“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

It is way past time for the US to tell Israel and The US Christian Right to “Fuck off”

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did a webcast for more than 10,000 Jewish Americans in which he said that “this is the time to oppose this dangerous deal.” And Congress is likely to vote against the Iran deal. 

Obama will echo Kennedy’s American University nuclear speech from 1963

An eloquent young president, elected with only brief experience in the Senate, is facing a nuclear weapons threat abroad and a chorus of criticism at home. So he chooses to make the short trip to American University to give a speech urging Americans to take a chance for peace and explore a weapons agreement with a country no one trusts.

In it, he calls for a “practical, more attainable peace” that is “the necessary rational end of rational men.”
The president was John F. Kennedy, the year was 1963, and his purpose was to reach a nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union just eight months after the Cuban missile crisis.
On Wednesday, there will be echoes of that Kennedy moment when President Obama goes to American University to deliver a similar message, urging Americans — and Congress — to support an agreement that would limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program despite an atmosphere of mistrust.
A White House official said Obama would call the vote on the deal “the most consequential foreign policy debate since the decision to go to war in Iraq.” The president will link the two, asserting that “the same people who supported war in Iraq are opposing diplomacy with Iran and that it would be an historic mistake to squander this opportunity.”
“What’s appropriate about that comparison is President Kennedy, more than 50 years ago, entered into a diplomatic agreement with an adversary of the United States that did succeed in advancing the national security interests of the United States,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.
Obama’s task may be even more difficult than Kennedy’s. On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did a webcast for more than 10,000 Jewish Americans in which he said that “this is the time to oppose this dangerous deal.” And Congress is likely to vote against the Iran deal. House GOP leaders said Tuesday that they would vote in September for a formal resolution of disapproval introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.).
But Obama hopes that he can protect the Iran agreement by using his veto power and that opponents will not be able to summon enough support to override it. The administration got a big boost Tuesday when three influential and previously undecided Senate Democrats — Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Timothy M. Kaine (Va.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) — endorsed the agreement.
The president is still working to persuade other undecided Democrats, most notably Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.). 
Boxer, after meeting with senior diplomats from Britain, France and Germany, endorsed the deal, saying that she was “more convinced than ever that a rejection of the Iran nuclear agreement would be a victory for Iranian hard-liners and would accelerate their ability to obtain a nuclear weapon.”
Kaine said the talks with Iran had “shown that patient diplomacy can achieve what isolation and hostility cannot.” Acknowledging compliance risks and the lack of broader change in Iran, Kaine said on the Senate floor that “this deal does not solve all outstanding issues with an adversarial regime. In that sense, it is similar to the nuclear test-ban treaty that President Kennedy negotiated with the Soviet Union in the midst of the Cold War.”
Being compared to Kennedy is rarely a bad thing for Democrats in politics these days. And Obama had a “special affinity” for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, said presidential historian Jeff Shesol, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and a partner at West Wing Writers.
In the June 1963 American University commencement address, Kennedy was at the peak of his rhetorical power. Much as Obama has recently portrayed war as the alternative to the negotiated deal with Iran, Kennedy warned that “too many of us think it [peace] is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable.”
Peace, Kennedy said, “does not require that each man love his neighbor. It requires only that they live together with mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement.” He added: “Let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests.”
