Saturday, December 29, 2018


Friends in Need,

Moon of Alabama has a concise and information dense update on the war in Syria. Syrian Arab Army forces have raised the Syrian flag in Manbij, after Kurdish (Syrian separatist) forces withdrew so they could do so. Turkey and Kurds are in Russia, negotiating with the Russians. Turkey has stepped back from invasion plans, and is likely being schooled on how good it would be for Turkey to withdraw from the Syrian territory it currently occupies. The US is withdrawing, and has set up 2 new bases in Iraq to cover that. The Iraqi parliament is in the process of legislating US forces out of Iraq. Israeli F16s fired smart bombs at Syrian positions from behind 2 commercial passenger planes (cowards),over Lebanon, did a little damage, since most of the guided bombs were shot down by short range missiles, and stopped when Syria hit an Israeli position with a missile. (Note, Israel, it gets worse after this. Stop!) The Arab League is welcoming Syria back in, having failed in their attempted murder. There will be a price for them to pay. Syria will not forget their role, and will not forget that Iran shed blood and gold to save Syria at the critical moment. Blood brothers. Hezbollah, the other blood brother is not mentioned here...

As confusion and tensions mount in the Syrian Kurdish city of Manbij, located just 70 miles north of Aleppo, US helicopters have been filmed hovering above the potential battle lines, even after widespread reports of a US troop pullout from the area and following Kurdish militias quickly calling on Assad's help to prevent a Turkish invasion.  
This as Turkish Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), other heavy equipment, and Turkish troop reinforcements were seen crossing into Syria. Currently, the Syrian Army is deployed in and around the city saying it stands ready to protect it from nearby pro-Turkish forces after Friday Syria's defense ministry announced it had "raised the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic" over Manbij for the first time after years of war as confirmed by Russian television footage from on the ground; however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly refused to acknowledge the Syrian Army's presence, dismissing the Syrian statement as a “psychological action.”  ... 
On Saturday Russia and Turkey announced plans to coordinate ground operations in Syria following last week's surprise announcement of a full US troop draw down from Syria, according to statements by Moscow's top diplomat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. When it comes to Manbij, for Erdogan this will require proof of a full withdrawal of armed Kurdish YPG fighters from the town and countryside.
Lavrov said after talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow, "Of course we paid special attention to new circumstances which appeared in connection with the announced US military pullout." He explained further, "An understanding was reached of how military representatives of Russia and Turkey will continue to coordinate their steps on the ground under new conditions with a view to finally rooting out terrorist threats in Syria."
"We will continue active work (and) coordination with our Russian colleagues and colleagues from Iran to speed up the arrival of a political settlement in the Syrian Republic," he said in remarks also confirmed by Cavusoglu, according to the AFP.
However, the wild card that remains is whether or not US forces will fully and truly make a complete break from the theater. Considering the Trump administration is currently considering whether or not to leave US weapons with the Kurds, it appears a full pullout is indeed happening.

President Trump has been invited by to visit Turkey in 2019 by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House said on Monday night. While Trump has not accepted the offer, he "is open to a potential meeting in the future," according to White House spokesman Hogan Gidley.
As Bloomberg notes, the invitation was extended less than a week after President Trump announced a massive withdrawal of US troops from Syria - where they have supported Kurdish forces considered enemies of the Turkish state. Erdogan considers the US allies an extension of the PKK - deemed a terrorist group by both the EU and US.  
During a lengthy phone call on Dec. 14, Trump shocked even those in his inner circle by yielding to a suggestion from Erdogan to pull U.S. forces from the country, where eight years of civil war has forced millions of citizens to flee and established Iran and Russia as protectors of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The president later declared that the U.S. had won the battle against Islamic State, saying that was “my only reason for being there.” -Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s announcement of an imminent withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria summoned a predictable paroxysm of outrage from Washington’s foreign policy establishment. Former secretary of state and self-described “hair icon” Hillary Clinton perfectly distilled the bipartisan freakout into a single tweet, accusing Trump of “isolationism” and “playing into Russia and Iran’s hands.”
Michelle Flournoy, the DC apparatchik who would have been Hillary’s secretary of defense, slammed the pull-out as “foreign policy malpractice,” while Hillary’s successor at the State Department, John Kerry, threw bits of red meat to the Russiagate-crazed Democratic base by branding Trump’s decision “a Christmas gift to Putin.” From the halls of Congress to the K Street corridors of Gulf-funded think tanks, a chorus of protest proclaimed that removing U.S. troops from Syria would simultaneously abet Iran and bring ISIS back from the grave.
Yet few of those thundering condemnations of the president’s move seemed able to explain just why a few thousand U.S. troops had been deployed to the Syrian hinterlands in the first place. If the mission was to destroy ISIS, then why did ISIS rise in the first place? And why was the jihadist organization still festering right in the midst of the U.S. military occupation?
Too many critics of withdrawal had played central roles in the Syrian crisis to answer these questions honestly. They had either served as media cheerleaders for intervention, or crafted the policies aimed at collapsing Syria’s government that fueled the rise of ISIS. The Syrian catastrophe was their legacy, and they were out to defend it at any cost.

