Open Thread – 11 February 2018



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129 Responses to Open Thread – 11 February 2018

  1. confusedponderer says:

    Well, best wishes for a happy carnival from Cologne.
    Costume and celebrate, play music and sing (or try to), drink beer or lemonade – what you like. If you don’t, well, don’t do it. But, it is a thing for all ages, from 2 to 102.
    Koelle Alaaf!
    It reminds me in school having to translate a letter from a roman officer, stationed in Cologne, who wrote to iirc family that these unruly colognian locals ruined his valiant troops with gambling and drinking all the time.
    What a ‘Spaßbremse’. So, cheers (with a cup of black tea).

  2. Valissa says:

    This could be useful for designing vision systems for robots…
    Researchers who made praying mantises wear glasses discover a new type of vision
    Who knew there was a preying mantis that looks like an orchid? (~2 min)
    Deadly Disguised Orchids
    On the theme of nature’s disguises…
    This Rainforest Caterpillar Looks Like Donald Trump (~5 min)
    Amazingly there is a type of bird whose chick mimics it! Video also includes lots of other fascinating examples of mimicry. (this is part of PBS It’s Okay to Be Smart YouTube series)

  3. J says:

    Domestic Terrorism Bill Targets Patriot Groups and Citizen Militias
    ” To authorize dedicated domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to analyze and monitor domestic terrorist activity and require the Federal Government to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism. ”
    That’s the text of a bill introduced in Congress on February 2nd called the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2018.
    This legislation is one more encroachment on the Bill of Rights and the protections of the U.S. Constitution. The Government VS the Citizenry.

  4. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Learned something this morning that I never knew before from a Real News Network interview with historian Peter Kuznick that was reposted with a transcript at Naked Capitalism. It seems that 65 years ago we blew a golden opportunity to tamp down the Cold War in the immediate wake of Stalin’s death in March, 1953. From the transcript:

    PETER KUZNICK: Yes. The world had a great opportunity in March of 1953 to reverse course rather than this insane military spending that was beginning. On March 5th, 1953, Stalin died. The Soviet leaders reached out to the United States. They offered the Americans an olive branch. They talked about changing the direction of our relations. They talked about, basically, ending the Cold War. We could’ve ended the Cold War as early as March 5, 1953, taken a different route. Eisenhower and the others in his administration debate what to do, how to respond. Churchill, who was now re-elected and back in office in England, begged the United States to hold a summit with the Soviet leaders and move toward peace, rather than belligerence and hostility. Eisenhower doesn’t say anything publicly in response for six weeks. Then he makes a speech. It’s a visionary speech. It’s the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there
    PRESIDENT EISENHOWER: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
    PETER KUZNICK: “This is not a way of life at all. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” What a great speech and the Soviets were thrilled. They republished this. They reprinted it. They broadcast it over and over, and then two days later, John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, makes a speech reversing the whole thing. Instead of an olive branch, he gives the Soviets a middle finger and he accuses the Soviet Union of trying to overthrow every Democratic government in the world. The exact wrong message.

    Kuznick doesn’t venture an opinion about why SoS Dulles undercut his boss just two days later so I’ll venture an hypothesis. The Eisenhower administration was less than two months old at the time, and the battles to establish the pecking order of influence over the new and politically inexperienced president were fierce. The Dulles brothers had been carrying Wall Street’s water into Washington for decades and as Stephen Kinzer makes clear in his joint biography of them The Brothers, that didn’t stop at noon on January 20, 1953. My guess is that the denizens of lower Manhattan didn’t want the Cold War to end and made clear to their ambassador in Washington that this initiative had to be stopped forthwith, and he dutifully passed on the message without thinking about the consequences. As Kinzer quotes Harold MacMillan, “His speech was slow, but it easily kept pace with his thoughts.”
    Kinzer makes a good case that the Dulles brothers were among the most malevolent influences on USA foreign policy in the 20th century.

  5. Rhondda says:

    Re the recently published stories that the CIA attempted to “buy back” the NSA’s purloined (or perhaps lost) custom-built spyware from a “shadowy Russian operator” —
    It struck me that the (leaked?) text messages between Senator Warner of the Intelligence Committee and Adam Waldman of Endeavor Group might be connected. The messages dovetail with the buyback story at several factual junctures and seem to fit the time frame.
    The texts explicitly mention Assange and Wikileaks release of Vault 7. A deal of some sort was being floated. That’s what caught my attention. Is Waldman “the American intermediary”? In his texts he mentions being in “Deutschland.”
    Waldman is an interesting character with Deripaska as a client and working closely with DOJ, as he openly says in the texts: “I have had lots of other dealings with DOJ relating to my Rus client.” I knew nothing about Deripaska until I read the testimonies of Glenn Simpson from FusionGPS. Deripaska figures prominently.
    Waldman seems like a significant “vector” as they say in epidemiology. Looks to me like the dirty ‘dossier’ info was being stovepiped ‘into the system’ from several directions. Each being presented (and seen – perhaps sometimes purposefully) as corroboration for the others.
    Has any other member of the Committee read these text messages and compared them to the published stories? If so, I would be interested in your thoughts.
    Link to Se. Warner/Waldman text messages:
    Link to The Intercept “version” of the story:

  6. turcopolier says:

    How does one “buy back” software that has been in the hands of an adversary? pl

  7. Rhondda says:

    LOL. Yes, one wonders.

  8. The Beaver says:

    From Elijah Magnier
    The speed of the Syrian reaction was due to a prior decision taken at highest level among all allies operating on Syrian territory. These consider a possible confrontation may be inevitable if Israel has decided to respond and declare war. The violation of Syrian sovereignty is no longer an option open to Israel and the Israeli jets will no longer be able to carry out their usual promenades over the Levant without consequences.
    All of this took place one day after the liberation of the entire area from the “Islamic State” (ISIS) group in rural Aleppo, Homs and Idlib, with over 1200 square kilometres returned to government control. This freed over fifteen thousand officers and soldiers from the Syrian army and special units which were engaged there to move to another front, the one against Israel if necessary, with al-Qaeda as the only remaining threat to the Syrian state.