“Kennedy was intensely concerned with finding a way with the Soviet Union over nuclear arms,” said presidential historian Robert Dallek. “The missile crisis frightened him and frightened [Soviet leader Nikita] Khrushchev because they came within hailing distance of nuclear war.”
At the same time, Shesol said, “no one could credibly accuse John Kennedy of being soft on the Soviets or soft on communism. If there’s an analogy to be made, it’s that you negotiate out of strength. And you negotiate to strengthen national security. That clearly is how President Obama sees this agreement with the Iranians.”
Obama could tear a page from Kennedy’s speech without altering a word. Like Obama with Iran, Kennedy did not ask Americans to trust the Soviet Union.
“No treaty, however much it may be to the advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion,” Kennedy said. “But it can — if it is sufficiently effective in its enforcement and it is sufficiently in the interests of its signers — offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.”
The White House on Tuesday did not enumerate similarities with Kennedy and the nuclear test-ban treaty, worried about taking on even more baggage than the Iran deal already has.
Earnest said that Kennedy had to make concessions to the Soviet Union in the test-ban treaty that was reached in August 1963, two months after the AU speech. Earnest said that Obama, by contrast, “didn’t have to make any concessions.” He stressed that “there’s no impact from this nuclear agreement on the United States and our — either our nuclear programs or our military programs.”
The president deployed all his arguments in a nearly two-hour meeting Tuesday evening at the White House with two dozen leaders of the American Jewish community and pro-Israel groups, some supporters and others opponents of the plan. People involved in the discussion said Obama was forceful in arguing that the nuclear agreement, while not perfect, is a preferable to alternatives that would be likely to lead to a military confrontation.
Obama, while acknowledging some of the activists’ concerns, expressed frustration at the intensity of the public criticism some of the opponents were mounting, participants said. 
“At one point, he essentially said this would not be as big an issue and as big a fight if basically the pro-Israel community was not making it into a big fight,” said one participant who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting. “That’s the only reason why we are where we are. So essentially, the takeaway was that he was broadly asking the organizations to consider stepping back.”
Obama pointedly noted that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was spending $20 million in an ad campaign to denounce the deal. The activists countered that Obama was unfairly characterizing opponents of the deal as preferring a military confrontation, according to people in the room. 
The president suggested to AIPAC that “if you guys would back down, I would back down from some of the things I’m doing,” said the person involved in the discussion, who added, “I don’t think AIPAC will take him up on it.”
Obama said that if the deal were to fall apart, he would likely face calls within three to six months to use military strikes to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. “To the president’s credit, he kept acknowledging the legitimacy of the concerns of the critics,” the person in the room said. “He wasn’t saying that the concerns and criticisms were not warranted. Iran is a terrible actor on one hand; he wasn’t going to the point of saying, ‘You guys are just crazy,’ but he was saying, ‘To suggest there’s a better way to do this is not realistic.’­ ” 
Netanyahu in his webcast took on Obama’s suggestion that rejecting the deal would mean war. “I don’t oppose this deal because I want war, but because I want to prevent war,” Netanyahu said. The time limits of the agreement mean Iran would have an easier time developing a bomb in 10 or 15 years, he said, calling that period “the blink of an eye.” 
Obama’s speech is also a bookend to a more ambitious speech he delivered in Prague in 2009. Then, Obama said the United States would “seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons.” But Pakistan, which some experts say will add 20 nuclear weapons to its stockpile this year, has blocked moves to cut off such supplies in international talks that require unanimity.
Obama also vowed to strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but the review conference failed to approve a consensus document earlier this year.
The president did win congressional approval for an important new START pact on Christmas Eve 2009, but more recent efforts to engage Russia have fizzled. 

