Category Archives: Iraq War

Trump Forms Alliance with Al Qaeda and ISIS against Assad

Here.

I can’t believe how many of you boneheads voted for Trump or supported Trump because hurrrrr Hillary is going to start World War 3. Well, here is Trump doing exactly that by allying with ISIS, Al Qaeda and the rest of the jihadis and their sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Turkey in their war against the Syrian government. The US and Saudi Arabia will end up setting up these unnecessary “safe zones” so that the jihadis can have a huge base. The jihadis will end up taking over the safe zones and running them alongside the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The jihadis will use it as a base and rear supply area. The zones will back up to Turkey so the jihadis can be resupplied from Turkey. The guns will come from the US and go to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar which will supply them to the  jihadis as they have been doing all along.

This is what Hillary said she was going to do and everyone said she was going to do and everyone said she was trying to start WW3 by doing so. But Trump did not want to get involved in Syria. He’s about to get more involved in it than we have been from the start. Keep in mind that these fake safe zones will be patrolled by US aircraft. These safe zones were set up in Southern and Northern Iraq to “protect civilians” who didn’t even need protecting. They were used as an excuse to bomb the crap out of Saddam’s air defenses for years.

The safe zones in Libya led directly to NATO involvement in that war and the overthrow of Qaddafi and the chaos that followed.

This safe zone crap is 100% about getting rid of Assad and sticking it to Assad and Russia and 0% about anything else.

I can’t believe all you pinheads voted for this monster because “Hillary’s a warmonger.” Well, maybe so, but Trump is worse. Hillary’s foreign policy would have been bad, but Trump’s foreign policy will probably be worse.

Screw all you Trump voters and Trump supporters. You can all burn.

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Filed under Africa, Democrats, Eurasia, Europe, Geopolitics, Iraq, Iraq War, Libya, Middle East, North Africa, Politics, Radical Islam, Regional, Republicans, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, US Politics, War

Alt Left on Donald Trump: Oppose Completely

Below is a list of Donald Trump’s positions on many issues taken from his Wikipedia site. Each position is marked Yes, No, or Neutral depending on whether or not I agree with it. Note that I am conflating my opinions on Trump’s positions with the Alt Left’s, but that’s not so strange.

The results were:

No:      282

Yes:     97

Neutral: 9

So the Alt Left opposes Trump on 282 issues, supports him on 97 issues and is neutral on nine issues.

We oppose Trump on 77% of the issues, support him on 25% of the issues and are neutral on 2% of the issues. That’s pretty bad. I do not see how the Alt Left can support Donald Trump at all based  on this survey. I suppose you could support him on accelerationist grounds, but that’s about it. No Alt Left person should support Trump, and the movement must oppose and renounce him thoroughly. The way I see it is that Trump is one of the enemies of the Alt Left. I realize that one Alt Left faction, the Left Wing of the Alt Right, went heavily for Trump, but they are being renounced by a number of Alt Leftists for various reasons. Personally I renounce them simply based on their support for Trump. If this faction ever wants to stop supporting Trump maybe I will see about revoking that renunciation.

It would be nice to do a similar survey of Hillary Clinton to see the Alt Left’s position on her positions on the issues, but that will take a lot of time and I am not sure if I am up for it.

On August 8, 2016, Trump outlined a new economic plan that involved significant income tax cuts at all levels of income. NO

He proposed to reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three, and replace the rates ranging from 10% to 39.6% with 12%, 25% and 33%. NO

He proposed to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. NO

He proposed to repeal the estate tax, which applies to inheritance for estates valued at $5.45 million for individuals and $10.9 million for couples, or roughly the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans. NO

Trump also said he would eliminate the carried interest loophole. YES

Trump’s plan would also “eliminate the alternative minimum tax and the 3.8 percent net investment income tax, which was levied on high-income households to help fund Medicare expansion under the Affordable Care Act.” NO

An analysis by Lily L. Batchelder of New York University School of Law estimated that Trump’s new tax plan would cost more than $5 trillion over ten years and would raise taxes for lower and middle income families with children. NO

According to the Tax Policy Center, Trump’s economic plan would raise taxes on many families. NO

For instance, families with head-of-household filing status making between $20,000 and $200,000, including many single parents, would pay more under Trump’s plan than under current tax law. NO

However, in the September 2016 presidential debate, Trump said that using loopholes to avoid paying income taxes in the 1970s “makes me smart.” NO

Last fall Mr. Trump suggested that he would break with Republican orthodoxy by raising taxes on the wealthy. But then he unveiled a tax plan that would, in fact, lavish huge tax on the rich. And it would also, according to non-partisan analyses, cause deficits to explode, adding around $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade.” NO

Economist Mark Zandi estimated that if Trump’s tax cuts and spending increases were fully implemented as proposed, the national debt trajectory would worsen considerably, with debt held by the public rising from 76% GDP in 2016 to 135% GDP in 2026, considerably above a current policy baseline that rises to 86% GDP in 2026. If only some of Trump’s policies were implemented under an alternative scenario of more moderate changes, the debt figure would rise to 111% GDP by 2026.[72] In May 2016, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget placed the 2026 debt figure under Trump’s policies between 111% GDP and 141% GDP, versus 86% under the current policy baseline. NO

Trump has called for allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with prescription-drug companies to get lower prices for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit, something currently prohibited by law. NO

Trump has called for allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with prescription-drug companies to get lower prices for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit, something currently prohibited by law. YES

Unlike his rivals in the 2016 Republican primary race, Trump opposes cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits. YES

Trump supports proposals that would grant Congress the ability to audit the Federal Reserve’s decision-making and take power away from the Federal Reserve. NO

Trump favors returning to the gold standard. NO

Trump supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a $700 billion emergency bailout fund that rescued banks after the sub-prime mortgage crisis. YES

In May 2016, Trump said that if elected president he would dismantle “nearly all” of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a financial regulation package enacted after the financial crisis. NO

Trump promised to roll back existing regulations and impose a moratorium on new regulations, with a specific focus on undoing environmental rules that he said curtail job creation. NO

In October 2016, Trump proposed to eliminate as many as 70 percent of federal agency regulations. NO

However, In May 2016 Trump’s campaign co-chair, Sam Clovis stated that the ideas being prepared by the campaign included getting government out of student lending; requiring colleges to share in risk of loans; discouraging borrowing by liberal arts majors; and moving the Office of Civil Rights from the Education Department to Justice Department. NO

In an October 2016 speech, Trump said that he favored having student loans repayment capped at 12.5 percent of borrowers’ income, with forgiveness of any remaining debt after fifteen years of payments. YES

Trump has criticized the federal government for earning a profit from federal student loans. YES

The campaign does opposes Hillary Clinton’s proposal for debt-free public higher education, Bernie Sanders’s plan for free public higher education and President Obama’s proposals for a state-federal partnership to make community college free for new high school graduates, citing federal budget concerns. NO

Trump supports investment in American infrastructure to help create jobs.He wrote in his 2015 book Crippled America that “Our airports, bridges, water tunnels, power grids, rail systems – our nation’s entire infrastructure is crumbling, and we aren’t doing anything about it.” Trump noted that infrastructure improvements would stimulate economic growth while acknowledging “on the federal level, this is going to be an expensive investment, no question about that.”In an October 2015 interview with the Guardian, Trump stated: “We have to spend money on mass transit. We have to fix our airports, fix our roads also in addition to mass transit, but we have to spend a lot of money.” YES

Trump said: “We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people. If we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems—our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had—we would’ve been a lot better off.” YES

Trump has expressed support for high-speed rail, calling the U.S.’s current rail network inferior to foreign countries’ systems. YES

When Trump was asked on Fox & Friends about supporting Russia’s idea on a Bering Strait tunnel project, he replied: “I wouldn’t be opposed to any idea that can create jobs.” YES

Asked if the federal government should set a floor (a national minimum wage), Trump replied: “No, I’d rather have the states go out and do what they have to do. NO

In February 2016, Trump said on a radio program: “My position on unions is fine, but I like right to work. My position on right to work is 100 percent.” NO

Trump has frequently spoken in favor of deregulation, and if elected president is viewed as likely to oversee an Occupational Safety and Health Administration that conducts “less enforcement and practically no rulemaking” on issues of workplace safety and health. NO

Trump first addressed childcare costs on August 8, 2016, where he said he would “[allow] parents to fully deduct the average cost of childcare spending from their taxes.” NO

According to a report by the RAND Corporation, Trump’s proposed health-care policies would result in 19.7 million more people without insurance and widen the federal deficit by $33.1 billion in 2018. NO! Way to go, morans!

As the 2016 campaign unfolded, Trump stated that he favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) – which Trump refers to as a “complete disaster”- and replacing it with a “free-market system.” NO

Trump’s campaign has insisted that the candidate has “never supported socialized medicine.” NO

In March 2016, Trump reversed himself, saying that “Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.” NO

In March 2016 Trump released his health care plan, which called for allowing health-insurance companies to compete across state lines and for making Medicaid into a block grant system for the states. NO

He also called for elimination of the individual mandate for health insurance, for allowing health insurance premiums to be deducted on tax returns. NO

…and for international competition in the drug market. YES

Trump acknowledged that mental health care in the U.S. is often inadequate but offered no immediate solution to the problem, instead stating that “there are promising reforms being developed in Congress.” NO

Trump also emphasized the removal of market entry barriers for drug providers and improved access to imported medication corresponding to safety standards. NO

Though he characterized the Canadian health-care system as “catastrophic in certain ways” in October 2016. NO

Trump identifies himself as a “free trader.” NO

…but has been widely identified as a “protectionist” YES

Trump has described supporters of international trade as “blood suckers.” YES

According to the New York Times, since at least the 1980s, Trump has advanced mercantilist views, “describing trade as a zero-sum game in which countries lose by paying for imports.” YES

On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Trump has decried the U.S.-China trade imbalance—calling it “the greatest theft in the history of the world”—and regularly advocates tariffs. YES

In a 60 Minutes interview in September 2015, Trump condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that if elected president, “We will either renegotiate it, or we will break it.” YES

In January 2016, Trump proposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States to give “American workers a level playing field.” YES

Trump has vowed to label China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office. YES

Trump has pledged “swift, robust and unequivocal” action against Chinese piracy, counterfeit American goods, and theft of U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property; and has condemned China’s “illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards.” YES

In a May 2016 speech, Trump responded to concerns regarding a potential trade war with “We’re losing $500 billion in trade with China. Who the hell cares if there’s a trade war?” YES

Trump has vowed to impose tariffs – in the range of 15 to 35 percent – on companies that move their operations to Mexico. He has specifically criticized the Ford Motor Co., Carrier Corporation, and Mondelez International. YES

Trump has pledged a 35% tariff on “every car, every truck and every part manufactured in [Ford’s Mexico plant] that comes across the border.” YES

n August 2015, in response to Oreo maker Mondelez International’s announcement that it would move manufacturing to Mexico, Trump said that he would boycott Oreos. YES

Trump opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying “The deal is insanity. That deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen … We are giving away what ultimately is going to be a back door for China.”Trump has asserted that the TPP will “be even worse than… NAFTA… We will lose jobs, we will lose employment, we will lose taxes, we will lose everything. We will lose our country.” YES

Trump has called the World Trade Organization (WTO) a “disaster”. YES

When informed that tariffs in the range of 15 to 35 percent would be contrary to the rules of the WTO, he answered “even better. Then we’re going to renegotiate or we’re going to pull out.” YES

Trump has also expressed support for a variety of “limits on legal immigration and guest-worker visas,” including a “pause” on granting green cards, which Trump says will “allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.” YES

Trump’s proposals regarding H-1B visas have frequently changed throughout his presidential campaign, but as of late July 2016, he appears to oppose to the H-1B visa program. YES

Trump opposes birthright citizenship (the legal principle set forth by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that all persons born on U.S. soil are citizens). Trump has asserted that the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to children of illegal immigrants (whom Trump refers to as “anchor babies”). YES

The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. YES

The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. YES

Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. NO

In addition to his proposals to construct a border wall (see below), Trump has called for tripling the number of Border Patrol agents. NO

Trump has repeatedly pledged to build a wall along the U.S.’s southern border, and has said that Mexico would pay for its construction through increased border-crossing fees and NAFTA tariffs. NO

Experts also note that on federally protected wilderness areas and Native American reservations, the Department of Homeland Security may have only limited construction authority, and a wall could cause environmental damage. NO

Trump has proposed the mass deportation of illegal immigrants.During his first town hall campaign meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, Trump said that if he were to win the election, then on “day 1 of my presidency, illegal immigrants are getting out and getting out fast.” YES

Trump has proposed a “Deportation Force” to carry out this plan, modeled after the 1950s-era “Operation Wetback” program during the Eisenhower administration. YES

However, on August 31, 2016, Trump reiterated that all illegal immigrants are “subject to deportation” and all those seeking legalization would have to go home and re-enter the country legally. NO

According to analysts, Trump’s mass-deportation plan would encounter legal and logistical difficulties, since U.S. immigration courts already face large backlogs. NO

However, in a major speech on August 31, Trump laid out a 10-step plan reaffirming his hardline positions, including the deportation of “anyone who has entered the United States illegally,” with priority given to undocumented immigrants who have committed significant crimes and those who have overstayed visas. He also repeated his proposal for a deportation task force. According to a Washington Post analysis, if Trump’s criteria for immediate deportation as of September 2016 are met, the number of individuals prioritized for removal by ICE agents would range between about 5.0 and 6.5 million. YES

In August 2016, Trump suggested that “extreme views” would be grounds to be thrown out of the U.S., saying he would deport Seddique Mateen, the father of Omar Mateen (the gunman in the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting), who has expressed support for the Taliban. NO

Specifically, Trump stated, “When I am elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe, or our allies, until we understand how to end these threats.” Trump later referred to the reformulation as “extreme vetting”. YES

Trump has proposed making it more difficult for asylum-seekers and refugees to enter the United States… YES

…and making the e-Verify system mandatory for employers. YES

Trump has on several occasions expressed opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. – saying they could be the “ultimate Trojan horse” – and has proposed deporting back to Syria refugees settled in the U.S. By September 2015, Trump had expressed support for taking in some Syrian refugees and praised Germany’s decision to take in Syrian refugees. YES

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump stated “I’m pro-life and I’ve been pro-life a long time” and acknowledged that he had “evolved” on the issue. NO

In August 2015, Trump said that he supported a government shutdown over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. NO

In an interview later that month, Trump acknowledged that there must be “some form” of punishment for women if abortion were made illegal in the U.S. Trump issued a statement later that day reversing his position from earlier by saying, “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.” NO

