Reese Erlich ponders the possibility of Assange getting a fair trial. His conclusion: don’t hold your breath. From Erlich at antiwar.com:
British police dragged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 11, witnessed by a scrum of international media. Authorities in the United Kingdom and US then tried to drag Assange’s reputation through the mud.
The official story was that Assange wore out his welcome at the embassy. News stories reported that he skateboarded through the offices, dirtied his bathroom, and let his cat poop in the halls. The man who had exposed government wrongdoing around the world had become the Hacker Who Came to Dinner.
Whatever the truth to those accusations, in reality, Assange was the victim of regime change. In 2017, Ecuadorians elected Lenin Moreno president and, in asharp departure from previous government policy, the new president sought closer relations with the US. Moreno decided to expel Assange as part of the bargain.
The US cares nothing about cat poop in the embassy hallways. But it does want to send a warning to the media, according to John Kiriakou, a former CIA case officer and whistleblower. He says in an interview that Presidents Donald Trump, like Barack Obama before him, has a “Nixonian obsession with national security leaks.” But the real goal is to send “a message to all journalists that there’s a lot less freedom of press than you might think.”
Dmitry Orlov’s perspective on Russia and its environs is both provocative and probably far closer to the truth than anything promulgated within the US government. This interview is long but well worth the read. From the Saker at unz.com:
“I think that the American empire is very much over already, but it hasn’t been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case”
If I had to characterize the current international situation using only one word, the word “chaos” would be a pretty decent choice (albeit not the only one). Chaos in the Ukraine, chaos in Venezuela, chaos everywhere the Empire is involved in any capacity and, of course, chaos inside the US. But you wouldn’t know that listening to the talking heads and other “experts” who serve roughly the same function for the Empire as the orchestra did on the Titanic: to distract from the developing disaster(s) for a long as possible.
I decided to turn to the undisputed expert on social and political collapse, Dmitry Orlov whom I have always admired for his very logical, non-ideological, comparative analyses of the collapse of the USSR and the US. The fact that his detractors have to resort to crude and, frankly, stupid ad hominems further convinces me that Dmitry’s views need to be widely shared. Dmitry very kindly agreed to reply to my questions in some detail, for which I am most grateful. I hope that you will find this interview as interesting as I did.
The Saker: How would you assess the current situation in the Ukraine in terms of social, economic and political collapse?
Dmitry Orlov: The Ukraine has never been viable as an independent, sovereign state and so its ongoing disintegration is to be expected. The applicability of the concept of collapse is predicated on the existence of an intact, stand-alone entity capable of collapse, and with the Ukraine this is definitely not the case. Never in its history has it been able to stand alone as a stable, self-sufficient, sovereign entity. As soon as it gained independence, it just fell over. Just as the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), it had reached its peak of economic and social development just as the USSR was about to collapse, and it has been degenerating and losing population ever since. Thus, the right model for discussing it is not one of sudden collapse but of steady degeneration and decay.
The Ukraine’s territory was stuck together by the Bolsheviks—first by Lenin, then by Stalin, then by Khrushchev. It was Lenin who lumped in its eastern regions (Donetsk and Lugansk specifically) who previously were part of Russia proper. Stalin then added eastern lands, which were at various times Polish, Austro-Hungarian or Romanian. Finally, Khrushchev tossed in Russian Crimea in a move that was unconstitutional at the time, since no public referendum had been held in Crimea to decide this question as was required by the Soviet constitution.
Posted in Collapse, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, Politics, War
Tagged NATO, President Trump, Russia, Ukraine
Yesterday SLL noted that Tulsi Gabbard might steal some of Trump’s antiwar voters. Bernie Sanders may do the same thing. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:
“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”
Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.
Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.
But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”
Just what this country needs—higher gas taxes! From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:
Trump rode a wave of average man outrage into the Oval Office. But the Orange Man could be swept out of it just as easily if he pursues what he has hinted at doing – raise the federal tax on gas.
Not by a little bit, either.
