, Tony Ventrella now Digital Media Host for the Seattle Seahawks and a well know former sports announcer for Seattle television manned a microphone upon the convening of the caucus and read a letter about why we were there.  Tony lives in the area and was caucusing like everyone else who was there.  I have seen him at the local grocery store.

After a preliminary vote which would have given Bernie three of five delegates from our local precinct at a county wide caucus, the next step up of the caucus pyramid we talked at the precinct level.  After another vote and by following written instructions we had been provided on how to allocate the percentage of the vote that did not round to a candidate evenly Bernie wound up getting four of our five local delegates to the Democratic Caucus for King County from our district precinct.  One delegate went to Clinton.  King County is twice the size of Rhode Island.  I filled out paperwork and when my voter registration is checked I will be notified that I am a delegate and I'll know where to go and when.  I do know it is on a Sunday.

As one of the delegates to the King County Caucus I will be representing Bernie on behalf of the Democrats in my local district precinct after being duly elected to do so.

 :icon_sunny:

And as RE says, who couldanode?!


"Here's another fine mess you've  gotten me into Ollie!"


Bernie is on a roll.  The rally in Seattle was huge.  Bernie can take the entire West Coast if he keeps up his momentum and that will give him more delegates than Clinton and that is the plan!

 

Despite the media disparaging Bernie and building up Clinton every chance they get, the results in Washington show that some of us still have a few clues and don't drink the mass media Kool-Aid with as much abandon as has been assumed.  Mass media radio is spinning the Sanders win as 'he can't keep up the momentum so why bother'.  The voice of empire speaks to quell Sander's gains.  Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Washington State may be the beginning of a wave that will crest in California.  We shall see how bewitched people are to the siren song of media puppet string pullers who seek to crash the nation on the cliffs and rocks of Trump or Hillary to maintain their song of oligarchy.

Helping Bernie get that extra delegate was a rewarding experience.  I did some of the talking and helped change a few minds.  I'll have fun at the county caucus.  I might wind up being the dog that makes all the difference, because:

 

Videos off the Smart Phone of Son of K-Dog

I'M REPRESENTING !!!

After the King County Caucus some will go on to the Washington State Caucus as delegates and from there delegates to the D.N.C. will be elected.  That is my understanding of the process so far. 
 
If I bark for Sanders right I suppose I could wind up going to the Washington State Caucus without too much trouble.  I expect getting as far as the D.N.C in Philadelphia could wind up being a bit more 'political'. 
 
If I get to the D.N.C. I know someplace I'll be sure to visit.  Geno’s Steaks.  I think it is where Philadelphia cheese steaks started, I'm not sure.  Regardless I could spend several days in Philadelphia hunting cheese steak sandwitches.  They are my kind of doggie treat.
 
Saturday I did not compare Hillary to Rodan the Flying Reptile even once!  I figured I might be in a crowd where some people actually like her so I was careful what I said.  The most I went in any negative direction regarding Hillary was when I said.
 

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/15kdTQWTch0/hqdefault.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't think she is actually evil but ………

The overall feeling about Hillary behind the closed doors of the elementary school was that she is inconsistent.  A political deal maker who does not have consistency because she is always doing what 'the money' tells her to do.  She blows in the wind and was called a flip flopper.  Sanders was portrayed to be consistent in his positions with thirty years of solid experience working for principles of social inclusion that the Democratic Party takes seriously.  At least on the local level, from what I saw, this appears to be true.  We all know Democratic Party leadership has other priorities living as they do in a pragmatic stratosphere far above the people they represent but at my caucus on Saturday the principles of the Democratic party were explained along with the rules on what we were to do. 

Sanders was also felt to be a 'stronger' anti-war candidate.  I thought that was a good way to put it.  Nice and gentle, and non-confrontational.  One of the caucus rules was that you were not suppose to mention opposition candidates by name.  It is a good rule and it forced concentration on the relative strengths between Bernie and Hillary on their positions and records.  For the most part this rule was observed.  A few times a name or a couple of initials slipped out but when that happened it was always relevant to a point being made and no big deal.

I did point out that Bernie has a better chance of beating 'The Republicans' than Hillary does.

My son told me that he had thought about making it to the caucus on Saturday but he figured getting me to go was good enough.  This turned out to be true.  No way was Sanders going to take all the delegates from our district.  Four of five was the best we were going to do.  He figured the caucus would probably be closed by 4:30 PM too.  We had finished and all gone our separate ways by noon.

Had I checked the weeks mail before Sunday I would have known I had an invitation to Caucus for Bernie Sanders on Saturday March 26th at 9 AM waiting for me.  I might have clued my son in had I seen it but it was a general mailing and did not say where the caucus would be.  Mail is easily ignored anyway.  As things worked out it was all good. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blowback Paris: Exxonomics 102

Seeing Parisgc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Albert Bates

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Publishes on the Peak Surfer on November 13, 2015

PeakSurfer

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

"‘If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks, they’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions.' – George W. Bush, 2006"
 

 

This past week a number of our respected readers took us to task for our post, Exxonomics 101, not because we were wrong (although we were visited by our usual gaggle of climate deniers) but because we had made so many bald statements about US foreign policy without referencing sources.

We wrote:

"That whole shooting match in Syria, driving millions of refugees into Europe, is about whether Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Russia and Iran and a proponent of a gas pipeline from Iran across Kurdistan to the sea, will be deposed by ISIS terrorists trained by CIA in the Colonel Kurtz style of spectacular horror and funded by the Pentagon so that the US could instead build a pipeline to European markets through Syria from Iraq. The Russian Air Force, with a new generation of fighters that can fly circles around anything built by Lockheed Martin, is looking like it will decide that one. It is pulverizing ISIS."


We find our critics' point about undocumented sources valid, so this week we'll dive deeper into the morass which is petropolitics in hopes of speeding the day it will become paleopolitics. This will be about three times longer than our usual post. We could have broken it into three parts – a four semester course in Exxonomics – but we could just visualize our regular readers slipping out for a smoke in the parking lot.

On Friday evening Paris was attacked by a coordinated, well-armed guerrilla group that caused at least 129 deaths and 352 injuries, 99 critical, while losing 8 jihadis. The Islamic State claimed responsibility. As we shall show in this post, direct responsibility for the attack traces back to President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Parenthetically, Sen. Bernie Sanders on September 18 voted against the United States financing, training and arming ISIS by proxy astroturf Syrian "freedom fighters.") The Paris attacks are being called France's worst terrorist attack, but only a day earlier, ISIL attacks on Beirut left 41 dead and 181 injured and in the week before IS is believed to have downed a Russian passenger jet over Egypt with 224 people on board. 

The President of France was quick to link the attacks to its own military action in Syria, calling for stronger efforts at "regime change" to oust Assad. In the Syrian conflict, France is anti-Assad. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is pro-Assad. Russia is an ally of Assad. The ISIS targeting has nothing to do with President Bashir Al-Assad. It has to do with confusion.

The Origins of ISIS

In our humble opinion, it should be abundantly clear that the Beltway NeoCons, who were unable to gain much traction for their most wacky ideas with Carter, Bush-I or Bill Clinton, burned rubber with Bush-II, a.k.a. Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice. Yahoooo! Just wait until they meet Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Pushed to the fore during that golden era of unaccountability was the proposition that for Right Wing Christianity to prevail over Fundamentalist Islam in the Battle of Armageddon to come, it will be necessary to fragment the Middle East and to get those Oil Sheiks and Gas Kings who are busy spending petrodollars on military hardware to fight each other.
 

Ronald Reagan meets with future Al Qaeda leaders in the White House

Zbigniew Brzezinski:

Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.


Last week touched some nerves when we described the US’s 9/11 moment as a new Pearl Harbor,  despite the loss of fewer civilian casualties that day than when GHW Bush galloped through Panama City chasing after one of our assets gone off reservation. Then followed the “smoking gun” Kabuki at the UN Security Council, untold billions in small bills being offloaded from numerous C-130J Super Hercules for delivery to non-state-actors, the downing of Paul Wellstone’s plane, and we’ll anthrax your mailbox if you oppose us on this.

We know, even fellow travelers like James Howard Kunstler just closed their laptops and walked away. If you are allergic to conspiracies, well, sorry. Conspire means to breathe together. If you are willing to stick around, then take a deep breath.

