Links 8/10/14

Horses’ mobile ears are ‘communication tool’ BBC

The Weird Minutes Before Nixon’s Resignation New Yorker

Digital disruption in the world’s oldest profession Financial Times

Almost one in six doctor visits will be virtual this year ComputerWorld

Faith in Scientific Progress Decreases Eco-Friendly Behavior Pacific Standard (Lawrence R)

Dispute Between Amazon and Hachette Takes an Orwellian Turn New York Times

Saudi Arabia deports ‘irresistible’ men deemed ‘too handsome’ to women Telegraph (Chuck L)

Social Engineering a Telemarketer” Chris Blasko (Bruce Schneier)


Tracing Ebola’s Breakout to an African 2-Year-Old New York Times

Fighting the fever Economist

Dim Future for Europe’s Youth Wall Street Journal. This happened in Japan in the post-crisis era, in the form of the rise of “freeters”.

Something’s got to give in Italy: better it be Draghi with a bag of cheap loans Guardian


Fresh fears for Gaza talks in Cairo BBC

Gaza truce talks near collapse? DW

Israel Ministers Talk of Crushing Hamas Vowing to Fight Bloomberg

The Occupation is Forever CounterPunch

The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and How to Fix It Information Clearing House (1 SK)

Egypt exposed by Gaza Al-Monitor (Chuck L)


US analysts conclude MH17 downed by aircraft New Straits Times (Chuck L)

Ukrainian soldier tells all Political Reality


Obama vows limits as U.S. airstrikes in Iraq continue Washington Post

Are ‘targeted airstrikes’ as precise as is claimed? DW

Crisis in the Middle East: The end of a country, and the start of a new dark age Patrick Cockburn, Independent. A must read.

Isis consolidates Patrick Cockburn, London Review of Books. Also very informative.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

John McAfee in surprise rant over Google and privacy BBC. This isn’t a rant; it’s articulate and persuasive. So is saying something even tamely critical of Google now a rant?

The NSA Secretly Tried To Delete Part Of A Courtroom Transcript It Deemed Classified Daily Caller

Bitcoin Suspected to Be NSA or CIA Project IBT. Warning: this verges on CT, but the intelligence services have done lots of stuff that would be assumed to be CT until the facts were later exposed, so I’ll leave it to readers to debate this one.


Obamacare typo costs Vegas family $1.2 million Las Vegas Review Journal. The horror stories that Lambert anticipated are starting to come in.

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Ginormous medical bills because Nevada Health Link can’t fix a typo Corrente

Beyond Torture: The CIA’s Shameful Kidnapping of a 12-Year-Old Girl Atlantic (freso dan)

Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived? New York Times Lambert: “Well, this is horrible. I remember exactly the same kind of stories about young Conservatives, back in the day. The fact that they’re funded by the most noxious squillionaires imaginable is mentioned in passing, as a sort of happy accident.”

NYT Sunday Magazine Falls Hook, Line and Sinker For Libertarians’ Big Propaganda Lie Alternet

Blame game follows tea party defeats Politico. Note that this is the lead story on the site.

Midterms approach with no dominant national theme high on voters’ minds Washington Post

Flipping Schools: The Hidden Forces Behind New Jersey Education Reform TruthOut

Shock Doctrine 4: Hostile Takeover Nattering Naybob. On Detroit.

What I Could Not Tell The Jury in Decatur Housing Justice Foundation

A Corporate Tax Break That’s Closer to Home Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Class Warfare

How rural poverty is changing: Your fate is increasingly tied to your town Washington Post

Bare shelves for Market Basket as employees and shoppers unite in profit-sharing fight PBS (Carolinian)

Unions That Used to Strike Jacobin

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    Ah, one must enjoy such archaic expressions as “the Leader of the Free World” and “reënactment”.

    However, “The script is taken entirely from the Nixon tapes—the audio captured by the voice-activated recorders that Nixon had installed in the White House” is surely misleading. My memory is that surreptitious tape-recording in the White House went back to JFK. Unless they would like jesuitically to claim that all they meant was that the voice-activation was Nixon’s doing: in which case they’d be admitting to being consciously misleading, and claiming only that it wasn’t actually a lie.

    1. Carolinian

      Each President made their own decision on whether to tape and how it should be done. It wasn’t a built in feature of the White House.

      The taping system was installed in selected rooms in the White House in February 1971 and was voice activated. The records come from line-taps placed on the telephones and small lavalier microphones in various locations around the rooms. The recordings were produced on up to nine Sony TC-800B open-reel tape recorders. The recorders were turned off on July 18, 1973, shortly after they became public knowledge as a result of the Watergate hearings.

      Nixon was not the first president to record his White House conversations; the tradition began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and continued under Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. It also continued under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. What differentiated the Nixon system from the others, however, is the fact that the Nixon system was automatically activated by voice as opposed to being manually activated by a switch.

      1. Carolinian

        And btw White House taping wasn’t the only activity Nixon shared with his predecessors. One reason he may have seemed so casual before his resignation is that he never felt that he had done anything wrong or at least anything different from what went on during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. As we’ve learned more about such behind the scenes activities as Kennedy’s war on Cuba , Johnson’s lies during Vietnam, there is some evidence that this is true–not completely true of course. The irony of Watergate is that Nixon was brought down by his sleazy political operation when his far greater crimes such as the overthrow of Pinochet, the Cambodia incursion or the secret deal to continue the war didn’t factor in (or perhaps they did in the minds of those who went after him, but not in the scandal that was put before the public). While Nixon’s resignation was presented at the time as triumph for democracy it had some repercussions that haven’t been so benign and democracy no longer seems triumphant at all. Watergate is a very complicated thing….not a simple morality tale.

        1. nobody

          It’s not altogether clear that Nixon “was brought down by his sleazy political operation.” Russ Baker:

          “[I]t appears [that] Watergate was…a setup…a fairly elaborate covert operation, with three parts: 1) creating the crime, 2) implicating Nixon by making him appear to be knowledgeable and complicit in a cover-up, and 3) ensuring that an aggressive effort would be mounted to use the “facts” of the case to prosecute Nixon and force him from office… Nixon appears to have been ousted in a nonviolent coup… Nixon, of course, was no innocent. He played rough with his critics, and he liked intrigue. But the evidence indicates that, despite his documented penchant for dirty deeds, he wasn’t behind Watergate and the Watergate related dirty deeds that ultimately brought him down.”

            1. nobody

              Click through on the link and read the chapters from Russ Baker’s book. He discusses your question.

        2. Carolinian

          A little more; Ted Rall on Nixon v Obama

          By today’s standards, however, Nixon’s efforts to protect his henchmen, including his screwing around with the FBI investigation that led to an article of impeachment for obstruction of justice, look positively penny-ante, more worthy of a traffic ticket than a high crime or misdemeanor. Obstruction of justice, scandalous and impeachable just 40 years ago, has become routine.

      2. leeskyblue

        “What differentiated the Nixon system … is the fact that the Nixon system was automatically activated by voice ”

        Do you know of a legal difference between an automated system and say, Bush Jr’s tapes?
        Because it was infuriating at the time to watch Bush simply say ” no” to the release of his tapes, and to to hear the ACLU claim in response to be helpless — “Golly, he refused — we can’t do anything.”
        — And instead of impeachment proceedings, that was the end of it.

        1. juliania

          I don’t find Nixon’s demeanor difficult to understand during the minutes before his speech, or after, for that matter. The bubble in which he moved stayed intact until the moment he died. Perfectly consistent with his attitude after losing to Kennedy, and the parting shot that ‘you won’t have Nixon to kick around any more.’ That Christmas quip was in exactly the same tone.

          That was what made that man so dangerous, and does for the one occupying the White House at the present moment. No ability to ever see himself as others saw him; the artificiality of that self-delusion apparent in every move made not ever to back down from a position taken, so that the ordinary human weaknesses of jealousy, intrigue, vindictiveness, and the like get blown up into heroic Emperor Jones proportions and become a true menace to the country and the world.

          I’d have preferred to see the historic tapes themselves, skilfully presented, rather than some ‘re-enactment’ that will always be an interpretation at best. Nixon’s not an historic figure yet, if indeed he’ll ever be.

          1. Carolinian

            I think the point I’m trying to make is that just because Nixon was bad we shouldn’t assume the rest of them were good or even that much better. Perhaps we just don’t know. Certainly LBJ and Reagan, to take two examples, have arguably done more harm to the country. It could be that the office doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in people.

            1. juliania

              We can assume, though, that those who were willing to admit mistakes and take a different course are better than most – Eisenhower, Kennedy, and yes, even Putin come to mind.

            2. jonboinAR

              I’ve wondered if what most separated Nixon from some other high level pols was that he was less likable, and that his other separating weakness was a reflexive defensiveness, but that in terms of moral rectitude, he was pretty representative.

    2. barrisj

      I find it rather amusing that the MSM would choose to show Dick Nixon’s “official” resignation speech “to the nation” as the final punctuation mark to Watergate and the Nixon Era. Much better yet is the morning-after rockin’ n’ reelin’ speech to the WH staff…now THAT was classic RMN: totally junked up, sweating profusely, barely under control, truly the Leader of the Free World unbound!! Remarkable that the network tapes still exist, and haven’t been destroyed in “the national interest”. HAW!

    1. mellon

      Re: School privatization

      The real reason there is such pressure to privatize education is the mandate to privatize which is enumerated in the WTO Services Agreement (GATS) and which basically has very narrowest of exceptions. Any attempt to privatize schools in any way removes them nationally from the government services exception. Anything that is partially commercial is not exempted from GATS which means it has to be privatized irreversibly. The GATS is behind the massive privatizations of the last two decades in many countries. Its the reason there is such a push to completely privatize healthcare, health insurance and education. Then those jobs in the developed countries, which are perceived as high value, can be globalized and traded for overseas market access in the developing world, where the growth is.

      I strongly recommend reading

      BTW, Christie used to work as a lobbyist for a multinational “education company”

      Look at the big problems in the UK over TTIP and NHS to see exactly the same issues that we should be screaming about with education here. (We need explicit carve outs in the FTAS for both education and health care – for every public service- because the same FTA concepts will damn us and we will lose education just like we are losing healthcare – while being lied to about it.) In other words, each act of privatization will create an entitlement for all multinational foreign firms to remain in that market segment forever- Also, standstill and ratchet will apply. Those three factors will gradually, silently and effectively block the future provision of any new free educational services, bar creation of new public school systems or colleges or universities and mandate the incremental one way privatization of existing public educational systems. So then the contracts for managing any school which gets voucher money will be mandated to be put into play [via TiSA, so that those jobs can be traded for overseas trading access in the rapidly growing Asian and South American economies. The big losers of course will be the teachers and nurses, construction, municipal, energy, computer and many other workers here in the US whose currently well paying jobs will become bargaining chips in a global game.

      1. trish

        “The big losers of course will be the teachers and nurses, construction, municipal, energy, computer and many other workers here in the US.” and the public. and that’s children, when it comes to education. and then all else, because they grow up.

  2. abynormal

    re, What I could not tell a jury in Decatur…worthy introduction repeat:
    “Lynn Szymoniak is an attorney who has been active in the South Florida area for thirty years. From cases ranging from civil rights issues, insurance fraud, and election procedures, Lynn Szymoniak has a reputation for being a dogged defender of justice and has been called as an expert witness for the United States Government. In 2010, facing foreclosure after being forced from work by breast cancer and to care for her ailing mother, Lynn Szymoniak noticed inconsistencies in the banks paperwork. This lead to the discovery of the illegal practice known as ‘robo-signing,’ where banks fake needed signatures to foreclose on homes. Lynn Szymoniak sued on behalf of the government, forcing the banks to date to pay out over $95 Million to HUD to be used for foreclosure relief, allowing people behind on their mortgages to find a way to stay in their homes. Lynn Szymoniak took her share of the settlement and founded the Housing Justice Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping the victims of foreclosure fraud and exposing the crimes of predatory lenders.”
    “To be heroic does not have to mean possessing the ability to stand against the evils of the world, either well or successfully, but just that one is willing to stand.”
    M. Alsford, Heroes and Villains

        1. abynormal

          “Only in the world of mathematics do two negatives multiply into a positive.”
          Abby Morel

        2. diptherio

          There is a problem with laws in general, in that as soon as they are adopted, adherence to the letter of the law trumps pursuit of truth or justice. The statue of Justice personified shows a woman, blindfolded, holding a balance in her right hand. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that she’s got the blindfold pushed up a little so she can keep an eye on the law book to her left: the only thing she’s blind to is the scale.

          In a more perfect system of justice, we would do away with judges, laws and lawyers entirely. We don’t need to define what is just–indeed, it is impossible to do so, since justice is infinite in extent, whereas laws are necessarily limited and finite in scope. Instead what is needed is a simple reliance on the idea of a “jury of your peers.” I imagine it like this:

          Someone brings a complaint. The injured parties appear before an assembly of the community (whoever shows up). Each party is allowed to make their case and anyone who wishes to speak for either party can do so. After all arguments have been presented and nothing new is being added, someone calls out a recommendation for a verdict. Other, competeing, recommendations are made. When all the recommendations are in, a secret vote is cast and the verdict decided.

          There would, of course, be some details to work out, and some sort of facilitator would likely be necessary, especially for contentious cases; but we would at least be done with this system where the winner is the one best able to manipulate the letter of the law and the perceptions of a few people. We claim to seek justice, but then we put arbirtrary laws in place through a corrupt process and think that we’ll acheive justice through imposing those.

          As an old rabbi told one of his students when he asked, “What is meant in the Holy Book when it says, ‘Truth covers the entire world’?”

          The old Master replied:

          Everywhere that Truth goes, she is driven out, continually chased from each place she settles. Thus she wanders from one place to another, and in this way “Truth covers the entire world”.

          If we want truth and care about justice, I think we need to do away with laws entirely (apologies to any lawyers in attendance).

          1. armchair

            I believe your system sounds good if you imagine that both sides are equal in their skills, and just as importantly, both sides are seen the same way in the community.

            1. hunkerdown

              arnchair, no, that only gets you a fair competition, which (contrary to popular belief) is unrelated to justice.

          2. Jagger

            Would the most popular party consistently win? Would the threat of retaliation of a powerful party influence even a secret vote? Knowing human nature, I suspect they would.

            1. hunkerdown

              Then you vote on whether that party should be pushed off the ice or not for trying to influence the vote. Kinda like the political class does today with the word “terrorist”, but without the political class Othering others.

    1. The Motherload

      It is also worthy to note that after Ms. Szymoniak was awarded all that money: a plea went out from many foreclosure defense fighters to have Ms. Szymoniak’s non-profit fund audits of recording offices in the states where there are massive foreclosures happening (this would have been a drop in the bucket) and the plea was ignored by Ms. Szymoniak.

      What could have occurred after showing the Federal government and the multiple state governments around this country that our entire land recording system across this nation is as corrupt as hell? One can only imagine…..

      And I am still trying two years hence to get my county to conduct an audit which would cost $75,000. Yet, our state has made millions on the “settlements” (the government calls them settlements, I call them commission percentage) with the criminal banksters.

    2. trish

      Lynn Szymoniak, willing to stand. Yes.
      it was a big thing but still, what she stood up against illustrated in “the banks to date to pay out over $95 Million to HUD” mere $95 million…cost of doing business for the banks. and who did most of that end up going to…

  3. dearieme

    While one must of course laud W for the success of his well-judged War on Terror, it’s always invigorating to see that O has a considerable skill too at dabbling in the Middle East.

    ‘Obama’s solution [was] “to ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists.” … It is here that self-deception reigns, because the Syrian military opposition is dominated by Isis and by Jabhat al-Nusra … in addition to other extreme jihadi groups. In reality, there is no dividing wall between them and America’s supposedly moderate opposition allies. … Isis members “say they are always pleased when sophisticated weapons are sent to anti-Assad groups of any kind because they can always get the arms off them by threats of force or cash payments.” Western support for the Syrian opposition may have failed to overthrow Assad, but it was successfully destabilising Iraq, as Iraqi politicians had long predicted.’

    1. optimader

      “to ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who..”
      should read
      “to ramp up support for those folks in the Syrian opposition who”

  4. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    We always face our own munitions. Heads or tails, the M/I complex wins. If they can’t find a justification for war, they’ll invent one. Instability is very profitable and very low risk (fuck the people caught up in the meat grinder).

  5. Christopher Dale Rogers

    “Libertarians and the Koch brothers” now theres an oxymoron if ever there was one.

    However, being ever the rationalist, I’m wondering how I perhaps could launch a anarcho-syndicalist movement to catch the eye of the Koch brothers for funding purposes. I’m sure we could make all the right noises; no taxation whatsoever, no regulation whatsoever, no laws and legal contracts whatsoever, just common sense rules for the commons and localism for all forms of economic interaction.

    As far as the Kochs would be concerned this would be like manna from heaven, so please promote my new movement, we’ll happily take the Kochs money, will acknowledge openly we’ve taken their coin and then spend it on something that will benefit all whilst sticking two fingers up to our sponsors – what possibly could go wrong with this!

