Where Are the Heroes? by Publius Tacitus


The American media and many American political leaders, Republicans and Democrats, are a complete disgrace as they have cheered Donald Trump's illegal and unjustified order to launch cruise missiles against a backwater Syrian Air Force outpost.  The American public are being sold a profound and dangerous lie via a massive propaganda campaign that, without one shred of empirical evidence, insists that the Air Force of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dropped a chemical weapon for the express purpose of killing civilians. That did not happen. There is no intelligence supporting this claim by the Trump Administration. But it is not just Donald Trump who is lying. He is being enabled and facilitated by his National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, and the Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, and the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

Donald Trump has now out done George W. Bush and his cast of fools, who launched an unnecessary and costly war in Iraq in March of 2003. At least Bush had enough sense to get UN and Congressional approval for his insanity. Not Trump. The simpleton simply watched Fox News and then gave the order to launch TLAMs. We did not see a single senior officer resign and speak out in protest over this fraud. They simply saluted and then carried out an unlawful order. The United States had not been attacked by Syria and was not threatening to attack us. 

When the likes of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and John McCain think Trump is doing the right thing, you don't need any other evidence that the Trump Administration has gone off the rails. Trump persuaded many of the people that voted for him that he would not engage in the failed foreign nation building carried out by his predecessors–Bush and Obama. He has now betrayed that movement. And he is an utter fool if he thinks that this will placate the Democrats who oppose him and ease the pressure to block his agenda. 

What is really so disturbing about all of this is that the TLAM strike was meaningless and ineffective. It did not shut down the Syrian airfield. It did not destroy any significant Syrian Air assets. But it did create a real friction between the United States and Russia who, up to an hour before we launched the cruise missiles, were in regular contact to deconflict air missions that were going after terrorist targets. Let me repeat that–for at least the last 80 days, the United States and Russia military field commanders have been in regular contact, which has included exchanging intelligence and making sure that we do not fly into one another's air space.

Our unilateral action on Thursday has put that coordination in jeopardy. But that is not the only risk we are facing. If the Russians and the Syrians decide to start shooting down U.S. military and CIA drones operating over Syria there will be great political pressure to retaliate. Such an action, especially if done in the heat of the moment, carries the significant risk of escalating into a war between the United States and Russia. No one in the Trump Administration has given that scenario serious consideration. They still believe they are playing a video game.

For now, Russia and Syria appear content to continue their effort to wipe out the Islamists. As long as the United States does not interfere with that plan then the Russian and Syrian Generals appear willing to let Donald Trump enjoy his fantasy that he is being the tough guy. Let's be clear what Donald Trump is–he is an egotist of the first order. He loves being praised for being "strong and decisive." He is not ready to hear that he is a joke and that his action did not cower the the Syrians or Russians one little bit. Trump reminds me of the fat drunk sitting in a bar and indulging the Walter Mitty myth that he is a cage fighter. Rather than keep sipping his whiskey he decides to start throwing punches without first taking measure of who he is hitting. 

America is a bit of a paper tiger at the moment. Don't take my word for it. That is the message from our military leaders to Congress a few weeks back:

In testimony before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, the vice chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force articulated pressing concerns about the state of their branch’s readiness to respond to conflicts overseas or attacks on the homeland.
The hearing highlighted substantial readiness and capacity issues within each of the services: 
  • Army: Of 58 total brigade combat teams (the Army’s main combat building block), only three are considered ready for combat.
  • Navy: The Navy’s fleet is the smallest it has been in nearly 100 years. This makes ship repairs harder to complete, as those vessels are needed on the waterways
  • Marine Corps: Eighty percent of Marine aviation units do not have even the minimum number of aircraft they need for training and basic operations.
  • Air Force: The Air Force is the smallest and, in terms of many of its aircraft, oldest it has ever been. The service had 8,600 aircraft in 1991 while today it only has 5,500, and those aircraft are an average of 27 years old. Worse, fewer than half of those aircraft are prepared to take on and defeat our adversaries. 
These troubling findings by the services echo those laid out by The Heritage Foundation in its 2017 “Index of U.S. Military Strength,” which rated the Army as “Weak” and the other three branches as “Marginal” in terms of their ability to fight and win major conflicts.

If Russia decides to call our bluff and escalate things Trump will likely preside over a public humiliation that will explode America's military delusions of grandeur.

Donald Trump was correct to criticize the stupid decision of George W. Bush to start an unnecessary war in Iraq. That ill-fated decision may have initially bought Bush some political cheering at home, but he opened a serpent's nest that unleashed the chaos that is now ruling the region. Bush's failure to secure the peace and restore a stable government cost him his legacy. Most of America does not give one rat's ass about the Middle East. Let 'em burn is the general attitude. Trump has bought the equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge. How many days or weeks before he discovers that he bought a fraud?


This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Borg Wars, Current Affairs, Iran, Iraq, Media, Middle East, Policy, Prose, Russia, Syria. Bookmark the permalink.

170 Responses to Where Are the Heroes? by Publius Tacitus

  1. Jeannie Catherine says:

    A complete disgrace. My heart aches over such madness.
    Bless this site, Col. Lang, and the extraordinarily insightful commenters. I find shelter here. May Peace be with you, and all of us.

  2. Randy says:

    Amazing that after all the money the US spends on defense our military is in such bad shape. I guess all that money wound up in the same place the 36 missing cruise missiles went to. Missile heaven, next door to money heaven.

  3. Eric Newhill says:

    Thank you for continuing to write about this growing crisis.
    The US attack on the air field was such an impotent gesture with so much downside. I am shocked at the praise it garnered in the media and in Congress. With such idiots running things we are truly screwed. I am at a loss of words to describe my feelings about all of this. I knew Clinton would do it; so I supported Trump. I thought his basking in the glow of his supporters’ adulation would satisfy his ego and keep him from doing what they did not want. I hate being wrong, but there it is. I was wrong.
    You may want to edit this; ” Trump has *not* bought the equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge.”

  4. Jack says:

    The poor readiness and the worn state of the equipment of our military is not due to a lack of spending. We spend more on our military than seven of the next big spenders combined. We’re clearly not getting value for the money spent. Just like our health care system where we spend twice per capita relative to other western countries.
    It seems we are seeing institutional failure at a massive scale. Our monetary authority, the Fed, has reduced the purchasing power of our savings by over 95% in the century since that institution was created. Despite this colossal failure of its core mission the scale and scope of this institution grows.
    Our government is beyond dysfunctional. It is a threat to our safety, to our liberty, and our Constitutional Republic. The political, media and governmental elite have become consumed with the virulent, false God of Pax Americana. At this point the only group that is seeing through this smokescreen are the alt-right. I don’t yet see any evidence that conservatives, liberals and the alt-left are concerned about this attack on a sovereign nation on a false pretext. Clearly, many Americans are ambivalent. However, with the MSM, the vast majority of the elected political leadership and the military-intelligence leadership intensifying their propaganda to bamboozle us into another disastrous intervention into the ME quicksand, only a concerted effort at immediate opposition can offer any hope of stopping the growing momentum of this freight train of grave error.

  5. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Unglücklich das Land, das Helden nötig hat.

  6. Peter AU says:

    Trump has burn’t his bridges – no going back.
    Anything the US now says to countries it is antagonistic with is worthless. Nothing can be believed. For them, the US must be considered a direct threat that may commence military action at any time.
    Russia, China, Iran.
    Not long ago – Duterte has good relations with China – taunting US, saying they were weak in not forcing China of SCS islands. Now Kim of NK taunting and challenging the US.
    I suspect the US is about to get tag teamed till it doesn’t know which way is up.

  7. Yeah, Right says:

    Quite astonishing to think that even though the USA continues to spend staggering amounts on money on its military the end result is an airforce where the pilots are, on average, considerably younger than the warplanes that they are flying.
    ….”and those aircraft are an average of 27 years old”….
    It would be interesting to ask those pilots what they would think about owning a 27-year-old automobile.
    A car from 1991? Rattly ol’ bag o’ bolts, most probably.

  8. Taras77 says:

    It gets worse if one takes on the report that mcmasters wants to put an additional 1500 troops into syria, ie what amount to an invasion-what could wrong?
    Also, mcmaster and petraeus are very close, 1500 troops has patraeus’ fingerprints all over it.
    I think the nsc has been thoroughly neoconned, dina powell, fiona hill, etc.
    bottom line, to state the obvious, a huge beyrayal, a huge con by the neo cons

  9. Paul says:

    Where are all those tough talking people in the Congress? They could put a stop to Trump in a heartbeat if they were patriotic.

  10. LondonBob says:

    All signs seem to be pointing towards this being a one off, so I don’t think we should get carried away. Pretty odious though the frenzy of the neocons, Borg, Netanyahoo, Erdogan etc. at trying to goad more out of this.
    Of course there are troubling questions about how this all came about but I have already read too much claim and counter claim to know. Unraveling what information was presented, to who and then who took which position would be nice to know, if that is possible.
    I note that there has been no triumphalism from Trump, also Bannon’s people at Breitbart seem to be covering the unhappiness of much of Trump’s base with this action.

  11. Gabriel says:

    Possibly known already to SST readers, but, apropos low readiness data Publius Tacitus quoted above, thought I’d post a Chuck Spinney piece (“The Defense Death Spiral: Why the Defense Budget Is Always Underfunded”) that helped me understand how perpetual readiness problems can co-exist with very high defense appropriations.
    Key points:

    * A Modernization Program that Cannot Modernize the Force: The MICC’s predilection for increasing high-tech ever-more complex weapons and supporting equipment (for domestic-political economic reasons) causes the unit costs of new weapons to always grow faster than overall defense budgets, even when those budgets increase sharply, as they did in the early 1980s and after 1998. Consequently, new weapons always cost far more than their predecessors, and cannot be produced at high enough rates to replace existing weapons on a one-for-one basis. Decreasing replacement rates cause the average age of the weapons in the force structure increase over time, and eventually the ages of the oldest weapons reach a point where they must be retired without replacement. The result is the well-documented, long-term trend toward smaller and older forces. This evolution has been in place since the late 1950s.
    * The Rising Cost of Low Readiness: Notwithstanding promises to the contrary (i.e., of lower life cycle costs), the unit operating costs of increasingly complex (and aging) weapons have also risen considerably faster than overall budgets. This asymmetry creates continual budgetary pressure to reduce readiness and to shrink force size, in part to contain growth in the operating budget itself, but also to free up the additional funds to finance the underfunded modernization program (known as robbing readiness to save modernization).

    There’s a great deal of fascinating detail about how politically this is basically structural: strongly encourage that those interested read the whole thing.