We opined long ago that the YouTube'd kidnapping and beheading of Daniel Pearl was at the behest of the CIA because he was a loudmouth. The orange jumpsuit was a pretty good “tell” that this was not just a ragtag band of rag-head discontents putting a knife to his throat. Now we propose to prove that.

Here are a few more threads:

Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists,  a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country.

Similarly, the U.S. falsely blamed Iraq for playing a role in the 9/11 attacks – as shown by a memo from the defense secretary – as one of the main justifications for launching the Iraq war. Even after the 9/11 Commission admitted that there was no connection, Dick Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime, that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties. Top U.S. government officials now admit that the Iraq war was really launched for oil … not 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction (despite previous “lone wolf” claims, many U.S. government officials now say that 9/11 was state-sponsored terror; but Iraq was not the state which backed the hijackers).

In a thorough but very long post by Washington's Blog on September 11, 2015, Antiwar’s Justin Raimondo observes:

Iraq’s fate was sealed from the moment we invaded: it has no future as a unitary state. As I pointed out again and again in the early days of the conflict, Iraq is fated to split apart into at least three separate states: the Shi’ite areas around Baghdad and to the south, the Sunni regions to the northwest, and the Kurdish enclave which was itching for independence since well before the US invasion. This was the War Party’s real if unexpressed goal from the very beginning: the atomization of Iraq, and indeed the entire Middle East. Their goal, in short, was chaos – and that is precisely what we are seeing today.

Europe is reeling from the waves of refugees pouring across every border as people from all walks of life flee from the randomized violence wrought by this atomization, set against a background of unsustainable population growth, resource depletion and rapid climate change. In Syria, with a population of little more than Florida, some 250,000 civilians have been killed by the violence brought about by the Western attempt at regime change. And yet there seems to be a disconnect between cause and effect, as a disproportionate amount of money is spent to atomize more while band-aids like border detention centers are erected to further victimize the victims.

"You will find that regime change– whether it was in the early '50s in Iran, whether it was toppling Salvador Allende in Chile or whether it was overthrowing the government Guatemala way back when– these invasions, these– these toppling of governments, regime changes have unintended consequences." –– Sen. Bernie Sanders


It seems evident to us, if not to most, that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were initiated to the strategy of inflicted chaos some time ago, perhaps during the 2008 transition when Brzezinski was on the Obama foreign policy team, or maybe earlier, when Obama studied under Zbiggy at Columbia. Since 2010 they have extended the plan to other parts of the Empire. Hence Victoria Nuland’s mischief in Kiev — the Balkanization of the Balkins if you will. Puerto Rico wants to become the 51st State but they may have to stand in line behind Estonia.

One of our critics said we were not known as an expert on foreign affairs, but, hey, news flash! We don’t claim to be expert on anything. We are merely opinionated, like Donald Trump or Quentin Tarrentino. Still, it might be worth tracing the evidentiary breadcrumbs we have been following.

The ‘Skittles’ Theory

Brian Whitaker, writing for The Guardian in September, 2003, said the game plan among Washington's hawks has long been to reshape the Middle East along US-Israeli lines.

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt predicted devastating consequences for the Middle East if Iraq is attacked. “We fear a state of disorder and chaos may prevail in the region,” he said.

    ***

They are probably still splitting their sides with laughter in the Pentagon. But Mr Mubarak and the [Pentagon] hawks do agree on one thing: war with Iraq could spell disaster for several regimes in the Middle East. Mr. Mubarak believes that would be bad. The hawks, though, believe it would be good.

For the hawks, disorder and chaos sweeping through the region would not be an unfortunate side-effect of war with Iraq, but a sign that everything is going according to plan.
 

    ***

The “skittles theory” of the Middle East – that one ball aimed at Iraq can knock down several regimes – has been around for some time on the wilder fringes of politics but has come to the fore in the United States on the back of the “war against terrorism”.

Its roots can be traced, at least in part, to a paper published in 1996 by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. Entitled “A clean break: a new strategy for securing the realm”, it was intended as a political blueprint for the incoming government of Binyamin Netanyahu. As the title indicates, it advised the right-wing Mr Netanyahu to make a complete break with the past by adopting a strategy “based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism ….”
 

    ***

The paper set out a plan by which Israel would “shape its strategic environment”, beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad.

With Saddam out of the way and Iraq thus brought under Jordanian Hashemite influence, Jordan and Turkey would form an axis along with Israel to weaken and “roll back” Syria. Jordan, it suggested, could also sort out Lebanon by “weaning” the Shia Muslim population away from Syria and Iran, and re-establishing their former ties with the Shia in the new Hashemite kingdom of Iraq. “Israel will not only contain its foes; it will transcend them”, the paper concluded.
 

    ***

The leader of the “prominent opinion makers” who wrote it was Richard Perle – now [2003] chairman of the Defence Policy Board at the Pentagon. Also among the eight-person team was Douglas Feith, a neo-conservative lawyer, who now holds one of the top four posts at the Pentagon as under-secretary of policy.
 

    ***

Two other opinion-makers in the team were David Wurmser and his wife, Meyrav (see US think tanks give lessons in foreign policy, August 19). Mrs Wurmser was co-founder of Memri, a Washington-based charity that distributes articles translated from Arabic newspapers portraying Arabs in a bad light. After working with Mr Perle at the American Enterprise Institute, David Wurmser is now at the State Department, as a special assistant to John Bolton, the under-secretary for arms control and international security.

A fifth member of the team was James Colbert, of the Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jinsa) – a bastion of neo-conservative hawkery whose advisory board was previously graced by Dick Cheney (now US vice-president), John Bolton and Douglas Feith.

The rise of the Islamic State

"At times it can resemble Andy Kaufman in the wrestling ring, taunting Memphis hayseeds that he's from Hollywood, where people use their brains." — Bill Maher on the ISIS threat.

On October 14, 2015, Sophie Shevardnadze interviewed FBI whistleblower Sibel Edwards for the back story on US covert support for ISIS. President Obama had just come out to say the rise of Islamic State was never properly addressed by the U.S. intelligence community. Dangling from the President's puppet strings, Vice-President Biden then stepped to the Press Room podium to scapegoat NATO and its Arab allies, saying it was they who funded jihadists, not the US. (Laughter). This is still the official position. Lets look at the evidence.

 
 


This video from LiveLeak shows an Apache attack helicopter following a huge ISIS convoy of white pickup trucks crossing from Iraq to Syria but instead of attacking is more or less “escorting” it across the border. The key "tell" is not the Apache but the Toyotas. While crossing the desert for 3 days in a very long convoy line, they did not elicit a military response from NATO or the US in spite of 24/7 satellite surveillance.

That still does not pin it on the US. ISIS could be supported by our NATO allies, whom Biden says are the real bad actors here. The Apache might just be supporting evil NATO.

But then, U.S. counter-terror officials launched an investigation into how ISIS got so many of those identical Toyota pickup trucks for their convoys.

The Spectator reported:

The [Toyota] Hilux is light, fast, manoeuvrable and all but indestructible (‘bomb-proof’ might not, in this instance, be a happy usage).  The weapons experts Jane’s claimed for the Hilux a similar significance to the longbows of Agincourt or the Huey choppers of Nam. A US Army Ranger said the Toyota sure ‘kicks the hell out of a Humvee’ (referring to the clumsy and over-sized High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle made by AM General).

    ***

The fact is the Toyotas were supplied by the US government to the Al Nusra Front as ‘non-lethal aid’ then ‘acquired’ by ISIS.


This is how it was outlined by PRI (Public Radio International):

Recently, when the US State Department resumed sending non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, the delivery list included 43 Toyota trucks. Hiluxes were on the Free Syrian Army’s wish list. Oubai Shahbander, a Washington-based advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, is a fan of the truck.

“Specific equipment like the Toyota Hiluxes are what we refer to as force enablers for the moderate opposition forces on the ground,” he adds. Shahbander says the US-supplied pickups will be delivering troops and supplies into battle. Some of the fleet will even become battlefield weapons.

That’s exactly what happened, along with shoulder-fired Manpad ground-to-air missiles, TOW antitank missiles and other fancy smart weapons. As the Wall Street Journal reports:

The U.S. and its regional allies agreed to increase shipments of weapons and other supplies to help moderate Syrian rebels hold their ground and challenge the intervention of Russia and Iran on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials and their counterparts in the region said.