Steven Mufson covers the White House. Since joining The Post, he has covered economics, China, foreign policy and energy.


  1. Israel meddling in US affairs and the complicity of US politicians aiding and abetting them, subordinating US interests to Israel, has cost more US lives, suffering and economic damage than anything dreamt up by the most radical Iranian mullah. Since Israel attacked the US Liberty in 1967, the continued absurd relationship has been a disaster for the US.

    In 1963 a US President conducted a dramatic and historic foreign policy that was in the interest of US citizens. Compare that to 2015 with the audacity of a self chosen fifth column that seeks to manipulate, intimidate and buy US policy for the benefit of a small foreign power dominated by a right wing religious cult. And US politicians and media are complicit in the treachery.

    1. The US has been meddling in Israeli affairs for a longer time.

      You point out the Liberty situation.

      Why was the USS Liberty SPYING on Israel 10 miles off the Gaza coast?

      If not meddling?

    2. I thought it was a case of mistaken identity.

  2. Israel could not so pervert US foreign policy without the aid and encouragement of US fundamentalist Christians. This book review pretty well state the problem:

    This is a study of Christian Zionism and the ways that religion and politics converge in American evangelicals’ love and support for Israel and the Jewish people. Because of evangelicals' influence on the Middle East policies of George W. Bush, this is a topic of immense current importance. It bears on some of the most difficult and dangerous global issues - not only the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but also the relationship between the West and the Islamic world. Christian Zionism is often said to stem from the belief that the Jews must return to their ancestral home in the Holy Land as a precondition for Christ's return. Observers also point to the evangelicals' frequent citation of Genesis 12:3, in which God promises that He will bless those who bless Abraham and his descendants, and curse those who curse them. Spector shows, however, that conservative Christians' motives for supporting the Jewish state are much more complex and diverse than previous studies have noted. Among these motives are gratitude to the Jews for contributing the theological foundations of Christianity, and for being the source of the prophets and Jesus; remorse for the Church's history of anti-Semitism; and fear that God will judge the nations at the end of time on the basis of how they treated the Jewish people. Moreover, Israel is for evangelicals God's prophetic clock, irrefutable proof that prophecy is true and is coming to pass in our lifetime. Some are also motivated by theologically based enmity towards Islam, seeing Arabs and other Muslims as Satan's agents in disrupting God's plan for the salvation of all humankind. Spector draws on information from Christian Zionist websites and publications, journalistic and academic sources, and a hundred original interviews. He has spoken with evangelicals in Jerusalem and across the U.S., and with Israeli and American officials, including current and former White House advisers. He has also talked with people who studied the Bible with Bush in Midland, Texas. Spector’s conclusions will correct much speculation about the president’s personal faith, and about evangelical influence on American policy in the Middle East, all the while providing the fullest and most nuanced account of the theology behind Christian Zionism to date.

  3. Such inane nonsense rules US foreign policy in 2015 because of these religious fanatics.

  4. Why Hillary Clinton’s Brand of Zionism Should Keep Her From Winning the Election

    Posted on Aug 4, 2015

    Assuming that the current prospects for US presidential elections candidates hold firm and Hillary Clinton is nominated by the Democrats, and Jeb Bush, Rick Rubio or Scott Walker win the Republican nomination, how should a conscientious citizen vote in November 2016?

    Step one is to rule out support for the Republican candidates due to their regressive views on a range of social and economic issues and their militarist bluster on foreign and defence policy. Step two is more difficult.

    Clinton is clearly preferable if the domestic agenda is taken into account, and she is probably no worse than the Republicans when it comes to foreign policy. She is also, however, not noticeably better, and in some ways more objectionable.

    For instance, this was how she began her recent letter to the billionaire arch-Zionist mega-donor and long-time Clinton family supporter Haim Saban on 7 July: “I am writing to express my alarm over the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, BDS, a global effort to isolate the State of Israel by ending commercial and academic exchanges.”

    She seeks Saban’s guidance in pursuit of this nefarious goal with deferential language: “Now I am seeking your thoughts and recommendations on how leaders and communities across America can work together to counter BDS.”

    I am sure it didn’t escape the gurus of the Clinton campaign that Saban recently joined with the US casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to headline a donor gathering at which each participant was expected to pledge $1 million to fight BDS.

    Although Adelson identifies as Republican and Saban as Democrat, both fervently embrace the Netanyahu brand of Israeli leadership. Saban has been quoted on Iran in language that manages to outdo Netanyahu, saying, “I would bomb the daylight out of those sons of bitches.”

    Clinton has a variety of other scary credentials, including voting in support of the Iraq war of 2003. To this day she remains unwilling to admit that the war was at the very least a tragic mistake and, more accurately, a costly international crime.

    She not only argued for intervention in Libya in 2011, but also made a chilling comment on CBS News after learning of the grisly vigilante execution of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died.”

    Further, among the emails that Clinton has long withheld from the public are several that substantiate the charges that France from the outset both intended to overthrow the Gaddafi regime and expected to reap economic benefits by way of the spoils of war, especially with respect to Libya’s oil wealth. It is not that Clinton actually conspired with such plans while serving as US secretary of state.

    But she did knowingly lead the effort to support the French-led NATO intervention in 2011, claiming that its limited goal was the protection of Libyan civilians in Benghazi when she was well aware that the real purpose of the UN-mandated intervention was regime change in Tripoli.


    1. {...}

      Here is my dilemma: in view of such considerations, does one vote for Hilary Clinton with eyes wide open because she is likely to be better for ordinary Americans on a range of crucial issues, including some effort to challenge the obscene scandal of growing inequalities and sustained slippage in the real income and labour rights of workers and the accumulated hardships of much of the middle class?

      Or does one say there are certain candidates whose views are so abhorrent as to be unsupportable without weighing their suitability against alternatives?

      Many remember the acrimonious debates along the same lines concerning the 2000 US presidential election campaign pitting Bush against Gore, allegedly lost by Gore in Florida because Ralph Nader, running as a third-party candidate, received over 90,000 votes, arguably more than enough to swing the state to Gore’s side of the ledger and thus enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

      Most Democrats angrily dismissed Nader as a spoiler and harshly criticised his supporters for indulging in irresponsible political behaviour. As someone who voted for Nader in 2000 while coming to detest the Bush presidency, I continue to believe that the primary duty of citizens in a democratic society is to be on most occasions responsive to their consciences rather than to attempt pragmatic calculations often glamorised as “the best being the enemy of the good.”

