Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, ‘I survived.’ Donald Trump can make the same boast. No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president. Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident? And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies. With the U. S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U. S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found. The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan. With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations. Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U. S.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.
[This piece has been updated and adapted from William D. Hartung’s ‘Nuclear Politics’ in Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation, edited by Helen Caldicott and just published by the New Press.] Until recently, few of us woke up worrying about the threat of nuclear war. Such dangers seemed like Cold War relics, associated with outmoded practices like building fallout shelters and ‘duck and cover’ drills. But give Donald Trump credit. When it comes to nukes, he’s gotten our attention. He’s prompted renewed concern, if not outright alarm, about the possibility that such weaponry could actually be used for the first time since the 6th and 9th of August 1945. That’s what happens when the man in the Oval Office begins threatening to rain ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’ on another country or, as he did in his presidential campaign, claimingcryptically that, when it comes to nuclear weapons, ‘the devastation is very important to me.’ Trump’s pronouncements are at least as unnerving as President Ronald Reagan’s infamous ‘joke’ that ‘we begin bombing [the Soviet Union] in five minutes’ or the comment of a Reagan aide that, ‘with enough shovels,’ the United States could survive a superpower nuclear exchange. Whether in the 1980s or today, a tough-guy attitude on nuclear weapons, when combined with an apparent ignorance about their world-ending potential, adds up to a toxic brew. An unprecedented global anti-nuclear movement — spearheaded by the European Nuclear Disarmament campaign and, in the United States, the Nuclear Freeze campaign — helped turn President Reagan around, so much so that he later agreed to substantial nuclear cuts and acknowledged that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.’
Our democracies in the Western half of Europe have been subverted. Their goal is no longer to do what the people want. On the contrary, our political elites often do exactly the opposite. Our parliaments promote open-door policies that the majority of the people reject. Our governments sell out sovereignty to the EU against the will of the people. Our rulers welcome ever more Islam, although the majority of the people oppose it. Our democracies have become fake democracies. They are multi-party dictatorships, ruled by groups of establishment parties…. The establishment parties control everything, not just the politicians in their pay, but also the top brass of the civil service, the mainstream media, even the courts…. They call us “populists” because we stand for what the people want. They even drag us to court. We need to show that Europe’s streets are our streets, that we want to stay who and what we are, and do not want to be colonized by Islam. Europe belongs to us! Next month, I will be visiting Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. I have been invited to speak to a group of Czech patriots. The Czechs are a freedom loving people. In 2011, on the occasion of the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan, they named a street in Prague after this great American president and freedom fighter. This fact reminded me of a shameful event in my home town of The Hague, the seat of the Dutch Parliament and the government of the Netherlands. Look for a Ronald Reagan Street in The Hague and you will find none. A proposal in 2011 to name a street in The Hague after Reagan ran into fierce political opposition. Leftist parties, such as Labor, the Greens and the liberal D66 party, argued that naming a street in honor of Reagan would “do the image of the city no good.” The whole affair ended in a disgraceful political compromise. Last year, a short stretch of a local bicycle path was named the “Reagan and Gorbachev Lane”.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 27, 2017.
Authored by Robert Parry via ConsortiumNews.com, Arriving behind the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ and the Russia-gate ‘scandal’ is a troubling readiness to silence dissent in the U. S., shutting down information that challenges Official Narratives… A stark difference between today’s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then – even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan – there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U. S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada. Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people’s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U. S. intelligence community. Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim – no matter how unlikely or absurd – that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.
Three US nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carriers representing nearly $30 billion of advanced military hardware put on show of force in the Western Pacific Ocean over the weekend, the first time three of the 100,000-ton behemoths have sailed together in a decade. Amidst heightened tensions with North Korea the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt are currently engaged in a four day war games exercise which will link up with allies Japan and South Korea, who are also participating. The last time three US aircraft carrier strike groups worked together in the Western Pacific was off the US island of Guam in 2007, according to a Navy statement. The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz and their multi-ship strike groups are participating in the four days of exercises, which are expected to end Tuesday. A South Korean Defense Ministry official said the three US carriers held drills on either side of the waters separating the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Exercises closest to the Korean coast involved US and South Korean ships, while those closest to Japan involved US and Japanese ships, the official said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.