Trump has said that abortion should be legal in cases involving “rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk.” NO

In May 2016, when asked if he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, Trump stated: “Well, they’ll be pro-life. And we’ll see about overturning, but I will appoint judges that will be pro-life.” In the same interview, Trump stated of the anti-abortion cause: “I will protect it, and the biggest way you can protect is through the Supreme Court.” The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, praised Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees as “exceptionally strong,” while the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America called the candidates on the list “a woman’s worst nightmare.” NO

Short of overturning Roe v. Wade, Trump has pledged to sign legislation from Congress banning abortion at the 20-week mark (Roe v. Wade protects a woman’s right to an abortion before a fetus is viable, which anti-abortion activists have argued is at the 20-week mark). NO

Trump chose leading anti-abortion advocate Marjorie Dannenfelser, who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and has said that contraception increases the rate of abortion, to lead his campaign’s “Pro-Life Coalition.” NO

Trump has on several occasions suggested that Christians are being discriminated against, for instance, stating that “Christianity is under tremendous siege.” NO

He has vowed to end an IRS rule that prohibits tax-exempted non-profits from campaigning on behalf of candidates, believing the rule undermines Christian influence in U.S. politics. NO

Trump has suggested that he is being audited by the IRS “maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian.” NO

He has suggested that he would have an easier time getting a ban on Christian immigrants passed than one on Muslims. NO

Trump has been critical of department stores that do not greet their customers with “Merry Christmas” anymore, stating that things will change if he gets elected president: “I’ll tell you one thing: I get elected president, we’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again. Just remember that.” NO

Trump has said that if elected, he would loosen defamation laws so that when journalists write “purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” NO

In a 1989 interview with Larry King, Trump stated: “The problem with our society is the victim has absolutely no rights and the criminal has unbelievable rights” and that “maybe hate is what we need if we’re gonna get something done.” NO

In 2016, Trump decried the fact that Ahmad Khan Rahami, a U.S. citizen charged in connection with the bombings in New York and New Jersey, would be provided with medical treatment and the right to counsel, calling this “sad.” NO

At the second presidential debate, which took place in October 2016, Trump said that if he was “in charge of the law of our country,” rival presidential contender Hillary Clinton would “be in jail. In the same debate, Trump also pledged that if elected, he would direct his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to “look into” Clinton. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook called the remark “chilling” and said: “Trump thinks that the presidency is like some banana republic dictatorship where you can lock up your political opponents.” The remark was viewed as part of “a litany of statements [Trump] has made during the campaign that many legal specialists have portrayed as a threat to the rule of law.” Later that October, Trump spoke fondly of the “Lock her up” chants at his rally, saying “Lock her up is right.” He also said that Clinton’s legal representatives “have to go to jail”. NO

In August 2016, Trump said that he “would be fine” with trying U.S. citizens accused of terrorism in military tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. NO

Trump has offered qualified support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which aims to protect those who oppose same-sex marriage based on their religious beliefs from action by the federal government, such as revocation of tax-exempt status, grants, loans, benefits, or employment. Trump said, “If Congress considers the First Amendment Defense Act a priority, then I will do all I can to make sure it comes to my desk for signatures and enactment.” NO

In July 2016, Trump expressed support for North Carolina House Bill 2, which eliminates anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people… NO

…and legislates that in government buildings, individuals may only use restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. NEUTRAL

In a February 2000 interview with The Advocate, Trump stated in response to the murder of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd that he wanted a more “tolerant society” and he would “absolutely” support hate crime legislation on the basis of their race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. NO

Trump is the first Republican nominee to mention the LGBT community in a GOP nomination address, saying in his acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016: “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” YES

In an October 1999 appearance on Meet the Press, Trump said gays openly serving in the military was “not something that would disturb me.” YES

Regarding whether gay couples should have the same access the same benefits as married couples, Trump said that his “attitude on it has not been fully formed.” The Advocate, an American LGBT-interest magazine, characterized Trump’s Supreme Court picks as “LGBT-unfriendly,” noting that “not all have ruled in LGBT rights cases, but those who have are largely unsympathetic, and some have the backing of anti-LGBT activists. NO

Trump signed a pledge in July 2016 that he would work to combat both legal pornography and illegal pornography, such as child pornography. In the pledge, he promised to “give serious consideration to appointing a Presidential Commission to examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth, families and the American culture and the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in the digital age.” NO

Trump has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and accuses President Obama of “dividing America.” NO

Trump has said that if elected president, he might direct his Attorney General to look into the Black Lives Matter movement. NO

When asked if he believes there to be a racial divide in America, Trump answered, “Sadly, there would seem to be…and it’s probably not been much worse at any time.” NEUTRAL

When asked if he believes police treat African Americans differently than whites, Trump answered, “It could be.” NEUTRAL

Trump describes the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as “tough to watch” and criticized the “terrible, disgusting performance” by police. NO

Trump said that he could relate to the systemic bias African Americans faced against whites, saying, “even against me the system is rigged when I ran … for president. NO

When asked if he could understand the experience of being African American, Trump replied, “I would like to say yes, but you really can’t unless you are African American. You can’t truly understand what’s going on unless you are African American. I would like to say yes, however.” NEUTRAL

On November 19, 2015, a week after the November 2015 Paris attacks, when asked if he would implement a database system to track Muslims in the United States, Trump said: “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” NO

On November 21, Trump expanded on his stance, saying that he would order “surveillance of certain mosques” to combat “Islamic extremism” after the Paris attacks. YES

Trump justified his proposals by repeatedly saying that he recalled “thousands and thousands of people … cheering” in Jersey City, New Jersey, when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001. NO

On National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, Trump says that he “tends to err on the side of security” over privacy. Trump supports bringing back now-expired provisions of the Patriot Act to allow for the NSA to collect and store bulk telephone metadata. Trump said: “I assume that when I pick up my telephone, people are listening to my conversations anyway.” NO

In February 2016, Trump urged his supporters to boycott Apple Inc. unless the company agrees to build a custom backdoor for the FBI to unlock the password-protected iPhone connected to one of the perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, a move that Apple argues would threaten the security and privacy of its users.[386] Trump himself still uses his iPhone to send out tweets. NO

Trump opposes same-day voter registration… NO

…supports voter identification laws… NO

…asserted that Obama won in 2012 due to voter fraud… NO

…has charged that the election system will be rigged against him in the 2016 race… NO

…and has equivocated on whether he would accept the outcome of the 2016 election. NO

In the September 2016 presidential debate, when asked if he would honor the outcome of the election, Trump said that he “absolutely” would. Four days later, Trump appeared to have reconsidered his statement from the debate, saying “We’re going to have to see. We’re going to see what happens. We’re going to have to see.”In early- and mid-October 2016, Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged, alleging media coordination with the Clinton campaign, citing Saturday Night Live as an example of the aforementioned rigged media, and alleging that “The election is absolutely being rigged… at many polling places” even though no polling places had opened. NO

That same month, Trump asserted that the federal government was allowing illegal immigrants to come into the U.S. so they can vote. NO

Trump has claimed that “dead people voted for President Obama” and that “dead voters… helped get President Obama elected.” On election night 2012, Trump expressed skepticism about Obama’s victory, saying, among other things, “This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!” NO

In August 2015, Trump said he would support women in combat roles “because they’re really into it and some of them are really, really good. YES

While Trump has repeatedly expressed support for “the idea of campaign finance reform…” YES

…He has not outlined specifics of his actual views on campaign-finance regulation. For example, Trump has not said whether he favors public financing of elections or caps on expenditures of campaigns, outside groups, and individuals. NEUTRAL

According to Chris Christie (leader of Trump’s White House transition team), Trump would, if elected President, seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Obama…NO

…and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers. NO

Trump has provided “little detail regarding his positions on disability-related policies,” and his campaign website makes no mention of disabled people. As of June 1, 2016, Trump had not responded to the issue questionnaire of the nonpartisan disability group RespectAbility. NEUTRAL

Trump attracted criticism for mocking the physical disability of New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis. NO

In an interview with the Washington Post in March 2016, Trump said that though he didn’t yet have a position on statehood, it would be something that “I don’t think I’d be inclined to do”. NO

He also said that “having representation would be okay…” YES

Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools. On school choice he’s commented, “Our public schools are capable of providing a more competitive product than they do today. Look at some of the high school tests from earlier in this century and you’ll wonder if they weren’t college-level tests. And we’ve got to bring on the competition—open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children. Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition – the American way. NO

Trump has blasted the Common Core State Standards Initiative, calling it a “total disaster”. Trump has asserted that Common Core is “education through Washington D.C.”, a claim which Politifact and other journalists have rated “false”, since the adoption and implementation of Common Core is a state choice, not a federal one. NO

Trump has stated that Ben Carson will be “very much involved in education” under a Trump presidency. NO

Carson rejects the theory of evolution…NO

…believes that “home-schoolers do the best, private schoolers next best, charter schoolers next best, and public schoolers worst”… NO

…and wants to “take the federal bureaucracy out of education. NO

Trump has proposed redirecting $20 billion in existing federal spending to block grants to states to give poor children vouchers to attend a school of their family’s choice (including a charter school, private school, or online school). Trump did not explain where the $20 billion in the federal budget would come from. Trump stated that “Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice and charter laws.” NO

Trump has called eminent domain “wonderful” and repeatedly asked the government to invoke it on his behalf during past development projects. YES

In October 2015, Trump stated that “you have to be careful with” paid family leave as it could impact keeping “our country very competitive”. NO

In September 2016, Trump posted a list on his web site of regulations that he would eliminate. The list included what it called the “FDA Food Police” and mentioned the Food and Drug Administration’s rules governing “farm and food production hygiene” and “food temperatures”. The factsheet provided by Trump mirrored a May report by the conservative Heritage Foundation. NO

According to the Chicago Tribune, Trump has not addressed the gender pay gap in his 2016 presidential bid (as of July 2016). NEUTRAL

“Trump’s past statements on women in the workplace have included calling pregnancy “an inconvenience.” NO

…telling a voter in New Hampshire last year that women will receive the same pay as men “if they do as good a job.” NO

Colman McCarthy of the Washington Post wrote in 1993 that in testimony given that year to the House Natural Resources subcommittee on Native American Affairs, Trump “devoted much of his testimony to bad-mouthing Indians and their casinos,” asserted that “organized crime is rampant on Indian reservations” and that “if it continues, it will be the biggest scandal ever.” Trump offered no evidence in support of his claim, and testimony from the FBI’s organized crime division, the Justice Department’s criminal division, and the IRS’s criminal investigation division did not support Trump’s assertion. Representative George Miller, a Democrat who was the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee at the time, stated: “In my 19 years in Congress, I’ve never heard more irresponsible testimony.” NO

Trump bankrolled in 2000 a set of anti-Indian gaming ads in upstate New York that featured “a dark photograph showing hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia,” a warning that “violent criminals were coming to town,” and an accusation that the St. Regis Mohawks had a “record of criminal activity.” The ad—aimed at stopping the construction of a casino in the Catskills that might hurt Trump’s own Atlantic City casinos was viewed as “incendiary” and racially charged, and at the time local tribal leaders, in response, bought a newspaper ad of their own to denounce the “smear” and “racist and inflammatory rhetoric” of the earlier ad. NO

The ads attracted the attention of the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying because they failed to disclose Trump’s sponsorship as required by state lobbying rules. Trump acknowledged that he sponsored the ads and reached a settlement with the state in which he and his associates agreed to issue a public apology and pay $250,000 (the largest civil penalty ever levied by the commission) for evading state disclosure rules. NO

In 2015, Trump defended the controversial team name and mascot of the Washington Redskins, saying that the NFL team should not change its name and he did not find the term to be offensive. The “Change the Mascot” campaign, led by the Oneida Indian Nation and National Congress of American Indians, condemned Trump’s stance. NEUTRAL

While campaigning in 2016, Trump has repeatedly belittled Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts by calling her “Pocahontas” (a reference to Warren’s claim, based on family lore, of Native American ancestry, which she has been unable to document). Trump’s comments were criticized by a number of public figures as racist and inappropriate. Gyasi Ross of the Blackfeet Nation, a Native American activist and author, criticized Trump’s “badgering of Elizabeth Warren as ‘Pocahontas'” as “simply the continuation of his pattern of racist bullying. NO

Trump has espoused Barack Obama citizenship (“birther”) conspiracy theories over time. NO

He falsely accused Hillary Clinton of having started the “Birther” movement. NO

Trump has been critical of the ways in which veterans are treated in the United States, saying “the vets are horribly treated in this country… they are living in hell.” YES

In a statement, he said he believes that Veterans Affairs facilities need to be upgraded with recent technology, hire more veterans to treat other veterans, increase support of female veterans, and create satellite clinics within hospitals in rural areas. YES

Trump’s proposed plan for reforming the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs includes provisions for allowing veterans to obtain care at any doctor or facility that accepts Medicare, increasing funding for PTSD and suicide prevention services, and providing ob/gyn services at every VA hospital. Trump’s plan calls for greater privatization of veterans’ care. YES

Trump’s plan makes no reference directly to letting veterans get health care outside the VA system but Trump adviser Sam Clovis in May said the candidate was looking into such plans. NO

Trump’s plan calls “for legislation making it easier to fire underperforming employees…NEUTRAL

…increasing mental-health resources and adding a White House hotline so veterans can bypass the VA and bring problems directly to the president.” YES

Trump opposes the current G.I. Bill. NO

Trump skipped a televised Republican debate in January 2016 to host a rally to raise money for veterans. In early February, the Wall Street Journal reported that many veterans’ groups began to get their checks only after the Journal asked the Trump campaign why they had not. NO

In April, the Journal reported that the funds had yet to be fully distributed. NO

Trump caused a stir in July 2015 when he charged that Senator John McCain with having “done nothing to help the vets…” NO

Trump added that McCain is “not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” NO

At a rally on August 9, 2016, Trump accused his opponent of wanting to “essentially abolish the Second Amendment…” NO

By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” NO

Trump supports barring people on the government’s terrorist watch list from purchasing weapons, saying in 2015: “If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely.” YES

In January 2016, Trump said: “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and – you have to – and on military bases… My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There’s no more gun-free zones.” NO

n May 2016, Trump made ambiguous comments on guns in classrooms, saying: “I don’t want to have guns in classrooms. Although, in some cases, teachers should have guns in classrooms.” NO

In June 2016, Trump stated that, “it would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight” to see Omar Mateen shot in the head by an armed patron in the Pulse nightclub shooting, reiterating his stance that more people should be armed in public places. NO

Trump has asserted that the presence of more guns in schools and public places could have stopped mass shootings such as those in Paris, San Bernardino, California, and Umpqua Community College. NO