  9. turcopolier says:

    Elijah Magnier’s blog describes him thusly:
    “Senior Political Risk Analyst with over 35 years’ experience covering the Middle East and acquiring in-depth experience, robust contacts and political knowledge in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Specialised in terrorism and counter-terrorism, intelligence, political assessments, strategic planning and thorough insight in political networks in the region. Covered on the ground the Israeli invasion to Lebanon (1st war 1982), the Iraq-Iran war, the Lebanese civil war, the Gulf war (1991), the war in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1996), the US invasion to Iraq (2003 to date), the second war in Lebanon (2006), the war in Libya and Syria (2011 to date). Lived for many years in Lebanon, Bosnia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.” Is there a verified bio on this man? Who is he, really? pl

  10. Anna says:

    Intelligence for profit (privatizing intelligence gathering and processing):
    “… it becomes clear that to be a star in the new Intel community, the only qualification is knowing how to network. One of the biggest stars of intelligence over the last decade is a former gift shop cashier that had no intelligence experience or training. … Because their jobs depend on contracts being won or lost, there is no longer a commitment to public service. “More than 70 percent of the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) unit is staffed by contractors, known as ‘green badgers,’ who also represent the majority of personnel in the DIA, the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, and the National Counterterrorism Center…” Private companies have been utilized to carry out torture and the misuse of sensitive information collected by intelligence agencies… “Over the last 15 years, thousands of former high-ranking intelligence officials and operatives have left their government posts and taken up senior positions at military contractors, consultancies, law firms, and private-equity firms. In their new jobs, they replicate what they did in government—often for the same agencies they left. But this time, their mission is strictly for-profit…”

  11. J says:

    Are you still not feeling good Pat?
    I’ve had the flu this year, it kicked my keester which it usually doesn’t. Couldn’t because I’m now an old fart, do you think? My mind still thinks I’m 16, the rest of me want’s to argue the case. Oh well, as long as I’m vertical I guess it counts for something.

  12. turcopolier says:

    No worse than usual. pl

  13. JTMcPhee says:

    Are the observations and conclusions incorrect or wrong, one might ask? For what reasons? Whatever the provenance. Not a very convincing impeachment.

  14. Rhondda says:

    How does one “buy back” software that has been in the hands of an adversary? pl
    Initially, when I saw your question, I assumed you were asking rhetorically. In case you were asking seriously, I will answer seriously.
    I am not an intelligence professional but it seems to me just common sense that you can’t “buy back” software from an adversary. It seems ridiculous on its face. They have it, have copied it and whatever you “buy back” would be cherry-picked to give you a specific view of what they want you to think they have. So even the assertion that they were trying to figure out what tools were out there in the wild makes no sense.
    I think maybe the spytools were actually dangled, but I would hope the IC is smarter than to jump at that fly. Warner may not be that smart — as he is a politician and deeply embedded in the Putin Panic.
    I don’t fully believe all the aspects of the stories in the NYT and Intercept. I think the Warner/Waldman texts “came out” (I’m unclear as to how they came out) and exposed behind the scenes dealing by Warner for the spytools..alongside secret dealings with Steele.
    So IMHO, the stories are unbelievable and have all the hallmarks of being CYA attempts for the IC involved, basically asserting that the $100k was for spytools, not dirt on Trump.
    And in the end, perhaps that part’s true…someone not blinded by TDS said hey guys, looks like we’re getting played. I sure hope so, because these appearances of unacceptable partisanship and malfeasance combined with incompetency are really starting to worry me.

  15. 505thPIR says:

    Anyone out there in SST know of any great books or stories on Leadership. Always looking for insights. Much gratitude for any response big or small.

  16. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, SST;
    Yesterday, in day/night operations TSK regulars had more than 10 KIA and more than 10 wounded. We also lost a helicopter. TSK will keep enduring tactical losses but will keep moving forward; we will finish this issue unless ordered to stop. The Afrin operation is progressing on multiple fronts and the kurds are withdrawing back due to high attrition.
    While facts are being changed on the ground, we are awaiting what will transpire when Tillerson visits Turkey ( )
    If he cannot control his generals, he will not get much traction w/ the regime unless he can promise and deliver a lot of cash for the thief-in-chief:
    Ishmael Zechariah

  17. DH says:

    Feel better, sir.

  18. DH says:
    Eric Topol on the Power of Patients in a Digital World
    “…And so this is just part of the–really whole different look. Up until now these things weren’t even questioned. But because this information flow that patients are going to be generating more information themselves–it’s now–for example, it was, up until very recently, you had to get a doctor’s order to be able to get a lab result. To go to a lab. And now, just last week, Labcorp, one of the two largest central labs in the country, has re-fit the whole thing by saying, ‘You can order your own labs.’ And that’s a big deal. But again: you have your labs; you can not only go to a Labcorp facility to do that, but very soon you’ll be able to do it yourself, in the comfort of your home with a little kit that goes, pop into your smartphone. That ability to do your own labs, to do your physical exam of yourself or your family member or you child–this is really valuable information that’s being generated, outside of the usual hallowed halls of medicine.”

  19. Peter AU says:

    “thorough insight in political networks in the region.”
    Though not always right, he is the best I have found in this field.
    I first run onto his twitter account and site when looking for more information on the area when Australia joined the war in the middle east with the 40 thousand refugees on a mountain bullshit.
    A year or two back he wrote a couple of articles, describing the beliefs/motivations of many of the rebel and jihadist groups operating in Syria. I have not seen this attempted anywhere else.
    Often off the internet for a week or two while traveling through Syria/Iraq talking to people on the ground.
    Journalist for a news organisation in Kuwait and often had to wait for permission to repost his articles in English at his own site.
    Other than that I know little about him

  20. JPB says:

    Assad is quietly aiding the SDF against Erdogan’s attempted occupation of Afrin. At least according to al-Jazeera:
    I am wondering where the YPG in Afrin got the Russian Kornet AT guided missiles that they have been using against Turkish tanks and ACVs. Or are those the ‘Dehlavie’ version of the Kornet made in Iran?
    They also have been seen with Iranian made Safir jeeps mounted with Iranian made copies of the M40 106mm recoilless rifle.
    Plus correspondent ‘b’ in a comment on a previous post hinted that the Turkish attack helicopter shot down in Afrin was done by a Russian MANPADS.

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I find this difficult to credit. Consider that the ostensible justification for the overthrow of the nationalist government of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq was the fear its replacement with a pro-Russian

  22. JamesT says:

    ex-PFC Chuck
    I’ve read a bunch of books by Kinzer. I only recently found out that he was booked on Cubana de Aviación Flight 455. Quite a coincidence. Kinzer on the trial of the terrorist who almost killed him:
    I am not implying that it was more than coincidence. Kinzer changed his flight two days before. But if a Russian journalist who was critical of the FSB came that close to being blown up by a terrorist linked to the FSB, I can just imagine how that would get reported.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Prince is still the best.

  24. SmoothieX12 says:

    . it becomes clear that to be a star in the new Intel community, the only qualification is knowing how to network.
    One also has to know titles of weapon systems and know a lot of cool abbreviations and terms. I had a run with (quite famous, btw) “military expert”, among many, whose academic background is in… screenwriting. It is Warholian world out there and everyone tries to get their 15 minutes (and dollars) worth of fame and being “military-intelligence expert” is a good path to follow.