1966 was a big year… Miranda Rights came into being in America, Vietnam War protests raged, the US department of Transportation was created, the mini skirt was invented, Batman and Star Trek debuts, NASA launches Lunar Orbiter 1 – the first U. S. spacecraft to orbit the Moon, race riots raged in Atlanta, Ronald Reagan entered politics becoming Governor of California, and (for some) most importantly, England defeated Germany to win the ‘Football’ World Cup. However, there is one more thing – 1966 was the last time that the stock market ‘calmness’ was as low as it is today…
To put that into context…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.
Today, the South Korean and U. S. navies kicked off massive combined drills off the coast of the Korean peninsula amid heightened tensions, a training exercise which North Korea has warned may prompt another ballistic missile launch potentially to coincide with the launch of the Chinese 19th Party Congress on October 18. The two allies plan to continue the Maritime Counter Special Operations Exercise (MCSOFEX) through Friday in the East Sea and the Yellow Sea. As reported over the weekend, the drill involves the U. S. 7th Fleet’s aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers – the USS Stethem (DDG-63) and the USS Mustin (DDG-89). The carrier strike group will train with South Korean warships and other defense assets, such as the Sejong the Great Aegis ship and P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft in the East Sea. And while details of the drill were well-known in advance, what was reported for the first time overnight from Yonhap is that a unit of U. S. special forces tasked with carrying out “decapitation” operations is also aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the group, according to a defense source. So far, little else is known about why said decapitation team is on location, or whether it will be put into use, although it presence may explain Trump’s “calm before the storm” comment that beffudled the media two weeks ago. Among other assets mobilized for the joint drill are F-15K, FA-18 and A-10 fighter jets, as well as AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, Lynx and AW-159 Wild Cat naval choppers. The U. S. has also deployed a Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) plane to closely monitor the North’s ground and naval forces.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.
Dear Readers: I agree that the official Las Vegas story seems to be unraveling. A public mass shooting should be transparent, not opaque. I think we explored the story long enough to discover that without knowing the facts, we cannot arrive at an explanation with confidence. It is time to move on to another unraveling – that of US/Russian relations. This unraveling is far more serious as it threatens life on earth. I have warned of the consequences of Washington threatening Russia’s security by breaking agreement after agreement, by placing missile bases on Russia’s borders, by orchestrating anti-Russian coups in former Soviet provinces, and by a continuing volley of false accusations against Russia. There is no act more reckless and irresponsible than to make one nuclear power fear nuclear attack from another. Alert observers have become aware of the mounting danger. Canadian professor Michel Chossudovsky writes that Washington has taken nuclear war from a hypothetical scenario to a real danger that threatens the future of humanity. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who worked with President Ronald Reagan to end the Cold War and the threat of nuclear Armageddon, has appealed to President Trump and President Putin to hold a summit meeting and bring an end to the rising tensions. Gorbachev wrote in the Washington Post that ‘it is far from normal that the presidents of major nuclear powers meet merely on the margins of international gatherings.’ This is especially the case as ‘relations between the two nations are in a severe crisis.’
The admirable and honorable truth-teller John Pilger warns us that nuclear war is closer than we think. The 1957 book, On The Beach, introduced awareness that war in the nuclear age is terminable for life on earth. This realization explains President John F. Kennedy’s rejection of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff’s recommendation to launch a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union. Today as evidenced by the behavior of the US government, its European vassal states, and neoconservative pundits, this realization no longer informs US policy. Pilger speaks of the lobotomy performed on each generation that removes facts from history. Pilger himself is a victim when he chooses to stress that Ronald Reagan defended the Vietnam war instead of emphasizing that Reagan worked with Gorbachev to reduce the threat of nuclear war. The lobotomy that has been performed on the Western world has destroyed knowledge that the US and Russia were on peaceful terms prior to the Soviet collapse.
21st Century Wire says… In 1983, US President Ronald Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a space-based anti-missile system which came to be known as ‘Star Wars.’ At the time, SDI was meant to give the US a nuclear first-strike against advantage against its geopolitical rival the Soviet Union by using various weaponized technologies including lasers, to intercept Soviet ICBM missiles in space. In the end, the program proved to be too costly, too complicated for a practical role out, and ineffective against non-space faring weapons like cruise missiles, submarine based missile batteries and long range bombers. Now in 2017, as the Cold War is being re-heated again, the West is potentially looking at the complete militarization of outer space. This time the US nemesis is both Russia and China. But what really driving this new ‘space race’ agenda? Consortium News Exclusive: As a backdrop to the Russia-gate hysteria and the heightened fear of China is a budget war over how much U. S. taxpayer money to pour into space warfare, explains Jonathan Marshall… There’s a civil war being fought on our nation’s soil, right in our capital. It pits the Secretary of Defense and senior generals against a bipartisan band of militant legislators who accuse the Pentagon of standing pat while Russian and China work to achieve military superiority over the United States in space.
