Obama Accepting Propaganda As Ukraine Truth?

Just as relations were improving the US government seems determined to create an enemy. The propaganda regarding Russia’s dealing with Ukraine has been relentless. While Putin is no angel, he is not the crazed power hungry take over the world monster pictured by Washington. He is a fierce Russian nationalist and will act in a way to protect Russia from further NATO expansion to Russia’s borders.

I was in college during the Cuban missile crisis. I remember well how ape shit the US government went when Russian missiles were located in Cuba. We came close to a nuclear war with Russia. Students stopped attending classes and glued themselves to watching TV news. Do we really expect the Russians and Putin to accept western missiles on their borders? The Ukraine plains served Russia well when Napoleon, then Hilter, invaded Russia. Russia will not stand by and see such a buffer occupied by NATO or become a puppet state dancing to a US tune.

Is the Obama administration foolish enough to ignore Russian history and push the Russians to war?

Clueless In The Oval Office: Obama’s Shameful Tolerance Of Staff Bellicosity And Lies

By Ray McGovern, ex-CIA analyst

CIA Director John Brennan told TV host Charlie Rose on Friday that, on assuming office, President Barack Obama “did not have a good deal of experience” in intelligence-related matters, adding – with remarkable condescension – that now “he has gone to school and understands the complexities.”

Clapper Obama in Oval Office
Clapper – Obama in Oval Office

If that’s the case, I would strongly suggest that Obama switch schools. Judging from his foreign policy team’s inept and increasingly dangerous actions regarding Ukraine and the endless stream of dubious State Department and senior military cry-wolf accusations of a Russian “invasion,” Obama might be forgiven for being confused by the “complexities.”

He should not be forgiven, though, if he remains too timid to bench his current foreign policy team and find more substantively qualified, trustworthy advisers without axes to grind. He is, after all, President. Has he no managerial skill … no guts?

This U.S. pattern of exaggeration – making scary claims about Ukraine without releasing supporting evidence – has even begun to erode the unity of the NATO alliance where Germany, in particular, is openly criticizing the Obama administration’s heavy-handed use of propaganda in its “information warfare” against Russia.

The German magazine Der Spiegel has just published a highly unusual article critical of the NATO military commander, Air Force General Philip Breedlove, entitled “Breedlove’s Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine.”

It is becoming clearer day by day that the Germans are losing patience with unsupported and alarmist U.S. statements on Ukraine, particularly in the current delicate period when a fledgling ceasefire in eastern Ukraine seems to be holding tenuously.

The Spiegel story was sourced to German officials who say Breedlove and his breed are making stuff up, adding that the BND (the CIA equivalent in Germany) “did not share” Breedlove’s extreme assessment of Russian actions. Spiegel continued:

“For months now, many in the Chancellery simply shake their heads each time NATO, under Breedlove’s leadership, goes public with striking announcements about Russian troop or tank movements. … False claims and exaggerated accounts, warned a top German official during a recent meeting on Ukraine, have put NATO — and by extension, the entire West — in danger of losing its credibility.”

Scaring the Europeans

The Obama administration’s erratic and bellicose approach to Ukraine caused German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to take matters into their own hands in February to press for a ceasefire and an agreement on how to resolve the crisis politically, rather than following the U.S. strategy of having the regime in Kiev escalate its “anti-terrorist operation” against ethnic Russian rebels in the east who are supported by Moscow.

Fearing the conflict was spinning out of control – with the prospects of a showdown between nuclear-armed Russia and the United States on Russia’s border – Merkel traveled to the White House on Feb. 9 seeking assurances from President Obama that he would not fall in line behind his tough-talking aides and members of Congress who want advanced weaponry for Ukraine.

Though Obama reportedly assured Merkel that he would resist the pressure, he continues to keep slip-sliding into line behind the war hawks and letting his subordinates feed the propaganda fires that could lead to a more dangerous war, especially Gen. Breedlove and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 4, 2015, Nuland presented her usual black-and-white depiction of the Ukrainian civil war, claiming Russia had “manufactured a conflict controlled by the Kremlin, fueled by Russian tanks and heavy equipment.” She added that Crimea and eastern Ukraine live under a “Reign of Terror.”

Of course, the core problem with how Nuland and pretty much the entire U.S. establishment present the Ukraine crisis is that they ignore how it got started. Nuland, Sen. John McCain and other U.S. officials egged on western Ukrainians to destabilize and overthrow the elected President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political base was in the south and east, including Crimea.

The coup opened historic fissures in this deeply divided country where hatreds between the more European-oriented west and the ethnic Russian east go back many generations, including the unspeakable slaughter during World War II when some western Ukrainians joined with the Nazis to fight the Red Army and exterminate Jews and other minorities.