    1. trish

      “no taxation whatsoever, no regulation whatsoever, no laws and legal contracts whatsoever…[for the] Kochs…this would be like manna from heaven.”
      Uh, they pretty much have this already. except when they need them. the latter anyway.

      “Libertarians and the Koch brothers” now theres an oxymoron” Hmmm…not quite seeing it.

    2. Ulysses

      Good luck with that!! My guess is that you could get some cash– as long as you never used words like syndicalist, commons, living wage, workplace safety, sustainable environment, etc. They would allow you to spend their money trying to abolish all taxes, and complete the privatization of what little is left of the commons to the exclusive benefit of them and their billionaire cronies.

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        Ah, another cunning plan foiled by the upstarts known as the Koch’s.

        What’s more surprising, if you are an actual libertarian the last place you’d want to be is in Congress, which is the antithesis of libertarianism, be it of a left or right flavour, hence the oxymoron, for the Koch’s are not against power per se, rather they are against power if they themselves are not wielding it, which means in essence, they are openly fascist and the enemies of freedom, apart for a wealthy elite, which they no doubt would wish to rule – I think I’d rather sleep with George Bush Junior than get into bed with them if I’m honest, and that really is saying something.

    3. different clue

      Koch brothers and Libertarians/ism an oxymoron? Really? I would have thought the Koch brothers were the Platonic Ideal Form from which real world Libertarians/ism are/is derived.

      1. Vatch

        I think one of the points is that the Kochs aspire to be monopolists, and monopoly is highly inimical to liberty.

  6. Paper Mac

    ‘Warning: this verges on CT …’

    From the article:

    “It claims that the name of bitcoin’s alledged creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, is a sign that bitcoin is run by some ‘central intelligence’.

    A white paper on bitcoin was released in 2008, and it was reportedly written by Nakamoto, which roughly means “Central Intelligence” in Japanese.”

    ‘Verges’ is, uh, generous.

  7. trish

    re Faith in Scientific Progress Decreases Eco-Friendly Behavior

    a couple thoughts:
    “power of science.” power. science has been both neutered here by reactionary and neoliberal powers and been seen by many (techie types) as the solution to the world’s problems- ie don’t need to curb consumption we’ll just find high tech ways to disappear the carbon dioxide, treat the waste, clean up, move on…allow us to be Americans!

    “limits of progress.” What has been defined as “progress?” Certainly that’s played a role. Much of it aint progress. In fact much true progress is/has been/will continue to be vilified (anti-Jobs/economy, “far left”, even “terrorism”) attacked and thwarted.

    “media outlets paint a picture of omniscient science” I’m not seeing that particular picture here in US. Except it is indeed when it comes to science will let us be energy guzzling americans, and techno-libertarians can fix our/world’s problems, focusing on medical science fixing vs prevention when it comes to. When it’s useful to protect the elites’ interests.

    Those “affirming belief in scientific progress ‘displayed less environmentally friendly attitudes'” that’s an interesting one.
    could it be the effectiveness of the media focus on fixes rather than preventative.
    And propaganda from industry/govt via scientists- “safe levels,” “more study needed,” the fact that there are plenty of scientists out there working, publishing for/funded by polluting industry.
    And that the damage by corporate/govt and their media has been done in some ways- environmental protesters have been for years often effectively labeled as wacky environmentalists, extremists, anti-economy, radical save-every-insignificant species types…

    I think “scientific” thinking by many of the public has been corrupted as well.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Ya’ got yer’ good, scientists, yer’ bad scientists, and yer’ mad scientists.

    2. hunkerdown

      “Progress” has always and forever been a self-flattering, fact-free justification for arrogance and waste. It’s to the point where I’m starting to feel identity-politics-offended by people and their navel-worshipping religion.

  8. Jay Jay

    Re: Typo costs $1.2 million

    These people will win in court. When an insurer tries to void a policy based on a false application submitted by the insured, the law requires that the misrepresentation be material to the risk being insured against. Hard to see how a birthdate typo will suffice.

    1. Lambert Strether

      They shouldn’t have to go through this at all. The entire story shows that the insurance industry profits by denying care, and they’ll use a typo as a form of rescisssion (which the Obots crowed would be abolished).

      1. MtnLife

        Most people already carry a bunch of RF-identifiable devices that can easily be profiled in order to identify individuals

        Carry being the key word here. Carrying is a choice. When I’m out camping (or really any time in the woods), I have zero RF signature. Deciding you’d like a day or two without your implant isn’t really an option. Ambrit was going down the road of carrot policy implantation for benefits. Another route could be implants in released convicts, in a difficult to remove area – not the hand. I’m sure there are plenty of other Big Corp/Brother/Mother uses. More control for TPTB in exchange for “convenience” for us. How about people just remember their wallet and keys?

      1. ambrit

        Well, as in Christian theology, you get a “Rebirth” certificate, embedded in the chip embedded in your liver or wherever. You will then be one of the “Elect(ronic.)”
        You get the SS number by way of a tattoo, just like in the good old Reich days.

        1. craazyboy

          I guess if the ElectToryat gets, say, a couple million in work credits added to their virtual SS account, then there is nothing too scary about the idea. Other than the ouch from minor surgery (prolly can be done for less than 5 figures) and tats don’t cost that much. (I’m assuming the surgery is performed at the tat parlor, so as not to overburden our hospital system) But, in the case of old people they may be able to combine the surgery with maybe a necessary basal cell surgery and save virtually a few bucks.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Here are the explicit selling points:

      The primary use is to be able to program a tag with a url or information you want to share. I use my implants to get into my house, I use it for access control solutions, to get into my back door every day after I get home. I use it get access to my car; I can unlock my car and get in. I use it to log into my computer. I also use it to share contact details with people.

      Guy can’t unlock his car and his back door right now? Type in a password? Hand out a business card?

      The headline is is revealing: “Be implanted.” Note lack of agency. The article is also quick clear that all the chips are eminently hackable, and I’m not really sure I want a bug in my body. Imagine a hacker causing my chip to overheat, for example. Or, more subtly, broadcast false information.

      People get these things for their pets, IIRC. So whose pet do you want to be, today?

      1. different clue

        Or stimulate the kind of electro-magnetic field oscillations which stimulate and accelerate cancer cell growth.

    1. FederalismForever

      @JEHR. From the article you linked to: “However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been “useless” because it was dropped from 15,000ft without parachutes and exploded on impact.” Incredible! Can USGovt do anything right?

      1. craazyboy

        Let’s be fair. We had to hit a mountaintop and we haven’t developed “smart parachute” technology yet.

        1. ambrit

          Oh really? A parachute tied to a remote controlled drone would do the trick. Just a matter of proper scaling.

          1. craazyboy

            I guess our “integrated” Armed Services haven’t evolved as far as we thought. But that’s why we have the Joint Chiefs of Staff for advice on these details. Keeps egg from splattering all over one’s face, ya know.

  9. Abe, NYC

    Putin increasingly looks like George W. Bush in early 2004. Isolated internationally and caught in a disintegrating web of lies, domestically he has successfully maintained the hysteria and paranoia that ensures his grip on power. In the USA we had Freedom Fries and Old Europe, in Russia they’ve got food sanctions and ban on government employees vacationing in same old Europe.

    Or, pro-Russian take on MH17. The rebels shot down another Ukrainian airplane! No the airplane wasn’t Ukrainian and it wasn’t the rebels, it was the Ukrainians. They diverted the plane into the war zone, a Spanish air-traffic controller reports. No, they shot it down because they thought it was Putin’s plane! They used a surface-to-air missile, which they deployed in the area just before July 16th. It was the CIA, they loaded the plane with stale bodies. It was an air-to-air missile fired by a SU-25. Then it shelled the Boeing just in case.

    This is desperate. Just how brainwashed do you have to be to believe this crudest propaganda? Compared to this, Powell’s presentation at the Security Council is a model of honesty and decency. And yet, a great majority of Russians and Putin’s admirers abroad manage to convince themselves that this CIA’s fault, because it’s always CIA’s fault. Just like for followers of another cult – libertarians – it’s always government’s fault.

    Well, we know how it ended for Bush – first there was the finding of no WMDs in Iraq (which didn’t nearly as much as it should have) but then he was really finished by Katrina. For Putin, the problems are much worse: the personality cult he has fostered leaves no room for mistake on the part of the Great Leader. He was hit hard internationally by the MH17, and he’s in for more trouble down the road.

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Abe, NYC,

      Sorry to rain on your parade old bean, but are you paid to post such outrageous and ignorant nonsense on NC, or are you a contrarian, or, like our Professor’s in a Seminar, are you just trying to challenge our perceptions. I make this enquiry as it seems to me many in the USA fail to travel that much, unless its courtesy of your government as part of the military when you are posted overseas to exotic places to kill people.

      Now I presently reside in Asia, a few miles from the Chinese Mainland in fact and opinion here in our neck of the world differs markedly from yours of Putin, and indeed Russia. Presently we actually have China flexing its muscles as a regional power in Asia, and much of this flexing is about resources, specifically oil and gas – which Russia has a bountiful supply of by the way, so here, you’ll find more unease about China, further in the media there has been no Russia and no Putin bashing and demonising, even in Malaysia, which by the way knows quite a lot about colonialism and the methods these colonisers use to extract your resources, a case of once bitten, twice shy.

      As for your contention that Putin is somehow not on par with your morons in Washington, and your own gaggle in Albany, well I agree, he’s not on par with them, he’s actually head and shoulders above them. Like it or not, its the USA which is now a virtual police state, I’d like to add the UK into this analysis, but our morons in Westminster are actually in the process of decimating the UK police force by way of 100’s of cuts, however we do have a “virtual” police state, but enforcement seems a big issue.

      Now Putin may be an unsavoury character and certainly no “liberal”, indeed he’s an authoritarian and like it or loathe it, the Russian’s have always liked authoritarian leaders – who wants another Yeltsin to sell their nation out to the West, neoliberals and oligarchs? The Russians certainly do not.

      What you consider weaknesses in Russia are actually strengths, their people travel freely, are free to live overseas and free to return back and live in Russia, and whilst overseas they are not taxed by their government on income not earned in their nation state. Further, and despite the excess of Communism, the Russians have a good education system and good University system. Indeed, disengagement from the West, and in particular the USA can only be a good thing for Russia, for it seems you forget that the only way the ISS can be reached currently in space is with Russian technology. Russian military capabilities still need working on, but they have some outstanding aircraft designers and can still throw a few tricks with regards naval technology – whats been missing for a decade is money, but this money will now be found as its clear Russia cannot trust the West, and specifically cannot trust the USA.

      Now, if you feel uneasy about Putin and Russia, fine by me, if you wish to challenge us about Russia, also fine by me, but if you are suggesting Russia is any kind of threat, well please forget that analysis for its the USA that’s the threat and please never forget that.

      1. Abe, NYC

        I’m not so much a contrarian. I’ve been consistently anti-war, anti-oligarch, pro-democracy. Unlike some so-called progressives who claim to be anti-war, but only when the war is done by US or Israel; pro-democracy, but Russia is exempt from such minor requirements; anti-oligarch, except when it comes to oligarch-in-chief Mr. Putin (which is something even Prof Hudson couldn’t deny).

        And so they’re not really pro-peace, pro-democracy – they’re just anti-America. It hit me really, really hard when I realized this fact. Thus people like me are always seem contrarians, whether they talk to neocons or so-called progressives.

        As for your suggestion I’m a paid to make this posts, whenever I hear those I know I’m doing something right (I’ve been accused of being a commie KGB agent but recently accusations of CIA/NSA are a lot more numerous). The reality of course is slightly different: I actually pay to support my favorite blogs, but never mind.

        1. FederalismForever

          @Abe, NYC. “And so they’re not really pro-peace, pro-democracy – they’re just anti-America. It hit me really, really hard when I realized this fact.”

          You are so right about that! It hit me hard when I realized it as well. How to explain it? For one thing, some are outwardly (or secretly) Marxist/communist, and therefore are engaged in an effort to bring about capitalism’s demise. Accordingly, they must constantly maintain an “oppositional stance” which requires a rigid and unyielding opposition to anything the U.S. does, regardless of the surrounding context. For those who are not Marxist/communist, the answer is more complex. It’s striking how so many seem to feel a need to wallow in feelings of guilt and self-righteousness. They seem to revel in digging up the most sordid and despicable details of every aspect of U.S. history. Is this mentality a holdover from our Puritan/Calvinist past, perhaps?

          1. OIFVet

            What capitalism? This here ain’t capitalism, it is state-sponsored corporatism. Also known as fascism, but not usually used in polite society because it tends to shock the tender sensibilities of the clueless.

            1. Ned Ludd

              Why are you helping Putin by reveling in the sordid and despicable details of our corporate totalitarian state? Lay down on this couch and FederalismForever will relieve these burdens from your psyche.

              Yeah, that’s it. Just relax.
              Have another drink, few more pretzels, little more MSG.
              Turn on those Dallas Cowboys on your TV.

          2. Ned Ludd

            “They seem to revel in digging up the most sordid and despicable details of every aspect of U.S. history. Is this mentality a holdover from our Puritan/Calvinist past, perhaps?”

            How to spot a liberal – they always want to psychoanalyze you.

          3. Abe, NYC

            I’m at a loss myself. I think it’s a manifestation of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” philosophy. Nothing wrong with being Marxist; but how Putin, who oversaw the implementation of the worst form of oligarchical capitalism, is seen as anti-capitalist – is beyond me.

            Maybe these people are looking for a mental comfort. They see the US as absolute evil and want to convince themselves that any force opposing the US, must be good. Whatever doesn’t fit that picture gets filtered out.

            1. OIFVet

              “Putin, who oversaw the implementation of the worst form of oligarchical capitalism, is seen as anti-capitalist – is beyond me.”

              Wrong on both counts: it was Yeltsin who implemented this oligarchical capitalism, guided by Jeffrey Sachs and cheered on by Billy Clinton, and no one here that I’ve seen harbors the illusion of Putin being some sort of leftists. You really hate facts, don’t you? Do not insult people’s intelligence, most here are at a level well above yours. Putin is not Yeltsin, which is why he is so hated in the west.

              1. Abe, NYC

                See here.

                PANITCH: Michael, no country has privatized more, no ruling class has privatized more than the oligarchy around Putin. They’ve taken that country’s wealth and put it in their back pockets. And even if it is officially still owned by the states, it’s in their back pockets. Let’s not turn Putin and his cronies into the vanguard of a new socialist society, for heaven’s sake.

                HUDSON: I cannot argue with that, Leo. You’re absolutely right.

                You’ve got to try harder. Even if you are happy to swallow whatever propaganda Putin is throwing at you, that doesn’t work for most people these days.

                1. OIFVet

                  No, you try harder. Better yet, work on your reading comprehension. This tidbit DOES NOT say that Putin created this oligarchy, only that he has surrounded himself with it. The FACT is that it was Yeltsin and his Chicago Boys who created it, Putin carried out purges amongst the oligarchs and allowed some to continue to exist as long as they remained loyal to him, and to the state. It is quite a contrast to the general state of lawlessness under Yeltsin, a veritable Wild East. So there. And again, who here has said that Putin is a leftist?

                  1. Abe, NYC

                    This is one of the more remarkable displays of doublethink I have seen. “You see, it was Yeltsin who created oligarchs, therefore it’s not Putin’s fault that they – plus his own many buddies – continue to flourish and loot Russia.”

                    1. OIFVet

                      There is nothing that qualifies as “doublethink” here. You presented an outright lie as a fact, I debunked it. You doubled down, I pointed out the truth. Again, who here has ever mistaken Putin for a “leftist” Dishonest Abe? I am so sick of your bullshyte strawmen. No one here has ever mistaken Putin for a leftist, nor has claimed that he is some saint. NO ONE. That does not mean that I am not gonna give him his due when it comes to resisting the Empire of Chaos, or point out that he has saved Russia from the death spiral which Yeltsin and his neoliberals put it in. That’s really at the center of the Putin hatred: the fact that he saved Russia when it was ready to implode after a decade of Yeltsin thievery and mismanagement. This is why you and ours can’t forgive him, as it was your fondest dream that Russia fall apart into its component parts and thus become easy pickings for the Empire of Chaos. It is not the oligarchs, it is not the “oppression”: we have our oligarchs and we all saw how Occupy was put down by your beloved “liberals”. Off you go with your strawmen Dishonest Abe, this here ain’t some Russia hate circle jerk. We can think for ourselves and we do. Sorry it rains on your hate parade my boy, but I am allergic to apologists for the Empire of Chaos.

                    2. Abe, NYC

                      I told a truth and supported it with a link to informed opinion. Only in your fantasyland does this pass for an “outright lie.”

                    3. OIFVet

                      Again, did you actually read the excerpt you posted, or do you not comprehend what you read? And answer the question I have posed several times already: who here has ever claimed that Putin is a leftist? Chop chop Abe, my patience for your strawmen is wearing awfully thin today…

                    4. cwaltz

                      As opposed to whom? There was a reason the West spent billions over in Ukraine to depose the Pro Russian government. That reason? To loot and pillage over in Ukraine.