  25. Valissa says:

    The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows
    The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a kind of orbiting real estate venture run not by the government, but by private industry. The White House plans to stop funding the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory. But it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector, according to an internal NASA document obtained by The Washington Post.
    In its budget request, to be released Monday, the administration would request $150 million in fiscal year 2019, with more in additional years “to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial successors to the ISS — potentially including elements of the ISS — are operational when they are needed.”
    Shades of D.D. Harriman
    This ought to get the Dems more motivated to fund the space station. Somehow I think if it was Elon Musk’s name associated with this idea that it would be more acceptable.

  26. I agree with your analysis. As you say, even the “we don’t know what was stolen” concept makes little sense. In the end, everyone would have to trust both this “intermediary” – who clearly is not trustworthy by their own admission – and whoever he was allegedly in contact with.
    Being just another attempt to support the Russiagate hoax – like the Dutch intelligence report earlier – is much more likely.
    Then there’s the fact that it mostly came from the New York Times – a known water-carrier for the Deep State. I’m not too surprised that The Intercept also carried it, since they seem to hate Trump, too, and at least some of them appear to believe the DNC hacking hoax.

  27. Sid_finster says:

    So what? I don’t see the need to qualify any think piece out of an Arlington County talking shop with “this is from an American think tank”.

  28. Kooshy says:

    This is what I like about the Israelis, they are bulletproof, fully armored, and never lose. As they say in Persian they are “Rouyeen Tann” body of still. Israel thinks the military exercise yesterday, was a message to Iran, maybe so but on the contrary not the kind he hopes or thinks.
    “Israeli minister says airstrikes sent clear message to Iran” someone here recently said Israel’ worst enemy is themselves, that is true

  29. A little humor for your Sunday…
    Florida Woman Stops Alligator Attack Using a Small Beretta Pistol
    Another good reason to have a concealed weapons permit.
    This is a story of self-control and marksmanship by a brave, cool-headed woman with a small pistol against a fierce predator.
    What’s the smallest caliber that you would trust to protect yourself?
    Here’s her story in her own words:
    “While out walking along the edge of a pond just outside my house in ‘The Villages’ with my soon to be ex-husband, discussing property settlement and other divorce issues, we were surprised by a huge 12-ft. alligator which suddenly emerged from the murky water and began charging us with its large jaws wide open. She must have been protecting her nest because she was extremely aggressive.”
    “If I had not had my little Beretta .25 caliber pistol with me, I would not be here today!”
    “Just one shot to my estranged husband’s knee cap was all it took. The gator got him easily, and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace. The amount I saved in lawyer’s fees was really incredible, and his life insurance was a real big bonus!”

  30. Imagine says:

    I am interested in researching books that describe the steps of a country’s descent into fascism/totalitarianism, something like “The Five Stages of Collapse” but for the ascent of autocracy. Perhaps a clear history of Nazi Germany or Italy. Does anyone have any clear books they can recommend? Thanks in advance.

  31. Imagine says:

    Any background on the Sherman deaths?

  32. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Assad and his men have no love lost for the Turks or the kurds. The kurdish leadership has once more proven that they are willing to be anyone’s bitch for the right price.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  33. Ken Roberts says:

    Re #16: 505thPIR said…
    “Anyone out there in SST know of any great books or stories on Leadership. Always looking for insights. Much gratitude for any response big or small.”
    Well, this is a small response. I’m currently reading “Assignment: Churchill” by Walter Thompson, who was WC’s bodyguard for about 15 years. Good anecdotes including, for instance, description of T. E. Lawrence’s calming of an enthusiastic mob of people, and a host of anecdotes about WC’s leadership. Also WT’s description of camel personality is not to be missed.
    There is another more recent book, “Churchill’s Bodyguard”, issued approx 2005 in conjunction with the DVD / TV series of that name. Not as good for insights of the type you are looking for. Thompson’s book, 1955, is worth the time, even though it has no doubt been circumspect / reviewed before it could appear. One can read among the lines and gather a great deal of info. One bit of history, in the CB-2005 book though, is a description of what may have been Churchill’s first winessing of demo of treaded “land ship” models climbing over mounds of earth — forerunner of tank.
    Happy reading,

  34. Kooshy says:

    So far I have read or watched a lot of Mr. Kinzer’, but still have no idea what Mr. Kinzer’ angle is specially on Iran, nevertheless I like and agree with some of the angles he presents. But I don’t think our friends in Langley wouldn’t have not known he changed his flight plans, and still go with their plan, if it was just to harm him. That don’t make sense at the end of the day we must believe they are also “professionals” at what they do.

  35. Kooshy says:

    Pearson observation on Elijah
    I have been reading Elijah’ writing and views for many years, specially since the Syrian war. His views and writings on the regional issues conforms with what one reads from the Iranian analyst in Persian and on Iranian media. That tells me that he has insight in Shia Resistance groups. Therefore, I think he has obtained “A” level of trust to be close in those circles, or to be used to show their views and points. Therefore in that capacity he represents the other side’ points and views, which means one should include and read his writing to get and understand the other side and to get the whole picture. This Christmas I was surprised his website was Recomended to me by a French Iranian (who lives in real LALA land) relative as a must read, in exchange I recommended this site as a must read.

  36. Clwydshire says:

    In 2017, Elijah Magnier was described as “Middle East based chief international war correspondent for Al Rai Media.” Al Rai Media is the publisher of a Kuwaiti newspaper close to the Royal Family there, “Al Rai al Aam.” The paper’s forerunner was actually published earlier in Beirut, by Abdulaziz Al Massaeed. An early adviser to the paper (in Beirut) was Egyptian journalist Abdallah Kamal, who at one time served as an Egyptian MP (in the upper house) for the Egyptian National Democratic Party (Sadat’s party). This just from internet, so don’t know if that helps at all. I found his tweets accessed by clicking on his name in this MOA story ( interesting reading. But I never found anything I’d call a “verified biography.” In any case, best wishes for your good health.

  37. 505thPIR,
    I recommend two for starters. An essay from 1899 entitled “A Message to Garcia” is a short essay that’s been on commander’s reading lists for years although it has been losing favor for years in light of “the realities of modern warfare.” I find these critiques to be bullshit. The essay focuses on the internal qualities of both successful leaders and followers. Yes, the essay sounds dated and takes great liberties with the true tale, but I think the truths are eternal.
    My second recommendation is a book of enjoyable and lighthearted humor by Nick Offerman, “Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers.” It’s sort of a biography of twenty Americans admired by Offerman. I think it follows the lesson of “A Message to Garcia” quite well. It goes beyond the traditional role of leadership to the roles artistry and craftsmanship.

  38. jsn says:

    I’ll have to read Kuznik. David Talbot’s biography of Allen Dulles, “The Devil’s Chessboard” is equally damning. Talbot mostly relies on primary sources from family and contacts to Dulles own papers and day timer. It’s a pretty depressing but clarifying read.