Despite the U.S. claims over the past year about unprovoked “Russian aggression,” Russian President Vladimir Putin was not the instigator of the conflict, but rather he was reacting to a violent “regime change” on his border and to Russian fears that NATO would seize the historic Russian naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea.

But Nuland and other neocon hardliners have never been interested in a nuanced presentation of reality. Instead, they have treated Ukraine as if it were a testing ground for the latest techniques in psychological or information warfare, although the propaganda is mostly aimed at the U.S. and European publics, getting them ready for more war.

Mocking Merkel

As for Merkel and her peace efforts, Nuland was overheard during a behind-closed-door meeting of U.S. officials at a security conference in Munich last month disparaging the German chancellor’s initiative, calling it “Merkel’s Moscow thing,” according to Bild, a German newspaper, citing unnamed sources.

Another U.S. official went even further, the report said, calling it the Europeans’ “Moscow bullshit.”

The tough talk behind the soundproof doors at a conference room in the luxurious Bayerischer Hof hotel seemed to get the American officials, both diplomats and members of Congress, worked into a lather, according to the Bild account.

Nuland suggested that Merkel and Hollande cared only about the practical impact of the Ukrainian war on bread-and-butter issues of Europe: “They’re afraid of damage to their economy, counter-sanctions from Russia.”

Another U.S. politician was heard adding: “It’s painful to see that our NATO partners are getting cold feet” – with particular vitriol directed toward German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as “defeatist” because she supposedly no longer believed in a Kiev victory.

Sen. McCain talked himself into rage, declaring “History shows us that dictators always take more, whenever you let them. They can’t be brought back from their brutal behavior when you fly to Moscow to them, just like someone once flew to this city,” Munich, a reference to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s “appeasement” of Adolf Hitler.

According to the Bild story, Nuland laid out a strategy of countering Merkel’s diplomacy by using strident language to frame the Ukraine crisis in a way that stops the Europeans from backing down. “We can fight against the Europeans, we can fight with rhetoric against them,” Nuland reportedly said.

NATO Commander Breedlove was quoted as saying the idea of funneling more weapons to the Kiev government was “to raise the battlefield cost for Putin, to slow down the whole problem, so sanctions and other measures can take hold.”

Nuland interjected to the U.S. politicians present that “I’d strongly urge you to use the phrase ‘defensive systems’ that we would deliver to oppose Putin’s ‘offensive systems.’” But Breedlove left little doubt that these “defensive” weapons would help the Ukrainian government pursue its military objectives by enabling more effective concentration of fire.

“Russian artillery is by far what kills most Ukrainian soldiers, so a system is needed that can localize the source of fire and repress it,” Breedlove reportedly said. “I won’t talk about any anti-tank rockets, but we are seeing massive supply convoys from Russia into Ukraine. The Ukrainians need the capability to shut off this transport. And then I would add some small tactical drones.”

Nuland’s Rhetoric

Before the Ukraine coup in February 2014, Nuland was overheard in a phone conversation with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who should become the country’s new leaders – “Yats is the guy,” she said about Arseniy Yatsenyuk who became the post-coup prime minister – while also criticizing the less aggressive European approach with the pithy phrase, “Fuck the EU.”

Nuland’s tough-gal rhetoric continues, including her bellicose testimony before Congress this month, along with the alarmist (and unproven) reports from Gen. Breedlove, who claimed that “well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery’ having been sent to the Donbass” in eastern Ukraine.

The Nuland-Breedlove allies in Kiev are doing their part, too. Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko recently claimed that around 50 tanks, 40 missile systems and 40 armored vehicles entered east Ukraine’s breakaway Luhansk region from Russia via the Izvaryne border crossing.

This “rhetoric” strategy follows the tried-and-true intelligence gambit known as the Mighty Wurlitzer, in which false and misleading information is blasted out by so many different sources – like the pipes of an organ – that the lies become believable just because of their repetition.

The Ukraine story has followed this pattern with dubious claims being made and repeated by U.S. and Ukrainian officials and then amplified by a credulous Western news media, persuading people who otherwise might know better — even when supporting evidence is lacking.

Similarly, Official Washington’s chorus of loud demands for ignoring Merkel and sending sophisticated weapons to Ukraine continues to build with the latest member of the choir, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

On March 4, Clapper broke the important ethos of professional intelligence officers scrupulously avoiding policy advocacy when he told an audience in New York that the U.S. should arm the Ukrainians “to bolster their resolve and bolster their morale that, you know, we are with them.”

