Category Archives: Useful Idiots

‘Stalin Buses’, Soviet Tanks and Military Parades Celebrate Dictator’s Victory at Stalingrad

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Five coaches bearing portraits of the moustachioed dictator have been allowed to operate in ‘Stalingrad’ (Victory Bus)

Volgograd renamed Stalingrad to celebrate key WWII battle against Nazis in 1943

ibtimes.co.uk | Feb 1, 2013

By Umberto Bacchi

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of a key World War II victory Russian lawmakers have renamed Volgograd as Stalingrad (Vicory Bus)

On Saturday, visitors to Volgograd are to experience a trip back in time of 60 years as buses painted with images of Joseph Stalin are driven around the southwestern Russian city, temporally renamed Stalingrad in honour of the Communist dictator who more than any other moulded the Soviet Union.

A military parade led by an old T-34 Soviet tank will also rally in the city centre.

Russian city gets to play ‘Stalin wasn’t so bad’ six days a year

Stalin gets his city back as Russians celebrate dictator’s triumph over Nazis

‘Stalin buses’ to mark 70th anniversary of Battle of Stalingrad in Russia

On 2 February, 1943, the Red Army won the decisively battle of Stalingrad, turning back Nazi forces after about six months of fighting.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the key World War II victory, regional lawmakers decided to use the city’s Communist-era name in for the day and on other key anniversaries through the year.

Five coaches bearing portraits of the moustachioed dictator will operate as part of the “Victory Bus” initiative.

It is a controversial move. Nostalgics credit him with leading the country to victory in World War II and making it a world superpower but to many others he is a hate figure for his genocide of millions of fellow countrymen and for his repressive regime.

“It’s blasphemous to rename the great Russian city after a bloody tyrant who killed millions of his fellow citizens,” said Nikolai Levichev a senior federal lawmaker with the leftist Just Russia party.

“This is an insult to the memory of those who died,” Russia’s human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin told Interfax news agency.

The city was renamed Volgograd in 1961 as part of the Soviet Union’s rejection of the Stalin personality cult.

“Our people won under the lead of Joseph Stalin and there is nothing about our supreme commander to be ashamed of,” reads a statement by the Victory Bus.

“We don’t paint swastikas. Thank God, Communist ideology and Stalin’s image have not been officially condemned. We only urge the preservation of memory of the WWII victory and people who contributed to it,” organiser Aleksey Roerich told Izvestia.

Roerich said the buses are from private firms funded by the Communist party and private donors.

The so-called “Stalinobuses” will operate in Volgograd until 9 May when Russia celebrates the final victory of the so-called Great Patriotic War. Stalin’s image will also appear on vehicles in the streets of St Petersburg and Chita.

Stalin led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953.

Newtown residents join gun control march in Washington

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People walk from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, during a march on Washington for gun control. Susan Walsh / AP

NBC News | Jan 26, 2013

By Becky Bratu

Residents of Newtown, Conn., the scene of a school massacre in which 20 children and six adults were killed last month, joined thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday for a march supporting gun control.

Similar organized demonstrations were planned in support of gun control in about a dozen other places across the United States, according to organizers.

In addition to the 100 people who traveled together from Newtown, organizers told The Associated Press participants from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia would join the demonstration.

Alongside Mayor Vincent Gray, a crowd that stretched for about two blocks marched down Constitution Avenue toward the Washington Monument, where speakers called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition. Some of the demonstrators held signs that read “We Are Sandy Hook.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan addressed the crowd, saying he and President Barack Obama would work to enact gun control policies, the AP reported.

“This is about trying to create a climate in which our children can grow up free of fear,” he said, according to the AP.

“We must act, we must act, we must act,” Duncan said.

According to the AP, demonstrators held signs that read “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” “Stop NRA” and “Gun Control Now.” Other signs carried the names of victims of gun violence.

The silent march is organized by Molly Smith, artistic director of Washington’s Arena Stage, and her partner.

“With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it’s as if I move on,” Smith told the AP. “And in this moment, I can’t move on. I can’t move on.