      I do admit, however, that I didn’t realise in 2000 that Bush would turn out as badly as he did, and if I had, I might have wavered


  5. .

    Hitchhiking Robot, Safe in Several Countries, Meets Its End in Philadelphia

    After an international adventure that included spending a week with a heavy metal band, cruising through the canals of Amsterdam and participating in a wave at a Boston Red Sox game, a hitchhiking robot met a brutal demise in a Philadelphia alley on Saturday. It was 1 year old.

    With yellow boots, blue limbs and “San Francisco or Bust” written around its chin, the robot, a.k.a. hitchBOT, was left by its creators near a highway in Salem, Mass., on July 17, hoping the kindness of strangers would see it safely to its West Coast destination.

    Parts of first two comments to the article,

    So an American goes to another country and kills it beloved lion. Another country sends #hitchBOT to America and we kill it.


    Honestly surprised it took two weeks for America to kill Hitchbot.


    1. The search for whoever assaulted hitchBOT over the weekend, tearing the little globe-trotting robot limb from limb, took a dark turn Tuesday on social media, where speculation grew that video of the attack may have been a prank - and, late in the day, two pranksters appeared to say as much.

      Typical of the prevailing sentiment was this post from Metro Philly: "The surveillance vid of #hitchBOT's demise was just a crude ploy by 2 local funnymen to further their own fame."

      The main focus of the posts was Jesse Wellens, who early Saturday tweeted a picture showing the bot in the backseat of a car, and later that night chastised the city for the attack on hitchBOT. By then, a photo showing a dismembered hitchBOT had made the rounds online.

      But the mystery as to what happened grew exponentially Monday afternoon, when Wellens posted on his social media platforms a video of what he said was surveillance footage showing Second Street at Elfreth's Alley, where he said he left hitchBOT about 5 a.m. Saturday. The video shows a man in a No. 12 Eagles jersey kicking at something on a bench that appears to be the robot. Its limbs are on the pavement. The time stamp on the video is 5:45 a.m.

      On social media, speculation the video was staged began Monday night. Wellens denied the video was staged, but offered no word on how, where, or from whom he got it.
      Wellens, a YouTube sensation who runs a video channel, "Prank vs. Prank," did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

      But late Tuesday, in two videos posted on YouTube, Wellens and collaborator Ed Bassmaster acknowledged that the surveillance video was a prank.

      Both videos show the surveillance recording was staged. Bassmaster, who uses the alias Always Teste, can be seen removing the purported surveillance camera from a sign post, and showing fake robot arms and a mobile phone emitting light.

      "Just to be clear we did not destroy the Robot," reads a statement accompanying the Bassmaster video. "We just wanted to Prank the News to think 'Teste' did it. HitchBot is a really cool project. Please support the creators by following their twitter and Facebook."

      "We didn't kill the robot," Wellens said in a related video on the "Prank vs. Prank" channel. "We don't know who did it." That video warns, "Don't always trust the news!"


    2. The Canadian researchers who made hitchBOT, David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller, were not talking Tuesday. A spokeswoman said Tuesday they would not be available for comment. The hitchBOT website,, said more information would be available on the site Wednesday.

      On Monday, Smith and Zeller confirmed that the robot was on its way back to Port Credit, Ontario. They said that they had no plans to file a police report. Without a formal report, police cannot conduct a criminal investigation. 215-854-2715 @erinJustineET


  6. Tony Blair could be made to stand trial for war crimes, according to the current Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn.

    The veteran left winger said the former prime minister was reaching the point when he was going to have to deal with the consequences of his actions with the coming Chilcot inquiry report.

    “I think it was an illegal war,” he said in an interview with BBC2's Newsnight adding that former UN secretary general had confirmed that. “Therefore he (Blair) has to explain that,” Corbyn said.

  7. GOP Candidates Top 10 to drag us into War?
    By Juan Cole | Aug. 5, 2015 |

    By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

    Fox Cable News announced its pick for the 10 Republican presidential candidates it will allow in its Thursday debate. These are candidates who are getting at least 3% support in a basket of opinion polls, including one commissioned by Fox itself. CNN will follow a similar procedure for the debate it will televise in September.

    Now that we know the roster of the big ten, I thought we should review them on one key issue, of how likely they are to drag us into another war. And what is amazing is that sending US troops back into the Middle East and going to war there is virtually a plank in the GOP platform. After the disaster in Iraq, they are actually running on war and against diplomacy for the most part!