                      It’s great that in your opinion Russia is the bad guy and the US is the good guy but that isn’t how it plays out to anyone paying any attention. There are no good guys that are for helping the Ukrainians. Only bad guys interested in helping themselves to anything of value over in Ukraine.

                2. Ned Ludd

                  It is notable that Panitch qualifies his remarks to refer to “the oligarchy around Putin”. Is Panitch lumping in privatizations that benefited the current oligarchy, but which occurred before Putin was president?

                  And the state may still own it, but Panitch considers it privatized. Maybe he could share his definition of privatization.

                  Let’s not turn Putin and his cronies into the vanguard of a new socialist society, for heaven’s sake.

                  If we are arguing over whether Putin is a vanguard socialist, Abe and I might just end up agreeing on something!

                  1. Ned Ludd

                    I think we could get consensus on this point:

                    Is Vladimir Putin a vanguard socialist?

                    I vote “No”.

                    1. Abe, NYC

                      Good, there seems to be a consensus. I don’t quite understand though why this sub-thread started with an objection to my saying: “[How] Putin, who oversaw the implementation of the worst form of oligarchical capitalism, is seen as anti-capitalist – is beyond me.”

                    2. OIFVet

                      Again, the oligarchs were Yeltsin’s creation, and the process was lustily cheered by the West And for the n-th time, who here has ever claimed that Putin is a leftist? And why oh why are you bringing up Khodorkovsky if you such self-proclaimed opponent of oligarchy? You are full of contradictions, ain’t ya? Occupational hazard, no doubt…

                    3. skippy

                      Neolibertarianism is the top down religion of plutocratic corporatist oligarchy, its priests were indoctrinated at the Chicago Boys school for – Societal pain is pleasure – foursome*.

                      Post USSR – is – their baby one way or another…

            2. Ben Johannson

              I don’t think that’s correct, Abe. The oligarchs were birthed during the shock doctrine process recommended by American economists, the gist of which was to privatize everything rapidly as possible with no regard for who was getting what. The result was that Russia quickly became the property of former government insiders and professional criminals, driving it into a 40% economic contraction.

              Putin reigned the oligarchs and organized crime in. While they still exist they do not wield the virtually limitless power they once did, and nearly every social indicator of well-being has aignificantly improved. There are good reasons for Putin’s popularity.

              1. Abe, NYC

                Putin reigned in the oligarchs, that much is true. He purged 3 of them: Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky: the former two because they owned media empires which he wanted to appropriate for his own needs and the latter, because he had political ambitions.

                Then he let the rest graze in peace and raised a whole lot of new oligarchs – and do you really believe they’re not giving him a cut? The scale of state-sanctioned corruption under Putin dwarfs anything that ever existed under Yeltsin.

                As for the improving economy, the biggest factors were, initially, the collapse of the exchange rate in 1998, which immediately revived the industry, and subsequently the $100 oil. Other ex-USSR commodity exporters, most notably Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, saw stellar growth rates for just the same reason.

                1. wanderer

                  “As for the improving economy, the biggest factors were, initially, the collapse of the exchange rate in 1998, which immediately revived the industry, and subsequently the $100 oil.”

                  The biggest factor is that Putin forced the Oligarchs to pay taxes and wages, both of which were optional under Yeltsin.

                  If the energy price windfall had occurred under Yeltsin, the oligarchs would have grabbed it all, offshored it, leveraged it 30-1 on global business empire-building, and lost every kopek in The Crash. Russia would have been naked in the Force-12 financial storm of 2008-2009, tens of millions of Russians would have been rendered destitute, and Russia’s political, economic, and demographic collapse would have accelerated.

                  But at least Saint Khodorkovsky would have been free!

          4. Christopher Dale Rogers


            A somewhat sanctimonious response as ever from you, perhaps we need to learn a little about statecraft and alliance building – I can recommend you read a few books by Churchill about one of his relatives – however, the big stink in your rebuke is the one that made me freak out, this being the revelling in digging up the most so rid and despicable details of US History, and boy do you have a history that is horrid and despicable.

            Now obviously you then think of people like me as allegedly anti-US, which is correct to a large extent, I am indeed anti-US, that is anti the US government and anti its bloody greedy global corporations, but that does not mean I’m anti-American as in despising the population, many of whom I feel particularly sorry for, starting with the original inhabitants of the continent the African American communities and many of those escaping injustice in Europe in the latter part of the nineteenth century who were brutalised once they arrived to your fateful shores by capitalist swines.

            I also feel your sweeping suggestion that all who criticise the trajectory your nation is taking presently are somehow affiliated to Marxist or Communist causes is somewhat crass and underhand.

            If you feel your nations political leadership, policymakers and corporations are just dandy and doing a fine job, well fine by me, although I do find it strange how so many in such a rich country are living in poverty, living in ignorance and denied basic medical care that we in other more enlightened nations take for granted.

            As for the complexity of it all, and we critics only see black and white, well fair game, but the facts actually speak for themselves and you don’t need to be a genius to work said facts out.

            Indeed, as a Brit, yes one on the actual left of the political spectrum, I find it ludicrous when I visit your country how many flags are displayed professing loyalty to the state, I don’t see this in Japan, i don’t witness it in China and you certainly will not see it in the UK – which to be honest, if you drape yourself in the Union Jack you are considered a bit of a buffoon or damn right dangerous.

            Now, if you had visited, lived or worked in a totalitarian state, perhaps I could understand you love of your nation, i know I love my little nation state dearly, but as i often say I don’t follow the dictum “my country right or wrong.” Quite the reverse, I’m highly critical and am justified in being highly critical, particularly given I believe in a more egalitarian and enlightened society that actually does give a “fuck” about all its citizens, rather than a handful of baboons who sell you out for nickel and dimes in reality.

            Now, the USA is currently caught with its pants down, not just in the Ukraine, but in Iraq, in Syria and in numerous other places and I don’t blame the US citizens for this, I do blame the US government and those pulling the strings, the same as I blame my own government for riding on your coat tails and following your lead.

            So, if you have issues with critics of your government, fair enough, but maybe, just maybe, its the critics who are the ones that actually love your nation and the people contained therein. By way of example, it was never the working class leftwing in the UK that sold its self to either communism or fascism, rather it was the entitled middle-class and aristocracy itself that sold its own nation out.


            1. FederalismForever

              @Christopher Dale Rogers. I only said “some” were outwardly or secretly Marxist. (Reading comprehension fail!)

              Again, I actually agree with much of what you say. There is no doubt that US history is riddled with many injustices, and that US policy-makers today seem utterly incompetent, buffoonish, ignorant, arrogant, and other bad things, which is why I’m inclined to agree with your conclusion that the US should just pull back and concentrate on its own problems at home. It’s current leadership just isn’t up to the task of running a superpower or quasi-global empire.

              But, even if the US has utterly failed to tip the scales of justice in a positive direction, I am highly confident other countries have failed even worse, or would fail worse if they were in a similar position to the US. Let’s make an “apples-to-apples” comparison, as we say here in the States. Since you live in the East, I’m sure you know that in the first half of the 20th century, there were something like a dozen armed conflicts involving two or more of Russia, China, Japan and/or Korea. In stark contrast, since the U.S. victory in WWII, and its stationing of troops throughout Japan and South Korea, there have been no such conflicts among any of these four. Among other things, U.S. “police presence” in this region has allowed Japan to fully recover from WWII and has allowed China to re-emerge as a global power without worrying too much that it might be attacked by Japan. Finally, South Korea’s economy has flourished, as have the other so-called “Asian Tigers.” I ask you: can’t the U.S. claim at least partial credit for bringing about this litany of positive outcomes? If Japan had defeated and occupied the US in WWII, would it have been anywhere near as merciful to the US as MacArthur was to Japan? Have you compared the fate of the citizens of the Philippines under US occupation to the time when they were under Japanese occupation? (hint: 7% of the population starved to death) What I’m getting at is that the US, for all its faults, often does better on a relative/comparative basis than the likely alternative, even though on an absolute scale it may well fall far short of “ideal” standards of justice. Consider the situation brewing in the Far East right now. Once the US leaves, just how long do you think it will be before China and Japan come to blows again?

              1. Christopher Dale Rogers


                As its 5.00AM my time, its a little late, or early shall I say for me to respond fully to you, I shall get around to it, but before I give a detailed response, please remember this, the USA ant into the Philippines as supposed liberators, there then followed a rather bloody insurrection by Philippine loyalists, which was brutally surprised, I’m never please to read about the glories of the British in Africa when I consider they had maxim machine guns and the natives spears and single action rifles if they were lucky, the same consideration applies to the US in the Philippines, we can extend this further, be it Central America or Cuba at the turn of the twentieth century, suffice to say I’m opposed to imperialism full stop, although understand Japan’s reasoning in the 1930’s, but that does not excuse their behaviour in China, nor in the Philippines.

                1. FederalismForever

                  @Christopher Dale Rogers. I am well aware of the atrocities committed by the US shortly after its takeover of the Philippines – hundreds of thousands dead, etc. Again, I realize we can just tally up lists of atrocities committed by US or UK, but these events do not occur in a vacuum. As you know, the only reason the US even found itself in that position was due to the rather sudden collapse of the Spanish Empire. If US had not been there, what do you think would have happened given the power vacuum in a multi-ethnic country? Overall, I think the US has much to be proud of in its history with the Philippines. It did not abandon its nation-building efforts before constructing many roads and schools, and drawing up a Constitution that gave women the right to vote, etc. Today, the Philippines is a strong US ally, and most residents have positive views of the US. Do you honestly believe the same could be said if the Spanish had remained in control, or if Japan had conquered it instead? (One last thing: compare President Theodore Roosevelt’s response to the news that certain US army officers in the Philippines were engaging in water-boarding with the pro-waterboarding policies of the George W Bush Administration. It’s sad.)

                  1. hunkerdown

                    Because national boundaries are revealed wisdom of G-d and to rearrange them is blasphemy. The Rothschilds spent a whole afternoon drawing those up!

              2. Lambert Strether

                Ah, the old “some” dodge. How stupid do you think readers are? Everybody knows you mean people on this thread, so call out the comments you take issue with, and don’t hide behind semantics.

                I like “outwardly or secretly Marxist.” What next? Reds under the bed? I called your BBF Abe on McCarthyism before I read this comment, and you right I was!

                Hey, I’ve got an idea! Loyalty oaths! That’ll smoke out those sekrit Marxists! Federalism, forsooth! The framers would be rolling in their graves, if they took notice of flyweight comments like this.

                1. FederalismForever

                  My apologies. I should have worded that more carefully, but I was late to a John Birch Society meeting. To clarify, by “some” I really did mean “some,” and I was not thinking only of commenters on this thread. I really do believe that “some” who are rabidly and reflexively anti-American really are fellow travelers who are actively rooting for the demise of the US and the emergence of a socialist utopia.

                  1. hunkerdown

                    No, not at all. Americans are too sadistic and bloody-minded to accept one, and we prove that to them every single day we talk with them. Instead, keeping them from raping, pillaging and murdering others who want to start one on their own land and their own time is the grim task at hand.

                  2. Ned Ludd

                    • Would you be for the demise of the US and the emergence of a socialist utopia?

                    I vote “Yes”.

                    FederalismForever seems to be leaning “No”.

                    1. Ned Ludd

                      Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts, a distinguished Indian theorist, gave a glowing description of a visit of inspection he had recently made to the Indian Territory [in 1883]. The most partisan Indian would hardly have painted such an idealized picture of his people’s happiness and prosperity and culture, but, illogically, the Senator advocated a change in this perfect society because it held the wrong principles of property ownership. Speaking apparently of the Cherokees, he said: “The head chief told us that there was not a family in that whole nation that had not a home of its own. There was not a pauper in that nation, and the nation did not owe a dollar. It built its own capitol, in which we had this examination, and it built its schools and its hospitals.”

                      Sounds pretty nice for a system that Colonel Nathaniel McLean derided as “communism”. For Senator Dawes, this is a declaration against interest; he authored the Dawes Act, which abolished communal property, in order to force Native Americans to learn “selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization.”

                      “Yet the defect of the system was apparent. They have gone as far as they can go, because they own their land in common. It is Henry George’s system [George was a nineteenth-century American land reformer], and under that there is no enterprise to make your home any better than that of your neighbors. There is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization. Till this people will consent to give up their lands, and divide them among their citizens so that each can own the land he cultivates, they will not make much more progress.”

                2. Ned Ludd

                  Also “outwardly or secretly Marxist” is a clever way to imply that being a Marxist is something you should hide.

            2. Lambert Strether

              I’m for the America of Eugene Debs and William Lloyd Garrison (and FDR, I might add).

              Unlike Abe and FederalismForever, I’m not for the America of Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, and endless war.

              To each their own, I guess.

              1. FederalismForever

                Have you compared William Lloyd Garrison’s plans for integrating freed blacks into the post-Civil War South with the Bush Team’s plans for re-making Iraq society? Let me give you a hint: you’ll find precious little in The Liberator on this topic (at least, in the issues I’ve looked at).

                The Civil War and its aftermath (including Lincoln’s conduct as Chief Executive) established a template for many of America’s subsequent foreign incursions, except that none have been justified by any cause as important as abolishing slavery.

                1. OIFVet

                  Plan to institute neoliberal slavery vs. abolitionism. Discuss. Also, were you there on the ground while Bremer was instituting said remake of Iraqi society, and how did it work out? Feel free to stick to the facts and leave neo-McCarthyism out of it.

                  1. FederalismForever

                    @OIFVet. Bremer’s plan most certainly did not work out. He didn’t even seem to have much of a plan. My point is that Garrison and most of the hard-core abolitionists (full disclosure: I am descended from these people) didn’t have a plan for the post-slavery South either. And look at the aftermath in both cases. I think there is a lesson here. Americans tend to get worked up into moral frenzies, justified (as in the case of slavery), or not, go to war, but not give much thought to the aftermath. Lincoln pretty much had no plan for how to integrate the 4 million freed slaves after war’s end. He had NO PLAN for this!

                    1. OIFVet

                      The point was, the State Department group under Jay Garner had been developing detailed plan for Iraqi reconstruction, but was given neither resources nor support. Instead, Bremer arrived in Baghdad like a latter day colonial administrator and brought with himself a bunch of Bush Youths whose main qualification to oversee the reconstruction was their undying loyalty to Bush and neoliberal ideology. So the failure in Iraq was a feature, not a bug.

                2. Lambert Strether

                  It would occur to me to make that same comparison in the same way it would occur to me to compare Pocahontas to Catherine the Great on (say) fiscal policy. Different era, different culture.

              2. Ulysses


                I fight so hard to restore some power to the labor side of the capitalist/labor dynamic precisely because I don’t want to see “the demise of the U.S.” Rather, I hope to see the U.S. thrive after we take down the kleptocrats who are currently bleeding it dry!

            3. hunkerdown

              “if you had visited, lived or worked in a totalitarian state”

              Silly, of course FF has.

              The authoritarians prefer to systematically forget what followed that: “when right, to be kept right, when wrong, to be set right.” That’s one way you can sort the totalitarians who should be on lamp posts from the ones who are worth arguing with.

            4. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              “Indeed, as a Brit, yes one on the actual left of the political spectrum, I find it ludicrous when I visit your country how many flags are displayed professing loyalty to the state, I don’t see this in Japan, i don’t witness it in China and you certainly will not see it in the UK – which to be honest, if you drape yourself in the Union Jack you are considered a bit of a buffoon or damn right dangerous.”

              Oh, it’s so much worse and so much more embarrassing than that. We have “proud US citizens” openly sporting the flag of the Confederacy.

              This violates one of the fundamental tenets of intellectual honesty, namely:
              If’n yer fer it, yuh cain’t be again’ it; an if’n yer again’ it, yuh cain’t be fer it. I believe the liberal, sciency types, up north, refer to this phenomenon as “cognitive dissonance.” We have a national assload of it.

          5. Andrew Watts


            I suppose I could say that anybody who supported the Iraq War II or really any of the economic policies of the last thirty years hates this country for helping lead it to a disaster of historical proportions. The reality is that most Americans are ignorant of such matters. While quite a few people have learned through bitter experience to distrust anything their government says is true they do not apply that skepticism equally. That’s the real problem and not any of that red-baiting anti-American nonsense.

            If you know what the word “proletariat” means do you know what that makes you? Well-read and an erudite… FOR A COMMUNIST!

          6. Lambert Strether

            Sheesh, guys, get a room! “You are so right about that! It hit me hard when I realized it as well.”

            The next step, as it always is, will be to accuse people who aren’t getting with the pro-war drumbeat of being traitors.

            Abe is half-way there already, though his rhetoric is cloaked in sweet reasonableness.

            1. OIFVet

              This is exactly what makes it so obnoxious. Abe’s BS packs enough syrupy goodness to give the rest of us diabetes and early death.