In the past here at mises.org, we’ve looked at several different ways of comparing government spending across presidential administrations. No matter how we look at it, we’re forced to conclude that Republican presidents cannot be counted on to spend less than Democratic presidents. In this analysis, for example, we found that over the past fifty years, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were among the worst offenders, with Obama coming in behind third-placed Gerald Ford.
‘There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.’ – Dwight D. Eisenhower ‘If we just stick together, and remain true to our ideals, we can be sure that America’s greatest days lie ahead.’ – Ronald Reagan Hope you had a great ‘Independence Day.’ On Monday, the market was open for a half-day preceding the ‘Independence Day’ holiday, and with the majority of the ‘human element’ on vacation, the markets surged as the ‘robots’ kicked in to ‘buy the recent dip.’ As I noted in this past weekend’s missive: ‘As noted on Friday, the last couple of weeks have experienced a sharp rise in price volatility. While stocks have vacillated in a very tight 1.5% trading range since the beginning of June, there has been little forward progress to speak of. However, notice that support at 2416 has remained solid as ‘robots’ continue to execute their program of ‘buying the dips.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 5, 2017.
Recep Tayyip Erdoan (aka the Prez) and his ruling Justice and Development Party (or AKP) have for years been working hard to alter the appearance as well as the substance of the nation-state that is Turkey. And in this respect, the figure of the Turkish President himself seems to have been the ultimate prime-mover, forcing the execution of effective changes while simultaneously constantly dominating the headlines. Hence, many quite easily refer to the Turkish President as a dictator. Tayyip Erdoan as a Dictator?!? Dictators have been around for quite some time now, harking back to antiquity when the Roman ‘Senate could vote to grant absolute power to one man, called a dictator, for a temporary period.’ In modern times, the term has been more commonly employed to refer to a ‘ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained control by force,’ as defined by the online Oxford Dictionaries. And in the 20th century such characters as Adolf Hitler, Mussolini or Franco stood out as prime examples of political leaders wielding dictatorial powers. In the 21st century, public opinion and the press alike habitually refer to certain rulers as dictators and will often characterise them as ‘the next Hitler,’ before summarily executing them through regime change operations – like with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein as the two most salient examples. Unlike Gaddafi, who had been an ‘international pariah’ throughout most of his public life, Saddam used to be a ‘close American ally’ until he crossed the line by invading Kuwait in August 1990 thereby forcing the U. S. to invoke the then ten-year old ‘Carter Doctrine.’ Saddam Hussein’s story – from very humble beginnings in a mud hut on stilts to palatial complexes fit to entertain guests like Donald Rumsfeld, acting as Ronald Reagan’s special envoy (20 December 1983) – could today very well act as a cautionary tale for certain political leaders, certain political leaders who were once equally close to Washington but have since changed direction.
Tim Weiner, Pulitzer-prize winning author of ‘Legacy of Ashes’ and a longtime chronicler of US intelligence agencies, sat down for an interview with Bloomberg’s Tobin Harshaw to discuss how the FBI has handled previous investigations involving the White House. The feud between President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey is hardly unprecedented in modern US history. As Weiner explains, there have been four instances during the past 45 years – excluding the present day – where the FBI has confronted a sitting president. And up until now, the bureau has prevailed every time. *** Here’s Weiner: ‘Five times in the last 45 years the bureau has gone up against the White House. With all due respect to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, it was the FBI that brought down Richard Nixon. Twelve years later it was the FBI that served search warrants and subpoenas on members of Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council after the Iran-Contra imbroglio. Agents recovered 5,000 documents from their computers – a forensic feat unprecedented in technological virtuosity. That led to the indictments of a dozen of Reagan’s national security aids.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 11, 2017.
