Closing Thought–31Jul18

Propaganda is used everyday here in the US and the best place for this stuff to get to the normal American is through the one outlet that they cannot resist…social media.

AS an example I give you the newest meme…..

I’ve been noticing videos going viral the last few days, some with millions of views, about Muslim women bravely fighting to free themselves from oppression in the Middle East. The videos, curiously, are being shared enthusiastically by many Republicans and pro-Israel hawks, who aren’t traditionally the sort of crowd you see rallying to support the civil rights of Muslims. What’s up with that?

Well, you may want to sit down for this shocker, but it turns out that they happen to be women from a nation that the US war machine is currently escalating operations against. They are Iranian.

A few years back I gave my readers a couple of posts so they could identify propaganda…..

In case you did not take my advice and print them out so they would be a quick reference….I do it again……

Also there is the ever present “Fake News”….just how can one spot this stuff?

Fake news is nothing new. But bogus stories can reach more people more quickly via social media than what good old-fashioned viral emails could accomplish in years past.

Concern about the phenomenon led Facebook and Google to announce that they’ll crack down on fake news sites, restricting their ability to garner ad revenue. Perhaps that could dissipate the amount of malarkey online, though news consumers themselves are the best defense against the spread of misinformation.

Americans are starting to believe what they are told and ignore what they see and hear…..perfect illustration of how propaganda is winning over truth and fact.

You have all the tools are your finger tips….if you get sucked into the BS world of propaganda then you have NO one to blame by yourself.

I hate that I have to keep harping on this subject….but apparently that is how Americans learn……repetition until it becomes common knowledge….so allow me to repeat…..(first turn printer on then go to top of page and start over)……

Ten Paces Turn and Fire

There is a duel being fought in the media between Our Dear Leader and the uber rich Koch Brothers……for now it is a war of words….but things could spiral into a full fledged political war…….

Amid a morning flurry of tweets, President Trump took aim at two powerful figures on the right: brothers David and Charles Koch. “The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade,” the president tweeted. “I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” he continued, adding, “Their network is highly overrated.” His comments, however, come after the Kochs lobbed an attack of their own at a weekend forum in Colorado. Coverage:

  • Kochs’ criticism: At a Koch network gathering in Colorado Springs, Charles Koch criticized Trump’s tariffs and protectionist trade policies and suggested he’s open to supporting Democratic candidates who are more in line with the Kochs’ free-trade and libertarian views, reports the National Review. “I don’t care what initials are in front or after somebody’s name,” he told the group.
  • Turning point? A video during the forum showed businesses supposedly shuttered because of retaliatory tariffs, notes Politico, which says “the open hostilities at this weekend’s conference came as something of a surprise.” At Vanity Fair, Tina Nguyen sounds a familiar note: “The Kochs’ hostility toward Trump isn’t new, though their rhetoric seems to mark a turning point.”
  • Another shot: The president of the Charles Koch Foundation was even more cutting over the weekend: “The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage,” said Brian Hooks, per CNN. “When in order to win on an issue someone else has to lose, it makes it very difficult to unite people and solve the problems in this country. You see that on trade: In order to get to a good place on trade, convince the American people that trade is bad.”
  • Telltale race: The Koch network also has defied the White House in the Senate race in North Dakota pitting vulnerable Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp against GOP challenger Kevin Cramer, reports the Washington Post. Trump has personally campaigned for Cramer, but the Kochs say they can’t support him because he’s not fiscally conservative enough, citing, for example, his support of Trump’s trillion-dollar spending package, per the Hill.
  • Familiar face: The Kochs’ criticism of the White House and their reticence to back the entire GOP ballot caused former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to lash out. “What they have to do is shut up and get with the program, OK?” Bannon told Politico. “And here’s the program: Ground game to support Trump’s presidency and program, [and] victory on Nov. 6.” Trump’s tweets, however, suggest he doesn’t want their help now.
  • The choice: In an analysis at the Atlantic, Reihan Salam susses all this out and frames it in general terms with this question: “Will the GOP be the party of Donald Trump or the party of Charles Koch?” The Kochs helped shape the GOP agenda during the Obama years, but the party’s populist turn under Trump has them worried, he writes. However, this new split with the GOP may ultimately backfire for the brothers, he warns.

Under normal circumstances I would be delighted to see the GOP in disarray…..but this president is destroying a once proud political party piece by piece and the elected reps from this party are enabling the party’s demise.

