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16 February 2016

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ISL

Croesus - with the Fed having pumped in trillions of dollars to buy toxic loans over the last few years, really? Let the bloody Sauds pull their cash, it will take the fed 1 microsecond to add it back.

Croesus

I'll get back to you in about an hour. Right now I'm listening to Aaron Klein discuss the feasibility of the Fed employing negative interest rates. http://www.c-span.org/video/?404664-1/washington-journal-program-2172016

turcopolier

cynic

This is an extremely serious charge. I have understood that the US Government stupidly came to accept the absence of living unicorns and had come to a massive self deception with regard to the malleability of non-IS jihadi groups, but this is the first I have heard of plausible evidence of Obamanite plotting to install an IS government in Damascus. We need to learn more of this claim. pl

Croesus

PS should have included the set-up to the Aaron Klein discussion -- Bob Corker drawling from the chair of Senate Finance committee, to Janet Yellen: "The Fed is out ammunition ...will it go to negative interest rates?"

BB

"I suppose I could vote for John Kasich but the rest of them are ridiculous."

Truly bizarre. Kasich is a stone-cold neocon who wants "to punch Putin and Russia in the face". A guy who, with only a political background (and a bachelor's in poli-sci from OH St.), made a ton of money as a manager at Lehman Brothers, which went bankrupt and left us taxpayers the bill-- essentially, WE subsidized the perfidious money-shifters like Kasich. Kasich has done a horrible job as governor and it's only due to shale that Ohio's economy is not in the toilet. Kasich has done nothing in his life but politics-- even while still just a freshman in college (look at his picture with Nixon). There are only three people in the race who have done something other than politics and work shifting money: Sanders (teacher, carpenter, psychiatric aide), Carson (highly-accomplished surgeon), and Trump (a doer all of his life with a record of rebuilding messes: http://nypost.com/2016/02/07/how-donald-trump-helped-save-new-york-city/).

turcopolier

BB

Bless you. I guess you missed the "I suppose" part. I don't like Kasich. I think he is a deceptive political gutter snipe, but in the absence of someone I would be happy to vote for I suppose I might vote for him, but since he will not be the
Republican candidate, who cares? I spent several days with Kasich at a meeting and was severely unimpressed. But, what else is there on offer? Sanders is far too left for me however pleasant a man he seems to be. Trump knows nothing of government, nothing. Carson. He thinks the pyramids were built as grain storage. Rubio is the creature of Zionist interests. Cruz is, well, whatever he is I don't want it. Bush should go back to his club and brood. pl

Bill Herschel

I just want to repeat this quote from John Harington who was born and died almost exactly contemporaneously with Shakespeare and is one of the few Elizabethans not to be claimed to have been Shakespeare. He invented the flush toilet.

"Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason."

I guess the first question is whether or not the statement is true. I think it is. The second question is much more complex. Suppose the Jeffrey Sachs article is true. Is it treasonous to promote "regime change" in Syria or Iraq or Libya on "moral" grounds, using clandestine means to destabilize a sovereign state, i.e. cooking the books to create the casus belli in which American lives will be lost? Well, that approach has prospered (figuratively speaking, it is not the usage of the word "prosper" in the quote, nor do I intend it to be).

But not really today. Donald Trump called George Bush dishonest, stupid and incompetent. He said invading Iraq was an act of dishonesty. In fact, he essentially said Bush was guilty of treason. I think if you look at everything he says, you discover Trump is non-interventionist. You don't make America great again by invading Syria. And the American public understands that and wants it:

"At a rally Tuesday in North Augusta, S.C., across the Savannah River from Georgia, Mr. Trump called to the stage a man from the audience who had quieted a protester in the crowd.

“I did two tours in Iraq,” the man said, as the crowd erupted in cheers and chants. “If it weren’t for Mr. Trump right here, I don’t think any of us would have the voice that we have.”"

Everything that prospers is not treason.



Matthew

Croesus: You might want to check your numbers. The Saudis are now borrowing, not investing.

Matthew

JL: The family can always request an autopsy. Many people do not have them because they have to pay for them and (frankly) the relatives are not really puzzled by a relative's death.

Matthew

I used to think this inclination was motivated mostly by a desire for increased self-importance, but (sadly) money seems a big factor. The more interventionist America's foreign policy, the more ex-officials can "monetize" their experience. See
http://www.gregpalast.com/the-vulture-chewing-argentinas-living-corpse/

cynic

Here's the original newspaper article.
http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/alexander-yakovenko-russia-and-the-us-are-partners-in-trying-to-end-the-war-in-syria-a3180571.html

The Russian Ambassador to Britain probably doesn't often write articles for down-market newspapers. A senior diplomat must be well aware of the potential effect of his words, even when the important words are buried in flummery.