“I think it’s because it was children, babies,” she told the AP. “I was horrified by it.”

The event is co-sponsored by One Million Moms for Gun Control, an independent organization that is also responsible for similar demonstrations in cities such as San Francisco, Chicago and Austin, Texas.

The Newtown massacre has reignited the debate over firearms in the United States, and last week Obama laid out a series of measures intended to curb gun violence, most significantly proposals to limit the size of ammunition magazines, ban assault weapons and require universal background checks on firearm purchases. That plan won little praise from Republicans.

Earlier this month, New York lawmakers approved the toughest gun control law in the nation, expanding the state’s existing assault weapons ban and addressing gun ownership by those with mental illnesses.

Mayan Apocalypse: ‘a fairly unremarkable day on planet Earth’

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A Mayan priest sits atop a pyramid as video game developer and former space tourist Richard Garriott addresses guests at his “End of the World Soiree” dress rehearsal in Austin, Texas Photo: REUTERS/Erich Schlegel

Across the globe there was relief that the apocalypse had failed to materialise and doomsayers, some of whom had partied like it was their last night on Earth, were left scratching their heads.

Telegraph | Dec 21, 2012

By Nick Allen, Henry Samuel in Bugarach

The dark planet Nibiru failed to knock Earth out of the sky and the promised solar storm never raged. The world is safe and we can breathe again.

The end of the 5,125-year Mayan Long Calendar had triggered predictions of a catastrophic end for mankind, but according to the US Geological Survey it was a “fairly unremarkable day on planet Earth.” There had been about 120 small earthquakes, including a moderate one in Japan, which was “very much a normal day.”

As dawn broke over the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico, thousands of mystics, hippies, druids and pagans celebrated with crystal skulls, ceremonial fires, drums beating and conches blaring when the sun came up.

Genaro Hernandez, 55, an accountant wearing all white and an expression of bliss, said: “This world is being reborn as a better world.”

Mayan Apocalypse: as it didn’t happen

“We are in a frequency of love, we are in a new vibration,” added Ivan Gutierrez, 37, an artist, before a security guard ordered him to stop sounding his conch because he did not have a permit.

In Moscow 1,000 people who had packed into Josef Stalin’s bunker were able to go back home after Armageddon was averted.

Chinese authorities dismissed outright rumours that Jesus had reappeared as a woman somewhere in the middle of the country, and also denied that they had built an “ark” as a contingency plan.

At Pic de Bugarach, the French mountain some had believed to be a place of salvation, the sun came out from behind the clouds and a flock of birds flew past as the official end of the world struck after 11am GMT.

The mountain had been identified as an “alien garage” from where a vast intergalactic flying saucer would emerge to rescue nearby humans.

But the only paranormal activity to be seen was two spacemen in amateur-looking aluminium foil suits, and three green-faced ladies with antennae, ambling down the street.

The spacemen, Frédéric, 28, an unemployed waiter from Marseille and his brother Laurent, 35, said they had dodged gendarmes and spent the night in a cave to get to the mountain, from where they had hoped to be whisked away by an “interdimensional vortex.”

Will Hartley, 26, a photographer from London who also reached the summit at sunrise, reported seeing no UFOs.

Georges Tricoire, 72, a retired local construction worker, smiling from beneath his red beret, said: “For the past 50 years I have wandered over every single inch of that mountain, I know every rock, nook and cranny and everything that has been said about Le Pic de Bugarach is nothing but rubbish.

“Whoever started this rumour three years ago is a liar and all those who have followed him ever since are crooks.”

There had been confusion over the exact timing of the apocalypse, with some suggesting it would take place shortly after 11am, the time of the winter solstice, and others believing it would be at dawn in the Mayan heartland.

But as time zone after time zone reported nothing amiss it became clear that that Earth had been spared.

Modern Mayans, of whom there are six million, had repeatedly said the end of their calendar only meant the ushering in of a new era, not the end of the world. They were able to say “We told you so.”

However, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History issued a warning. It suggested calculations to synchronise the Mayan and Western calendars may be off a few days, which would mean the calendar actually ends on Sunday.

