Ashton Carter was upset at the deal John Kerry at the State Department cut with Russian FM Lavrov. If the 9/9 cease-fire agreed had held, a new joint-intelligence sharing project between the US and Russian armed forces on DAESH/ISIL would have begun this week.
NO way was the Pentagon going to agreed with that, so they bombed the Syrian Army airbase at Deir az-Zoor and allowed DAESH/ISIL to take it over. The UK was part of the squadron which took off from Incirlik.
But the Russian haven’t honoured a single cease-fire in Syria in the past either. Just as ever the Syrian people have to carry on without aid deliveries.
David Haggith writes
I crave the opportunity to see an antiestablishment candidate win the election. I would exult in seeing our corrupt establishment shattered. So, while I do not like Trump the man (as it would appear he has never done anything that didn’t entirely serve his own self-interest and pompous ego), I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing him upset establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats alike. (And, yes, they are “alike,” so let’s just call them “the establishment” because whether they are Republican or Democrat is not relevant; both parties exist to serve the same rich people and themselves either way.)
I’ll even acknowledge that perhaps it takes someone as brazen and blusterous as Trump in order to stand up to such a powerful assemblage of egoists as we have embedded in congress and in the president’s administration, which now rules by decree. Nearly all of them strive to make sure you have only globalist options to vote for; but their new-world odor is, I’m sure, a stench that rises all the way to heaven.
This derelict congress is a worse evil than either candidate as it continues to sink the US deeply into debt with no plan or action to right the economy since it first capsized in the waves of the Great Recession. Each party is more worried that the other party will get credit than they are concerned about saving the nation, and there is nothing less patriotic than putting your party before you country.
My desire to see the economy righted and the establishment overturned (peacefully), however, is exactly what makes me cautious about any gold-plated politician who has lived all of his life in the realm of the one percenters and who has defaulted on more grandiose debts than anyone I know. Nevertheless, while I have never liked this particular publicity whore, I’d put up with his relentless boasting and forgive his audacious past if it takes that kind of brassy, risk-taking adventurer to find someone with enough spine to stand up to the intimidations of congress. I’m willing to admit that it might take all of that, so whether or not I like him is not important unless it is leading me to see flaws that may mean Trump is not what he makes himself out to be.
Call a spade a spade even if it trumps everything
Overturning a vast global establishment is the kind of battle that will take someone with unbelievable tenacity, intelligence, and courage. The opponents are rich, and you can be sure some are willing to kill to keep the status quo that is making them immensely rich (and have killed).
Unfortunately, I have seen often in life that bellicose people are usually nowhere near as brave as they sound. People like Ike, who was strong in war and humble in attitude, are usually the ones with real courage. It is not usually the most blustery people who have the deepest strength to carry through with the right thing for the right reasons, regardless of cost to themselves.
Trump is aptly named for how often he blows his own horn in order to create his own image; but his actions show he backed out of previous presidential races when it was clear they weren’t going to be an easy win after getting lots of publicity for teasing people with the possibility that he’d run. He has also backed out of many a business deals when things got rough, rather than push forward to try to make things work.
You can do that in business through bankruptcy, but you don’t have the option when you are president and things are not going your way; and a triumphant Trump is guaranteed to have a congress that does not go his way (unless he capitulates to the Republican side … as he now appears to be doing with every decision he makes).
Is Donald Trump a Trojan Horse?
Trump looks like victory to us antiestablishment voters on the outside, but what lurks inside of this man? Is he as hollow as his mouth is big? (You could land an airliner in that thing and still have room to park the USS Nimitz.) The reservations I’m going to express about Trump in this short series this week are based solely on his political actions, not on the brassy stuff that I personally dislike. That’s why I cleared those concerns out of the way first to make it clear that I acknowledge that a huge ego could be what it takes to combat the establishment.
Much to my disappointment, Trump’s actions run completely opposite of his words every time we see him make an actual political decision. While Trump sounds so bold in his political incorrectness that I might be inclined to think as many others do that he was actually trying to throw the election by being as unlikable to the majority as he can be, I know and he knows (and you do, too) there are a lot of angry people who need someone to voice their anger.
Trump knows he can tap into a huge vault of anger; and, as a media mogul himself, he knows better than anyone how to play the media for free publicity by being outrageous — something for which he’s always had a near whacky knack. We’ve seen him do it for years, even when he was not running for office or when he ran and quit. He’s done it to keep the Trump name, as a brand, always in the media, always on the public mind, always associated with “greatness” and “wealth” because that is the kind of real estate he develops and sells. He caters to the wealthy. That’s his brand, and nothing could give it more cache than the presidency of the United States.
While those are my reservations, it’s his latest political actions that concern me. In the few places where we have seen Trump make actual political decisions so far, his choices have been 100% pro-establishment as I pointed out in a recent article titled “Whirled Politics: Would you rather be Trumped or Pillaried?” I wished very much to see something different than what I am seeing.
From Trump’s choice of a 180-proof neocon vice presidential candidate to an embedded Goldman-Sachs campaign financial manager to the Heritage Foundation’s dream team of budget advisors he assembled, Trump has selected people who wholly embody the establishment. Everything these people have ever done or said has been in support of the Wall Street one-percenters, in support of financial deregulation, and, for the most part, in support of the military-industrial complex at the cost of any debt imaginable. The team he creates says everything about where he intends to head.
To be clear, I am for a strong military and not against all wars. I believed and still do believe that going to war in Afghanistan was right and justifiable, but it was stupid later on to divert available resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11 nor with sponsoring terror against the US nor with developing weapons of mass destruction. We should have spent that money winning the peace in Afghanistan by building something good there in the place of what we tore down. Instead, we created a power vacuum in the now disintegrated nation or Iraq, which is rife with internal rivalries and, so, became the ideal incubator for ISIS. That is exactly the kind of result I told friends I feared when I first heard King George Bush II wanting to engage Iraq in a war.
I think neocons have taken us into ill-conceived, unjust, pre-emptive wars aimed at recreating the world in our image. We have slaughtered hundreds of thousands of unseen people who never raised a finger against us and most likely never would have in wars that have been monstrous failures. After Iraq, we backed a coup in Crimea, a civil war in Libya, and seem to be shooting ourselves in the foot in Syria because we’ve returned to the Vietnam practice of fighting wars from Washington. (That, however, is due to Obama and his ilk, not due to the neocons.) We’ve now got war everywhere.
If we think the people who remain alive in those countries are going to thank us for killing their brothers and sisters or sons and daughters or their fathers and mothers in order to save them from a single despot, we are sadly and deeply self-deluded. We may think the despot was their deepest concern; however, as with all people, it turns out family is first. We have created nations filled with people who hate us just because we think we know best what government is good for them (and, frankly, for oil and the economic gain that fighting brings us).
Politicians like Killary and Trump’s VP, Pence, backed these wars 100% and have spent a nation’s ransom trying to force change upon a world that has no intention of changing — a world that, if it did become democratic, would use its vote to declare war on us for killing their brothers and sisters. Hillary started some of these wars herself (at least, initiated our involvement in them). Pence strongly advocated for every one.
Power-drunk politicians in both parties support these missions in order to control the world and its wealth, for most of them are globalists and elitists at heart who serve Wall Street. The rest are misguided fools whose minds have been consumed by their own dogma. They vote for these wars because numerous American corporations get wealthy making equipment to replace the machinery that gets blown up; they get wealthy pumping fuel into the engines and making new tires to replace rubber that is too worn to meet the road. The more of that equipment we burn through, the more they can get the government to pay to replace it.
These politicians are owned by the corporations that make this hardware. The best of them believe that, by serving those corporations, they are serving the American economy; the worst of them are courtesans who simply love to be wined and dined and admired.
And why do I point all that out? Because these are the people Trump is assembling has his leadership team. So, if you think Trump is any threat to the establishment, you may be riding a Trojan horse. As soon as I learned that Trump chose Larry Kudlow and Steven Moore to be his Senior Economic Advisors, I feared he was selling out to the establishment in order win Republican support (and probably because Trump is a big-idea man who always looks to others to come up with the particulars that will make a big idea work, but he’s picked the wrong others).
I have a file full or articles on Kudlow that I keep in my “Idiot Box” where I store the stupid things economists and Wall Street moguls say. Larry is soon to become (again) an article of his own.
That is the team assembled inside the Trump horse. On the outside, it is all Trump, brazen and shiny and bold. On the inside, it is entirely Wall-Street warriors and neocon combatants. In the next article in this series, I’ll dig into the Kudlow-Moore tax plan which gives us the major components of Trump’s action plan in order to show how deeply establishment Trump’s plan is in its debt-based economic expansion and its retreaded, spiffed-up, establishment ideas that got us where we are today.
Be careful that you don’t believe something just because you want to believe it so badly. That is how the citizens of Troy were conquered in the Trojan war. I’d love to have an anti-establishment candidate roll in, too. Sadly, I don’t think I do. The time to hold Trump to task is now, not after the establishment makeover turns him into their Trojan Trump card, but while they are trying so that they don’t succeed.
The brazenly boisterous, blusteringly bellicose, trumpeting Trump. Who is the man behind that mighty mouth?
If there is one thing certain about Trump it is that he stirs up conversations all over the globe, but is he anything more than a grand snake-oil salesman? Has he ever stood for or served anything greater than himself? Does he exemplify integrity of leadership in the deals he makes, or does he just pursue whatever course is expedient at the time, regardless of how selfish or wrong? Does he own his failures or blame them on others? Does he play by the rules as he demands impoverished immigrants do or treat rules as inconveniences to be ignored by the wealthy when they go against his own wealth building? Does he care at all about whom he hurts or ever even stop to think about it? Is he a man who is willing to speak out against stupid political correctness, regardless of personal cost, or just an opportunist who loves to hear himself and who knows how to tap into public rage as a potent force for his own purposes? Is he force or farce? Is he more interested in building a brand or in building a nation?
To see a variety of biographical or semi-biographical books from all sides about Donald Trump, including from his own mouth, see list at the end of David Haggith’s original article here:
See LA Times poll here
Italy’s biggest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, is bankrupt. There is no money anywhere for a rescue, so Italy risks tearing the Eurozone apart. The bank’s shares, despite a major management shakeup, sank to their lowest point ever this week — just 21 cents above zero — and, once again, they had to be halted by Italy’s stock exchange authorities.
In a previous post Justin Raimondo said that:
“… if, like me, you see this election as a referendum on Trump, with the GOP candidate dominating and defining the election-year discourse, then that means the anti-Trump vote is going to be split four ways, with McMullin, Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and of course Hillary divvying up the #NeverTrump electorate. Which means that Trump, in spite of his terrible poll numbers, could pull this off in spite of everything”.
Now, consistently with that view, Gabriel Debenedetti tells us that Gary Johnson is cutting into Hillary Clinton’s vote.
Jason Ditz writes
The February ceasefire in Syria suffered greatly from the Nusra Front not being a party to the truce but being embedded with almost every rebel group that was a party. This led to constant claims Syria was “violating” the ceasefire by targeting Nusra, even though they were supposed to be able to, and left Nusra with a lot of extra territory when the truce collapsed.
This new truce, while again excluding Nusra, is supposed to be different, with the US demanding all of its rebel allies to totally cut ties with Nusra immediately. Sources within the Syrian military, however, say that so far there is no sign of that happening.
Throughout the Syrian Civil War, the rebels have often relied on Nusra to do the heavy lifting in joint offenses, and have long resisted the idea of splitting with them, insisting it amounts to a Russo-Syrian plot to divide the rebellion. The big change, then, is that publicly the US is no longer supporting this narrative, and instead demanding the split.
Whether the rebels actually start abandoning Nusra or not may not be as significant as that shift, and assuming the US follows through with its promise to engage in joint attacks with Russia against Nusra, they may quickly find that distinguishing between “Nusra targets” and other rebels is, as Russia has often noted, not so easy.
Read original article here
Middle East Eye (MEE) published recordings of conversations between Emirati pilots on bombing missions around Benghazi, and the control tower at Benina airport, the headquarters of the renegade general Khalifa Haftar.
It’s clear, from previously released recordings, that the pilots are not bombing IS targets in Sirte. The coordinates point instead to a neighbourhood of Benghazi called Souq al-Hout, the Fish Market, which is controlled by the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (SCBR), a coalition of forces which includes Ansar al-Sharia, labelled a terrorist organisation by the UN, US, UK and Turkey, but includes also groups which are loyal to the Libyan defence ministry in Tripoli, such as the February 17th Martyrs Brigade.
British, American, French and Jordanian military air traffic controllers are heard on the same tapes. They sit alongside the Emiratis in Haftar’s control room. This means that Britain and its allies are placing an each-way bet on the Libyan war.
As MEE revealed when it published a briefing Jordan’s King Abdullah gave to US congressional leaders this January, British special forces are deployed in Libya alongside Jordanians. We know from on the ground reports in Libya that British soldiers are helping Misratan militias, who are loyal to the government in Tripoli, push the Islamic State (IS) group out of Sirte.
His actions, like those of the IS, are aimed at telling Libyans that the UN-brokered and internationally recognised Presidential Council and its Government of National Accord (GNA) cannot control key state infrastructure. Two days after his so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) wrested control of four Oil Crescent ports in Ras Lanuf, Sidra, Zueitina and Brega, from militias controlled by Ibrahim Jadhran, commander of the Petroleum Defence Guards, Haftar had himself anointed field marshal.
A stand-off ensued. Haftar demanded the National Oil Corporation (NOC) lift force majeure and allow the ports to export oil, while the Presidential Council, the US, Britain, France and Italy, Spain and Germany reaffirmed their support for the GNA and their intent to enforce sanctions against illegal exports of oil. The export ban was lifted on Thursday after the NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla “accepted a handover of the ports“ from Haftar’s men.
It is difficult to know what this means as Hafter’s takeover of the ports on Sunday was more a matter of negotiation between militias than actual combat. Sanalla also sowed seeds of doubt about GNA control when he said that the LNA’s seizure could “lead to a new phase of co-operation” between the Libyan factions.
Egypt and the Emiratis are dictatorships with a track record of suppressing political opposition. Each has been highly active abroad, particularly in Libya, in making sure that Islamist governments do not get into or stay in power. The GNA is not Islamist, but the fact that Islamist groups have deferred reluctantly to its authority is enough for the Emiratis to do everything they can to bring it down.
Source: David Hearst
The bloody collapse of Libya – which triggered a refugee crisis and aided the rise of Isis – is blamed today on David Cameron’s blunders when he intervened to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi.
A damning report by MPs condemns the 2011 military campaign for lacking both “accurate intelligence” and a coherent strategy for the aftermath of removing the dictator.
Read full article in the Independent here