TBR News June 30, 2016

Jun 30 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. June 30, 2016:” British banks and financial institutions are very, very heavily influenced by American banks and financial institutions.

British domestic and foreign intelligence institutions are very heavily influenced, and often controlled , by American intelligence units.

Britain has been used by the United States as a front.

The EU was set up as an American influenced economic entity designed to counter the Russians.

Nato ditto.

You recall the riots in England a few years ago?

It is my understanding that these were carried out by non-British immigrants who wanted more hand-out money.

No. 10 told the police not to arrest or otherwise harass these people, for political reasons.

When the British working classes had enough, they were planning to physically put a stop to the burning and theft and then, and only then, No. 10 had the police stop it.

The Guardian ran a story stating this and I took it down for my website.

An hour later, it had vanished from the sight of living man.

It was taken down on orders from On High.

I think the exit vote was as much a repudiation of the corrupt and greedy political system as it was a manifestation of an identifiable prejudice against foreigners.

The UK financial picture, insofar as the middle and lower classes is concerned, is not good (though rarely discussed in the press) and when economic times are bad, minorities suffer.

In America, we have 25% unemployment, a shrinking middle class, increasing governmental spying on the citizens of all makes and models, twenty million illegal workers willing to put up with far less pay that their American opposite numbers, and a growing anger with the obviously very corrupt and stupid leadership.

James Watt discovered when you plug up the spout of a boiling teakettle, the lid blows off.

I have a friend who is a VP of NASDAQ and I asked him why the American financial world was so stunned at the vote in the UK.

His reply?

He said that our banking system and government had both bribed and threatened the leadership in England to vote against Brexit and was stunned when their efforts failed.

Now, we are moving away from England and closer to Mexico!

That country is in a state of anarchy redolent of some HIV-ridden African nation.

Poor Mexico.

So far from God and so near the United States.”


‘A frenzy of hatred’: how to understand Brexit racism

Campaigners and victims are reporting a rise in racist abuse since the referendum. Has it always been there under the surface – and will this ‘celebratory racism’ cause lasting damage?

June 29, 2016

by Homa Khaleeli

The Guardian

Brexit was a political earthquake, but its shocks were felt on our streets even before the polls closed. Lakshmi D’Souza felt the early fallout from the bitter battle over the EU referendum while pushing a pram through east London early on Thursday morning. D’Souza passed a woman who warned her to “be careful”. A man in the street was shouting racist abuse at a shopkeeper and passersby. As D’Souza walked past with her baby son, he looked at her and spat on the floor. D’Souza says that she fears the referendum has unleashed “a frenzy of hatred”.

“It takes a lot more than some idiot to bother me,” she says. “But the implication that this sort of behaviour will get worse because of a political decision … just blows my mind.”

True Vision, a police-funded hate-crime-reporting website, has seen a 57% increase in reporting between Thursday and Sunday, compared with the same period last month. This is not a definitive national figure – reports are also made directly to police stations and community groups – but Stop Hate UK, a reporting charity, has also seen an increase, while Tell Mama, an organisation tackling Islamophobia, which usually deals with 40-45 reports a month, received 33 within 48-72 hours.

In Great Yarmouth, Colin Goffin, who is vice-principal of an educational trust, was told about taunts and jeers being directed at eastern European workers by 10am on Friday morning – just hours after the results of the referendum had been announced. Goffin went to see a Kosovan-born friend, the manager of a car wash, to discuss the vote. In the Norfolk coastal town, 72% had voted to leave.

“I wanted him to know that I didn’t agree with the decision, or the way that the issue of immigration had been used in the campaign,” Goffin says. But when he arrived, the abuse against the multinational staff had already begun. “He told me people were slowing down to laugh at his staff, wave and mouth ‘goodbye’,” Goffin says. “They had clearly not wasted any time in deciding to be hateful.”

Unsurprisingly, European staff members were worried by the vote. “What was most shocking was that these guys are well liked and go out of their way to help people – up until then, they would have felt part of our community. Suddenly, people felt it was OK to suggest they should clear off ‘home’. I am angry and embarrassed by the way people from my home town acted.”

Architect Toni (a Spanish citizen living in Brighton) had barely touched down in the UK after a weekend in Alicante when he came across a group of men causing a disturbance at passport control. “There were four of them,” he said. “One of them shouted: ‘Why are these bloody immigrants in the same queue as we are?’ His friends were laughing. They were saying it loudly so people would hear. It was very uncomfortable. I have been here four years and I have never experienced anything like this.”

Although another British passenger challenged the men, Toni said he was shaken by the incident. “I am questioning whether I should stay – will I be a second-class citizen now?”

Reports of xenophobia and racism have piled up in the media: the firebombing of a halal butchers in Walsall, graffiti on a Polish community centre in London and laminated cards reading: “No more Polish vermin” apparently posted through letterboxes in Huntingdon. Asked about the rise in hate crimes during PMQs on Wednesday, David Cameron said the government would be publishing a hate-crime action plan.

Why this sudden explosion? Paul Bagguley, a sociologist based at the University of Leeds, points to the gleeful tone of the racism: “There is a kind of celebration going on; it’s a celebratory racism.” With immigration cited in polls as the second most common reason in voting for Brexit, “people are expressing a sense of power and success, that they have won,” he says.

“People haven’t changed. I would argue the country splits into two-thirds to three-quarters of people being tolerant and a quarter to a third being intolerant. And a section of that third have become emboldened. At other times, people are polite and rub along.”

Bagguley stresses that it wasn’t racist to vote leave, and that many people were voting about “political control”, yet the Brexit campaign’s relentless rhetoric about “controlling our borders” has led people who might previously have kept their intolerant views to themselves to feel legitimised. A spokesperson from campaign group Hope not Hate points out that, while not all Ukip voters are racists, it does “swallow up the ‘respectable racist’ vote that might have once gone to the BNP”. Bagguley agrees: “People have to be prepared to be more critical of them and the implicit racism that runs through much of what they say.”