  12. Matt says:

    if you want a flavour of grassroot reactions to Trump then you can visit:
    I visited for the 2nd time last night,
    1st time, 4 months ago, they were worshiping Trump as their god/king/emperor,
    now they are mostly aghast at his betrayal, devoid of any hope, some sound suicidal,
    there are threads predicting imminent WW3, reservists discussing whether to abscond before they are frogmarched into a futile war and groups monitoring USAF radio transmissions trying to identify nuclear launch codes being issued,
    these are the people that willingly adopted Hillary’s slur ‘deplorables’
    I remember one during the election cycle saying,’we in the flyover states are the ones that grow your food and fight your pointless, endless wars’
    the media and politicians seem utterly insane at the moment,
    the people who will be asked to carry out their wishes seem stone cold sober and utterly rooted in the reality of the situation,
    the Geriatric Ginger Dyslexic in Chief may only have nuclear as an option as his rank and file seem unwilling to march into his meat grinder,
    the only Hero’s I can see in the USA atm are the servicemen and women, their only power is their oath of allegience and a refusal to carry out illegal orders,
    at this anniversary of WW1 maybe people should recollect the christmas day truce and the French Army’s mutiny,
    I would emplore God to help us but I think he has lost interest and is considering the Flood Plan 2.0,
    we are beyond divine intervention and it is up to us to fix this,

  13. Kutte says:

    Publius Tacitus
    One point you mentioned I find particularily interesting: The paper tiger bit. On Februry 9, 2017 TTG wrote “Another look at Russia’s radio-electronic combat – TTG” here http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/02/another-look-at-russias-radio-electronic-combat-ttg.html
    I find the “disappearance” of 36 drones rather conspicuous. Did they just malfunction, or were they “helped” by electronic “caretakers”, leaving a message for the knowledgeable? Could the Russians have hijacked the lot of them, and let them harmlessly land in formation, to be carted to the rubbish tip? Of course, that would have made Trump look so ridiculous that he would have pushed the MAD-Button. The USA cant defeat Russia and China as they defeateed Germany nad Japan. Even if Russia and China surrendered unconditionally on the outbreak of hostilities (very unlikely), the USA probably could not organize the logistics for occupying and policing them. And they can always use the MAD-Option, an almost irresistable offer.

  14. The Beaver says:

    I saw this last night on an a/c that I have relied on to get the latest news on Syria/Iraq:
    Rumours that the US wants #Iraq’s special forces to participate in the Raqqa offensive in Syria.
    Where the GCC countries who support the bombing of the airbase and who are members of the coalition of 68 for Syria?

  15. Lesly says:

    Obama won because he promised change. He delivered more of the same. Clinton lost because she couldn’t convincingly pretend change is necessary if she had bothered to listen to people instead of an algorithm.
    Now Trump is as bad as Clinton on foreign policy, willing to risk a war with Russia over a strange, foreign people Americans honestly don’t care about, including their dead children.
    Trump’s cabinet appointments and policy statements also indicate he will side with capital over labor even as he courts the vote of poor, resentful laborers to gain power.
    And if we avoid a hot/thermal war with Russia, and when he fails to better the lives of the people he has to thank for being president, the question is what comes next. Socialism, fascism or anarchy.
    The system is not responding.

  16. Pinwheel says:

    How bad is it? This bad:
    Ivanka ordered the air strike! MIGHTY king Trump could not bear the sight of a single tear from the eye of his princess. Jared and Ivanka are our unelected royal couple. If her highness is distraught by the sight of dead children in a war zone, then WW3 be damned. We are governed by royal whims, edicts and degrees, backed by imperial might. Domestic and international laws are quaint relics of the past. This is how empires end, and the foolish masses will pay the ultimate price.

  17. steve says:

    “Trump persuaded many of the people that voted for him that he would not engage in the failed foreign nation building carried out by his predecessors”
    Which absolutely amazed me. It was pretty clear he had little interest and less knowledge about foreign affairs in general and the ME in particular. Given that GOP foreign policy has been dominated by the neo-con faction, it seemed pretty obvious that they were going to end up running things again. Granted, it probably wouldn’t have been much different with anyone else in office, but I do think that the price of a disruptive leader (Trump) is that it introduces some chaos into the process and probably makes things worse sometimes.

  18. Fred says:

    The Beaver,
    Aren’t they a little busy in Yemen, a country that isn’t (yet) America’s problem to solve?

  19. Fred says:

    Yeah, Right,
    The average age of vehicles on America’s roads is almost 12 years. Needless to say they don’t get the same level of attention a B 52 gets.

  20. IMO up to 1/3rd of the DoD budget goes to misfeasance, malfeasance, and non-feasance. In other words CORRUPTION! BUILD A NEW pentagon at Ft. Riley!
    A new statute should force disclosure by all FLAG RANKS, whatever status but alive of all sources of EARNED INCOME!

  21. wisedupearly says:

    What we need to see are the in-flight video feeds from the missiles going in. All 59 of them according to DOD. For 60mil+ in direct costs we deserve to get some thing more definitive than circles on a video wall at Fox. Usually CNN has something.

  22. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Some questions for those far more plugged in than I am out here in Flyoverland: Are all of those 36 missiles just plain unaccounted for? Or do we know where some (or all?) of them went, which was away from the intended target? Are DoD people freaking out about this?

  23. LeaNder says:

    Donald Trump was correct to criticize the stupid decision of George W. Bush to start an unnecessary war in Iraq. That ill-fated decision may have initially bought Bush some political cheering at home, but he opened a serpent’s nest that unleashed the chaos that is now ruling the region.
    PT, had he ever put it the way you suggest here, I might have much better understood his many supporters on SST. As far as I am concerned, he never did. Maybe his relevant statements never reached me?
    No doubt his stand on Russia seemed promising. But to what extend was it pure histrionics riding the dissent wave without intending to follow up on giving up the American unilateral empire? Isn’t that part of what makes America Great?
    What reached me was, that Obama “created ISIS” and “lost the Iraq war”. … concerning Russia he seemed to modify at one point. Paraphrasing: I’ll walk in there, and if I don’t get my deal fast, I’ll walk out again. Image: Strong leader, I’ll get what I want. Be sure about that. …
    If your concern would be more money for the US military, well, that no doubt he promised. He also promised to make the better deals, concerning necessary “hardware” updates/purchases. Some around here convinced me that in some fields money is needed. But is he aware of those? Would they be media effective?
    But didn’t this or his foreign policy speech suggest, he was more then willing to use it just like everyone before? And wasn’t his strong alignment with the military meant to convey the image of a strong Commander in Chief? … Absolutely no harm meant, I deeply respect people’s military background around here. While no doubt always remaining the nitwit observer at the fence on both intelligence and the military. And not least the American experience.

  24. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    The dream of the neoliberal brain trust was to turn the clock back to the rentier economy of the late 19th century. So…we’re there, folks.

  25. irf520 says:

    Bring me the head of John the Baptist …

  26. Thomas101st says:

    Some of you may be interested in a blog called the “Indian Punchline”: http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/
    The gentleman whose blog this is was a high ranking diplomat at the ambassadorial level and was at one time stationed in Moscow, though in which capacity I know not. He frequently addresses matters related to Syria, Iran, Russia, etc.
    It is interesting seeing the perspective of someone of his background.

  27. The Beaver says:

    But but they were all present in DC on March 22nd and 23rd with SoS T-Rex
    In Yemen they are using Patriot missiles to shoot down $150-300 drones !

  28. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Mission Accomplished! http://amzn.to/1KN8T56

  29. el sid says:

    I see they’re going after Major Gabbard now:
    Despite being repeatedly pressed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to unconditionally accept the so far unrevealed intelligence, Gabbard retorted: “Last time I checked, Wolf, the Congress has the authority and responsibility for declaring war, for authorizing use of military force.”
    “Whether the President or the Pentagon or the Secretary of State say they have the evidence the fact remains that they have not brought that evidence before Congress, they have not brought that evidence before the American people and have not sought authorization from Congress to launch this military attack on another country,” Gabbard said.

  30. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    This appears to begin answering my own question: Countermeasures!
    Plus there’s other scuttlebutt about why Trump turned, and again my suspicions were not far off the mark if this is credible: blackmail.

  31. MRW says:

    Our monetary authority, the Fed, has reduced the purchasing power of our savings by over 95% in the century since that institution was created.
    Ridiculous statement. You’ve bought the kool-aid of misinformed people like author G. Edward Griffin and his Fed conspiracies. The man’s mind is still fantasizing about the gold standard.
    The historical “Table 1.1—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS (–): 1789–2021” available on whitehouse.gov shows that total receipts for 1913, the year the Fed was formed, were $714 million. The Fed wasn’t fully operational until 1917 when total receipts were $1,101 million, and 1918 were $3,645 million, thanks to our improved credit-based monetary system.
    The purchasing power of the USD has increased at least 19X. The average yearly salary, meaning a working wage, in 1913 was around $2Gs. So if you are going to make a century-wide comparison, you are going to have to compare both sides of the ledger, and not make wild-out-of-context statements that have no relationship to financial reality.

  32. HawkOfMay says:

    Strictly rumor so please feel to remove. I’ve seen reports that General Mohammad Hasoury was assassinated by a car bomb.

    The #Syrian General Mohammed Hasoury, the pilot who flew the mission to drop chemical weapons has been killed, by a bomb attached to his car


  33. MRW says:

    Let’s see how real her tears are when Israel shoots the Palestinian baby fish again in their Israeli prison barrel.
    Her husband Jared fired reporters at The Observer for not being zionist enough.

  34. MRW says:

    PT, had he ever put it the way you suggest here . . . Maybe his relevant statements never reached me?
    Obviously they didn’t because he said it countless times.

  35. Phodges says:

    “The purchasing power of the USD has increased at least 19X.”
    You must be on some serious drugs.

  36. VietnamVet says:

    We just witnessed a successful soft coup by the intelligence community, corporate media and globalists. Not as dramatic as on “Homeland”, but this is reality. A mini-WWIII is being fought from Syria to Ukraine which continues to escalate with no way out. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is now an anachronism and ignored. The US military was sold out. The USA is at war not to protect Americans but to serve the Gulf Monarchies and Israel. Plus, perpetual war makes money for “revolving door” military contractors. Iran, Russia and China cannot back down. Their survival is at stake.
    The tragedy is that I see no way to reverse our course. The 2016 election was just nullified.

  37. kooshy says:

    Here is the new “indispensable and exceptional” International, wondering who would hold US accountable for the same?
    “Tillerson: US will ‘hold to account’ states that commit atrocities”
    “The United States will “hold to account” any government that commits atrocities against innocent people, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday, as key US allies met to work out a common stance on Syria”

  38. eakens says:

    show me a chart of inflation, before and after, the creation of the fed.

  39. eakens says:

    they’re too busy trying to shut gulsi tabbard up

  40. Brunswick says:

    Two minor quibbles,
    “. At least Bush had enough sense to get UN and Congressional approval for his insanity. ”
    Bush 43 tried to get UN approval for his insanity. He didn’t get it.
    Second, Trump never promised to be ” non-intervetionist”,
    During the Campaign he inferred he would “take names, kick ass and go home”, maybe ” taking the oil, too”, and for things as trivial as the IRGC dissing the USN with rude guestures.

  41. Sam Peralta says:

    MRW is sure on some serious drugs when it comes to macro financial matters.
    The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has a simple calculator on their web site that shows “What is a dollar worth?” It confirms what Jack stated.
    MRW cuts & pastes the same crap all the time claiming that the federal government can spend to infinity with no deleterious effects. One does not need to be rocket scientist to know that is delusional.