On the campaign trail, Trump has praised the National Rifle Association (NRA),[493] and received the group’s endorsement after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee. NO

Trump has described himself as a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment. NO

Trump has said that concealed carry “is a right, not a privilege.” NO

He has called for an overhaul of the current federal background check system, arguing that “Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system.” YES

…while campaigning for the presidency in 2015 and 2016 has called for the expansion of gun rights. NO

…rump has proposed eliminating prohibitions on assault weapons, military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines (which Trump described as “scary sounding phrases” used by gun control advocates “to confuse people”)…NO

…as well as making concealed carry permits valid nationwide, rather than on the current state-to-state basis. NO

According to the New York Times, many of Trump’s statements on legal topics are “extemporaneous and resist conventional legal analysis,” with some appearing “to betray ignorance of fundamental legal concepts.” NO

Trump has stated that he wants to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court with “a person of similar views and principles”. He has released a list of eleven potential picks to replace Scalia. The jurists are widely considered to be conservative. All are white, and eight of the eleven are men. The list includes five out of the eight individuals recommended by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.Trump had previously insisted that he would seek guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation when it came to picking Supreme Court candidates. NO

Several of the judges listed by Trump have questioned abortion rights. NO

Trump has claimed that he “would probably appoint” justices to the Supreme Court who “would look very seriously” at the Hillary Clinton email controversy “because it’s a criminal activity.” NO

Trump has criticized Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, as a “nightmare for conservatives,” citing Roberts’ vote in the 2015 decision in King v. Burwell, which upheld provisions of the Affordable Care Act. NO

He has also blamed Roberts for the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. NO

In February 2016, Trump called on the Senate to stop Obama from filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. NO

An analysis by FiveThirtyEight shows that, under the assumption that Scalia’s vacant seat on the Court will not be filled, and taking account of the advanced age of three of the sitting justices, that a Trump presidency would move the Supreme Court “rightward toward its most conservative position in recent memory”. NO

Trump has long advocated for capital punishment in the United States. NO

In May 1989, shortly after the Central Park jogger case received widespread media attention, Trump purchased a full-page ad in four New York City newspapers with the title “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY!” NO

Five defendants (the “Central Park Five”) were wrongfully convicted in the case and were subsequently exonerated. By October 2016, Trump still maintained that “Central Park Five” were guilty.  NO

In December 2015, in a speech accepting the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent Association, Trump said that “One of the first things I do [if elected President] in terms of executive order if I win will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that … anybody killing a police officer—death penalty. It’s going to happen, O.K.?” NO

However, under the current U.S. legal system, these prosecutions usually take place in state court under state law, and the president has no authority over such cases.Furthermore, 19 states have abolished the death penalty, and mandatory death sentences are unconstitutional, as held by the Supreme Court in Woodson v. North Carolina (1976). NO

Trump has stated that he would be “tough on crime” and criticized Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s criminal justice reform proposals. NO

In January 2016, Trump said that along with veterans, “the most mistreated people in this country are police.” NO

Trump supports the use of “stop and frisk” tactics, of the kind once used in New York City. NO

In 2000, Trump also rejected as elitist and naive the arguments of criminal justice reformers that the U.S. criminal justice system puts too many criminals in jail. NO

Trump is in favor of at least one mandatory sentence, where using a gun to commit a crime results in a five-year sentence. NO

Trump has on several occasions asserted that crime is rising in the United States. Trump’s assertion that crime is rising is false; in fact, both violent crime and property crime have been consistently declining in the U.S. since the early 1990s.[540] Trump’s claim that “inner-city crime is reaching record levels” received a “pants-on-fire” rating from PolitiFactNO

On November 22, 2015, Trump retweeted a graphic with purported statistics—cited to a nonexistent group—which claimed that African Americans were responsible for 81% of the homicides of White Americans and that police were responsible for 1% of black homicides compared to 4% of white homicides. Trump’s retweet earned PolitiFact’s “Pants on Fire” rating and was called “grossly inaccurate” by FactCheck.org the next day. PolitiFact wrote: “Trump cast blacks as the primary killers of whites, but the exact opposite is true.” NO

Blacks were responsible for 15% of white homicides according to FBI data for 2014. The breakdown of the racial differences in police killings in Trump’s retweet was also inaccurate. Based on the percentages, the number of whites killed by police would be almost 4 times greater than the number of blacks. Data from the Washington Post for 2009 to 2013 showed a ratio of 1.5 white deaths by police for each black death. A separate estimate by Peter Moskos, associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice attributed 10% of white homicides to police and 4% to police for blacks. When asked about the statistics, Trump maintained that the statistics came “from sources that are very credible. NO

In his campaign for the presidency in 2015 and 2016, however, Trump adopted “drug warrior” positions and has sought advice on the issue from William J. Bennett, who served as the U.S. first “drug czar” in the 1980s “and has remained a proponent of harsh 1980s-style drug war tactics.” NO

Trump has voiced his opposition to video game violence. After it was reported that the Sandy Hook shooter frequently played violent video games, Trump tweeted, “Video game violence & glorification must be stopped—it is creating monsters!” NO

Trump said that he would push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress, so that members of the House of Representatives could serve for a maximum of six years and Senators for a maximum of twelve years. NO

Trump also pledged to re-institute a ban on executive branch officials from lobbying for five years after leaving government service. YES

…and said that he supported Congress instituting a similar five-year lobbying ban of its own, applicable to former members and staffYES

A 2016 report in Scientific American graded Trump and three other top presidential candidates—Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein—on science policy, based on their responses to a twenty-question ScienceDebate.org survey. Trump “came in last on all counts” in grading, with scientists and researchers faulting him for a lack of knowledge or appreciation of scientific issues. NO

Trump is opposed to net neutrality, asserting that it is “Obama’s attack on the Internet” and saying that it “will target the conservative media.” NO

The Free Press Action Fund, a group of tech policy activists, rated Trump the worst 2016 presidential candidate for “citizens’ digital lives,” citing his positions opposing reforming the Patriot Act, favoring Internet censorship, and opposing net neutrality. NO

In 2014, after a New York physician returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa and showed symptoms of the disease, Trump tweeted that if the doctor had Ebola, “Obama should apologize to the American people & resign!” When the doctor was later confirmed to have developed Ebola in New York, Trump tweeted that it was “Obama’s fault” and “I have been saying for weeks for President Obama to stop the flights from West Africa. So simple, but he refused. A TOTAL incompetent!” NO

Trump also criticized President Obama’s decision to send 3,000 U.S. troops to affected regions to help combat the outbreak. NO

As Dr. Kent Brantly returned to the U.S. for treatment, Trump tweeted that U.S. doctors who went abroad to treat Ebola were “great” but “must suffer the consequences” if they became infected and insisted that “the U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our ‘borders.'” NO

When an Ebola patient was scheduled to come to the U.S. for treatment, Trump tweeted, “now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!” NO

On August 11, 2016, Trump said that he was in favor of Congress setting aside money to combat the Zika virus. YES

Trump believes that childhood vaccinations are related to autism, a hypothesis which has been repeatedly debunked. NO

In May 2016, Trump asked U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota – described by Reuters as “one of America’s most ardent drilling advocates and climate change skeptics” -to draft Trump’s energy policy. NO

According to Reuters, four sources close to Trump’s campaign say that Trump is considering nominating Oklahoma oil and gas mogul Harold Hamm as energy secretary if elected President. According to Reuters, Hamm would be the first-ever U.S. Secretary of Energy “drawn directly from the oil and gas industry.” Hamm has called for expanded drilling, criticized environmental regulations for limiting oil production, and called for less dependence on Middle Eastern oil producers. NO

On May 2016, Trump said that he could solve the water crisis in CaliforniaNO

He declared that “there is no drought,” a statement which the Associated Press noted is incorrect. NO

Trump accused California state officials of denying farmers of water so they can send it out to sea “to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish.” NO

Trump rejects the scientific consensus on climate changeNO

He has said that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive..” NO

Trump criticized President Obama’s description of climate change as “the greatest threat to future generations” for being “naive” and “one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard.” NO

According to a report by the Sierra Club, Trump would, if elected President, be the only head of state in the world to contend that climate change is a hoax. NO

In May 2016, during his presidential campaign, Trump issued an energy plan focused on promoting fossil fuels and weakening environmental regulation. NO

Trump promised to “rescind” in his first 100 days in office a variety of Environmental Protection Agency regulations established during the Obama administration to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which contribute to a warming global climate. NO

Trump has specifically pledged to revoke the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule, which he characterizes as two “job-destroying Obama executive actions.” NO

Trump has said “we’re practically not allowed to use coal any more,” a statement rated “mostly false” by PolitiFact. Trump has criticized the Obama administration’s coal policies, describing the administration’s moves to phase out the use of coal-fired power plants are “stupid.” NO

Trump has criticized the Obama administration for prohibiting “coal production on federal land”…Trump has vowed to revive the U.S. coal economy. NO

Trump wrote in his 2011 book that he opposed a cap-and-trade system to control carbon emissions. NO

At a rally in May 2016, “Trump implied that the regulations on hairspray and coal mining are both unwarranted” and incorrectly asserted that hairspray use in a “sealed” apartment prevents the spray’s ozone-depleting substances from reaching the atmosphere. NO

Trump pledged in his May 2016 speech on energy policy to “cancel the Paris climate agreement” adopted at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (in which 170 countries committed to reductions in carbon emissions)…A U.S. move to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as Trump proposes is viewed as likely to unravel the agreement; according to Reuters, such a move would spell “potential doom for an agreement many view as a last chance to turn the tide on global warming. NO

In Trump’s May 2016 speech on energy policy, he declared that if elected president, he would “stop all payment of U.S. tax dollars to global warming.” This would be a reversal of the U.S. pledge to commit funds to developing countries to assist in climate change mitigation and could undermine the willingness of other countries to take action against climate change.programs.” NO

In his May 2016 speech on energy policy, Trump stated : “Under my presidency, we will accomplish complete American energy independence. We will become totally independent of the need to import energy from the oil cartel or any nation hostile to our interest.” The New York Times reported that “experts say that such remarks display a basic ignorance of the workings of the global oil markets.” NO

In January 2016, Trump vowed “tremendous cutting” of the budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if elected. NO

Trump has charged that the “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service abuses the Endangered Species Act to restrict oil and gas exploration.” NO

In 2011, Trump said that would permit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern AlaskaNO

In July 2016, Trump suggested that he was in favor of state and local bans on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), saying, “I’m in favor of fracking, but I think that voters should have a big say in it. I mean, there’s some areas, maybe, they don’t want to have fracking. And I think if the voters are voting for it, that’s up to them… if a municipality or a state wants to ban fracking, I can understand that.” NO

Trump has promised to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed project to bring Canadian petroleum to the U.S. NO

Trump has financial ties to Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66 who are both directly involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline. The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners is a campaign donor for Donald Trump. NO

In his 2015 book Crippled America, Trump is highly critical of the “big push” to develop renewable energy, arguing that the push is based on a mistaken belief that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. NO

Despite criticizing wind farms in the past (calling them “ugly”)…Trump has criticized wind energy for being expensive and for not working without “massive subsidies”. He added, “windmills are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles. One of the most beautiful, one of the most treasured birds — and they’re killing them by the hundreds and nothing happens. NO

Trump has said that he does not oppose the wind production tax credit, saying: “I’m okay with subsidies, to an extent.” NO

In his official platform, Trump claims that he will reduce bureaucracy which would then lead to greater innovation. NO

His platform mentions “renewable energies”, including “nuclear, wind and solar energy” in that regard but adds that he would not support those “to the exclusion of other energy”. NO

Trump supports a higher ethanol mandate (the amount of ethanol required by federal regulation to be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply)…Trump vowed to protect the government’s Renewable Fuel Standard and the corn-based ethanol. NO

In October 2016, the Humane Society denounced Trump’s campaign, saying that a “Trump presidency would be a threat to animals everywhere” and that he has “a team of advisors and financial supporters tied in with trophy hunting, puppy mills, factory farming, horse slaughter, and other abusive industries” NO

In a New York Times interview in July 2016, Trump “repeatedly defined American global interests almost purely in economic terms,” with the nation’s “roles as a peacekeeper, as a provider of a nuclear deterrent against adversaries like North Korea, as an advocate of human rights and as a guarantor of allies’ borders” being “quickly reduced to questions of economic benefit to the United States.” NO

Two of the advisors on the list “view Islamic Sharia law within the U.S. as a dire threat. NO

One of the advisors “has accused the State Department’s top official for Ukraine and Russia, Victoria Nuland, of “fomenting” the 2014 revolution that overthrew Ukraine’s government.” YES

However, like Trump, Flynn has been a critic of the U.S.’s military involvement in Iraq and Libya as well as its support for the Syrian opposition, and has advocated for closer ties with Russia. YES

Previously when asked about who he was consulting with on foreign policy during an interview on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe, Trump responded with “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” NO

Some of Trump’s foreign policy ideas have been met with opposition by the GOP foreign policy establishment. YES

The Economist Intelligence Unit placed a Trump victory in the presidential election fifth in their list of ten global risks for 2016, citing his foreign policy positions which increase the risk of trade war, him being used as a potent recruitment tool for jihadi group and weakened efforts to contain Russia’s expansionist tendencies. YES

Trump stated in a December 2015 Republican primary debate that “Our military is a disaster,” and in a July 2016 radio appearance described the U.S. military as “depleted and in horrible shape.” NO

In July 2016, retired U.S. Marine Corps General John R. Allen, who supports Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton gave a forceful speech against Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Trump responded by calling the four-star military leader “a failed general” and saying that he had never met him. YES

Trump has stated on a number of occasions that if elected president, he “would increase [spending] on the military.”Trump claims that the U.S. military will be “funded beautifully” if elected President. While Trump has not offered specifics on defense spending under a Trump presidency, he has repeatedly called for a U.S. military buildup and has criticized President Obama’s military spending strategy.Trump has criticized the decline in the numbers of active-duty armed forces, Navy ships and Air Force planes since the end of the Cold WarNO

Trump has pledged to rein in wasteful spending in the military. LIE!