  39. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    According to Kinzer, as IRC, the Brits were apoplectic over the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. (ancestor of today’s British Petroleum), and several times approached people in the Truman administration about jointly pulling off a coup. HST & Co. blew them off every time. Days after Eisenhower’s inauguration the Brits were at it again, and their entreaties were much more receptively received by Ike’s foreign policy advisors than they had been by Truman’s, however the boss was very skeptical. It wasn’t long after JF and Allen Dulles were sworn in as SoS and DCI that they they developed a modus operandi that lasted until the former had to retire due to terminal illness. When major FP issues came up on the agendas of high level meetings, they would coordinate a common front beforehand. Kinzer asserts that this enabled them to exercise an extraordinary amount of influence on US foreign policy and intelligence policy in that era. The 1953 coup in Iran was one of the first instances in which they got their way by double-teaming Eisenhower in this way.
    Making the world safe for the predatory lending and other financial practices of US banks had been an underlying pillar of the country’s foreign policy since the late 19th century, and most of the brothers’ legal careers was in the service of those clients. (Allen was employed by Sullivan and Cromwell too when he wasn’t in government service as a diplomat or intelligence officer.) JF wasn’t shy about serving those clients interests even when those interests were not in accord with what the PTB in Washington wanted them to do, such as work in Germany after September 1, 1939. According to one writer when it appeared that Foster would likely be the Secretary of State in the Dewey administration that was sure to be elected in 1948 he spent quite a bit of time purging his files. Kinzer asserts that Foster came late to his strident anti-communism, sometime in the late ‘40s, considerably later than Allen did. But when he did, he went all in. I dimly recall that Kinzer said that Wall Street had considerable exposure to AIOC debt but I don’t have the book at hand to check it. If that was the case that certainly would have been a factor. But even if it wasn’t, I believe that anti-communism was only part of the motivation, albeit the major part pitched to the public.

  40. Le Renard Subtil says:

    1) Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds by Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus
    2) Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
    These should keep you pleasantly occupied for a few days.

  41. fanto says:

    Rhondda (at #6) mentions epidemiology vectors. I have a different “take” on the word ´vector´. (tongue in cheek) –
    Vector in epidemiology and vector in physics mean different things; In politics I see the possible use of word `vector` in either sense – as a carrier of information, or as a force of persuasion or strength of a particular group combined with its intention to achieve certain goal, or goals.
    Allegorically, the position of any US president can be seen as the result of different „physics” vectors influencing him. I am curious what the result may be – after all is said and done – when the vectors which are clearly pro-Israel – (i.e. down with Iran, down with Syria, down with Palestinians, to name a few) clash with vectors which are against Trump as President…Some forces in both vectors seem to originate in the same class of people. We may need the help of Babak to give us a complicated formula with letter „e“, „Pi“, „n“ with root signs, super and underscripts, etc.. :-)…. to understand it.

  42. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater says,
    I recommend ‘The Last Stand of Fox Company’ by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin.

  43. outthere says:

    good question, wondered about that
    have you watched youtube interviews?
    you might place his accent

  44. outthere says:

    You say:
    “My guess is that the denizens of lower Manhattan didn’t want the Cold War to end and made clear to their ambassador in Washington that this initiative had to be stopped forthwith, and he dutifully passed on the message without thinking about the consequences.”
    Are you aware that both Dulles Bros were partners at Sullivan and Cromwell?
    Worth remembering:
    Allen Dulles, Director of CIA, oversaw the coup in Guatemala and the coup in Iran. Dulles also proposed to Ike that USA invade Cuba.
    Ike said “NO”.
    So Allen Dulles waited until JFK was elected, then JFK reappointed Allen Dulles to Director of CIA, and then Dulles proposed to JFK that USA invade Cuba.
    JFK said “YES”.

  45. ked says:

    JFK also made it clear to the CIA that they’d get no more USN & USAF support than the plan entailed – no mission-creep in the event things went sideways. Which, of course it did. Allen Dulles was sure they could roll the fresh young punk-prez under duress of battle. Wrong. Then, things REALLY went downhill. And here we are.

  46. turcopolier says:

    I watched a couple of Magnier interviews. He looks and sounds to me to be someone of mixed francophone (Belgium?) and Levantine ancestry who grew up speaking both French and Arabic. More than that I know not. pl

  47. J says:

    I view ALL think tanks with skepticism, they’re all about their bottom line — m0ney for themselves. This one happens to be Russian, with a slightly Russian slant some would argue.
    I view think tanks like I view Mercs (mercenaries), and private Intels (like Brennan and Sanchez’s new puppy in the UAE), all of them heartless bastards who care for nothing but their own skins and their personal pocketbooks. They have no allegiances other than to themselves. They don’t give a damn about Mom and Pop America, let alone our Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution.

  48. JPB says:

    Dogear –
    That sword is a Syriac design. Probably Christian, but certainly not King Baldwin’s sword. And no way Solomon’s. The human-headed, winged lions on the hilt crossguard are the give-away. And the six pointed star was common to most religions in the middle east in the past, long before the Izzies adopted it in 1948.
    I hope Elijah M did not pay too much for it.

  49. Jony Kanuck says:

    Magnier is starting a a Go-Fund-Me project so that he can write a book on Hezbollah.

  50. SRW says:

    a good one. You had me hooked for most of it.

  51. JPB says:

    SDF is saying they pulled a raid on a Turkish/FSA depot in Azaz. They claim they destroyed an ammo dump and four armored vehicles.
    Azaz is outside of Afrin in the Euphrates Shield enclave that the Turks and TFSA invaded in August 2016. Erdogan had declared Azaz a ‘redline’ that the Kurds would not pass. I am clueless as to whether this is true or propaganda. The single source I have seen is the Afrin Resistance twitter account:

  52. Rhondda says:

    Does any member of the Committee know what USSSCI stands for? I have looked it up and can’t find a thing. It is referenced at the bottom of the Warner/Waldman text message screen captures. It says: “Confidential: Produced to USSSCI on a Confidential Basis”. Thank you for your consideration.

  53. Rhondda says:

    I beg your pardon. I just needed to search for SSCI alone. It stands for the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

  54. guidoamm says:

    With regards to the importance of a centralised monetary system that is imposed by law and that falls outside the democratic process.
    “[…] The State Department also played a role. A memo from the European section, dated June 11, 1965, advises the vice-president of the European Economic Community, Robert Marjolin, to pursue monetary union by stealth.
    It recommends suppressing debate until the point at which “adoption of such proposals would become virtually inescapable”.
    And with regards to the real life ramifications of a centralised monetary system that is outside the control of society
    “[…] The court called the Connolly book “aggressive, derogatory and insulting”, taking particular umbrage at the author’s suggestion that Economic and Monetary Union was a threat to democracy, freedom and “ultimately peace”.”