It now appears that while Russian fighter jets can evade or outrun Manpad missiles, ISIS may have used a Manpad to shoot down a Russian civilian airliner last week, killing more innocent civilians than died in Paris.

Al Nusra Front is literally Al Qaeda. The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan – Lt. General William Odom said:

By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.

Here is a part of last month's exchange between Sophie Shevardnadze and Sibel Edwards:

SS: Now, the former CIA chief and the ex-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. is looking at at least a 30-year war against ISIS, which is not at all what the White House is telling the public. Is he exaggerating? What’s your estimate?

SE: I would say it’s a very short period; I’m really surprised, because we just talked about the brand change. The war against Al-Qaeda was declared as a “forever war” and it has been expanding. I mean, when the war against Al-Qaeda started, it was supposed to be in Afghanistan, and we started chasing Al-Qaeda in Yemen, and Pakistan with all the drone attacks, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the fact that this was going to be a forever war… and now that the brand has changed to ISIS, I’m very surprised that the former FBI director is stamping it with a short-time period. I believe 30 year period is very short, unless that have already in plan other sects or other factions that they are going to declare the “world’s great and most dangerous terrorists”, I would say it’s a very short period of time. We currently are more interested in an ongoing, never-ending, perpetual war, so I would, if you compare it with what we have been characterizing – or our government and the media – Al-Qaeda, I’m surprised that he has put such a short time-stamp on ISIS. Considering the attraction, or the attractiveness, of the brand, because it has the world “Islam” built into it, and let’s just forget Al-Qaeda. I mean, Al-Qaeda was the just the noun, the name – and this case you’re looking at the far-reaching implications. Now you declare that current greatest threatening organization that has the word “Islam” built into it – and I think it’s much more attractive to be used. So, I would say, yeah, it should be forever. I’m surprised it’s 30 years.
 

***

SS: All right, here’s another possible and interesting turn of events – FBI chief James Comey warned terrorists are working on an effort to attack the U.S. very-very soon. Is the U.S. ready to respond?

SE: We have to look at different things and see why this statement was made. Is it based on some sort of facts and real solid intelligence gathered, or is it the fact that… for example, we have had for the TSA, for the flights, the threat level has been really low, and when that goes for a long time, people get antsy, they say “This is really annoying to have all these screens out there and going through them, we haven’t had any terrorist threats really, the level has not been blinking red or even orange, it’s been yellow, let’s go through the rainbow colors” – so, it’s time to re-energize the Americans with the fear of terrorism. We need to have more expenditure for things to put in place, because we can go ahead and increase the threat level within the airports. Let me give you an example. If you look at the stock market and stock prices for all the military-industrial complex-related companies and firms, you will see how they have just gone up tremendously since the brand switch from Al-Qaeda to ISIS, and this is, again, the brand-change I’m referring to, this is when you say “yes, now we can go ahead and produce and sell more to the government and it will spend billions more”. So, the same thing is true for the internal security, fear-mongering factors on the ground in the U.S. It’s time to re-energize that fear, and that is exactly what they are doing. What’s going to follow this is there’s going to be more measures put in place, whether it’s in the airports, or whether it’s the hiring within the FBI, or increasing the number of informants. Those are the things that are going to follow this announcement: “we have to have more expenditure, because of the public consent, because the fear level is going to go up, and therefore those expenditures are going to be justified” – and it is that simple as that.

A quick history refresher on Syria:

  • The U.S. carried out a coup in Syria in 1949. The reason? In late 1945, the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) announced plans to construct the Trans-Arabian Pipe Line (TAPLINE) from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean. With U.S. help, ARAMCO secured rights-of-way from Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The part crossing Syria stalled in the Syrian parliament.
  •  In 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once more agreed to use Arab extremists – including the Muslim Brotherhood –  to effect regime change in Syria. A joint CIA-MI6 operation was launched to stage fake border incidents as an excuse for an invasion by Syria’s pro-western neighbors, and then to “eliminate” the top figures.
  • The U.S. has been arming the Syrian opposition since 2006, years before the present uprising started.
  • It was the “rebels” – not the Syrian government – who carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria.
  • The CIA plotted to poison the Iraqi leader in 1960.
  • In 1963, the U.S. backed the coup which succeeded in killing the head of Iraq.
  • Until he was toppled by a popular uprising, the US supported the tyrannical rule of the Shah of Iran and supplied his military with the latest in weapons and aircraft.
  • Syria controls one of the largest conventional hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
  • Syria controls of one of the main oil arteries of the Middle East, the pipeline which connects pro-western Iraq’s oilfields to Turkey.
  • Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate.
  • Syria also has oil shale resources with estimated reserves that range as high as 50 billion tons, according to a Syrian government source in 2010.
  • Syria is the key link in the flow of any oil or gas from Iraq or Iran to the Mediterranean and thence to Europe.
  • Because of the sordid role of the US in his country's history, Bashir Al-Assad tilts towards Russia and Iran, and away from the US and Iraq.

The New York Times writes:

President Obama’s determination to train Syrian rebels to serve as ground troops against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria leaves the United States dependent on a diverse group riven by infighting, with no shared leadership and with hard-line Islamists as its most effective fighters.

After more than three years of civil war, there are hundreds of militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad — and one another. Among them, even the more secular forces have turned to Islamists for support and weapons over the years, and the remaining moderate rebels often fight alongside extremists like the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
 

    ***

The fluidity of battlefield alliances in Syria means that even mainline rebels often end up fighting alongside the Nusra Front, whose suicide bombers are relied on by other groups to soften up government targets.

“Even the groups that the U.S. has trained tend to show up in the same trenches as the Nusra Front eventually, because they need them and they are fighting the same battles,” Mr. Lund said.
 

    ***

Current and former American officials acknowledge the government’s lack of deep knowledge about the rebels. “We need to do everything we can to figure out who the non-ISIS opposition is,” said Ryan C. Crocker, a former United States ambassador to Iraq and Syria. “Frankly, we don’t have a clue.”

Washington’s Blog wrote in September:

And yet, as the Wall Street Journal,  PBS, CNN, New York Times, Medium, Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh and others note, the U.S. and its allies have poured huge amounts of weapons and support to the Syrian Islamic “rebels”. This is in spite of the CIA warning President Obama that arming rebels rarely works.

Washington wants regime change in Syria, so it’s making up a myth of the “moderate Syrian rebel” who hates Assad and ISIS. But they “don’t have a clue” as to whether such a mythical unicorn actually exists (spoiler alert: it doesn’t).

Its about Russia

Before the Russian Air Force entered the picture, ISIS had more than tripled the size of its territory in Syria and greatly expanded its territory in Iraq. Q: What does the Russian Air Force call all those stockpiles of expensive new arms and billions of dollar bills that ISIS has sitting on air-dropped, shrink-wrapped pallets all over Syria? A: Target practice. 

Despite US unwillingness to cooperate with Russia in destruction of ISIS and the White House complaining that President Vladimir Putin was targeting its anti-Assad forces, Russia has been cooperating with the US-sponsored, Anti-Assad Free Syrian Army (FSA). Putin said on Friday that FSA had shared their intelligence on ISIS positions and convoys, which were then targeted by Russian airstrikes.

On November 9, 2015, RT-TV interviewed Oxford University's Sharmine Narwani about the conflict between the Russian anti-ISIS offensive and the US military objectives in Syria.

RT: What are the reasons, do you think the [US-Arab] coalition is breaking apart? How can the coalition increase the efficiency of its actions?

US air attack on Kobani, Syria 10/8/14. © Umit Bektas/Reuters

 SN: I see the coalition breaking apart or being redundant for two reasons. One is the lack of common objectives among the 11 actors participating in the coalition, but the other is more in lines with military strategy in fighting any war or conflict, anywhere. We’ve heard this over and over again in the Syrian conflict – you need a coordination of air force and ground power. The US-led coalition does not have this. Part of the reason it doesn’t have this is because it entered Syrian air space and violated international law in doing so against the wishes of the Syrian government. So it cannot coordinate with the Syrian government who leads the ground activities, whether it is the Syrian army or various Syrian militias that are pro-government; or Hezbollah – a non-state actor from Lebanon; or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their advisory capacity. The Russians of course do enjoy that relationship, so their airstrikes are not only both valid and legal, but also useful – a coordinated effort to target ISIL and other terrorist organizations.