Trump has stated his intention to provide presidential leadership with strong diplomacy to restore “respect” for the United States around the world and he supports a robust national defense. YES

Trump has stated, “We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing, nations that would be wiped off the face of the earth in about 15 minutes if it weren’t for us. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us.” Trump has called for allied countries, including Germany, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea to pay the United States for helping protect their nations. YES

In an interview, Trump stated “You have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. … When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.” When pressed on what “take out” meant, Trump said the U.S. should “wipe out their homes” and “where they came from.” NO 

Later, in August 2011, Trump criticized the Obama administration for not helping former Mubarak keep power, citing Mubarak’s positive relationship with Israel and the negative effect that Mubarak’s removal would have on other allies’ faith in the United States. In 2012, Trump reiterated his criticisms of the Obama administration’s handling of Mubarak and asserted that “Egypt is now our enemy” and that “Israel is in trouble.” NO

In September 2016, Trump described the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as a “fantastic guy”, praising his handling of the 2013 anti-Morsi uprising that led to the removal of then-president Mohamed Morsi from power. Trump said that there was a “good feeling between [them]”. NO

In June 2016, Trump maintained that “Iran is now the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East and on the road to nuclear weapons.” NO

Trump opposes the international nuclear agreement with Iran (negotiated with the U.S. and five other world powers) that was made in 2015, calling it “terrible” and saying that the Obama administration negotiated the agreement “from desperation.” NO

Trump opposed the sanctions relief in the agreement, saying: “We’re giving them billions of dollars in this deal, which we shouldn’t have given them. We should have kept the money.” NO

Trump has claimed that “when those restrictions expire (in the Iran nuclear deal), Iran will have an industrial-size military nuclear capability ready to go…” NO

Trump was critical of State Department officials as they negotiated the Iran deal, saying that “It’s a one-day deal. This whole thing should have taken a day.” NO

In July 2015, when explaining his opposition to the Iran agreement, Trump cited four American prisoners being held prisoner in the country. NO

In September 2015, Trump told CNN that he believed the agreement would compel the U.S. to side with Iran in the event of war: “There’s something in the Iran deal that people I don’t think really understand or know about, and nobody’s able to explain it, that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense. So if Israel attacks Iran, according to that deal, I believe the way it reads […] that we have to fight with Iran against Israel.” NO

According to Trump, nuclear weapons, not global warming, is the world’s biggest problem. NO

Trump said that any deal with Iran should stipulate that inspectors have 24-hour-a-day access immediately to all nuclear sites and made reference to U.S. nationals imprisoned the country. NO

In the September 2016 Presidential Debate, Trump said that the Iran deal should have contained provisions that Iran “do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.” NO

In October 2016, it was reported that despite Trump’s denouncement of Iran as a “big enemy” and assertions that donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation charity amounted to evidence of corruption, the Trump Organization did business with one of Iran’s largest state-controlled banks from 1998 to 2003. NO

Trump’s positions on defeating ISIL have frequently changed throughout his presidential campaign. Trump has claimed that he would “bomb the hell” out of Iraqi oil fields controlled by ISIL. NO

In the aftermath of the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, which were committed by ISIL, Trump reiterated his statements about ISIL from November 12, 2015, when he stated he would “bomb the shit out of ’em” and said “I’d blow up the [oil] pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, and you know what, you’ll get Exxon to come in there in two months… and I’d take the oil.” NO

Trump said in an interview with Anderson Cooper “There is no Iraq. Their leaders are corrupt.” NO

In 2015, when asked how he would deal with Iraq’s condemnation of strikes on their oil fields, Trump replied that Iraq is a corrupt country that is not deserving of his respect. NO

Trump said he “got to know [Vladimir Putin] very well because we were both on ’60 Minutes’, we were stable mates, we did well that night.” NO

Trump said he approved of Russia’s intervention in Syria, stating: “If Putin wants to knock the hell out of ISIS, I’m all for it 100 percent and I can’t understand how anybody would be against that … He’s going in and we can go in and everybody should go in.” During his speech at the Oklahoma State Fair, Trump accused his opponents of wanting to “start World War III over Syria.” YES

Trump stated in November 2015, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.” NO

In June 2016, Trump stated that he “[likes] the idea of using NATO and also neighbors that aren’t in NATO” to “take [ISIL] out” and that “it’s very possible that we should use NATO” to fight ISIL. YES

Jonathan Russell, head of policy for the anti-radicalization think tank Quilliam, warned that Trump’s “anti-Muslim rhetoric” helps ISIL’s narrative, saying “Trump will contribute to Islamist radicalization. NO

In the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting (June 2016), Trump accused the Obama administration has actively “supported” the Islamic extremist group that became ISIL. NO

In August 2016, Trump repeatedly and falsely asserted that President Obama was the “founder” of ISIL. YES

Trump responded to Hewitt’s attempt to reframe Trump’s comment as one that said Obama’s foreign policy created the conditions in Iraq and Syria that allowed ISIL to thrive, by saying “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do….He was the founder. The way he got out of Iraq — that was the founding of ISIS, OK?” NO

Regarding the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, Trump said in a July 2016 interview, “I give great credit to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] for being able to turn that around.” When asked if Erdoğan was exploiting the coup attempt to purge his political enemies, Trump did not call for the Turkish leader to observe the rule of law, or offer other cautions for restraint. NO

Trump stated in the July 2016 interview that he believed he could persuade Erdoğan to step up efforts against ISIL. NO

When asked how he would solve the problem of Turkish attacks on Kurds who are fighting ISIL, Trump said “Meetings.” NO

On September 11, 2002, when asked by radio talk-show host Howard Stern if he supported an invasion of Iraq, Trump responded, “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” NO

On March 21, 2003, one day into the Iraq War, Trump was interviewed by Fox NewsNeil Cavuto. Trump said that the war appeared to be “a tremendous success from a military standpoint”, and expressed hope that it would continue to be so. NO

Later that week he publicly called the war a “mess”. Later, Trump publicly and explicitly criticized the war in an interview published in Esquire in August 2004, sixteen months after the invasion. Trump said: “Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in,” criticized the George W. Bush administration’s handling of the war, dismissed the idea of Iraq becoming functionally democratic, and predicted that “Two minutes after we leave, there’s going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over. And he’ll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam didn’t have.” YES

Trump has been highly critical of the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel, stating that “Israel has been totally mistreated.” NO

Trump lent his personal jet to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani so that the latter could show solidarity for terror victims in Israel in 2001…NO

..and he was the grand marshal of the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York in 2004. NO

Speaking in 2006, Trump said that Israel was one of his favorite countries, adding: “I know that you’ve been through a lot recently… I believe Israel is a great country.” NO

Trump released a video endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2013 Israeli electionsNO

In 2015, when Trump won the Liberty Award at the Second Annual Algemeiner Jewish 100 Gala in honor of his positive contributions to Israel–United States relations, he stated: “We love Israel, we will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent, it will be there forever”. NO

In December 2015, Trump told the Associated Press that an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would depend very much upon Israel, remarking: “I have a real question as to whether or not both sides want to,” come to a peace accord. “A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal – whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things.” YES

…a day later, Trump postponed his visit to Israel until “a later date after I become President of the U.S.”, stating that he did not want to put Netanyahu “under pressure”. NO

Trump said that he would not take sides in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement in order to be a neutral negotiator in the peace talks…LIE

…despite also adding that he is “totally pro-Israel”. NO

At a press conference in March 2016, Trump said that as president, he would require nations to re-compensate for the foreign aid that they have received. YES

When specifically asked whether his previously stated stance on charging U.S allies for defense spending would extend to Israel, he replied, “I think Israel would do that also. There are many countries that can pay, and they can pay big-league.” However, immediately after the press conference, Trump reversed himself on that position of aid to Israel, adding, “They [Israel] help us greatly.” NO

However, immediately after the press conference, Trump reversed himself on that position of aid to Israel, adding, “They [Israel] help us greatly.” NO

Trump has said on more than one occasion that if elected president he will move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the “eternal capital of the Jewish people”… NO

Trump has vowed that as president he will veto a UN imposed Israel-Palestine peace agreement, stating: “When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the U.N. to impose its will on the Jewish state. It will be vetoed 100 percent.” NO

He added that “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.” NO

Trump has criticized the Palestinian Authority for the absence of peace, saying: “the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. …[and they] have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred… They have to stop the teaching of children to aspire to grow up as terrorists, which is a real problem. Of course, the recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is also a major sticking point, with the current Palestinian leadership repeatedly refusing to meet that basic condition.” NO

However, Trump breaks with long-standing bipartisan U.S. policy, by supporting continued Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, saying that Israel ‘has to keep going’ and that ‘there shouldn’t be a pause’ with the settlement construction. If elected, Trump’s seemingly broad support of Israeli settlement development would constitute a significant shift in US policy, as previous US administrations, Republican and Democrat, have described such West Bank construction as illegal. NO

Meeting with Netanyahu in September 2016, Trump’s statement said “under a Trump administration, [we] will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” NO

In 2009, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi rented space through intermediaries on Trump’s Seven Springs estate in the suburb of Bedford, New York. (Gaddafi rented Trump’s land to camp in a “Bedouin-style” tent while in the U.S. to attend the UN General Assembly.) The situation created controversy when the tents were raised on the property, and Trump forced Gaddafi off the property saying that he was unaware of the arrangement. In 2011, Trump told Fox News that he had “screwed” Gaddafi on the deal, touting the affair as evidence of foreign-policy experience. NO

Trump was a strong supporter of the 2011 military intervention in Libya, arguing “fervently” on a number of occasions that U.S. military intervention was necessary to advert humanitarian disaster in Libya and warning that it would be “a major, major black eye for this country [the U.S.]” if it failed to depose Gaddafi. In a February 2011 video blog, Trump said: “I can’t believe what our country is doing. Qaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around we have soldiers all have the Middle East, and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage … Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick.” Trump made similar comments in a March 2011 appearance on Piers MorganNO

In 2011, Trump also advocated U.S. seizure of Libyan oil. NO

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump reversed his earlier position, stating on several occasions that the U.S. would be “so much better off” or “100% better off” if Gaddafi remained in charge of Libya. YES

In June 2016, Trump again reversed course, saying on CBSFace the Nation that he would have supported “surgical” bombing, against Gaddafi in particular. NO

In December 2015, Trump said that the days of the Saudi Royal Family buying off American politicians will end if he is elected President. YES

In February 2016, Trump blamed Saudi Arabia for the September 11 attacks, saying: “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi – take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents.” YES

Trump has called for Saudi Arabia to pay for the costs of American troops stationed there: “They should pay us. … The primary reason we’re with Saudi Arabia is because we need the oil. Now we don’t need the oil so much …” YES

Regarding the Chinese, Trump stated in 2011, “I don’t think they’re friends. I think they’re enemies.” NO

In 2011, Trump stated that he would “send [China] a bill for the value of the secrets that they’ve stolen,” referring to alleged Chinese theft of U.S. stealth technology. YES

Trump has criticized China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization, alleging that it caused job losses in the United States. YES

Trump has been critical of Chinese intellectual property theft, alleging that “they [the Chinese] are stealing billions and billions of dollars of our intellectual property.” YES

Trump has spoken favorably of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and of closer alliance with IndiaNO

…has said that he would be willing to meet North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, saying that he would have “no problem” doing so. YES

Trump described Kim as a “maniac” but also claimed that Kim deserves “credit” for being able to overcome his rivals in order to succeed his father. YES

Trump has advocated placing greater pressure on China, including through restrictions on trade, to rein in its ally North Korea in the wake of the January 2016 North Korean nuclear test, saying that China has “total control” over North Korea and the U.S. has “tremendous” economic power over China. NO

He also argued that the Iran nuclear deal should have included a component about Iran-North Korea relations. NO

In September 2016, Trump expressed his opposition to the restoration of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba achieved in July 2015. NO

Trump said that he would only restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba if the Cuban regime met his demands to restore political freedoms and free political prisoners. NO

In February 2016, Trump said that he opposed the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows any Cuban who reaches U.S. soil to remain in the country legally and apply for residency. YES

On the first day of his presidential campaign for the 2000 election, Trump held an event in Miami where he vowed to maintain the embargo on Cuba and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power. However, according to reporting by Newsweek in September 2016, Trump had conducted business in Cuba in violation of the embargo seven months before his vow. NO

In a July 2016 interview, Trump said of the European Union, “the reason that it got together was like a consortium so that it could compete with the United States.” YES

Trump has been critical of German chancellor Angela Merkel and her handling of the European migrant crisis, saying “Everyone thought she was a really great leader, and now she’s turned out to be this catastrophic leader. And she’ll be out if they don’t have a revolution.” YES

In July 2016, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated that he was concerned about what he sees as Trump’s contradictory promises to “make America strong again” while simultaneously reducing involvement overseas. Steinmeier said that Trump’s proposed policies “would be dangerous not only for the United States, but for Europe and the rest of the world as well”. YES

In regards to British voters voting to leave the European Union, Trump stated, “I think it’s a great thing that happened… Basically they took back their country. That’s a good thing.” YES

One reason that Trump was enthusiastic about the outcome of the vote was that it lowered the value of the British pound, which was good for business at his golf course in ScotlandNO

In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump argued that European countries used NATO as a pathway to place the burden of international responsibility on the United States while “their conflicts are not worth American lives. Pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually.” YES

In a July 2016 interview, Trump “explicitly raised new questions about his commitment to automatically defend NATO allies,” questioning whether he, as president, would automatically extend security guarantees to NATO members. YES

In a July 2016 interview, Trump stated that he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting sanctions on Russia that were imposed after Russia began aiding self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine seeking to undermine the new, pro-Western Ukrainian government. YES

He added that Russia could help the United States in fighting ISIS terror organization. YES

Also in July 2016 Trump referred to a recent leak of Democratic National Committee email leaks, thought to be connected to a cyberattack widely thought to have been carried out by Russian intelligence services. Trump stated that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, saying: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” NO

Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin over a series of years, developing what CNN called a “long-established track record of…fondness for the autocratic Russian leader.” YES

In response to a question in October 2015 about the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shootdown and the U.S. intelligence community’s “confident” assessment that pro-Russian separatists shot it down, Trump responded, “Putin and Russia say they didn’t do it, the other side said they did, no one really knows who did it, probably Putin knows who did it. Possibly it was Russia but they are totally denying it.” YES

Trump has stated that the U.S. should open fire on Russian planes if Russia rejects calls to stop the approaches. NO

Trump criticized former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as not having “a firm enough hand” controlling Russia… YES

…mentioning China for effectively handling the situation during the Tiananmen Square massacre, saying: “they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.” NO

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2014, Trump stated that Putin was taking “the heart and soul” of Ukraine because he believed Crimea was “where all the money is” and went on to predict “the rest of Ukraine will fall, and it’s predicted to fall fairly quickly.” Later that month, Trump stated that the Russian takeover of Crimea “should never have happened.” NO

In July 2015 Trump opposed U.S. involvement in the Ukrainian crisis (in a rally in July 2016 he implied that this could have led to World War III), describing Crimea as “Europe’s problem.” YES