Nothing could be more politically suicidal. Besides which, it is just a terrible idea. More money to Uncle means, inevitably, less freedom for us. More ways to extort the states to impose more freedom-stifling outrages – everything from (historically) dumbed-down DUI standards – and the vile East German-style checkpoints to go with – as well as “buckle up” laws and dumbed-down speed limit regimes.
Giving Uncle more money is – as the saying goes – like giving an idiot child a machine gun. Trump ought to know this. Don’t feed the Swamp Thing.
Liberal politics have transformed once-great cities in the Midwest and back east into dumps, and now the same thing is happening to three once-great west coast cities. From Michael Snyder at theeconomiccollapseblog.com:
Once upon a time, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle were three of the most beautiful cities on the entire planet. I know that this is hard to imagine today, but there was a time when millions of people eagerly moved out to the west coast for a better quality of life. Sadly, the reverse is true today. Millions of people are moving away from our major cities on the west coast because of the hellholes that they have become. A former Seattle police officer that was recently interviewed by a reporter from KOMO News was very honest about the fact that he would never want to raise a family in Seattle because of the hellhole that it has become. Every night he saw the worst of Seattle firsthand, and he finally felt forced to quit because city officials would not allow him to effectively do his job. An explosion of homelessness in our major west coast cities has fueled a wave of crime, drugs and human degradation unlike anything we have seen before, and in many cases our law enforcement officials have their hands tied and are literally being prevented from cleaning up the streets.
Right now, more than half a million people are homeless in the United States. As the economy gets worse, that number will continue to rise.
Many homeless Americans are law-abiding citizens that have just had a tough break. Everyone gets knocked down in life at some point, and we need to do all that we can to help those law-abiding citizens get back on their feet.
Of all the people running for the Democratic nomination for president, President Trump should be most afraid of Tulsi Gabbard. She’s sounding many of the same foreign policy themes that candidate Trump did, and subsequently discarded in favor of Pompeo’s and Bolton’s foreign policy. Gabbard will steal Trump voters who were looking for something new in foreign policy. Gabbard also came out against the Assange arrest, another flashpoint for a substantial number of Trump voters. However, Gabbard probably has zero chance of getting the Democratic nomination. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Democratic presidential candidate for 2020 Rep. Tulsi Gabbard lashed out at Trump on Wednesday after the president vetoed the Yemen War Powers Resolution this week, which sought to end US support for the Sauid-led war in Yemen.
The Hawaiian congresswomen and outspoken US foreign policy critic asserted the president is turning the nation “into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia” and further stated he vetoed the bill “to please his Saudi masters” in a minute-and-a-half campaign video.
“Unlike Donald Trump I will not turn our great country into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia.”
The former combat veteran who served in the Iraq War has gotten visibility and vast push back even within her own party for making “ending regime change wars” her campaign focus.
It’s hard to escape the symbolism of Notre Dame burning as French elites reject French culture and French history in favor of the corporatist, globalist nightmare. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:
These are not matters solely of politics and finance; they are manifestations of the elite war on the identity of France.
As rationalists, we’re supposed to take the dramatic and profoundly tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as random chance or bad luck. But I cannot be the only one who feels a symbolic tie between the near-destruction of a French religious and cultural icon and the embattled identity of France.
As it happens, I am reading Fernand Braudel’s massive two-volume history The Identity of France: Volume One: History and Environment and Volume Two: People and Production.
Longtime readers know I have often recommended Braudel’s three-volume history, Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century, as essential to the understanding of the rise of Capitalism in Europe:
The Structures of Everyday Life (Volume 1)
The Wheels of Commerce (Volume 2)
The Perspective of the World (Volume 3)
The Chinese famously view natural disasters and similar events as portents of political change, as disasters suggest the Emperor/ruling elite has lost the Mandate of Heaven. It is difficult not to see the disastrous fire in Notre Dame as just such a portent.
For the identity of France is under assault on a number of fronts. The left-leaning status quo has set up a false duality: one either worships multiculturalism and rejects a national identity as the sworn enemy of multiculturalism, or one is a rightist racist. Thus anyone who even refers to a national identity of France is quickly vilified and marginalized.