The Illuminati Symbolism of Ke$ha’s “Die Young” and How it Ridicules the Indoctrinated Masses


As the car door opens, a Skull and Bones symbols flashes, representing the cult of death emanating from this car.

There are tons of videos with the same message and symbolism as Die Young – all promoting the same Agenda. Brainwashed by thousands of hours of music videos, young people become like the cult followers in Ke$ha’s video, pushed to live pointless, self-destructive lives based on the gratification of their lowest impulses. Indulging in one’s animalistic instincts has always been considered to be the opposite of reaching spiritual enlightenment – and that’s exactly what the elite wants. If the masses were to gain enough awareness to avoid the traps and pitfalls set up by the system, the virtual enslavement caused by debt and mass-media mind control would crumble.

vigilantcitizen.com | Nov 15, 2012

By VC

Ke$ha’s “Die Young” is probably one of the most blatant Illuminati videos ever released. While the symbolism is so overt that it is almost ridiculous, there’s an underlying message to the video: Even if you’re dumb enough to embrace all of that Illuminati brainwash, you’re still not part of the elite and therefore, still subject to “Die Young”.

Ke-dollarsign-ha has never been the most inspirational singer around. She started her career as an alcoholic party girl that’s not too strict about personal hygiene (see the Tik Tok line “Before I leave brush ma teeth with a bottle of Jack”) and, for her new album, she turned into some kind of Illuminati witch-type deal. She is far from the only pop star that has gone through this kind of metamorphosis and it was probably pre-planned by her record label. How many singers have gone from an “around-the-way” girl to an Illuminati figurehead? That’s what the industry does.

To the untrained eye this kind of transformation is usually somewhat subtle … Ke$ha’s Die Young is anything but. In fact, it is one giant clusterfreak of Illuminati symbols. It is so obvious and in-your-face that it forced mainstream music sources such as Billboard.com to “admit” that the video was all about Illuminati symbols (see their article entitled Ke$ha Shouts-Out Illuminati in ‘Die Young’ Video). Interestingly enough, not too long ago, these same sites were calling sites like Vigilant Citizen “batshit crazy” for even alluding to the existence of these symbols and describing their meaning. Now these sites say “Yeah, there are Illuminati symbols” in a matter-of-fact way. What happened to the batshit crazy part? However, the mainstream sites still only refer to this concept in an extremely superficial way, not giving any insight on their true meaning and the real Agenda behind it all.

Some might rationalize what is happening by saying: “Ke$ha did it for the LOLs and to make fun of the conspiracies”. This is plausible, but this argument is now surfacing every time a video contains Illuminati symbolism. Are all videos now making fun of conspiracies? In reality, Ke$ha didn’t do anything for any LOLs. She did not write the song (it was written by Lukasz Gottwald, Benjamin Levin, Henry Walter and Nate Ruess) and she did not direct the video. She is just performing what she is told to perform, like most pop stars. The fact of the matter is: Illuminati symbols are becoming more prevalent because that was the plan all along: To gradually make them part of popular culture. The occult elite is revealing itself and the masses are dancing to their tunes.

The real issue at stake is however not the symbols that are flashed on screen, but the underlying messages that are communicated to the viewers. It is about the Agenda – about making specific values and attitudes cool and desirable to young people. It is about promoting the culture of death (i.e. Die Young), about sexualizing everything, about materialism, about a corrupted and debased brand of spirituality and so forth.

As I watch Ke$ha and her gang fondling themselves, I can’t help but wonder: Is the video making fun of the masses that have been brainwashed by the lifestyle promoted by the elite?  Let’s look at the video.

