TYReads “A Plea for Caution From Russia”

A Plea for Caution From Russia by Vladimir V. Putin @ The New York Times In a rare oped by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin pleads directly with the american people against USA intervention in Syria. The well crafted article stresses two ideas: 1) America is increasingly perceived not as a democracy, but as an aggressive entity that unilaterally uses brute force to intervene (foster?) in conflicts around the world without legal nor moral justification and 2) American exceptionalism is dangerous because it assumes America is inherently “superior”. He might have a point, or two.

American exceptionalism is the theory that states that the United States is “qualitatively different” from other nations. In this view, America’s exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming what political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset called “the first new nation” and developing a uniquely American ideology, “Americanism“, based on liberty, egalitarianismindividualismrepublicanismpopulism and laissez-faire. This ideology itself is often referred to as “American exceptionalism.”

The theory of exceptionalism can be traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as “exceptional” in 1831 and 1840. The term “American exceptionalism” has been in use since at least the 1920s. Even when there is no historical connexion, the similarities between the concept of “American exceptionalism” and that of the “Chosen People” are apparent.

Although the term does not necessarily imply superiority, many neoconservative and American conservative writers have promoted its use in that sense. To them, the United States is like the biblical shining “City upon a Hill“, and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries.

The article by Vladimir Putin:

Recent events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.

Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.

Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.

From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.

No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.

The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.

We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.

A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.

I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.

If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

America’s “high moral ground” in Syria

Little miracle: Two years ago, Shakira, whose name means thankful, was discovered badly burned in a bin following a drone attack in Pakistan

Drums of war again. Among unproved allegations of a chemical attack by the Syrian government against its own people, the USA is preparing to go to war, again, and topple the Syrian regime. Not that the Syrian regime is a model one and that deserves praise, but if the allegations of a chemical attack are false, why the relentless march forward of America towards war? There is a geostrategic reason behind it, one that we explored in our previous post Arab Spring, Arab Fall & where it all began, in which we described how Wesley Clark, already in 2001 shortly after the S11 attacks, discovered the blueprint of a plan for a domino-like makeover of most of the Middle East countries, a plan that looking back 12 years into the future, has been executed in all but Syria and Iran. The main beneficiary of such a plan is “the one that cannot be named”.

Syria is a special case though. It is the place where the forces opposing the banking oligarchy that controls the West have decided to make a stand. Not that they care much about the Syrian population, but they care about their interests. These forces are Russia, China and Iran.

America seems to be willing to risk a bigger confrontation and seems to be prepared to justify it with a False Flag operation, which is what the chemical attack allegations seem to be given the fact that the Syrian government, winning the war against “the rebels”, has little to gain and lots to lose by perpetrating such a crime. It would not be the first time and it will most likely not be the last given the nature of the present day USA.

A different issue is whether the USA has any high moral ground on which to base its case for war. We believe that it has none, the country and its owners discredited after the Iraq War based, also (?), on false allegations of use of weapons of mass destruction, and the continuous use of drones in bombing operations, undeclared wars in foreign countries not authorized by the american Congress, where thousands of civilians have been killed or severely injured, like the girl in the photo above, victim of a USA drone attack perpetrated in Pakistan in 2011. High moral ground or shifing moral sands?. The latter.

TYReads “Snowden’s future”

Snowden’s future @ Financial Times

With this article brimming with doublespeak, the Financial Times tries to convince the western and the global public opinion, shocked by the realization that the old USA is no longer a democracy but “something else”, into believing that Edward Snowden is a criminal and not what a growing body of public opinion thinks he is: a smart and articulate idealistic man, that to the best of his ability has tried to warn the world of what the USA is doing and of what that country has turned into.

The article subliminally addresses the floating and growing meme that America no longer stands for goodness and the Rule of Law, but for something darker, and tries to blur, dilute and deactivate this growing and well founded suspicion.