Simon Woolley, the director of Operation Black Vote, goes further. “The Brexiters, with their jingoistic rhetoric, have put the country on a war footing. By framing the debate as ‘we want our country back’, they have made immigrants the enemy and occupiers who need to be expelled.”

The turmoil that followed the vote – with sterling in freefall, and the leadership of Britain’s two main political parties in disarray – has also played a part, according to Bagguley. “At times of generalised social crises, people think they can get away with things in public that they would not normally do.” On Tuesday, video footage emerged that appeared to show a mixed-race man being racially abused on a Manchester tram. Police have made three arrests over the incident.

Corinne Abrahams, 24, witnessed a similar incident in London as she made her way home from the Glastonbury festival on Monday. As she sat on the tube at around 2pm, a man “began shouting things such as: ‘Russians are all scumbags’ and ‘Poles should all leave’”. Another passenger protested and the argument grew heated. Other travellers moved away, but Abrahams, who has Jewish heritage, says she could not stay silent. “My people have gone through all this before. I don’t want it to have to happen to others. I said: ‘You are an embarrassment to the country. No one else here agrees with what you’re saying.’ He replied: ‘I’m a real British man. This is my country.’ It was unprovoked and disgusting.”

Bagguley says that what makes the recent attacks unusual is who they are directed at. Central to the anti-EU discourse in the media over the past decade has been a sense of British people being fundamentally different from Europeans. As Scottish politics and identity moved in a new direction, this mutated into a white English nationalism “that has a resonance with racial ways of thinking”, he says.

“This has been the bedrock and basis for this xenophobia, directed at everybody who is a little different. It is unlike the backlash after terrorist attacks, which targeted Irish people in the 70s, or Muslims and those thought to be Muslims, more recently. It is a very generalised kind of racism oriented against any groups perceived not to be in that narrow category of white English identity.”

The hate crimes recently reported to Operation Black Vote seem to confirm this. “Two Muslim women in Bethnal Green, east London, had eggs thrown at them on the street,” says Woolley. “A black woman on a bus had a bunch of bananas placed on the chair next to her and was told to ‘fuck off back to your country’. It is not just women. An Italian man was punched to the ground for asking another man which way he voted in the referendum.”

Nor are attacks confined to areas that voted strongly to leave. A British Asian doctor in Urmston, Greater Manchester, tells me she was told to “go back to your own country” in a petrol forecourt at the weekend by a woman annoyed she had not driven away from the pump quickly enough. “You just don’t expect this in Manchester. I have never had that before,” she says.

In Edinburgh, Lauren Stonebanks, 36, was on a bus on Monday when she says a woman shouted: “‘Get your passport, you’re fucking going home.’” She believes she was targeted because she is mixed race. “As I got off the bus, the woman started making threatening gestures, like punching gestures. It made me feel absolutely terrified.”

In Cobham, Surrey, British-born Saima, 46, was shopping for her elderly mother when she, too, experienced her first brush with racism. “There was a man in his mid to late 30s ranting in the street about ‘making Britain great again’. I looked over and he pointed at me, saying: ‘People like you will be out of here soon.’ It reminds me of the 70s with the National Front, when I remember being scared for my family. I feel as if we have gone back in time.”

Woolley is clear, as is Tell Mama, that hate crimes have never gone away. Tell Mama’s annual report, released on Wednesday, states that anti-Muslim hatred reported to them rose by a staggering 326% in 2015. Women, especially those who wear hijabs or niqabs, bear the brunt of this. Hope Not Hate points out that it has been arguing for some time that far-right extremism is not getting the attention it deserves. Yet the Brexit-inspired racism seems slightly different in that slurs are focused on ethnicity over religion. A report to Tell Mama included an incident of a man shouting: “Brexit, you Paki” at a taxi driver, before assaulting him.

Writer Nikesh Shukla was in Bristol on Tuesday when he witnessed an argument between a white man and a black man. As they separated, the white man shouted: “Well, it’s not your fucking country, is it?” On Friday, a tweet about the far right in the US resulted in him being told to “go back to brownland”. “The tool of the racist, more recently, has been to make you feel you have a chip on your shoulder. Now it is barefaced: ‘Go back to your country.’”

BBC journalist Sima Kotecha interviewed a leave voter in her home town of Basingstoke who used the word “Paki”. Afterwards, she tweeted: “Haven’t heard that word here since the 80s!” For many British Asians, it is a reminder of a darker period in British history. Anna Rahman, a psychiatrist, posted on Facebook: “The first time I heard the word ‘Paki’, I was five and people were pelting eggs and stones at our windows. My father told me no one had the right to make me feel I didn’t belong here, telling me: ‘You are as British as the Queen.’ It makes me want to sob that, in this climate, I may need to have this discussion with my own kids.”

Stop Hate UK’s Rose Simkin cautions that about 80-99% of hate crimes go unreported, making their prevalence hard to estimate. Woolley thinks this could be “because they want to cleanse themselves of the experience and forget that it happened”. Bagguley is confident that after a spike in incidents, things will calm down. Yet he also warns that if these attacks go unchallenged, the damage to our social fabric could be lasting, making attacks more frequent in the future. “It is the residue that is the problem. If people get away with [racist attacks], then the next time there is a reason to have a go, they will.”

Additional reporting by Imran Rahman-Jones. Some names have been changed.

Disillusioned migrants turn their backs on Europe

Many migrants from Africa do not know what awaits them in Europe. Upon arrival they are faced with the bitter reality that Europe is not paradise. Some opt to return home and try to make it there after all.

June 29, 2016


The vast majority of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are trying to escape poverty, unemployment and food insecurity. The warmer weather and calmer seas of summer result in a surge in the number of asylum seekers putting their lives at risk while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea by boat. When the European dream does not turn out as expected for those who survive the trip, some opt to make a U-turn and return home.

Mantany Dieye from Senegal is one of those who decided to return. He spent 11 years living in Spain as an illegal immigrant. While there, he sold cheap knock-off watches and bags on the beaches for living. He returned to Senegal six months ago through a voluntary repatriation scheme. Dieye, now 46, received a small grant to set up a grocery business in one of Dakar’s markets. He told DW he had left at the end of 2005 to go to Europe to be able to find work to feed his family. ” I knew no one and I didn’t know where I was going. I left by boat. I don’t know where the boat left from, I didn’t know Dakar, they just told me we were going to Spain,” Dieye said.