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Massive use of Illuminati occult imagery in Ke$ha ‘Die Young’ cult orgy video

Controlled Opposition: How the Occupy, Tea Party movements end up doing the bidding of the global elite


Slobodan Milošević’s downfall was in part down to a ‘regime change’ manual from a Boston thinktank. Photograph: Srdjan Suki/EPA

History shows us it is easy for ‘grassroots’ campaigns to become co-opted by the very interests they are fighting against

guardian.co.uk | Nov 15, 2011

by Patrick Henningsen

A 21st-century grassroots movement faces many pitfalls. This was as true back in 1968 as it is today. It could be infiltrated by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, or co-opted by a major party. As the state continues to creep further into our lives, activists can expect that it will use all its resources – not just the violent reaction seen in New York overnight, but also its agents, informants and surveillance packages – in its effort to monitor both sides of any serious social debate. Even bleaker, however, is the possibility that the movement was actually planned and launched by the very establishment activists thought they were waging a battle against in the first place. The larger the movement, the more interested a major party becomes in absorbing it into either the left or the right side of the current two-party paradigm.

The sudden emergence of America’s Tea Party movement in 2007 is a good example. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, its inventor, used it as a springboard to highlight libertarian and constitutional issues during his 2008 campaign. Soon after, it was co-opted by key political and media influencers from the US right wing, associating itself less with a libertarian manifesto, and more with emerging figures within the Republican establishment. Now it is has morphed into nothing more than a block of voters whom the Republican party can rely to strike a deal with during an election cycle.

Arguably, the Occupy Wall Street movement has already drifted into the shadow of the Democratic party – with a number of Democratic establishment figures from the top down endorsing it. The Democrats’ own media fundraising and media machine, Move On, has visibly adopted the cause. Like the Tea Party before it, the Occupy block would swing a close election during a national two-party race, functioning as a pressure-release valve for any issue too radical for the traditional platform.

Alongside this is the threat of being infiltrated. Scores of declassified documents, along with accounts from veteran activists, will reveal many stories of members who were actually undercover police, FBI or M15. In the worst cases of infiltration, undercover agents have acted as provocateurs. Such incidents normally serve to radicalise a movement, thus demonising it in the eyes of society and effectively lessening its wider political appeal.

Although the global Occupy movement has branched out in an open-source way, many of its participants and spectators might be completely unaware of who actually launched it. Upon investigation, what one finds is a daisy chain of non-profit foundations, all tied together by hundreds of millions per year in operational funding. The original call for Occupy Wall Street came from non-profit international media foundation Adbusters. Like many non-profits, Adbusters receives its funding and operating capital from other behind-the-scenes organisations. According to research conducted by watchdog Activistcash, Adbusters takes a significant portion of its money from the Tides Foundation, an organisation partnered with one of Wall Street billionaire oligarch George Soros’s foundations, the Open Society Institute [see footnote].

Although mostly hidden from the public eye, all major foundations and professional thinktanks undertake research and host training seminars, which are used to influence certain public and foreign policies, and thus, must have a political agenda. Theirs is the venue of choice for activities that cannot officially be conducted on the government clock.

Freedom House is another of Soros’s Open Society partners. It supports the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (Canvas), an organisation started by Serbians Ivan Marovic and Srdja Popovic. After playing a pivotal role in the CIA-backed deposing of Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, the western media hailed Marovic as a democratic genius, but it came out later that his programme came out of an elite Boston thinktank’s “regime change” manual, From Dictatorship to Democracy, written by Harvard professor Gene Sharp. Sharp’s book is a bible of the colour revolutions – a “regime change for dummies”. His Albert Einstein Institution has received funds from the National Endowment for Democracy and the Open Society Foundations, and his work serves as a template for western-backed opposition leaders in soft coups all around the world.

There are also reports of Canvas activity during the early days of Occupy Wall Street, including a video of Marovic himself addressing the general assembly. Currently, Canvas are touting their recent role in working with Egyptian and Tunisian protesters from as early as 2009, teaching skills that helped bring down their presidents and spark regional revolt.

When the dust settles and it’s all said and done, millions of Occupy participants may very well be given a sober lesson under the heading of “controlled opposition”. In the end, the Occupy movement could easily end up doing the bidding of the very elite globalist powers that they were demonstrating against to begin with. To avoid such an outcome, it’s important for a movement to have a good knowledge of history and the levers of power in the 21st century.