RT: Do you think the US doesn’t have real intentions to fight ISIS, and that is the main reason of instability of its coalition?

SN: Absolutely. The US-led coalition has failed in attaining goals to defeat ISIS, not just because it cannot lead a coordinated military effort in air, land and sea in Syria, or because it lacks legality, or because the member states of the coalition have diverging interests. But I think the US interest as well has to be called into question. I mean: does the US want to defeat ISIS? I would argue very strongly based on what we’ve seen in the last year that the US is not interested in defeating ISIS. The US is interested in perhaps controlling ISIS’ movements, so that it helps to create a geopolitical balance on the ground that will provide the US government and its allies with leverage at the negotiating table. So they don’t want ISIS to take over all of Syria [because] that poses threats to allies in the region. They don’t want ISIS and other terrorist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and others, and the various coalitions they have formed to lose ground, because at the end of the day the only pressure there are going to be able to apply on the Syrian government and its allies is what is happening on the ground. And they need something; they need advantage on the ground that they can take with them to the negotiating table in Vienna. 


Its About Israel

General Wesley Clark – former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO – said:

It came back to me … a 1991 meeting I had with Paul Wolfowitz.

    ***

In 1991, he was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy – the number 3 position at the Pentagon. And I had gone to see him when I was a 1-Star General commanding the National Training Center.
 

    ***

And I said, “Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.” And he said: “Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”


Former U.S. Secretary of Defense – and former 12-year Republican Senator – Chuck Hagel said of the Iraq war in 2007:

People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.

General John Abizaid – the former commander of CENTCOM with responsibility for Iraq – said:

Of course it’s about oil, it’s very much about oil, and we can’t really deny that.

President George W. Bush said in 2005 that keeping Iraqi oil away from the bad guys was a key motive for the Iraq war:

‘If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks, they’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions.”

The Cheney Energy Task Force Report, Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century — a full five months before September 11 — describes how the West is facing the biggest energy crisis in its history because of Peak Oil. It named Saddam Hussain as a threat to American interests because of his control of Iraqi oilfields and recommended the use of ‘military intervention’ as a means to fix the US energy crisis.

One of the most telling passages in the document reads:

Iraq remains a destabilizing influence to … the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export program to manipulate oil markets.

Haaretz reported soon after the Iraq war started in 2003:

The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a “bonus” the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948.  During the War of Independence [what Jews call the 1948 war to form the state of Israel], the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the pipeline fell into disrepair over the years.
 

    ***

National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned visit to Washington next month.
 

    ***

In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to Turkish-Israeli relations.

Some of the seeds for the current conflict were sewn between 1932 and 1948. As Wikipedia explains:

Mosul-Haifa Pipeline 1935

The Mosul–Haifa oil pipeline (also known as Mediterranean pipeline) was a crude oil pipeline from the oil fields in Kirkuk, located in north Iraq, through Jordan to Haifa (now on the territory of Israel). The pipeline was operational in 1935–1948. Its length was about 942 kilometres (585 mi), with a diameter of 12 inches (300 mm) (reducing to 10 and 8 inches (250 and 200 mm) in parts), and it took about 10 days for crude oil to travel the full length of the line. The oil arriving in Haifa was distilled in the Haifa refineries, stored in tanks, and then put in tankers for shipment to Europe.

The pipeline was built by the Iraq Petroleum Company between 1932 and 1935, during which period most of the area through which the pipeline passed was under a British mandate approved by the League of Nations. The pipeline was one of two pipelines carrying oil from the Kirkuk oilfield to the Mediterranean coast. The main pipeline split at Haditha with a second line carrying oil to Tripoli, Lebanon, which was then under a French mandate. This line was built primarily to satisfy the demands of the French partner in IPC, Compagnie Française des Pétroles, for a separate line to be built across French mandated territory.

The pipeline and the Haifa refineries were considered strategically important by the British Government, and indeed provided much of the fuel needs of the British and American forces in the Mediterranean during the Second World War.

The pipeline was a target of attacks by Arab gangs during the Great Arab Revolt, and as a result one of the main objectives of a joint British-Jewish Special Night Squads commanded by Captain Orde Wingate was to protect the pipeline against such attacks. Later on, the pipeline was the target of attacks by the Irgun.

In 1948, with the outbreak of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the official operation of the pipeline ended when the Iraqi Government refused to pump any more oil through it.

Meanwhile, The Times of Israel reported in 2014:

A Free Syrian Army commander, arrested last month by the Islamist militia Al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support, in a video released this week.

In a video uploaded to YouTube Monday … Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms. Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22.

International Business Times reported in 2003:

Halliburton [which Dick Cheney was President of] is one of the firms thought by analysts to be in line to make a killing in any clean-up operation after another US-led war on Iraq.

All five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the UK, France, China, Russia and the US — have international oil companies that would benefit from huge windfalls in the event of regime change in Baghdad. The best chance for US firms to make billions would come if Bush installed a pro-US Iraqi opposition member as the head of a new government.

Representatives of foreign oil firms have already met with leaders of the Iraqi opposition. Ahmed Chalabi, the London-based leader of the Iraqi National Congress, said: ‘American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil.’

Thomas Harrington, professor of Iberian Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, writes:

To read the cold-blooded imperial reasoning in both of these documents—which speak, in the first case, quite openly of the need to destabilize the region so as to reshape Israel’s “strategic environment” and, in the second of the need to dramatically increase the number of US “forward bases” in the region ….

To do so now, after the US’s systematic destruction of Iraq and Libya—two notably oil-rich countries whose delicate ethnic and religious balances were well known to anyone in or out of government with more than passing interest in history— and after carefully calibrated efforts to generate and maintain murderous and civilization-destroying stalemates in Syria and Egypt (something that is easily substantiated despite our media’s deafening silence on the subject), is downright blood-curdling.

And yet, it seems that for even very well-informed analysts, it is beyond the pale to raise the possibility that foreign policy elites in the US and Israel, like all virtually all the ambitious hegemons before them on the world stage, might have quite coldly and consciously fomented open-ended chaos in order to achieve their overlapping strategic objectives in this part of the world.

Antiwar’s Justin Raimondo observed:

“[T]he actual purpose [of the Iraq War] was to blow the country to smithereens: to atomize it, and crush it, so that it would never rise again.

“When we invaded and occupied Iraq, we didn’t just militarily defeat Iraq’s armed forces – we dismantled their army, and their police force, along with all the other institutions that held the country together. The educational system was destroyed, and not reconstituted. The infrastructure was pulverized, and never restored. Even the physical hallmarks of a civilized society – roads, bridges, electrical plants, water facilities, museums, schools – were bombed out of existence or else left to fall into disrepair. Along with that, the spiritual and psychological infrastructure that enables a society to function – the bonds of trust, allegiance, and custom – was dissolved, leaving Iraqis to fend for themselves in a war of all against all.

“… What we are witnessing in post-Saddam Iraq is the erasure of an entire country. We can say, with confidence: We came, we saw, we atomized.”

Mass deaths from terrorist attacks are now doubling every 2 years

Washington's Blog asks:

Why? This is the question that inevitably arises in the wake of such an analysis: why deliberately destroy an entire country whose people were civilized while our European ancestors were living in trees?

The people who planned, agitated for, and executed this war are the very same people who have advanced Israeli interests – at America’s expense – at every opportunity. In “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a 1996 document prepared by a gaggle of neocons – Perle, Douglas Feith, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was urged to “break out” of Israel’s alleged stagnation and undertake a campaign of “regime change” across the Middle East, targeting Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and eventually Iran. With the exception of Iran – and that one’s still cooking on the back burner – this is precisely what has occurred. In 2003, in the immediate wake of our Pyrrhic “victory” in Iraq, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared to a visiting delegation of American members of Congress that these “rogue states” – Iran, Libya, and Syria – would have to be next on the War Party’s target list.

The Washington Post reported in 2010:

The United States has long been an exporter of terrorism, according to a secret CIA analysis released Wednesday by the Web site WikiLeaks.  That is the conclusion of the three-page classified paper produced in February, 2010 by the CIA's Red Cell, a think tank set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet to provide "out-of-the-box" analyses on "a full range of analytic issues."

We have Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange to thank for that disclosure. The President, when he is not reading to his daughters, is currently thanking Private Manning for her patriotism by torturing her (solitary confinement without reading material) over possessing expired toothpaste and the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair in her Ft. Leavenworth prison cell.