As a young man living in northern Senegal, he thought travelling to Europe by boat was his only way to secure a better future.

“I thought it was paradise there because when you work you get paid. But with the financial crisis it wasn’t like that. I was an illegal, I had nothing. I tell those who plan to leave that they should stay here and find a solution here. But it’s so hard here that they don’t believe me,” he said.

Like many others, Dieye saved as much as could for 10 years until he had 800 euros ($887) that would buy him a sea crossing to Spain. It took him and 95 others seven days to reach Spain’s Canary Islands. Those planning to travel to Europe often keep it secret. Dieye did the same, “I didn’t tell anyone that I was leaving,” he said. “My wife wouldn’t have let me go. I didn’t want my family to sense what I was going to do, they would have stopped me. I called them once I arrived. They cried because they didn’t want me to go.” In Spain Dieye lived in a cramped four-room apartment with seven other Senegalese. After deciding to return to Senegal, Dieye approached the repatriation operation jointly organized by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Senegalese government, who flew him back.

Today, he says it was the best decision he had ever made. “I am never going back, I’m done. Every day over there I was suffering. I regret going and leaving my wife for 11 years. What I thought I would make working in Europe I never made – I had no money and the work was hard.”

Patrols have now been put in place to stop boats leaving from the coast of Senegal, so would-be migrants now travel overland. The IOM puts the number of Senegalese who reached the Mediterranean coast in 2015 at 5,000.

Little help for returnees

According to Jo-Lind Roberts-Sene, country director for IOM in Senegal, “There’s a slight increase of Senegalese arrivals in Italy. The increase has been sort of gradual from 2014 onwards. The route has very much changed. 10 years ago it was almost only by sea, attempting to reach the Canary Islands, and now it’s very much Senegalese leaving from Senegal over to Niger and Burkina Faso and then going up towards Libya. The sea route is now unused.” Since the beginning of this year, more than 2,500 Senegalese made it to detention centers in Italy, but for thousands of others the journey stops in Libya. Some then opt to go back home. A handful of migrants receive financial support from the IOM. Roberts-Sene said that the beneficiaries of this program often turn to IOM as the last resort.

Back in Dakar, returnees are given just a sandwich and 150 euros in aid from the government. Boubacar Seye, president of the organization Horizon Sans Frontiere, says this is deplorable. Speaking to DW, Seye said that, “Today there is a need to create training and job opportunities to retain these young people through a strategic approach. But all that suits them here is when they get a call from Europe to give them funds to fight illegal immigration. These funds do not benefit those who need to be helped. And this is where we call for these funds to be audited because if there is no monitoring, then it’s absolutely useless.”

Since the beginning of 2015, Senegal has repatriated more than a thousand migrants. In Europe, the migration crisis has caused significant political rifts within and between the countries most affected. Some have put up fences and re-imposed border controls.

 The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.


Saturday, 24. March, 1951.

Great fury here about MacArthur’s latest actions. It is obvious that the General has gone mad and will certainly be replaced as soon as convenient. What happened was this: Truman initiated among his staff a plan to negotiate with the Chinese and end the war.

So far, so good. The Chinese have taken terrible losses in Korea and are more than willing. Truman let MacArthur know what he was doing but before anything positive happened between the Chinese and us, MacArthur let off a lunatic statement on Friday in which he insulted the Chinese and in fact ordered them to negotiate with him before the United States obliterated them. The rapprochement is now dead, Truman is livid with rage and everyone here seriously believes that MacArthur has not only openly and crudely defied his Commander in Chief but also committed a treasonable act.

Generals get that way after a while and MacArthur is obviously completely mad. Thank God Truman never gave him atomic weapons or he would certainly have used them by now.

MacArthur, by his insane act, has put Truman into a terrible position. The latter had an acceptable diplomatic program for ending the war well in train and M. deliberately sabotaged it for his own glory. How many young soldiers on both sides will die to pay for this act of senile vanity? Truman cannot now fire MacArthur because M. has shown the American people a way out of a very unpopular war but if I know Truman, and I think I do, MacArthur is living on borrowed time. He is standing, as Dulles said, with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

This business is by no means over yet.

I talked with Philby about the Harvey orgy and he was both amused and discomfited. He asked me if H. had found out anything and I replied that I did not believe he had but to get rid of that asshole Burgess. Easier said than done according to Philby. Burgess has slept with most of the senior Foreign Office people and they love and protect him. Burgess is the fat wreck of a once handsome man and utterly obnoxious in his behavior. If he is found attractive by FO people, their taste must be up with yesterday’s dinner.

For want of anything better to do, I rang up Libby H. and she was certainly eager to meet with me. I suggested a little lunch and then some recreation in Chevy Chase and she was frantic. I seem to have that effect on some women but there is no arguing with fate, is there? Perhaps I can get her husband to leave Philby alone but I doubt it. No doubt she will get at least a little drunk at lunch and be in a more receptive mood although from her pantings on the phone I would say the liquor isn’t needed.

Wednesday, 28. March, 1951

I have it on the best authority that MacArthur is to be fired from his post! Truman is furious at M’s constant upstaging of him, his egoism, his bombast and his deliberate attempts to promote himself at Truman’s expense. They are only waiting for a consensus and a few other small things before dragging out the firing squad.

Monday, a steamy afternoon with the Harvey creature. She scratched my back that I am going to have to explain somehow to Bunny, as well as leaving red marks on my legs and elsewhere. That woman is quite mad but she does blabber endlessly in her horrible accent about what she thinks she knows. Stories about the CIA wives, at least one of whom chattered about me. The Harvey woman thrashes around like an epileptic having a fit and makes enough noise to be heard out on the street. I was expecting the police to come at any minute. She is not as cultivated as the other wives which is a benefit. At least I don’t have to listen to endless chattering about spiritualism, Chinese religions, or strange Russian painters. My God, those women are as empty of brains as a ladle, perfect mates for their equally idiotic husbands. If the parents are any example, their children should be drowned like kittens to keep them from breeding.