FT starts by declaring that Edward Snowden deserves being prosecuted:

“Whether Edward Snowden finds refuge in Ecuador, or elsewhere, the US government has no choice but to seek his extradition. Having violated his secrecy contracts, Mr Snowden has broken serious laws and should face the music. What he disclosed to The Guardian and Washington Post highlights the breadth of the US National Security Agency’s eavesdropping operation. But he did not uncover any breach of US law.”

This is highly debatable. He did not uncover any breach of US law? What about the US Constitution’s First and Fourth Amendments? Read this and make up your mind:

27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send A Chill Up Your Spine @ Zerohedge

Pentagon Papers’ Ellsberg Says Snowden Saves Us From The “United Stasi Of America” @ Zerohedge

Snowden’ Second Interview To Hong Kong Paper: “I Am Not Here To Hide From Justice; I Am Here To Reveal Criminality” @ Zerohedge

Who Are The Real Traitors? @ The Burning Platform

Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts @ NYT

FT continues: “Comparisons to Daniel Ellsberg, the celebrated leaker of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, are particularly inapt.”

As you probably know, Daniel Elsberg is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.

Can Edward Snowden be compared with Daniel Elsberg? We believe he can. They have both risked their careers and well-being in order to warn public opinion about facts that the american government did try to hide. In Mr. Snowden’s case, his revelations uncover practices that conflict with the American Constitution. Mr. Snowden has not revealed any national security secrets beyond airing the fact that the NSA is listening to and reading everything about everybody…in the world.

FT concludes: “But before we treat Mr Snowden as a heroic whistleblower, it is worth remembering that he has reached out to governments that care little for the rights of their own people.” Unfortunately, his own government, that of the USA, is one of them.

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War is peace

When reading the article published today in The Financial Times, Pentagon sees ‘war on terror’ lasting 20 years, it is difficult not to get reminded of George Orwell’s well-known doublespeak sentence in his novel “1984”: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength“. Gore Vidal does deserve some credit too, having warned in his book “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” about the situation described in the Financial Times’ article.

Some excerpts:

“The US “war on terror” against al-Qaeda and its affiliates could last “at least 10 to 20 years”, a senior Pentagon official warned on Thursday, an indication of the concern in the Obama administration about the spread of Islamist radicals in the Middle East and north Africa.”

“Speaking at a congressional hearing, the Pentagon officials said threats from “murky” groups linked to al-Qaeda justified the continued application of the 2001 law that underpins the “war on terror” despite criticism from some senators of the way the law had been used.”

“The comments about the terrorist threat contrast with the tone of official discussion last year when senior administration officials talked about how the “core” of al-Qaeda had been “decimated”, even if some of its affiliates remained active in places such as Yemen.”

“Asked how long he believed the “war on terror” would last, Michael Sheehan, assistant secretary for special operations at the defence department, replied: ‘I think it’s at least 10 to 20 years.'”

“Robert Taylor, the Pentagon’s acting general counsel, said the US remained in a state of armed conflict with both al-Qaeda and “associated forces”, a phrase the administration now uses to justify military operations in places very distant from the initial battlefield in Afghanistan.”

“The expansive interpretation of the law used by the Pentagon was sharply criticised by senators who said it contradicted Congress’s power to declare wars. Angus King, an independent from Maine who sits with the Democrats, said the evidence from Pentagon officials was “the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing” he had witnessed at a hearing. “You guys have essentially rewritten the constitution here today,” he said.”

“John McCain, the Republican senator who supports expanding the law to cover new threats, told the Pentagon officials their legal interpretation meant ‘basically you’ve got carte blanche as to what you are doing throughout the world‘.”