  42. Sam Peralta says:

    I hope this is a one-off.
    If Trump has any political sense and if he listens to Bannon at least a little bit he should know that his core base that was with him through the primary and the general election are pissed. They feel betrayed. They want America First. They are opposed to the globalists, neocons and the Israeli Firsters.
    Sidelining Bannon and going with Petraeus protege McMaster and the Goldman crew will bring down Trump as his core base will abandon him. He’ll have no one in his corner then as those cheering him now will turn on him the first chance they get.

  43. Sam Peralta says:

    Thanks. Yes, the problem is costly boondoggles that don’t deliver real military advantage. They however provide nice sinecures for flag officers and lots of pork for Congress.
    Russia spends one-tenth of what we spend on its military, yet they have better or at least comparable equipment in terms of capability.

  44. JohnT says:

    General flying combat missions?

  45. MRW says:

    Phodges ,
    I used the official US CPI index. Maybe I should have used the ratio of nominal gdp’s. For example, gdp in, say, 2008 (14292 billion) divided by the gdp in 1933 (54.6 billion) results in a multiplier of 262. Therefore, 80 billion spent in 1933 would be $1280 billion today.

  46. Cortes says:

    And neglected/forgot to take them

  47. TV says:

    The massive amount of money in the defense budget and the poor shape of the equipment and the lack of readiness (and this is what they ADMIT to) point to two things – gross mismanagment and incompetence (think F-35, ZUMWALT ships, LCS ships, and on and on and on…..) and corruption (think all those retired stars picking up their big bucks at defense contractors).

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    MRW is correct.
    I will put it another way:
    How much would a six cylinder engine with electronic fuel injection and air bags cost in 1937?
    How much would a non-stop flight from Detroit to Seoul cost at that time?
    And what was the cost of open heart by-pass graft surgery be in the same year?
    Or the cost of curing a 10 year old kid of her terminal case of tuberculosis?
    And so on and so forth…

  49. Sam Peralta says:

    The liberals are showing their true colors. They are interventionists just like the neocons. They are one and the same for all intents & purposes. They are now going after Tulsi Gabbard for having the temerity to question their “beautiful” missile attack on false pretexts.
    The liberals called the alt-right and working class Deplorables. Its only the Deplorables that are up in arms about another ME quagmire.

  50. HawkOfMay says:

    Not totally unheard of. US Brigadier General Edward Burke Burdett was shot down in Vietname while flying a F-105D strike mission. IF Syria did carry out the chemical attack then it follows you would choose someone of high rank and that you could trust.
    I do find it strange that we (the US) would carry out strikes against an airfield if we thought chemical weapons were present. I don’t know where such weapons would be kept by Syria or how close to the airfield they would be stored.

  51. fanto says:

    ‘has been seriously neoconned..’
    What about the media – yesterday I saw Pletka on tv putting in her 2c of wisdom (I believe it was CNN ); now I ask myself when will they bring the Cheneys, Rumsfelds, Perles, Wolfowitzes, Tenets to educate us – a Wolf is already on CNN, that is more than enough and I turned the bloody tv off. I can’t stand Petreus – who gave national top secrets to his lover – and he is already constant feature on the tube. The vis a tergo at MSM has no shame.

  52. The Beaver says:

    That fake news was broadcasted by the OrientNews – the same outfit that, on the eve of said gas attack publish a msg from one of those rebels wrt chemical attack.

  53. MRW says:

    Meant 80 million.

  54. MRW says:

    Look it up yourself. I’m oeprating with one hand here.

  55. MRW says:

    MRW cuts & pastes the same crap all the time claiming that the federal government can spend to infinity with no deleterious effects.
    I have NEVER written that. Not once.
    Since you’re a self-declared einstein, explain where USDs come from.

  56. Nancy K says:

    Maybe you don’t care about ” a strange, foreign people…including their dead children” but I don’t think you should paint all Americans with the same brush. There are many Americans who support humanitarian efforts to these places and people.
    Trump chose to shoot first and negotiate later, poor choice, but why did anyone really expect different.

  57. robt willmann says:

    Yes, George W. Bush (Bush jr) did not get UN “authorization” to invade Iraq in 2003. UN Resolution 1441 is here–
    The resolution set up more inspections, and did not authorize any invasion or military action. Numbered paragraph 2 says–
    “2. Decides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council.”
    The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 on its own because Bush jr, Cheney, the neocons, and other war promoters felt they could get away with it, and they did. There was no coalition; there was only a “coalition of the billing”.

  58. MRW says:

    Dont forget that we were running a federal government surplus from 1920/1921 to 1929/1930 which created the Great Depression.

  59. robt willmann says:

    On this important subject of “money” and “purchasing power”, the concept of “inflation” has changed meanings. Inflation used to mean an increase in the supply of money. The public has been diverted from the issue of “money” by the push in the 1900’s to say inflation means rising prices, or higher prices. So today we are stuck with having to use the terms “price inflation” to mean a rise in prices, and “monetary inflation” to mean an increase in the supply of money.

  60. Mikey says:

    The earliest report of this that I can find was on the afternoon of April 9th by an Assad Hanna (@AssadHannaa) on Twitter.
    He brands himself as:
    “Political officer at FSA. media advisor for HNC freelance journalist @Almonitor Global Voices @GVinArabic Human rights defender @frontlinepbs , @GulfCentre4HR
    Istanbul, Turkey”
    Odd that a General would be flying a bombing mission. Saw another report that he was a Colonel.
    A twitter rumor then started that it was an assassination by the government.

  61. b says:

    @Publius Tacitus
    Good post but your lamenting about lack of this or that for the military devalues it. Why listen to those vice chiefs who only want more money from Congress? Why not look for facts?
    Besides – The DOD is the only agency of the U.S. government that has never been audited. Hmmm
    When the head of the Marines claims that he hasn’t enough planes ready for training what did he do to fix that? Do they need all those planes? Isn’t there an air force?
    The Navy has a lower number of ships than before? That may well be but how much bigger is the firepower of the fleet today? What reach do their weapons now have? What has the next potential enemy? (BTW: Who specified and wanted to buy those fast-boats without weapons aka Littoral Combat Ships? That was the Navy as far as I remember. Should we then trust its judgement?)
    Only 3 army brigades are battle ready? How many are deployed right now? More than three I guess. So the army sends non-battle ready brigades into combat? Irresponsible. Fire its chiefs.
    The air force still has as many planes as all the rest of the world together? What for?
    Besides all that. When has that vaunted military won its last war? What was the last time that vaunted military successfully trained a foreign military? Why does it need more contractors on deployments than soldiers?

  62. Mikey says:

    There is also this story on Al Arabiya from April 6th:
    US, Britain, France request name of pilot who carried out Syrian chemical attack
    “According to the testimonies of Khan Sheikhoun residents, Hasouri carried out a similar attack using chemical weapons four days ago in Hama’s countryside in the town of Al-Lataminah.
    A local observatory has taken charge of monitoring the regime air force’s activity. On the day of the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, it monitored that the same jet which attacked Lataminah – dubbed Quds 1 according to an audio which the Syrians have been circulating – took off.
    It was 6:00 a.m. when the jet began to attack Khan Sheikhun in Edleb, northwest of Syria. The attack was thunderous and the one in charge at the observatory said: “It seems the jet is carrying toxic substances.” ”

  63. MRW says:

    “monetary inflation” to mean an increase in the supply of money.
    Which of course is reduced (that is, the money supply) every time the federal government issues treasury securities.

  64. Fred says:

    USD’s come from the same place Venezuela gets its Bolivars. Ours just have more people believing in them.

  65. MRW says:

    show me a chart of inflation
    And be sure to distinguish between demand-pull and cost-push inflation.

  66. Fred says:

    And here I thought Mothers-in-law were always the problem.

  67. Fred says:

    Have the Free Syrian Army commanders, whoever they are, certified that their units and controlled territories are chemical weapons free?

  68. Fred says:

    What will you be celebrating on May 8th? How’s the Bundeswehr doing these days? Should I ask who trained those guys?

  69. Sam Peralta says:

    False equivalence, Babak.
    The Federal Reserve’s own calculator, on their website, shows that the purchasing power of the US Dollar has declined by over 95% since their inception. And they are the one’s with the thousands of Ph.Ds that all of you so worship as they print the way to prosperity! Not, for the median household however.

  70. Sam Peralta says:

    MRW’s claim: Dont forget that we were running a federal government surplus from 1920/1921 to 1929/1930 which created the Great Depression.
    Once again an assertion not based on facts. Have you ever seen a chart of federal government debt increase/decrease and GDP growth over the past 150 years? Can you tell us what the correlation coefficient is between those two data series? And since you claim here with such authority that government deficits is the only basis for national economic prosperity, please inform us the mathematical relationship between federal government debt growth and GDP growth?

  71. Yes sir, Graham, McCain and Hillary as your cheer leading squad should give anyone pause. With Trump it’s probably that he is still in scripted “reality” show mode and didn’t think that it couldn’t be re-shot if it didn’t play the way he wanted.
    Publius Tacitus, I am going to go with my analogy of Trump as Incitatus, at least the back end of him. The whole horse would feel insulted.

  72. Robert C. says:

    I have a hard time believing a bunch of generals telling me we need to spend more money, when their jobs depend on said money. How would people on this site respond if State gave the same talk.
    Robert C.

  73. Croesus says:

    If the concepts you advance are correct, MRW, then why did Trump find it necessary to cut Meals on Wheels in order to fund an additional $54 billion for military? Can’t the FED do both?
    I’m awaiting the results of lead test on my drinking water. The water system in my town is about 100 years old. Why can’t the fed. gov. spend the money to dig up lead-laden and corroded pipes?

    Someone alluded to “blackmail” as one reason Trump launched a (pathetic) attack on Syria. I agree. I suspect the blackmailer/s included Saudi Arabia, who threatened to de-couple from the petro-dollar. If that happened, all bets are off. The US money system is a built-in blackmail system, more effective than all the in flagrante delicto photos combined. Simultaneously, and unfortunately, the ease with which Congress can acquire money makes them reckless and irresponsible in the spending of it. The British Commons had the ability to check the war-making desires of the monarchy, until the Bank of England created a system whereby debts needed never to be repaid. Thereafter, wars could be and were waged on fiat/debt money. I learned that from a talk by Jim Lacy; you introduced Lacy to this forum https://www.c-span.org/video/?315240-1/us-economists-won-world-war-ii

  74. LeaNder says:

    If Trump has any political sense and if he listens to Bannon … They feel betrayed. They want America First. They are opposed to the globalists, neocons and the Israeli Firsters.
    Hmm, one cannot always get everything one wants. You sure can expect right wing politics and a fight against the left from Breitbart, but at the same time you have to accept a little Israel first too, it feels. Nothing to worry, really, since during the last one and a half decades we sure moved closer to the perception of the ME expert on the Arab Mind. 😉
    One thing we specifically discussed that night was our desire to start a site that would be unapologetically pro-freedom and pro-Israel. We were sick of the anti- Israel bias of the mainstream media and J-Street.
    J Street considers themselves as liberal Zionists. But is accused as anti-Semitic according to Phil Weiss:
    Ultimately futile struggles, one could say. Isn’t the two State solution J Street supports dead already?