Forceful Persuasion: Coercive Diplomacy as an Alternative to War by Alexander L. George of Stanford University describes how the U.S. and its allies were the main supporters of terrorism throughout the world.

Terrorism is defined as:

 The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

It seems to us, in our humble, non-expert opinion, that the War on Terror should not continue for generations more, but be brought to a swift end with an FBI raid and trial of the occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, and on the private residence of Hillary Clinton, whose face is pictured at the top of this post.

Exxonomics 101

surfer-girl-2gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Albert Bates

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on the Peak Surfer on November 8, 2015

PeakSurfer

Discuss this article at the Energy Table inside the Diner

"You don't need 100,000 marines to secure windmills in North Dakota."

 

 The New York Times, which is quickly becoming to print media what Fox is to television news, has done what no first year news stringer should do. It buried the lead. 

It buried the lead on what is likely to become one of the most important stories of all time.

Hidden in the science section of its November 6th daily edition is this headline from a story by Clifford Kraus: More Oil Companies Could Join Exxon Mobil as Focus of Climate Investigations.  Kraus's lead is:

HOUSTON — The opening of an investigation of Exxon Mobil by the New York attorney general’s office into the company’s record on climate change may well spur legal inquiries into other oil companies, according to legal and climate experts, although successful prosecutions are far from assured.

The story goes on to describe the fraudulent activities undertaken by Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other oil majors from 1990 to 2001, using astroturf fronts with names like Global Climate Coalition and the American Legislative Exchange Council. The writer, and presumably the Times editorial team, assumes the reason NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is investigating is because the companies spent millions or billions on a disinformation campaign, purchasing no fewer than four U.S. presidents and vast numbers of Congressmen and Senators. These disinformation campaigns cast doubt on climate science by parading shill pseudoscientists before legislative committees. The purchased politicians then went before the public and parroted the oil company line: "Climate Change? Nothing to see here, move along."

The Times seems to think the NYAG is after some kind of conviction for perjury or advertising fraud.

By now this spin on the story is so old and been told so many times, we are surprised that it is still considered news. Maybe that is why it got bumped to the science page. Everyone knew, despite the feigned shock of Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and others, that Exxon had extensively researched the subject in the 1970s, concluded by the mid-80s that climate change was a serious threat, and then killed its own research program and financed opposition.

The real news story is something else. It is not what the investigation is but where it is. The New York Attorney General's office peers from its eyrie in Albany down the Hudson River, across the white plains and palisades to lower Manhattan, but it is only one of two such offices that watches. The other is located closer to the action, in the Federal Courthouse just below Wall Street, where dwells the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a Mr. Preet Bharara. If you bike by there, however, you see that dog is chained by a very long chain that runs all the way to the back porch of a big white house in Washington. Lest we forget, the nation's last Attorney General came from and went back to Wall Street's Covington & Burling, after 6 years of hearing nothing, seeing nothing and saying nothing as the nation's top law enforcer.

Why should Exxon and Chevron be worried? That would be because what is of interest to a NYAG watchdog is not about buying politicians or suborning perjury. It's about stock manipulation. After a decade of pretty good in-house science, Exxon and the other majors knew by the 80s that the pace of global warming was accelerating and that very soon there would be a massive, increasingly desperate effort underway to shift from fossil fuels to carbon-free renewables in order to escape Cauldron Earth. The hotter it gets, the more frenzied this effort will become, and the less likely Exxon will be able to cash in its balance sheet of fossil assets.
 

Meadows, et al, 1971 Limits to Growth with overlay of
Bates 1990, Climate in Crisis

If you were a CEO of one of these companies, the math would trouble your mind. It would cloud your thinking as you set up for that long putt on the 8th green. It would creep into your internal dialog as you are eyeing that cocktail waitress at a swank restaurant. Your worth as a company, the basis for the company's share price, and your own compensation and stock option packages, all depend on the estimated and proven reserves of oil and gas still in the ground. If, for some reason, those reserves could never be withdrawn – never be burned – then you have a serious problem. Your company is overvalued, and likewise the share price, and your own personal net worth. This is what interests the NY Attorney General. It's the math. Its also the mens rea – your state of mind; what you knew and when you knew it.

It is one thing to have a company whose worth exceeds not only that of any company on Earth but also of any company in history. It is another entirely if that worth is overstated, perhaps by a factor of 100, 1000, or one million times. That becomes the biggest stock fraud in history. For a young or politically ambitious AG, it is a ticket to glory.

On Thursday the Times reported:

Attorneys general for other states could join in Mr. Schneiderman’s efforts, bringing far greater investigative and legal resources to bear on the issue. Some experts see the potential for a legal assault on fossil fuel companies similar to the lawsuits against tobacco companies in recent decades, which cost those companies tens of billions of dollars in penalties.

Potential fines and imprisonment don't begin to tell the story here. Devaluation of the stock – mark to market – is the real penalty. Is Exxon, whose shares are held by teachers' credit unions, public employee pension funds, and more people than almost any other stock, too big to fail? Whether it is too big to jail is irrelevant. Once that asset is devalued, something huge will be set in motion: a trillion dollar switch away from fossil investment, and just coincidentally, an end to the leading justification for military adventurism, support for Israeli hardliners, the puppet regime in Kiev, the ISIS black op and Saudi Arabian feudalism, among other pastimes.


That whole shooting match in Syria, driving millions of refugees into Europe, is about whether Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Russia and Iran and a proponent of a gas pipeline from Iran across Kurdistan to the sea, will be deposed by ISIS terrorists trained by CIA in the Colonel Kurtz style of spectacular horror and funded by the Pentagon so that the US could instead build a pipeline to European markets through Syria from Iraq. The Russian Air Force, with a new generation of fighters that can fly circles around anything built by Lockheed Martin, is looking like it will decide that one. It is pulverizing ISIS.

You don't need 100,000 marines to secure windmills in North Dakota.

That is the story the Times is missing.

In the Thursday story, the Times had a link to a 29-page Exxon report for its shareholders. The company essentially ruled out the possibility that governments would adopt climate policies stringent enough to force it to leave its reserves in the ground, saying that rising population and global energy demand would prevent that. “Meeting these needs will require all economic energy sources, especially oil and natural gas,” it said. Here is an image from that report. We especially enjoyed the absurdity of their idea of what better farming looks like.

 

World population is going to grow by 3 North Americas in 15 years.

In their report, Exxon predicts that the world will add 2 billion more people in the next 15 years, or roughly four more North Americas if you include Mexico and Canada. This tracks similar assessments by the UN and the World Population Council. That increase is baked in the cake just from the number of adolescents reaching childbearing age in these coming years. Exxon believes GDP will grow at 3 times the rate of population if energy supply is adequate. "We see the world requiring 35 percent more energy in 2040 than it did in 2010."
 

"In analyzing the evolution of the world’s energy mix, we anticipate renewables growing at the fastest pace among all sources through the Outlook period. However, because they make a relatively small contribution compared to other energy sources, renewables will continue to comprise about 5 percent of the total energy mix by 2040."


While we don't buy the whole package, we find ourselves agreeing with Exxon about one thing. Business as usual is not possible with an all-renewables portfolio. We wonder where even the finance for such a build-out would come from? More debt? The world financial system came with in a hair's breadth of financial collapse in 2008. Since then the balloon has reinflated and stretched bigger. China just arrested its free-falling stock market by issuing even more debt. But sooner or later loans have to be repaid, with interest, and in a shrinking resource economy they cannot be. When the day of reckoning eventually arrives, our chances of avoiding collapse are very slim. Gail Tverberg says,  "The change … is similar to losing the operating system on a computer, or unplugging a refrigerator from the wall."

Where we part company with Exxon is that Exxon thinks governments will choose to keep heating the planet and we think they will dispense with business as usual. Only time will tell, although the issue will be up for serious debate this December in Paris.

Business as usual will not be an easy thing to give up.

In terms of energy conservation, the leaps made in energy efficiency by the infrastructure and devices we use to access the internet have allowed many online activities to be viewed as more sustainable than offline.

On the internet, however, advances in energy efficiency have a reverse effect: as the network becomes more energy efficient, its total energy use increases. This trend can only be stopped when we limit the demand for digital communication.
 