  55. jpb says:

    I just read a remarkable article at The Conservative Tree House, making clear to me, there will be a grand jury and people will be charged and go to prison for the coup attempt against POTUS. It’s a ‘head shot’ in proprietorial lingo.
    “…. there is essentially no-way the participating members inside the small group can escape their accountability with Mr. Bill Priestap cooperating with the investigative authorities.”

  56. Quak says:

    One more on Elijah J. Magnier:
    He must have built trust over decades of interaction with high level Shia representatives, if he is allowed into Sistani’s household as a foreigner.

  57. BillWade says:

    Is the jig up? Seems the FBI’s Director of Counter Intelligence has no desire to be Comey’s “fall-guy”:

  58. Anna says:

    Roberts on the situation in Syria:
    “Russia’s passivity is inviting nuclear war or Russian surrender… Did Putin win Syria only to lose it to Washington and the Israelis? … We know that Israel owns Washington, but does Israel own Russia also?”

  59. turcopolier says:

    I think it is a fair question. His bio as described on his website is long on headlines and short on details. pl

  60. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    re #4
    I see today that I neglected to include the link to the NC post. Here it is:

  61. SmoothieX12 says:

    We know that Israel owns Washington, but does Israel own Russia also?

  62. Barbara Ann says:

    “your gonna hear more of that name” (Bill Priestap) at around 2:40.
    Seems someone on the raft doesn’t fancy being the first to feed the other Méduse survivors and he’s throwing the rest to the sharks. PT’s next piece should be very interesting.

  63. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Yes, I definitely second your recommendation of Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard. I was particularly taken by this quote of James Angleton’s deathbed confession to journalist Joseph Trento:

    “The Catholic [longtime CIA Asst. Director James] Angleton had always needed to believe in the holiness of his mission. And now, as he faced the final judgment, he felt compelled to make confessions, of sorts, to visiting journalists, including Joseph Trento. What he confessed was this. He had not been serving God, after all, when he followed Allen Dulles. He had been on a satanic quest.
    “These were some of James Jesus Angleton’s dying words. He delivered them between fits of calamitous coughing – his lung-scraping seizures that still failed to break him of his cigarette habit – and soothing sips of tea. ‘Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars,’ Angleton told Trento in an emotionless voice. ‘The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted … Outside of their duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back on my life, I regret. But I was part of it and loved being in it.’
    He invoked the names of the high eminences who had run the CIA in his day – Dulles, Helms, Wisner. These men were ‘the grand masters,’ he said. ‘If you were in a room with them, you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.’
    “Angleton took another slow sip from his steaming cup. ‘I guess I
    will see them there soon.’”

  64. jsn says:

    Allen Dulles day timer in retirement, from the months leading up to November 1963, is fascinating. See Talbots’ “Devil’s Chessboard”

  65. DianaLC says:

    Sorry, my fading eyesight has to be enhanced by the computer magnifier. I scanned through the links. Am I right in assuming this idea is being fostered ty the FBI?

  66. Morongobill says:

    Concur especially the book by Karl Marlantes. The character”Hawk” was an officer that men would eagerly follow into battle. I am pretty sure that he is probably based on an officer that Marlantes may have served with in Vietnam. Just speculation on my part.

  67. 505thPIR says:

    Thank you so very much TTG!

  68. outthere says:

    Interesting, the notion that marijuana harms coordination.
    The NY Academy of Medicine Report (the LaGuardia study) found that psychomotor coordination was in fact BETTER during marijuana “intoxication”. Better still was the effect on “reality of expectations”. The study cautioned that this might not be true for first time users, but was true of users with prior experience.
    Also interesting was the comparison of mj with alcohol, which seriously depreciated coordination, while at the same time DEcreased “reality of expectations”.
    No one reads this fundamental report any more. Mayor LaGuardia commissioned it in response fo Anslinger’s efforts to criminalize marijuana, which efforts succeeded hysterically.
    If anyone is interested, I can describe the actual tests which were run in the study. Or you can probably find the study online.

  69. Sid Finster says:

    Russia is playing for time.

  70. Thomas says:

    “…but does Israel own Russia also?”
    No. this weekends military shoot down was a worldwide confirmation to one and all, especially the Likudniks and their agents in DC.
    Watching a news clip on Sunday with Benjamin Netanyahu giving the standard issue spiel on the subject, the man was missing that ever present smart azz smirk of his. It shows he has been spooked. I wonder what the IDF folks said to him in that closed door cabinet meeting?
    As for owning Washington, that is about to change also as the false facade of their Potemkin power is exposed to the light of day.

  71. Phodges says:

    I found this book insightful…although more about the nuts and bolts than personal leadership maybe

  72. guidoamm – That second point. It’s complicated, would you agree? Here’s the central issue that you quote:-
    “The court called the Connolly book “aggressive, derogatory and insulting”, taking particular umbrage at the author’s suggestion that Economic and Monetary Union was a threat to democracy, freedom and “ultimately peace”.”
    So the man said that something the EU was doing was a threat to freedom. The EU found that insulting. And proved the point about the threat to freedom by sacking him. And the Court said that was OK. Have I got that right?
    If I have, then I’m still not sure we’re entitled to jump up and down about it. Mr Connolly had been working for the EU. Presumably he was in the same position as an English Civil Servant who was criticising government policy while still drawing his pay. That’s not supposed to happen because Government officials aren’t supposed to get involved in politics. Should he have resigned before publishing?
    I’m not sure that would have bettered his position. I think the real question is “Did he lose his pension?” Maybe he did, and justly so if we really accept that his offence was as grave as the Court insisted. But we are told that EU officials can also lose their pension for criticising the EU in later life. That is apparently one of the conditions of employment for EU officials and if so it’s an unusual one. In effect, by working for the EU in the first place he was permanently losing his right to criticise it. It’s a catch 22. You can’t really find out how it works until you’re on the inside. As soon as you find out from the inside how it works you can’t criticise. So Mr Connolly was permanently gagged anyway.
    We had a Cabinet Minister in something like that position recently. He’d worked for the EU and it was claimed that he could therefore have lost an EU pension if he’d attacked the EU as a UK Government Minister. Not that Nick Clegg showed much inclination to attack the EU or its workings, but even so it’s an awkward point.
    As a thoroughly deplorable Englishman this might be thought to be none of my business. After all, the main question that interests me when I look at what Berlin or Brussels is doing with the EU is “How fast can we run?” But this question of the pension lock is troubling and could affect others. Maybe that’s the issue the Court should have been examining.

  73. turcopolier says:

    pacifica advocate
    More sanctimonious crap. Why is the murder rate in Baltimore way up in spite of the city government being in the hands of “the oppressed?” pl

  74. turcopolier says:

    pacifica advocate
    Why did both the FBI and DoJ investigations exonerate the cop? Why, in spite of that did Holder force a “consent” agreement on Ferguson through the threat of a bankrupting federal lawsuit? pl

  75. shepherd says:

    Col. Lang,
    You can’t buy back stolen software. They wanted to get an inventory of what had been stolen.