            2. hunkerdown

              I dunno, man, if the litmus test for Americanism is the belief that the USD is G-d incarnate and that infidels shall be killed, well, that makes even extreme Islam sound gentle and kind by comparison.

        2. Carolinian

          Putin’s approval rating at the moment in Russia: 87%. It may be his internal oppositon that is feeling worried.

          As for MH17…so you know what really happened? Otherwise what’s your point?

          I’m not making a case for Putin who honestly I know very little about. But where’s your evidence for his shaky status? As for the sanctions it will be awhile before we know how that hashes out.

          1. Abe, NYC

            Dubya’s approval ratings were high before and for some time after the Iraqi invasion, not as high as Putin’s but still very high. There is an abundance of evidence of Putin’s “shaky status” – the vote at the UN, the relations with Europe, etc. The only friend he’s got of any relevance is China, which is also Russia’s most serious strategic foe.

            1. OIFVet

              My, you would love to see your dream of Russia-China conflict become a reality wouldn’t you?! Divide and conquer. Cluing you in: much easier to get access to Siberia’s riches by cooperating than by trying to conquer it militarily. Matter of fact the latter is impossible. Well, not to your little neocon chickenhawk self, but those of us who are firmly planted in the real world know better.

            2. Lambert Strether

              ” The only friend he’s got of any relevance is China”

              The only pet he’s got of any relevance is an elephant….

              (Of course, nations don’t have friends; that’s just more of Abe’s sweetly reasonable mindfuckery. Nations have interests.)

        3. OIFVet

          You is pro democracy?! Then why did you support the US engineered overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine? All it was designed to do is not to bring peace, prosperity, and the meaningless thing you refer to as “democracy”, but rather to replace one set of oligarchs with another one, one that is more amenable to allowing the western oligarchy to partake in the looting of Ukraine. This is the modern form of economic and political warfare too you know, so as far as I am concerned all you ever do is spout empty slogans and attach meaningless labels to yourself while wallowing in debilitating Putin derangement syndrome. And what is it with the BS “anti-American” label? For someone who pretends to compare Putin with Bush you sure have a way of channeling the Bush dead enders, the same warmongering imperialist fucks you claim to be against, when you level the charge of “anti-Americanism” against those who are opposed to US imperialism. I am so fed up with former Soviet subjects wallowing in hatred and using it to justify US imperialism by pretending it is nothing but pure selfless service in the name of “freedom” and “democracy” by these exceptional humans called Americans.

        4. Ned Ludd

          Abe –

          Read your original comment. You are not discussing evidence, open to analyzing evidence, or debunking evidence. You are pushing a point of view, without including any evidence to support that point of view.

          1. OIFVet

            Beg to disagree:he is not pushing a POV, he is engaged in propaganda and PSYOPS (“anti-American”!!!!). He does not aim to facilitate a discussion, his aim is to suppress it and impose his hate-colored views.

            1. Ned Ludd

              I’m not sure why Abe is failing to put forth a solid argument. Some people are malicious, some people are dishonest, some people are just not interested in empirical arguments.

              Regardless, Abe has no credibility because he has no argument.

              1. OIFVet

                Abe hails either from the Baltics or from Georgia. Hate is all he has to offer on the topic, so that’s what he has been offering. Notice how careful he has been to withhold his nationality, opting to only drop tidbits aimed at creating the impression that he is a Russia “expert” and thus what he says is to be taken at face value. He then proceeds to present his biases as objective “facts.” Typical former Soviet subject. I personally blame toilet paper shortages in the 1980’s for creating this peculiar specie.

                1. Abe, NYC

                  I withhold my nationality because there are enough dimwits around who will smear my people and my country just because I posted a comment that disagrees with their point of view.

                  It is remarkable however, that any country lucky to have been under Russian control, has such warm feelings towards it.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Sure Abe, and the sun does rise from the West too… Disclosure shall set you free my boy, try it for a change.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Respectfully, origin is everything in most parts of Europe and particularly in the former Soviet space. It is a fairly accurate predictor of hatreds and biases, and he has tried very hard to obscure those while trying to project an air of non-existent credibility.

              2. Abe, NYC

                My argument is that Putin’s position is similar to W’s around 2003-2004, with strong domestic approval and international isolation. That is common knowledge, for which hopefully you don’t need any links.

                Regarding the MH17, I listed successive theories put forward by pro-Russians which purport to show why it was Ukrainians who did it. It’s interesting to put them together isn’t it?

                1. Ned Ludd

                  Is Russia isolated from China? From India? From Brazil? From all the nations of Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East?

                  1. Abe, NYC

                    It is isolated from the major sources of power. Dubya too had a “coalition” if you care to remember, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t isolated on the international stage.

                    1. OIFVet

                      So, given the largely same makeup of the Obama and Dubya’s “coalitions”, doesn’t it logically follow that Obama’s just as isolated as Bush was? But hey, at least we got POLAND on our side! Wait till Sykorski stands victorious on the Red Square and shouts at the Russkie serfs, “How do you like them Polish apples!” Also, it should read “major sources of DECLINING power.” You are welcome!

                    2. Ned Ludd

                      These three things are not the same:

                      • Russia is “isolated internationally”.
                      • Russia is “isolated from the major sources of power”.
                      • Russia is isolated from Europe.

                      Also, did Europe quit buying Russia’s gas and oil?

                    3. Abe, NYC

                      With respect, these three things are quite similar. Russia is isolated not just from Europe but also from North America, Japan, and Australia, while no other major power came out in support.

        5. Christopher Dale Rogers

          If you believe my wrath for the Washington and the loonies inhabiting the Beltway is rather strong, I can assure my feelings towards my own government and Westminster would make your hair stand on end.

          Further, its the one’s in the USA who are actively critical of your national trajectory who are the true patriots, and certainly not the Marxists and Communists who FF makes them out to be. You live in a police state, a fascist state, a post-constitutional state and have done since your leadership went totally off its rockers following the 9/11 attacks and whoa betide anyone who stands in your greedy corporations way, you know the same corporations that have usurped your democracy to further their own interests – they don’t give an iota about you and neither should you about them – they really are more odious and despicable than Putin, who, lets face it, is a lot more honest than those who govern supposedly in your national interest.

          1. Abe, NYC

            Putin, who, lets face it, is a lot more honest than those who govern supposedly in your national interest.

            Wow, that’s a bold statement. Honest Putin? He who showered billions on his cronies and an unknown number of said billions on himself? ($70bln, by some estimates) He who denied the “little green men” had anything to do with the Russian army and then acknowledged they were Russian army? He who even now denies any support for the insurgents in the Ukraine?

            Putin is many things, but honest he most definitely isn’t.

                1. OIFVet

                  Both Kiev and London are further north than Pyongyang, off the top of my head. Washington, DC is roughly on the same latitude.

        6. Lambert Strether

          Oh, I don’t know. It’s possibly to take a certain pleasure in watching the imperial game played competently. Obama does it badly, despite enormous military resources (and because of declining soft power), and Putin plays his weaker hand rather well, so far, at least. And if I were whatever the Russian equivalent of Joe Sixpack is, I might be happier because of that most basic of all statistics, life expectancy, which crashed after the ministrations of our neo-liberals, and recovered under Putin. Neither President is especially appealing to me personally, nor either empire, though it must be granted that at least Putin hasn’t fomented a coup in our corrupt neighbor in the near abroad, or bloody chaos around the Caribean basin. He would if he could, no doubt, but hasn’t.

          1. Abe, NYC

            Sure…. Putin has only killed a couple of dozen thousand in Chechnya, annexed Abkhazia, Ossetia, and Crimea, nurtured Transnistria and Karabakh to keep Moldova and Azerbaijan destabilized, just now killed another few thousand in East Ukraine and caused hundreds of thousands to flee – a pretty likeable fella overall.

            1. lambert strether

              Please don’t imply, even using crude irony, that I said Putin was likeable, or found him to be so.

          2. lightningclap

            Sorry, I was away a few days, did I miss anything? Lambert nailed this one: Putin simply comes off as a better strategist, he seems to play his hand wisely and make BO look foolish. But still, screw ’em both.

        7. Lambert Strether

          @Abe “[T]hey’re just anti-America. It hit me really, really hard…” No doubt! Still, it worked for Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, and a host of others, so why not you? You certainly overcame your scruples with commendable celerity!

          1. Ned Ludd

            Such a jingoistic smear:

            Unlike some so-called progressives who claim to be anti-war, but only when the war is done by US or Israel; pro-democracy, but Russia is exempt from such minor requirements; anti-oligarch, except when it comes to oligarch-in-chief Mr. Putin (which is something even Prof Hudson couldn’t deny).

            And so they’re not really pro-peace, pro-democracy – they’re just anti-America. It hit me really, really hard when I realized this fact.

            1. OIFVet

              Just part of Abe’s MO: pretend to be a “progressive” and thus try to attack dissenters from the “left” for somehow being a bunch of phonies, while Dear Abe is the principled “progressive”, a tireless fighter for “democracy” and staunchly “anti-war” (unless of course the war just so happens to be killing a bunch of ethnic Russkie civilians). He is the phony, a rather smooth one too. His favorite tactic is to conflate Liberalism in the European sense with liberalism as understood here in the US. See what he does there? Thus Putin’s liberal opposition is presented by him as nothing short of the heirs of Allende while in reality they are just dreaming of the return of the 1990’s and the good times of lawlessness under Yeltsin and Gaidar.

              1. Ned Ludd

                His comment does seem to follow a familiar script. It positions Abe as a gatekeeper of acceptable discourse on the left.

                As for your suggestion I’m a paid to make this posts, whenever I hear those I know I’m doing something right (I’ve been accused of being a commie KGB agent but recently accusations of CIA/NSA are a lot more numerous).

                I would like to see some links to instances where Abe was “accused of being a commie KGB agent”.

                1. OIFVet

                  Abe is a legend in his own mind only, and his supposedly being called a “commie KGB agent” is part of his attempt to establish his “lefty” bona fides. What follows is the attempt to impose a definition of what the “left” should be, which just so happens to be a smaller scale illustration of the overall hijacking and redefinition of the term “left” in the service of the Democrat wing of the Corporatist Party. Something Obama and Billy Clinton did very well, as now “socialism” is associated with Obama’s policies and is thus eliminated as an alternative by the fed up uniformed voter. I’m telling ya, this boy is a slick operator and it probably works well for him in other forums.

                2. Abe, NYC

                  Sorry, that I cannot provide because the posts in question are on a closed Russian-language forum. Neoconservatism is very popular among USSR immigrants in the US, as you may have heard, and on that particular forum I was widely considered an anti-semitic, anti-American, anti-capitalist, commie Russian agent.

                  1. OIFVet

                    I believe you, there are definitely worse ex-USSR versions of you. I know a couple myself. Unfortunately for you, being to the left of Attila the Hun does not make you a lefty by default.

              2. Ned Ludd

                It is possible that Abe is a bot that has been programmed by the State Department to take liberal interventionist talking points and spread them on Internet forums. We have all wasted our Sunday arguing with a bot.

                A Bot Experiment.

            2. Abe, NYC

              Jingoistic smear?

              This: Unlike some so-called progressives who claim to be anti-war, but only when the war is done by US or Israel; pro-democracy, but Russia is exempt from such minor requirements; anti-oligarch, except when it comes to oligarch-in-chief Mr. Putin (which is something even Prof Hudson couldn’t deny) – is merely a statement of fact, for which there is plenty of evidence on this very thread.
              This: And so they’re not really pro-peace, pro-democracy – they’re just anti-America. – is my conclusion. You would like to believe otherwise, but that’s what I see.

              1. lambert strether

                Yes, that is the smear. No doubt Nixon and McCarthy, who you emulate, “saw” the same thing. That doesn’t excuse it, them, or you.

                1. FederalismForever

                  @Lambert Strether. You seem to invoke Richard Nixon as some sort of counter-smear, shall we say. Are you aware that it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Alger Hiss and Julius Rosenberg really were Soviet spies?

              2. Ned Ludd

                The U.S. government has no more interest in the welfare of its citizens than the Soviet Union had for its citizens. Does this make me anti-American?

                1. Ned Ludd

                  To be clear, this criticism is true for most all governments and authoritarian organizations. The bigger they are, the more totalitarian they become.

          2. Abe, NYC

            Well done Lambert. If a McCarthy is let loose once again – which seems ever more likely – I’ll be kicked out of the country in a flash, unlike you.

            It’s really sad. Instead of promoting your stated values, you have proved perfectly ready to deploy all sorts of doublethink and support any unsavory figure as long as it it plays to – let me say it once again – your crude anti-Americanism. You prefer to ignore Russian war-mongering, gross violations of human rights, corruption on an unimaginable scale, the thousands of deaths that it caused – just because it is opposed the US of A. That was the perfectly clear gist of my comment, which of course you preferred not to see, but rather interpreted it as a call for a witch-hunt on anti-Americanism.

            And for the record, I’m not anti-American or even, believe it or not, anti-Russian. I stand for what I said: anti-war, whether perpetrated by US or Russia; anti-oligarch, whether it’s the Koch brothers or the Rotenberg brothers; pro-democracy, whether the protests against the authoritarianism are in New York, Moscow, or Kiev. But you need to blind yourself to this very simple message because it’s much more comfortable to stick to your four-legs-good-two-legs-bad worldview.

            1. lambert strether

              Less verbosely, which is pretty easy…

              you’re gonna take back that anti- America smear, right? Spoken in jest, heat of passion, some form if words.

              1. Abe, NYC

                And by the way, my original comment was addressed at no-one in particular. If anyone identified themselves as not pro-peace or pro-democracy, but just anti-American – well, I cannot help it.

                1. OIFVet

                  Of course not! Why waste time naming names when you can slander the entire large slice of the population that doesn’t support US imperialism and its costs both at home and abroad? Kinda like Stalin’s rants against unnamed saboteurs…

                2. lambert strethet

                  Yes, you deploy a classic tactic of smear artists everywhere when they’re called on their bullshit.

                  So how about you explain, giving your reasoning, why nobody on this thread is anti-American. Just to clarify.

      2. juliania

        Well said, CDR!

        I live in the bowels of the Empire, but I agree with all your points. Would just add to the list of exceptionalities that the Russians embody that they have placed an embargo on genetically modified products, the which I so wish we could do here! Not just labeling, an outright BAN.

        Party or no party, whoever advocates that gets my vote. And whoever doesn’t does not.

        1. hunkerdown

          Ugh. That means we’ll be eating all that crap sooner than later. Maybe I shouldn’t have left the garden fallow this year.

    2. zzpig

      Putin isn’t isolated internationally, and the sanctions are hurting Europe more than it is Russia. I know you personally hope that Putin is isolated internationally, because you have a one track anti-Russian mind that can’t comprehend the nuance and complexity of the situation. You’re a small person, Abe.

        1. Abe, NYC

          Sure. The details of the deal are kept secret for a good reason – because, as seems very likely, Russia capitulated on the price of gas in the wake of the Ukraine events. It is widely discussed in Russian media that the price of gas to China may be at or below cost but they can’t be choosers right now and probably for a long time to come.

          1. lambert strether

            You said no friends, I give a so-called friend, with which the diplomat agrees (last para, “positive”). Having lost that point, you shift to price. I guess we’ll have to wait for details to emerge. I don’t know where the Russian media thing cones from; nit the diplomat.

        2. zzpig


          Don’t forget Putin’s recent South America tour. I guess all those nations that Putin is cutting deals with in the Southern Hemisphere are nobodies too.

    3. Ned Ludd

      A good investigator, such as Abe, knows the right story before they ever investigate the facts. And they stick to this story no matter what, while mocking those who attempt to sort through messy, sometimes conflicting evidence.

      If Abe was a detective, he would solve every crime. The only question would be how Putin could be in so many places at once!

      1. Abe, NYC

        Can you briefly explain why I should believe that the insurgents were lying when they said they downed an airplane on the morning of July 16th, but were subsequently telling the truth when they said that they didn’t?

        1. Ned Ludd

          That is a useful piece of evidence. What time were these remarks made? Had Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 been shot down yet? How were these remarks verified as being from the rebels? Did they indicate if they were using a Buk missile system or another surface-to-air missile capable of reaching the height of a passenger plane?

          1. Abe, NYC

            You know as well as I do that the insurgents’ leader posted a message saying they downed a Ukrainian airplane, the time and location of the hit matching those of the MH17.

            1. OIFVet

              Except it is well-known that Strelkov does not use that particular “social” media. And Graham Phillips’ “social” media accounts were quite active while he was a “guest” of the SBU… Bandera forbid the Ukies should hack into social media accounts as part of a misinformation ops in conjunction with a false flag op…

              1. Abe, NYC

                Really really? Hmm, I just checked his vkontakte page, it’s alive and well. The message in question has of course been deleted but surely you have seen the screenshots.

                1. OIFVet

                  Again, given the Graham Phillips’ “social” media activity while subjected to SBU’s hospitality, can you actually prove that the SBU did not also hack this page? Which also happens to be a “community” page rather than a personal account, BTW…

                  1. Ned Ludd

                    I am curious to know what the message said and when it was posted. But if that is a community page, is it possible to know who posted it?