    I think this saber rattling in part has to do with the advent of truly big money in US politics and the end of campaign finance limitations. Since the Republican Party is in general the representative of the 50% of the economy dominated by big corporations, and since arms manufacturers are among those big companies, the GOP has become increasingly the party of war and belligerence. If you actually drop those bombs, you have to order more, which is good for some businesses. In fact, one candidate who did not make the cut and is a notorious warmonger, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), is apparently mainly backed by military-industrial complex money. It is no surprise that he is perhaps the most aggressive candidate in his statements on foreign policy, though he has a lot of competition.

    1. {...}

      Here is how they stand on this key issue of war and peace, life and death:

      Donald Trump (with a polling average of 23.4 percent):
      “America’s primary goal with Iran must be to destroy its nuclear ambitions. Let me put them as plainly as I know how: Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped–by any and all means necessary. Period. We cannot allow this radical regime to acquire a nuclear weapon that they will either use or hand off to terrorists. Better now than later!”
      I take “by any means necessary” to be enthusiasm for war on Iran, since their civilian nuclear enrichment program cannot be shut down by any other means.

      Trump has also urged a US bombing campaign against Iraqi oil refineries as a way of defeating Daesh (ISIL, ISIS). Since Iraq will need those refineries to rebuild after Daesh is defeated, bombing them wouldn’t be optimal. But there you have it.

      former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (12.0 percent):
      Rejects diplomacy with Iran, wants to send more US troops to embed with the Iraqi army in Iraq.
      So, two wars?

      Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (10.2 percent),
      Walker said “that not only would he undo any deal with Iran on his first day as president; he would do so even if our European allies wanted the deal to continue.”
      So, brinkmanship and unilateral action.

      Mr. Walker also said in February that that if he could take on union protesters of Wisconsin, he can take on ISIL. He seems to confuse exercising first amendment rights with being a target.

      Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (6.6 percent):
      Huckabee characterized the Iran deal as marching the Jews to the Nazi ovens. I presume that means he would risk war with Iran.
      In an interview on Fox, “Huckabee was quick to return to those comparisons, saying, “I don’t want to standby and watch it happen again. I do not want to stand by and see Jews get targeted, because if they come after them they will eventually come after all of us. We’ve seen this before.”

      Mediaite also notes, “Huckabee proposed a “third option” that involves taking the Russians, Iranians and Saudi Arabians “out of the energy business” but making the U.S. energy independent.” Short of going to war on them, it is hard for me to imagine how he would do that.

      Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (5.8 percent):
      Rejects the idea of war crimes. He said: “If you’re gonna have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war,” he said. “Other than that, we have to win. Our life depends on it.”
      He also says that the Iran deal endangers all Americans and that he would reduce personnel cutbacks in the US military.

      Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (5.4 percent):
      Says nuclear deal will “lead to war” and cause the death of “millions of Americans” by undoing the sanctions regime on Iran.

      Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (5.4 percent):
      Says “war with Iran is an option.”

      Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (4.8 percent):

      Has renounced containment as a policy toward Iran and now says the country is too dangerous for that policy to succeed.
      But the bigger and more powerful Soviet Union was contained. And is the alternative war?

      New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (3.4 percent):
      Says President Obama, having drawn a red line on Syria, should have “finished the job.”
      War in Syria, then.

      Ohio Gov. John Kasich (3.2 percent).
      Would not immediate rip up Obama’s Iran deal.
      But would send US troops to fight ISIL.
      So, war on ISIL, then.

    2. Iran is already at war with the USA.

      If you choose to ignore it?

      That shows your ignorance.

  8. Obama has to plead with tribal leaders:

    Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama tried to persuade American Jewish leaders to back his recent nuclear deal with Iran at a Tuesday White House meeting that was at times contentious, according to participants.

    "It's my birthday and I'm going to be blunt," Obama told the group of 22 Jewish leaders who gathered in the Cabinet Room on his 54th birthday, according to one attendee. The President “meticulously" made his case for loosening sanctions on Tehran in exchange for stricter inspections of potential nuclear sites, the person said.

    1. You and Obama support funding the Islamic Nazis of Iran.

      Level headed, rational and clear thinking Americans don't.

    2. Love the term "tribal leaders"

      so I guess now u recognize that Israel is and always will be the tribal lands of the Jewish people, no matter what fake people with a savage culture that tries to usurp it, the lands of Israel are the eternal property of the Jewish people.