  75. Thomas says:

    “I would emplore God to help us but I think he has lost interest and is considering the Flood Plan 2.0,”
    So the Old Man on the Celestial Throne is going to wipe all of us out because his Chosen Crew brought on this disaster? Even after the Shoah warning?
    Better course of action would be to have Abraham’s Ram’s Horn sounded, and let all of us stand before him, in our bare azz souls, to see who is truly guilty or innocent.

  76. Robert C. says:


  77. gaikokumaniakku says:

    “The purchasing power of the USD has increased at least 19X. The average yearly salary, meaning a working wage, in 1913 was around $2Gs.”
    It would be interesting to see how much a basket of goods cost in 1913 versus 2017. Do Americans eats 19 times as much steak now as they did in 1913? Or do some of them forego steak for soy burgers?
    If Americans have 19 times as much money, why do so many of them say they cannot afford to get married?
    Why was home-making a full-time occupation for women in 1913, but now even the women who don’t want to work feel that they must work because they can’t raise a child on a single income?
    Can Americans buy 19 times as much lumber, or pig iron, or tractors now, as compared to 1913?
    Whoops … actually, John Deere puts malware in its tractors. Even if you buy a John Deere tractor, you don’t own it and they can “brick” its electronics whenever they feel like it.

  78. PeterHug says:

    Well, my car is a 1993 – and I’m quite happy with it. It’s a Honda Civic VX with 425+ K miles on it, and it still gets ~45 mpg on the highway (it got 55 – 60 when it was new).
    Best $12,000 I ever spent (I bought it new).

  79. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Here is the URL of the video of one of the cruise missiles being intercepted. It was embedded in the VT piece that I linked up-thread.

  80. LeaNder says:

    Can you give me three examples, MRW. Two? One? If he said it countless times that should be easy. No?
    Come to think of it, that might turn out a futile exercise. …
    See: I am still prepared to learn his military response was a pure stroke of genius by some political, military, diplomatic Sphinx. After all I often disliked power monger and instinct statesman Adenauer too. In hindsight matters look different.
    Adenauer challenged with something he said earlier famously responded with a Cologne standard: Wat kümmert mich ming Jeschwätz von jestern? Cologne Dialect, translation: Why should I worry about my silly talk of yesterday?
    By the way in the above monetary context, I wouldn’t have joined your challengers. But I was too lazy to get involved. He still can Make America Great Again by following your ideas. Modern Monetory Theory, or a variation thereof?

  81. Matt says:

    I think he unintentionally means that it would take $19 to buy what would have cost $1 then,
    hence the purchasing power is one nineteenth what it was….
    5% or 5c on the dollar…
    as the FED prints away without expansion of tangible assets in the real economy then the debasement of the currency inflates it’s purchasing value away,
    spending $100 million on wind turbines would have a productive utility, it would be capital investment in the real economy,
    flinging $100 million of exploding techno trinkets at an empty Syrian airfield serves no purpose other than create more debt to repay and further debasement of the dollar,
    another $10 trillion spent on war will result in a dollar worth a cent or two…. with fiat currencies and monetary expansion the money eventually reduces to the value of the paper it is printed on if the money is frittered away on follies,
    even now a real silver dollar is worth 19 paper fiat dollars,
    gold bugs fantasise about a huge spike in the value of gold but it is still the same piece of gold, it’s just bought with many more valueless dollars,
    this is part of why the elites are acting so desperately, soon millionaires will be paupers,
    welcome to Weimar America….

  82. Pundita says:

    1. “Rep. Gabbard under fire after refusing to accept ‘Assad did chemical attack’ without proof”
    April 10, RT
    Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has provoked a backlash from senior Democrats after refusing to take Syrian President Bashar Assad’s complicity in the Idlib chemical attack at face value and demanding proof.
    Speaking live on CNN in the aftermath of the US missile strike against the Syrian airfield near Homs, Gabbard said she remained “skeptical” of the allegations, and reminded the host of the destructive invasions in Libya and Iraq, the latter based on a false intelligence pretext. The Democratic representative from Hawaii also called out US President Donald Trump for the “reckless” and “unconstitutional” attack.
    The remarks infuriated some “progressive” Democratic figures, including former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Howard Dean and former Hillary Clinton policy director Neera Tanden, now the President of the Center for American Progress, a pro-Democratic Party think tank. The two suggested on Twitter that Gabbard, who also famously visited Syria for a covert “fact-finding” mission, should be expelled from Congress for her doubt of Assad’s guilt.
    “People of Hawaii’s 2nd district – was it not enough for you that your rep met with a murderous dictator? Will this move you?” Tander wrote on Twitter on Friday, referring to Gabbard’s recent comments she made to CNN.
    Dean, who served as Vermont Governor from 1991 to 2003 and led the DNC from 2005 to 2009, branded Gabbard’s stance on Syria “a disgrace.”
    “Gabbard should not be in Congress,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday. Asked by one of the users why the former Governor did not display a similar indignation over “Hillary Clinton’s mistakes,” Dean responded: “Engaging in dialogue isn’t the problem. It’s claiming there is doubt Assad uses chemical warfare.”
    2. Apr 10, 3:32 PM EDT
    Associated Press
    WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior U.S. official says the United States has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria’s chemical weapons attack last week.
    The official says a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment.
    Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.
    Until Monday, U.S. officials had said they weren’t sure if the drone was operated by Russia or Syria. The senior official said it still wasn’t clear who was flying the jet that bombed the hospital.
    The official said the presence of the drone couldn’t have been a coincidence, and that Russia must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.
    The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on intelligence matters and demanded anonymity.

  83. Keith Harbaugh says:

    What surprised me was Tillerson’s statement on April 6:

    “There is NO DOUBT in our minds … that the Syria regime under the leadership of President Bashir Assad are responsible for this attack.”

    Tillerson is obviously a responsible fellow, and his background is certainly not one of the neocon type.
    I wonder how he became so convinced that Assad’s regime was responsible.
    Perhaps the evidence is solid that the Syrian AF did drop some bombs.
    But how does he know those bombs contained the chemical agents,
    vice them having set off chemical agents that were stored at the site of the attack?
    I can see Trump running off on tangents,
    being bamboozled by the MSM, and desiring their approval,
    but not a man with Tillerson’s background.

  84. Matt says:

    are you suggesting there were only ever x23 T/Hawks and the others were an accounting trick to get the money value off the books,
    or maybe you are suggesting the Ginger Nut is going to sell the other x36 for cash at a car boot sale on the sly?
    lol even the maddest conspiracies seem plausible these days!

  85. Sam, here charts of data you asked for https://mythfighter.com/2009/09/09/46/ — note: you double supply of apples, the price of apples stay relatively the same even as you double the money supply ..
    example: in general, even if nominally, the price of an apple is $1 when supply of apples is 100 when your median salary is $2000 ,
    Even if apple prices double to $2 & supply of apples is now 200 when your median salary is now $4,000, then prices stay relatively the same.. and if your median salary is $8,000 when apple prices $2, then you actually come out ahead (which has been the case since 1915 when median wages outpaced inflation
    note that a currency’s value is dependent on the production of the nation that issues the currency in the same way a company’s gift cards value is dependent on the products they produce & sell
    –ie, the highest value gift cards sold on Ebay are gift cards to Walmart, gasoline gift cards, Best Buy, etc because they produce or sell products most everyone needs & wants (food, gasoline, electronics).
    As long as you increase production, the increase in quantity of gift cards or currency issued does not relatively change although nominally it may increase..
    — the US, China, Japan, Europe have currencies that have value domestically because you need those currencies to buy local goods & services (housing, food, etc) as well as by law, they must be accepted as payment for all debts, loans, credit
    1) ALL spending is income for someone else –and ALL gov spending is income for the private sector.
    Most the US economy is actually based on loans/credit (aka as money created out of thin air by private banks -when banks make loans, they create money out of thin air, usually at a 10x to 1 ratio of loans to actual deposits –the exception is the central banks, which has the legal power to create as much reserves(‘money’) as it needs perpetually
    –ie, 80%+ of all real estate sales & construction is dependent on mortgages/loans, 50%+ of all car sales is based on autoloans, 30%-50%+ of all retail sales is dependent on credit cards, etc)
    so when banks reduce their lending (aka as money creation),
    those sales are also reduced, which reduces business income,
    which causes businesses to reduce spending/investment & cut costs (which reduces the incomes of other businesses & their workers),
    which causes drops in production & layoffs & increased unemployment as businesses seek to cut more costs,
    causing most everyone seek to reduce their spending, including the laid off workers, who now spend less, and businesses get less income as their customers spend less.
    and THEY CYCLE REPEATS & SPREADS into other businesses/sectors.
    For economic growth, the process reverses, with businesses get increased income or capital (from the population/customers spending more or from private banks funding them or from the gov funding them/buying from them), which in turn causes businesses to increase production & hire more -the workers/population in turn spend more & the process spreads to other businesses & sectors

  86. Sam, hyperinflation & inflation in general comes from shortages in supply.. ie, from Bill Mitchell, Ecoomics Phd & professor of economics: Wiemar Germany suffered a 90%+ drop in industrial production (coal, steel, manufacturing, etc) when almost all its industrial workers went on strike for 8+ months to protest when France & Belgium invaded Germany to confiscate most of Germany’s industrial production as payment for the $21 billion dollars in gold reparations Germany owed them after WW1.
    Normally, when a gov increases spending by paying workers or private business suppliers, the economy grows & businsses produce more to meet increased demand because the population & businesses spends more because they now have more income but that process was short-circuited by massive strike of almost all of Germany’s industrial workers
    In Zimbabwe, it saw drops of 50%-70% in almost all of it’s sectors after years of civil war & Mugabe essentially exiling almost all the (white) professional farm & factory owners/managers & installing his cronies & supporters instead & agricultural & manufacturing dropped from 50%-70%
    from MBA ecnomist & former Fortune 500 CEO
    ” It commonly is believed large federal deficits cause inflation. Examples often are given of Germany, China, Brazil, Italy and other nations that experienced hyperinflation.
    So it might be useful to see what the experience in America has been. Here’s a graph created by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. The blue line is deficit growth. The red line is inflation. In the past 50 years at least, deficit growth has not been associated with inflation. Inflation is more closely related to special factors than to deficits; such things as oil shortages, wars and weather are the main culprits.
    Deficits vs inflation
    I do not suggest the government should create an unlimited amount of money, though it has the power to do so. In 1979, gross federal debt was $800 billion. In 2009 it reached $12 trillion, a 1400% increase in 30 years. During that period, GPD rose 440% (annual rate of 5.5%) with acceptable inflation throughout. The same 1400% increase would put the debt at $180 trillion in 2039, a mean deficit of $5+ trillion.
    This calculates to a 9.5% annual debt increase for the past 30 years. Repeating that growth rate would put the 2010 deficit at about $1.14 trillion, and the 2011 deficit at about $1.25 trillion. The deficit for year 2039 would be about $15.8 trillion. I know of no reason why the results would not be the same as they have been in the past 30 years.
    However, increasing the debt growth rate above 9.5% might show even better results. In the 10 year period, 1980 – 1989, federal debt grew 210%, from $900 billion to $2.8 trillion (a 12% annual debt increase), while GDP grew .96% from $2.8 trillion to $5.5 trillion (a 7% annual increase). During that same period, inflation fell from 14.5% in 1980 to 5.2% in 1989.
    In summary, large deficits have led to GDP growth, while not causing unacceptable levels of inflation. Those are the bare bones.”