                    1. OIFVet

                      I haven’t seen the message myself, but supposedly Strelkov was bragging about bringing down Ukie transport in the Torez area. And no, I do not think it is possible to know who posted it, particularly given SBU’s hacking of Graham Phillips’ accounts while he was in custody. It is important to stress it again: this is not a personal page, but a community page.

                    2. Ned Ludd

                      I wonder if such a post ever existed, or if it is one of those urban legends that was repeated enough, people just came to believe it

                  2. Abe, NYC

                    Again, Strelkov never disowned the account, never claimed it was hacked, and never disputed the fact he made the post. But I’m not supposed to believe him because you obviously know better.

                    1. OIFVet

                      I see, guilty until proven innocent. Your thinking sounds very…Stalinist. Georgians, what can one do. Good wine though.

                    2. OIFVet

                      Again, SBU’s track record of hacking of accounts makes this anything but “proof”. And you imply silence as admission of guilt. So did Stalin and demagogues worldwide. I guess next thing you will argue is that any suspect who chooses to exercise his right to remain silent is thus guilty, huh?

            2. Ned Ludd

              You brought this bit of information up once before. I have never seen it discussed elsewhere; that does not imply that it is false, simply that I am unfamiliar with it.

              Do you recall, or do you have a record of, the exact text and time of the message?

        2. Doug Terpstra

          Introducing unverified Twitter chatter as evidence is grasping at straws. You look increasingly desperate.

          1. Abe, NYC

            It’s only unverified in your mind. The author of the post in question never disproved its authenticity. It seems to me it’s you who is grasping at straws, trying to argue that even though the author never denied he made the post, it cannot somehow be trusted.

    4. Eureka Springs

      Good lord. I’ll just address your first line.

      Isolated? 87 percent approval of Putin by Russians reported just this week… far from Jr Bush in ’04.
      Although what Russians are experiencing is much closer to our 9-11…. except there is no mistaking that it is the US who is the Terrorist with arms, weapons, training and money, spooks, private militia, and UKR oligarchs and homegrown fascists who are blowing up thousands if not millions of Ukrainian/Russian lives. So I think you might want to compare Putins approval at this time to Bush shortly after 9-11. I rather doubt Putin would have to steal an election from an equivalent of a disgusting John Kerry today as Bush needed to do in ’04.

      I don’t recall exact numbers but the overwhelming majority of countries are with Russia in the UN these days. And I think China agreeing on the gas deal removes much worry of isolation. Others, US butt lickers like Japan, Germany etc.. will have no choice but to de-isolate in a cold gas-less winter, maybe two. Bushco ripped off 99 percent of his nation from derivatives to lies for multi trillion dollar aggressive needless wars… Putin, neoliberalesque as he is… is far from that in re domestic Russian policy, Ukraine or war policy in general.

      Shoot your television and NPR, Abe.

      1. Abe, NYC

        I don’t recall exact numbers but the overwhelming majority of countries are with Russia in the UN these days

        Here are the exact numbers, on resolution condemning Russia’s landgrab in Crimea: 100 in favor, 11 against, 58 abstentions. 11 vs 100, that’s the extent of Russian support.

        1. Andrew Watts

          How many other countries are imposing sanctions besides the US/EU? If you don’t know the difference between a symbolic vote and an action that has consequences you don’t have any business providing commentary on the subject.

            1. Andrew Watts

              The overall question of how isolated Russia is through actions with real diplomatic consequences is not strawmanning. I see you don’t want to answer though.

        2. Lambert Strether

          The other way of looking at that is 100 for the US vs 69 = 11 against + 58 abstaining.

          100 to 69 isn’t nearly as compelling. After all, if the 58 saw the clear cut case Abe sees, they’d be voting yes, right?

          1. Abe, NYC

            That’s what Lavrov said. But why are you adding the 58 to the 11? You might as well add it to the 100. That Russia, for all its frantic lobbying, couldn’t muster more than 11 “No” votes, is remarkable.

            1. OIFVet

              Weariness of being droned? Sudden US interest in making a country “democratic” and “prosperous”?

            2. Lambert Strether

              “[I]f the 58 saw the clear cut case Abe sees, they’d be voting yes, right?” Why are you making me go to the trouble of answering a question my comment answers?

        3. cwaltz

          So the 58 abstentions count for what? Seems more along the lines of 100 vs. 69 to me. And I’d bet that many of the 100 voted the way they did not because they overwhelmingly really were angry with Russia but because it was in their interest to align with a US that increasingly sends bags of money to anyplace that nods their head and agrees with them. Hell, we tend to not even bother double checking to make sure our interests remain bought-ask the Pakistanis.

    5. craazyboy

      “Or, pro-Russian take on MH17…..”

      ’tis amazing what public speculation can lead to when you withhold all factual information.

    6. Murky

      Brainwashing the public with propaganda works, and works well. That’s why Putin has an 87 percent approval rating within Russia right now. Russian media relentlessly hammers out a message of Ukrainian nazis and atrocities against the Russian population. It doesn’t matter whether the propaganda is true. It only matters that it’s effective.

      The very best tool of any propaganda is to ‘demonize’ the opposition. Ukrainians are not human beings. They are nazis. Forget the fact that extreme nationalists in Ukraine polled under 4% in the recent presidential election. Then the claim is, well, nazis still hold top government posts in Kiev and are still running the country. Ask in what respect a particularly govt official is a nazi, or what has he done to deserve such infamy? Well, no detail will be forthcoming. We know they are nazis. End of discussion.

      It does not matter which side has been responsible for aggression. That can be spun. Russia forcibly seized the Crimea, which is sovereign territory of Ukraine. But that’s not aggression. That’s Russia reclaiming historic territory. Besides, Khrushchev was drunk when he gave Crimea to Ukraine way back when. Take-backs are okay! Never mind that Putin’s seizure of Crimea is a clear violation of international law.

      Likewise Putin has aggressively supported Russian separatists, who have cleaved off a large chunk of east Ukraine. That’s not aggression either. That’s 100 percent about protecting Russian populations from Ukrainian nazis.

      Backtracking before these hostilities broke out, note that Putin fully supported Ukraine’s Yanukovych regime. It was a regime which embezzled countless billions, very nearly bankrupting Ukraine. Putin supported this extraordinarily corrupt regime up until the day it crumbled against massive public protest in Kiev. Doesn’t matter that millions of ordinary Ukrainians supported and attended this public protest. Those protests were a ‘fascist coup’, financed and led by the CIA. Such is the message hammered out by Russian propaganda. There was no legitimate Ukrainian public at all. Only fascists and CIA operatives.

      Same story with the downing a passenger aircraft over east Ukraine, killing hundreds. Absolutely has to have been the Ukrainians. They are nazis, unscrupulous, and would readily do such a thing. No matter that evidence strongly points to Russia having provided anti-aircraft missiles to rebels, who did not know how to competently use such missile systems.

      The American left has many adherents who believe strongly in causes of social justice. This forum is an example of that. The pauperization of ordinary Americans by Wall Street fraud has been extraordinarily well documented here at Naked Capitalism. Bravo for that! But on some foreign policy issues, such as Ukraine, the discussion here has been highly prejudiced. How many times has the word ‘nazi’ or ‘fascist’ been used here to characterize Ukrainians?

      The Russian media machine has been very effective in pushing it’s narrative of events in Ukraine. But the downing of a passenger aircraft over East Ukraine is changing this narrative. Many nations now recognize that Russia has been the aggressor in Ukraine. Sanctions have been imposed. Ordinary people in Russia may not have the facts to make sound judgement, because they are still trapped by the Russian propaganda machine. You’d think ordinary people here the West could reassemble their facts to see Russian aggression for what it is, but the rethink is slow. Russian media was quick to implant the ‘fascist coup’ version of Ukrainian history, however wrong that narrative actually is. This implanted prejudice against Ukrainians is persistent. But the ‘Ukrainians are nazis’ canard is definitely unraveling. Putin is losing a war in East Ukraine. His guys are probably responsible for shooting down a passenger jet. Nations of the world have imposed sanctions against his regime. Seizure of Crimea will be contested in international courts. A $50 billion dollar judgement against Putin’s regime has just been imposed by an international court over the illegal seizure of the Yukos oil company. Russian consumers can no longer obtain food products from the West, and there is will be growing discontent. All kinds of problems are coming home to roost on Putin’s presidency. Just maybe the Ukrainians are not the problem here, and never were. The Putin regime is the problem.

      1. Lexington

        I normally steer clear of “yeah, what he said!” posts, but so much of the commentary on NC about the Ukrainian crisis is tainted by the desire of people to force facts to fit their preconceived notions of what is actually happening there that the odd cogent, well thought out counter argument is worth celebrating.

        Thank you.

      2. Murky

        Oops, I forgot to top-off the list of Putin’s failures. It’s Putin that is directly responsible for the loss of Ukraine. Putin’s aggression and propaganda have split off Ukraine from Russia, perhaps forever. Colossal geo-strategic blunder on Putin’s part. Diplomacy combined with political and economic influence probably would have been sufficient to preserve Ukraine within a Post-Soviet space.

                1. OIFVet

                  There are about $5 billion others. Just ask Vicky Kaganova, she’ll tell ya. Or our man Yats perhaps..

                  1. Abe, NYC

                    Said $5 billion includes education grants, research subsidies, consultant salaries, airfares, development aid, and the whole nine yards the US spent on Ukraine since 1991. If you still cannot grasp it, you never will.

                    1. OIFVet

                      Education grants=re-education/brainwahing. Consultants=propaganda packaging, advertisement purchasing, and purchase of local “expertise”/bribes. Development aid=bribes and/or walking-around money. Research subsidies=buying academic opinions. Seen it in Bulgaria in the 1990’s Abe, the blueprints are fairly well established and uniform by now, give or take a few local peculiarities.

              1. Abe, NYC

                Geez, so unauthenticated leaks on social media are perfectly legit as long as they are pro-Russian? But when a Russian FSB officer posts a message which he never disputes, that must be fake? Nice.

                In any case, I don’t doubt the authenticity of either Girkin’s post or Nuland’s conversation – because they don’t dispute it either. Nuland’s conversation is remarkable for what isn’t there – no hint of special operations, only a diplomat who attempts to negotiate a favorable outcome. As if anyone doubted this was what she was doing.

                Let’s have a look at the other side. A delegation of senior FSB officers visits Kiev on February 20-21 “to inspect security measures at the Russian embassy” (original link in Russian). Yeah, right. Not to mention revelations – from way back when, that is last year – that Ukraine’s security services are stuffed like a goose with Russian agents. But this, of course, counts for nothing.

                1. lambert strether

                  Whatever links you’re responding to, they’re not mine, unless you’re cherrypicking a detail I missed. The Real News Network and Counterpunch are hardly social media.

          1. Murky


            Here’s what is quite wrong in your understanding of regime change in Ukraine. The change of regime in Ukraine was not exclusively a CIA operation. There were many factors that led to regime change. Most important of all were the millions of Ukrainians that protested and fought in Maidan square against state corruption. Why, Lambert, did you not hear the voices of millions of Ukrainians who actively fought against the Yanykovych regime? Did you not see them on you telescreen? Yes, the Maidan revolution was actually a popular uprising. These millions of Ukrainians were not all CIA drones. Duh! And there are other important reasons why the Yanukovych regime collapsed. Remember it was Yanukovych that fled from Ukraine; he literally abandoned his office as President. That left a power vacuum, which the opposition in the Ukrainian parliament was able to use. Did you forget about that too? Deeper causes of regime change in Ukraine include the indigenous split between east and west in Ukraine, which is historical, linguistic, and religious. And if you turn the clock back to the early 1930s, do you even acknowledge that the Stalin regime starved to death several million Ukrainians? Take all of 5 minutes to read about the ‘holodomor’; it’s in Wikipedia. Just maybe a few Ukrainians still have some historical memory about their murdered kinfolk. But you, Lambert, still think that the Ukraine break from Moscow was exclusively a CIA operation????? Nope, no other factors could possibly have any relevance for you. I personally have no problem acknowledging a CIA presence in Ukraine. But Putin’s FSB (the new KGB) was in Ukraine too, and they were there in much larger numbers. And it’s easy to tease out other factors of the Ukrainian revolution to which you are still blind. The US supported many non-governmental organizations in Ukraine and so did Europe. These organizations were also influential, and not all were puppets of the CIA. And that’s not even to mention the growing trade relationships between Ukraine and the West.

            For a highly intelligent guy, I can’t figure out why your understanding of history is so singleminded and conspiratorial. The CIA’s plan for world dominance explains everything in Ukraine, eh? Those millions of ordinary Ukrainians protesting against the Yanukovych regime were all CIA drones, eh? Well, if you can’t give up on the-CIA-did-it explanation, at least stop calling Ukrainians ‘nazis’ and ‘fascists’. Your many defamatory posts against Ukrainians at Naked Capitalism only denigrate your reputation as a writer of quality.

            1. OIFVet

              What millions? Got links to the Maidan census count? And what did the regime change achieve? Why is the Maidan protesting the chocolate king, and why is the chocolate king trying to forcefully clear out the Maidan? Why is this not covered by the MSM? What say you, Sparky?

            2. hunkerdown

              Can Western neoliberals even speak without committing category errors that somehow invariably inure to their own benefit?

              1. Murky

                Can propagandists ever speak the truth without falsifying facts? That’s why it’s best to answer questions like yours with more questions, because the questioning itself is questionable. If that’s confusing to you, try getting specific. Find some real-world event or fact that we can talk about. Perhaps a good point of departure is your favorite term ‘neoliberal’. Tagging someone a ‘neoliberal’ nowadays has become a standard kind of name-calling. Does the term ‘neoliberal’ mean anything any more? Perhaps you can spell out just why you think I am a neoliberal, what my neoliberal beliefs are, and what’s wrong with those beliefs? Good luck with that. I predict you have zero chance of making a good argument here. But I’ll help you. CIA plans world dominance and that should be obvious to all humanity. Right? On with it; I’m eager to read what you post.

                1. FederalismForever

                  @Murky. Well said! For some, “neoliberal” has become a catch-all term of disapproval, like “bourgeois.”

                  1. OIFVet

                    As have the terms “Marxist” and “socialist” and “anti-American.” I suspect a much larger proportion of those who use the term “neoliberal” can define it correctly than can those who use “socialist” as pejorative correctly define socialism…

                2. Abe, NYC

                  Can propagandists ever speak the truth without falsifying facts?

                  In short, no – hence all the mutually contradictory pro-Russian theories on the downing of the MH17.

                  1. OIFVet

                    As opposed to publishing the “intercepted” phone calls the day before the downing? Who would a thunk it that Ukraine, of all places, will be the place where precognition becomes reality…

                    1. OIFVet

                      A Ukie website, based on a project funded by Rinat Akhmetov, an oligarch. Again, whatever happened to your “principled” stand against oligarchy? Occupational hazards, a real bitch…

                3. hunkerdown

                  I apologize for the imprecision — I have trouble telling one neo- from another these days as they all seem aligned toward the same end, of enforcing the USD as orders from G-d and slaying apostates.

                  In any case, the English language as it is used does make distinguishing between the citizenry and its rulers, or any other group and their collective membership’s activities outside their group, unwieldy and imprecise. (See also Twitter: #notallmen) The NYT correctly fingered the Azov Battalion as a neo-Nazi paramilitary group. Of course that does not make Nazis of other Ukrainians, or even Ukrainian supporters of Western authoritarianism, but those who support their ends in themselves have some answering to do.

                  I’m not sure how you got from “the West sponsored the overthrow of an elected government” to “it was all CIA”. Western oligarchs across the spectrum, from Soros to Omidyar, have been pouring personal money into destabilizing Ukraine, which makes the effort no less Western. Also, the VPOTUS’ son Hunter Biden happens to own shale leases in Donetsk and Lugansk districts and works for a company looking to exploit them, at the cost of turning the land into an unlivable moonscape of sinkholes. As regime change can be performed under the direction of private actors for private benefit, as we nearly saw with the Tea Party here and with Business Plot from the 1930s, and with Kolomoiskii’s self-funded Right Sector having summarily executed uncooperative Ukrainian army units, there’s no need for the CIA to be involved in its official capacity (but the revolving door works just as well for the intelligence community as the Senate, as one Mr. Alexander could least untruthfully attest).

                  Oh, the CIA bit is a straw man + reductio ad absurdum + the old “conspiracy theory” device to stop people talking about power. Well, alright then.

            3. Vatch

              Hi Murky,

              I agree with much of what you say here, but I think it is an exaggeration to say that millions of Ukrainians actively fought against the Yanukovych regime. I think it’s reasonable to say that millions opposed Yanukovych, but the number of people who actively opposed him were in the hundreds of thousands.

              Thanks for the reminders about the Holodomor and Russia’s illegal seizure of Crimea. At the very least, there should have been United Nations election observers.