Mendel would have liked to have observed that crew.

Dulles walks around with his pipe trailing smoke behind him, laughing like an idiot Father Christmas and every third sentence begins with “when I was in Bern” and every sentence begins with the first person singular.

There was quite a cabal in the old OSS at the end of the war. Dulles wanted to be head of the postwar U.S. intelligence and had already set up his shadow government. This included Angleton in Italy, Thayer in Vienna, himself as chief in conquered Germany and Helms plus several others. The Dulles older brother (John Foster Dulles, ed) was a lawyer for the Cromwell law firm in New York. This firm had strong connections with German business and wanted to rebuild all of this for the profit of everyone. Roosevelt and the Jewish crowd wanted to obliterate Germany but this ideological shit was not practical from a business point of view and so when Roosevelt the First got to room temperature, creatures like Morgenthau and the Soviet spy (Harry Dexter, ed) White and their friend and co-religionist Eisenhower were powerless. Dulles felt that if had control of U.S. foreign intelligence, he could deflect the anti-German sentiment which would benefit the Cromwell people and himself and his family, all of whom had heavy investments in German stocks. This did not work because Truman closed down the OSS because it was filled with communists and Dulles then rushed over to the Army and set up some kind of a fake intelligence agency to keep the money coming in. If he ever gets his hands on the levers of power in the CIA, there will be hell to pay. Dulles and his gang will set foreign police and try to control not only the military but the President as well.

Dulles is a very stupid, vain man, easily misled because he has no basic understanding of the intelligence business. He made a terrible mess of things in Bern and God alone knows what he will do here. Angleton is a vicious, backbiting man with delusions of superior intelligence. As a hidden homosexual and a man with strong connections to the Mafia, he should not be allowed close to any kind of decision-making while Thayer has had a disastrous series of liaisons with women that his wife found out about and wrecked his career. Then we have crazy Pash who seems to like fat Harvey and the two of them sit around and talk about cutting throats and blowing up aircraft full of people.

I have often thought about putting a microphone in their offices and making a record of their murderous and utterly vicious conversations. How entertaining it would be to play it for the President or, even better, somehow find a way to put it on the radio! If I recorded the nonsense their wives babble while in bed or on the telephone, the public would set up a guillotine in the Plaza and shorten them all by a head. I can abide most unpleasant people because it was my job to get information out of them but the stupidity, lies, egomania and greed of my senior fellow workers reminds me of the saying of the old Fritz (Frederick the Great, ed) that the more he saw of people the more he loved his dogs.

Aside from the MacArthur business, the war is making progress and we will not even attempt to approach the Yalu River like we did last time. The British tell us that the Chinese are ready to negotiate some kind of a settlement but I doubt the truth of this. Chinese are very clever people and will spin out their negotiations for years.


Putin: Rivalry for world’s resources increasing, some try to disregard all rules

June 30, 2016


The world is seeing ever-stronger competition for resources, and some players try to disregard all the rules, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that potential for conflict is growing worldwide.

The situation across the world is becoming less predictable, Putin said at a meeting with Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives abroad.

According to the Russian president, the actions of NATO are aimed at upsetting the balance of power, but Russia “will not succumb to this militaristic craze.”

“We are noticing persistent efforts by certain partners to maintain a monopoly on geopolitical dominance. They use their centuries of experience in suppressing, weakening, pitting their rivals against each other, as well as modern political, economic, financial, and informational methods,” he said.

The examples of such methods are “interference in the domestic politics of other countries, provoking regional conflicts and triggering so-called ‘color revolutions,’” Putin added.

The Russian president believes that, at times, “terrorists, fundamentalists, far-right nationalists and even neo-fascists” are used as henchmen in achieving those goals.

“We can already see the direct consequences of such disastrous policies near our borders,” Putin said, in apparent reference to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Russia stands for united and inseparable security in the world, the president said.

“I am confident that only dialogue and cooperation can help avoid… uncontrolled development of the situation,” he said, adding that it is necessary to push for “a fair world order based on the principles of united and inseparable security and collective responsibility.”

Moscow is interested in “close cooperation with the US on international issues,” Putin said. However, Russia cannot accept Washington picking where to cooperate with Moscow, and where to increase “various pressures on us, including sanctions.”

“We stand for equal partnership that respects the interests of both sides.”

‘Brexit trauma will haunt UK for a long time’

The effects of Brexit will be felt in the UK for a long time, Putin said.

“We will closely watch how far the talks between London and Brussels go and what the consequences [of Brexit] for Europe and for us will be. The traumatic effect of the results of the referendum will be felt for a long time.”

According to Putin, Britain’s vote to leave the EU “has shaken the markets.”“But I think that everything will subside in the medium term.”

However, the Russian president stressed that Brexit is the choice of British people and “we have in no way interfered and are not interfering in this process.”

‘Don’t let Western media lie about Russia’

Vladimir Putin has called on Russian diplomats to resist the Western media monopoly and prevent facts about Russia from being falsified.

We should resist the information monopoly of Western mass media and support Russian media working abroad.”

Putin added that “lies about Russia should not be tolerated and falsification of history should not be permitted.”

Supreme Court Eliminates Political Corruption! (By Defining It Out of Existence)

June 29 2016

by Jon Schwarz

The Intercept

Three out of four Americans think government corruption is widespread. Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president in part by claiming he couldn’t be bought. Bernie Sanders almost grabbed the Democratic nomination away from one of the most famous and powerful people on earth by decrying the influence of big money.

Yet by overturning the bribery conviction of Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia, the Supreme Court this week just extended its incredible run of decisions driven by the concern that America has too many restrictions on money in politics.

Back in 2010, the majority held in Citizens United that corruption should be defined only as straightforward bribes. Do big donors to “independent” Super PACs get a receipt saying “Received: $5 Million in Return for Cutting Your Taxes”? No? Then according to the decision, the donation did “not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption,” and that’s all that matters.