  87. eakens says:

    The purchasing power of the USD has grown rapidly, both in times where the FED existed and it didn’t so you can’t attribute that solely to the FED.
    But while you draw a distinction between monetary inflation and price inflation, the same distinction needs to be drawn when looking at money. There is money supply, and there is money stock. The FED effectively increases the money supply, without increasing money stock. If we had a trade imbalance (in our favor), then I might agree with you that there is some benefit, because you end up increasing your money stock. But if all you are doing is printing into oblivion, while running up a giant debt and running a deficit, then you are basically doing nothing more than driving purchasing power into the ground.
    And here’s a chart worth pondering which cites data from the BLS. The abandonment of the gold standard (i.e. decoupling money supply from money stock) occurred when the chart went parabolic.
    PS — are government issued treasury securities, a reservable asset from which banks can lend even more off of?

  88. Sam, the charts of official data shows -click the link for easy to read charts -the biggest rise in inflation recently was caused by OPEC oil embargoes, causing massive shortages, & OPEC jacking up prices 400% over night, especially back in the 1970s when the US was still dependent on burning oil for electricity as the #2 source of electricity after coal
    The US has mitigated oil’s influence somewhat though by replacing burning oil with natural gas the #2 source of electricity since the 1980s, which played a major role in reducing inflation:
    “In the post “Do deficits cure inflation?” we saw that contrary to popular faith, deficit spending (i.e., too much money) has not caused inflation. We also saw that inflation can be cured by increasing the reward for owning money, i.e. by increasing interest rates.
    Now we question another piece of popular faith: Is inflation caused by too much money chasing too few goods?
    Begin with the notion of “too much money.” We already have seen that federal deficits are not related to inflation. What about another definition of money: M3? Please look at the following graph:
    Clearly there is no immediate relationship between money supply and inflation. What about a subsequent relationship. Could “too much money” today, cause inflation later?
    The graph indicates no such cause/effect relationship, with M3 peaks preceding inflation peaks by anywhere from 2 years to 10 years. It is difficult to imagine a graph revealing less relationship.
    What about “too few goods”? If too few goods caused inflation, this would manifest itself with GDP moving opposite to CPI. Again, that does not seem to happen:
    There seems to be no regular pattern, with GDP and CPI sometimes rising together and sometimes separately.
    In today’s international economy, it is difficult to substantiate the idea of a wide-spectrum commodity shortage when sufficient purchasing power exists.
    Individual nations can experience shortages of individual commodities. Individual poor nations can experience shortages of a broad basket of commodities. But can a wealthy nation, with plenty of money to spend, suffer a shortage of a broad basket of commodities, thereby causing inflation? Has it recently happened?
    Seems unlikely these days as products are made in multiple nations and shipped to multiple nations, with easy international shipping and instantaneous money convertibility.
    Your cotton shirt may have been grown in Egypt, woven in India, assembled in China, labeled in Italy and sold in the U.S. Clearly, a cotton shirt shortage would be rare, as any of these steps could occur in various countries, and that’s just one product.
    A nationwide “too-few-goods” situation, coincident with “too much money,” seems impossible.
    There is however, one exception: Oil.
    The graph below compares overall inflation with changes in energy prices, which are dominated by oil prices.
    Oil is the one commodity that has worldwide usage, affects prices of most products and services, and can be in worldwide shortage.
    That is why, when oil prices rise or fall steeply, inflation rises and falls in concert.
    The large oil price moves “pull” inflation in the same direction. When oil prices increased or decreased the most, inflation came along for the ride.
    In summary, inflation is not caused by deficit spending or by “too much money chasing too few goods.” Inflation is caused by a combination of high oil prices and interest rates too low to counter-balance the oil prices. The high oil prices can be caused by real shortages and/or by price manipulation.”

  89. RetiredPatriot says:

    PT says: < We did not see a single senior officer resign and speak out in protest over this fraud. They simply saluted and then carried out an unlawful order. >
    As predicted over and over by the Colonel. Anyone who pins hope on the perfumed princes to stay an illegal launch order is sadly deluded.

  90. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If money had been inflated, you would not be able to afford a 2000 square-foot house with granite counter tops.
    I stand by what I said.
    You are not paying attention to what MRW stated: US money is “credit based” and that makes all the differences in the world.

  91. novicius says:

    A friend pointed out to me and from some of the references I’ve scanned, veteranstoday is not a credible site. It’s so hard to know if what’s found on the internet is real or fake. I, personally, find it hard to believe that Assad ordered the chemical strike, or maybe my common sense meter has finally become unstable.

  92. irf520 says:

    Those things didn’t exist in 1937. How much did a loaf of bread or a pint of milk cost in 1937 compared to now?

  93. irf520 says:

    The problem is what happens when Al Qaeda decide to stage another false flag attack complete with poison gas clouds and dead babies and the “white helmets” conveniently on hand to film everything?

  94. Matt says:

    all these expensive techno gizmo’s don’t guarantee success,
    I used to chat at the pub with a retired British Major who commanded a tank troop as a sergeant in Korea,
    he said when the American planes came in low to strafe and bomb, entire companies of Chinese would lie on their backs and fire their burp guns in the air simultaneously,
    Kims chaps probably still have some of those burp guns!
    apparently Kim even has some WW2 T-34’s, bet he’s not $20 trillion overdrawn either, but I expect USMC will use Apache’s and DU on them instead of Wehrmacht surplus Panzerfausts at a couple of bucks a pop,
    they are still clearing up unexploded munitions in Laos after the USAF dropped more tonnage on the Ho Chi Min trail than were dropped in WW2, yet the logistics still flowed along that unmetalled route mounted on rusty bicycles without tyres,
    even today the kids in Laos make money from collecting and selling scrap from US munitions whilst the millions of dollars worth of planes that dropped the bombs gather dust parked in the US desert,
    they say war is hell, I wouldn’t know myself but American style war seems bloody expensive!

  95. Origin says:

    After spending a few minutes watching MSNBC and Fox this afternoon it seems clear that it really does not matter whether the Syrians or the rebels did the poison gas deed. Those in power do not care about the truth and only tell stories to deceive the gullible to gain cover for their hubris. The deed being done covertly is that a decision has been made by the Trump administration that he, like 43 who has visions of being a “war” president will be one. All that is left now is for the appearance of another Gavrilo Princip to flash the crisis sufficiently to provide cover for the crime to begin in earnest.
    Spicer’s remarks about the Syrian Air Force “that if you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb in to innocent people, I think you can — you will see a response from this President” means big daddy Trump is going to go after them with a vengeance. This is not a warning, but is a declaration of intent not to compromise anything, no matter how reasonable. Spicer has ruled out offensive war by Syria against the rebels because offense requires violence and bombing and bombing kills innocent civilians. Furthermore, creation of a no-fly zone is now the stated policy of the U.S. and that cannot be accepted by Iran, Russia, or Syria. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/04/10/daily-press-briefing-press-secretary-sean-spicer-35
    Trump has threatened and it did not work. Now he has decided to sue, not to settle.
    He is going to learn there is a difference between using the courts to solve difference and actually fighting it out with modern weapons. He will learn the limits of American arms and will find them wanting.
    In the end it matters not who we voted for last year because either way, the war crazed Borg is going to get its death wish anyway.
    Great wars always start as the result of the will of a prince or emperor who has the hubris to think that future success can be predicted and grasped. The coming war will be no different and, by my observation, may already have begun.
    This will not end well.
    Somewhat off topic, the Russians say only 32 missiles hit the target. Spicer says, “As you know, these ships, between the two of them, sent 59 Tomahawk missiles and each of them hit all of their targets, showing America’s power and the military’s accuracy,…” Media coverage references at least one hit a nearby village and killed at least three children. I truly wonder what the truth is.

  96. Mikey says:

    DOD says all 59 hit targets. (Sputnik)
    Today: Mattis: 20 Percent Of Syria’s Operational Aircraft Damaged or Destroyed in U.S. Strikes

  97. Origin says:

    They probably know the truth, but it is inconvenient and does not fit within their war narrative. Why would anyone expect them to tell the truth anyway?

  98. trinlae says:

    “Heroes” remains to be seen, but relatively speaking, perhaps, i.e.: Chinese just dialed up the twitter PR engagement another notch w new Belt and Road promotional video (featuring how they transform the failed regime changed state graveyards into hearts and minds utopias of business and work):
    Darned communists w their 5 & 20 year plans out there looking all communal getting along with everybody!

  99. kooshy says:

    Looks like the US’ UNSC resolution on Syria didn’t do well today, and US’ UN ambassador Haley was not pleased with the non-permanent allies, here is a report from CNN, what was the third resolution tabled by Sweden and 8 others US didn’t like.?
    “But something unexpected happened inside the room. There were now three different proposed resolutions that would respond to the chemical weapons attack. The US draft would demand more compliance from the Syrians and the Russians were more supportive of the Assad regime.
    A third resolution, intended as a compromise of sorts, was submitted by Sweden and nine other non-permanent members of the council that usually let the big permanent nations flex their muscles. Haley was peeved that countries usually supportive of the US were coming up with their own resolution on Syria. That would hamper efforts to highlight Russia’s intransigence.
    In explaining the decision to not go to a vote, a US official said Monday looking back, “it just got complicated. When it went from one to three texts it made things more difficult.”
    A Security Council diplomat said Haley was quickly dismissive of the new third draft by these member countries who don’t have veto power on the Security Council. The diplomat said Haley’s body language indicated she wasn’t pleased. And Haley remarked, “then there is this Swedish thing!”

  100. kooshy says:

    I now wonder if Haley’ and TRex’s earlier last week’ statement that removal of Assad no longer is US’ priority, was a part of plan.

  101. wisedupearly says:

    Now why would you engaged in distraction rather than discussion?
    How about, the missiles were no good, the Russian EW systems are very good, or someone in the chain of command decided that all 59 would start WW3.
    Toss up between 1 and 2. Which is why we must demand to see the videos.
    If you have a problem with the simple direct solution, why?
    DOD says all bar 1 hit their targets, great, now what could be wrong with releasing the videos? The Russians had TV crews visiting the airfield to check out the minimal damage so its not as if we would want to protect their secrets.

  102. LeaNder says:

    You puzzle me a bit. Why don’t you simply use Cassandra? Besides: If Trump is the back end, could you imagine yourself as the enlightened/God inspired head?

  103. wisedupearly says:

    Hope you could save a copy of that video as it is “no longer available”.
    Lots of busy little moles scrubbing all the evidence.
    Could be that the performance of the missiles is the bigger scandal?