  76. The Beaver says:

    A good slap for Bibi ( where is Jared?)
    The United States dismissed as false an Israeli assertion on Monday that the two countries were discussing the possibility of Israel annexing Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in a rare display of discord between U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

  77. Peter AU says:

    From what I can see, Magnier was not well known as a journalist prior to 2014 – around the time I, and I guess many others, started looking for information on Syria.

  78. outthere says:

    Chas Freeman has just published a major long piece about China, and about USA diplomacy. Too much to restate or quote. Deserves a full read.

  79. See Alexander Mercouris’ take on that I referenced in the previous thread.
    He concludes Russia has no interest in conflict with Israel unless they directly threaten Syria’s survival. I pointed out in the comments there and here that the problem is that Israel does indeed intend that and that this will inevitably lead to some sort of confrontation between Russia and Israel, militarily or not.

  80. turcopolier says:

    It was a rhetorical question. pl

  81. mikee says:

    Saakashvili nabbed at Georgian restaurant in Kiev.

  82. Barbara Ann says:

    Well, it’s official; “$250 million for border security requirements” top of page 52. Why don’t they just call it the Rojava National Army, appoint Fethullah Gülen as its head and have done with it.

  83. Poul says:

    China’s future role in the Middle East as a counterweight to the US. They got the money but they’re also wiser in how they spent it.
    Interesting to see how much aid China will back it words with.

  84. turcopolier says:

    Barbara Ann
    Why Gulen? He is not a Kurd is he? pl

  85. Outhere – The Freeman piece you linked to did indeed deserve a full read. From what I’ve seen of him over the years he’s on the side of the angels, and impressive with it. I had not seen quite that take on the South China Sea disputes before.
    I’m having trouble with this section though:-
    “The United States is well along in abandoning multilateralism in favor of economic nationalism. We are replacing policies that have brought prosperity to the world with untried populist theories that the great majority of professional economists believe are fundamentally unsound. We have no one – no one – with us on this internationally.”
    There are admittedly two problems with the Trump 2016 platform of reducing outsourcing – 1, that it would be better done by bilateral agreement than by de haut en bas unilateral imposition of tariffs or other impediments and 2, that Trump never underlined the point that reducing outsourcing means switching to more expensive local labour. This in turn must inevitably mean price increases, and if that is not to bear disproportionately on the poor it must mean a reduction in the income gap. In short the top ten or so percent must get less. That’s politically difficult.
    But the fact these problems exist doesn’t mean that we should continue on the globalisation path. On the contrary, the further along that path we travel the more difficult such problems become. And many others too.
    One can dispute that globalisation as we practice it has “brought prosperity to the world”. In some places it it has demonstrably held back development. In other places where prosperity has been delivered it has been at the cost of unbalanced industrialisation.
    We can dispute that but can of course never prove it. What we can be sure of is that globalisation has not brought prosperity to large numbers of people in the States or in many other Western countries. To object to that and to seek to remedy that is not “populism”. It is plain common sense. And as for “untried” – if my house were on fire I wouldn’t stay and burn to death because I’d never tried jumping out of the window before.
    In fact Ambassador Freeman is falling into the trap that so many professional economists fall into. They contrast “Free Trade”, that always to be striven for ideal, with the narrow and cramped conditions of international trade that they assert would exist if reducing outsourcing became a priority.
    It’s a false contrast. We don’t know what a “Free Trade” world would look like because we’ve never had one and never will. We already live in a trading environment in which Free Trade is just a mantra and never a reality. The sooner we accept that and negotiate Fair Trade, trade from which both sides of the transaction can be confident of benefiting, the sooner we can move away from an international order in which predatory trade practices that would never be tolerated within any one country, or at least never should be tolerated within any one country, are the norm in trade between countries.

  86. different clue says:

    ( reply to comment 63),
    It would have been a lot cheaper to give the relevant leaders some marijuana so they could see what the real effects really are, then to have them wear simulator goggles and trust that the goggle effects are the same as marijuana effects.
    Also, did the people who invented the goggles also take marijuana either in the past or during goggle development and trials so they could see if the goggles really replicate the effect of marijuana?
    Or did they have a separate group of “impartial testers” take marijuana and also use the goggles so the impartial testers could either “pass” or “fail” the goggles?

  87. Anna says:

    “… as the false facade of their Potemkin power is exposed to the light of day.”
    — Do we have time? One cannot reason with psychopaths.

  88. J says:

    What is laughable about the whole affair, is the Canadian Military brass wants to throw $170 thousand down a sank hole, when all they have to do is go the streets of Ottawa and find a marijuana dealer who would give them a far better deal for a lot cheaper. Hell they can pick up the phone and call Canadian Drug Task Force, I’m sure they have some marijuana stores in their evidence rooms, that doesn’t cost a Canadian dime.
    I just picture the Canadian Military Brass around a table passing a bong trying to find out how it feels to be stoned. Only in Ottawa.

  89. outthere says:

    My best libertarian friend is always reminding me how consumers get forgotten in the debate about economics of “outsourcing”. Consumers don’t have much of a lobby compared to corporate manufacturers and labor unions. And of course the “poor” are consumers.
    I keep reminding my libertarian friend that one of Henry Ford’s first tenets was to pay his workers enough that they could buy the cars they were making.
    I see Chas Freeman’s great expertise as being in diplomacy and in vast knowledge of China, as well as Mideast. How many USA diplomats actually speak/read fluent Arabic AND Chinese (and not just Mandarin)? Most amazing, neither of these languages were spoken in his early life, both were learned after he joined State Dept.

  90. LondonBob says:

    The journalist Jefferson Morley has a new biography of Angleton out. Here is a interview of him by Lew Rockwell about it.
    Nice to see a more mainstream journalist covering topics that have only really been covered by ‘alt’ commentators, but not sure he does more than flesh out things than provide any new revelations.

  91. J says:

    PT, Colonel, TTG,
    Has Priestap been given immunity by the Trump bunch? If so, then he needs a really good bodyguard protective detail, otherwise his life expectancy will be short lived.

  92. J says:

    Looks like FBI CI Priestap’s spouse is heavily connected to the Israeli Intelligence world.

  93. The Beaver says:

    About Deir Ezzor bombing and the oil refinery :
    Now, what if the downing of that F-16 was a message sent to Israel and the US of the capability of the Russians of using Jordanian air space to bomb bases in Syria.
    Look at how Bibi was forced to back down (similar to blaming the mufti for the Holocaust) after Netanyahu making easily refutable claims about discussing the annexation of the West Bank with Trump.