***

In recent years, the focus has been mostly on the energy use of data centers, which host the computers (the “servers”) that store all information online. However, in comparison, more electricity is used by the combination of end-use devices (the “clients”, such as desktops, laptops and smartphones), the network infrastructure (which transmits digital information between servers and clients), and the manufacturing process of servers, end-use devices, and networking devices.  

Low Tech Magazine

By 2017, the electricity use of the internet globally is expected to rise to between 2,547 teraWatt-hours (low case) and 3,422 tWh (high case). The high case is made more likely by underdeveloping nations bypassing wired communications to go directly to smart phones and other devices, which are increasingly dependent on cloud services. Under these circumstances electricity use for internet will likely double every 5 years, to 110000 tWh (110 petaWatt-hours) by 2040. This would add another USA in electricity consumers every 5 years  three more USAs in 15 years. That, of course, assumes that cloud computing doesn't follow the exponential growth its proponents seek.

Can renewables meet this demand? Right now in the US, renewables account for 13.2 percent of domestically produced electricity. Wind turbine capacity is 65 GWe installed (0.07 tWe), but because of wind and load intermittency, the mills only turn about 32% of the time, producing about 180 million kWh last year (180 GWhr, or 0.2 TWh). That was one ten-thousandth of what was used globally by the internet. To build out renewables to power just the internet by 2040 would require 110 pWh, or more than a million times all the renewable electricity produced by the USA today.

How probable is that? Exxon is completely accurate in labeling it fantasy.

And speaking of fantasy, imagine for a moment that Mr. Schneiderman gets his teeth into Exxon's stock fraud and won't stop shaking until the company restates its book value, sans proven reserves. There has been a recent fall in oil price (owing less to fracking, as the popular narrative has it, than to China's deflationary spiral that has tanked world demand), but if you are a shareholder, this might be a good time to sell.

Or you could take your advice from the nation's paper of record and assume everything is hunky dory. 

Bread, Circuses & Bombs

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Burning Platform on September 22, 2014

fall-of-rome

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

BREAD, CIRCUSES & BOMBS – DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE

“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: Bread and Circuses.”

Juvenal – Satire (100 A.D.)

 

Roman satirist and poet Juvenal was displaying contempt for a degraded Roman citizenry that had shunned civic responsibility, shirked their duties of citizenship within a republic, and had chosen to sell their votes to feckless politicians for assurances of bread and circuses. Rather than govern according to noble principles based upon reason, striving for public policies that led to long term sustainability and benefitting the majority of citizens, politicians chose superficial displays and appeasing the masses utilizing the lowest common denominator of “free” food and bountiful spectacles, pageants, and ceremonies in order to retain power.

The Roman Empire’s decline stretched across centuries as the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizenry allowed demagogues to gain power and barbarians to eventually overrun the weakened empire. While the peasants were distracted with shallow exhibitions of palliative pleasures, those in power were debasing the currency, enriching themselves, and living pampered lives of luxury. The Roman leaders bought public approval and support, not through exemplary public service, but through diversion, distraction, and the satisfaction of base immediate needs and desires of the populace. Satisfying the crude motivations of the ignorant peasants (cheap food and entertainment) is how Roman politicians bought votes and retained power. Free wheat, circus games, and feeding Christians to lions kept the commoners from focusing on politicians pillaging and wasting the empire’s wealth.

History may not repeat exactly because technology, resource discoveries, and political dynamics change the nature of society, but it does rhyme because the human foibles of greed, lust for power, arrogance, and desire for conquest do not vary across the ages. The corruption, arrogance, hubris, currency debasement, materialism, imperialism, and civic decay that led to the ultimate downfall of the Roman Empire is being repeated on an even far greater scale today as the American Empire flames out after only two centuries. The pillars of western society are crumbling under the sustained pressure of an immense mountain of debt, created by crooked bankers and utilized by corrupt politicians to sustain and expand their welfare/warfare state. Recklessness, myopia, greed, willful ignorance, and selfish disregard for unborn generations are the earmarks of decline in this modern day empire of debt, delusion and decay.

“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence – those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are over-consuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.”Aldous Huxley – Island

Rome was eight and a half centuries old when Juvenal scornfully described the degenerative spiral of the Roman populace. Still, the Western Empire lasted another three centuries before finally succumbing to the Visigoths and Vandals. The far slower pace of history and lack of other equally matched competing nation states allowed Rome to exist for centuries beyond its Pax Romana period of unprecedented political stability and prosperity, which lasted for two centuries. Prior to becoming an empire, the Roman Republic was a network of towns left to rule themselves with varying degrees of independence from the Roman Senate and provinces administered by military commanders. It was ruled, not by Emperors, but by annually elected magistrates known as Roman Consuls. The Roman citizens were a proud people who had a strong sense of civic duty and made government work for the people.

During the 1st century B.C. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts, conspiracies and civil wars, while greatly extending their imperial power beyond Italy through military conquest. After the assassination of Julius Caesar and the ascension of Augustus to emperor in 27 BC, after a century of civil wars, Rome experienced an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. During this era, the solidity of the Empire was furthered by a degree of societal stability and economic prosperity. But it didn’t last. The successors to Augustus contributed to the progressive ruination of the empire. The repugnant reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero reflected the true nature of the Roman people, who had relinquished their sovereignty to government administrators to whom they had granted absolute powers, in return for food and entertainment. It was the beginning of the end.

The American Republic began as a loose confederation of states who ruled themselves, with little or no direction from a central authority. The Articles of Confederation, ratified in 1781 by all 13 States, limited the powers of the central government. The Confederation Congress could make decisions, but lacked enforcement powers. Implementation of most decisions, including modifications to the Articles, required unanimous approval of all thirteen state legislatures. After winning the war for independence from England, the U.S. Constitution, which shifted power to a central authority, was ratified in 1789. The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, was passed in 1791 with the purpose of protecting individual liberties and insuring justice for all. Their function was to safeguard the citizens from an authoritarian federal government. These imperfect documents would benefit and protect the rights of the American people only if applied by moral, just, incorruptible, noble, honorable leaders and enforced by an educated, concerned, vigilant citizenry.

As with the Roman Empire, the quality of leadership has rapidly deteriorated over the last two centuries and now wallows at disgustingly low levels. These leaders are a reflection of a people who have abandoned their desire for knowledge, responsibility for their lives, work ethic, belief in freedom and the U.S. Constitution. The Juvenal of our times was H.L. Mencken who aptly and scornfully described the citizenry in 1920 as an ignorant mob who would eventually elect a downright moron to the presidency. He was right.

“The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” H.L. Mencken

A Republic was formed 225 years ago, as opposed to a monarchy, by men of good intentions. They weren’t perfect, but their goals for the new nation were honorable and decent. Ben Franklin had his doubts regarding whether we could keep a republic. He had good reason to doubt the long-term sustainability of this experiment. Freedom is not something bestowed on us by men of higher caste. We are born into this world free, with the liberty to live our lives as we see fit, the opportunity to educate oneself and the freedom to succeed as far as our capabilities and efforts allow. Only a self-reliant, virtuous, moral, civic minded people are capable of enjoying the fruits of freedom. Once corruption, self-interest, greed, and dependency upon government bureaucrats for sustenance become prevalent, the populace seeks masters who promise safety and security in return for sacrificing essential liberty and basic freedoms.

The country has defeated foreign invaders, withstood financial calamities, endured a bloody civil war, benefitted immensely from the discovery of oil under its soil, became an industrial power, fought on the winning side of two world wars, and since 1946 has become the greatest imperial empire since Rome fell to the barbarians. Over the course of our 225 year journey there has been a gradual relinquishment of the citizens’ sovereignty and autonomy to an ever more overbearing central government. Lincoln’s unprecedented expansion of Federal government authority during the Civil War marked a turning point, as state and local rights became subservient to an all-powerful central authority. Individual liberty has been surrendered and freedoms forfeited over a decades long insidious regression of a once courageous, independent, self-sufficient citizenry into a mob of cowering, willfully ignorant dependents of the deep state.