In July 2016, Trump stated that he would “look into” recognizing Crimea as Russian territory. YES

In August 2015 Trump stated he “did not care” about Ukrainian membership in NATO, saying that both membership and non-membership would be “great.” NO

Speaking to the Yalta European Strategy conference in September 2015, Trump criticized Germany and other European countries for not doing enough to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, saying, Ukrainians are “not being treated right.” NO

Trump has expressed support for South Korea and Japan having nuclear weapons if they would be unwilling to pay the United States for security. NO

In March 2016, Anderson Cooper asked, “Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?” Trump answered: “Saudi Arabia, absolutely.” NO

Trump has been critical of Pakistan, comparing it to North Korea, calling it “probably the most dangerous country” in the world, and claiming that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons posed a “serious problem.” YES

He has advocated improving relations with India as a supposed “check” to Pakistan. NO

Trump said in a December 2015 rally, “We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people.” NO

Trump said that the Internet should be shut off to countries that have a majority of their territory controlled by terrorist organizations. NO

In his announcement speech, Trump said that the U.S.’s control is getting weaker and that its nuclear arsenal is old and does not work… NO

During 2016, Trump has called for the resumption of waterboarding, and has repeatedly expressed support for the use of torture by the U.S. for the purpose of trying to get information from terrorists, if Congress allows it. NO

On one occasion, Trump has called waterboarding “your minimal form of torture”; on another occasion he has said, “Nobody knows if it’s torture”. NO

On the effectiveness of torture, Trump has said: “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work – torture works”… NO

Trump referred to those who “came up with this international law” as “eggheads“… NO

At a Republican primary debate in March 2016, when asked whether the U.S. military would obey orders to torture in violation of international law, Trump stated: “Frankly, when I say they’ll do as I tell them, they’ll do as I tell them”. NO

In October 2013, Trump wrote in a Twitter message that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden “is a spy who should be executed… NO

On November 19, 2015, a week after the November 2015 Paris attacks, when asked if he would implement a database system to track Muslims in the United States, Trump said: “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” NO

Trump justified his proposals by repeatedly saying that he recalled “thousands and thousands of people … cheering” in Jersey City, New Jersey, when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001NO

In 1999 Trump proposed a massive one-time “net worth tax” on the rich to wipe out the national debt. YES

But then he unveiled a tax plan that would, in fact, lavish huge tax cuts on the rich. And it would also, according to non-partisan analyses, cause deficits to explode, adding around $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade.” NO

In 2011 Trump called for a balanced budget amendment… NO

Economist Mark Zandi estimated that if Trump’s tax cuts and spending increases were fully implemented as proposed, the national debt trajectory would worsen considerably, with debt held by the public rising from 76% GDP in 2016 to 135% GDP in 2026, considerably above a current policy baseline that rises to 86% GDP in 2026. If only some of Trump’s policies were implemented under an alternative scenario of more moderate changes, the debt figure would rise to 111% GDP by 2026. In May 2016, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget placed the 2026 debt figure under Trump’s policies between 111% GDP and 141% GDP, versus 86% under the current policy baseline. NO

In two interviews in May 2016, Trump suggested that he would “refinance” the U.S. federal debt as a means to relieve the debt. Trump said that he would not seek to renegotiate the bonds, but rather would seek to buy the bonds back at a discount. NO

Trump has called for allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with prescription-drug companies to get lower prices for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit, something currently prohibited by law. YES

Trump supports proposals that would grant Congress the ability to audit the Federal Reserve’s decisionmaking and take power away from the Federal Reserve. NO

He reiterated the critique of the Federal Reserve as an arm of the Democratic Party… NO

In September 2016, Trump said: “We reject the pessimism that says our standard of living can no longer rise, and that all that’s left to do is divide up and redistribute our shrinking resources.” NO

Economist Mark Zandi wrote in June 2016 that due to the sizable income tax cuts, “[t]he tax code under Mr. Trump’s plan will thus be much less progressive than the current tax code.” NO

In August 2015, in a televised interview, Trump said “Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.” NO

On November 10, 2015, speaking at a Republican debate, Trump said he opposed increasing the U.S. minimum wage, saying that doing so would hurt America’s economic competitiveness. At the same debate, Trump said in response to a question about the minimum wage and the economy as a whole: “…taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.” NO

Trump has expressed support for adopting English-style defamation laws in the U.S.; under UK law, it is easier for plaintiffs to sue newspapers and other media outlets. NO

Trump has called for police to arrest those who protest at his rallies, saying that fear of an “arrest mark” that would “ruin the rest of their lives” would be a deterrent and that then “we’re not going to have any more protesters, folks.” NO

On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Trump has frequently “railed against” the press, referring to the media as “the most dishonest people” and “absolute scum.” The Trump campaign has barred reporters (from Politico,The New York Times, The Des Moines Register, The Huffington Post, and Univision, among others) from its campaign events, “often in the wake of critical coverage.” In October 2016, NBC News reportedly held off on airing a video of Trump making lewd and disparaging remarks about women due to concerns that Trump would sue the network. NO

In a February 2000 interview with The Advocate, Trump said he supported amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include the category of sexual orientation and supported federal hate crime legislation that would cover sexual orientation. YES

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The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.

First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?

Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.

Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?

The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.

It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?

There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.

Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.

In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.

1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.

So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.

The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.

Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.

The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.

Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.

I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.

But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.

And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.

And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.

One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.

Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

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Syrian Government Sued for Killing US Journalist

Here.

I am sure that they did it. That’s a nasty little regime they have over there in Syria. On the other hand, Assad seems to be better than any of the alternatives, which isn’t saying much.

I never agree with targeting journalists during war, but increasingly just about everyone does it. We definitely targeted journalists and even whole media outfits in the first weeks of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. We bombed the Al Jazeera building in Kabul, and we attacked Al Jazeera reporters in a Baghdad hotel. There were fatalities in both cases. In both Iraq wars, the US bombed all major Iraqi news outlets and newspapers, but most of them kept reporting anyway. The Pentagon said they were targeted for “disseminating enemy propaganda in wartime.”

Recent Pentagon documents discuss the need to “control the narrative” during wartime and speak of another need to silence enemy critics and journalists who are seen as combatants in an information war. The language used to describe propaganda, controlling the narrative and targeting journalists sympathetic to the enemy is genuinely creepy.

Lousy countries always do this sort of thing in wartime, but I thought we were above this.

Putin has had reporters beaten up for reporting on Russian soldiers who were killed fighting in Ukraine when there supposed to be no Russians there. He is also implicated in the killing of journalists, including a woman who was famous for reporting on Russian atrocities in Chechnya.

Turkey routinely targets journalists, especially Kurdish reporters. A number of them have been killed.

Israel is notorious for targeting journalists. Palestinian journalists are arrested regularly, and a number have been shot by soldiers. A fair number of them have been killed. Some American journalists have also been killed by the IDF, and at least one was killed.

The US would not defend this journalist at all, and instead seemed to take Israel’s side. So here we have a government that supports a foreign state over its own people. Our country should be called “USrael” to symbolize the extent to which we dutifully support this foreign country against all common sense. An interview with a representative of the Israeli government regarding this case was tense and combative, and the Israeli seemed to be arguing that journalists were legitimate targets as some sort of “terrorist supporters” or “terror propagandists.”

I was always taught that my country was the good guy. I was taught how we generally fought fair and square in World War 2. This made me so proud to be an American. I learned quite a few things since then that made me question that line. But this recent behavior of the Pentagon’s has made me lose all hope. I had thought we were above this sort of crap and that we believed in fighting fair at least out of a gentlemanly honor. Turns out I was wrong. While we do fight quite a bit more fairly than most other countries (and so do the Israelis), a lot of our behavior is scumbucket low down there with the worst Turd World shitholes.

Color me disenchanted. I am not so much an America-hater as a disappointed patriot gone sour.

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The Fallujah ISIS Convoy Bombing That Never Happened

Here.

I normally can’t stand this guy, and a lot of his stuff is just flat out wrong, but this time I think he is right on it.

Remember when the media cheered about the bombing of an ISIS convoy heading out of Fallujah that killed 250 ISIS fighters?

Well, it never happened.

As with so many things about those wars over there, the whole thing is pretty much made up.

First of all, yes, there was a vehicle convoy heading out of Fallujah at the end of the battle.

Yes, it was bombed by Iraqi and apparently also US planes.

Yes, many of the vehicles were destroyed, and it looks like quite a few people were killed and injured, though a journey to the site soon after the attack found few bodies.

The problem is that it wasn’t a convoy of ISIS fighters heading out of Fallujah. It wasn’t even a convoy of military vehicles heading out of Fallujah.

Instead it was a convoy of civilian vehicles heading out of the city. And it was filled with civilians, not with ISIS fighters.

There are a few clues that this is indeed the case.

  1. Soon after the bombing of the convoy, a call went out to Baghdad of many dead and wounded civilians in the Fallujah area. Multiple plane and helicopter trips were flown to the area and, many of the wounded were medevacced out. The medevac process took several hours. The area where the civilians were killed and wounded was in the same general area as the convoy bombing.
  2. The reason that a trip to the scene of the attack showed few dead bodies was because the dead and wounded had been for the most part medevacced out or were flown out in body bags.
  3. ISIS seldom if ever travels in such huge convoys. There have been only two or three reports of ISIS convoys this long in the region since ISIS started fighting. They tend to travel in convoys that are much shorter and harder to detect. There is no way that ISIS would lead a huge convoy that size out of that city at the last minute. They are not that stupid.
  4. When the US first heard about the convoy they were asked whether to attack it, and Air Command decided not to attack the convoy because they felt that there were civilians present. Later they bombed it anyway after the Iraqis bombed it.
  5. A trip to the scene of the attack revealed many burned out vehicles. However almost all of them seemed to be civilian vehicles like sedans and minivans. ISIS doesn’t use vehicles like that on the battlefield.

Sorting it all out, it appears that this civilian convoy was not as innocent as it seemed. The best analysis of what happened is that this was a convoy of the families of the ISIS fighters who stayed in the city for most of the battle but finally left after the city fell. You could argue that the families of the fighters should be killed too, but I would not agree with you on that one.

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Watching ISIS Videos

That’s what I have been doing a lot of these days. I do not like the execution videos, and I have seen enough executions anyway.

But there are a lot of really cool combat videos, and those are really cool to look at. Basically firefights with automatic weapons, RPG’s, machine guns, technical vehicles with guns, various types of mortars, rockets, and antiaircraft guns. There is a fair amount of night fighting, which is a trip.

It’s just guys shooting at each other and blowing stuff up, so you hardly see any gore in the battle videos. However, at the end, sometimes they go to the position that they overran, and among all of the other things present at the camp there are typically the dead bodies of some of the folks that ISIS is fighting. They also have really cool music in the background. There are interviews with ISIS fighters, but I have no idea what they are saying.

The worst ISIS of all seem to be in Iraq. They look like a bunch of very, very pissed off guys. Boy are they mad!

The one thing that shines right through their rage and hatred is one word…revenge. ISIS in Iraq seems to be out for revenge. For what I am not sure, but 30% of ISIS in Iraq is former Iraqi military. I assume they are still angry that their country and leader was taken away from them in a US invasion and conquest whereby afterwards, an Iranian puppet regime was put in in place. The Iraqi Army was transformed from a radical Arab nationalist and pro-Sunni organization into a mostly Shia and objectively anti-Shia force. The Shia militias which operate separately from the Iraqi Army are particularly despised.

I have heard that the many of the people in back of ISIS at the very top are Baath Party people and former Iraqi military. Obviously they are out for revenge for the last 13 years. They want paybacks, and paybacks are a bitch.

The ISIS in Syria and Afghanistan don’t seem to be as pissed off, but I have not watched a lot of their videos out of Syria.

There’s nothing to be worried about watching these videos. I am sure that hundreds of thousands if not millions of people watch at least some of those videos. I know that the site I found the videos on is a US site, and almost all of the commenters have a savage hatred of ISIS. So the idea that watching ISIS videos means you’re a terrorist is crap. I would say far more ISIS haters watch their videos than ISIS supporters.

Just for the record, I utterly hate these scumbuckets, and if it ever comes down to it, I will grab an automatic weapon myself and try to kill them.  I am very much afraid of death, but dying fighting for your homeland and lifestyle against these hellions would actually be worth it. I would rather die fighting them than live under their rule, let’s put it that way, ok?

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Blowback in Turkey

Here.

It is such a terrible thing to say, but they really did ask for that airport attack. If you play with matches, you might just get burned. Turkey was playing with fire, and it got burned.

One might wonder why ISIS would even attack Turkey in the first place. Although of course ISIS networks are still huge all across Turkey, the state has been carrying out some raids recently. Quite a few jihadis have arrested, some have been tried and a few have been convicted and sentenced. A number of others have been thrown out of the country.

The MSM says that Turkey has been fighting ISIS in Syria since last year, but that is not really true, and Turkish jets surely do not attack ISIS in Syria. However, Turkey does allow its airbases to be used by the US and especially the West to bomb ISIS in Syria.

And perhaps most importantly of all, Turkey just completed a major security cooperation deal with Israel. No sooner had the ink dried on that document, a mere eight hours later, ISIS unleashed its attackers, one from Chechnya, another from Kyrgyzstan and another from Uzbekistan. They had probably been in a safe house in Turkey for some time, waiting for instructions to set off the hit. With the Israeli peace deal, the order came down from ISIS headquarters in Raqqa to unleash to jihadis to punish Turkey for cooperating with the Israelis.

The area is swarming with US intelligence and Turkish intelligence is also good and pervasive. But neither US, Turkish nor Israeli intel nor were able to intercept the go- ahead. These ISIS guys are pretty evil, but they’re damn good. Give em some credit. ISIS has possibly become one of the most skilled and deadly terrorist groups in recent history.

A US intelligence official said about Turkey,

“The summer of our discontent has begun.”

Before the US idiotically invaded Iraq in its Nazi-like war of aggression and conquest, the Arab League presciently warned,

You are about to unleash the gates of Hell.

Arabs are not stupid. They know their people better than we do. After the US conquered Baghdad, Robert Fisk said,

A modern Western Christian country has just conquered one of the most famous and powerful cities in the Arab Islamic World. This is a breathtaking event, stunning on a world scale. This will set into motion some very powerful forces. We will not see the end of this in my lifetime.

Fisk knows the region as well as the Arab League does. Fisk is still alive, but so far he is right.

First the US played with matches by invading and conquering one of the most powerful and legendary cities in the Arab Islamic world. The US played with fire and it got burned.

Then Turkey played with matches by letting the Hellspawn created by that insane invasion set up camp in its country. Turkey played with fire too,. They not only got burned, but they set off a nasty brush fire that will be very hard to put out.