  94. John_Frank says:

    Ibn Nabih @IbnNabih1
    The FSA statement in English regarding ISIS defeat in Idlib.

  95. John_Frank says:

    Earlier Ibn Nabih @IbnNabih1 posted
    FSA operation room “repelling the Invaders” say they’ve successfully eliminated the ISIS pocket in Idlib after recapturing al-Khuwain town and arresting hundreds (some say 370 fighters + family) of ISIS members. The ISIS members will be prosecuted and sentenced accordingly. with a link to the original statement in Arabic

  96. Thomas says:

    “Do we have time? One cannot reason with psychopaths.”
    Incarceration does wonders to their ability to Create Reality.
    Patience and watch as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

  97. John_Frank says:

    Statement for the record – World Wide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community – Daniel R Coats, Director of National Intelligence – February 13, 2018

  98. guidoamm says:

    You raise interesting points.
    My intent however is to show the centrality of a system that does not fall under the democratic process despite the real life obligations it imposes upon society. Although it could be dismissed as merely anecdotal, Mr. Connelly seems to have realised the arithmetical iniquity and asymmetrical burden the monetary system places upon the individual and has been punished for making his findings public.
    Although political bickering is intense and often violent particularly in Europe, hardly any politician, regardless the political persuasion, seems to grasp the importance of a centralised monetary system.
    A centralised monetary system managed by an unelected entity that imposes a price on a product that has no cost structure, along with perpetual fiscal deficits, guarantees that profit and title will gradually but inexorably concentrate in the hands of the purveyors of credit.
    This is not conjecture. Whether Marxist or Fascist, if a government runs fiscal deficits perpetually, the result can only be the impoverishment of the individual and, in time, the full dependence of the individual on government.
    Of course, the above only makes sense if we agree that private property is a desirable feature for the development of society.
    If anyone however does not deem the right to private property to be a desirable concept, than a centralised monetary system is just fine of course.

  99. Barbara Ann says:

    Re Gullen being a Kurd; not to my knowledge, sir. Just a gedankenexperiment in what the US could do to further antagonize Erdogan – as the whole BSF saga seems to be an exercise in doing just that.

  100. (Reference90, 98)
    An article today from ZH shows the Trump administration coming up against problem 2 mentioned above – the effect on prices of reducing outsourcing:-
    “On Monday, the president suggested a reciprocal tax on imported goods (details were not forthcoming). Generally, such taxes tend to hit lower income consumers more than higher income consumers.”
    It also indicates that not much “reciprocal” negotiation is going on in the background. That’s a pity. It would be nice to see the master of the Art of the Deal cutting some deals with suppliers. He does have leverage – the supplier countries do want to be paid, which can only happen in the long term if trade is more balanced.
    Unless the new President has been converted to the notion that a reserve currency can print instead of pay. The odd thing is that for all it’s said to be orthodox doctrine, the few academic economists and financial experts I meet have no truck with this notion.
    Sorry about the comments. They seem to have no one there moderating.

  101. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Physics Basis of Wealth Inequality

  102. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Biological Basis of Human Hierarchy
    We evolved from crayfish (300 million years ago) and our brains work on the basis of serotonin – present in crayfish brains – to recognize hierarchy.

  103. SmoothieX12 says:

    Statement for the record – World Wide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community
    Yes, the part about Russia is hilarious. No sarcasm.

  104. 102
    Outthere – Yes, there’s a weight there, a grounded expertise, that one was forced to recognise in many old style American diplomats and administrators even when one disagreed entirely with their world view or their policies.
    On the necessity of having money before you get to be a consumer to any extent, I’m glad you explained that to someone. Leaves only a few hundred million more to explain it to then. We find over here that the trick is to be a deplorable. Then it sort of explains itself.

  105. 112
    guidoamm. Yes, my reply was off the point. I was wondering if an ingenious lawyer might have a go with a “Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb” argument when it came to the pension. Mr Connolly knew the pension was at risk whether he committed his heinous crime before or after he was sacked. Therefore he might as well do it before. The initial fault is in the pension rule if that applied in his case.
    But whatever a lawyer might try on, I suspect Mr Connolly is in effect up before a hanging judge and has as much chance as a drunk and disorderly before a rabid teetotaller. He’d do better if he could try his luck in an English Court. One’s just given a judgement against the Ukraine which, given that it’s hug a Neo-Nazi time amongst our rulers, is very heartening. Fiat Justitia ruat Caelum!
    The pension lock does indeed seem to exist:-
    In England a post-service duty of confidentiality for an ex-government employee does not extend to a duty of continuing support for government policies that the employee was not permitted to criticise when in post. If it did, the ex-Army MP’s who were rumoured to have been against the bombing of Syria would not have been able to exercise a restraining influence, so the underlying principle is vitally important. Shut up while you’re serving, say what you think right afterwards. The EU seems not to observe this principle but we must understand that they’ve always done things differently on the Continent.
    Returning to the point of your original post and subsequent comment, I do agree that private property, and free enterprise within the rule of law, can be the only way to go. How to set the right framework for that is the question, second only to the question of how to get back to government of the people for the people. There we’re in the same boat as our Continental friends. And low in the water.

  106. turcopolier says:

    Yes, of course it is obvious. Can’t you recognize a rhetorical question? the mayor, the city council and the police all are or were run by African-Americans. Why don’t they sort this out? It is their ethnic group who are being victimized. pl

  107. Fred says:

    If only Deray McKesson would do some community organizing in Baltimore thing things would improve. Or perhaps the poor folks in the inner city could figure out how to move elsewhere.

  108. Tel says:

    “I keep reminding my libertarian friend that one of Henry Ford’s first tenets was to pay his workers enough that they could buy the cars they were making.”

    To avoid the ongoing problem of your Libertarian friends having a quiet chuckle every time you bring this up, please research the history.
    Although Ford’s wages were better than average during the 1920’s, the concept of making a company more profitable by paying workers more in order to buy their own product cannot possibly work (the basic example is given in the link above). Companies like Ford necessarily need to sell their product to a much wider group of people than their own workforce (as the example points out, just in 1914 they produced twenty times as many vehicles as they had employees).
    It was Herbert Hoover’s idea to keep wages high during the Great Depression, and it was universally a bad idea, which prolonged the depression. Artificially high wages necessarily must always imply a constraint on the supply of labor (or involuntary unemployment which is what happened). Ford initially agreed with Hoover and went along with the plan, but later abandoned the high wage policy because it simply was not working.
    Either you force wages high, but then the factory will not hire workers (could be because of minimum wage legislation, or because of unions, or people like President Hoover insisting on interference), or else supply of labor is throttled and wages move up by attrition (e.g. special license requirements, closed shops where it is difficult to get hired, genuine skills shortage, or the historic case of labor shortage caused by the Black Death in 14th Century Europe).
    Unfortunately for the USA, the next President (FDR) gave speeches decrying the profligate and meddling policies of Hoover, but once in office broke that promise and interfered with the economy even more severely, and only after a major war did the US economy come back to free market principles and start to flourish again.
    There are different kinds of companies that sell a small amount of very expensive product (e.g. Boeing Aircraft) but hopefully you don’t think it will help Boing if they encourage each of their employees to buy a Dreamliner. I’m going to skip the explanation of why that might be a bad idea.