Much, much more here. Operation Timber Sycamore was just the beginning.
The invasion and occupation of Syria by tens of thousands of jihadists who were recruited from around the world to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, was financed mainly by US taxpayers and by the world’s wealthiest family, the Sauds, who own Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest oil company, Aramco. America’s international oil companies and major think tanks and ‘charitable’ foundations were also supportive and providing propaganda for the operation, but the main financing for it came from America’s taxpayers, and from the Saud family and from the Government that they own.  

​Tom Luongo on the remarkable stability of the Russian Ruble, despite sanctions and oil price fluctuations:
Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev finally made it clear that Russian political leaders have turned a corner on their thinking.
He added that US sanctions have pushed Moscow and Beijing to think about the use of their domestic currencies in settlements, something that “we should have done ten years ago.”
“Trading for rubles is our absolute priority, which, by the way, should eventually turn the ruble from a convertible currency into a reserve currency,” the Russian prime minister said.
That’s what Putin’s endless meetings are all about, building trade across central Asia with the ruble as a viable alternative for the dollar.
The trend is clear. The West is broke. The endless hunt for taxes to shore up federal budgets will continue. The U.S. is interested solely in maintaining its power. This is really what Trump means when he says, “Make America Great Again.”

​Always colorful, Jim Kunstler,on dealing with fundamental economic changes...
Thursday’s last minute 900-point turnaround was another marvelous stunt to behold. Somebody gave the drowned man a pair of swim fins to kick himself furiously to the surface for a gulp of air. The truth, of course, is that pension funds are sunk, however you balance their investment loads while they’re underwater. They over-bought stocks out of sheer desperation during ten years of near-ZIRP bond yields, and started rotating back into bonds as they crept above the ZIRP handle, and now with bond yields retreating, they’re loading up again on still-overpriced stocks that pretend to be “bargains.” Everybody knows that this will not end well for pension funds. Glug Glug.
The financial press and their red-headed step-siblings in the regular news media seem to think that getting rid of Mr. Trump will power the perpetual bull market into an Elon Musk nirvana of Martian vacations, hyperloops, and another chapter of US world domination — with Wonder Woman running the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spearheading an army of eunuchs. ..
 The true rebalancing of pension funds, and everything else in American life, will come with the recognition that we are tapped out and bumping up against actual limits. Alas, economies don’t de-grow, at least not in an orderly way. They reach a certain complete efflorescence and then they wilt, or collapse. ..
The argument will come down to the Mitigationists versus the Adapters. The problem for the Mitigators is that most of what they can do is based on pretending: e.g. that some energy miracle is at hand… that we’ll soon be mining asteroids… that we’ll build dikes around Miami Beach… that Modern Monetary Theory (the “science” of getting something for nothing) can negate the physical laws of the universe. The Mitigationists will be disappointed as they “consume” their last images of iPhone porn, waiting for Elon Musk to save the world.  The Adapters will be out there working with the changes that reality serves up, probably with hand tools. There may be a lot fewer of them, living in a more austere everyday economy, but they will remain onstage when the Mitigationists depart this earth in tears for a mysterious realm that turns out not to be a golf course subdivision on Mars with a Tesla in every driveway.  