              1. Murky

                The Wikipedia article on Euromaidan lists between 400 and 800 k protesters in Maidan in late November and early December 2013. That’s just the figures for crowds on single days. In late December and early January crowds are estimated to vary between 50 k and 200 k on a daily basis. lists at least 100 k crowds on peak days, and those are conservative estimates. I could not find estimates of crowd numbers for middle February when the demonstrations broke out into open fighting with police. Kiev itself has almost 3 million residents, and most of them probably visited Maidan at one time or another. Obviously not all of them were active protesters, but nevertheless added to crowd numbers. Add to that the 10s of thousands that flocked to Maidan, primarily from West Ukraine in protest against the Yanukovych regime. And that’s just the numbers in Kiev. There were many other protests against Yanukovych in many other cities across Ukraine. I don’t have the time to assemble a rough head count, but I think it’s safe to say that millions of Ukrainians participated at one time or another in the protests against Yanukovych. These numbers of course will be disputed by those who want to minimize the popular uprising that occured against the Yanukovych regime.

                1. OIFVet

                  IOW you can’t come up with a proof about the “millions” on the Maidan you conjured up out of thin air. Nice try to go from “the millions of Ukrainians that protested and fought in Maidan square” to “many other protests against Yanukovych in many other cities across Ukraine”, a bit of fuzzy math sleigh of hand. Classic.

            4. cwaltz

              So how do you feel about the fact that the US spent 5 BILLION dollars helping to ferment the anger and feeelings of despair the Ukrainians had while cutting food stamps that help feed children here or while arguing that the elderly should have to work longer?

              The reality is the US tainted the narrative that this was an internal civil war with the billions it invested into the region.

              1. Murky

                Hi cwaltz. I believe Vatch has written about that 5 billion in some detail. The gist is that 5 billion was not just CIA programs, but all US government expenditures on Ukraine, including educational exchanges. The problem is that we just have the Nuland recording, in which she blabbed the 5 billion figure, and we don’t know precisely where all that money went. I agree completely that it would be excellent to have a detailed accounting of that 5 billion.

                Now, just for a moment cwaltz, think about how much money Putin has spent on Ukraine. I read somewhere that he spent 45 billion on the Olympics in Sochi. And those were just games. Now, do you think Putin spent any FSB money on Ukraine, which was a geo-strategic piece of his plans for a Eurasian Union? This is just to raise the question of just how much influence 5 billion buys, and who was really the big spender in Ukraine. If you want to understand Ukraine, I agree completely with your idea of following the big money. The biggest money in Ukraine is that pushed around by oligarchs. I am linking to an essay by a respected scholar and journalist that helps trace those many billions.

                But first let me blab a bit about how dominant world empires collapse. It’s never pretty. Russia retained political control over Ukraine for hundreds of years, and only now is Ukraine breaking completely free from Russia. I am still surprised the British empire disintegrated after WW2 without more trouble, but that legacy of colonialism nevertheless did produce conflict in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so forth. The breaking up of the Ottoman empire sucked in the Balkans, which then became the flash point for WW1. Maybe we should not be so surprised at the serious conflict in Ukraine, as this is a breaking up of empire too. Anyway, here is the link to Ukraine’s oligarchs and the 10s of billions they push around so casually.


                1. cwaltz

                  It may or may not have been CIA programs the reality is the US has a black budget that Joe and Jane Average don’t get to weigh in on even though they are the ones footing the bill. It’s their tax money and yet all these policy decisions are being made behind closed doors without public debate. The American people had a right to decide whether or not to send billions out of the country when we were busy cutting away here at home.

                  Do I think Ukraine had people that were legitimately debating between who to align themselves with, the EU or Russia? Absolutely. Do I believe the US used this debate and spent the money in order to secure its own interests(or I should say the interests of OUR oligarchs, and let’s be clear we have our own problem with oligarchs in this country) during this time? Yep. I CONDEMN that behavior. I condemn using the Ukrainians and making them pawns. It isn’t right when Putin does it and it’s even less right when it’s my country doing it.

                  Ultimately, I don’t particularly care for Putin. However, I care even less for what my own country is doing. It’s depraved to insist you don’t have the money to feed children in this country while spending BILLIONS to secure a position in Ukraine. It’s depraved to argue the elderly should have to work for another 5 years while Beau Biden heads off to the Ukraine to secure the rights to the natural gas in the country(no oligarchial behavior there eh?) I live in the US. It’s supposedly still a democracy. As far as I’m concerned I have a responsibility to speak out when I see actions taken by the government that I feel are not right. So when I condemn the US , it isn’t about patting Putin on the back, it’s about condemning the actions of those that are supposed to represent my family and me and what is in our best interests(and no I don’t think it’s in my kids best interest to be drafted into neverending military conflicts for resources or to be forced to watch the neighbors kids go without food or see the next door neighbor struggle between paying for medication or electricity for a few more years. If we were a country that was not arguing that we need to cut social programs to our own people I might argue that the billions spent to help Ukraine were humanitarian, however that isn’t the case. You don’t spite or ignore the millions at home in need and then claim you had to send money to Ukraine because you care so deeply about the need there. You particularly don’t do it behind the backs of the people tasked with paying the bills.

                  1. Murky

                    Your first paragraph is aces, I agree with everything.

                    Your second paragraph is also good, but I disagree that the US govt made pawns out of the Ukrainians. That’s makes the CIA out to be all powerful, as if that 5 billion everybody talks about could buy total influence in Ukraine. 50 billion might not be enough, but even that is besides the point. The CIA and it’s 5 billion boondoggle is not the worst of the West in Ukraine. Something is more insidious than the CIA? Yep. Western banks and their great willingness to launder Ukrainian oligarchs money is much worse. Please read the linked article.

                    You third paragraph is also aces. But I would like someone to argue the opposite point, that it’s absolutely necessary to have spy agencies, and that they have some useful purpose. Because I too don’t understand why a big chunk of our tax dollars go to feed a secretive government agency with an unknown agenda. Evil? Probably. Able to break nations the size of Ukraine? Not likely. 5 billion just ain’t enough.

                    1. Vatch

                      Hi Murky,

                      You are correct about the 5 billion dollars. It was certainly spent on multiple projects, and probably over a period of up to 22 years. It’s possible that more was spent in the past 4 or 5 years than in the previous decade and a half, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was hardly enough money to topple the government of a nation of Ukraine’s size.

                      CWaltz, I agree with you that neither the U.S. nor Russia should use the Ukrainian people as pawns. As Murky points out, the money laundering by the giant banks is more significant than the 5 billion U.S. government dollars.

            5. Abe, NYC

              Thanks for writing this Murky, you put it really well. Craig Murray provided a very clear and informed analysis of the Ukraine events, I must have linked to it half a dozen times already.

              And to add to it from another brilliant post of his:

              One fact which has become undeniably clear in the Ukraine is that the pro-Russian insurgency in the East is commanded by members of the Russian military and security forces like Strelkov who are Russian, not Ukrainian citizens, and they are under tactical and strategic supervision from Russia. Again, the self-hating fantasist tendency in the West manage to convince themselves that what is happening in East Ukraine is massive destruction of civilian populations by NATO forces.

              People who are that removed from reality cannot be helped.

              Much more dangerous are those who do have a grip on reality, who understand exactly what is really happening, and who don’t care. That sums up the position of almost all western governments. The truth is that the financial interests of all those Russian billionaires are completely linked in with those of the super-rich of the West. To take only the UK as an example, these are the people Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and Boris Johnson lunch and have holidays with. These are the people who employ Gerhard Schroeder and David Owen as lapdogs.

            6. lambert strether

              Sponsor as the classic dictionary definition of patron or backer; in this case funder of the minority of Ukrainians who organized and successfully overthrew an elected government. Really, all this is quite uncontroversial. I don’t know why we’re wasting time discussing it.

              1. Vatch

                It was a minority which actively opposed the corrupt Yanukovych government, but this minority was almost certainly supported by a large majority of the Ukrainian population. And only a small part of the active opposition (a minority of the minority) consisted of so-called neo-nazis or fascists

                Who sponsored Occupy Wall Street? Who sponsored the civil rights protests of the 1960s? Who sponsored the Ukrainian Orange Revolution ten years ago? In each case, there are multiple sponsors, and there are many people who would have been involved even without sponsorship.

      3. Abe, NYC

        Well said!

        It looks increasingly likely that March 2014 marked the peak of Putin’s power and influence. Annexation of Crimea, a daring move that stunned everyone, proved incredibly successful domestically, and revealed the West’s seeming inability to mount effective countermeasures.

        But from there it’s been all downhill. It was already obvious in June that in East Ukraine he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Then came the MH17, and Putin finds himself in a zugzwang (a much-repeated analogy in Russian media), a situation where any move can only make his situation worse and where he has quickly lost any support from his old friends on the international stage, and the situation is looking more desperate by the day. At the World Cup finals on July 13th, he was seated next to Merkel and shook her hand afterwards – I doubt this would happen now.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Right, right, which is why the publisher of Germany’s number one financial newspaper is saying, “Wait a minute, war with Russia would be nutso.” Of course, there are “some” comfortably situated on this side of the pond who don’t believe that, and hence the Putin-hate wherever one turns these days.

          1. Abe, NYC

            And what does a war with Russia have to do with it? Or did I mention it anywhere? Or did you descend into strawmanning?

            1. OIFVet

              Other than war, what other “countermeasures” do you have in mind? A color revolution to spur a regime change perhaps? Delusional if so, not to mention it does technically qualify as an act of war.

                1. OIFVet

                  sanctions=economic warfare. You don’t really expect anyone to believe that you view sanction as adequate “countermeasures”, do you?

            2. lambert strethet

              No. If Putin is. in a zugzwang position, the publisher would not have written as he did.

      4. Jackrabbit

        GIGO (Garbage in, Garbage out.) Strawmen, half-thruths, and more. We’ve seen this from you before Murky. Don’t you get tired of showing us how lame you are?

        ” How many times has the word ‘nazi’ or ‘fascist’ been used here to characterize Ukrainians? “

        Actually very infrequently. I think YOU use it more than anyone else here. And YOU just used it more than I’ve seen over many weeks


        The Russian media machine has been very effective in pushing it’s narrative of events in Ukraine… “

        And the Western media has not been effective?


        “Many nations now recognize that Russia has been the aggressor in Ukraine. . . “

        Do you think we are naive? No here believe that Putin is anything more than a leader that is doing what he feels to be best for his country. And that means countering an aggressive US coalition. He may be more right in that the West tore up a plan for new elections by the end of the year and Putin:

        – responded to a coup; and
        – offered a peaceful alternative: a federal and neutral/non-aligned Ukraine.


        Putin[‘s] . . . guys are probably responsible or shooting down a passenger jet.”

        Well you’ll have to do better than that since many of the facts are in dispute and the US/Ukraine are withholding info that could clear it up.


        And your attempt to link the American left and the Putin regime is simply McCarthyism. It is offensive. Many on BOTH THE LEFT AND RIGHT don’t want to go to war for a corrupt system; BUT that doesn’t translate into what you depict as blind support for Putin. Your hatefulness (which you have shown here over so many months) seems to prevent you from grasping that point. Or, not grasping it is just a convenient way for you to spill your garbage on the street.

        H O P

      5. hunkerdown

        I read today that the upscale suburbs are almost always spared when the GoU attacks the residential areas of a contested city. Any idea why that might be, or why S.2277 seems to be written specifically to put the treasure and safety of the US into allowing Hunter Biden to follow in W’s footsteps?

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        @different clue,

        Many thanks for the link to SSC, I don’t visit the site as often as I should and was pleased to read an erudite, if long post on the Origins of WWI and how it conflates with the crisis in the Ukraine presently – to say its quite frightening would be an understatement, hence I suggest all those involved in the heated dialogue concerning Putin, Russia and the Ukraine this is a must read, as are the numerous comments that follow the post – I’m getting a little sick and tired of the blame game be played on this thread, many are being rather disingenuous with their facts, such as Putin was highly supportive of the former government in the Ukraine – fact – and Putin was also in favour of letting democracy run its course, which meant sticking to the electoral cycle, rather than launching an actual “coup” that now delegitimises what ever government now holds power in the Ukraine. It would seem many want their cake and eat it at the same time, you cannot have both, and if you support the democratic process, the inescapable fact is that the present regime in Kiev is illegitimate and frankly, not fit for purpose.

  10. FederalismForever

    Re Patrick Cockburn and “Crisis in the Middle East.” Looks like Samuel Huntington was right after all!

    1. Paper Mac

      Huntington’s devotees created a self-fulfilling prophecy. They decided Islam was inimically opposed to the West (someone had to be, after all, to keep defence budgets up) and proceeded to directly support Saudi kharijite radicals and to deliberately destabilize the region until they got the jihadi state they wanted. Without American support for the house of Saud’s wahhabi ideological programme and the chaos created in the wake of Saddam’s overthrow, there would be no ISIS (whose ideology and terror tactics have Western, not Islamic, roots, as ably documented by Timothy Winter in Bombing Without Moonlight (

      1. FederalismForever

        @Paper Mac. Sorry. I’m not buying what you’re selling. Huntington and his acolytes didn’t “decide” that fanatical Islamists were “inimically opposed to the West.” In fact, these Islamists have long been opposed to everyone – not just the “west,” but Jews, Christians, even other Muslims no matter where they live. The precursors to many of these groups actively supported the Nazis. Long before the US had any significant presence in the region, their intolerant and expansionist belief system was pretty much the same as it is today.

        It is truly amazing that so many in Saudi Arabia are so hostile to the U.S. The fact is, a great portion of Saudi Arabia’s wealth and riches can be traced directly to U.S. technology and applied science. Every member of the Saudi ruling clan should give a prayer of thanks to John D. Rockefeller. Back in the 1920s, the Saudis allowed U.S. oil companies to engage in expensive exploration which eventually led to the creation of all of the Saudi oil infrastructure. U.S. companies built almost all of it. Sometime around the late 1970s, the Saudis decided to renege on their deal with the U.S. oil companies, and “nationalized” everything. Aware of U.S. reliance on Saudi oil, they have managed to hold this over our head ever since, in the meantime funding all sorts of intolerant Wahhabist activities, fomenting hatred of the West, even sponsoring terrorists attacks against the West, and continuing to force their women to exist under conditions quite similar to chattel slavery. From the perspective of the Saudi ruling family, owning land that turned out to be so valuable (due to Western technology) was like winning the lottery. They could have chosen to disperse these trillions in oil revenues in a manner that educated their population, and forged ties with the U.S. and the West that were more conducive to long-term peace. But instead, they chose to double-down on intolerance and religious fanaticism. It’s a disgrace! To be sure, the U.S. has made mistakes, but the lion’s share of the blame for the current dismal situation lies with the choices made by the Saudi ruling elite.

        1. Paper Mac

          ” To be sure, the U.S. has made mistakes, but the lion’s share of the blame for the current dismal situation lies with the choices made by the Saudi ruling elite.”

          Right, in other words the ISIS situation is the product of political choices made by the US and its comprador satraps, not any ‘clash of civilisations’, contra Huntington’s thesis.

    2. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Well the right connection is made between Bush and Blair, and as we all know, despite the clusterfuck of what’s happening in the Middle East, and specifically Syria and Iraq, one Mr. Tony Blair, the special peace envoy in the ME for the Israeli crisis refuses to accept any responsibility whatsoever for this tragedy – he’s like Pontius Pilate at the execution of Jesus washing his hands and no doubt counting all the coin he and his despicable wife have rolled in since 2007.

      Further, I hope you are aware the the UK’s Independent Newspaper and the London Evening Standard are owned by a Russian oligarch and as such, under USA/EU sanctions should be off limits for us here on NC and anywhere else in the world – I smell another conspiracy brewing.

      1. steviefinn

        Tony Blair – Middle East peace envoy, says it all really. A man whose actions appear to be an attempt to become as lethal as the disease that matches his initials. If the Muslims were actually right about their religion, I would love if it were possible to see his face when he met Allah. Of course this is ridiculous as he will be greeted with open arms by his big Daddy who will no doubt congratulate him for helping rid the World of those filthy unbelieving men women & children

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          As an atheist, I always fantasize that every “believer” in every religion would someday be judged by the very deity they claim to understand.

          The look on EVERYBODY’s face would be a Kodak moment (even mine, as I would be shocked that there was, in fact, a god).

  11. craazyboy

    “Saudi Arabia deports ‘irresistible’ men deemed ‘too handsome’ to women”

    A little buffing here, a little spit & polish there, and Middle East Culture should be perfect.

    1. craazyman

      No great loss for the guys. I doubt Saudi Arabia is a good place to score chicks anyway — since the women wear head-to-toe parachutes with eye holes. You can’t even tell if a woman is a woman! What’s the point of spending an hour or more on inane conversation with a parachute if it’s not even a hot woman underneath all the billowing folds. I mean really.

      The thought just cracked me up: Imagine a guy at a party with a few scotch and sodas leaning amorously against a wall chatting up a parachute with eye holes for an hour or so, then somebody comes over and pulls the parachute straight up and underneath there’s a marble statue. hahahahaha. Oh man, and he just thought she was being coy. That’s the way I feel about all the Doom & Gloom macro advice we’ve gotten here for the past 4 years. You keep thinking through it thinking it’ll pay off if you just keep going with it , but then the curtain’s up and there’s a big Bull staring you right in the face. Whoa! That’s not what you were expecting!