  109. guidoamm says:

    Latest case in point:
    “If authorities do not act pre-emptively, cryptocurrencies could become more interconnected with the main financial system and become a threat,” he said. “Most importantly, the meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies should not make us forget the important role central banks play as stewards of public trust. Private digital tokens masquerading as currencies must not subvert this trust.””
    The ostensible role as stewards of the system played by central banks is limited to the following;
    1 – The underlying economy is doing well: let’s increase the monetary base and credit in circulation
    2 – The underlying economy is struggling: let’s increase the monetary base and credit in circulation
    3 – Most of all, let’s not reign in fiscal deficits
    I can only guffaw at the mention of the “trust” central banks putatively offer

  110. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Free Market Principles”?
    You mean those the application of which caused the departure of 2.8 million jobs from the United States over a 1532 year period?
    I suppose a Communist would welcome such a huge wealth transfer from US to say – Costa Rica and India.

  111. outthere says:

    The five-dollar wage
    Ford was a pioneer of “welfare capitalism”, designed to improve the lot of his workers and especially to reduce the heavy turnover that had many departments hiring 300 men per year to fill 100 slots. Efficiency meant hiring and keeping the best workers.[21]
    Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5 per day wage ($120 today), which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers.[22] A Cleveland, Ohio, newspaper editorialized that the announcement “shot like a blinding rocket through the dark clouds of the present industrial depression.”[23] The move proved extremely profitable; instead of constant turnover of employees, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Ford, bringing their human capital and expertise, raising productivity, and lowering training costs.[24][25] Ford announced his $5-per-day program on January 5, 1914, raising the minimum daily pay from $2.34 to $5 for qualifying male workers.
    Detroit was already a high-wage city, but competitors were forced to raise wages or lose their best workers.[26] Ford’s policy proved, however, that paying people more would enable Ford workers to afford the cars they were producing and be good for the local economy.

  112. Anna says:

    Dear Colonel Lang, it seems that my last post did not go through; this is why I am attempting to publish the post one more time. Sorry if it appears as a duplicate.

  113. Anna says:

    Where is the mighty national security apparatus to do the basic investigation of the DNC server? –
    “BuzzFeed issued a subpoena to the DNC for information which might help them defend against Gubarev’s lawsuit by verifying claims in the dossier – including “digital remnants left by the Russian state operatives,” as well as a full version of the hacking report prepared by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.
    Since the DNC wouldn’t let the FBI look at the server and instead relied on the report prepared by CrowdStrike (founded by Russian expat Dimitri Alperovitch – who sits on the very Anti-Russian Atlantic Council along with Evelyn “oops!” Farkas. The AC is funded by the US State Department, NATO, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukranian Oligarch Victor Pinchuk, who apparently owns the Ukrainian gas company Joe Biden’s son is on the board of). .
    .. Last month, the DNC claimed that providing the requested information would expose the DNC’s internal operations and harm the party politically… Many have speculated that DNC IT staffer Seth Rich, whose murder is still unsolved, was the source of the emails provided to WikiLeaks.”
    —A simple Q: Why the DNC server has not been investigated already as a material evidence in the course of investigation of the murder of DNC IT staffer Seth Rich?

  114. turcopolier says:

    ALL comments are moderated by me and do not appear until I approve them. pl

  115. FkDahl says:

    Interesting interview with French humanitarian (oui, vraiment!) Pierre le Corf from Aleppo

  116. Refers to 112
    I’m afraid my proof reading has let me down again. Referring to a ZH article I wrote:-
    “Sorry about the comments. They seem to have no one there moderating.”
    Which is too general. I should have written – “ZH seems to have no one there moderating.”
    I’m never sure whether ZH is designed as a place to put the dissidents so they can let off steam there rather than cause trouble elsewhere, or whether it’s a genuinely contrarian site. Either way they let through some pretty dubious comments from time to time, and do in the article referred to.
    But ZH often reports items not reported in, say, the NYT or the BBC so it’s a matter of taking the rough with the smooth.

  117. John_Frank says:

    Update: Following yesterday’s 3 hour meeting between Secretary Tillerson and President Erdogan, with the Turkish Foreign Minister acting as translator, and lengthy follow on meetings between the staff for the two sides, earlier this morning Turkey and the United States issued a joint statement:
    The United States and #Turkey reaffirm their mutual & unequivocal commitment to each other’s security & defense, to resolving outstanding issues in the bilateral relationship, and to the preservation of the territorial integrity & national unity of #Syria.
    Joint Statement On Turkey – US Strategic Partnership
    Also the State Department posted video from the joint Press Conference held by the Secretary and the Foreign Minister.
    It will be interesting to see how events unfold as the two sides work through their differences. One immediate concern of mine is the reference to Islamaphobia in the joint press statement, which is a term used by fundamentalist Imams to quash dissent by fellow Muslims to their harsh religious agenda.

  118. John_Frank says:

    With respect, the $250 million for border security requirements is not going to be spent in support of a non-existent Kurdish border security force, but to help with border security in Lebanon and Jordan.

  119. Pacifca Advocate says:

    PL: >>>Yes, of course it is obvious. Can’t you recognize a rhetorical question? the mayor, the city council and the police all are or were run by African-Americans. Why don’t they sort this out? It is their ethnic group who are being victimized. pl
    Fred: >>>If only Deray McKesson would do some community organizing in Baltimore thing things would improve. Or perhaps the poor folks in the inner city could figure out how to move elsewhere.
    Can’t either of you recognize that voting for local mayors and city officials isn’t the way to cure these things?
    There is a political machine at work, and it is grinding the poorest and most disenfranchised among us into venal omnivores, who will tear apart whatever is presented to them.
    This is a systemic problem; not a localized one.

  120. turcopolier says:

    Your poor bleeding heart is showing yet again. “it is grinding the poorest and most disenfranchised among us into venal omnivores ” Ah, the poor creatures have no independent will at all. “Mankind is born free and is everywhere in chains.” Sad. pl

  121. Fred says:

    “Can’t either of you recognize that voting for local mayors and city officials isn’t the way to cure these things?”
    Come the revolution things will be run just like they are in the socialist paradise of Venezuala.

  122. turcopolier says:

    PA is a revolutionary dedicated to the destruction of the constitution and the existing social order. He is looking for a Jacobin revolution followed by a dictatorship of the proletariat. pl

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