  104. Actually, the link you provide was from last week. Good to know, though.

  105. Keith Harbaugh says:

    PT wrote:

    [Trump] is being enabled and facilitated by his National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, and the Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, and the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

    It seems to me, PT, that your targeting is askew.
    It is the job of the IC (NSA, CIA, NRO, etc.)
    to tell Trump the truth, as best they can establish it,
    of what happened in Syria.
    Do we have any evidence of what the IC has been telling its customers?
    Sure, Giraldi and perhaps others are repeating gossip they have received.
    But what do we know about what the IC is reporting?
    I sure don’t know what it is.
    The old expression is: GIGO.
    Have your three principals been fed garbage by the IC?
    Again, I don’t know. Do you?

  106. Fred says:

    What has your town been doing with its maintenance and repair budget these past 100 years during which those pipes have been wearing out?

  107. different clue says:

    Peter AU
    I realize the Duterte example was to advance and illustrate a larger point but I feel like responding to the Duterte issue itself. I didn’t know Duterte had seen fit to taunt the US about not forcing China off the SCS fake islands.
    The nasty little creature thinks it is great fun to taunt a faraway country with growing problems. One hopes he keeps laughing last once the SE Asian nations including his own have been reduced to tributary vassal states in service to the Big Neighbor. Laughter is all Duterte will be left with when China leaves zero fish, zero oil, zero natgas, zero anything of natural resource value anywhere in the SCS.
    So keep laughing through the Great Big Neighbor famine to come. We won’t even hear you. We will be focused on our own problems.

  108. different clue says:

    The jihadis have learned that if they gas-attack some civilians, that the US will Tomahawk an air field. They will run the experiment again with a bigger gas attack, to see if the US will respond with a bigger one-off attack, and then a still bigger one-off attack after the still bigger jihadi gas attack, and then an even still more biggerer one-off attack after the jihadis launch an even more biggerer gas attack.
    And so forth and so on.
    The only way out of that hamster wheel is for the R+6 to exterminate every last jihadi rebel everywhere throughout Syria before they get another chance to launch another gas attack. And can the R + 6 move that fast?
    Can Russia sanction Turkey hard enough to destroy Turkish society and economics so thoroughly that Turkey loses the coherence to be able to resupply and support the jihadis in any coherent way?

  109. Katutov says:

    Clearly things are looking up for the glorious Bundeswehr. How long did it take the Italians to stop thinking of themselves as the heirs to Roman Legions? When was the last time the American “vaunted military” has won a war? Well, one might ask the same of the typical Teutonic interlocutor the same question regarding the Germans. 1871 seems a bit far back to draw on that legacy to throw stones at US house of glass.

  110. VietnamVet says:

    Morning Joe has an interview on their web site with Sebastian Junger who portrays White Helmets as heroes and that Syrian attack by a CW bomb is the gospel truth. Anything else is nutcase conspiracy theory like the 9/11 truthers.
    This is the run up to the Iraq Invasion, all over again. A fundamental flaw for MSNBC’s storyline is that Syria would have to have restarted manufacture the binary precursor chemicals, made the specialized CW bombs and armed planes with the munitions without the UN inspectors finding out and with Russia’s cooperation. Then Syria “crossed the red line” when things started going their way. This is crazy. A full blown information operation is underway; perhaps, to justify an invasion to permanently partition Syria. Kurds won’t take Raqqa all by themselves.

  111. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “If Americans have 19 times as much money, why do so many of them say they cannot afford to get married?”
    Those be the whiners?
    You know, Church Wedding, Wedding Hall, Photographer, Princess Bride and all that?

  112. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And you are living in a tenement housing with thin walls, stuffing news papers in your shoes, taking a bath once a week, etc.?

  113. ked says:

    Trump is in his element managing a fraud.
    As to defense spending, there’s never enough $$$ spent if it raises your stock price, creates jobs, improves your career, or proves you’re a real patriot.

  114. Yeah, Right says:

    The quote contained this: “The official said the presence of the drone couldn’t have been a coincidence,”
    Huh? Why not?
    The official actually noted that “victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment”, which means a lot of frantic activity was taking place.
    Well, obviously I got no idea what the USAF does with its recon drones because – apparently – whatever they do doesn’t include buzzing around in the sky looking for unusual activity.
    If a Russian drone is buzzing around over rebel-held territory and spots some frenzied activity taking place then – shock! horror! – I would *expect* the pilot to get all curious and circle around for as long as the fuel holds out.
    After all, isn’t that how a recce-drone is meant to be used?

  115. optimax says:

    This is a picture of the crater from the supposed gas attack in Idlib. It’s difficult to determine its size because there is nothing to compare it to.
    the postmortems confirming nerve gas was used were performed in Turkey. No mention Turkey wants to take out Assad. The proof I’ve seen is slanted at the least and most likely bogus.

  116. Bandolero says:

    See for example here – a high profile primary debate:
    “The War in Iraq was a Big, Fat Mistake”: Trump & Bush Spar over War & 9/11

  117. Phil Cattar says:

    Exactly……………It is very hard to compare .But I remember that on my first part time job working for A&P the minimum wage was 1.00 an hour for a bag boy.I also got tips for carrying out groceries.Fresh beef liver was 3 lbs. for a dollar.And of course a “pound” of coffee was 16 ozs.Now its 10.5 ozs .The minimum wage in Florida now would still only buy 3 lbs of beef liver.

  118. Sam Peralta says:

    BH & Babak
    You guys are spilling a lot of ink with lots of terms “credit-based”, “hyper-inflation”, etc. But all you have done is deflect and gone on tangents and not directly address the issue at hand.
    Jack wrote that “Our monetary authority, the Fed, has reduced the purchasing power of our savings by over 95% in the century since that institution was created.
    MRW responded, “Ridiculous statement. You’ve bought the kool-aid of misinformed people…The purchasing power of the USD has increased at least 19X.”
    I pointed out that the Minneapolis Fed has a calculator “What is your dollar worth?” and validates what Jack wrote. The purchasing power of the US dollar has declined over 95% since the Fed was chartered.
    Babak responds by writing about “ …afford a 2000 square-foot house with granite counter tops..”. The median American wage earner can’t afford it. But, that is beside the point. The question is a quantitative one, how much has the purchasing power of the dollar declined or increased since 1913? The Fed says declined by 95%; MRW says increased by 19x. Babak, what do you say and show us the data?
    BH, from your post it seems you must be good at math. Using your own data in your post, you must know that if a data series is growing at 9.5% CAGR & another data series is growing at 5.5% CAGR, then the one with a higher CAGR will run away from the one with the lower CAGR. Straight math!
    Now, lets see the implication of what you posit to be ideal. If debt is growing faster than GDP growth, then clearly over time the productivity of that debt MUST decline. Its just the math. Implying that prospectively more debt is required per unit of GDP. It should be pretty clear what happens in the fullness of time if these growth rates are maintained. I’ve made it simple and visual for you with this chart from the St. Louis Fed. You can see how debt is already running away from GDP.
    BH & Babak, what is your central thesis? Is it that the federal government should ramp up debt growth and that will generate a higher growth rate in the median households income? We have a century of data. Back up your thesis. Show us the data and the correlations, even as we know that correlation does not equate to causation.
    MRW, made another assertion. “Dont forget that we were running a federal government surplus from 1920/1921 to 1929/1930 which created the Great Depression.” This makes no sense when you look at the two data series – federal government debt growth & GDP growth. What do you think the correlation coefficient is among those 2 data series?

  119. LondonBob says:

    In White House meetings, evening calls with friends and even throughout the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump asked a repeated question: Why did Syria’s president use nerve gas? Trump puzzled over the mystery —even as he ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles careening into a Syrian airfield last Thursday night.
    Still, the uncertainty and its effect on Trump provides a window into how the inexperienced commander in chief copes with major decisions. Aides and friends say the lack of clarity seemed to worry Trump, who is impatient and has sometimes expressed distrust of the intelligence community, while he faced his first military test.
    “No one really knew exactly why,” a senior administration official said Saturday. “And Trump wanted to know why.”
    Trump continued to ask questions about Syria’s motive even after the strike, mentioning the lack of a clear motivation to friends and aides at Mar-a-Lago, according to people who spoke to him.
    For me the decision making process is more interesting than the actual decision now the dust is settling. I notice European countries, except us of course, aren’t supporting further action on Syria.

  120. johnf says:

    Backing up The Colonel’s repeated demands to go for Idlib, the Lebanese jounralist Elijah J Magnier, notes, post-Tomahawk, a change in Russia’s attitude to the war:
    “Russia, before the Tomahawks, rejected Iran’s request and aimed for a political resolution to the Syrian war rather than a military escalation- for fear of being dragged into the Syrian quagmire. The Afghanistan ghost is still hovering over Russia and Moscow has been avoiding any military escalation against the United States. But today Russia is much more convinced that no political solution will mature in Syria without eliminating or degrading al-Qaeda and its allies in Idlib, in a similar fashion to Aleppo. The longer Idlib remains under al-Qaeda, the higher the possibility of an extended duration of the war and the intervention of foreign forces in Syria, endangering both Syrian and Russian security”.”

  121. Thirdeye says:

    If the Pentagon admitted the strike was only 39& effective they’d have some major splainin to do. Were the stocks of $1.5 million missiles starting to malfunction at an awful rate? Was there gross incompetence in the planning or execution of the attack? Does Russia have some EW capabilities we didn’t know about? The Pentagon has every incentive to pretend everything’s hunky dory in front of the public. It was a serious eye opener for me to read of the actual performance of the Patriot missile systems against Scuds during Desert Storm, some years after the fact. It took something like four launches to get one kill. The Iraqis eventually figured out they could get through with swarming attacks. But at the time we were told through the media that the Patriot system was this wonder weapon that the knocked the Scud dead every time. The Pentagon wasn’t exactly truthful about its actual performance then and there is reason to suspect their truthfulness on the performance of weapons systems now.

  122. Ghostship says:

    The Russians claimed that only 23 cruise missiles hit the air base. The Americans claimed that all but 1 of the cruise missiles hit their allocated targets. It’s fairly certain that one of the cruise missiles ended up taking out a flowerbed somewhere in Latakia. I don’t see any inconsistency there.
    As for “America is a bit of a paper tiger at the moment”, I think that’s a very good thing. No country is going to openly attack let alone invade the United States for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately the opposite is not true as has been repeatedly demonstrated for at least the last fifty years. Until the United States reduces its war budget, that the US military is a “paper tiger” is a very good thing.
    Meanwhile, it looks like the White House is still on the happy-happy juice:
    “The Trump administration has signalled much broader grounds for future military intervention in Syria, suggesting it might retaliate against the Assad regime for barrel bomb attacks.
    I keep asking people who write comments elsewhere claiming that barrel bombs are WMD what’s the difference between a free-fall/gravity/dumb /iron bomb and a barrel bomb and nobody has come up with a reasonable response. That the White House seems to think that barrel bombs are WMD is very worrying.
    On the eve of a critical visit to Moscow at a time of high US-Russian tensions over Syria, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, appeared to go even further, saying his country would come to the defence of innocent civilians “anywhere in the world”.”
    If the Guardian’s claim is true, is there any difference between Tillerson/Haley and Clinton/Powers when it comes to hypocrisy. As far as I can remember at least Kerry was never quite that crass.