Clapper offered this endorsement as his “personal opinion,” but who cares about James Clapper’s personal opinion? He is Director of National Intelligence, for God’s sake, and his advocacy immediately raises questions about whether Clapper’s “personal opinion” will put pressure on his subordinates to shape intelligence analysis to please the boss.

We saw a possible effect of this recently when journalist Robert Parry contacted the DNI’s office to get an updated briefing on what U.S. intelligence has concluded about who was at fault for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

Blaming the Russians

In prepared testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Assistant Secretary Nuland had insinuated that the Russians and the ethnic Russian rebels were to blame. She said, “In eastern Ukraine, Russia and its separatist puppets unleashed unspeakable violence and pillage; MH-17 was shot down.”

This may have been another example of Nuland using “rhetoric” to shape the debate, but it prompted Parry to ask the DNI’s office about what evidence there was to support Nuland’s finger-pointing in this tragic incident that killed 298 people.

Kathleen Butler, a DNI spokesperson, insisted that the U.S. intelligence assessment on MH-17 had not changed since July 22, 2014, five days after the shoot-down when the DNI’s office distributed a sketchy report suggesting Russian complicity based largely on what was available on social media.

Parry then sent a follow-up e-mail saying: “are you telling me that U.S. intelligence has not refined its assessment of what happened to MH-17 since July 22, 2014?” Butler responded: “Yes. The assessment is the same.” To which, Parry replied: “That’s just not credible.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “US Intel Stands Pat on MH-17 Shoot-down.”]

But the DNI’s response does make sense if later U.S. intelligence analysis contradicted the initial rush to judgment by Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials blaming Russia and the rebels. The Obama administration might not want to surrender a useful propaganda club to bash Moscow, or as Nuland might say, an important piece of anti-Russian “rhetoric.”

As for Brennan and his appearance before the stuffy Council on Foreign Relations fielding questions posed by Charlie Rose as the “presider,” the CIA director seemed more concerned about the flak his agency has been getting for having a cloudy crystal ball and not anticipating how the Ukraine crisis would unfold, saying:

“Now I know that many would like the CIA to predict the future — answering questions such as ‘will Crimea secede and be annexed by Russia’ and ‘will Russian forces move into Eastern Ukraine.’ But the plain and simple truth is that … virtually all events around the globe, future events — including in Ukraine — are shaped by numerous variables and yet-to-happen developments as well as leadership considerations and decisions.”

But the prospect of CIA analysts seeing events clearly – both understanding what may have caused an event in the past and perceiving the complex forces that may shape the future – are diminished when the U.S. intelligence community becomes politicized and exploited for propaganda purposes, when it gets enlisted into “information warfare.”

Obama could surely use some experienced, mature help in putting an end to this potpourri of you-pick-your-favorite-statement about “Russian aggression.” The disarray and deceit on such an important issue does nothing to bolster confidence that he has been tutored well, that he understands the value of sober intelligence work, or that he is in control of U.S. foreign policy.

Read more: Propaganda war is dangerous

Obama Gets What He Deserves – Repudiation

As a former President Obama supporter it has been painful to witness the ineptitude of the Obama administration. It’s not only incompetence, but arrogance and narcissism are off the charts. Americans were not fooled by the flood of manipulating data that preceded the election. The election results showed how angry many Americans are at the Obama reign of executive signings, broken promises, and terror against those who dare to speak the truth. Now what? Will Obama came to terms with his repudiation and work with the Republicans, or we in for another two years of total gridlock while the rich get richer while everyone else suffers?

The Economy Is So “Strong” It Just Cost Obama The Senate

President Barrack Obama
A Worried Man

From ZeroHedge:

Based on the ridiculous, seasonally-adjusted data released day after day by the various US “Departments of Truth”, also known as the BLS, the Census, the Dept of Commerce, UMichigan, ADP, the Conference Board and so on, the US economy is so strong and consumer confidence is so resurgent, America is on the verge of a second golden age. Sadly, for Obama, and last night’s epic rout for Democrats, it was all a lie – a lie perpetuated by a manipulated S&P500 which now hits daily record highs on unprecedented central bank liquidity injections which have now terminally disconnected the “markets” from the economy, and the welfare of the vast majority of the common “folk” – and said “folk” saw right through it.

Bloomberg’s take is just one of many observations on the historic cognitive dissonance that is plaguing the mainstream media this morning, which has been furiously pumping up US confidence by pitching the endless array of “fake data” (to use Paul Singer’s words), only to see it all blow up in its face today.

The economy was voters’ most pressing concern as they cast their ballots in the midterm election, with seven of 10 rating conditions poor, preliminary exit polls showed.