Now in the unanimous McDonnell decision, the Court held that a lower court’s interpretation of quid pro quo defined the quo too broadly, because for McDonnell to run interference for his generous donors with state officials didn’t actually qualify as an “official decision.”

In other words, the Court first decided in 2010 that only out-and-out bribes matter, and now it has decided that only a carefully defined subset of bribes qualify.

In the McDonnell case, it was proven that Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a dietary supplement company, gave McDonnell an engraved Rolex watch, took McDonnell’s wife Maureen on a $20,000 shopping spree at Louis Vuitton and Oscar de le Renta in New York, loaned the couple over $100,000, and much more. In return, McDonnell set up meetings for Williams with Virginia officials that Williams used to push for the state to fund studies on the effectiveness of his supplements, pestered his staff about it, let Williams throw a product launch lunch at the governor’s mansion, and allowed Williams to add himself and associates to the guest list for a reception for state healthcare leaders. Williams himself testified that the gifts he gave the McDonnells were “a business transaction.”

But so what, wrote Chief Justice John Roberts: “Conscientious public officials arrange meetings for constituents, contact other officials on their behalf and include them in events all the time.” If McDonnell’s conviction stood, “officials might wonder whether they could respond to even the most commonplace requests for assistance, and citizens with legitimate concerns might shrink from participating in democratic discourse” – since presumably all citizens buy their governor’s wife a full length white leather coat and pay for him to go see the Final Four.

The Citizens United decision confidently proclaimed that “ingratiation and access” by themselves “are not corruption … The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

The McDonnell ruling demonstrates the lengths the Supreme Court will go to to prove itself wrong.

The Life of the Parties

The Influence of Influence in Washington

by Thomas Frank


Although it’s difficult to remember those days eight years ago when Democrats seemed to represent something idealistic and hopeful and brave, let’s take a moment and try to recall the stand Barack Obama once took against lobbyists. Those were the days when the nation was learning that George W. Bush’s Washington was, essentially, just a big playground for those lobbyists and that every government operation had been opened to the power of money. Righteous disgust filled the air. “Special interests” were much denounced. And a certain inspiring senator from Illinois promised that, should he be elected president, his administration would contain no lobbyists at all. The revolving door between government and K Street, he assured us, would turn no more.

Instead, the nation got a lesson in all the other ways that “special interests” can get what they want — like simple class solidarity between the Ivy Leaguers who advise the president and the Ivy Leaguers who sell derivative securities to unsuspecting foreigners. As that inspiring young president filled his administration with Wall Street personnel, we learned that the revolving door still works, even if the people passing through it aren’t registered lobbyists.

But whatever became of lobbying itself, which once seemed to exemplify everything wrong with Washington, D.C.? Perhaps it won’t surprise you to learn that lobbying remains one of the nation’s persistently prosperous industries, and that, since 2011, it has been the focus of Influence, one of the daily email newsletters published by Politico, that great chronicler of the Obama years. Influence was to be, as its very first edition declared, “the must-read crib sheet for Washington’s influence class,” with news of developments on K Street done up in tones of sycophantic smugness. For my money, it is one of the quintessential journalistic artifacts of our time: the constantly unfolding tale of power-for-hire, told always with a discreet sympathy for the man on top.

Capitalizing on Influence

It is true that Americans are more cynical about Washington than ever. To gripe that “the system is rigged” is to utter the catchphrase of the year. But to read Influence every afternoon is to understand how little difference such attitudes make here in the nation’s capital. With each installment, the reader encounters a cast of contented and well-groomed knowledge workers, the sort of people for whom there are never enough suburban mansions or craft cocktails. One imagines them living together in a happy community of favors-for-hire where everyone knows everyone else, the restaurant greeters smile, the senators lie down with the contractors, and the sun shines brilliantly every day. This community’s labors in the influence trade have made the economy of the Washington metro area the envy of the world.

The newsletter describes every squeaking turn of the revolving door with a certain admiration. Influence is where you can read about all the smart former assistants to prominent members of Congress and the new K Street jobs they’ve landed. There are short but meaningful hiring notices — like the recent one announcing that the blue-ribbon lobby firm K&L Gates has snagged its fourth former congressional “member.” There are accounts of prizes that lobbyists give to one another and of rooftop parties for clients and ritual roll calls of Ivy League degrees to be acknowledged and respected. And wherever you look at Influence, it seems like people associated with this or that Podesta can be found registering new clients, holding fundraisers, and “bundling” cash for Hillary Clinton.

As with other entries in the Politico family of tip-sheets, Influence is itself sponsored from time to time — for one exciting week this month, by the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), which announced to the newsletter’s readers that, for the last 50 years, the FAH “has had a seat at the table.” Appropriately enough for a publication whose beat is venality, Influence also took care to report on the FAH’s 50th anniversary party, thrown in an important room in the Capitol building, and carefully listed the many similarly important people who attended: the important lobbyists, the important members of Congress, and Nancy-Ann DeParle, the Obama administration’s important former healthcare czar and one of this city’s all-time revolving-door champions.

Describing parties like this is a standard theme in Influence, since the influence trade is by nature a happy one, a flattering one, a business eager to serve you up a bracing Negroni and encourage you to gorge yourself on fancy hors d’oeuvres. And so the newsletter tells us about the city’s many sponsored revelries — who gives them, who attends them, the establishment where the transaction takes place, and whose legislative agenda is advanced by the resulting exchange of booze and bonhomie.

The regular reader of Influence knows, for example, about the big reception scheduled to be hosted by Squire Patton Boggs, one of the most storied names in the influence-for-hire trade, at a certain office in Cleveland during the Republican Convention… about how current and former personnel of the Department of Homeland Security recently enjoyed a gathering thrown for them by a prestigious law firm… about a group called “PAC Pals” and the long list of staffers and lobbying types who attended their recent revelry… about how the Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the gang got together at a much-talked-about bar to sip artisanal cocktails.

There’s a poignant note to the story of former Congressional representative Melissa Bean — once the toast of New Democrats everywhere, now the “Midwest chair of JPMorgan” — who recently returned to D.C. to get together with her old staff. They had also moved on to boldface jobs in lobbying, television, and elsewhere. And there’s a note of the fabulous to the story of the Democratic member who has announced plans to throw a fundraiser at a Beyoncé concert. (“A pair of tickets go for $3,500 for PACs,” Influence notes.)