  9. WASHINGTON (AP) -- Working to prevent tension with a treaty ally, Vice President Joe Biden reassured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday that the U.S. limits its surveillance of friendly nations, after leaked documents showed U.S. spying on Japanese officials and companies.

    Abe had expressed deep concern about the documents WikiLeaks published last week, and vowed to bring up the issue with the U.S. The response appeared to come in the phone call with Biden, who has an established relationship with Abe after years of in-person diplomacy.

    America spys on it's friends and allies.

    Now that America, under Obama, has climbed down from it's "exceptional" status? Look for American spies to be locked up abroad with every increasing frequency.

    Deuce, So when you point your bony finger at Israel?

    Remember America is spying on everyone, including Israel too....

  10. The Elites are so damned mad at Obama, right now, that they could beat him to death with baseball bats, and live rattlesnakes.

    He's given away "the game," and they wish they'd never heard of the sonofabitch.

  11. After a crappy May, and June, it looks like July picked up pretty nicely - a Big-Assed ISM Services Number, today - 60.3

    1. Highlights

      ISM's non-manufacturing sample reports a giant surge of strength, to 60.3 for the July index and the highest reading in 10 years. The result far surpasses expectations where the high-end Econoday forecast was 57.5.

      New orders, at 63.8, and backlog orders, at 54.0, both show substantial acceleration from June as do new export orders. Strong orders are boosting employment which, echoing this morning's earlier release of the Service PMI report, is robust, at 59.6 for one of the strongest readings on the books.

      Breadth is very strong with 15 of 18 industries reporting composite growth in the month including gains for retail trade, transportation & warehousing, and construction. Mining is one of two reporting contraction.

      The rise in export orders underscores the strength of the nation's trade surplus in services which, despite strength in the dollar, is getting a boost from foreign demand for technical and management services. The service sector appears to be rolling along fine and will likely continue to offset weakness in manufacturing. And for Friday's jobs report outlook, the employment index in this report will help offset this morning's very weak ADP estimate.

      Big Number

  12. Chris Murphy has announced his support for Iran deal.

  13. Obama just made a strong defense of his deal. Hammers Republicans:

    Different Day

    Same Shit

    Same Guys

  14. GOP Likuds Force Guidon Bearer, Captain Cotton:

    The debate over U.S. policy towards Iran tends to follow a predictable trajectory. The Obama administration has told lawmakers that they have a choice: they can allow the international, diplomatic agreement to move forward, or they can push us closer to yet another military conflict in the Middle East.

    For Republicans and their allies, this has been labeled a “false choice.” U.S. conservatives don’t want a war, they insist, they just want a different diplomatic solution. What might that alternative policy look like? Republicans, at least for now, haven’t the foggiest idea.

    But once in a while, prominent GOP officials slip up and acknowledge that the choice isn’t quite as “false” as they like to pretend. Last week, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seemed quite enthusiastic about the prospect of a war with Iran. The Times of Israel has a related report today on Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) talking up the benefits of military strikes in Iran.
    Speaking to the Israel Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Cotton – who retired from the US Army with the rank of captain – called for the US to make plain to the Iranians that it wouldn’t hesitate to use force if it felt the need to do so. […]

    “You can destroy facilities. I don’t think any military expert in the United States or elsewhere would say the US military is not capable to setting Iran’s nuclear facilities back to day zero,” Cotton said. “Can we eliminate it forever? No, because any advanced industrialized country can develop nuclear weapons in four to seven years, from zero. But we can set them back to day zero.”
    There are two broad problems with this.

    The first is substantive. Remember, even the Bush/Cheney administration concluded that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities “would be a bad idea – and would only make it harder to prevent Iran from going nuclear in the future.”

    But the second is political. Republicans continue to stick to their “false choice” talking point when responding to the White House, but GOP officials can’t have it both ways. Increasingly, congressional Republicans appear to be arguing, “We don’t want a military confrontation with Iran, but wouldn’t a military confrontation with Iran be awesome?”

    On-the-fence Democrats should take note and consider whether they really see Tom Cotton – this Tom Cotton – as a responsible ally in the drive to sabotage American foreign policy.

  15. I don't know (and, I'm sure I'll never know) whether going "with" Israel is just too damned lucrative, or if going "against" Israel is just too damned scary, but the Dems have had to go all the way down to Dick Durbin to find someone with the balls to "whip" this deal.