If you don’t want to get burned, don’t play with fire!

You are about to unleash the gates of Hell…

We will not see the end of this in my lifetime…

The summer of our discontent has begun…

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Hillary Clinton, Neoconservative Dream Candidate

Here.

Good God, she’s a nightmare. This election is going to be about who we despise least. I hate Trump, but I definitely despise Killary/Hitlery Clinton, neocon warmonger maniac.

Trump is truly catastrophic and must be stopped by all means. But Hillary is a nightmare. Hillary’s a turd, and Trump is 24 hour diarrhea. I really hate both of them, but I hate Hillary less. But that ain’t saying much, because there are few humans I hate more than Donald Trump.

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“Monopoly Capital and Capitalist Inequality: Marx after Piketty,” By Thomas E. Lambert

Great article that concludes that almost all of the massive wealth that has accumulated among the wealthy in the US in recent years has been due to an huge increase in the economic surplus which has been due to two factors: flat wage growth (high worker exploitation) and investment in unproductive sectors of the US economy. I believe he is correct. Piketty’s book is supposed to be great, but I have not yet read it.

Monopoly Capital and Capitalist Inequality: Marx after Piketty

By Thomas E. Lambert

Assistant Professor of Public Administration
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY 41099
Lambertt1@nku.edu
502-403-9795 (cell)

Abstract

This paper proposes that one major explanation of growing inequality in the United States (US) is through the use of the concept of economic surplus. The economic surplus is a neo-Marxian term which combines the traditional Marxian tenet of surplus value with other ways that surplus value can be invested in a mature, advanced capitalist economy.

A rising economic surplus that is not absorbed through growing consumer spending, luxury spending or government spending results in stagnant wages and growing inequality via higher levels of underemployment and greater monopoly and monopsony power among a decreasing number of huge, powerful corporations. Therefore, the politics surrounding the growth of inequality in the US has to be understood first by understanding over accumulation of the economic surplus by those at the top of the US capitalist class.

This research note gives estimates of the rising economic surplus over the last several decades in the US as well as how these correlate with the level of inequality. The growth of the economic surplus gives rise and form to the politics of inequality and austerity. As time goes by, the politics of inequality and austerity in the US will be manifested by greater corporate influence in the political system, greater political polarization, less government effectiveness, and more debates about welfare spending, corporate taxation, taxes on upper income households, and taxes on wealth.

Introduction

According to a recent, nationwide opinion poll, approximately 63% of United States (US) survey respondents indicated that US wealth and income differences should be more equally distributed (Newport 2015). In many political discussions and discourse in the US, the topic of economic inequality is growing in importance, especially as one major candidate for US President has made it a cornerstone of his campaign (Talbot 2015).

Additionally, the notoriety of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century (2014, English edition) has added grist to the debate since one of Piketty’s main points is that a large degree of economic inequality is the norm in a capitalistic system, not the exception. Piketty contends that some degree of inequality has been driven by the large increases in managerial and CEO pay over the years (p. 24), although a lot of research has failed to show a link between a management team’s pay and corporate performance (Collins 2001, Chemi and Giorgio 2014).

Add to this his assertion that rates of return on wealth and assets, or r, are greater than economic growth, or g, then in any society, most of national income tends to accumulate with the investor class, and part of this income becomes more assets and wealth. His central equation, r > g, explains why great concentrations of wealth yield even more wealth concentration as time goes by, especially if r is far above g.

Finally, with large concentrations of wealth, inherited wealth becomes more and more important in skewing the wealth toward those in the top income ranges, especially if inheritance and income taxes are kept low by national governments.

One solution to extremely skewed wealth distribution would be an international tax on wealth and/or inheritances, but Piketty believes these unlikely to come into effect. Therefore, despite astute analysis of why inequality persists and even becomes worse, Piketty’s recommendations to address it are tenuous given political power imbalances in most societies and the inability of nation-states to coordinate actions to solve problems.

Nonetheless, Piketty is at least concerned about the long term impacts of extreme inequality in most nations whereas some mainstream economists do not see it as a big problem if a problem at all. Instead, according to these economists, income and wealth inequalities within a society can be explained mostly by differences in labor productivity and educational attainment differences among those in the labor force (Feldstein 1999).

On the other hand, critics of extreme inequality claim that too much income and wealth inequality can result in greater political and social alienation or even turmoil on the part of the citizenry, possibly due to the development of a static class structure or rule by oligarchy (Solt 2008, Newman, Johnston and Lown 2015).

One school of neo-Marxist thought, the “monopoly capital” point of view (Baran and Sweezy 1966, Foster 2014 among others), posits that modern inequality exists because of traditional Marxist explanations of worker exploitation and because of the power of land owners in the past and in modern times (a rentier class) and mostly because of the political and market powers of large, modern day corporations (i.e., many oligopolistic and monopolistic consumer markets and monopsonistic labor markets).

Market concentration allows for restricted output (excess capacity), which in turn yields high markups on product prices. Restricted output lessens the demand for labor, which along with monoposonistic labor markets (in which workers are limited with regard to employer choices) limit the earnings of workers and raises the unemployment rate beyond what it would be otherwise.

In the monopoly capital school of thought, Piketty’s observation of r > g can be easily explained by the degree of corporate and upper class dominance in a society in that market concentration and power in product and labor markets yields higher returns and profits than in competitive markets relative to what workers can earn in wages (Foster and Yates 2014, Andrews 2014). With wages stagnant or not increasing fast enough to keep up with inflation, this makes the degree of labor exploitation even stronger (Piketty 2014, Lambert and Kwon 2015a).

Finally, since innovation and the resulting products from innovation usually reach a peak in sales and market share, g is usually low, and so the economy usually tends toward stagnation. That is, according to the monopoly capital point of view, the product life cycle of rapid growth, slow growth, and then peak sales occurs with all products, and if no further innovations are forthcoming to keep an economy growing, then slow or negative growth occurs.

This is compounded by the fact that as many industries cease to grow as rapidly as they have in their early stages, jobs are eventually shed as labor saving techniques are introduced, and this can exacerbate any unemployment and inequality problems. Finally, slow growing or declining sales in existing product markets and a lack of new products or markets in which to invest lead to fewer investment outlets for the upper capitalist class. This causes the “economic surplus” of a society to rise, which can be manifested in over accumulation of surplus or under consumption of goods and services.

According to Baran and Sweezy (1966), the economic surplus is the amount over and above what is required to produce a given level of output and is normally considered as comprised of things such business profits, property rents, interest payments, and wasteful expenditures on such things as luxury items, advertising, retailing, research and development1, finance, and military programs. Using Piketty’s equation (or inequality), since r > g, the surplus of the wealthier classes rises faster than what it can invest in productive investment or assets.

Hence, in order to use the excess surplus that is accumulated, the result is spending on many wasteful items according to Baran and Sweezy. Wasteful and non-wasteful activities are seen from a traditional Marxian perspective these that uses a non-productive and productive dichotomy for classifying economic activity and labor.2

Productive activity or labor includes those activities such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining, utilities, construction, transportation, and some forms of government activity such as education, sanitation, and emergency services (Baran and Sweezy 1966, Shaikh and Tonak 1994, Mohun 1996 and 2014 among others).

These activities and labor are considered productive because they produce surplus value and add value in that they satisfy the consumer needs of food, clothing, shelter, education, etc.

Those economic sectors that are classified as unproductive add little or no value and are only ancillary to the productive sectors of the economy. Yet, the unproductive sectors are necessary in order to provide an outlet for accumulated surplus that cannot be channeled into productive sectors if the latter are not growing (Baran and Sweezy 1966).

For Baran and Sweezy (1966) this combination of surplus value obtained from worker exploitation (where workers produced output greater than their wages) and expenditures for non-productive labor and activities made up their concept of the economic surplus.

Therefore, as wages remain stagnant or decline as prices and profits rise (which would cause r to increase even more relative to g in Piketty’s equation) and as non-productive sectors grow, then a nation’s economic surplus would grow. Along with this growth in economic surplus, as wages are stagnant or declining, one would expect to see rising inequality due to rising labor exploitation, and so there should be a high degree of correlation between the economic surplus and inequality.

This research note proceeds as follows. Next is a section in which the methods of evaluating the argument that the economic surplus and inequality are linked are discussed. Then a results section summarizes the findings. Finally, a discussion and conclusion elaborate on the research results and offers recommendations for further research.

Methods

This paper uses time series, least squares regression to predict the levels of income inequality (top 1% income share, including capital gains) and wealth inequality (net private wealth as a portion of all income3) in the US from 1929 to 2013 using the monopoly capital concept of economic surplus as a percentage of GDP. This is a method similar to that used by Lambert and Kwon (2015a) in which they predicted the percentage change in top income shares over a similar time period using different concepts of surplus and other variables.

The top 1% income share and wealth to total income numbers come from the World Wealth and Income Database, a database created by Piketty and other researchers of inequality (Alvaredo, Atkinson, Piketty , Saez, and Zucman 2016). The economic surplus as a portion of US GDP was used by Baran and Sweezy (1966) to illustrate the level of exploitation occurring in the US over time.

In an appendix by Joseph D. Phillips, the surplus as a portion of GDP is constructed as the sum of business profits, rent, property income, interest, dividends, depreciation, and the value of the “wasteful” sectors of the economy (e.g., finance, insurance, real estate, services, government etc.) divided by GDP.

Later, Shaikh and Tonak (1994) fine-tuned the economic surplus concept as a portion of GDP that is basically the value of Gross Domestic Product less the value of the wages and salaries in the productive sectors of the economy. This paper adapts their concept, which has also been used by other authors (Wolf 1987, Lambert and Kwon 2015a and 2015b). The source of the data is from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) National Economics Accounts tables website, http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm , and more specifically Table 1.1.5, Gross Domestic Product and Table 6.2A, Compensation of Employees by Industry.4

This paper contends that there should be a high degree of correlation between the economic surplus and two variables, income and wealth inequality, since capitalist wealth and income are extracted by high rates of labor exploitation and the wasteful investment of surplus into productive and non-productive activities.

Results

Figures 1 and 2 show that the economic surplus concept and the income and wealth shares are highly correlated and have strong, direct and positive relationships. Table 1, Model 1, shows the economic surplus as a percentage of GDP to be a statistically significant predictor of the income shares of the top 1%, and it explains about 88% of the variation in top 1% income shares.

A one percent increase in economic surplus is associated with around a 12% increase in top 1% income share on average. In Model 2, a 1% increase in economic surplus as a share of GDP predicts a 163% increase in the wealth to income percentage on average.

Model 2 shows the economic surplus variable to be statistically significant and explains about 73% of the variation in wealth to income. In using ordinary least squares analysis, the Durbin-Watson statistic is less than the lower critical value at α < 0.05 for both models indicating positive serial correlation, so Newey-West standard errors to correct for any autocorrelation or serial correlation are used in both models (Studenmund 2006, pages 334-335).

Discussion and Conclusion

The regression results support the hypotheses advanced by this paper. The bulk of the gains made by the upper classes in US society appear to have occurred because of increases in US economic surplus, which grew as a result of stagnant wages to labor (or greater labor exploitation) and greater investment in what Baran and Sweezy (1966) would characterize as “waste” – the unproductive sectors of the US economy (Lambert and Kwon 2015a).

Politically, greater labor exploitation and greater inequality in both wealth and income make for a potentially volatile situation according to Piketty (2014).

Toward the end of his book The Theory of Capitalist Development (1970 (1942 original), set in the US during the Great Depression and on the eve of its entry into World War II, Paul Sweezy speculates on the question of whether fascism is inevitable in a society which has suffered and continues to suffer a major economic crisis.

Similar to the nations that suffered trauma during and after World War I because of economic hardships, military defeat and/or subsequent economic crisis (e.g., Germany and Italy), the US was dealing with high unemployment and excess industrial capacity, although the US had come out of World War I stronger than any other nation in the world.

Sweezy believes that a nation which has embarked in imperialist ventures in the past (i.e., has had colonies or territories) and has a capitalist economy, although a faltering one, and has suffered some type of national trauma (war, depression, etc.) is a good candidate for a fascistic takeover of the government. He rejects this as an inevitability for the US during the time of his writings for the book, but leaves open the possibility for a later date should circumstances change.

Have circumstances changed enough since then? Other writings on fascism and socialism offer some clues as to possible future scenarios. The US has possibly suffered the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression due to the 2007-2009 Great Recession and its aftermath.

Subsequent economic growth after the recession’s “end” in 2009 has been very slow, with stagnant wages, a great number of people dropping out of the labor force, an increase in the official poverty rate, and now an apparent slowdown in the global economy, which could spell more trouble for the US economy (Greenhouse and Leonhardt 2006, Foster and Magdoff 2009, Lambert 2011, Mongiovi 2015, Patnaik 2016).

Although illegal immigration has declined during this time period, there still persists a common belief among the working classes that a large number of illegal immigrants are harming the working class (Goo 2015). Additionally, the aftermath of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and continued problems with terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS have put the nation almost on a perpetual wartime footing since 2001.

Fascism has been generally defined as a political and economic system which arises from national political and/or economic turmoil and wherein capitalism is seen as chaotic and has to be managed by a strong, nationalistic government led by elites which seeks to unite labor and upper class interests rather than try to exploit class struggle.

The capitalist class, however, is allowed to retain its property rights and business interests, although it now has to submit to a “managed” form of capitalism in which industry is organized into large and cooperative cartels (Sabine and Thorson 1973, Carsten 1980, Renton 1999, Amin 2014). In return for full and steady employment, labor gives up its unions and a large number of its rights, which assists with an austerity efforts to balance national budgets and pay off debts.

Such a compromise goes a long way in managing social spending that cannot keep up with the chaos (economic downturns), unemployment, poverty, and inequality brought about due to capitalism’s excesses (O’Connor 1973). Piketty (2014) acknowledges that much of the austerity movement in developed and developing countries has emanated from the fact that most bondholders are from the world’s wealthy and upper classes, and therefore, austerity is imposed to make sure that the debt is properly serviced and paid, even if it means harsh conditions for debtor nations.

Fascism does seem plausible in other nations that are undergoing austerity due to having to repay debts to the IMF or other financial institutions. Repressive regimes could arise when faced with labor and working class strife arising from a negative reaction to austerity measures. Although there is a more remote chance in the US since many of its financial institutions hold such debt, it is not entirely out of the question.

This is due to the possibility of chronic deficits and a debt level at 100% of GDP which the nation does not seem capable of adequately addressing in the current political climate. Inaction with regard to increasing taxes or significantly decreasing spending seems to be the norm now, although this may change if the economy becomes very bad in the future.