Kellogg-Briand Pact

Nope has nothing to with corn flakes!

War Is Hell!

I have always appreciated the times when our politicians looked to the future and tried to head off wars…….and you guessed it…..the old professor gonna drop some history…..

Most everyone knows that I am antiwar and have been so since 1972 plus I am a history wonk and have been studying World War One, The War To End War, well it did not work out that way…..but back in the 1920’s US SecState, Frank B. Kellogg and French Foreign minister Aristide Briand put together a pact for the League of Nations that would make war impossible……

After World War One, many Americans were determined that the United States should not become involved in another war. Their methods of trying to achieve this were varied – some pointed to the new World Court and the existing League of Nations as being the best forums in which to decide international disagreements, while others believed that disarmament was the first priority. The latter group tended to speak out in favor of the 1921 Washington Naval Conference and its successors.

A further group, generally given the title of peace advocates, went further and declared that war itself should be made illegal. Among the most prominent people to be involved with this faction were James T. Shotwell and Nicholas Murray Butler, who had close links with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This organization had been set up by the renowned industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, in 1910, and had as its aim the promotion of internationalism.

Sadly just a short decade later and the pact was voided by the actions of Germany, who once again became the European aggressor.

Another sad thing is that a devastating war is never unavoidable…..simply because the active participants want the clash…..for whatever reason.

Side Note:  The idea of a League of Nations that would prevent war from becoming a major incident……The League arbitrated disputes between member countries in order to peacefully preserve sovereignty and territorial rights. The League encouraged countries to reduce their amount of military weapons. Any country that resorted to war would be subject to economic sanctions such as a halt to trade…… idea from American President Woodrow Wilson but was never ratified by the US Congress.

Without the US the League was weak and ineffective…..thus WW2 loomed large.

Bomb Bomb Iran

This post is full of info for anyone interested in what the policy toward Iran is looking like…….

Does anyone remember this little ditty from the 2007 campaign trail?  I believe it was John McCain that sort of made it famous….but it was a common meme among Neocons…

I bring all this crap up because Our Dear Leader has in his employ the masters of the song…..Bolton and Pompeo….those two have been slobbering at the mouth for years and taking Israeli money to pressure the government to take action against Iran…..and now he has a willing leader….so what could the next move?

In this rather strange ABC News article that appeared on Friday, it is reported that “senior figures in the Turnbull government” claim that Washington could bomb targets in Iran as early as next month, and that Australia would assist in target identification.

It is hard to know where to start in critiquing this. Perhaps the best place is the 2007 U.S. presidential election.

McCain’s melodic rendition of “Bomb, bomb Iran” to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann”.

Or maybe November 2012, when Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu was reportedly ready “within hours” to strike Iran to stop it acquiring nuclear weapons. Or in 2015, when John Bolton, now the current White House National Security Adviser, wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled “To stop Iran’s bomb, bomb Iran”.

Many people see the danger of an attack on Iran…….what are the chances?

Under the guidance of secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his new national security advisor  John Bolton, Trump’s decision points in the direction of military escalation. 

Already in December 2017, reports pointed to a so-called “secret plan” to destroy and destabilize Iran, the first step of which would be a color revolution. In this regard, Trump said he would relaunch the economic sanctions regime in mid-May “unless the European powers join Washington in unilaterally rewriting the civil nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world’s great powers.”

This not so secret plan to wage war on Iran has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon since the mid-nineties as outlined in my 2010 article below, written eight months prior to the onslaught of the US-NATO led proxy war directed against Syria in March 2011.

Could August be the deadline before action?

As the White House convenes a policy meeting on Iran Thursday involving senior Pentagon officials and cabinet advisers under national security adviser John Bolton, and after a week of intense saber-rattling by President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, a new bombshell report by Australia’s ABCsays the White House is drawing up plans to strike Iran’s alleged nuclear facilities as early as next month.”

“Senior figures in the Australia’s Turnbull government have told the ABC they believe the US is prepared to bomb Iran’s nuclear capability. The bombing could be as early as next month.”

Crucially, Australia is part of the so-called “Five Eyes” global intelligence partners which includes the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and plays in a key role in hosting top-secret facilities that guide American spy satellites.

Or maybe the US will use Saudi troops for this unthinkable adventure…….

Is the United States preparing to attack Iran? On Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis dismissed this idea as “fiction,” back when the sources were in the Australian military. Yet other US officials have since been quoted as saying the attack is still being considered.