      Also, this just boosts the guys prestige back in the home country. Now they get the sympathy vibe, and if they have any ability at all they can turn that into a romp in less than an hour.

      1. craazyboy

        I hear ya. Considering what we have to go thru around here to get the goodies, a parachute in the way would certainly make me give up. Totally.

        The tranny market is a bummer too, but so far I’ve considered that as a separate phenomoron.

        If I were a big Hollywood stud, I would be a little worried about the public recognition these Arab Stallions may receive. Not that many leading male roles out there.

        1. hunkerdown

          Bollywood would be closer.

          And yes, the French approach has much to recommend it, not least a society with men not so backed up to their eyeballs they can’t think clearly.

  12. craazyboy

    “US analysts conclude MH17 downed by aircraft”;

    hmm…looks like the official analysis is headed towards believable ground.

    Our intertubes War Game was too restrictive — giving us only a ground support attack airplane to play with. Our professional analysts couldn’t win the game either, and added a fighter to the Uks’ arsenal.

    1. BondsOfSteel

      Actually, the headline should have read, “One ex-journalist on his blog reports that one or more anonymous US analysts conclude that MH17 downed by aircraft”.

      1. craazyboy

        True, but it is a start. I was overly intrigued by the sense making part. The millions of words of intertubes analysis has not yet led to the villain.

        I’ll summarize the two uncompleted scenarios, at least in my mind after a few days of following the hypotheticals at NC and other sites.

        1) The Uks did it with a ground support attack plane using small missiles or auto-cannon.
        Pretty much shown to be impossible. My pet theory is the Uks also have fighter planes in their Air Force, and my bias led me to like this article too much.

        2) The Separatists did it with a captured BUK. The BUK has 30 mile range, is radar guided, and the radar focused on the cockpit windshield of a 777 and detonated in front of the aircraft which was traveling at Mach .8 (could happen, but I’d like to hear it from a missile expert)

        The 777 was 5 miles up leaving a possible location for the launcher in a 25 mile radius below. We(?) think the evidence about the Uks diverting the flight about 300 miles off a straight course is legit. The horrible coincidence is this put it over a 25 mile patch of ground with a ready and armed BUK launcher. The Uks were aware the launcher was stolen 3 days before the shoot down.

        So…my other pet theory is the Seps shot it down, but were “suckered” by the Uks.

        Then there has been speculation about accomplices, but first things first.

          1. craazyboy

            Might have missed that one. I just read that that the Uks have a bunch of Buks, and have had them for a long time. There is the possibility the Uks themselves got into the launch area, because I also read the Seps have been pretty much pushed back into the cities, so maybe the Uks can maneuver around in Sep “territory”.

            But then there should be sat evidence of that too, and that may be stuck in Langley with the other hypothetical evidence showing the Sep Buk….oh never mind….

            1. hunkerdown

              Oh, The Saker put up a document a few days ago that laid it out, based on Russian radar data on where BUK systems were operating. I don’t have the link handy but it’s probably not hard to browse for. The author evaluated four sites: three in Ukie territory and the separatists’ location as identified by the London Telegraph. The only location he found consistent with the damage in evidence was the easternmost Ukie site, in Shakhtarsk. The author wrote a bit discounting the air-to-air missile theory, suggesting the damage was inconsistent with the continuous-rod warheads used in missiles typically found on Su-25s, and also spent some paragraphs discounting cannon fire as the murder weapon.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          It seems far more likely than not that both Russia and the US know exactly what happened to the plane and they are playing the dance of the seven veils with each other. Or Donetsk hold ’em or something. Each side is waiting for the other to tell a lie that can then be unambiguously revealed as such with empirical evidence and each in turn unwilling to make the first move. Thus the remarkable paucity of substantive evidence presented from either side. Either side caught in flagrante delicto lying could possibly turn the balance of global opinion, so if that’s what’s going on it’s a high stakes game.

  13. Jim

    The sad article in Jacobin “Unions that refused to strike” is another tragic episode in the long history of the collapse of labor activism in the US.

    On a macro-level, this collapse was initiated by a series of agreements among key corporate and public sector actors to reorganize American labor in the interests of the corporate State–which meant the eventual bureaucratic administration of American labor militancy.

    Prior to the 1930s most of the American working classes were still largely collectively unorganized and.politically active. But beginning with the establishment of federally mandated collective bargaining through the passage of such legislation as the Norris-LaGuardia Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Wager Act, the Healy Act, and after WWII the Employment Act of 1946 and Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, the partnership of Big Capital and Big State eventually resulted in tight national bureaucratic control of labor.

    The events depicted in the Jacobin article, (for example the informal agreement of ILWU with the PMA to maintain the flow of work after the contract had run out and the bureaucratic decision by an arbitrator that concluded that the port truckers picket line was not “legitimate” are only some of the more recent consequences of the increasingly centralized management of labor– which began in the mid-1930s and was largely accepted by an American left– which mistakenly saw federal government administration as the salvation rather than the enemy of American labor.

    1. Ulysses

      Yep. The one positive development that I’ve seen is that some younger union members, and a few older radicals like myself, are starting to work with wildcat strikers, the new wobblies, rank-and-file teachers rebelling against the NEA and AFT “leadership”, etc. I was particularly encouraged to see my old Teamsters Local 251, up in Rhode Island, recently throw out the old corrupt cronies and elect a far more militant slate.

      1. hunkerdown

        The GOP can’t put in the fix until they know what the fix is supposed to be and who’s supposed to benefit.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        There’s got to be a limit to how great evil can be. It’s kind of like death or pregnancy: you can be ‘a little’ of neither.

        I’m pretty sure our choices, come 2016, will be between stupid evil and smart evil, once again.

        1. different clue

          There will also be third party choices, and also the choice of leaving some line on the ballot blank.

  14. Lexington

    RE: “US analysts conclude MH17 downed by aircraft New Straits Times”

    Why doesn’t NC just throw up Fox Mulder’s iconic “I Want to Believe” UFO poster on the home page? Because that’s the territory we’re in now.

    In spite of the article’s lede ” INTELLIGENCE analysts in the United States had already concluded that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by an air-to-air missile, and that the Ukrainian government had had something to do with it”, no actual intelligence analysts (American or otherwise) are cited in the article. Instead we get an AP reporter peddling his own unsubstantiated speculation, an OSCE observer cited at second hand who is misrepresented as an “investigator’ (according to Huffington Post he is a journalist by trade), and a former Lufthansa pilot who based his analysis on a single photo he got off the Internet.

    These guys make the people who claim the moon landings were faked and that 9/11 was a false flag operation look good.

    1. craazyboy

      Well, then, I guess we are back to confirming sources and restarting the War Game is on hold again.

      I know I shouldn’t believe anything until I see a youtube with Obama dressed in his 5 star general suit and whiteboards out how it all happened. If he uses one of those laser pointers, that would be even cooler.

      But let’s keep our fingers crossed that some identifiable person from officialdom stands up and clarifies all this confusion.

      1. Lexington

        In case it needs to be said, I’m not defending what is being peddled in the MSM.

        Just saying two wrongs don’t make a right….

        1. OIFVet

          And yet you do seem to be giving the MSM “evidence” based on “unnamed intelligence sources” far more weight, non? At least, this is the impression I got from your comments over the past few weeks.

          1. Lexington

            I have said that I think the most likely explanation is that MH17 was shot down in error by Ukrainian separatists and/or their Russian allies, but my reasons for believing this have nothing to do with what is being peddled in the MSM. Also, this is a very tentative conclusion based on very ambiguous and incomplete evidence and I reserve the right to change my mind if credible evidence emerges that points to a more likely scenario. Needless to say the New Straits Times article doesn’t come even remotely close to meeting the standard of credible evidence. Here’s a crazy idea, instead of passing judgement based on the photo interpretation skills of a layperson with exactly one picture to work with maybe we should wait until actual experts have had the opportunity to study the actual wreckage and concluded that the holes were caused by 30mm cannon rounds (instead of, say, the fragmentation warhead of a SAM).

            There is no doubt in my mind that, as Lambert pointed out in his original post on this topic, the US government has no compunction about lying its eyeballs out to promote its preferred narrative. That having been said, it doesn’t preclude the possibility that sometimes the truth and American interests will happen to coincide.

            1. OIFVet

              Sorry to be so dense, but could you elaborate on the evidence have you come across? As far as I know the only evidence released was that of the Russian MoD, and that decidedly does not lend support for your conclusion.

              1. craazyboy

                Or why we should throw away the second half of the article which is about the first OSCE inspectors (also named – plus they are not spooks, so reporters are allowed to name them. hahahah) on site talking about fuselage pieces they found riddled with 30mm bullet holes. The article also has a picture they took of some fuselage wreckage. But we need to be careful of any pics we see on the internet, as any NC antidote viewer already knows.

                Then we should say the first half of the article is crazy speculation about some fantasy fighter plane putting the holes there.

                Next thing Lexington will try and tell us is a UFO did it!

                This is how O.J. got off.

                I mean, this takes a LOT of mental contortion to keep from turning communist.

                Now if we really want fancy, we need to reconstruct the plane (virtually) with all the identified bullet holes and or missile shrapnel and put it in back in virtual flight. Then do some ballistics analysis. Some real grassy knoll and second, third, shooter simulations stuff. We’ll find what did it whether we found what did it or not

    2. Lambert Strether

      It’s actually Robert Parry in Consortium News:

      President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

      President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

      Despite U.S. spy satellites positioned over eastern Ukraine, U.S. intelligence agencies have released no images of a Buk system being transferred by Russians to rebel control, shipped into Ukraine, deployed into firing position and then being taken back to Russia. Though the Obama administration has released other images of Ukraine taken by U.S. spy satellites, the absence of any photos of a rebel-controlled Buk missile battery has been the dog not barking in the strident case that Official Washington has made in blaming the rebels and Russia for the July 17 shoot-down that killed 298 people.

      A touch less clever rhetoric about UFO posters, and a touch more effort with the Google (I searched on the headline) would add more value for NC readers, thanks very much. (Not to say that Parry’s thesis can’t be disputed.)

      * * *

      I’ve gotta say, processing this comment thread, that the pro-war commentary is as thick as I’ve seen it for a long time; charges of “anti-America” really up the toxicity level a notch. This is, I think, telling in itself.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Nah, it’s just three regular defenders of the US program to create failed states all over the world for the profits of the military-intel complex getting screechier because the commentariat can show they don’t have evidence, logic, or history on their side. So of course they go to ad hominems.

        1. Lexington

          I pointed out obvious shortcomings in the cited article and get accused of becoming “screechier” and resorting to ad hominem attacks.

          Gotta say that from where I’m sitting it seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

          As for the commentariat showing I don’t have “evidence, logic, or history” on my side I’ve provided plenty of all three in my posts on this subject. Of course if you’d care to point to specific instances where you feel I have fallen short I would be more than happy to address them.

          And just for the record I am no admirer of American foreign policy, it’s just that unlike a lot of people here I try not to let my prejudices determine how I interpret the evidence.

          1. OIFVet

            I won’t presume to speak for the proprietors, but I am quite certain that the three in question are Abe, Murky, and FF.

            1. FederalismForever

              @OIFVet. Please do not speak for me. As I said above in response to CDP: “I’m inclined to agree with your conclusion that the US should just pull back and concentrate on its own problems at home. It’s current leadership just isn’t up to the task of running a superpower or quasi-global empire.”

              1. OIFVet

                IOW it’s not that you are opposed to foreign adventures in general, just foreign adventures initiated by the current administration. And your original reply to CDR does evoke American Exceptionalism, albeit in a slightly modified form. Therefore I stand by what I said.

                1. FederalismForever

                  @OIFVet. Well, being “opposed to foreign adventures in general” would be an utterly stupid position to take, as it would oppose everything from our noble “foreign adventures” against Nazism to our misbegotten “foreign adventures” in Vietnam and Iraq. Don’t we need a maxim that would permit the former but prohibit the latter?

                  1. OIFVet

                    As I recall, Iraq started out as a “noble” adventure against a member of the “Axis of Evil”, a war “to make the world safe for democracy”. Saddam, much like Putin now, was compared to Hitler. So, how in the world does one know ahead of time that any foreign adventure is “noble”? And who decides it? For that matter, what is the definition of “noble” used by the “deciders” ? What you are saying is so breathtakingly meaningless ….

                    1. OIFVet

                      Since when does opposition to imperial wars and to Empire in general considered isolationism? Would you call Sweden, for example, isolationist because it doesn’t go and bomb everybody just because it could? First you call people “anti-American”, now this… But to answer your question, yes I am a pacifist. Going to war can do that to people, but I don’t expect someone like you to understand that. If you did, you wouldn’t be invoking the lie that there is such a thing as a “noble” war. There never was and never will be. The reasons for going to war may or may not be “noble”, but the act of war itself never is. It is a state sanctioned murder, pure and simple, and the schmuck with the gun who just blew somebody’s brains out is left holding the bag and dealing with the consequences of committing the murder, while the chickenhawks who sent him to murder count their fucking profits. Very fucking “noble” no doubt.

        2. Murky

          Yves. Stick to economics and finance. You have expertise in these areas, and your opinion is highly valued.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I have no interest in readers trying to thought police me. If you don’t like what is written here, it’s a big Internet and I suggest you go elsewhere. As Barry Ritholtz says of readers, embrace the churn.

          2. Foppe

            Oh wow, admonishment by someone all of whose contributions in this thread have revolved around russia/putin demonization, talking up people whose responses fit your agenda, Whig/morality-tale history-writing, and attempts to shame people into silence via classics such as “For a highly intelligent guy, ….” & “[by writing X, you] only denigrate your reputation as a writer of quality.”


            … about how dominant world empires collapse. It’s never pretty. Russia retained political control over Ukraine for hundreds of years, and only now is Ukraine breaking completely free from Russia. I am still surprised the British empire disintegrated after WW2 without more trouble, but that legacy of colonialism nevertheless did produce conflict in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so forth. The breaking up of the Ottoman empire sucked in the Balkans, which then became the flash point for WW1.

            I am not sure whether to cry or laugh at this attempt at “discerning patterns”. Nevertheless, I think you should look in the mirror before telling others that they should “stick to what they know something about”..

      2. Lexington

        Maybe a touch more reading comprehension.

        First, you have not addressed my point that New Straits Times article attributes its claims to intelligence analysts in the United States” but doesn’t actually cite any. Really, that’s a bit of a red flag.

        Second, Parry’s argument asserts that since the US hasn’t produced photographic evidence of Russia transferring a BUK to the insurgents it didn’t happen. I’m sure there’s some kind of logical flaw in that article, but being Google illiterate, I’m having trouble putting my finger on it….

        1. lambert strether

          As a matter of housekeeping, there’s no point writing a long comment impugning the blog when you can add value, as I did, by finding the source. It’s an increasingly unfortunate practice only to cite sources by name with no link, which I rectified.

    3. MtnLife

      “I want to Believe” is better than your “I drank the Kool-Aid” in that it implies a that one does not yet believe, or at least not fully. The discussion here has not been blind fervor for any preordained story (like the US version of events) but one that has evolved over time as evidence has presented itself. The reason most people here don’t think it was Russia is because that’s not where the evidence points. Ukraine has been caught in multiple lies attempting to frame the Separatists. If 4 kids are in a room alone, a vase gets broken, and 2 of the kids are caught repeatedly hiding any possibly exculpatory evidence and lying while trying to frame either of the others, I’m betting you aren’t going to blame the other 2.
      As for the moon landing pics, they have a point about the flag fluttering in the wind where there is no atmosphere. However, this has a plausible explanation as NASA trains for everything, including picture taking (have to make sure you can work the camera in the suit), to a ridiculous degree and slipped the practice picture in either accidentally or to garner even more public support. Not saying the landing was or wasn’t faked, just stating there are valid points on each side.
      9/11 has no such valid points on each side. Official Story Believers either have no concept of physics or choose not to apply it there. To think that repeated simultaneous, symmetric failure happened from an asymmetric damage pattern is analogous to thinking you can chop a tree halfway through with an axe, light the newly expose wood on fire, and have the whole thing fall straight down onto the stump in a pile of toothpicks. Given that steel, when heated and deformed, actually becomes stronger, needing more heat and force to deform it further and leads to a slow motion leaning collapse and the strength/weight ratios of reinforced concrete, steel, and wood – the tree example is actually more probable. If you can find any example, anywhere in history, of any steel framed skyscraper coming down in its own footprint without explosives – let me know. Science doesn’t say who did it, only that the official story should be filed under fantasy or science fiction. Anything past that is your own personal deduction.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Perfect example of a plausible conspiracy theory, IMO. There’s too much noise in the background to get a clear picture of what took place (other than planes actually hitting the towers). The events which followed 9-11 also smell strongly of gasoline (keeping in mind that Bush’s big “idea” was a manned mission to Mars, prior to the attack).