    Forget the execrable Schumer, even the "Retiring" Harry Reid won't go against Bibi.

  16. Let's face it, this has turned into a government "Of, By, and For" Israel.

    1. I'm beginning to understand why so many people are mad enough to support Donald Trump.

    2. It is a national disgrace. The system is corrupt and The Israeli Lobby has played it to the hilt. The only way to stop it is through public financing and serious trust busting of the media conglomerates. The entire World sees it.

  17. Jews First - Americans Second:

    Benjamin Netanyahu has personally called on US Jewish groups to thwart a White House-backed Iran ­nuclear deal, while hitting out at “disinformation” over Israel’s trenchant stance against it.

    “The claim that we oppose this deal because we want war is not just false, it’s outrageous,” the Israeli Prime Minister said yesterday in a webcast hosted by Jewish American groups. “I don’t oppose this deal because I want war, I oppose this because I want to prevent war and this deal will bring war. It will spark a nuclear arms race in the region.”

  18. The majority of American people are uninformed about the destructive influence of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States and its dominance on US foreign policy, says a former American intelligence linguist.

    “All the [US] politicians unfortunately, because of the very powerful impact of the pro-Israel lobby, they will continue to approve these ridiculous military funding campaigns [for Israel],” Scott Rickard told Press TV on Tuesday.

    “It would be nice to see the Americans rise up against this kind of tyranny that does occur because of the Israel lobby, but I really don’t see any changes unfortunately because most Americans don’t have access to the right information,” Rickard said.

    “The information that they’re given is given from a perspective of a media that is hijacked by the same individuals that hijack the political agenda,” he added.

    “This opinion unfortunately is driven by news stations like Fox News, like CNN, like MSNBC, and they’re all very pro-Israel.”

    Rickard made the remarks following a new poll that shows a great majority of Americans oppose any special compensation to Israel for its concern over the nuclear agreement with Iran.

    The poll by Google Consumer Surveys found that 67.8 percent of Americans oppose any sort of compensation to Israel, while only 12.8 percent support it.

    The most influential pro-Israel advocacy group in the United States is expanding its campaign to pressure Congress into rejecting the recent accord over Iran’s nuclear program.

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the biggest Zionist group in the US, will deploy about 300 lobbyists on Capitol Hill this week to try to convince lawmakers to vote against the nuclear agreement.

    Iran and the P5+1 group -- the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached a conclusion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14 in the Austrian capital of Vienna following days of intensive talks over Tehran’s nuclear program.

  19. The Christian Right and the Zionist Jews are the most bizzare coalition that defies rationality. The crazy assed Christians need Jews to go to Israel so that the World ends and they get back with Jesus. This in 2015. The Jews all have to die so that The Christian whack jobs get their back to Jesus moment. No Jew with his head screwed on right believes any of this shit but the Zionists manipulate the Christians to achieve their political goals.

  20. How Israel doesn’t see American Pentecostals as a security threat is beyond me. They would be the most likely candidates to nuke Israel so they could take their raptured dumb asses to Jesus.

  21. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont continues to tighten the race with Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

    The WMUR Granite State poll found that 42 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they would vote for Mrs. Clinton, while 36 percent said they supported Mr. Sanders. The survey considers that gap to be a statistical tie, but it shows that Mr. Sanders continues to show strength after months of negative publicity about Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.

    The poll also found that Mr. Sanders is the most popular Democratic candidate in the state in terms of favorability, with a rating of 59 percent. That tops Mrs. Clinton’s 54 percent.

    1. A Gravis Poll, released today, has it down to 4 points.

  22. .

    The Saudis took a big gamble, one they just might lose. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

    Saudi Arabia may go broke before the US oil industry buckles

    If the oil futures market is correct, Saudi Arabia will start running into trouble within two years. It will be in existential crisis by the end of the decade.

    The contract price of US crude oil for delivery in December 2020 is currently $62.05, implying a drastic change in the economic landscape for the Middle East and the petro-rentier states.

    The Saudis took a huge gamble last November when they stopped supporting prices and opted instead to flood the market and drive out rivals, boosting their own output to 10.6m barrels a day (b/d) into the teeth of the downturn.

    Bank of America says OPEC is now "effectively dissolved". The cartel might as well shut down its offices in Vienna to save money.

    If the aim was to choke the US shale industry, the Saudis have misjudged badly, just as they misjudged the growing shale threat at every stage for eight years. "It is becoming apparent that non-OPEC producers are not as responsive to low oil prices as had been thought, at least in the short-run," said the Saudi central bank in its latest stability report.