​There was a stock market head-fake Friday afternoon as "somebody" placed buy orders on stocks, in the pattern of pension funds buying, in order to force a short squeeze and run up prices (and presumably sell into the rally). It started to work, then didn't work at all.
Meanwhile, as it became clear that no real pension bid was coming, the selling returned, and stocks closed near session lows, with the Dow losing almost 400 points of gains and briefly dropping below 23,000 although the selloff was far more controlled than the liquidation puke observed on Monday.  

​America, the "Mock Democracy"
The citizens are disenfranchised and conditioned to be politically apathetic consumers. In recent decades, democracy has been replaced by the illusion of democracy. New forms of organization of power and psychological methods for manipulation of our consciousness protect the powerful against the risks of democratic empowerment and strengthen their position... Democracy today really means an elected oligarchy of economic and political elites, in which central areas of society, especially the economy, are fundamentally removed from any democratic control and accountability; at the same time, large parts of the social organization of our own life lie outside the democratic sphere. And freedom today means above all the freedom of the economically powerful...Democracy, which was originally associated with great hopes for political self-determination and a safeguarding of internal and external peace, is left only as a formal shell in the real structure of society. Democracy has been reduced to a staged spectacle of periodical elections, where the population can choose from a given «elite spectrum». Real democracy has been replaced by the illusion of democracy; free public debate has been replaced by opinion- and outrage-management. The guiding principle of the responsible citizen has been replaced by the neoliberal ideal of the politically apathetic consumer... Hardly more than a historical memory is left of the great hopes originally associated with democracy and international law, namely, the hopes that civilization could contain power and violence. The populace is all the more being forcefully convinced of the political rhetoric of democracy and international law, with which the economically or militarily strong seek to win the consent or tolerance of the populace for their actual practice of a violent realpolitik. In today’s realpolitik, the right of the strongest has again long been accepted...The social transformation process associated with these things is similar to the effects of a «revolution from above», i.e. a revolution that represents a project of the economic elites and serves to expand and consolidate their interests. The transformation process that accompanies this revolution essentially rests on two pillars...  The first pillar of this transformation process is that the organizational forms of power are designed more abstractly and with a purposeful diffusion of social responsibility, so that the unease, indignation or anger of those ruled can find no concrete, i.e. politically effective, targets. Thus a will for change in the population can no longer find expression among the actual decision-makers... The second pillar is the development of sophisticated and highly effective techniques that can in a targeted way manipulate the consciousness of the ruled. Ideally, those who are ruled should not even know that there are centers of power behind the political surface, presented by the media, of seemingly democratically controlled power. The most important goal is to neutralize any social will to change in the population or divert their attention to politically insignificant goals. (transgender bathrooms?) ... We can only develop promising strategies of resistance to the current order based on power and violence if we sufficiently understand these new organizational forms of power. The same applies to the manipulation techniques, through which specific properties of our mind can be exploited for political purposes.

Imagine you were the chief of a CIA section called Consciousness Covert Ops. What would you try to do, given that your motive, as always, is control?
“The brain functions according to laws. We’re discovering more and more about those laws. We can determine when the brain is malfunctioning. We’re learning how to correct those malfunctions.”
You’re spinning narrative about the brain as if it were a car that has to visit the shop. That’s what you want. You want to make people believe their brains need fixes, because, after all, you come out of the long tradition of CIA MKULTRA mind control.​..​
“Consciousness? A very old idea that, in light of the progress of technology, has no merit. It’s really information processing. The brain handles that. The brain is a computer. We’re learning how to build a better brain…” 
Brain=computer=consciousness is the greatest covert op on the planet. It’s supported with major money and labs and journals and armies of psychiatrists and neurological professionals and physicists and the military.
And the op is completely false, because, again, the very scientists who push it are saying the brain is composed of sub-atomic particles THAT CONTAIN ZERO CONSCIOUSNESS.
​Thinking It Over​

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