From the inception of the country there has been a constant battle between the banking interests and the common people. Bankers have used fraudulent fractional reserve banking to speculate for their own benefit, made risky loans, and created every financial crisis in the country’s history. The profits from excessive risk taking are retained by the bankers. The inevitable losses are borne by taxpayers with the excuse that the financial system must be saved and preserved. The storyline never changes. The beginning of the end of the American Empire can be pinpointed to the year 1913, only 124 years after its inception. Private banking interests captured the monetary system of the empire with the secretive creation of the Federal Reserve. The power of the central state was solidified with the implementation of the personal income tax, allowing politicians to bribe their constituents with modern day “bread and circuses”, paid for with money taken at gunpoint from them by the central state. We are now nothing but the hollowed out shell of a once noble Republic.

A century of central banking and heavy taxation of the people by bought off politician puppets has coincided with a century of war, depressions, currency debasement, overconsumption, obscene levels of consumer debt, trillions of excessive debt financed government spending, hundreds of trillions in unfunded entitlement liabilities, and a persistent decline in standard of living for the masses due to Federal Reserve manufactured inflation. We have failed to heed the lessons of history. We have repeated the blunders committed by the Romans.

The American Empire will not be murdered by an external force because it is too busy committing suicide. The moneyed interests, corporate oligarchs and their hand-picked politician front men see themselves as conquering heroes. Their colossal hubris and arrogance is only matched by the ignorance, gullibility, quivering fear of bogeymen, and susceptibility to propaganda of the general populace. The Wall Street bankers and feckless politicians are not gods, they are only men. Death is the great equalizer for emperors and peasants alike. The only thing that remains is your legacy and whether you positively impacted the world. It can be unequivocally stated that those in power today are leaving a legacy of despair, destruction, and debt.

Empires are born and empires die. The American Empire will not be sustained for eight centuries, as the swiftness of modern civilization, nuclear proliferation, religious zealotry, and sociopathic leadership ensures we will flame out in a blaze of glory before reaching our third century. The spirit of independence, idealism, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, knowledge seeking, advancement, and goodwill towards our fellow citizens that marked the height of our fledgling country has succumbed to a malaise of government dependency, cynicism, living on the dole, financial Ponzi schemes, willful ignorance, materialism, delusion, and myopic self-interest. The moral decline of the American populace has been reflected in the deteriorating quality of leaders we have chosen over the last century. Prosperity was taken for granted and no longer earned. We abdicated our civic responsibility to corrupt financiers and power seeking politicians. As time has passed, the ruling elite have grown ever more powerful and wealthy, at the expense of the peasantry. These sociopaths see themselves as god-like emperors, on par with the vilest of the Roman emperors.

Historians will mark 1980 as another turning point, when the nation capitulated to the financiers and ceded control of our destiny to Wall Street bankers, the military industrial complex, and globalist billionaires. The final deformation from a productive society built upon savings, capital investment, and goods production to a borrowing, gambling, and consumption society built upon debt and profiteering by powerful corporate and banking interests had commenced. The peak of this warfare/welfare state insanity was reached in 2000 and the road to decline and decay is now littered with the figurative corpses of a gutted middle class and the literal corpses of men, women and children across the globe, killed during our never ending imperial conquests. The ruling elite sense the futility and foolishness of their folly, but their insatiable appetite for wealth, power, triumph and glory blind them to the destructive consequences of their actions upon the nation and their fellow man. Power and dominion over others is a powerful aphrodisiac for our current day emperors and self-preservation at all costs is their mantra.

While they bask in their perceived triumph and glory, achieved through rigging the financial and political systems in their favor, they should heed the faint whisper in their ear that all glory is fleeting.

“For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.” George S. Patton, Jr.

The decline of the Roman Empire can be attributed to a number of supportable hypotheses, which have been documented by historians over time. They include:

  • Perpetual warfare depleted the treasury and wasted the manhood of the empire. The use of mercenary armies eventually led to the sacking of Rome by the very armies they had employed.
  • Military overexpansion and spending resulted in resources being diverted from technological advancement, maintenance of the civil infrastructure, and worthwhile investments to support economic growth.
  • Excessive welfare spending, oppressive taxation and currency debasement widened the gap between rich and poor, resulting in discontent, mistrust and rebellion.
  • The emergence of an all-powerful centralized authoritarian government ruling by mandate, racked by corruption, and kept in power by bribing its subjects with promises of bread and circuses.
  • Emperors and Senators became oligarchs and their conspicuous consumption provided proof of their corruption and decadence. The widespread corruption and incompetence of its leadership led to a waning in civic pride among the citizens.
  • The decline in productive commercial and agricultural industries due to high taxes on producers, used to support the military empire, contributed to the circumstances that allowed barbarian invasions to succeed.
  • The moral decay of the people was caused by the influx of slave labor from conquered territories, resulting in a decline in middle class work ethic, and the subsequent rise in the level of citizens on the dole. An economy based upon slave labor precluded a middle class with buying power.

In Part Two of this tale of two empires, I’ll document the parallels between mistakes made, eternal human foibles, military misfortunes, financial misconduct, and moral decay, that denote the decline of the Roman and American Empires.

Jobz, God and the DNC

Off the Keyboard of William Hunter Duncan

This article first appeared at Off the Grid in Minneapolis.

Discuss this in the Epicurean Delights thread of the diner forum

 

Last week was my second, in my return to the beast, my return to another behemoth. If there is anyone out there who remembers my early days as a blogger, you might recall that at my last job under the wing of the beast, I spent part of my days on the job, blogging about the job, in a not very flattering way about the job, or the behemoth. That job was like paradise compared to my current employment; there will be no more blogging about the beast on the job. The last behemoth didn’t care much what I did, or even if I was there, as long as what they expected of me got done. This new job, if I am not a computer or a machine, big bank will force me to think and act like one. This behemoth is about breaking the spirit, in as subtle a way as is possible.

It’s the hand of God, don’t you know, that I have ended up here. The hand of God is the reason I am working for less than I make landscaping, less than half I made at that other behemoth, doing something that is entirely outside my primary skill set. I know how to take a house off the grid; I know how to grow large amounts of food; I write prolifically and well; I am good at managing people. But God apparently has said, you will stare at a computer all day and organize digital mortgage documents because my favored children made loans to people to buy houses they couldn’t afford, while imploding the global economy with those mortgages – therefore you, as my not-favored child, because you have not preyed upon your fellow humans, because you have not been greedy and have not twisted yourself in knots justifying your exploitation, shall wither as an automaton!

My one “abuse” of the clock is to read the banking “news” as proferred by big bank on it’s website. The newz can be summed up as, regulations are bad, the mysterious market heals all wounds, and shouldn’t you be happy to have a job, even if you are making half to a third of what you were making before the collapse, (even if the cost of everything important has risen or remained equal, not least of all your mortgage, assuming you still have one.) The latest scheme is to bundle big blocks of those foreclosed homes and sell them to speculators, who will rent them, or have the option to sell. Said speculator getting a far sweeter deal than Joe and Jill Schmo would. Because don’t you know you don’t have the incentive to work your ass off and justify warmongering and global exploitation, if you aren’t compelled to by a fat mortgage? I’m sure the speculators will take excellent care of the houses and the renters, at a price the market can bear (read, work your ass off and keep your mouth shut about the way God runs things.)

Meanwhile, this week like the week prior with the RNC, I stayed up past my bedtime to listen to the Democratic National Convention. I turned to NPR Tuesday evening, to catch the tail end of John Kerry pimping for war in Syria, Bill Burton of Priorities Superpac, quoting Donald Rumsfeld and analogizing Pearl Harbor, and that warmonger EJ Dionne gushing about how unlike any previous Dem convention, everybody in the mob was in sync. If you listened or watched at all you know the Dems are plenty capable of mindlessly chanting USA. For awhile listening to Michelle Obama, I remember thinking I’d prefer her as president, until I remembered that she is a lawyer too. An ace for Barack though, for sure.

Bill Clinton is an Ace too. Too bad he forgot to mention, it was during his presidency that the financial markets were deregulated. He did mention that regulations are important, and the Republicans want to go back to the way it was before the crash. Hmm…That was about the time I began to reflect on the fact, that to the extent Americans are paying attention, policy does not matter anywhere near as much as rhetoric. The Dems in their convention did an excellent job, IMHO, of telling a story that is in contrast to the Republican story (the Repubs did a horseshit job of telling theirs, which is a hard sell admittedly, it’s so goddamned mean.) The trouble is, it’s only a story, and if you don’t give a damn about the story and you actually pay attention to the policies, at the core there isn’t any fundamental difference between the parties. It’s really all about big corporate, big banks and global war.