O’Connor (1973) speculates that greater and greater levels of social spending are necessary in a monopoly capitalist economy due to capitalist interests being able to shift more and more social problems on to the government (spending on unemployment, welfare, and job training, for example). Yet at the same time, capitalist interests resist greater levels of taxation.

With the resistance to higher taxes and a rising budget deficit and debt level, austerity and cutbacks are the next option, which in turn could lead to a working class revolt. The reaction to such a revolt could lead to some type of politically and economically repressive regime. This is a grim but possible scenario unfortunately.

Table 1: Times Series, Least Squares
Model 1: Dependent Variable is US Top 1% Income Shares including Capital Gains, 1929 to 2013
b
(Newey-West standard errors)

Constant -21.672
Econ Surplus as Pct. GDP 12.011***
(0.559)

Adjusted r2 : 0.883

n = 85

Model 2: Dependent Variable is Net Private Wealth as Pct. Of Income, 1929 to 2013
b
(Newey-West standard errors)

Constant -110.008
Econ Surplus as Pct. GDP 163.091***
(34.098)

Adjusted r2 : 0.731

n = 85

***p < 0.01

References

Alvaredo, Facundo, Tony Atkinson, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. 2016. “World Wealth and Income Database”. Accessed on January 22, 2016.

Amin, Samir. 2014. “The Return of Fascism in Contemporary Capitalism”, Monthly Review, 66(04) (September). Accessed on January 23, 2016.

Andrews, Charles. 2014. “Professor Piketty Fights Orthodoxy and Attacks Inequality”, Marxism-Leninism Today. Accessed on January 10, 2016.

Baran, Paul A. and Paul M. Sweezy. 1966. Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Carsten, F. L. 1980. The Rise of Fascism, Second Edition. University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles.

Collins, James C. 2001. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Do Not. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Chemi, Eric and Ariana Giorgi. 2014. “The Pay-for-Performance Myth”, Bloomberg Business. July 22, 2014. Accessed on January 8, 2016.

Feldstein, Martin. 1999. “Reducing Poverty, Not Inequality”. The Public Interest, Number 137, Fall 1999. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. . Accessed on January 8, 2016.

Foster, John Bellamy. 2014. The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism, Second Edition. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Foster, J. B., and F. Magdoff. 2009. The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Foster, John Bellamy and Michael D. Yates. 2014. “Piketty and the Crisis of Neoclassical Economics”, Monthly Review, 66(6) (November): 1-24. . Accessed on January 10, 2016.

Goo, Sarah Kehaulani. 2015. “What Americans Want to Do about Illegal Immigration”, Pew Research Center, Fact-tank. August 24, 2015. . Accessed on January 23, 2016.

Greenhouse, S., and D. Leonhard. 2006. Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity. The New York Times, August 28. Available at .

Houston, David. 1997. “Productive-Unproductive Labor: Rest in Peace,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 29(1): 131-139.

Laibman, David. 1999. “Productive and Unproductive Labor: A Comment,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 31(2): 61-73.

Lambert, Thomas E. 2011. Falling Income and Debt: Comparing Views of a Major Cause of the Great Recession. World Review of Political Economy 2(2): 247-261.

Lambert, Thomas E. and Edward Kwon. 2015a. “The Top 1 Percent and Exploitation Measures,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 47(3): 465-476.

Lambert, Thomas E. and Edward Kwon. 2015b. “Monopoly Capital and Capitalist Inefficiency,” International Review of Applied Economics, 29(4): 1-20.

Mongiovi, Gary. 2015. “Piketty on Capitalism and Inequality: A Radical Economics Perspective,” Review of Radical Economists, 47(4): 558-565.

Mohun, Simon. 1996. “Productive and Unproductive Labor in the Labor Theory of Value”, Review of Radical Political Economics, 28(4) (December): 30–54.

___________. 2014. “Unproductive Labor in the U.S. Economy, 1964-2010,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 46(3): 355-379.

Newman, Benjamin J., Christopher D. Johnston and Patrick L. Lown. 2015. “False Consciousness or Class Awareness? Local Income Inequality, Personal Economic Position, and Belief in American Meritocracy”, American Journal of Political Science, 59 (2): 326–340. April 2015.

Newport, Frank. 2015. “Americans Continue to Say U.S. Wealth Distribution Is Unfair”, Gallup Poll. May 4, 2015. http://www.ips-dc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CEO-stocking-stuffers-report.pdf. Accessed on January 4, 2016.

O’Connor, James. 1973. The Fiscal Crisis of the State. St. Martin’s Press: New York.

Patnaik, Prabhat. 2016. “Capitalism and Its Current Crisis”, Monthly Review, 67(8) January: 1-13.

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Sabine, George H. and Thomas L. Thorson. 1973. A History of Political Theory, Fourth Edition. Dryden Press: Hinsdale, Illinois.

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An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance Part 7 – Regional Tendencies

I have decided to publish my most recent work, An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, on my blog. Previously, this piece was used for the research for An Insiders Look at the Iraqi Resistance, a major piece that appeared on the Islamist website Jihadunspun.com (JUS got the copyright, but I did the research). That long-running top-billed piece is now down, but it is still archived on Alexa here. Note that this material is copyrighted, and all reproduction for profit is forbidden under copyright laws.

For information about reprinting or purchasing one-time rights to this work, email me. This article is an in-depth analysis of the Iraqi resistance and is continuously being revised. It is presently 58 pages long in total. It lists all known Iraqi resistance groups who have ever fought in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad to 2004 and includes a brief description and analysis of each group. There are separate sections covering Size, Tendencies, Motivations, Structure, Foreign Assistance, Foreign Fighters, Regional Characteristics, Regions, Cities or Towns Controlled by the Resistance, Major Attacks and List of Groups by Tendency.

The article was intended to be a political science-type analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, and I tried not to take sides one way or the other. I used a tremendous amount of source material, mostly publicly available news reports from the Internet. Obviously, in an area like this you are dealing with a ton of disinformation along with the real deal, so I spent a lot of time trying to sort out the disinfo from the relative truth.

The problem is that one cannot simply discount sources of information such as Israeli and US intelligence, US military reports, reporting from the resistance itself, Islamist websites, etc. Of course these sources are loaded with disinfo and false analysis, but they also tend to have a lot of truth mixed in as well. In writing a piece like this, you pull together all the sources and get rather “Gestalt” view of the situation. When you examine all the sources at once in toto, you can somewhat sort out the disinfo from the more factual material. Admittedly it’s a hit or miss game, but that’s about as good as we can do source-wise in the inherently hazy subject area of an underground guerrilla war.

Interviews with resistance cadre by the mainstream Western media were given particular prominence in this piece.

REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS

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Ramadi, Khaldiya and Habbaniyah west to Husaybah on the Syrian border in Al Anbar Province: Much of Iraqi resistance around Ramadi and the part of Anbar Province west of Ramadi (Hadithah, Hit, Husaybah) is coming from Sunni tribes, often nationalist and Islamist; many are either not fighting for Saddam or are openly anti-Saddam. Almost 100% support in the towns of Ramadi, Husaybah, Rawah and Khaldiya. There are some pro-Saddam elements in this region, especially around Ramadi, Khaldiya and Husaybah. Some Ramadi cells cooperate with other cells in Baghdad.

Anti-Saddam nationalists dominate in Ramadi, Khaldiya and Habbaniyah. A number of suspected Islamist guerrilas were arrested in Rawah. Many police in Ramadi support the resistance and most of Husaybah’s police have refused to show up for work since the local police chief was assassinated in 10-03. In 12-03, Ramadi’s police were also refusing to show up for work. Ramadi police sometimes refuse to assist US soldiers who are being attacked by guerrilas. By 1-04, the cities of Husaybah, Ramadi, Khaldiya and Rawah had gone completely over to the resistance. MA is quite prominent in Ramadi – they may have had up to 1,000 fighters in there in 12-03.

Major General Charles Swannack, in charge of Anbar Province, said that 90% of the attacks in Anbar Province are Saddam loyalists or “Wahhabis” (apparently US military propaganda for Iraqi Islamists) and 10% are foreign fighters. His estimates would appear to be incorrect, and Swannack is an unreliable witness anyway. Ramadi is now one of the hubs of the foreign fighter network in Iraq. After foreign fighters are smuggled across Iraq’s border, they are often transported first to Ramadi. Ramadi, Khaldiya, Habbaniyah and Husaybah are extraordinarily hostile towns and some of the hottest war zones in Iraq.
*****

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Fallujah Area: Iraqi resistance in Fallujah is tribal and Islamist, often with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. There are both former Baathists and Islamists present in the resistance but all are led by sheikhs. There are a very high percentage of former Iraqi military amongst the guerrilas here. Islamists dominate. 80% support in town. Numerous resistance groups of variable ideology are based in town. The Fallujah resistance cooperates with the resistance in Mosul and Baghdad at the very least. There have definitely been some foreign fighters active here, but the number does not appear to be very large.

Only about 50% the population ever supported Saddam even when he was in power, and Baathists were never popular in town. Consequently, the majority of the resistance in Fallujah is either not fighting for Saddam or openly anti-Saddam. On the other hand, there is indeed a large pro-Saddam contingent here. The local police are almost all sympathetic to the resistance and often refuse to help US troops search for or fight guerrilas. General Swannack, who is in charge of Fallujah, has estimated total guerrila strength, as of 11-03, in Fallujah alone at anywhere from 1,000-20,000, but Swannack is not a very reliable witness.

Swannack’s former figure seemed to include actual combatants while the latter figure seemed to include active collaborators. 20,000 active guerrilas in Fallujah alone is not an unreasonable estimate at all. By 12-03, Fallujah was essentially in the hands of the resistance. The US had withdrawn to fortified bases outside of town and rarely entered the town proper. By that time, Fallujah was considered the most dangerous town in Iraq and most Westerners were steering clear of the area.

After Saddam’s capture, Fallujah was in open rebellion and most local government buildings were destroyed. guerrilas appeared openly on the streets without their masks, carrying their RPG launchers and AK-47’s in plain sight. This sort of brazen openness is rarely seen amongst Iraqi guerrilas and indicates the degree to which the resistance controls the town. It is also a terrible symptom of an entrenched insurgency. The capture of Saddam appeared to split the resistance into pro-Saddam and Islamist factions. Fallujah, along with Ramadi, is one of the hubs of the foreign fighter network in Iraq. After foreign fighters are smuggled across Iraq’s border, they are often transported first to Fallujah.
******

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Baghdad and surrounding area: Resistance in Baghdad proper is a mixed bag of anti-Saddam nationalists, Sunni Arab tribal Islamists such as MA, Saddam loyalists and foreign fighters. The latter two seem to be responsible for most of the more spectacular attacks. Some of the mortar attacks on CPA headquarters in 11-03 were done by a group of former Baathists who are now anti-Saddam. Some cells in Baghdad communicate with those in Ramadi, Fallujah, Diyala Province and Tikrit. The Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Adhamiyah and Amiriyah are particularly hostile. Adhamiyah has 100% support for the resistance. After Saddam’s capture, wild demonstrations were staged in the Amiriyah and Adhamiyah Districts.

Unmasked armed guerrilas brazenly took part in these violent demos. Whenever guerrilas are able to move about in populated areas, especially cities, in broad daylight, this is typically a symptom of an entrenched insurgency. Police in many Baghdad neighborhoods refuse to investigate or even receive any citizen tips regarding resistance fighters.

These police say fighting the guerrilas is not their job – it is the job of US troops, not them. Yet a substantial number of Baghdad residents do support the Occupation and the puppet US Governing Council and oppose the resistance. Anti-resistance, pro-US, pro-Governing Council forces are probably stronger in Baghdad than anywhere else in Iraq outside the Kurdish Zone.
****

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Salah-al-Din (Salahuddin) Province south of Balad: The resistance in this area is almost exactly like the resistance in Diyala Province. Pro-Saddam elements are quite prominent around Dujayl although there has been only moderate resistance in town. This area is very mixed Sunni Arab-Shia Arab. The Shia appear to be sitting out the war, although whether they are siding with the US or not is not known.

Many police in Bani Sad support the resistance. The local ICDC in Mashahidah is at least partly infiltrated. Pro-Saddam elements are quite prominent around Tarmiyah, Dujayl and Mashahidah. Around Mashahida, armed guerrilas have even operated guerrila roadblocks on occasion. The entire area from Taji and Rashidiyah up towards Balad is an extremely hot war zone with continuous attacks.
****

****
Diyala Province: Same as Ramadi/Khaldiya above, but with less pro-Saddam influence. The resistance here is made up of Sunni Arab tribes associated with Saddam’s faith campaign, former Iraqi military, ordinary Iraqis angry about the Occupation, some foreign fighters (often more Arab nationalists than Islamists), and some Saddam Fedayeen, Baath Party members, etc. The resistance here is mostly anti-Saddam. MA is very big in this region and they reportedly have an all-female battalion in this province.

There is a certain amount of Shia resistance (but not much) in Baqubah for some odd reason; a Shia preacher was arrested for storing weapons in his mosque. Many police in Baqubah support the resistance. Pro-Saddam elements are prominent in Baqubah. As of 12-03, the Sunni villages east of Baqubah and the town of Jalula were pretty much controlled by guerrilas. Iraqi Islamist guerrilas have been arrested in Jalula and Baqubah. The nationalist resistance is quite strong here. The area around Baqubah is extremely hot with continuous, often deadly, attacks.

Abu Saidah, a town to the northeast, is the scene of continuous attacks, although it is a Shia town. Most attackers in Abu Saidah are Sunnis who come to Abu Saidah from south of town to attack US troops. US troops arrested an incredible 20,000 men in Baqubah city alone in 12-03 on suspicion of being guerrilas, to give an example of how hot this city is. In 2-04, there were reports that the entire city of Baqubah was now resistance-controlled, even the Shia areas.
****

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Balad Area: Resistance in Balad area is exclusively Sunni and exists only in the ring of villages surrounding Balad and not Balad city itself. The city of Balad is made up of Shia who are cooperating with the US. The resistance in the Balad area is highly variable, some are pro-Saddam, some are Islamists, some are nationalists, and some are seeking revenge for various acts by US troops; many fighters display some variable mixture of any of these 4 elements. A highly religious Sufi (Sunni) Islamist element is active in the resistance here. The resistance here is not uniform ideologically, and it is very loosely structured. Often fighters will go out on a mission and meet other local fighters who they do not even know.