        Then again, maybe the official story is true (even though the math doesn’t seem to add up).

        Related: A neighbor of mine was on Boundary Channel Drive, stuck in rush-hour traffic, when the plane that hit the Pentagon flew directly over her head and hit the building. She witnessed the whole thing. The “missile” theory is bunk.

        1. MtnLife

          If the towers had sloughed or fell over toward the direction of impact it would be more of a conspiracy theory (and I might believe it). I think you are failing to understand the exact precision of multiple variables with which a number of items would have had to concurrently exhibit is tough to create, even in a lab. The chance of that happening naturally is worse than hitting the PowerBall jackpot for a year straight. Violations of physics aren’t CT. CT requires valid non-disproven points for all theories. Valid CT is how did guys who couldn’t handle a Cessna make precision maneuvers in a commercial airliner most pilots claim they couldn’t do? Possible explanations: autopilot, it wasn’t them, or dumb luck. Other valid CT is why have they not released the gas station footage of the Pentagon? Valid reasoning (aside from your friend) is either it wasn’t an aircraft or it showed the Pentagon’s air defense system in action. I’m very open to areas of contention where there is space/evidence for valid possibilities. Not so much where there isn’t like with JFK. No way in hell is someone who is shot from high, back, and right going to have their head go back and to the left. For the force vectors to work out on that you would need something coming from the front that was far greater strength than the supposed rifle round (negating it’s force nearly completely) hitting his head simultaneously, and anything with that much force would have torn his head clean off.

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            As I said — much of what you say is plausible. As for Kennedy, what sealed the deal for me was that no one could get off as many shots as Oswald did in the timeframe, using the same model bolt-action rifle. All else aside (and there’s a lot), that one demonstrable detail leaves me open to doubt.

            1. optimader

              “no one could get off as many shots as Oswald did in the timeframe, using the same model bolt-action rifle”
              Wrong! that’s urban legend.

              The shots have been reproduced many times

              Oswald may have been antisocial dbag, but he was a trained marine sharpshooter. “..Oswald scored a rating of sharpshooter (twice achieving 48 and 49 out of 50 shots during rapid fire at a stationary target 200 yards [183 m]..” It was only an 80m shot, less than his minimum qualifying shot and he had a 4power scope!

              Low speed target almost w/o any deflection. (jfk was moving almost directly away from him). Hate to say it but it would have been hard to miss, jfk was toast. 80m is less than the minimum 100m distance for entry level amateur range shooting.
              Dealey Plaza is a small place.. Now why was jfk routed through there/ that the good question.

              1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                That’s strange, because I remember, years ago, watching a CBS rehash of the incident, and the top Marine Corps marksman at the time couldn’t do it (under the same conditions — height, angle, moving target, etc.).

                It was filmed, and the Marine wasn’t the only one who tried it.

                I guess I should second guess my own lying eyes (or failing memory, but I doubt it).

                BTW: The investigation ended up supporting the Warren Report.

          2. optimader

            “did guys who couldn’t handle a Cessna make precision maneuvers in a commercial airliner most pilots claim they couldn’t do?”
            Landing is the tricky bit, that wasn’t a requirement to hit a very large building.

  15. fresno dan

    Digital disruption in the world’s oldest profession Financial Times

    You know, some of us have great difficulty in acquiring sex in these…..hard (but not in a good way)….times. With a small…..income, it can be difficult to procure an adequate sex worker.
    I would propose that as stimulus … the economy, we provide income enhancements to those who can’t get any, though no fault of their own, because of market short comings, by a governmental program to cover the spread between client’s means and provider’s price. I would call these supplements “Federal Uniform Compensation Stipends” or FUCS for short.
    GDP could only swell with such a program….

    1. hunkerdown

      Hah! If that’s the only way to get the USG to give more than zero FUCS about the plight of the precariat, well, it’s something.

  16. OIFVet

    Riddle me this: why is the Maidan protesting the new “government”/junta in Kiev? Why is the Chocolate King trying to evict the Maidan with force? Whatever happened to “democracy”? Why is an oligarch in power in Kiev ok, but not in the Kremlin? Why is the junta killing civilians, and why are some “anti-war, pro-democracy progressives” here cheering it on?

  17. Ned Ludd

    • Why is the Maidan protesting the new “government”/junta in Kiev?

    They are Russian agents.

    • Why is the Chocolate King trying to evict the Maidan with force?

    To get rid of the Russian agents.

    • Whatever happened to “democracy”?

    It was destroyed by Russian agents.

    • Why is an oligarch in power in Kiev ok, but not in the Kremlin?

    Which oligarch in Kiev? The old one was a Russian agent. The new one is not. And whoever holds power in the Kremlin – it goes without saying – is a Russian agent.

    • Why is the junta killing civilians, and why are some “anti-war, pro-democracy progressives” here cheering it on?

    I don’t like the tone of these questions. Are you some sort of Russian agent?

    1. OIFVet

      ROTFLMAO! Until I get sent to the reeducation camps that are surely being set up. Honest Abe will no doubt be part of the “education” staff…

      1. hunkerdown

        Would it be cheaper to fly internees to Herzliya as cord wood or fly reeducation professionals here?

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      The politically smart thing for us to do would be to step aside and let the seething and enduring Shi’ite/Sunni hatred for one another dominate their collective attentions. They hate each other more than they will ever hate the West, or Israel.

      Maliki might be at the center of them, but the Shi’ite will protect themselves and their own — in that sense, he is the lucky byproduct of a real “grassroots” political movement. “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around . . .”

    2. Andrew Watts

      Somebody call the US State Department and the CIA they need to know about this right away! The wheels are really coming off the applecart now. I cannot believe these politicians are playing their stupid games while the Islamic State marches on Kurdistan. Baghdad is starting to look like Berlin in ’45.

  18. VietnamVet

    The rise of the Islamic State across Syria and northern Iraq is documentation of the short-sightedness of war for profit and of shock capitalism’s chaos. Who is going to fight God’s Warriors? Not fellow Sunnis. Mecca beckons. Middle-East oil shipments will inevitably be collateral damage. Who will protect the global industry’s energy supply? Not the worn out Volunteer US Army.

    Supporting Ukraine’s Right Sector is even crazier than providing arms to Jihadists in Syria. Russian Intervention is inevitable unless the Donetsk People’s Republic like the Islamic State survives bombardment and encirclement and builds an army of survivors and true believers to march west to wrestle Ukraine away from the oligarchs.

    The irony of history is that the Davos Elite in order to survive the wars and chaos they started in the Middle East and the Balkans will have resurrect the state and good governance, restart the Draft, and pledge to pay 80% of their wealth in taxes. On the other hand, they could just ignite NATO’s hydrogen bombs, kill millions more people, and prove Nuclear Winter is a fallacy or not.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I’d love to see the draft reinstated. No deferments, no exclusions (we’ll find work for the disabled — even if it’s drooling into a bucket), and no residual perks. Volunteering for service would mean that one would forego any payment beyond food, clothing, and shelter, as an act of patriotism.

      Faux “True Patriot” Chickenhawks would scatter like cockroaches. Political pressure would keep us out of wars of choice. Mitt Romney’s sons could volunteer (they certainly don’t need money, and claim to be “True Patriots”), and form a suicide squad to launch their own, private, war on Iran (I can’t see where this would be a problem, as they’re assuredly going to white-boy heaven).

      A Universal Draft would do much to set the world right.

      1. hunkerdown

        It is the ability for the political class to unhitch their wagons from ours anytime they like yet still control the train that causes so much misery, isn’t it? i.e. the ancien regime is the problem, not the solution. Mandatory universal everything would do much to set the world right, and mandatory weekly beatings for the ambitious would probably help too.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          We need to make them lead, at the point of our spears. “We’re right behind you . . .”.

          The American electorate is afraid of its own tool kit.

        2. Ulysses

          “It is the ability for the political class to unhitch their wagons from ours anytime they like yet still control the train that causes so much misery, isn’t it?”
          Very well-said! I think we’d be much better off if the world had no large authoritarian power centers, but rather organic, modest-sized anarcho-syndicalist communes peacefully coexisting all over the world.

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            As tongue-in-cheek as that might (or might not) be, we can, for the first time, ever, communicate instantly with damned near anyone else on the globe. “News” is always new. Information is widely available, even where there is state censorship (except, perhaps, in North Korea).

            Still, it seems we can’t resist the appeal to our primate nature that sublimates our rational minds to our über-emotional, banana-shortage influenced, feces-flinging, scheming, conniving, troop-hierarchy tied, inner howler monkeys.

            1. hunkerdown

              I think it’s more what we’ve been taught: that thinking about lynching elites is racist and not part of the “civilized” ethos (and those that resort to force must sutomatically be in the wrong in all things), that the arena of ideas; i.e. ineffectual chatter, is the only legitimate place for us to battle (while the state cavorts with the aristocracy, retains its monopoly on all manner of force and invariably gains ground for itself and lucre for its own with every “regrettable accident” or “error of judgment” or “miscommunication” that’s almost never made whole), that the Correct Answer is a seed around which all the world cannot help but crystallize the second it is uttered (even over all the wrong-headed, self-serving MSM programming that one can’t even escape for a day without living in the outback).

              As for toolkits, Information Clearinghouse is down under curious circumstances. We can talk to nearly anyone and get information from nearly anywhere on the planet … IFF the intermediaries allow us to get the message through.

              I suspect that if we did string up our elites more often, they might have a reason to lighten up on their looting and remember that one’s social status is property of the communities in which they operate and must be surrendered on demand, just like that credit card. Remember the neocons saying we need an enemy to prevent us from slipping into “hedonism”, which I take as their word for the end of the ancien regime? If that’s the only benefit to creating an enemy, would that we might all act more like bonobos and less like chimpanzees, as Sex at Dawn author Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. has been known to call for from time to time.

  19. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    Damn! Go away for a few hours, and the thread(s) get so entangled, I can’t keep track of the conversation.

    IMO on all of it:

    Putin is no worse and no better than any of our governing psychopaths. Putin reminds me of Cheney, so he’s both getting rich AND pushing pawns around (Pussy Riot? Anti-gay rhetoric?). Obama is GWB, without the brain damage.

    Who shot down the airliner? WTF knows? Did we ever even find out who framed Roger Rabbit? I’m pretty damned sure it wasn’t a civilian what done it.

    Most conspiracy theories I’ve heard of are plausible until a certain answer is revealed (who was Deepthroat? Did Anastasia survive the massacre of her family? etc.). Some will probably forever remain a mystery (JFKs assassination). Malaysia Airlines gets a twofer on the flight that disappeared, and now this. Sometimes Occam’s razor is double-edged.

    We’re all global, now. Why all of the talk of war (foreign and domestic)? Individuals can’t see past this chimpanzee ruse?

    I agree with LS on FDR, et al, being the ideals of progressivism (if I read him right), so far. Too bad no one reads “ancient” history anymore.

    1. optimader

      “Who shot down the airliner? WTF knows?”
      That kind of sums it up. One of roughly three interests did, beyond keeping score does it actually matter which one? Dogs of war bite, civilians take the short end of it.

    2. optimader

      “Putin reminds me of Cheney”
      Don’t agree on that.
      Putin is consistently practicing his trade craft. Rational guy, product of how he was raised in the SU don’t agree with him on most everything but I think he’s very sane.
      Cheney, he’s a f*king irrational whateverpath with a history of breathtakingly bad decisions. He’s nuts and right down to being dangerous to be near.

      1. FederalismForever

        @optimader. Agreed re Cheney. Putin appears to me MUCH smarter, and far better at playing the “imperial game.” Let us not forget that in Bush’s second term Cheney was in favor of bombing Iran (only to be overruled by Rice and the Prez). The man is a menace, and what galls me is he has never served a day in the armed forces. IIRC, he got something like 5 deferments while languishing in school.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          Serving in the military wouldn’t have made Cheney any more or less wrong. He is, however, a chickenhawk hypocrite.

          Cheney didn’t make ANY bad decisions — for Cheney. The old fucker even got a heart.

  20. Roland

    Abe NYC and Federalism Forever never seem to have heard of a very important concept called “balance of power.”

    Many of us do not support actions by Putin out of any intrinsic affection for the current Russian government. Nor do we oppose actions by Obama out of any intrinsic dislike of the USA.

    Instead, we prefer a world situation in which there are enough strong countries to offset the actions of others. A world in which no country has a capacity for unlimited action will be a better place for most of us.

    This century has already provided the world a superb education in the consequences of unchecked power. Why would anyone ignore the historic lessons of their own time?

    One might suppose that someone with a moniker referring to the Federalist Papers would already fully understand this sort of thing. Unfortunately, today’s Occidentals often have the bad habit of claiming inheritance to a secular rational tradition without ever actually learning much about it.

    1. FederalismForever

      @Roland. I actually mostly agree with you. In an ideal world, great Federalists like George Washington and John Quincy Adams would be brought back to life and would restore American foreign policy to their original vision, which was to remain neutral, avoid foreign entanglements, and not seek out monsters to destroy.

      For the record, I made a general comment about the motives of some who routinely criticize US policy, but (unwisely perhaps) I did it in the middle of a discussion on Russia and Ukraine – a dispute in which I take no sides, as I am still weighing the evidence. I remain convinced, however, that some do not adopt a consistent methodology when they criticize the US. They routinely view any news item in the US “mainstream media” with great skepticism, yet will treat any news article from, say, the Russia Times, or Al Jazeera, as gospel truth – even though foreign press are often subject to a much greater likelihood of censorship or even imprisonment, and moreover are often just as full of “planted” articles and news items. They are inconsistent in their methodology, yet in a way that is one-sided against the US, and it perplexes me why this is so.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Our government does not seek out monsters to destroy — it creates them, and then tries to destroy them. We’re a regular goddamned Frankenstein monster/Golem factory.

  21. skippy

    “Occidentals often have the bad habit of claiming inheritance to a secular rational tradition without ever actually learning much about it.” – Roland

    Skippy…. Hard too – learn – when one is being indoctrinated…. via selective chapters and verse… being utilized like a Sunday school felt board story telling psyopt…. milk and bickie’s for the bright sorts after wards….

    1. OIFVet

      What the Bandera… This reminds me of the Revival Process in Bulgaria in the 1980’s, when ethnic Turks were forced to either take Bulgarian names or be expelled from the country ( I was in the third grade when one of my classmate’s name transformed from Turgai to Sergei overnight. And then the long, long columns of refugees streaming toward the border with what few belongings they could carry… It still causes me to feel ashamed. Now this, a nationalist assault on a freaking five year old…

  22. savedbyirony

    With all that is happening in the world, perhaps this article does not even merit being posted here, but i have personally seen business owned by females and intended to serve females only attacked and being run out of business over these issues (one of which is the 39 year old Music Festival mentioned in the article). Also, i think these issues directly impact the ability of females to politically organize and act in their own unique interests in this country, especially when it comes to issues concerning their specific reproductive health and control. Can’t help but wonder what people who read here might think of the article.

  23. Roland

    Re: ISIS.

    1. I used to think that ISIS had merely staged a successful raid to shake up Iraq. I did not think that they would be able to retain control over a major city such as Mosul. So far, it’s looking like I was mistaken.

    2. However, bear in mind that Moqtada’s old militia is still in the course of re-arming and re-training. I think that Moqtada is letting Maliki take the brunt of the war’s reverses, along with all the blame for the hardships which result. Why should Moqtada rush his own troops, half-prepared, into the fray, merely to rescue Maliki’s reputation? At any rate, I would be astonished if a place such as Sadr City or other environs of Baghdad fell as easily as Mosul.

    3. I still wouldn’t write off Maliki. On a number of occasions he has proven himself to be shrewd and courageous. One could argue that right now he’s letting ISIS bleed the Kurds a bit. As for a lack of electricity in Baghdad, Maliki might reckon that Baghdadis haven’t enjoyed reliable electricity anytime since 1990, so a few more months won’t be a big deal.

    4. If ISIS manages to establish any sort of lasting rump state in Sunni Iraq, that’s real trouble for the ruling dynasty in Saudi Arabia. The goal of AQI during the American invasion of Iraq was the establishment of such a rump state, foiled only when the Americans made significant concessions to the Sunni resistance groups in Anbar. The Saudi dynasty has played their “we’re the protector of the shrines” card with increasing desperation over the years, but I’ve noticed the troops they’re deploying on the Iraq border are composed of foreign mercenaeries, which indicates that they lack confidence in the political reliability of their own troops facing ISIS.

    1. Paper Mac

      ” I’ve noticed the troops they’re deploying on the Iraq border are composed of foreign mercenaeries, which indicates that they lack confidence in the political reliability of their own troops facing ISIS.”

      I’d be interested in a source for this if you have one. I think one way or the other the RSLF is going to be getting its hands dirty within the next decade or so. Indications that they’re not thought of as totally in-hand by the leadership would be very interesting.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Something’s got to give in Italy:”
    Very nice for Grillo and the 5 Star Movement; when’s the next election? Or are they going to hold one at all?

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