Discussion Q: is the US under military control?


First, bernhard at Moon of Alabama offered this two days ago: ‘”Above All” – The Junta Expands Its Claim To Power’.  He opens with:

“In an advertising campaign in 2008 the U.S. Air Force declared itself to be “Above All”. The slogan and symbol of the campaign was similar to the German “Deutschland Über Alles” campaign of 1933. It was a sign of things to come.

On Thursday Masha Gessen watched the press briefing of White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly and concluded:

The press briefing could serve as a preview of what a military coup in this country would look like, for it was in the logic of such a coup that Kelly advanced his four arguments.

  1. Those who criticize the President don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t served in the military. …
  2. The President did the right thing because he did exactly what his general told him to do. …
  3. Communication between the President and a military widow is no one’s business but theirs. …
  4. Citizens are ranked based on their proximity to dying for their country. …

Gessen is late. The coup happened months ago. A military junta is in strong control of White House polices. It is now widening its claim to power.

All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle, the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. The Pentagon’s proxy defeated the CIA proxy. (Last months’ fight over Raqqa was similar – with a similar outcome.)

Yes, we all got a chuckle at the notion that Libruls all of a sudden adore the CIA…  #theResistance

b continues to make his case by way of earlier warnings such as on the first day of Herr T’s presidency ‘The military will demand its due beyond the three generals now in Trump’s cabinet’:, then references the firing of his ‘ideological pilot’ Steve Bannon (less war, not moar war, according to b’s link.  That led to a big win for ‘Bannon’s militarist enemy’ National Security Advisor General McMaster, had won.  He’d then stated in his Aug. 24 ‘Notes On The Junta, An Unnecessary Land-Corridor And A Regular Russian Maneuver’:  ‘A military junta is now ruling the United States’.

He’d noted that Herr Tee’s cabinet and inner circle is overly-replete with battlefield generals and military men, and along the way notes that Herr Tee has a weakness for the military since he attended a New York military academy during his youth.

He then references the huge flap over the four US special ops soldiers who were killed on the border between Mali and Niger, including:

“One of the soldiers who were killed in Niger while “teaching how to respect human rights” was a 39 year old “chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist” with “more than a dozen awards and decorations”

….and most head-smackingly (okay, theirs, to say the truth)  ignorant comments that ensued by Herr Tee, John Kelly in a press briefing, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  But I’m sure you’ve seen them all.

Next: ‘The US lurches toward military dictatorship’, wsws.org, October 23, 2017

Similar coverage of the Kelly, Huckabee skin-crawling statements concerning not questioning 4-star generals save for those families of dead war heroes, and all that rot.

“Kelly’s remarks evoked such defensive statements not because they challenge nearly 250 years of civilian rule in the United States, but because sections of the US political establishment see it as necessary, at least for the time being, to cloak the massive power exercised by the military over political life with the formal trappings of civilian rule.”

ABC’s ‘This Week’ had apparently felt a need for distancing the military from that flavoring that they had on David Petraeus to pontificate with his version of the folks Wearing the Uniform™ have died for your freedom to express yourselves!  (prolly no laugh-track, either…)

“This task, however, is increasingly difficult. Shortly after Petraeus’s appearance, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he had an extraordinary exchange with moderator Chuck Todd. Asked whether as Senate Democratic leader he had been briefed on the situation in Niger, Schumer nonchalantly replied, “Not yet.”

When Todd asked whether Schumer knew the US had a thousand troops stationed in Niger, Schumer replied, “Uh, No, I did not.”

But back to ABC and Martha Neo-con, war porn loving (formerly ‘embedded w/ the troops’) Raddatz:

“In the midst of host Martha Raddatz’s interview with Petraeus, the program cut to a prerecorded segment showing Raddatz on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan as it carried out a war exercise off the Coast of North Korea, with Raddatz declaring enthusiastically, “The Sea of Japan is bristling with warships.”

(Statement from the US Pacific Fleet Commander)

One high-larious paragraph at the end:

“The Sailors can go shopping, tour the city, sample the cuisine, or just relax after the challenging schedule of being at sea. For others, there will be opportunities to take morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) trips to different cultural, religious, adventure or sport centers in the area.”  (Oh- and give back by way of community service, of course.)

But remember: Not Provocative, just Scheduled Drills as Usual, Tillerson says he’ll keep hoping for dialogue with Pyongyang…until the first bombs drop.

Damon did note that there’s been some consternation from the press, namely Erin Burnet on CNN’s ““A military dictatorship: that appears what the White House thinks the United States is,”, as well as the ever-creepy (some name as CIA) Masha Gessen thing in the New Yorker.

“But this raises the question: Would the United States really need to have a coup to transition to military rule? Would it really look much different from today’s “democracy”? There would be the same parade of generals serving as talking heads on the news, the same “embedded” reporters interviewing commanders on the front lines, the same members of Congress (most dictatorships do not dissolve parliament) declaring they had “not yet” been briefed on what the military has decided to do.”

Damon then quotes the many Democrat mouthpieces extolling Herr Tee’s WH generals as the adults in the room, exercising restraint on him, and so on.

“The ever-growing power of the military in the United States is not some accident or fluke stemming from the personality of Donald Trump. Despite being at war for his entire two terms in office, Trump’s Democratic Party predecessor Barack Obama never once went to Congress for authorization to use military force, and he defended his orders for drone assassinations of US citizens as part of the prerogatives of the commander-in-chief.”

Interesting and insightful comments, as well.

Now in Brian Cloughley’s October 20, 2017 ‘Chinese Dreams and American Deaths in Africa’, he widens the aperture.

“What had happened was that on October 4 in Niger in north-west Africa four American special forces soldiers were killed in an ambush by “fifty fighters, thought to be associated with ISIS [Islamic State], a US official said.”  In the course of the attack, one US soldier — Sergeant Johnson — was left behind when the others withdrew, and was subsequently found dead.  Nigerien soldiers were also killed, and it is interesting to examine how US media outlets recorded this aspect of what was obviously a disaster for US Africa Command, AFRICOM, the organization headquartered, bizarrely, in Germany, that has 46 military bases (that we know of) in that continent. (Niger, incidentally, is twice the size of Texas and about the same size as Peru.)

Cloughley fairly gags over the cavalier and careless media reporting of numbers of Nigerian soldiers killed, because: really, who cares?  IQ contest with Rexxon, tra la la, but Brain reckon he wouldn’t be able to point to a map and identify all the nations that US ‘Warriors’ are fighting wars in Africa.

“As recorded by Alexis Okeowo in the New Yorker, “Publicly, Africa may not be on the radar of the Trump Administration, but it is a priority for the US military.  At the moment, seventeen hundred members of the Special Forces and other military personnel are undertaking ninety-six missions in twenty-one countries, and the details of most are unknown to Americans.”.…even though many around the world know exactly what that feels like.”

Q: how many other shadow forces are there, including CIA, mercenaries like Academi, Erik Prince’s newest name for his gang of mercenaries?

“The United States military and the CIA have a large presence in Africa and, as recorded by Nick Turse in April, “A set of previously secret documents, obtained by TomDispatch via the Freedom of Information Act, offers clear evidence of a remarkable, far-ranging, and expanding network of outposts strung across the continent . . .  AFRICOM lists 36 US outposts scattered across 24 African countries.”

“Mind you, it’s unlikely that very many Chinese citizens are aware of the deep involvement of their country in the African continent, either.  But the difference between ephemeral US policy and long-term Chinese strategy is that Washington seeks domination, while China seeks trade, gradual influence and trust.

While attending the UN General Assembly in September President Trump addressed the leaders of several African nations at lunch.  He didn’t mention drone strikes or Special Forces or CIA interrogation cells but made clear his enthusiasm for their countries by declaring that “Africa has tremendous business potential, I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they’re spending a lot of money. It has tremendous business potential, representing huge amounts of different markets. It’s really become a place they have to go, that they want to go.”

Quoting the FT in June:

““In the past 15 years the level of engagement by Chinese state-owned enterprises, political leaders, diplomats and entrepreneurs has put centuries of previous contact in the shade . . .  While Europeans and Americans view Africa as a troubling source of instability, migration and terrorism — and, of course, precious minerals — China sees opportunity. Africa has oil, copper, cobalt and iron ore. It has markets for Chinese manufacturers and construction companies. And, perhaps least understood, it is a promising vehicle for Chinese geopolitical influence.”

“General Waldhauser postulates  that “Just as the US pursues strategic interests in Africa, international competitors, including China and Russia, are doing the same.  Whether with trade, natural resource exploitation, or weapons sales, we continue to see international competitors engage with African partners in a manner contrary to the international norms of transparency and good governance.  [wd here: anyone got a laugh track to embed?]  These competitors weaken our African partners’ ability to govern and will ultimately hinder Africa’s long-term stability and economic growth, and they will also undermine and diminish US influence — a message we must continue to share with our partners.”

The author ends by noting that the US doesn’t have any real partners in Africa, but China has created many, then he quotes Forbes: “In December 2015, President Xi Jinping ushered in a new era of ‘real win-win cooperation’ between China and Africa. This strategy aims to create mutual prosperity, allowing investors to ‘do good while doing right.’ China has backed this proposal up with a commitment of $60 billion of new investment in major capital projects, which are tied to developing local economic capacity.”

“The message is clear.  The US military-industrial complex has overtaken and indeed supplanted State Department diplomacy in Africa, as elsewhere in the world, and is intent on escalating its military presence while China is quietly winning friends and influencing people by engaging in massive, well-planned economic projects.  No prizes for deducing who is winning in Africa.”

We can all hope that China is helping investors to ‘do good while doing right’; time will tell, I suppose.  But it beats the hell out of war pillaging for fun and profit.

And last, from Dan Glazebrook at RT:  ‘West eyes recolonization of Africa by endless war; removing Gaddafi was just first step

“What the Trump administration is doing, as it is doing in pretty much every policy area, is stripping the previous policy of its ‘soft power’ niceties to reveal and extend the iron fist which has in fact been in the driving seat all along. Trump, with his open disdain for Africa, has effectively ended US development aid for Africa – slashing overall African aid levels by one third, and transferring responsibility for much of the rest from the Agency for International Development to the Pentagon – while openly tying aid to the advancement of “US national security objectives.”

In other words, the US has made a strategic decision to drop the carrot in favor of the stick. Given the overwhelming superiority of Chinese development assistance, this is unsurprising. The US has decided to stop trying to compete in this area, and instead to ruthlessly and unambiguously pursue the military approach which the Bush and Obama administrations had already mapped out.

To this end, Trump has stepped up drone attacks, removing the (limited) restrictions that had been in place during the Obama era. The result has been a ramping up of civilian casualties, and consequently of the resentment and hatred which fuels militant recruitment. It is unlikely to be a coincidence, for example, that the al Shabaab truck bombing that killed over 300 people in Mogadishu last weekend was carried out by a man from a town in which had suffered a major drone attack on civilians, including women and children, in August.”

Any thoughts?

46 responses to “Discussion Q: is the US under military control?

  1. Hello wendye,

    The MSM is actually feigning concern about US troops in Amerafrika over the weekend (aanna where was that Bergdahl fella stationed, hey Martha, you heared that one yet?), and reporting today (what we’ve been aware of) US nuclear warheads and aircraft reconstituted to “on alert,” status, along with a general order to call up 1000 retired military pilots today.

    Swell weather here as peak fall colors might be showing for the last time in human history, but let’s not talk trivia. Best to everyone, peace and resolve.

    • good to see you, amigo. never peeked into news about bergdahl, partially cuz i couldn’t place his name, wondering if he were the declared ‘rogue soldier’ who’d wandered off his afghan base and murdered dozens or more citizens. but no, and w/o reading the whole thing cuz burned out eyes, i did find this. but i love amerafrica. i’d actually spent time searching for a tweet by the most irreverent red kahina saying something to the effect that: africa invited the rape as she was wearing a miniskirt; and her cries said ‘no’, but her eyes said ‘yes yes yes’. dinnae find it, obviously.

      well, on alert nuclear warheads (aren’t they always???) and pilots sounds about par for the most bombastic ‘we’re comin’ for ya!’ bullshit. aaaand, mebbe they are. insanity rules. thanks for the raitt; ain’t heard her for far too long.

  2. i’m out for the night. good night to all you lovers and dreamers. to those emailers who’ve declared their despondency, i hear you. it’s hard to be philosophical, but all i can recommend it that we make community w/ those we’re able to. as for me, not able to get out and about, you all are at least half or more of my community, and i appreciate you even more as this house is on fire, both literally and figuratively.

    ‘I’ve been sitting here for the longest time
    Reading all the warning and the danger signs
    I don’t have the gift of the prophecy
    Telling everybody how it’s gonna be

    Soon come, soon come the day this tinderbox
    Is gonna blow in your face
    I don’t have the gift of the prophecy
    Telling everybody how it’s gonna be
    You go passing wrong for right and right for wrong
    People only stand for that for just so long

    It’s all gonna catch like a house on fire
    Spark an evil blaze and burn higher…’

  3. jayzus. from wsws, this is from mayeisha johnson, la david’s widow, who was killed in niger…yanno, the one trump told her in his ‘condolence’ call “knew what he signed up for” when he enlisted in the US Special Forces. how consoling, ya fukwit. she’s pregnant w/ their third child.

    “Johnson said the condolence call “made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice.” The widow added that Pentagon officials had told her nothing about the circumstances of her husband’s death or why it took 48 hours to recover his body. The bodies of the other three US soldiers killed in action were recovered in the course of the firefight with Islamist militants.
    Nor would the Pentagon allow her to view her husband’s remains, she said, even after the coffin was turned over to the family for burial. “There could be an empty box,” she said. Pentagon rules supposedly give the family final say in whether to see the remains.

    meanwhile, the pentagon is doing damage control in the form of the chairman of the joint chiefs, joseph dunsford, first appointed by obomba. he of course, is obfuscating and dissembling as to all this being ‘part of a global mission to defeat IS, and dems are busy calling out the military for their racism/insensitivity, but: RT is reporting that ‘Graham was one of 26 senators present for an AFRICOM hearing in March, and no lawmakers reportedly asked any questions about the number of troops in the region.’

    here’s the list on twitter, but there sure are some Ds on the list. mccain’s DEMANDING to be briefed!…now that there’s a kerfuffle, of course.

  4. More on Gen. Kelly: It Didn’t Just Start Now: John Kelly Has Always Been a Hard-Right Bully

    “If anyone thinks you can somehow thank [members of the military] for their service,” Kelly proclaimed, “and not support the cause for which they fight — America’s survival — then they are lying to themselves and rationalizing away something in their lives, but, more importantly, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to the nation.”

    Kelly’s words would be an excellent way to teach ninth graders what the phrase “begging the question” means. Critics of U.S. foreign policy of course do not accept Kelly’s axiom that the military is fighting for “America’s survival.” And indeed it appears Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson don’t either – they reportedly informed Trump that America’s military (and its intelligence and diplomatic apparatus) exist to support the expansion of U.S. corporations.

    From the AP link:

    To be successful, Mattis and Tillerson decided they should use talking points and commentary with which they believed Trump would be most familiar: the role that the military, intelligence officers and diplomats play in making the world safe for American businesses, like The Trump Organization, to operate and expand abroad. American troops provide stability, diplomats push rule of law and anti-corruption measures and the intelligence community provides context and analysis that drive the first two, the briefers explained, according to the officials.

    The implications of American retrenchment in an age of increasing international competition were also discussed, the officials said. One chart presented included two maps depicting the exponential growth of China’s presence in Africa over the past two decades and its impact on U.S. national security and private foreign investment, according to the officials.

    • lol. we keep hearing how his generals are dedicated to schmoozing herr Tee, don’t we? but ‘keeping the world safe for amerikan bidness’ should be their offishul motto. cuz after all, we have been too well-versed that: ‘the bidness of amerika…is bidness’. (h/t the great and powerful molly ivins)

      but as for a bully, i remembered finally to go searching for the marine general’s role when he was in charge of gitmo. ‘they’re all bad guy’, but as well, approving waterboarding, rectal and other feedings during hunger strikes, the gods know what all. vicious bully, vicious pig. wonder what his actual fear quotient inside is that caused him to be this way? in general, sociopaths aren’t born, they’re created.

      thanks, greyson. two pivots now: africa and asia. so many enemies; so little time!

  5. burning down the world house

    the US ruling class really needs to take a page from the Brits when it comes to maintaining the theatricality of “democratic” rule. turn on cspan & except for certain key moments & key hearings, like the defense budget, no one shows up cuz it doesn’t matter. the public persona of Lady Democracy in the US…it’s quite remarkable that anyone takes this shit seriously. You want me to take any of it seriously? Learn how to fake it better!

    and when unaccountable agents (CIA and perhaps etc.) are spying on their nominal civilian oversight in Congress, there’s no civilian rule.

    the public side of politics, all national level & most state level & lots of local, is another form of sports enthusiasm. My war pachyderms will crush the futile braying of the traitorous donkeycrats!!! rah cheer rah sis boom bah. patriotic bunting really makes a home sparkle, doesn’t it?

    One ubiquitous technique the libs at the NYT & Co have for disguising Who Rules is the unending appeal to partisan rancor, failed bipartisanship. Even today the 3 committees “investigating” Russia at the helm of our democracy have failed to unearth what we all *know* was going on (b/c the CIA said so). and why? Partisan rancor is killing our democracy!!!!! That is the only reason anyone could fail to reach the NYT’s baseless conclusions about the Russian fix…in the electoral college.

    and where are the voices actually challenging US policy on N Korea? I mean in Congress. Cock Porker or whatev can get all screechy about World War 3, so why not introduce some legislation mandating the WH obtain Congressional approval before *any* action is taken against N Korea? Now we all know that if the shooting starts & a Congresscretin doesn’t line up behind Team USA, they will be burned as a witch, but still…wouldn’t N Korea receive it as a positive gesture & maybe simmer down a bit?

    another choice bit from Tacitus, supposedly His Biggitude Tiberius once said of the Roman Senate: Men fit to be slaves.

    • love the dickens outta ‘men fit to be slaves’. i think his name is actually pork cocker, but i could be wrong. no, ya got it all wrong: it’s mcCrankypants who wants to revisit the aumf, see? that wouldn’t preclude bombing iran, would it? or assange? god’s blood, pompeo’s a whole ‘nother piece of work with his bellicose ‘now i’m gonna get rough!’ or whatever.

      but come to think of it, you’re correct: introducing such a bill would (or certainly could) definitely chill out kim, wouldn’t it?

      but i chortled w/ glee when i saw this newest iteration of the pachyderms v. braying donkeys at RT:

      “‘US House committees will conduct a formal investigation into a 2010 deal that saw 20 percent of America’s uranium supply being sold to a Russian mining company, amid accusations that bribes were paid to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
      Representative Devin Nunes (R-California), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced the investigation into the deal at a news conference Tuesday.”

      Woot! score one for the Red Team!

      by the by, dunno how to know if it’s true or not, but toni cartalucci (NEO, land destroyer) is claiming that the leadership of catalonia is already asking to enter Nato.

      but you’re indicating that the cia spying means amerika hasn’t been under civilian rule? negating the ‘under military rule now’ themes?

      • burning down the world house

        maybe just more out in the open? I recall Diane Fiend Stein’s oversight committee several years ago only being able to view CIA docs at a secure site in a CIA facility where everything they did & queried was monitored and they could take nothing from the site or discuss b/c it’s hush hush top super duper double secret probation. A standing Senator was effectively threatened w/revealing gov’t secrets if she didn’t tow the line. She crowed about this one time in the floor of the senate…and the tumbleweeds kept on tumbling. revelation of the method: the intelligence apparatus is spying on elected officials, most of whom, i’d assume, are open to all kinds of blackmail. in the entire country. everyone in D.C. is bent.

        am I conflating the military & intelligence wings of the State? maybe. but it’s not Congress running the show, that’s for damn sure.

        • just 4 now, as i have a circuit city sized heggache, can i ask you this? when you’d mentioned the NYT & co. up yonder, was it in general, or were you pinging this concern trolling by that paper of record?

          Behind the New York Times’ concern about Washington’s “forever wars”: Plans for new war authorization and conscription’, by Bill Van Auken

          dunno that there’s a there…there on the second part, and i’m too frazzled to pull the pithiest parts, but…it’s time for me to turn into a pumpkin, dagnabbit. more on your fiend stein cia stuff, anon, burning down the world house.

        • agreed on more out in the open, one of the cold comforts of DeeTee rule. and it’s hard to say where the cia and military intersect, given how many cia are ‘special ops’, and now this ‘A Newly Assertive C.I.A. Expands Its Taliban Hunt in Afghanistan’, ny slimes

          b’s calling it a new phoenix program. and the venn diagram of usaid and NED and cia…, as is matthew hoh at CP.

      • burning down the world house

        thanks for the RT notice. of course this proves the nefariousness of Team Red don’t it?

  6. it’s toast time for me, but i did want to get this fukkery up. two of the questions are why not then (as in: who were they protecting?), and why now? and yep, it’s maz hussain again.

    on edit later: i couldn’t remember why wikileaks had named ‘country x’ (afghanistan) when the waPo and greenwald censored that nation. here’s assange’s reasoning, and i concur:

    via gawker, 5/23/14: “Wikileaks’ argument, essentially, was that the U.S. could use its phone-record data to deliver drone strikes against Afghans, and the people of Afghanistan deserved to know that:

    ‘Both the Washington Post and The Intercept stated that they had censored the name of the victim country at the request of the US government. Such censorship strips a nation of its right to self-determination on a matter which affects its whole population. An ongoing crime of mass espionage is being committed against the victim state and its population. By denying an entire population the knowledge of its own victimisation, this act of censorship denies each individual in that country the opportunity to seek an effective remedy, whether in international courts, or elsewhere.’

    This raises a host of questions, both about the Intercept’s choice to omit the Afghanistan identification and Wikileaks’ choice to expose it.”

    • ragna rock & roll

      that tears it. I’m sure some Afghani officials will cancel their on-line subscription to WaPo after that last straw.

      sorry, bad joke. wtf can one say? The WaPo, that old reliable war horse, and the new cutting edge rock star of superwebs jernalizmz, the Interburp or whatever, are both adjuncts of the info wars of the State, ain’t they? been obvious about WaPo for a long time. makes one wonder about the Pentagon Papers & Deep Throat & all that? hey, to ward off possible revolution or further radicalization in society, throw the poor doggies some info bones?

      despite the terrors of Stalinism, the realities of communist vs. capitalist rule are plain to see in Afghanistan. for fuck’s sake. when I hear of US/ISAF/NATO/WTF troops getting blowed up in Niger & etc., I feel like the butler Tuck in “The Ruling Class” when one of the aristos of the family, Lady Claire, in the film gets killed: “One less. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!” (at about the 2:05:15 mark, but the whole thing is really worth watching).

      (except it will always be someone else killing & getting killed until USaians get off their ass.)

      (oh, btw: ESL: English as 2nd language. TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language.)

      • ragna rock & roll

        while we are taking swats at the more sophisto poopaganda being crapped out of Omidyar’s billion dollar vanity toilet…
        http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2017/10/i-read-in-intercept-that-damascus-is.html
        I read in the Intercept that Damascus is “Bashshar Al-Asad’s capital”: so it belongs to him and bombing it is justifiable?

        (link to Interpoop at the angry arab)

        “fired several barrages of rockets at targets in the heart of Damascus, Bashar al-Assad’s capital.”

        • nice to see that the angry arab’s such a fan of fearless, uncompromising, investigative reporting. ;-) bless his ♥. i’ll ask mr. wd to see if he can get the film thru inter-liberry loan. we just finished one that was sincerely fine; so many good quotes about life and death…. anthony hopkins told his late-life only love that she was the Truest Person he’d ever known. and dayum, she was played by deborah winger, believe it or not, and turned in a great performance.

      • glad ya caught on to the Pierre Stables’ current (ahem) omission in 2013. why now? who were they protecting before? at least maz got some pushback, but not nearly enuff. plenny anti-assadists there.

        film looks fun, and the butler’s joyful scream was majestic!

        but as far as afghanistan, it’s also great fun witnessing hamid karzai dissin’ trump. down the rabbit hole we go. but man, does he wear fine threads!

        tanks for toefl. after i’d joked about foot fungus, and now my junk box is full of fungus meds. well, the other main category is women wanting to have sex w/ me, so…there is that.

  7. “Throughout the conference, Dunford highlighted the continued need for unity of effort as well as for improved cooperation and collaboration to counter violent extremism.
    “This conference was a success in that we were able to gather more than 70 chiefs of defense from around the world for open, frank discussion on a range of topics related to violent extremism and the transregional threat it poses,” said Dunford. “Their participation was a clear indication of the international community’s commitment to countering the influence and impact violent extremism can have on the world.”

    During the conference the assembled Chiefs of Defense told us that in citizen polls their nations, the US Military was declared the nation most responsible for #global terrorism.
    Given that we collectively have seen the light as per studies they read here demonstrating that since post 9/11 and the AUMF, that #terrorism has actually increased 6000%, we are announcing that within a week we will close down the Defense Department, pull all our troops from 11,000 locations around the world, and give each and every one of them a severance package to be announced within 24 hours.

    The Defense Department will not support a new AUMF, nor using the current one to justify more war. We will also end Barack Obama’s budgeted plan to replace outdated nuclear warheads with a trilliion dollars’ worth of new and better ones. Good luck, and God bless the United States of America.”

  8. burning down the world house

    Qatar, Russia sign agreements on air defense, supplies‘, oct. 26, reuters

    the idiot lib facebook-o-sphere is all in an uproar over this. of course this is not a good thing. screw all these people & all their weapons. But Qatar & S. Arabia watched the Syrian “civil war”. Of course they did a lot more than just watch, but they are sitting on the front lines.

    when R intervened, they started throwing their money at Russia for its obviously far superior weapons.

    of course, to a free market capitalist, this is all a big commie plot. indeed, how could something that leads one to scoff in disbelief at the ridiculous swindle that is the DOD budget possibly be anything other than a Red plot?

    • well, gack, and to russia’s selling weapons to the sauds, too. but the blockade: wasn’t it about qatar being accused of harboring ter’rists? and russia was tryibg to mediate? and look at the list (although i’ve seen longer ones than just ‘the quartet’, don’t they call it? all support #violent extremism (see dunsford above).

      but hang onto your hat. Rt has ‘Russia to invest billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia’s future megacity ‘. wtf?

      i dunno. the unintended consequences of sanctions creating new alliances in trade often also contain weapons deals and ‘memos of understanding’ about defense pacts.

      you’ll enjoy this, though. the guardian: not pop poker, but ‘Democrats push bill to stop a Trump pre-emptive strike on North Korea’, Conyers-Markey legislation has two Republican backers in House, President’s threat to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea fuelled nuclear war fears’ and the subtext is that they know it’ll never pass…

      on edit: i should have added driving china and russia closer, iran as well. and if oil begins to be marketed in the ‘basketful of currencies’ other than dollars, most esp. the petro-yuan, those are fightin’ moves. mr. wd said pepe escobar has a new one on china at CP; i’ll go see if he addresses it.

      • only as part of a whole ‘chinese dream’ that xi laid out recently: “Xi himself, in his 3½-hour speech at the start of the 19th Party Congress, pointed to a rather simplified “socialist democracy” – extolling its virtues as the only counter-model to Western liberal democracy. Economically, the debate remains open on whether this walks and talks more like “neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics”. [huge snip, & whooosh-worthy, all of it]

        ‘Xi did not spell it out, but Beijing will do everything to stay as independent as possible from the Western Central Bank system, with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) to be avoided in as many trade deals as possible to the benefit of yuan-based transactions or outright barter. The petrodollar will be increasingly bypassed (it’s already happening between China and Iran, and Beijing sooner rather than later will demand it from Saudi Arabia.)

        The end result, by 2050, will be, barring inevitable, complex glitches, an integrated market of 4.5 billion people mostly using local currencies for bilateral and multilateral trade, or a basket of currencies (yuan-ruble-rial-yen-rupee).
        Xi has laid China’s cards – as well as the road map – on the table. As far as the Chinese Dream is concerned, it’s now clear; Have BRI, Will Travel.’

  9. As best I can tell from my reading at least since 1947. (US under military control). Before then the leadership had few qualms about where the military wanted to go and in a few cases were ahead of the military in expansiveness.

    Washington was reluctant to put down the rebellions that he faced in the Confederation period, but Jefferson was looking out for the backcountry speculators and slaveholders looking to expand beyond the current frontier by negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, sending Lewis and Clark to claim and survey it, and beginning to assert coastal claims in the Pacific Northwest. The antebellum foreign policy was pro-slavery and aggressive. Generals were popular candidates for President.

    Strangely the civilian-military split seemed to occur with Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points and wanting self-determination for all nations yada-yada. Interpreted popularly as wanting peace.

    The current situation is that recent Presidents have had no experience with the military service since George H. W. Bush. They knew how to have the appearance of command, something that Obama had to cashier a couple of generals to obtain.

    What we have at the moment is a President who on foreign policy has asked the generals to do his thinking for him. So people are less jittery that guys who cut secret orders are “in charge” instead of the the Tweeter-in-Chief.

    • hello, night owl historian. thank you, but i’ll need to comment more closely tomorrow. woodrow wilson’s post-wwII (Oops, edit: post WWI) version of pax americana, then? and of course hw bush was cia, so i dunno how or where he fits in exactly.

      how odd that we’re watching ‘the good shepherd’, the advent of dulles and the cia, eh? i’ll let ya now how it turns out. j/k

      but i just read the transcript at TRNN for: ‘Democrats Funded the Steele Dossier that Fueled Russiagate’; After months of obfuscation, the Washington Post reveals that the Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the infamous Steele dossier at the heart of Russiagate. Empty Wheel’s Marcy Wheeler and TRNN’s Aaron Mate discuss

      …and she was so illogical if the transcript was close to right that she blew me away, even after reading her exposé at her site. so many questions, but holy crow. and of course, opinions may vary, but i feel soooo in need of a crutch before sleep time. john trudell can put me into a time warp, or a parallel universe, may he rest in power.

    • so..under military control since 1947, but more clear w/ trump cuz perception ‘sane’ generals block FP by crazy and changing tweets. goddam, amerikans love generals and are groovy-two-shoes with endless war, no matter what the polls say.

  10. Why is the US at war in West Africa?

    Black Agenda Report, By Eddie Haywood, October 25

    The circumstances surrounding the ambush which resulted in the deaths of the four Green Berets expose AFRICOM’s claim of non-engagement as a lie. The killings occurred during a joint patrol of elite American soldiers and Nigerien forces in a remote hostile region on the border with Mali known for frequent raids conducted by Islamist militants. Some 800 US commandos are deployed to bases in Niamey and Agadez making quite clear the offensive role that the American military is playing in Niger.

    Underlining the incident is Niger’s configuration in Washington’s imperialist offensive across Africa. The expanding levels of US military forces arrayed across the continent have increasingly taken on the character of an occupying army. According to the Pentagon, there are a total of 1,000 American troops in the vicinity of the Lake Chad Basin which includes eastern Niger, Chad, northern Nigeria and part of the Central African Republic. An additional 300 troops are stationed to the south in Cameroon.

    • ha! i thought the first one was familiar: eddie haywood: wsws. carried it, as well. again, i wonder if even africom’s troop levels are close to the truth, as per the OP.

      since we’re on post-obomba’s ‘scramble for africa’ (i hadn’t considered dubya’s, or known), i’ll add ‘‘US Military Breeds Violence in Africa’; After the killings of U.S. soldiers in Niger and a potential U.S. link to the Mogadishu attack, author Bill Fletcher says that an increased American military role in Africa threatens even more violence, TRNN (whooosh, thank the gods there’s a transcript) ;-)

      my guess is that there will be a second attempt to ‘liberate’ somalia coming soon. what strategic mineral turned out to be the underlying reason for clinton’s hideous move for their freedom? i sure wish i could recall.
      http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20292:US-Military-Breeds-Violence-in-Africa

      • …Hi wd

        …US under military control? ” Founding Father ” George Washington was a military man as in General Washington” …it would be accurate to understand the USA was and has been knitted and stitched together by a large cast of USian military men. What was done to Mexico during 1840’s was a precursor to what would be done and has been done time and time again right up to this year 2017.

        …It was USian military that was deeply involved in subjugating via Big Lie treaty or outright killing/murder/genocide and forced chaining down in “reservations” Native American tribes one by one during 19th century.

        …By 1895 what remained of Native Americans had been ruthlessly down spiritually and physically, debased and demoralized. So what did USian military do next? Go after and take Hawaii, attack the Spanish and take Cuba and Phillippines and implicitly encourage Japan to take and rule over Korea. This brings us only to 1905 – 1910. Easy enough to unreel what followed, follows and continues to this day. Korea? Still in USian Empire gun sights. Mexico, Central and South America all fully know the iron fist of USian militarism that USians so willingly conceal with Big Lie gloves of democracy to hide.

        … Barack Obama is a WarCriminal who should be in prison yet goes free. As should the Bush Gang, Cheney and the Clintons just to get what is a long list started. CIA? JFK evidently wanted to break CIA up so the irony of CIA telling Trump what cannot be revealed here in 2017 some 54 years after JFK was murdered says much.

        … Is US under military control? With massive Pentagon USian militarism edifice emerging out of WW2 and the old War Dept. renamed the Dept. of Defense it was fully evident we USians were OK with idea of being as fascist and militarist as any German or Japanese ever thought of being in lead up to what WW2 was. The irony of this is in plain sight here in 2017 as we USians are being bankrupted so USian Empire and USian Militarism can be the monsters they now are around this planet Earth.

        … Who will stop this? Those who can and will which more and more seems to be falling upon either China or Russia or both as we USians seem incapable or simply unwilling to do. Obama not in jail. Bush and Cheney not in jail. Lots of CIA and Pentagon gangsters and killers still free. Wall Street and the Corporatists evidently not subject to Rule Of Law. Too bad about all this being so but it did not just show up on Jan.20,2017 or on Jan.20,2009 or on Jan.20,2001 or Jan.20, 1993 etc..

        …Whatever Trump is / is not is largely due to what Obama The WarCriminal did or did not do about what Bush and Cheney had done. More of the useless R vs. D junk politics as seen since Trump became POTUS with the Dumbshit D’s trying to cover up Hillary Clinton criminal acts by dragging Putin and Russia in front of her is just that …useless.

        …Where and when will it all stop? Who can know? One must hope those who can stop and will stop USian Empire and odious USian Militarism backed $$$ hegemon will be able to do so without human race and planet Earth being too needlessly devastated.

        …sta🏹

        • well said, arrow; and we had a bit of fun w/ it on ‘the empire that mistook itself for (variously) indispensable, Manifesting God’s Will to Rule the World’, or ‘…Mistook Itself as Divinely Ordered Judge, Jury, and Executioner’… an yes, i fervently agree that especially recently obomba provided the rubric for unitary executive wars of choice for plunder and profit, i mean: fighting bad guys who hate nato and amerika occupying forces…the absolute recipe for endless war.

          but by the question in the title i’d meant that given herr Tee’s cabinet and close advisors stuffed w/ generals, is the pentagon’s stranglehold on FP all but complete? now that’s not to say that the librul class doesn’t seem to love those weighty, ‘sane’ generals in comparison to the tweeter in chief, but it’s also been fun watching the librul Ds layin’ baskets of love at the feet of…the cia!

          i’ll leave JFK and his history with anti-communism alone for now, but wsws did dig a bit into the files released so far. the comments were great: anything culpable would have ben shredded ong ago, etc.

          dunno who’ll stop the western hegemon, but it’s becoming more and more a multipolar world every day, isn’t it? always nice to see you, amigo. but one Q: are you sure barack obomba belongs in prison? (j/k)

          • …Hi wd

            …Over at Black Agenda Report currently is a front paged piece about who did what to M. Gaddafi back in 2011 where it is plainly laid out Barack Obama The USian WarCrook / Killer played a big role in bringing death to M. Gaddafi and chaos / desolation to Libya with / on full intent of doing so wantonly and deliberately.

            …Do I have any doubts about whether Barack Obama or his SoS Hillary Clinton or Billy Clinton or Madge Albright just for starters belong in a prison? …Nope. Not. At. All.

            …All being knowable Exceptional USian War Criminals.

            ..sta🏹

            • well, the Q was by way of a jest, ya great idjit! (in that you mention it a lot.)
              but sure, r2p libya was the evil seed that spread weapons and pissed off muslims all over the planet, really. and no how many refutations and historical revisionist facts brought to bear on that fiasco seem to get absorbed by the many amerikans and other world citizens who refuse to believe that it was the right thing to do™. and now you have herr cheeto and mike pompeo both droning and yelling that they’ll fight #extremism any where they find it (or make it up/make it happen, of course). this one, i’d imagine…

              Remembering Muammar Qaddafi and the Great Libyan Jamahiriya’

              • …Hi wd

                …Did view and think it to be in jest wd …;-) …

                … Soon it will be one year since November 2017 election or was it more of a erection of DeeTee to be POTUS tho with DumbShit D’s going full tilt with misdirection since then it seems more like a decade has passed. Now we are learning it was the DumbShit D’s and Hilly who all along were at middle of much of this Putin / Russia. blame game junk politics in hopes of derailing DeeTee’s WH bid. The rot runs deep and wide. Very deep. Very wide.

                …Golly gee whiz imagine that!

                …Anyhoo for the sake of posterity it seems needful to state what Obama did and where Obama ought to have ended up being it was so deceptive how Obama claimed to be what he plainly was not and had no intention of being. Many innocent humans now dead because of what War Criminal / Wanton Killer Barack Obama condoned and green lighted others to be and do. Because of who and what Obama was / was not now we common USians have to endure the WH reign of DeeTee doing more of the same.

                …best wishes always wd….take care…;-)
                …winter season just around the corner…2017 has flown by…;-)

                …sta🏹

                • well, it was a jest, ya great idjit! but really, i’ve gotten a bit confused over the various leaks, hacks, and whatnot. there are some very smart people™ who still think, even w/ the steele dossiers unmasked (mainly) that the roosians done did it. and mueller’s GJ just indicted someone or someone. hard to believe that justice will be served, as it rarely is.

                  for me, though, the one who’s been indicted, tried, and sentenced in absentia is julian assange, and that’s a fooking pity. now diFi wants his and one of the wikileaks’ attorneys social media things (flakebook, tweets?). christ in a canoe. and of course hellary has spoken often of drone-killing him.

                  wikileaks on twitter.

                  • …Hi wd

                    …Were J.Assange / WikiLeaks suddenly to convert / invert to becoming a purified Anti-Russia / China Biased entity while denouncing what Manning and Snowden did seems very likely the tune being played by current USian WashDC regime would soon be transfigured in ways that would present Assange/WikiLeaks as having recanted in approved ways and now worthy of being seen as Great Friend Of USian Empire.

                    … The raw mockery in all this being so very repugnant.

                    …Manning showed what was being done in Iraq by USian Empire that USian Empire very much did not want revealed. Snowden pulled back the covers over lots of NSA rotted conduct which Barack Obama plainly was OK with what was done to Manning and Snowdenwhich in a world based on justice should have seen Barack Obama brought to heel and Facing legal consequences.

                    …Did. Not. Happen.

                    …In light of what Hillary Clinton was doing / not doing as Obama’s SoS from 2009 onwards it is a panoramic revealing of how Hillary Clinton is being treated as compared to J. Assange, Manning and Snowden. Pathetically so. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both pathetic crooked liars. What astounds the most tho is how many USians do not / will not / simply refuse to see this and prefer to continue to obscure facts and truths and continue to support / defend Obama /Clinton here in 2017. This being so truly is the malevolent ongoing component in all this that dangerously opens upon evil and wickedness being condoned and rewarded.

                    …sta🏹

                    • mornin’, arrow. i’m not sure i’m grasping your key thesis, but when wikileaks put up russia files (pegged to the top of their acct.), his detractors called bullshit in many creative ways, although i haven’t checked in a couple weeks.

                      true, obomba finally pardoned chelsea as he walked out the door, and some hard leftists are vexed with her tweets that connote imperialism. i’m agnostic on snowden, as his politics are simply shitty. but yeppers, the librul tribe can’t see, don’t want to see O and the red queen for who they are (or know and don’t care, even worse), and our current military rulers have declared assange and wiklileaks ‘enemies of the state’….and worse, iirc.

                      such a pickle we’ve gotten ourselves into, eh? hope you and your partner are both doing well, though. ;-) or well enough, considering…

    • Oh, and via Phil Rockstroh comes this general indictment of American culture and Hollywood at Counterpunch: The Simulacra Democracy, and quoted within:

      Under Obama, the US African Command (AFRICOM) has penetrated every African country but Zimbabwe and Eritrea. AFRICOM has locked African nations into military subservience. In 2014, the US conducted 674 military operations in Africa . According to a recent Freedom of Information Act request by Intercept, the US currently has Special Forces deployed in more than twenty African nations.

      • dagnabbit, i’d started it earlier, but due to its length, backed out. the hollywood factor, writers gone, etc. makes it a keeper, eh? loved his quoting bernie on chavez…GG does, has, as well.

  11. oct. 24 preemptive strike

    @wikileaks 13h13 hours ago
    ‘WikiLeaks issues a $100,000 reward for the withheld JFK documents should they show violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error.’
    …and says that the agencies have had 25 years to prepare for today, #Pfffft.

  12. “etz chaim chai, as the ex used to say.” the tree of life lives.

    what is this JFK thing but another chance to conspiracy-monger?

    listening to a couple of kids talking about this & that awful thing going on in the world over lunch, half nonsense & half not, and that this kind of thing is quite common b/c we are intentionally overwhelmed with “information”, a nigh infinity of rabbit holes to run down, got me wondering about some basic principles:
    1) where is the fighting happening? a country sending troops into another country half way around the world is the aggressor, period. there is no circumstance ever that is an exception to that rule. ISIS, Boko Haram, etc., etc., all smokescreens for imperialism.

    2) budgets. well, that speaks for itself. no need to belabor.

    3) body counts. who is doing the most killing? again, except to msnbc viewers, pretty obvious.

    now maybe KERN & the large Hadron collider are opening wormholes in order to trap Lucifer & make him do…the Illuminated Freemasons’ bidding in the quest for the God gene, which is what the Pharaohs, descendants of Noah, were doing & so were able to build the pyramids…and maybe not. distracting people w/this kind of unverifiable, and silly, nonsense is part of the game.

    anyway, you should check out spyculture’s commentary on The Good Shepherd. just for starters, note who the movie blames for the failure of the Bay of Pigs.

    • i rescued it, etz chaim chai. sure, it’s a chance to conspiracy monger, but otoh, as per wikileaks: ‘we open governments’, and given the holding back of many, many docs as per fibbie, cia orders, we ought to be able to know what’s in them, not these cutesy dribs and drabs like RT is click-baiting with. especially, of course, if the cia had him killed as per the quote up yonder. which is why i used pompeo’s preemptive quote. other than that, the twi acct. is all about canines as agents…or some rubbish.

      but i do love the rest of your rant, really. okay, not much fun to hunt down, but here ya go (i’ll leave them raw for now):

      ‘The Good Shepherd, Intelligence in Recent Public Media, cia.gov

      http://www.spyculture.com/the-cia-and-robert-de-niro-the-cia-and-hollywood-episode-02/

      on edit: i got to thinking that you prolly weren’t even born when JFK, RFK, and MLK were assassinated. that may make a difference. some say that they were the days that amerika died, but that’s a bit over the top. still, such grievous days.

      yanno; ‘the lone gunmen’? you prolly watched the simpsons version. ;-)

  13. comment got et. I don’t think I can reproduce that adamantine prose without ripping the cosmos a new one.

    you should out spyculture’s review of The Good Shepherd. it’s very good.

  14. my (almost, but not altogether) apologies for being so behind. i’ve been wrestling w/ a 7 lb. butternut squash, trying to keep up w/ wikileaks, unblockading comments (wth?) collecting things for a new diary, and tra la la. but here’s this for now, whether or not one believes it should have happened…or not.

    Spain sacks Catalan government after independence declaration’, Friday, 27 Oct 2017 22:18, ret.ie

    “A new election will be held in Catalonia on 21 December, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a televised address on a day of high drama.
    As well as removing Carles Puigdemont as head of the autonomous region, he also fired the police chief and said central government ministries would take over the Catalan administration.”

  15. I just saw a piece over at the Saker that claimed westerners were afraid of calling the control of capitalism communism. I scrolled through the comments, and not one of them mentioned FDR.

    I probably registered myself as an idiot but I put it on record that I consider Putin an FDR New Deal politician more than a communist.

    How this pertains is that I want to make the point that the controlling factor in our government isn’t just the Military – I might even not mind that if the military had brains to think with. The controlling factor is Stupidity cultivated by Hubris and Greed. Which can all be filed away under the term, Ignorance.

    Which is NOT bliss.

    • hmmm. ‘afraid to call the control of capitalism…communism’ dunno which westerners, of course, but there seem to be many flavors of red, as in various socialisms and commies. wsws are trotskyites of the 4th internationa socialist stripe (iirc), the tankies on twitter seem to be leninists, the jacobin folks are socialists, but only in some respects (including imperialists of the anti-assad type) and of course the democratic socialists of america are simply reform capitalists. and many euro socialist parties are…anything but.

      now it’s my understanding that FDR’s new deal was underpinned by fear of commie labor unions’ power (IWW, et.al.) and was also a bit of a gift to the working class given that the wobblies had agreed to suspend all their mining strikes due to WWII.

      pure communism seems to be state ownership of all means of production, which sure isn’t what modern russia’s about. putin’s an oigarch, and has oligarchs to answer to, but as far as being another fdr, i haven’t a clue, juliania. it seems he’s saying he’ll run again, and likely win, but it depend on who’s telling the story if he’s a dictator, monarch, or just a pres whose people love him for sticking it to the western hegemon, as far as i can tell. but to detractors, as w/ maduro, morales, fidel’s son: he’s a diKtator.

  16. Another interesting read about military/national security state rule. Gregg Herken’s The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington. A good part of this history is from the personal letters of the Georgetown Set–the Alsop brothers, Paul Nitze, George Kennan, John Patton Davies, Frank Gardiner Wisner, Phil and Katherine Graham, Allen Dulles, Averell Harriman, and more, briefly including John and Jackie Kennedy. And the great Alsop move to get Lyndon Johnson on the 1960 ticket.

    The book also benefits from the post-Cold War release of many US and Soviet documents.

    Old China hands from World War II wind up as friends inside and outside the new intelligence agencies, military, the old State department, and as journalists. Most are Ivy Leaguers who wind up in a gentrifying working class neighborhood called Georgetown during the government expansion in the New Deal and World War II and turn it to the most elite of DC neighborhoods in the 1960s and 1970s. They are the enablers of the Cold War militarism and blindsided by the Vietnam War’s reaction among the educated youth of the Boomer generation, even their own kids.

    And too many of them are nostalgic for the derring do roles that they played in World War II. They love Big Brother.

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