TYR reads ” 5 Reasons…Mainstream Media…Pro-War”

5 Reasons that Both Mainstream Media – and Gatekeeper “Alternative” Websites – Are Pro-War @ Washington’s Blog  asks why there is so much Pro-War reporting, not only by mainstream media, but also by big “alternative” (blog) websites. Like all Washingtonsblog articles, this one is well researched, but perhaps an image, a chart, will go a long way in order to explain why free journalism barely exists anymore in the USA, although self-censorship also plays a big role in allowing this situation to persist. As Mark Twain once said, “We write frankly and freely but then we ‘modify’ before we print.” Why do we modify the free and frank expression of journalistic truth? We do it out of fear”.

24 January 2013 TYR reads: Apparitions in the Fog

Apparitions in the Fog @ The Burning Platform In this apocalyptic article, Jim Quinn exposes the foundations of the present economic “system”. With the assistance of a series of charts, it is convincingly argued that: the economic recovery is a mirage, that the middle class is being destroyed in the USA, and by extension in the western world, and that a bigger crisis, not only economic but social also, is unavoidable. From this, he draws apocalyptic conclusions that might or might not come to happen. Actually, one could think of apocalyptic scenarios quite different from Quinn’s. Think “1984” squared. If you concentrate on the charts and what they mean though, you’ll not go wrong as to the nature of the present economic and social situation. Some excerpts and many charts:

“Real GDP, using a dramatically understated inflation rate, has barely grown by 1% in 2012. Using a true measure of inflation, the GDP was -2% during 2012.”

“The number of people who have left the workforce since last December (2.2 million) almost matched the number of newly employed (2.4 million), as the labor participation rate has collapsed to a three decade low of 63.6%. The propagandists attempt to peddle this dreadful condition as a function of Baby Boomers retiring. This is obliterated by the fact the 55 to 69 age bracket has added 4 million jobs since Obama became president, while the younger age brackets have lost 3 million jobs. The working age population has grown by 13 million since 2007 and there are 4 million less people employed.”

“Another 1.5 million Americans were forced onto food stamps during 2012, bringing the total increase to 17 million since Obama assumed office.”

“Real average hourly earnings were flat in 2012, and have fallen 1.5% since Obama became president. The average middle class worker is making less than they were forty years ago.”

Jan2_Real Wages

“The reason Bernanke, Geithner, Obama, Wall Street, corporate titans, and media pundits focus their attention on the stock market is because they are looking out for their fellow 1%ers. The working middle class, once the backbone of this country, own virtually no stocks.”

20110410-062035.jpg

“The storyline of austerity and deleveraging perpetuated through the mainstream media mouthpieces is unequivocally false, as consumer debt has reached an all-time high of $2.77 trillion, driven by a surge in subprime auto loans and subprime student loans.”

The enslavement of our children in student loan debt and handing them the bill for $200 trillion of unfunded entitlement liabilities will be the spark that ignites the worst part of this Crisis.

Student Loan Projections

“Those in power realized very quickly that without continued credit growth, their entire corrupt, repugnant, fiat currency based debt system would implode and they would lose all of their fraudulently acquired wealth. That is why total credit market debt is at an all-time high of $56 trillion, and 350% of GDP. The National Debt of $16.5 trillion is now 103% of GDP, well beyond the Rogoff & Reinhart level of 90% that always leads to economic crisis and turmoil.”

“A critical thinking human being (this rules out 95% of the adult population) might question how corporate profits could surpass pre-collapse levels when the economy has remained stagnant.”

“Shockingly, the entire profit surge was driven by Wall Street.”

TYR 15 November 2012 reads

The Bernanke-Obama-Keynes Toxic Triangle Dead End @ Zerohedge In this article originally published in Forbes Mark Spitznagel explores Frédéric Bastiat’s observation: “The bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.”

The Unabridged Ron Paul Guide To Being A Libertarian @ Zerohedge Ron Paul bids farewell to Congress. The libertarian, honest and constant enemy of the monetary debasement policies of the FED, honest and constant enemy of the imperial foreign policy of the USA government, constant advocate for a small government, sound currency and free markets, in his farewell speech summarizes the  greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society. They are five:

1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.

2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.

3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.

4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.

5. World government taking over  local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking,  a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.