Biden was up next, Thursday prior to Obambam. Grandpa Joe, the abider. Now, I listened to the DNC, I didn’t watch it on tee-vee. And I can tell you, without the visuals, the voice-over in the video introduction to Biden’s speech, was just plain creepy. But not as creepy as Grandpa Joe. What sort of American VP, the author of anti violence-against-women legislation no less, refers to his wife, the mother of his children, the matriarch to his grandchildren, as Kiddo, on the stage at the DNC? But that is not necessarily as creepy as a sitting American VP who goes to Jerusalem and says publicly, “It’s good to be home.” Or his professed loyalty to a president with a spine like a “ram rod.” On the whole, a speech that can be summed up as warmongering, “BOOM BOOM BOOM,” and support for carz, because don’t you know, it was the makers of carz that “put America on the map.” “No intention to downsize the American Dream,” clearly. His choked up pity party for the “fallen angels” was pure political fakery. No ace there, though his speech was far more impressive rhetoric than Romney’s, the standard bearer.

Obama is an Ace, too. A testament to his celebrity, that the much less obtrusive voice-over in his video was no less than George Clooney. Though what does it say about a sitting American president, who takes the stage to accept his party’s nomination for a second term, to the soothing sounds of Coldplay? I can imagine that was an oblique reference to O’s ice cold handling of the Bin Laden affair (and by extension, though never mentioned of course, his kill list, or his lawyerly dismantling of the Constitution.) But Coldplay are Englishmen.

“Hope has been tested,” he said. Indeed, he sounded like a practiced actor, until he got to the point about how much land he had and would open up to gas, oil and “clean coal” extraction. Though hey, he talked about renewables, and he even mentioned global warming! But then he repeated the well refuted lie about 100 years of natural gas, with emphasis. Nevertheless, the crowd was fired up! even chanting USA with intensity when he got to talkin about Osama. Though there was an ever so subtle pause in the fervor, when he talked about maintaining the strongest military the world has ever known – not long after which he reiterated America’s loyalty to Israel, and rebuked Iran. “God bless the Democratic Party.”

First of all, I’m wondering, when did the numbers 2016 and 2024, in reference to the insolvency of Medicare, become part of the lexicon? I consider myself a fairly astute observer of the newz, and I have never heard these numbers before. They were up front and center, at the DNC. And since when has this President embraced the Simpson/Bowles commission, and their deficit reduction scheme? Not at all in the first four years – he walked away from it! But now it’s what he’s been fighting for all along? I listen to these men, and I can’t help but think, this is only theatre. There is some agenda that transcends America. There is some plan that supercedes the American dream, and these men are commissioned to tell us what we want to hear, when it comes time to make a good face of it, so we continue to think we are voting for people who have ours or America’s best interest in mind.

I said last week the Dems have no soul. That would be a generalized reference to the party that has not abandoned “science”, or scientific materialism. Which is to say, the party that believes literally that we have no soul, notwithstanding what anyone in the party thinks for themselves. Though “God” was referenced in abundance at the convention, if not in the platform. As if God were any measure of the behavior of, say, the Republicans? As if proclamations about God are not mostly about justifying whatever corrupt, vicious, inhuman behavior one wishes to justify? Warmongering, for instance. Or making the poor poorer. Or treating people like automatons.

The Dems have no soul because they are as captive as any American, to the narrative of progress and growth, which is inextricably leading them to support military action in the Middle East, again. Only this time, for all the marbles. Except such a war is going to crack, nay, shatter all the marbles, destroying modernism as we know it, potentially even reducing global population by the billion, leading to an attempt at total government lock down here in America and eventually total chaos.

But wtf am I barking about? I took this job because I made a commitment to this community, and I stayed up late analyzing the message of the supposedly separate political parties, out of a sense of duty. And what has that got me? Sick. A chest infection, exactly like the one I had when I left the beast four years ago, a sickness which I haven’t had anything like, these last four years.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner

Search the Diner

Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D

Archives

Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

Quote from: Surly1 on Today at 05:11:05 PMQuote from: RE on Today at 09:37:31 AMThe Potlatch Parking Lot is taking off!  I fed more than a dozen people yesterday out on a cool (finall...

Quote from: RE on Today at 09:37:31 AMThe Potlatch Parking Lot is taking off!  I fed more than a dozen people yesterday out on a cool (finally, thank god!) Alaska evening (what passes for evening in summer her...

Quote from: RE on Today at 09:41:28 AMQuote from: knarf on Today at 09:03:17 AM"It's a long way to temporary"   The few days while going over the reported newz of the d...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2019/07/16/the-mississippi-is-bringing-a-lot-more-than-just-water-to-the-gu...

Quote from: knarf on Today at 09:03:17 AM"It's a long way to temporary"   The few days while going over the reported newz of the day, all I am seeing is some aspect of our screwed up world. Literally ...

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

Quote from: RE on Today at 09:41:28 AMQuote from: [...]

Quote from: knarf on Today at 09:03:17 AM"It [...]

"It's a long way to temporary"   Th [...]

Diner Newz Feeds

  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Quote from: Surly1 on July 14, 2019, 06:38:21 PMQu [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily July 16The Diner Daily is av [...]

Quote from: Ashvin on July 15, 2019, 05:50:26 PMQu [...]

Quote from: RE on July 15, 2019, 11:43:30 AMQuote [...]

Quote from: Ashvin on July 15, 2019, 05:40:31 AMTh [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

Quote from: RE on Today at 09:41:28 AMQuote from: [...]

Quote from: knarf on Today at 09:03:17 AM"It [...]

"It's a long way to temporary"   Th [...]

26 Jun, 2019Whether it was the Big Bang, Midas or [...]

In November 2018, a 66-year-old man named Tommy Th [...]

Dear Readers, Things in Venezuela are getting mess [...]

Quote from: Golden Oxen on April 27, 2019, 01:49:4 [...]

Musings from the Potlatch Parking Lot while cookin [...]

Nice! Cant wait to see the article. [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on July 07, 2019, 01:51:06 PMQu [...]

Quote from: RE on July 07, 2019, 08:30:58 AMQuote [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on June 28, 2019, 05:41:10 PMQu [...]

Alternate Perspectives

  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Meanderings By Cognitive Dissonance     Tis the Season Silly season is upon us. And I, for one, welc [...]

The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

A Window Into Our World By Cognitive Dissonance   Every year during the early spring awakening I qui [...]

Deaf, Dumb and Blind Who Is Better at Conceding They Are Wrong - Conservative or Liberal Extremists? [...]

The Apology: From baby boomers to the handicapped generations. by David Holmgren Re-posted from Holm [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-13http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-12http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-11http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-07-10http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Good Times Traveled"Water may stain the frescos, earthquakes may close the tunnels, but the temples will survive. [...]

Clash of the Negative Emissions Titans: Cannabis, Meet Biochar"These signs and portents point to a coming Anthropocene that will not be your daddy’s World Wa [...]

The Real Climate Debate"That lump in your throat you feel listening to someone laying down hard truth in a poetic way [...]

Riding the Whale’s Tail"Our biological and cultural blinders are equal in every way to those worn by Material Evangeli [...]

Carbon in the Dale"Rather than put back the coal mines, we should seriously think about putting back the forests. [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Why has it taken so long for the climate movement to accomplish so little? And how can we do better [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

Yeah, I suppose the only strategy at this point is to do what works, borrow ever more, even if it me [...]

"A crash of Deutsche Bank has serious implications for the world’s financial system because the [...]

https://z3news.com/w/bank-run-begun-deutsche-bank-germany-largest-bank/ That's another linked s [...]

yes, let's sing! Deutsche Bank Deutsche Bank uber alles Biggest bank run in der Welt [...]

Hi Steve. I recently found what I believe is a little gem, and I'm quite confident you'd a [...]

The Federal Reserve is thinking about capping yields? I don't know how long TPTB can keep this [...]

As some one who has spent years trying to figure out what the limits to growth are. let me say that [...]

Peak oil definitely happened for gods sake. Just because it isn't mad max right now is no indic [...]

@Volvo - KMO says he made some life choices he regrets. Not sure what they were. And I don't th [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

Climate change mitigation targets have put pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of cultural herit [...]

In February 2019, central Canada, and especially the province of Saskatchewan, experienced extreme c [...]

Incomplete climate records pose a major challenge to decision makers that utilize climate data as on [...]