Fear of arrest has kept the resistance for coalescing much in this area. Almost 100% support in these villages. The Iraqi police are completely infiltrated in these villages, and almost 100% of them are active in the resistance when they are off-duty. By 1-04, US forces considered the Iraqi Police in this area to be unreliable. Soldiers had stopped using the local police for guard duty and soldiers no longer went on joint patrols with local police. In 2-04, a local police chief was in jail in Balad for involvement in the resistance. This area has been thoroughly hostile since Spring 2003 and is one of the hottest war zones in Iraq.

In 9-03, US troops under the control of US Colonel Sassaman, began borrowing heavily from Israeli tactics in the Occupied Territories to use a variety of repressive, mostly illegal, measures against the local population. A number of the villages surrounding Balad, such as Abu Hishma, have been ringed in barbed wire, ID cards have been issued to all residents, onerous curfews have been imposed, and all entry or exit to the villages is through a US or ICDC Army checkpoint.

182 leaders in Abu Hishma have been forced to illegal documents stating that they agree to go to prison on charges of aiding the insurgency if there is even one attack in their zone. By 1-04, the situation had deteriorated further under Sassaman.

Troops had introduced the legally and morally dubious Vietnam-era practice of H & I Fire, or Harassment and Interdiction Fire, whereby US forces simply drop bombs or fire artillery rounds at random towards certain areas, populated or not, thought to be sympathetic to guerrilas. This fire is typically not in response to a particular guerrila attack – it is just random fire and can be launched at any time.

Sassaman’s troops routinely raided offices of the local human rights committees and other locals who were engaging in peaceful protest by criticizing the US Occupation. Critics of the US military in the region were routinely raided and hauled off on (usually false or dubious) terrorism charges, that is, when troops bothered to charge them with anything at all.

During the course of these detentions, arrestees were usually beaten, often badly, and torture of varying degrees was common. Sassaman’s troops routinely smashed up many of the homes they raided, regardless ofwhether the inhabitants were cooperative during the search or not. They had borrowed the Israeli practice of unnecessarily smashing through walls to go from house to house. The upshot of all of this is that the Balad area had been turned into a US military dictatorship under Colonel Sassaman. By 1-04, some parts of this region had been decimated by US arrests, with up to ¼ of the local men in prison as suspected guerrilas.
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Samarra Area: Once again, the resistance here is similar to that in Diyala Province and far southern Salah-al-Din Province. The resistance here is mostly secular, and although many say they are fighting for their religion, that phrase often refers to a more secular version of Islam. The secular grouping includes Baathists, nationalists, and those who want revenge for family members harmed by the US. The Baathists in Samarra tend to be more old-line Arab nationalist Baathists, and many are anti-Saddam. The Islamist faction is active here but definitely in the minority.

Samarra was not treated well by Saddam’s regime, so there are only a few regime supporters amongst the resistance in this area – most of the resistance is either not fighting for Saddam or is actively anti-Saddam. Former Iraqi military, including high-ranking officers, are active in the resistance here. There is 90% support amongst the population. Many Iraqi police here support the resistance, and the police force appears to be at least partly infiltrated. The local ICDC troops cover their faces with bandannas to hide their identities because the town is so pro-resistance. By 11-03, the US had withdrawn from most of its bases in town and only entered Samarra in large armored contingents.

Shia make up a minority in this town, known for its Shia religious shrines. These Shia appear to support the resistance, at least passively, but the full extent of their actual involvement, if any, is not known. Capt. Matthew Cunningham of the 4th Infantry Division estimated in 12-03 that there were 1,500 guerrilas in and around Samarra. By 12-03, Samarra was essentially guerrilla-controlled. Most of the fighters in Samarra were from Muhammad’s Army, which, considering the secular, anti-Saddam and Arab nationalist nature of Samarra, is further evidence against MA being either an Islamist or Saddam loyalist formation.
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Tikrit and surrounding area: Resistance in Tikrit is pro-Saddam, although a few Tikritis are anti-Saddam. There is almost 100% support in town. This strongly pro-Saddam element extends from Tikrit up to Baijii, over to Hawija and down to around Balad. The police force has been at least partly infiltrated with guerrila spies and active guerrilas since 8-03. An on-duty Iraqi police officer who was holed up with guerrilas in a Tikrit home participated in an attack on US troops on 2-8-04 and was killed in the attack.

Iraqi police were suspected of direct involvement after a foiled roadside bomb attack in Tikrit on 2-2-04 in which an on-duty Tikrit fireman was also arrested. The resistance in most of the towns surrounding Tikrit is pretty much the same as in Tikrit. Tikrit has had an absolutely hostile feel about it since 5-03 and is still one of the most hostile cities in Iraq. Despite many media reports after Saddam’s capture about how Tikrit was improving, Tikrit has remained an utterly hostile town.

This fact was illuminated by the stark, brutally frank note a US officer left in 2-04 for troops coming to replace him: “What they have to understand is that most of the people here in Tikrit want us dead, they hate us and everything we stand for and will take any opportunity to cause us harm.”

Strangely, a fair number of the local police force do not appear to sympathize much with the resistance and often actively assist US soldiers. The Tikrit area has been a very active war zone for many months now. Some Tikrit cells communicate with other cells in Baghdad. Awja, Saddam’s hometown outside Tikrit, was surrounded with barbed wire for many months, and all residents were required to have ID cards and go through a checkpoint to enter or leave town.
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Baiji Area: This area has been known to be a stronghold of support for Saddam, and the resistance originally was former regime supporters and foreign fighters. However, by November, there were more and more former Iraqi military joining the fight, and many were not fighting for Saddam. There is 100% support in town. The police will sometimes not even come when the US calls them for assistance, and the townspeople ran the police out of town in a riot recently. Baiji would appear to be pretty much guerrilla-controlled since 10-03.

In 1-04, guerrilas were actually setting up roadblocks in Baiji at night. This is a disastrous sign for the US, since guerrila roadblocks in an insurgency are typically a symptom of a highly entrenched insurgency that is often quite difficult to dislodge. Other signs of an entrenched insurgency are guerrilla uniforms, guerrilla shadow municipal governments, and the presence of armed guerrilas moving about openly in broad daylight in towns and cities.
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Hawija Area: Although this town has a reputation for being a Saddam loyalist stronghold, the resistance here is split between pro-Saddam and anti-Saddam factions. The resistance here is Sunni Arab, often former Iraqi military, Arab nationalist, anti-Kurd, anti-Kuwaiti, and anti-Zionist, with Islamist tendencies. Sunni Arab tribes play a big role in the resistance here. Revenge for acts done to local residents by US forces plays a big role.

The resistance here seems partly motivated by fears of usurpation by resurgent Kurds under US tutelage. Some Saddam loyalists are indeed active in this region. In 10-03, US troops pulled their base out of town due to continuous attacks. By 11-03, Hawija was controlled by guerrilas. Walls were covered with pro-resistance graffiti and the names of guerrila fighters. The mood on the street was fiercely pro-resistance. This town is almost another Fallujah – this area is a very hot war zone. US troops have detained 1,000 men in Hawija as suspected guerrilas.
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Mosul: The resistance in Mosul is similar to Fallujah in that Islamists, often with Muslim Brotherhood links, dominate, although it differs in some ways. The Mosul resistance differs from that in Fallujah in that Mosul has a greater proportion of pro-Saddam elements. Also, support for the resistance is much less than 100% of Mosul, though they do have a lot of support there, especially in Sunni Arab West Mosul, where the support level is very high. The Kurds and Assyrian Christians in Mosul appear to mostly be siding with the US. The only exception is the tiny number of Kurds associated with the dregs of Ansar al Islam (AI) who have been arrested here.

There is a significant pro-Saddam element in Mosul and a very significant component of former Iraqi military, especially officers. The Baath Party was also very big here – 60% of people in town were members. Back in 4-03, when Baghdad fell, the local resistance was made up of Baathists and Islamists, both under the control of the local religious leadership. Lately the structure and leadership of the Mosul resistance is more uncertain.

In 9-03, meetings were held between the Islamist resistance of Fallujah and Mosul and Palestinian Hamas leaders in Jordan to learn new tactics – possibly suicide bombings.

The resistance in Mosul may be quite large. Local Iraqis claim there may be up to ~20,000 or more guerrilas in Mosul alone. US officers in Mosul were claiming in 2-04 that AAI provides transportation, targets and explosives expertise to both foreign fighters and Iraqi guerrilas in Mosul. The same officers claimed that Al Qaeda was one of the main groups responsible for running foreign fighters across the borders into Iraq.
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Ninewa Province north, south and west of Mosul to the Syrian border: Resistance in this area is more active than one may think, but it is pretty hard to characterize. Right around Mosul, it may look like the Mosul resistance, but we are not sure. Over towards the Syrian border, there are a lot of Bedouin Arab tribes who appear to be active in the resistance, but their role is hard to characterize. There is considerable Kurd-Sunni Arab conflict in certain parts of Ninewa, especially in towns like Sinjar by the Syrian border.

Most of the fighters would appear to be local Sunni Arabs. Some of the guerrilas in this area are just local Sunni Arab farmers upset at the US for various slights. The Kurdish areas in Ninewa have seen little resistance, but a handful of the remainders of AAI have been captured in the area. The resistance in Tal Afar is interesting in that this is a town dominated by Shia Turkmen yet has seen considerable resistance. The makeup of the resistance in Tal Afar is presently unknown.
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Kirkuk Area and Tammim Province: Resistance in the Kirkuk area and Tammim Province in general is quite active yet very hard to characterize at the moment, except that it is probably dominated by Sunni Arabs. It may resemble the resistance in the Baiji/Hawija area, but we are not yet sure. Resistance is confined to the Sunni Arab parts of Tammim; the Kurdish area remains very calm.

Hawija is dealt with in a separate entry. The area of Tammim along the highway from Tikrit to Kirkuk, though it has seen few attacks, is utterly hostile. The police force in Kirkuk is partly infiltrated. The Kurds in Kirkuk itself are generally pro-US, with the exception of 25 Kurdish Islamists who were arrested in Kirkuk in 12-03 and charged with being connected with the dregs of AAI.

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Upper South: Resistance south of Baghdad down to around Karbala and Hilla (a mixed Kurd/Sunni Arab/Shia Arab region, becoming more Shia towards Karbala) is difficult to characterize, except that it is reportedly made up of the same actors as elsewhere. Locals claim that Sunni Arab Islamists are playing a large role in attacks around Hilla and Hawsa. There have been a considerable number of attacks in this zone for months now. Pro-Saddam elements do not appear to be very active in this area.

Latifiyah is dealt with in a separate entry. Although there is not yet any direct evidence that the Shia in this zone have joined the resistance in any significant numbers, there is suggestive evidence for their involvement. The police force in Karbala is now at least somewhat infiltrated. By 1-04, the area in a radius around Mahumiyah and especially Iskandariyah had once again become very hot, with daily attacks, sometimes deadly. Mahmudiyah is a mixed Kurd/Sunni Arab/Shia Arab town that has been very hostile, off and on, since 8-03.

Iskandariyah is a majority-Shia mixed Sunni-Shia town where Sunni and Shia live side by side with few apparent problems. Support for the resistance in Iskandariyah is very high, maybe 80%, equally split amongst both groups. Both Sunni and Shia take great pride in the resistance attacks; the implication of this pride is that the Iskandariyah resistance is largely local and that the local Shia are also involved. By early 2004, Iskandariyah was controlled by the resistance.

Yusufiyah is an extremely hot zone, with continuous attacks against US targets in this heavily Shia town. The implication here, not yet proven, is that in Yusufiyah, the Shia are heavily involved in the resistance. The US military estimates an incredible 4-5,000 guerrilas are active around Yusufiyah alone.
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Latifiyah: The mixed Sunni/Shia Arab farming town of Latifiyah in the Upper South is particularly hostile – seven Spanish intelligence officers were shot dead in an attack by Ansar Al Sunna here in 11-03, and the local police drove by the scene of the attack and would not even stop to help. Afterwards, crowds came out, and some cheered while others danced on the bodies. The resistance here is generally not fighting for Saddam and is driven by the privations locals have suffered under the US occupation. There is also a pocket of Sunni Islamists, which is possibly how Ansar Al Sunna was able to pull off this attack. Still, there do appear to be some pro-Saddam elements in the town. In 1-04, two Iraqis working for CNN were shot dead in an attack on their SUV convoy near Latifiyah.

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The South, from the Karbala-Hilla Area south to the border: The resistance in the main Shia South south of the Karbala-Hilla Area, is very poorly known. The only resistance fighter arrested here with a known agenda was a Saddam loyalist former intelligence officer who had been involved in anti-Shia purges in 91.

Clearly, if men like him are leading the resistance in the South, they cannot expect much sympathy from the local Shia. This man’s cell had been involved in attacks in Nasariyah. There are reports that Iranian-backed groups or even Iranian fighters themselves, infiltrated the area in Spring 2003 and have been stockpiling weapons ever since. However, Shia Islamists, Iranian or not, have been involved in only a few attacks in this region.

Mostly, these Shia seem to be stockpiling weapons and biding their time. The major car bombing of the Italian forces at Nasariyah was done by an unknown cell from Fallujah, possibly Saddam loyalists and/or foreign fighters. The situation in Basra is dealt with in a separate entry. A few of the attacks in the Shia Marsh Arab region are matters of simple revenge for affronts to tribal and cultural dignity, especially for intrusive searches involving dogs. Certainly there are near-daily attacks in this area, and the resistance is more active than usually reported. However, the number of attacks here is far, far lower than in most the Sunni Arab-dominated regions above.

Thus far, there is no evidence that the Shia in this region have taken up arms in any significant numbers. In 9-03, about 15% of the Shia in Karbala supported the idea of taking up arms, but most of them seemed to be waiting for the go-ahead from their religious leaders, which may never be forthcoming.

Karbala has seen many attacks, including one massive simultaneous car bombing, but in general the attackers are unknown. Local leaders claim they are the work of Sunni Islamists. The massive simultaneous car bombing on 12-27-03 in Karbala was conducted by three cells, probably all Sunni Iraqis, two cells from Baghdad and one from Ramadi. At least one cell was made up of Sunni Saddam loyalists from Adhamiyah in Baghdad.
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Basra: Resistance down around Basra is significant but poorly known. Local Shia leaders allege that it is made up Sunni Baathists, and at least one high-ranking Saddam loyalist former intelligence officer has been arrested. He was involved in purges of Shia after the 1991 Shia Uprising. A few foreign fighters are present – a Syrian woman was suspected in a plot to bomb the harbor in 11/03. Basra was quite hostile as of 12-03 and had the feel of a war zone. There was shooting every day. Almost none of the Shia locals appear to be happy about the Occupation, though many say it is better than Saddam. There is no evidence that Shia have joined the resistance here in any significant numbers.

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