'It came to the point when the Americans gave up on finding people they could trust among the rebel groups fighting the Syrian government. We were told by our British colleagues a few months ago that the situation in Syria was a complete mess. The situation was further complicated by the emergence of IS, an explosive mix of religious fanatics and the rump of the Iraqi Ba’athist regime, including Saddam Hussein’s officer corps.
In the meantime the US assembled its anti-IS coalition of about 70 members, which delivered ineffective airstrikes at IS targets for more than a year before Russia had to intervene at the request of the Syrian government with its air force. Last summer we were told by our Western partners that in October Damascus would fall to IS. What they were planning to do next we don’t know. Probably, they would have ended up painting the extremists white and accepting them as a Sunni state straddling Iraq and Syria.
In these circumstances Russia’s intervention was a critical game-changer, allowing the democratic Syrian opposition to reappropriate the cause of a democratic and secular Syria, which was hijacked by foreign terrorist groups.'

Fred

Will,

The current President is not concerned about violence in our inner cities? Didn't the regional director of the EPA (Chicago) resign recently due to the is water quality issue? Should those things be and mostly remain local and state issues - absolutely. However over reach of federal power should be an election issue at the national level though.

gemini33

Charles Lister is getting pretty worked up about the fractured policy.
-----------
"Totally bizarre seeing U.S vetted & supported Jabhat al-Shamiya & Faylaq al-Sham being attacked by U.S vetted & supported SDF in N. #Aleppo."

"PT: It really cannot be said enough how catastrophic the policy disconnect between (1) CIA (2) CENTCOM & (3) Obama Admin has been on #Syria."

"PTs: The CIA & CENTCOM have each empowered armed groups that directly oppose the other’s reasons for being on the ground.

= Sheer hubris."
https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/699270623386677248
---------------

Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of Lister but find it useful to watch what he's talking about since he's from the Qatar branch of Brookings.

I wonder if anyone really understands what's going on. Seems like a good way to unintentionally get into a really big war and clusterf...

The sudden shift over the weekend during that Munich Conference was more than unsettling.

rjj

"Mr. Trump called to the stage a man from the audience who had quieted a protester in the crowd.
....
Everything that prospers is not treason." [end BH quote]

Sometimes it is theater.

Croesus

there's also the benefit of some beautiful rugs to accompany a 65-year old "sweet -- mother" in her dotage.
Paid too much for them? Well, they are beautiful. What price the pleasure of art?

Babak Makkinejad

You will have a field day with this -

https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2bb691b61c59be3a68180bd8c614a0cb&tab=core&_cview=1

It was cancelled after the Russians moved in....

David Habakkuk

cynic,

'What Yakovenko is therefore in effect saying is that the US was planning in the summer to start a bombing campaign to overthrow the government of Syria in the knowledge that this would result by October in the victory of the Islamic State and its capture of Damascus.'

This is the construction that Mercouris puts on the Ambassador's remarks. It is not what the text of the article actually says.

The interpretation Mercouris advances depends on two premises: 1. that the U.S. had a definite plan to create a 'no-fly-zone', rather than there being a chaotic muddle over policy, and 2. that, as he puts it, '''no-fly'' zone is today simply a euphemism for a US bombing campaign.'

I would be interested in the views of others better informed than I, but the first proposition seems to me highly questionable, and the second plain nonsense.

In fact, precisely who the 'Western partners' were who were supposed to have told Yakovenko that Damascus would fall to IS by October, and how precisely he thinks the remarks are to be interpreted, seems to me opaque.

It could be that these were suggesting that this was an objective of Western policy, or that it was just something likely to happen, or even that it was likely to happen and they did not want it to happen. It seems likely enough that there are people in the U.S. military – and also the British and French – who could have made these remarks with precisely the reverse intent imputed by Mercouris.

As it happens, since it put up the post by Mercouris, 'Russia Insider' has linked to a report in the 'Daily Express', in which a former Chief of the General Staff, Lord Dannatt, and a former Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, both strongly advocate cooperation with Russia over Syria.

(See http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/ex-british-army-chief-russia-getting-it-right-syria-its-uk-getting-it-wrong/ri12889 .)

It you read the conclusion of Yakovenko's article, it seems absolutely clear that he is continuing a long-standing Russian attempt to persuade the Western powers to face reality and recognise that in their own interests they should be cooperating in a 'grand alliance' to defeat jihadism. In this context, it seems questionable whether the accusation made in his remarks was as simple as Mercouris suggests.

The intended audience may well be the very substantial body of opinion in the U.K. who think that Western policymakers, and most of the MSM, have, to use Putin's memorable phrase, 'mush for brains'.