    "The main impact has been to cut back on developmental drilling of new oil wells, rather than slowing the flow of oil from existing wells. This requires more patience," it said.

    One Saudi expert was blunter. "The policy hasn't worked and it will never work," he said. If the oil futures market is correct, Saudi Arabia will start running into trouble within two years. It will be in existential crisis by the end of the decade.

    The contract price of US crude oil for delivery in December 2020 is currently $62.05, implying a drastic change in the economic landscape for the Middle East and the petro-rentier states.

    The Saudis took a huge gamble last November when they stopped supporting prices and opted instead to flood the market and drive out rivals, boosting their own output to 10.6m barrels a day (b/d) into the teeth of the downturn.

    Bank of America says OPEC is now "effectively dissolved". The cartel might as well shut down its offices in Vienna to save money.

    If the aim was to choke the US shale industry, the Saudis have misjudged badly, just as they misjudged the growing shale threat at every stage for eight years. "It is becoming apparent that non-OPEC producers are not as responsive to low oil prices as had been thought, at least in the short-run," said the Saudi central bank in its latest stability report.

    "The main impact has been to cut back on developmental drilling of new oil wells, rather than slowing the flow of oil from existing wells. This requires more patience," it said.

    One Saudi expert was blunter. "The policy hasn't worked and it will never work," he said...


    1. .


      I didn't put up that blerb from the article twice for emphasis.



  23. .

    The fiscal breakeven for Saudi Arabia is at $106 per bl.


    1. .

      Far from retrenching, King Salman is spraying money around, giving away $32bn in a coronation bonus for all workers and pensioners.

      He has launched a costly war against the Houthis in Yemen and is engaged in a massive military build-up - entirely reliant on imported weapons - that will propel Saudi Arabia to fifth place in the world defence ranking.

      The Saudi royal family is leading the Sunni cause against a resurgent Iran, battling for dominance in a bitter struggle between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East. "Right now, the Saudis have only one thing on their mind and that is the Iranians. They have a very serious problem. Iranian proxies are running Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon," said Jim Woolsey, the former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

      Money began to leak out of Saudi Arabia after the Arab Spring, with net capital outflows reaching 8pc of GDP annually even before the oil price crash. The country has since been burning through its foreign reserves at a vertiginous pace.

      The reserves peaked at $737bn in August of 2014. They dropped to $672 in May. At current prices they are falling by at least $12bn a month.

      Khalid Alsweilem, a former official at the Saudi central bank and now at Harvard University, said the fiscal deficit must be covered almost dollar for dollar by drawing down reserves.

      The Saudi buffer is not particularly large given the country fixed exchange system. Kuwait, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi all have three times greater reserves per capita. "We are much more vulnerable. That is why we are the fourth rated sovereign in the Gulf at AA-. We cannot afford to lose our cushion over the next two years," he said.

      Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook to "negative" in February. "We view Saudi Arabia's economy as undiversified and vulnerable to a steep and sustained decline in oil prices," it said.

      Mr Alsweilem wrote in a Harvard report that Saudi Arabia would have an extra trillion of assets by now if it had adopted the Norwegian model of a sovereign wealth fund to recyle the money instead of treating it as a piggy bank for the finance ministry. The report has caused storm in Riyadh.

      "We were lucky before because the oil price recovered in time. But we can't count on that again," he said...


  24. You really have to scratch your head in awed, stunned amazement at these death worshipping cults. The humans that successfully unstrapped themselves from group ignorance have uncovered the secrets of the universe. We know a lot more about the size, scope and duration of what we are but of a pitiful part. We know how the evolution of the solar system through continuous change and expansion and chemical conversion changed helium to every other possible element and compound. A process that took billions of years.

    We had the extraordinary fortune of being the recipient and beneficiary of the infinitesimally small portion of all the elements of creation that ultimately formed life. For an absurd instant in time we became the very beings to recognize that the vast universe even exists. We won the ultimate lottery in being part of life for a ridiculously small part of time. An amazing gift of fortune and with that we practice these idiotic death worshipping cults that take our few pounds of matter that existed for billions of years and we crush the life out of our little pile with the idiotic notion that we will rise again. The collective dumb bastrds had the winning lottery ticket. Burned it hoping that the pieces with be reconstructed for a bigger win. What a bunch of fucking idiots.

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  26. .

    Mr. Wyndham, are you really supposed to be posting here?


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