  123. Ghostship says:

    The problem is right there. Stop calling it the DoD as it’s not really about defence or even defense. Split it into two, the first part, the DoD with an annual budget of about $120 billion, the second part, the DoPW (Department of Perpetual War) with an annual budget of about $480 billion.

  124. Ghostship says:

    As far as I know, NO independent person has examined any bodies, taken any samples, or even proven that was an air attack at all, although the Russians believe there was one.
    Shortly after the attack, a number of photos and videos appeared of people taking samples for testing and there were claims that the “serious” media were attempting to obtain samples to prove the use of Sarin. Except for the results of autopsies on three victims who died in Turkey there has been no further evidence that I’ve seen of what chemical was used if indeed any was used.
    This suggest two things, either no chemical was involved or a chemical other that Sarin was used. The target of the initial bombing is alleged by a pro-rebel source to have included a warehouse in an agricultural complex with grain silos, so were herbicides, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals stored in that warehouse?
    But no military vehicles, checkpoints or anything related to the opposition can be seen at the scene, according to the agency.
    The rebels would have removed them before the journalists arrived but going by Google Maps, if you wanted to speedily deliver reinforcements or ammunition to the battle north of Hama from northern Idlib, you would pass through Khan Shaykhun.

  125. LeaNder says:

    Hmm, ok. thanks for the focus. Some of the money theories mystify me admittedly.
    Random pick: The images Mesopotamia triggered in the larger context of early writing systems no doubt felt like some type of exchange. But yes, they also may make sense as visual representations of debts. … But!!!???
    Werner’s historical analysis presents a historical overview of credit money, tracing it back to ancient Mesopotamia.[6]
    thanks for the quote, triggered associatively another play: Die Maßnahme.

  126. Ingolf says:

    BuddhistHarmony, MRW
    1) Monetary Inflation and Price Inflation
    I agree; the link between monetary inflation and price inflation is loose, sometimes very loose. Factors such as the level of excess capacity in an economy, demographics, debt levels, the demand for money, and productivity all ensure that the correlation isn’t direct, particularly in the short term. Nevertheless, significant price inflation doesn’t occur without monetary inflation.
    Extremely aggressive monetary policy of the sort that’s needed to produce severe inflation (much less hyperinflation) isn’t going to occur unless there are severe economic and social problems. It’s no surprise therefore that very high inflation is associated with economic turmoil and production/supply problems. It seems to me you may be reversing cause-and-effect.
    As an aside, the German example you cited did’t look right. Industrial production did decline by about 34% during 1923 but by the end of 1922 the mark had already fallen to 7000+ marks per US dollar from about 8 marks/dollar at the end of the war, this while industrial production had steadily increased. The Ruhr occupation contributed to the final monetary supernova but that’s all.
    2) Deficits and Inflation
    As for deficits not causing inflation, I think that’s sometimes true, at least in the short term. The IMF did a study in 2004 spanning 107 countries over the 1960-2001 period and found that while there was quite a strong correlation between deficits and inflation for developing nations and mid-higher inflation developed nations, it didn’t apply for low inflation developed nations. FWIW, they put it down to “greater monetary policy credibility, institutional constraints to fiscal dominance, and deeper financial markets . . . “. Kind of makes sense; all of these factors would act to at least delay the link between deficits and inflation.
    3) Government Surpluses and Recessions/Depressions
    In an earlier comment, MRW claimed Federal government surpluses during the 1920s created the Great Depression.
    First, a little perspective. Between 1917-19, the federal government ran cumulative deficits of about US$23 billion. From 1920 through to 1930, the total surpluses amounted to US$8.5 billion.
    This argument is fairly common. It’s also been used to suggest the post-tech recession was due to Clinton’s surpluses in the immediately preceding years. Again, some facts. From 1970 the US managed just five budget surpluses, four of them under Clinton. The net cumulative deficit over those years was US$8.8 trillion and, perhaps more surprisingly to those inclined to the “Clinton’s budgets destroyed the American economy” story, the overall deficit during his two terms was $671 billion. His four surplus budgets (1998-2001) totalled $472 billion.
    It doesn’t hold up on a theoretical level either. Both sets of surpluses (1920s and Clinton’s) were IMO primarily the result of strong government revenues boosted by the flow on effects of credit booms. Once those booms ended, government revenues plunged.
    I’m guessing here, but the fundamental conceptual problem may stem from some MMT’ers misinterpreting what financial balances (in the “sectoral balance” sense they commonly employ) actually represent. The sectoral balances equation (per Wikipedia) says that “total private savings (S) minus private investment (I) has to equal the public deficit (spending, G minus taxes, T) plus net exports (exports (X) minus imports (M))”.
    So, all the vital private sector stuff (income, consumption, savings, investment) has already been taken into account before we get to the private sectoral balance. Really, all we need do is recall that only a century ago governments represented a tiny portion of the overall economy and growth proceeded at much the same pace as it has done since. Government surpluses and deficits can end up being a very important factor indeed, but they’re not at all essential.

  127. turcopolier says:

    You are writing too many comments on SST. Spread yourself around the internet. If you have in mind to dominate the discourse on SST there are many here who can tell you that will not happen. As for auditing DoD, many parts of DoD are audited routinely but DoD ss a whole cannot be audited as though it is a busness. It is entirely a cost center from the accounting POV. Benefits are intangible. Who would judge the benefits provided by DoD? The green eye shade guys? pl

  128. Pundita says:

    [chuckling] The entire report is in the boing boing category. Not so funny is that Robert Burns stooped to reporting this kind of stuff.

  129. WarrenPeese says:

    I think there is evidence that Assad gassed his own people, just that Trump has not produced any of it. Nevertheless, I agree that Trump’s unilateral action was legally questionable. As Lawfare notes, the closest analogy is what Clinton in Kosovo. The larger problem is that there is no AUMF for Syria. The original AUMF in 2001 doesn’t apply to the Islamic State.

  130. Matthew says:

    Anatomy of buffoonery:
    1. Issue stupid threat: https://twitter.com/EjmAlrai/status/851775541959176197
    2. Find out your friends are not really eager: https://twitter.com/EjmAlrai/status/851785568556023809
    3. Discover Putin is not backing down:
    I wonder what Deputy President Ivanka is going to do next?

  131. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not believe that I have spilled much virtual ink on this issue.
    My central thesis is that MRW’s description of the US Federal Monetary System is accurate and reliable.
    My secondary thesis is that discussion of “purchasing power” is too complicated to be dealt with with such facile statements as “dollar’s purchasing power has declined” – which I tried to indicate by giving a few examples of things that were not available at any price in 1937 anywhere in the world.
    Overtime, and reading MRW’s statements, I have come to agree with him. Yes, Deficits do matter in the sense of accounting and ledger rules, but they can be indefinitely handled – but at the cost of malfunctioning of the “Free Market” model of economic allocation of resources and production.
    Is Japan not functioning?

  132. kooshy says:

    Anybody else saw this news “Eric Trump Says Syria Strike Was Swayed By ‘Heartbroken’ Ivanka” this is amazing.http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/eric-trump-says-syria-strike-was-swayed-heartbroken-ivanka-n745021
    Many will be wondering what she will ask dad to do if she finds out she was rushed to judge.

  133. b says:

    @Fred, @Katutov
    Did the author say anything about the Bundeswehr? Did I?
    No and no.
    If you want to answer to my critic do so. All else is blubber and avoiding a much needed discussion.

  134. turcopolier says:

    The original AUMF in NO WAY applies to the Syrian government. “I think there is evidence that Assad gassed his own people, just that Trump has not produced any of it” How can you think there is evidence if you know of none. pl

  135. Tinky says:

    I’m afraid that you don’t understand how gold can preserve wealth.
    To use just one of literally countless examples, if one lived in Venezuela, had 1m Bolivars in the bank in April of 2015, and had decided to exchange that money for gold, one would currently have nearly 65% greater wealth today than if one had retained the Bolivars.
    Yes, of course there reaches a point at which fiat currencies devalue so rapidly that the exploding value of gold would not be a very accurate reflection of its purchasing power in that currency, but make no mistake about the metal as a preserver of wealth, unless you believe that things really will be different this time around.

  136. Sam Peralta says:

    Other than say you are a MRW fanboy all you’ve done again is deflect from the questions at hand. This is exactly what MRW does – baffle with BS. Pointless having a discussion with you. What it shows is you guys have a theology not any logical thesis rooted in actual historical data.
    And the Japan you hold as a paragon of success has had a stagnant economy for over 25 years despite trillions of USD equivalent of spending by their government. And despite their central bank conjuring out of thin air new Yen to now “own” 40% of all outstanding Japanese government debt as well as being a Top 10 equity holder of the companies in the Nikkei 100. Fantastic success that should be emulated. Yeah, awesome!!
    Even here in the US, since W took office and through Obama, the federal government has ADDED $15 trillion of debt to now top $20 trillion, a 9% growth rate to achieve a 1.7% real GDP growth rate. What a bang up job!!

  137. Fred says:

    I was responding to your comment “When has that vaunted military won its last war? What was the last time that vaunted military successfully trained a foreign military?” . I happen to agree with your criticism of DOD spending, just not your anti-American bias.

  138. Fred says:

    I’ve noticed everyone criticizes the blond girl but never the son in law nor the actual person who is President of the Republic. No one in the press or the foreign policy establishment is to damned concerned over dead Egyptian Christians and I haven’t heard much about “our girls” either. Needless to say dead men, mostly black, in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, etc. are of no concern at all in some circles. The non-fake news should ask how many more Carryn Owens does the Trump family want to invite to Congressional speeches? They’ll have plenty after the next neocon inspired war.

  139. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Comments by Ambassador Chas Freeman:

  140. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Last I looked, Japan has excellent roads, highway infrastructure, education, airports etc.
    They invested in themselves.

  141. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Putin already stated today that he is aware of plans for attacks by the United States on Southern Damascus, “reminiscent of Iraq in 2003”.
    In regards to your last question:
    No. But EU could.

  142. b says:

    So you can’t answer the questions I asked?
    Why is it anti-American or wrong to ask these of the “best military ever” as it is sold (and sells itself) to the public?
    (Besides: The German military in WWI and II lost for national lack of resources (oil, metals, money, men) not for lack of military abilities. Can the U.S. military claim the same for Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq etc?)

  143. b says:

    The OPCW checked 10 out of 12 production sides in Syria somewhat related to CW. Two are in rebel country and could not be checked.