The extent of the change in climate here is evident in comments on articles on a wide range of newspapers. Those on the 'Express' article are a case in point.

Unfortunately, as articles in the 'Financial Times' are behind a subscription wall, the full comedy which is unfolding is not easy to bring out.

However, comments on an article just posted by the paper's International Affairs Editor, David Gardner, under the title 'Putin systematically eradicates the Syrian opposition', are symptomatic. The 'most recommended' one concludes: '''Mr Columnist', are you a primary school dropout?'

(See https://next.ft.com/content/9e09e594-d4d1-11e5-829b-8564e7528e54#comments .)

It is the fact that he and his subordinates will be reading this kind of thing on a daily basis that may provide an important part of the context for his remarks.

SmoothieX12

Perhaps he is. And yet, he has accomplished more good than his predecessor in both foreign and domestic policy.
--------------------------------------------------------

Frankly, this is a bizarre statement. Very far from the reality.

Fred

cynic,

"'It came to the point when the Americans gave up on finding people they could trust among the rebel groups fighting the Syrian government. "

In other words reality is a bitch and the Obama administration should have recognized that three years and many dead Syrians ago. It would also be a reason that CJCS (Dempsey) was able to convince Obama not to go through with the full neocon plan in 2014. I hope General Dunford is as capable.

Croesus

Matthew, that makes the Saudis even more dangerous.

From whom are they borrowing -- Qatar? Kuwait? China? Israel? This time last year Yossi Alpher made the rounds in DC talking about his book, Periphery: Israel's Search for Middle East Allies, http://www.brookings.edu/events/2015/03/12-israel-periphery-doctrine-search-middle-east-allies

and making it clear to his US audiences that Israel was in alliance with Saudi Arabia.

nb. ZeroHedge posted this item about Japan's experiment with negative interest rates
http://asia.nikkei.com/Markets/Tokyo-Market/Negative-rate-not-having-intended-effect
--

As for Obama "reading from a script" -- most lawyers will counsel their clients to Tell the truth! It's hard to keep lies straight! The second best option is to stick to the carefully constructed script, which is what Obama does. So did Hillary -- I forget which outlandish lie it was, maybe the one about the Iranian used car salesman who was going to kill the Saudi ambassador in a DC restaurant -- in an unfiltered moment Hillary blurted, "Who writes this stuff!" Maybe the State Department gets help from Netanyahu's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dept. of hasbara.

Overall -- If Mark Bruzonsky is to be believed, Obama made a Faustian pact in 2007 shortly after delivering an electrifying speech at a DNC convention. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27425.htm
Reasonable to suppose that Michelle would not tolerate a Blue Dress scenario.
This understanding influences my assessment of the tight rope the Obama walks.

My belief is that the most pernicious office in the US government that does greatest harm to the economic and strategic interests of the American people and has the worst impact on sound foreign policy is in the Department of Treasury, where Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has accumulated both control over financial facilities of nations and international institutions and corporations, and the apparently unlimited ability to spy on them. Obama inherited that entity and has enhanced its powers.

LJ

b raises this question: Are Green Berets Leading The YPG In Taking The Azaz Pocket?

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/02/are-green-berets-leading-the-ypg-in-taking-the-azaz-pocket.html

The Beaver

A very interesting view from the former UK Ambassador to Syria ( 2003-2006);

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMZVKdWFJPk&feature=youtu.be

“we should have backed off, we should have not tried to overthrow the regime.” Mr. Ford eloquently added that this policy has been “like a dog returning to vomit.”

Babak Makkinejad

All:

Ambassador John E. Herbst on what to do in Syria:


http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/how-to-reverse-putin-s-damage-in-syria

alba etie

Col Lang
How about about Senator Sanders ? To far left ?

cynic

I think that the Russians remember what happened following the imposition of 'no-fly zones' over Serbia/Bosnia and Libya, including what happened to their then rulers.It would be easy to predict the result if the same stunt was pulled in Syria, and the Americans were giving every indication that this was their intention. Happenstance, coincidence, enemy action.

Pretending folly or incompetence to disguise knavery only works for a while. The Russian leadership has to treat the American leadership as if they were serious, and can't join them in laughing off another wrecked country on the Israeli/American hit-list as just an unexpected accident for which those responsible must not be held accountable.

Perhaps the Ambassador's remarks merely assumed everyone recognised obvious uncontroversial common sense. If the American leadership does not recognise it, they may receive further shocks!

I think you are correct in saying that many people are rejecting the nonsense spread by the mainstream media. It may not be co-incidence that apparently in Britain, Russia Today is said to be now second only to the BBC in the number of people who watch it.

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