The pretext for this war appears to be the ongoing Yemen War. Last week, Saudi state media claimed that Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked and slightly damaged a Saudi oil tanker. The Saudis have previously alleged the Houthis are tied to Iran, and US media is treating this as some sort of transference, and reporting that Iran attacked the Saudi oil tanker, even though no one alleged that ever happened.


Personally I hope all this is just speculation….the one thing we do not need is another war to fight.

But this is why people get so damn confused……

In an off-camera briefing at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary James Mattis says that the US is not seeking regime change or collapse in Iran, adding that no policy is in place that has been instituted like that.

Mattis said the US goal was to get Iran to “change their behavior on a number of threats that they can pose with their military.” He did not elaborate on that point, or how the US plans to get there beyond threats and sanctions.

Mattis didn’t mention that, but did address a reported by Australian military sources who claimed that President Trump is prepared to attack Iran militarily, and that the bombing could begin in the next month. Mattis said there were no such plans, calling the reports “fiction.”


Now you decide what you choose to believe about our Iran policy.

But the recent statement by the Dear Leader illustrates his foreign policy “style”……

President Trump has extended an olive branch to Iran’s leaders just days after a tweet he wrote appeared to say he was ready to use military force should they “ever threaten the United States.” Per CNN, the president was at a news conference at the White House with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte when he told reporters he “would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet.” The president said he believes Iranian leadership will eventually want to meet with him and added that he would set “no preconditions” for such a meeting. “Speaking to other people, especially when you are talking about potentials of war and death, and famine and lots of other things, you meet. There is nothing wrong with meeting,” the president said.

As the AP notes, Trump struck a decidedly different tone on Twitter when he issued an all caps threat to Iran a week earlier. “YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” the president wrote in an apparent response to a recent warning from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that a war with the country would be the “mother of all wars.” Rhetoric out of Iran has ratcheted up since Trump’s decision in May to withdraw the US from the nuclear accord and reinstate sanctions.

This is at least the 2nd time he has employed this technique……is this a look under the veil of the Trump “style”?

Send In The Replacement

How many of you have ever watch a Cricket match?  As an American it made little sense and when they stopped for tea I went nuts…..

Let’s talk about our long time “ally”….Pakistan.  For decades the elections were won by the same family election after election….the Bhutto family.  Usually their fates once in the leadership roll was to be assassinated…..not many happy endings.

Last week Pakistan held their latest election and to many people’s surprise a Cricketeer won the election……Imran Khan…..

Cricket star Imran Khan, who promised supporters a “new” Pakistan, won the country’s election but will have to seek out allies to form a coalition government, according to official results. Pakistan election officials Friday announced Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won 109 of the 269 seats being contested in the National Assembly, the AP reports. The election Wednesday gave his nearest rival, Shahbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League, 63 seats. Sharif, brother of jailed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has rejected the results, charging widespread fraud and manipulation.

Khan declared his victory on Thursday and dismissed the allegations of fraud, calling it the most transparent election in Pakistan’s history. He has promised to fight corruption and help millions of impoverished citizens. He says he also wants good relations with his neighbors and the United States, but also has leveled criticism against them. Once a celebrity playboy, Khan now embraces conservative Islamic stances and keeps company with radical clerics who often espouse a philosophy that frightens Pakistan’s minorities. He calls for an Islamic welfare state that provides progress and education for the poor.

Khan has also been a critic of US policy in Pakistan……

The US State Department issued a statement Friday criticizing the “flaws” in the process of Pakistan’s election earlier this week. The statement warned Pakistan’s election was at odds with its commitment to a “fully fair and transparent” vote.

The US largely had not discussed the Pakistani election before, and the fact that they are suddenly objecting to it comes almost immediately after the results showed a longtime critic of US policy, Imran Khan, had won the vote.

Khan has been a major critic of US policy in Afghanistan, and in particular the use of US drones against Pakistan’s tribal areas. He has said that, if he was in power, he would insist the US stop using drones in Pakistani airspace, and if they refused, would order the Pakistani Air Force to shoot the drones down.


The election of Khan has many people wondering about the future and what to expect from his government….is it a triumph for democracy or will it signal chaos?

Further Reading:

Once Khan gets his government together….events on the world stage may play into the hands that we Americans do not crave.  He will be pretty much a maverick (a growing trend) and may have a profound effect on our policies for Afghanistan…..and our foreign policy for the region.