More than five years after the recession ended, ordinary Americans still feel pinched. Wages and incomes haven’t recovered even as corporate profits hit records, stocks have almost tripled and the nation’s output of goods and services grew more than $1 trillion from its pre-recession peak.

Obama’s Democratic allies took the hit, with Republicans gaining a majority in the Senate for the first time during his presidency and adding seats in the House, which they have controlled for four years. Yet Republicans could hardly claim a mandate from yesterday’s results, and they’ll be judged on their ability to govern.

Irony #1: Bloomberg, which has been one of the many outlets spinning the “great recovery” is confused:

The discontent simmered even as the economy showed signs of strengthening in the run-up to the election, posting its strongest six months of growth in more than a decade. Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.5 percent annualized rate in the three months that ended in September after a 4.6 percent gain in the second quarter, the best back-to-back showing since 2003.

Maybe, just maybe, the economy never really strengthened, and it was all even more of the same propaganda that has ordinary Americans finally seeing through the lies. Bloomberg at least admits that much: “Most Americans haven’t shared in the gains. Adjusted for inflation, the July median household income of $54,045 was $2,600 lower than in December 2007…. Voters by 65-31 percent said the country is on the wrong track. That’s 12 points more negative than two years ago and was the second-gloomiest exit-poll reading since 1990, trailing only the 2008 election, the preliminary numbers showed. Half of voters expect life to be worse for the next generation.”

Irony #2: even as America is increasingly seeing through the left-right lies, and realizes that the GOP has no magic bullet to fix the economy, the vote last night was not for Republicans as much as against a broken status quo.

Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, attributed his party’s gains to “disappointment and disillusionment with the administration.” He added, “I don’t think on the other end it’s a major endorsement of the Republican Party, either.”

Fifty-eight percent of voters said they were dissatisfied or angry at the White House, according to the preliminary exit polls; 59 percent said the same about Republican congressional leaders.

Irony #3: nothing will change:

Senator Ted Cruz, a Tea Party-backed Texas Republican, said this week that his colleagues must fight Obama at every turn. His priority, he told the Washington Post, is “looking at the abuse of power, the executive abuse, the regulatory abuse, the lawlessness that sadly has pervaded this administration.”

Cruz also wants to line up votes to dismantle Obama’s health-care law, a mission that would require improbable two-thirds majorities in both chambers to overcome presidential vetoes.

Some Republican leaders also say an all-out confrontation with Democrats is a one-way ticket back to the minority. Already, there are a few issues, most notably the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, where both sides say there is opportunity for Obama to come together with Republicans.
The problem is that Obama, increasingly focused only on the golf course, will have none of it.

Frustrated with gridlock in Congress, Obama declared earlier this year that he would use his executive power to circumvent lawmakers on climate change and the minimum wage paid to federal contractors, as well as on immigration. That didn’t help his party yesterday and some, including Vice President Joe Biden, have signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans.
The irony does not stop there, because the biggest beneficiary of the Obama administration and the split Congress so far has been the 1%, by way of the S&P 500 rising relentlessly in the fact of bad or good news. That rise continued overnight.

U.S. equity-index futures rose, the dollar strengthened and precious metals fell. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures advanced 0.4 percent at 10:03 a.m. in London, signaling the gauge will approach a record. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed to its highest level since April 2009. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 1 percent.
Well, the economy may not get better but at least the rich will get a little richer as the charade continues.

But even a world full of ironies needs some humor, and it got it with this WSJ story, “GOP Senate Takeover Puts Fed on Hot Seat”:

Republicans’ takeover of the U.S. Senate promises increased political turbulence for the Federal Reserve, which has already been under pressure from a GOP-controlled House.

Financial executives say a GOP-led Senate would ratchet up congressional scrutiny of the central bank’s interest-rate policies, as well as its regulatory duties as overseer of the nation’s largest financial firms. Republicans haven’t controlled the Senate since before the 2008 financial crisis and recession, which put a spotlight on the Fed and its powers.

“If the Republicans take control of the Senate and thus have control of both the House and the Senate—two words for the Federal Reserve: Watch out,” Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said before the Election Day results were final. His group represents the community-banking industry.

While we enjoy the humor that someone will dare to touch the goose that lays the golden market, we wish to make a small correction: it’s not two words. It’s three: “get to work.” Because after a few days, when the excitement and the drama wears off, the people will once again realize they have been fooled, the only winners are Wall Street, the wealthy and their political marionettes in D.C. As for everyone else, well there is 2016, and then 2018, and so on… because the lie must go on.

From ZeroHedge: Obama Lies