  144. b says:

    I like most of what Tulsi Gabbard does but one must note that
    – she is Islmaphobe
    – she is an avid fan of the Indian Hindu nationalists/fascists and their leader Modi

  145. turcopolier says:

    She is a Hindu. What do you expect? pl

  146. turcopolier says:

    I don’t know if you are talking to me about supposed American military incompetence, but your desperate efforts to express hatred toward the US makes it difficult to talk to you. I, personally participated in training foreign forces in a variety of foreign country forces in the ’60s and early ’70s and these forces all developed quite well. There were numerous successful COIN campaigns in that period and the forces we trained did well. The Arvn did well. It was the successful IO of the communists and leftists in the US that caused Congress to cut off support to the ARVN in 1975 and that defeated them. Somehow I think you rejoiced in the failure of our anti-communist effort in SE Asia. And then there is the forces of the ROK. Are they another of our ‘failures?” As for the Germans in World War II. Your people elected a lunatic and continued to support him after it was clear how much of a lunatic he was. His misdirection of the Wehrmacht is stunningly obvious. Resource shortages? Excuse me, he threw away millions of soldiers in his stupidities in 1941, Stalingrad, his ridiculous unwillingness to allow tactical withdrawals … The list is endless. pl

  147. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This is, for a lack of better term, a Borg-Wide phenomenon; who shed any tears for Rachel Corey, whose brave and shining memory I salute in all humility.

  148. MRW says:

    Once again an assertion not based on facts.
    Look at Table 1.1—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789–2021

  149. Mikey says:

    Aren’t you guys getting way, way off topic? I didn’t click on PT’s work to read this.

  150. Pundita says:

    Good catch; the photo at the Independent is misleading about the size of the “crater.”
    Here’s a photo, published Apr 5 at the Guardian, which shows the “crater” more or less to scale. I’ve seen bigger potholes. (Is it possible the bomb was dropped from a drone?)
    Note that the man collecting samples seems to be wearing sandals in his bare feet.
    Also note, in relation to the Independent photo, that a bombing that seems to be next to the “crater” is obviously missing from the Guardian photo. (Was more than one site photographed?)
    This pix, also from the Guardian and published Apr 6, shows a close-up of the crater; the hole it made is quite shallow. Again, it looks more like a pothole.

  151. WarrenPeese says:

    Bridget Johnson:

    National Security Council officials just held a background briefing with reporters on the declassified intel assessment of last week’s chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, Syria. Full story coming soon, but a few takeaways:
    ● Sarin confirmed as the nerve agent used via testing on victims as well as symptoms. Secondary responders also suffered exposure symptoms.
    Su-22s from Shayrat airfield dropped the sarin on Khan Shaykhun; conventional weapons were dropped about six hours later on hospital treating sarin victims – “no comment” from officials on if Russia did latter.
    ● No ISIS or other terrorists in area have sarin (just mustard gas) – attack was “not a terrorist holding of sarin or a terrorist use of sarin”
    ● WH official on if Russia, present at airfield, knew of sarin attack: “We don’t have information on that per se… still looking into that.” Adding: “We do think that it is a question worth asking” Russians how they were with Syrian forces at airfield “and did not have knowledge” of the attack in planning/prep stages.
    ● “Leakage inconsistent” with Russians saying sarin came from opposition stocks on ground – “we don’t see a building with that chemical residue”
    ● On Syria hoax conspiracy theories: Body of evidence “too massive” for anyone to fabricate. Official added that videos released of attack did correspond with that date, time, location.

    Emphasis mine. And phrases like “high level of confidence” mean things. But as a rule-of-law kind of guy, I’m still uneasy about the airstrikes. This should have been approved by Congress and, even so, has no real precedent in international law, except for maybe Kosovo.

  152. Yeah, Right says:

    “Needless to say they don’t get the same level of attention a B 52 gets.”
    No doubt. But I would suggest that there are two good reasons why that is true:
    1) Car manufactures know how to produce a product at a price where Mr Average Car Owner can afford to replace his car every decade, and
    2) Mr Average Car Owner is able to manage his household budget in such a way that he can take advantage of that affordability.
    Apparently the MIC can do neither.
    After all, imagine a world where the only cars that are on the market are Maseratis and Ferraris.
    In THAT world there would be a whole lot less cars on the road, and those that are will be much older and look much more beat-up than the Ferraris and Maseratis you see toolin’ around town nowadays.

  153. Fred says:

    You didn’t ask me a question but tried to deflect being called out on the obvious. For the remainder see the Col.’s comments below.

  154. Fred says:

    Thank you. Then there is no way to know whose weapons these were in the latest attack, not that actual evidence is being asked for, or being provided by, those who are beating the war drums.

  155. Croesus says:

    Keeping the bridges standing & in repair. The city is criss-crossed by rivers and dominated by step hills; keeping roads in repair is a major task, especially for a rust-belt region.
    Keeping the schools functioning — real estate transfer tax was just raised to >5% to provide additional funds for public schools.
    Sending local police to Israel to be trained in terror-inducing riot control methods and purchasing the weaponry and communications gear to more fully intrude upon the public.
    How ’bout your city, Fred?

  156. Larry Kart says:

    I just saw Col. Lawrence Wilkerson,say on Chris Hayes’ show that he doubted that the deaths in Idlib were the result of a Syrian Air Force gas attack. He endorsed as the most likely the scenario the one that Russians have offered and that we’re all familiar with. Hayes seemed quite non-plussed to hear this.
    Then in the next segment Katherine Van Den Heuvel (publisher of The Nation) tried to change the subject Hayes had proposed that she and another talking head should comment on (don’t recall now exactly what that was — perhaps some “inside baseball” stuff about Trump and Co.). Instead Van Den Heuvel said to Hayes “Let me flip this” and began to talk about the implications of what Wilkerson had just said. Hayes would have none of it and more or less (and quite abruptly and successfully — simply by switching to the other guest) proceeded to shut her up.

  157. turcopolier says:

    Larry Kart
    It is good to hear something good about Wilkerson. pl

  158. Fred says:

    Its not asking for the feds to dig up and replace the water lines. They are quite happy to ask for every green handout possible though.

  159. kooshy says:

    Fred, now days the new term is Manhattan Democrats, I guess they are an R2P inspired group more focussed on “Beautiful babies” everywhere except in Yemen, apparently they don’t think Yemeni babies are beautiful.

  160. optimax says:

    Larry Kart
    Col. Wilkerson interview.

  161. Yeah, Right says:

    “Sarin confirmed as the nerve agent used via testing on victims as well as symptoms.”
    What is interesting is the dog that didn’t bark.
    As in: there is no mention whatsoever about testing soil samples for Sarin, only “via testing on victims”.
    My understanding (and please correct me if I am wrong)is that samples taken from a victim can definitely tell you that Sarin was the agent, but little more than that because body chemistry has had time to interact with the Sarin molecules.
    Soil samples, by comparison, provides much more information regarding the chemical composition of that molecule, which tells you how that Sarin was manufactured.
    It beggars belief that the USA didn’t have soil samples to test.
    Which raises the obvious suspicion about why the USA would stress the biological test results but ignore the soil sample results.
    To paraphrase Bones McCoy: it’s Sarin, Jim, but not as we know it.

  162. Yeah, Right says:

    I’ve read that four-page document, and it’s pretty thin.
    A couple of points:
    The phrase “high level of confidence” does not appear anywhere in the text, as far as I can tell.
    The section titled “Summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Assessment of the April 4 Attack” nowhere states that the views within are the unanimous conclusions of that IC.
    Also, who is the “we” and “our” in that section? Are we to infer that those are references to the “Intelligence Community” itself? Or to the “guv’ment”?
    The copy I have seen is a scan of the original text, missing any letterhead or official of office, so it is impossible to tell if this is an “Intelligence assessment” (which carries some weight IMHO) or a “Government assessment” (which is worthless).
    Looking again…. nope, no mention of soil samples being analysed, only “laboratory analysis of physiological samples”. That’s highly suspicious because tissue/blood samples can tell you that sarin was the CW agent, but only soil samples can distinguish “kitchen sarin” from “military-grade sarin”.
    And, finally, that last two paragraphs are…. odd. They certainly don’t read like an intelligence assessment. More like a campaign rally speech.

  163. Cee says:

    They aren’t. No pink hat protestors either.

  164. Cee says:

    Too bad I didn’t sent her the photo the Palestinian child that was beheaded by the Takfiri rats her father just helped!!
    I’ll start sending her photos of starving babies in Yemen in a second and wait to see what happens.

  165. b says:

    Sorry Pat. I did not intend to attack you.
    For non-successful training I only looked at Iraq and Afghanistan. The created armies, despite their willingness, did not fit their countries and fell apart. The Green Berets and some others are certainly capable of standing up decent units. But those are small efforts, not the big ones tried in Iraq and elsewhere. The big ones mostly failed.
    As for south-east Asia. I read a lot (in U.S. material) of what was done to Korea and Vietnam. None of it can be in anyway justified by over-propagandized “fighting communism”. It was proxy-colonialism and capitalistic power play without any conscience.
    Hitler was never elected as chancellor. Not even a near-majority ever voted for him. He was inthroned by a senil president on the urge of various oligarchs who hoped to and did make a lot of money through Hitler’s rebuilding, rearming and later war.
    His early successes in six years without(!) war were liked by large share of the public. He achieved to get back Rhineland, Sudentenland and Germany had a successful Olympics. In 1939 Germany was “great again” and no blood had flown. When he then claimed the country was under attack people rallied to the flag. The U.S. public regularly does such much alike (see after 9/11, current attack on Syria). His military craziness and stupidity only came to light in and after 1941. Even with less men the German army was mostly superior to other forces but was later drained of resources. The Battle of Bulge attack for example did not go anywhere mostly because of lack of fuel.

  166. LeaNder says:

    Bandolero, I don’t have much time much time to waste, “the hour is getting late”, but thanks for the feedback.
    I am very, very aware of this an other debates. In this instant he scored easily, it feels. It had to get Amy’s attention. He sure was aware of what got Obama elected.
    I am with David Cay Johnson, without knowing him. One has to pay attention on the seemingly less important matters he used in the process …
    What will he do now with Iran, who is, as he told us then, in the process of taking over Iraq, which also has the world’s second largest reserves of oil? 😉
    But did he he ever spent much time on how we got to this scenario? … And didn’t he just as his former GOP partners, necessarily score in the later election circus, when he had to confront the democrats, by blaming Obama for all that went wrong? American troops should have stayed there? By pulling them out (did he have a choice, not only considering his election promises, but also Iraq’s decisions?) Obama created ISIS? quite in tune with some internet memes.
    By the way. What puzzled me at the time was Obama’s–forget how they called it on his site–Asian/Far Asian foreign policy focus shift. But I didn’t take a closer look. Now we seem to be witnessing something comparable with a slightly more “masculine” approach.

  167. different clue says:

    We are, however, asking the Feds to take over from the MI DEQ in declaring the Pall-Gelman dioxane plume to be a Superfund-worthy site and finally force a genuine cleanup of the dioxane plume.

  168. different clue says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    But EU won’t. I guess the EUrolords are happy with an Islamic Emirate of West Syria and an Islamic Caliphate of Sunni Syriaraq.

  169. Cee says:

    Sam Peralta,
    Talk about being betrayed!! The hits just keep on coming.
    President Trump on Wednesday flipped to new positions on four different policy issues, backing off of several campaign promises.
    President Donald Trump has picked an economic advisor who believes in growing the nation’s economy by importing workers and consumers, and by expanding free-trade outsourcing, despite Trump’s “buy American, hire American” campaign promises.
    Kevin Hassett is slated to become chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors if he is approved by the Senate’s banking committee.

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