And Gaslighting Continues

Closing Thought–30Jul18

Never thought I would ever hear a politician, especially one in control, ever say the things Our Dear Leader said the other day….

Hours before President Donald Trump’s former lawyer released an audio recording of Trump discussing a hush-money payment to a former Playboy model, the president uttered a phrase that critics said seemed ripped from the pages of George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984.

“It’s all working out,” Trump told a gathering of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Kansas City, Missouri. “Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

The remark was made as the president promoted his plan to hit China with new tariffs in an address that took on the form of a campaign speech. Trump’s escalating trade war has resulted in rising costs for some products that farmers rely on, as China has responded to Trump’s first round of tariffs introduced earlier this month.

“Don’t believe the crap you hear from these people—the fake news,” he said of reports of the negative impact of his trade policy.


And the truly sad part is that I know people that will believe this slug on every outrageous lie he tells….without the least amount of proof…..what should be termed as the “mental midget brigade”…..people that will believe a lie over their own eyes and ears….yes 1984 comes to mind.  (Think that is a stretch then maybe reading a book would improve your mind)

“Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”  (Ever heard the word “propaganda” used before?)

Lies to the Left, lies to the Right….the country suffers and no one cares…….the masses just keeps applauding for worthless slogans and booing anyone not in agreement with their limited understanding of reality.

Just what part of the statement has anything to do with democracy?  The last time I checked this nation was deemed a “democracy”…the statement that I am referring to is something that I have heard many times (I am old so it is many years)……people like Saddam, Andropov, Stalin, Idi Amin, on and on…..but never thought I would hear the leader of this country ever utter such nonsense.

Now the question is….how long will the American people allow this to continue?

The week begins and I do hope that my followers have a great week….be well, be safe….chuq

The People’s Budget

First those tax cuts that the GOP shoved down the throat of Congress….well these do very little for a peon like me about $35 a month and did everything it was suppose to do…make the wealthy more so and explode the deficit (so much for all GOP crap about fiscal responsibility)…..

Well it was so successful for the wealthy that they are planning another round of help for the Fat Cats……

Despite the profound unpopularity of the Republican Party’s tax law, pushed through last December amid loud protests directed at President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers, party leaders on Tuesday unveiled framework for their “tax cuts 2.0” package—signaling that they are doubling down on their plans to benefit the rich at the expense of working Americans.

The framework, which House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released, claims that it would permanently extend tax cuts for individuals that were set to expire in 2025, help families to save for college, and help small businesses create retirement plans for their workers.

A subject that gets little attention these days……poverty.  These days it seems the being poor makes one a criminal and most legislation rewards greed and wealth…..

In addition to padding the bottom lines of America’s largest corporations by cutting their taxes and eliminating scores of longstanding regulations, President Donald Trump is also protecting major companies’ profits by refusing to punish them for ripping off consumers and trampling federal rules that safeguard the planet.

That is the central conclusion of a new Public Citizen analysis out Wednesday, which finds that corporate America has largely been exempt from Trump’s so-called “law-and-order” agenda. Titled Corporate Impunity (pdf), the report shows that enforcement actions carried out by major government agencies declined drastically during Trump’s first year in the White House.

I brought up this expansion of the deficit because that Progressive Caucus has released the “People’s Budget”…….

Offering an ambitious alternative to the House GOP’s “morally bankrupt” 2019 budget proposal—which demands over $5 trillion in cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and other life-saving programs—the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Tuesday unveiled a budget that calls for massive investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and education while proposing significant cuts to the completely “out-of-control” Pentagon budget.

Titled The People‘s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward (pdf), the CPC’s plan also calls for a ban on “any expansion of U.S. combat troops in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many other countries,” demanding an immediate end to “the policy of funding endless wars.”

This addresses the “Common Good” which any legislation should do…..

Now in reality this “Budget” will go nowhere….simply because it does little to benefit those that own the members of Congress.

President Must Die!

Please if any of the Right wing noise machine is reading then let me say here and now….I am NOT talking about anything happening to Trump or his extended family.

Okay we all know that I do enjoy dropping some history from time to time…….this time I would like to let my readers know the most whacked out attempts to assassinate a president.

Anyone can change the course of history. You can start a movement, run for office, or if you’re too insane for that kind of thing, buy a cheap gun and try to kill the President.

Now killing the President requires a lot of planning, but when you’re crazy, planning involves casting imaginary spells and talking to ghosts. All of which makes it even stranger that some of the craziest assassination plots ever hatched by some of the craziest people came so close to succeeding.