As of this writing, a final carrier group is heading toward North Korea and the immediate vicinity. When you have three carrier groups sitting off the shores of a nation decidedly hostile to your nation? The chances are highly probable that a war is about to begin. The U. S. has tried everything from sanctions to shows of force. The latter may have been, up until this point, smaller in scale; however, they were serious nonetheless. Flyovers of B-1 bombers close to the North Korean border, the deployment of Aegis and THAAD missile systems, and the influx of nuclear-capable cruise missiles via submarine are some examples. Take the time to refer to an excellent article by Stefan Stanford of All News Pipeline that features a video with Dr. Peter V. Pry, the U. S.’s foremost expert on EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack against America. As outlined in previous articles, Dr. Pry is convinced that North Korea has already succeeded in miniaturizing a warhead capable of a large-scale delivery of an EMP weapon sans a high megaton nuclear explosion. Dr. Pry has explained over the course of more than a decade how the miniaturization is not difficult, and an EMP can be delivered upon a weapon in the low-kilotons range of delivery. The article, titled This ‘Mad Max’ Scenario Could Lead To Planes Falling Out Of The Skies, includes an interview with current Secretary of Defense James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis stating plainly that North Korea is a threat to the United States right now. With the carriers USS Nimitz, the USS Carl Vinson, and the USS Ronald Reagan and their groups in the area, this is plainly a serious matter. It cannot be discounted or relegated to the ‘fear porn’ category that naysayers are constantly expressing on this venue.
This post was published at shtfplan on June 6th, 2017.
Brzezinski’s death at 89 years of age has generated a load of propaganda and disinformation, all of which serves one interest group or another or the myths that people find satisfying. I am not an expert on Brzezinski, and this is not an apology for him. He was a Cold Warrior, as essentially was everyone in Washington during the Soviet era. For 12 years Brzezinski was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where I occupied the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy. When I was elected to that chair, CSIS was a part of Georgetown University. However, the president of Georgetown University was one of those liberals who hated Henry Kissinger, who was also our colleague, and the university president also hated Ronald Reagan for his rhetoric, not for his deeds about which the Georgetown president was uninformed. So I also was unwelcome. Whatever I was worth to CSIS, Kissinger was worth more, and CSIS was not going to give up Henry Kissinger. Therefore the strategic research institute split from Georgetown university. Brzezinski stayed with CSIS.
Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Speaking during an interview on CNN, losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton explained why she thinks she lost the election… “I was on the way to winning before Jim Comey’s letter and ‘Russian’ Wikileaks… scared off late voters.” So to be clear – until the head of the FBI admitted to the world that many of your actions were under investigation for potentially breaking law and WikiLeaks published ‘proof’ of multiple mis-dealings and relationships – you were on the way to winning? So, other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln? All of this is ironic given Democratic Party strategists recent comments: After crunching numbers for months, a group of Democratic strategists have finally figured out why Hillary lost the 2016 election: “her base didn’t turn out.” Sure, it probably had absolutely nothing to do with all those criminal FBI investigations or the fact that Trump was able to flip some Midwest states that haven’t gone Red since Ronald Reagan. Per McClatchy:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 2, 2017.
According to a report by South Korea’s primary news outlet, Yonhap, the Pentagon has directed a total of three US aircraft carriers toward the Korean Peninsula, citing a South Korean government source. Yonhap reports that in addition to the CVN-70 Carl Vinson, which is expected to arrive off the South Korean coast on April 25, the CVN-76 Ronald Reagan – currently in home port in Yokosuka, Japan – and the CVN-68 Nimitz carrier group – currently undergoing final pre-deployment assessment, Composite Training Unit Exercise off Oregon – will enter the Sea of Japan next week. According to the senior government official. the US and South Korea are discussing joint drills, which will include the three aircraft carriers and other ships.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 17, 2017.
Confirming a choice that many had already pegged as a front-runner to fill Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat, President Trump officially announced Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States. Gorsuch, 49, the youngest supreme court nominee in 25 years, was among a group of federal judges reported in recent weeks to be on Trump’s shortlist. A strict adherent of judicial restraint known for sharply-written opinions and bedrock conservative views, Gorsuch, a Colorado native, is popular among his peers and is seen as having strong backing among Republicans generally. A fly-fishing enthusiast and skier who lives outside Boulder, Colorado, Gorsuch lived in Washington DC as a boy, after his mother Anne Gorsuch Burford was appointed by Reagan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. After graduating from Columbia University, Gorsuch, who is said to have ‘an inexhaustible store of Winston Churchill quotes’, went on to Harvard Law school and attended Oxford University on a Marshall scholarship. He worked as a corporate lawyer in Washington for a decade before his appointment to the circuit court by George W Bush in 2006, a post to which the Senate confirmed him by voice vote. Per Politico, Gorsuch has the typical pedigree of a Supreme Court Justice with degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford. Moreover, Gorsuch’s professional background includes time at a Washington law firm, the Department of Justice and clerkships with Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, and some conservative analysts theorize that he could assert a rightward influence on the centrist Ronald Reagan nominee.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 31, 2017.