Bittersweet is the flavor of the recent story about the closing of Johnny’s Half Shell, a Capitol Hill restaurant renowned for the countless fundraisers it has hosted over the years. On hearing the news of the restaurant’s imminent demise, Influence gave over its pixels to tales from Johnny’s glory days. One reader fondly recounted a tale in which Occupy protesters supposedly interrupted a Johnny’s fundraiser being enjoyed by Senator Lindsey Graham and a bunch of defense contractors. In classic D.C.-style, the story was meant to underscore the stouthearted stoicism of the men of power who reportedly did not flinch at the menacing antics of the lowly ones.

A Blissful Community of Money

Influence is typically written in an abbreviated, matter-of-fact style, but its brief items speak volumes about the realities of American politics. There is, for example, little here about the high-profile battle over how transgender Americans are to be granted access to public restrooms. However, the adventures of dark money in our capital are breathlessly recounted, as the eternal drama of plutocracy plays itself out and mysterious moneymen try to pass their desires off as bona fide democratic demands.

“A group claiming to lobby on behalf of ordinary citizens against large insurance companies is in fact orchestrated by the hospital industry itself,” begins a typical item. The regular reader also knows about the many hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by unknown parties to stop Puerto Rican debt relief and about the mysterious group that has blown vast sums to assail the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) but whose protesters, when questioned outside a CFPB hearing, reportedly admitted that they were “day laborers paid to be there.”

You will have noticed, reader, the curiously bipartisan nature of the items mentioned here. But it really shouldn’t surprise you. After all, for this part of Washington, the only real ideology around is based on money — how much and how quickly you get paid.

Money is divine in this industry, and perhaps that is why Influence is fascinated with libertarianism, a fringe free-market faith which (thanks to its popularity among America’s hard-working billionaires) is massively over-represented in Washington. Readers of Influence know about the Competitive Enterprise Institute and its “Night in Casablanca” party, about the R Street Institute’s “Alice in Wonderland” party, about how former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli came to sign up with FreedomWorks, and how certain libertarians have flown from their former perches in the vast, subsidized free-market coop to the fashionable new Niskanen Center.

There are also plenty of small-bore lobbying embarrassments to report on, as when a currently serving congressional representative sent a mean note to a former senator who is now an official at the American Motorcyclist Association. Or that time two expert witnesses gave “nearly identical written statements” when testifying on Capitol Hill. Oops!

But what most impresses the regular reader of Influence is the brazenness of it all. To say that the people described here appear to feel no shame in the contracting-out of the democratic process is to miss the point. Their doings are a matter of pride, with all the important names gathering at some overpriced eatery to toast one another and get their picture taken and advance some initiative that will always, of course, turn out to be good for money and terrible for everyone else.

This is not an industry, Influence’s upbeat and name-dropping style suggests. It is a community — a community of corruption, perhaps, but a community nevertheless: happy, prosperous, and joyously oblivious to the plight of the country once known as the land of the middle class.

Trading Places: Neocons and Cockroaches

June 28, 2016

by Robert Parry


If the human species extinguishes itself in a flash of thermonuclear craziness and the surviving cockroaches later develop the intellect to assess why humans committed this mass suicide, the cockroach historians may conclude that it was our failure to hold the neoconservatives accountable in the first two decades of the Twenty-first Century that led to our demise.

After the disastrous U.S.-led invasion of Iraq – an aggressive war justified under false premises – there rightly should have been a mass purging of the people responsible for the death, destruction and lies. Instead the culprits were largely left in place, indeed they were allowed to consolidate their control of the major Western news media and the foreign-policy establishments of the United States and its key allies.

Despite the Iraq catastrophe which destabilized the Middle East and eventually Europe, the neocons and their liberal interventionist chums still filled the opinion columns of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and virtually every other mainstream outlet. Across the American and European political systems and “think tanks,” the neocons and the liberal hawks stayed dominant, too, continuing to spin their war plans while facing no significant peace movement.

The cockroach historians might be amazed that at such a critical moment of existential danger, the human species – at least in the most advanced nations of the West – offered no significant critique of the forces leading mankind to its doom. It was as if the human species was unable to learn even the most obvious lessons needed for its own survival.

Despite the falsehoods of the Iraq War, the U.S. government was still widely believed whenever it came out with a new propaganda theme. Whether it was the sarin gas attack in Syria in 2013 or the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, U.S. government assertions blaming the Syrian government and the Russian government, respectively, were widely accepted without meaningful skepticism or simple demands for basic evidence.

Swallowing Propaganda

Just as with the Iraqi WMD case, the major Western media made no demands for proof. They just fell in line and marched closer to the edge of global war. Indeed, the learned cockroaches might observe that the supposed watchdogs in the American press had willingly leashed themselves to the U.S. government as the two institutions moved in unison toward catastrophe.

The few humans in the media who did express skepticism – largely found on something called the Internet – were dismissed as fill-in-the-blank “apologists,” much as occurred with the doubters against the Iraqi WMD case in 2002-2003. The people demanding real evidence were marginalized and those who accepted whatever the powerful said were elevated to positions of ever-greater influence.

If the cockroach historians could burrow deep enough into the radioactive ashes, they might discover that – on an individual level – people such as Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wasn’t fired after swallowing the WMD lies whole and regurgitating them on the Post’s readership; that New York Times columnist Roger Cohen and dozens of similar opinion-leaders were not unceremoniously replaced; that Hillary Clinton, a neocon in the supposedly “liberal” Democratic Party, was rewarded with the party’s presidential nomination in 2016; and that the likes of Iraq War architect Robert Kagan remained the toast of the American capital with his opinions sought after and valued.

The cockroaches might observe that humans showed little ability to adapt amid very dangerous conditions, i.e., the bristling nuclear arsenals of eight or so countries. Instead, the humans pressed toward their own doom, tagging along after guides who had proven incompetent over and over again but were still followed toward a civilization-ending precipice.

These guides casually urged the masses toward the edge with sweet-sounding phrases like “democracy promotion,” “responsibility to protect,” and “humanitarian wars.” The same guides, who had sounded so confident about the wisdom of “shock and awe” in Iraq and then the “regime change” in Libya, pitched plans for a U.S. invasion of Syria, albeit presented as the establishment of “safe zones” and “no-fly zones.”

After orchestrating a coup in Russia’s neighbor Ukraine, overthrowing the elected president and then sponsoring an “anti-terrorism operation” to kill ethnic Russian Ukrainians who objected to the coup, Western politicians and policymakers saw only “Russian aggression” when Moscow gave these embattled people some assistance. When citizens in Crimea voted 96 percent to separate from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, the West denounced the referendum as a “sham” and called it a “Russian invasion.” It didn’t matter that opinion polls repeatedly found similar overwhelming support among the Crimean people for the change. The false narrative, insisting that Russia had instigated the Ukraine crisis, was accepted with near-universal gullibility across the West.

A Moscow ‘Regime Change’

Behind this fog of propaganda, U.S. and other Western officials mounted a significant NATO military build-up on Russia’s border, complete with large-scale military exercises practicing the seizure of Russian territory.

Russian warnings against these operations were dismissed as hysterical and as further proof for the need to engineer another “regime change,” this time in Moscow. But first the Russian government had to be destabilized by making the economy scream. Then, the plan was for political disruptions and eventually a Ukraine-style coup to remove the thrice-elected President Vladimir Putin.

The wisdom of throwing a nuclear power into economic, political and social disorder – and risking that the nuclear codes might end up in truly dangerous hands – was barely discussed.

Even before the desired coup, the West’s neoconservatives advocated giving the Russians a bloody nose in Syria where Moscow’s forces had intervened at the Syrian government’s request to turn back Islamic jihadists who were fighting alongside Western-backed “moderate” rebels.

The neocon/liberal-hawk plans for “no-fly zones” and “safe zones” inside Syria required the U.S. military’s devastation of Syrian government forces and presumably the Russian air force personnel inside Syria with the Russians expected to simply take their beating and keep quiet.

The cockroach historians also might note that once the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks decided on one of their strategic plans at some “think-tank” conference – or wrote it down in a report or an op-ed – they were single-minded in implementing it regardless of its impracticality or recklessness.

These hawks were highly skilled at spinning new propaganda themes to justify what they had decided to do. Since they dominated the major media outlets, that was fairly easy without anyone of note taking note that the talking points were simply word games. But the neocons and liberal hawks were very good at word games. Plus, these widely admired interventionists were never troubled with self-doubt whatever mayhem and death followed in their wake.

So, when the decision was made to invade Iraq, Libya and Syria or to stage a coup in Ukraine or to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia, the neocons and their friends never countenanced the possibility that something could go wrong.

And when setbacks and even catastrophes resulted, the messes were excused away as the failure of some politician to implement the neocon/liberal-hawk scheme to the precise letter. If only more force had been used, if only people on the ground were more competent, if only the few critics were silenced and prevented from sowing doubts about the wisdom of the plan, then it would have succeeded. It was never their fault.

As the West’s new foreign-policy establishment, the neocons and their liberal helpers validated their own thoughts as brilliant and infallible. And who was there to doubt them? Who had the necessary access to the West’s mass media and who had the courage to counter their clever arguments and suffer the predictable ridicule, insults and slurs? After all, there were so many esteemed people and prestigious institutions that stamped the neocon/liberal-hawk plans with gilded seals of approval.

Still, the cockroach historians might yet be puzzled by how thoroughly the world’s leadership failed the human species, particularly in the West, which prided itself in freedom of thought and diversity of opinion.

So, the pressures kept building, unchecked, until – perhaps accidentally amid excessive tensions or after some extreme nationalist had exploited Russia’s “regime change” chaos to seize power – the final line was crossed.

‘Extending American Power’

Though much of human information would likely have been lost in the nuclear firestorms that were unleashed, the cockroach historians could learn much if they could get their antennae around a 2016 report by a group called the Center for a New American Security, consisting of prominent neocons and liberal interventionists, including some expected to play high-level roles in a Hillary Clinton administration.

These “experts” included foreign-policy stars such as Robert Kagan (formerly of the Reagan administration’s State Department, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century – an early advocate for the Iraq War – and later a scholar at the Brookings Institution and a Washington Post columnist), James P. Rubin (who served in Bill Clinton’s State Department and made a name for himself as a TV commentator), Michele Flournoy (the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy during Barack Obama’s first term and touted as Hillary Clinton’s favorite to be Secretary of Defense), Eric Edelman (who preceded Flournoy in her Obama job except he served under George W. Bush), Stephen J. Hadley (George W. Bush’s second-term national security advisor), and James Steinberg (a deputy national security advisor under Bill Clinton and Deputy Secretary of State under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton).

In other words, this group, which included many other big names as well, was a who’s who of who’s important in Washington’s foreign-policy establishment. Their report was brazenly entitled “Extending American Power” and painted an idyllic picture of the world population living happily under U.S. domination in the seven decades since World War II.

“The world order created in the aftermath of World War II has produced immense benefits for peoples across the planet,” the report asserted, ignoring periodic slaughters carried out across the Third World, from Vietnam to Latin America to Africa to the Middle East, often inflicted by the massive application of U.S. firepower and other times by tribal or religious hatreds and rivalries exacerbated by big-power interference.

Also downplayed was the environmental devastation that has come with the progress of hyper-capitalism, threatening the long-term survival of human civilization via “global warming” – assuming that “nuclear winter” doesn’t intervene first.

Even though many of these benighted “experts” were complicit in gross violations of international law – including aggressive war in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere; lethal drone strikes in multiple countries; torture of “war on terror” detainees; and subversion of internationally recognized governments – they deluded themselves into believing that they stood for some legalistic global structure, declaring:

“United States still has the military, economic, and political power to play the leading role in protecting a stable rules-based international order.” Exactly what stability and what rules were left fuzzy.

In line with their underlying delusions, these “experts” called for feeding more money into the maw of the Military-Industrial Complex and flexing American military muscle: “An urgent first step is to significantly increase U.S. national security and defense spending and eliminate the budgetary strait-jacket of the Budget Control Act. A second and related step is to formulate policies that take advantage of the substantial military, economic, and diplomatic power Washington has available but has been reluctant to deploy in recent years.”

Battling Russia over Ukraine

The bipartisan group – representing what might be called Official Washington’s consensus – also urged a tough stand against Russia regarding Ukraine, including military assistance to help the post-coup Ukrainian regime crush ethnic Russian resistance in the east.

“The United States must provide Ukrainian armed forces with the training and equipment necessary to resist Russian-backed forces and Russian forces operating on Ukrainian territory,” the report said, adding as a recommendation: “Underwrite credible security guarantees to NATO allies on the frontlines with Russia. Given recent Russian behavior, it is no longer possible to ignore the possible challenge to NATO countries that border Russia. The Baltics in particular are vulnerable to both direct attack and the more complicated ‘hybrid’ warfare that Russia has displayed in Ukraine.

“To provide reassurance to U.S. allies and also to deter Russian efforts to destabilize these nations, it is necessary to build upon the European Reassurance Initiative and establish a more robust U.S. force presence in appropriate central and eastern Europe countries, which should include a mix of permanently stationed forces, rotationally deployed forces, prepositioned equipment, access arrangements and a more robust schedule of military training and exercises. …

“The United States should also work with both NATO and the EU to counter Russian influence-peddling and subversion using corruption and illegal financial manipulation.”

Apparently that last point about “influence-peddling” was a reference to the need to silence dissident voices in the West that object to the new Cold War and dispute U.S. propaganda aimed at justifying the increased tensions with Russia. The report’s Washington insiders clearly understand that their future career prospects are advanced by taking a belligerent approach toward Russia.

Regarding Syria, the bipartisan group of neocons and liberal hawks urged a U.S. military invasion with the goal of establishing a “no-fly zone” while building up insurgent forces capable of compelling “regime change” in Damascus, a strategy similar to those followed in Iraq and Libya to disastrous results.

“In our view, there can be no political solution to the Syrian civil war so long as the military balance continues to convince [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad he can remain in power. And as a result of Iran’s shock troops and military equipment deployed to Syria, and the modern aircraft and other conventional forces Russia has now deployed, the military balance tilts heavily in favor of the Assad regime,” the report said.

“At a minimum, the inadequate efforts hitherto to arm, train, and protect a substantial Syrian opposition force must be completely overhauled and made a much higher priority. In the meantime, and in light of this grim reality, the United States, together with France and other allies, must employ the necessary military power, including an appropriately designed no-fly zone, to create a safe space in which Syrians can relocate without fear of being killed by Assad’s forces and where moderate opposition militias can arm, train, and organize.”

How a U.S.-led invasion of a sovereign country and the arming of a military force to overthrow the government fit with the group’s enthusiasm for “a rule-based international order” is not explained. Clearly, the prescribed actions are in violation of the United Nations Charter and other international legal standards, but apparently the only real “rules” the group believes in are those that serve its purposes and change depending on the needs for “extending American power.”

Similar hypocrisy pervaded the group’s other recommendations, but the blind obedience to these double standards – indeed the inability to see or acknowledge the blatant contradictions – might be of interest to the cockroach historians because it could help them understand how the U.S. foreign policy establishment lost its mind and blundered into unnecessary conflicts that could easily escalate into strategic warfare, even thermonuclear conflagration.

A Steady Drumbeat

But this collection of neocons and liberal hawks wasn’t just an odd group of careerist “thinkers” trying to impress Hillary Clinton. Their double-thinking “group think” extended throughout the American establishment in the second decade of the Twenty-first Century.

For instance, The New York Times and other major publications were dominated by both neocon and liberal-hawk commentators, writers like Roger Cohen, who was one of the many pundits who swallowed the Iraq War lies whole and — despite the disaster — avoided any negative career consequences. So, in 2016, that left Cohen and his fellow Iraq War cheerleaders still pressing political leaders to expand the war in Syria and ratchet up tensions with Russia at every opportunity.

In a column about the mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, on June 12 – in which the shooter was reported to have claimed allegiance to ISIS – Cohen tacked on a typically distorted account of President Obama’s approach to the Syrian conflict. Ignoring that Obama had the CIA and the Pentagon covertly train and arm rebel groups seeking to overthrow the Syrian government, Cohen wrote:

“Yes, to have actively done nothing in Syria over more than five years of war — so allowing part of the country to become an ISIS stronghold, contributing to a massive refugee crisis in Europe, acquiescing to slaughter and displacement on a devastating scale, undermining America’s word in the world, and granting open season for President Vladimir Putin to strut his stuff — amounts to the greatest foreign policy failure of the Obama administration. It has made the world far more dangerous.”

But Cohen did not acknowledge his own role as a brash supporter of the Iraq War in sparking the creation of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which later morphed into the Islamic State or ISIS. Nor did he address the fact that the United States and its allies, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have essentially kept the Syrian civil war going, a point even acknowledged by some supporters of Syrian “regime change.”

For instance, Thanassis Cambanis of the “progressive” Century Foundation produced a report entitled “The Case for a More Robust U.S. Intervention in Syria,” which acknowledged that “most of the armed opposition has survived only because of foreign intervention.” In other words, much of the death and destruction in Syria, which also has fueled political instability in Europe because of the massive refugee flow, resulted from intervention from the United States and its allies.

So, the cure to the mess created by these not-thought-through interventions, at least in the view of Cohen and other eager interventionists, is more intervention. It was just such obsessive and irrational thinking – embraced as Official Washington’s “conventional wisdom” – that pushed the world toward the eve of destruction in 2016.

Contemplating all this human foolishness, the cockroach historians might be left using one of their six legs to scratch their heads.

Neocons want a new Cold War – all the better to pick the U.S. taxpayers’ pockets – but this reckless talk and war profiteering could spark a nuclear war and leave the world to the cockroaches

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