History is a cool thing to keep track of….I mean there is so much to draw from…..and I try to draw as much as possible…..even those that find fault with history could learn a thing or two…..there is the rub….learning is not their strong suit.

Stay tuned………

The Russian “Problem”

We know that there is a tug of war going on between Left and Right (not a true analogy but will work for the limited mentality of Trump followers)…..on one side Russia is an evil entity sitting there feasting on the US cyber world and then on the other hand Russia is just a fake topic meant to bring down the Dear Leader from his Ivory Tower (the White House).

But let’s look at the Russian thing…..

The United States is – still – the world’s most powerful and most wealthy country. It cannot and will not be brought to its knees by a band of alleged mercenary Russian hackers, oligarchs and intelligence operatives, though they likely had some kind of distorting effect.

No, the assault on American democracy and its global standing originated not in Moscow but in Washington, and across the length and breadth of the United States. Like the Soviet Empire before it, America is crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions, its imperial hubris, and its squandering of vast amounts of resources to enrich the very few at the expense of the very, very, very, very many – both abroad and at home.

Russia did not create Donald Trump, the brash, abrasive and corrupt opportunist and grifter.  Russia did not transform this self-centered and self-serving business tyrant into a counter-factual television and (social) media sensation, admired by millions, who has been marketing hollow image without any substance and peddling falsehoods for decades.

Russia did not put a gun to the heads of white, conservative voters and force them to elect an alleged billionaire with zero political experience and zero interest in the plight of other people as someone who would “drain the swamp” as the representative of ordinary folk.

Even suggesting that Russia was responsible for the brainwashing of the Republican electorate would be to give it way too much credit, and too little credit to homegrown propagandists, polemicists and twisters of truth. Of course, Moscow is an old hand at fake news and propaganda. But Sputnik and RT have limited reach in America and can simply not compete with the likes of Fox News and Sinclair for the hearts and minds of Middle America.

It all comes down to the US and its self-inflicted political wounds over the decades.

This Russian thing is a bit much……not to take anything away from the on-going investigations but could we move on from this…….yes there is other stuff happening around the world that could be used to fill the time on air….just a thought.

But let’s take a look…shall we?

Cold War Two is thriving, having been initiated and fostered by West and especially by the Pentagon and much of Congress, whose members benefit enormously from cash donations by weapons’ manufacturers whose generosity so far this election cycle has totaled $19,332,442 in traceable hand-outs.  The Pentagon is reported as having calculated that “overseas weapons sales by US firms rose $8.3 billion from 2016 to 2017, with American arms makers moving a total of $41.9 billion in advanced weaponry to foreign militaries last year.”  There is profit in supporting confrontation.

Development of the new Cold War was described succinctly in February 2018 by Stephen F Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, in that “[President] Clinton pursued winner-take-all policies consistent with viewing Russia as a defeated power, presiding over a massive intrusive crusade to shape that former rival into ‘the Russia we want’;  beginning the expansion of NATO, now on Russia’s borders; and bombing Moscow’s traditional Slav ally Serbia in 1999, despite Yeltsin’s protests. Indeed, the extreme vilification of Putin by former members of the Clinton administration, including Hillary Clinton, who equated him with Hitler, are not unrelated to their unwise Russia policies of the 1990s — loudly applauded, it should be added, by media journalists now also in the forefront of demonizing the current Kremlin leader.”

Macedonia And Social Media

I have recently got some from Macedonia following IST (let me know who you are) it pleases me that I get people from all over to help me and my readers up to date on the events that I write about….after all I cannot be everywhere as much as I would like to……

I have been following the debate and the vote on the name thing that has been consuming the news from Macedonia…..

Now that I have the introduction and the lead in to this post….

It appears that American conservatives have been duped with fake news coming out of bots located in Macedonia…..

“This is the news of the millennium!” said the story on Citing unnamed FBI sources, it claimed Hillary Clinton will be indicted in 2017 for crimes related to her email scandal.

“Your Prayers Have Been Answered,” declared the headline.

For Trump supporters, that certainly seemed to be the case. They helped the baseless story generate over 140,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.

Meanwhile, roughly 6,000 miles away in a small town in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a young man watched as money began trickling into his Google AdSense account.

What is most humorous is that as that locate and identify these fake news bots…others pop up and the conservative base has a tendency to believe what they read or hear without checking the info out for accuracy.

Further Reading: