Highlights from No War 2017

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Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?

By Mike Whitney. Originally published at Smirking Chimp (republished with permission of the author).

On Sunday, Former CIA Director John Brennan and Former National Intelligence Director (NID) James Clapper appeared on CNN’s morning talk show, State of the Union, to discuss Donald Trump’s brief meeting with Vladimir Putin in Vietnam. The two ex-Intel chiefs were sharply critical of Trump and wondered why the president did not “not acknowledge and embrace” the idea that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. According to Brennan, Russia not only “poses a national security problem” for the US, but also “Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy, and our whole process.”

Naturally, CNN anchor, Jake Tapper, never challenged Brennan or Clapper on any of the many claims they made regarding Russia nor did he interrupt either man while they made, what appeared to be, carefully scripted remarks about Trump, Putin and the ongoing investigation.

There were no surprise announcements during the interview and neither Brennan or Clapper added anything new to the list of allegations that have been repeated ad nauseam in the media for the last year. The only time Tapper veered off course at all was when he asked Brennan whether he thought “any laws were broken by the Trump campaign? Here’s what Brennan said:
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How America’s Deep State Operates to Control the Message

By Phil Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer with the CIA. Originally published at the Stategic Culture. Republished with permission of the author.

It is not possible to overstate the power of certain constituencies and corporate lobbies in the United States. These pressure groups, joined by powerful government agencies, many of which have secret agendas that focus on national security, constitute what is increasingly being recognized as “Deep State America.” Deep State is the widespread belief that there exists in many countries an entrenched and largely hidden infrastructure that really controls the national narrative and runs things. It explains why, for example, a country like the United States is perpetually at war even though the wars have been disastrous failures ever since Korea and have not made the nation more secure.

To be sure, certain constituencies have benefitted from global instability and conflict, to include defense industries, big government in general, and the national security state. They all work together and hand-in-hand with the corporate media to sustain the narrative that the United States is perpetually under threat, even though it is not.

The recent exchanges over the Russia-US relationship exhibit perfectly how the Deep State operates to control the message. American President Donald Trump briefly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam. Putin reportedly told Trump that Russia “absolutely had not meddled” in the 2016 US election and Trump then told reporters that he believed the Russian leader meant what he said, “which is good.” As détente with Russia is not considered desirable by the Deep State, there was an immediate explosion of a contrary narrative, namely that Trump believes a Russian “enemy” and does not trust what his own intelligence agencies have told him about 2016 because he is being “played” by Putin. This story was repeated both on television news and in all the mainstream newspapers without exception, eventually forcing Trump to recant and say that he does believe in US intelligence.
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Want Widespread Prosperity? Radically Lower Costs

It’s easy to go down the wormhole of complexity when it comes to figuring out why our economy is stagnating for the bottom 80% of households. But it’s actually not that complicated: the primary driver of stagnation, decline of small business start-ups, etc. is costs are skyrocketing to the point of unaffordability.

As I have pointed out many times, history is unambiguous regarding the economic foundations of widespread prosperity: the core ingredients are:

1. Low inflation, a.k.a. stable, sound money

2. Social mobility (a meritocracy that enables achievers and entrepreneurs to climb out of impoverished beginnings)

3. Relatively free trade in products, currencies, ideas and innovations

4. A state (government) that competently manages tax collection, maintains roadways and harbors, secures borders and trade routes, etc.

Simply put, When costs are cheap and trade is abundant, prosperity is widely distributed. Once costs rise, trade declines and living standards stagnate. Poverty and unrest rise.

These foundations characterize stable economies with widely distributed prosperity across time and geography, from China’s Tang Dynasty to the Roman Republic to the Byzantine Empire to 19th century Great Britain.

The “Secret Sauce” of the Byzantine Empire: Stable Currency, Social Mobility(September 1, 2016)

The Lesson of Empires: Once Privilege Limits Social Mobility, Collapse Is Inevitable(April 18, 2016)

I have estimated the realistic cost of a conventional middle class lifestyle, and found that only the top 20% can afford a middle class lifestyle. Needless to say, this destroys the notion of being “middle.”
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Trump Continues Obama’s Support of Nazism

Eric Zuesse

On November 16th, U.S. President Donald Trump, acting through an agent of his agent U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, voted at the U.N. against a resolution that condemns bigotry, and especially condemns nazism and all forms of racism. He thus, yet again, continues in the tradition from his predecessors, Presidents Obama and Bush, each year placing this nation in the company of only one or two U.S. allies throughout the world who join with the U.S. in refusing to commit to opposing and doing everything to reduce not just political Nazism (which, of course, is past), but ideological nazism, racist fascism — institutionalized bigotry (which, sadly, is not past).

Almost all of America’s foreign allies — such as Europe and Japan — voted “Abstain”, in order not to tar themselves, such as did the only two overtly racist-fascist nations, the two nations that voted “No” on the anti-nazi Resolution (voted to defend nazism): Ukraine and U.S.

In February 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama overthrew in a very bloody fascist coup the democratically elected President of Ukraine, and installed nazis to replace his Government, and to expel from the legislature that democratically elected President’s supporters. Soon thereafter, Ukraine’s nazis began (and they continue even today) an ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of Ukrainians who live in Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine, where almost everybody had voted for the man whom Obama had ousted. So, it’s very fitting that both the nazi regime in Ukraine, and the fascist Government that installed nazism in Ukraine in our time, stand alone, at the U.N., this year, in defending nazism worldwide.

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Top NSA Whistleblower Claims ‘Russiagate’ a Fake to Increase War-Spending

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

William Binney is the mathematician and Russia-specialist, who quit the NSA in 2001 as its global Technical Director for geopolitical analysis, because of the lying about, and manipulations of, intelligence, that he saw — distortions of intelligence by the George W. Bush Administration — in order to ‘justify’ systematic, massive, and all-encompassing, Government snooping into all Americans’ private electronic communications. His, and some colleagues’, efforts to get the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense to investigate the matter, produced FBI raids into their homes, and seizures of their computers, so as to remove incriminating evidence they might have against higher-ups. According to Binney, NSA’s Director, General Michael Hayden, had vetoed in August 2001 a far less intrusive and more effective system of signals-intelligence collection and analysis, which, if it had been in place, might have enabled the 9/11 attacks to be blocked — a more effective system that would have been less expensive, less intrusive, and not violated Americans’ Constitutional rights. Hayden went on to head the CIA, until the end of George W. Bush’s Presidency. Afterward, General Hayden joined the Chertoff Group and other military-industrial-complex contractors of the U.S. federal Government. There were no such rewards for any of the whistleblowers.

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Against Thanksgiving

What the hell do I mean I’m against Thanksgiving? Can’t I find something worse to be against? How about famine, cholera, war, slavery, rape, murder, torture, environmental collapse, refugee crises, evil heartless lying scheming governments, oil spills, slick propaganda, mass incarceration, entrenched apathy, bigotry, greed, or sadism? Indeed, I’m certainly against all of those things and thousands of others, and more so than I am against Thanksgiving.

But the world’s problems are relevant to why I’m against Thanksgiving, and for two reasons. First, it seems indecent to be engaging in Thanksgiving in light of the world’s horrors. Second, doing so contributes to those horrors in a number of ways.

So why am I such an awful counterproductive drag? Sure, there are horrible things in the world, but is it too much to ask to take one day to appreciate some of the millions of wonderful things in the world? Isn’t that how we inspire ourselves and recharge ourselves? Shouldn’t we be thankful for those who recognize the world’s problems and work to solve them?

I’m not in a bad mood. I haven’t suffered some personal tragedy. Like every year, my personal life is wonderful in comparison with the fate of the earth, as long as I don’t count my offspring’s future as personal. I’m also not protesting the tradition of pretending the pilgrims behaved as friends toward the native people, or pretending there’s nothing wrong with this year’s Washington Redskins Thanksgiving football game, or devoting ourselves to carnivorous gluttony in preparation for contests of extreme consumerism. If there were a way to set those things aside and do Thanksgiving the right way, I’d be all for it. I don’t think there is.
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