Poll shows many Americans happy to have their body cavities searched, wear shock bracelets, humbly submit to the TSA


TSA checkpoint Credits: Getty Images

New poll shows extent Americans are willing to submit to TSA humiliation

Examiner |  Nov 9, 2012

By Ryan Keller

A recent survey conducted by the Web site InfoWars, along with Harris Interactive, found that large percentages of Americans are willing to be even more humiliated than they already are at airports and elsewhere by agents of the TSA, according to an article posted on Thursday.

In one example, the survey found that 30 percent, one-third of the population, answered “’willing’ or ‘somewhat willing’” to the question: “Given the recent reports concerning the threat posed by terrorists who plan to implant bombs within their own bodies, how willing, if at all, would you be to undergo a TSA body cavity search in order to fly?”

Fortunately, a majority, 57 percent, answered “’completely’ or ‘somewhat unwilling’” to the question. Thirteen percent answered with “don’t know.”

Another 57 percent, however, answered that a law making it illegal to disobey a TSA agent anywhere, not just in airports, is “’completely’ or ‘somewhat reasonable.’” And don’t think that party makes a difference for this hypothetical forced submission. The survey found that a majority of both Republicans and Democrats were in favor of this, with a slightly larger number of Democrats in favor. “Surprisingly given their traditional distrust of big government,” writes Paul Joseph Watson, “60% of Republicans thought it reasonable compared to 64% of Democrats and 46% of Independents.”

In another sign of willing submission, 35 percent said they were willing to wear “shock bracelets” in order to fly. These bracelets, considered for use back in 2008, would act like a stun gun attached to the wearer’s wrist and could be activated remotely. Of course, it would only be used on terrorists and not on anyone with, say, a “bad attitude.”

Despite the will to submit, a majority showed opposition to having their genitals grabbed by agents during pat downs, as “a full 65% of American adults found TSA workers touching genitals ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat unacceptable.’” Thirty-five percent said that it was reasonable.

Even with the disdain for being groped by agents, however, 77 percent said that the agency is doing an “excellent, good or fair job.” Only nine percent said the agency was doing a “bad job.” More Democrats than Republicans approved of the agency by 84 percent to 73 percent.

This reflects numbers from an earlier poll. Back in August, Gallup found that 54 percent believe that the TSA is doing a “good or excellent job,” and 30 percent believe that it’s doing a “fair job.”

The TSA is doing such an excellent job that these people might have their items stolen by agents the next time they fly. Between 2003 and 2012, 381 agents have been fired for stealing from passengers. Agents have also been accused of committing a myriad of other crimes, such as drug smuggling and raping children.

So how far are the people of “the land of the free” willing to go in order to fly, or travel by any means or go anywhere, as the TSA isn’t just going to be in airports or train stations for very long? They’re going to be in malls, hotels and on highways, as well as tracking peoples’ every move.

Shooting zombies is the fad among gun enthusiasts


Two young attendees get their picture taken with a zombie poster during the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) 141st Annual Meetings & Exhibits in St. Louis, in this April 13, 2012 file photo. The Hollywood-inspired zombie craze has extended to gun enthusiasts. REUTERS/Tom Gannam

Reuters | Apr 15, 2012

By Greg McCune

ST. LOUIS | One of Patrick Flanagan’s favorite movies as a kid was “Night of the Living Dead,” a 1968 horror film about a family trapped in a rural Pennsylvania house and attacked by zombies.

“I really dug zombie stuff since then,” said Flanagan, 23, an unemployed concrete worker from Alton, in southern Illinois.

So Flanagan combined his interest in zombies with another hobby – guns.

He was one of many gun owners crowded around a display of lifelike zombie paper shooting targets at the National Rifle Association’s Guns and Gear exhibition on Saturday during the NRA annual conference in St. Louis.

CDC Warns Public to Prepare for ‘Zombie Apocalypse’

The Hollywood-inspired zombie craze – featuring blood-soaked ghouls rising from the dead to attack the living – has extended to gun enthusiasts. At the huge NRA exhibition, vendors displayed zombie targets, zombie bullets, zombie paint coating for guns and zombie patches for a shooting jacket.

Firing ranges across the country are offering zombie-themed shooting events, some held as daylight fades for atmosphere, said Brad Ross, a division manager for Law Enforcement Targets, Inc, a maker of zombie targets.

Flanagan, who said he owns 19 guns, likes to drive out into rural areas to practice shooting. He is bored with shooting cans or simple bullseye targets and the zombie targets will be more fun, he said, clutching his roll of 40 poster-sized images.

Sales of zombie targets are booming and are expected to grow about 30 percent to a million targets this year, Ross said.

“It is absolutely dumbfounding,” said Addison Sovine, a salesman hustling on Saturday to keep up with the demand for the shooting accessory at the Law Enforcement Targets booth.

For the truly zombie-obsessed, Sovine demonstrated small packets of blood-colored liquid that can be purchased to attach to the back of the zombie target so that it bleeds when shot. If an explosion is desired, a grainy mixture is for sale that will blast like a firecracker when hit.

TAKING AIM ON “ZOMBILADIN” TARGET

Among the most popular of the 18 zombie target designs offered in its catalog are “Becky,” an image of a wounded, pale and dark-eyed female, and “ZombiLadin” a bearded and bloody likeness of the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, company officials said.

Ammunition maker Hornady introduced a zombie bullet last fall with a green painted tip and it was one of their most successful product launches ever, according to marketing communications manager Everett Deger. The bullets come in a bright green box saying “20 rounds certified Zombie ammunition” with a warning that it is not a toy.

Zombie-themed paint coatings for guns are among the 10 most popular camouflage designs offered by DuraCoat Firearm Finishes, which paints guns, said Operations Manager Amy Lauer-Potaczek.

Much of the interest in zombies has been fed by popular culture, such as the movie “Zombieland,” starring Woody Harrelson, and the “Walking Dead” television series about a group of people trying to survive in a world overrun by zombies. But Sovine said the obsession has gained momentum from “preppers” – people who are preparing for doomsday – and the belief by some that, according to the Mayan calendar, the world as we know it will end in December.

“As soon as we pass December if we are not all dead, we live on, and it is really not the end of the world … I think you will see it (zombie target sales) start to come back down the other side,” Sovine said.

Communists shed tears for ‘Lenin’ bathhouse


Russian communist supporters lay flowers near a statue to pay their respects to party founder Vladimir Lenin (AFP/File, Kirill Kudryavtsev)

AFP | Mar 14, 2012

SAINT PETERSBURG — Communists mourned Tuesday as developers moved in to demolish a bathhouse in the northwestern Russian city of Saint Petersburg which Lenin is said to have frequented.

The Communists of Petersburg and the Leningrad Region called for an investigation after developers bulldozed the 19th-century Udelniye bathhouse where the Bolshevik leader soaped up on the eve of the 1917 revolution.

“The building of the public baths dating from 1834 was demolished without any discussions, even despite a veto from the previous governor,” complained Sergei Malinkovich of the Communists of Petersburg and the Leningrad region.

“Vladimir Ilyich Lenin washed here just before going to Finland in August 1917,” he told AFP, calling the building “historic.”

The leader of the Communist group, which is not part of the official Russian Communist party, said they would appeal to the regional governor over the demolition.

Lenin fled Russia for exile in Finland, returning in triumph months later after Bolsheviks seized the Winter Palace in a virtually bloodless revolution. The city was renamed Leningrad after his death.

Local television showed an excavator reducing the brick building to a pile of rubble.

Many Russians regularly attend public baths, or banyas, where people roast themselves in piping hot steam rooms and flog each other with birch twigs to open up pores and cleanse the skin.

Former regional governor Valentina Matviyenko, now speaker of the Russian Senate, said two years ago that the building would be closed for reconstruction but vowed it would not be demolished.

“With all respect for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin washing there, this bathhouse dates back to 1834,” she told local television, saying the building was in a dangerous condition.

Does the Romney-Ron Paul Pact Make Paul a Sellout?

The proudly incorruptible libertarian’s all-but-open collusion with Mitt Romney, the establishment candidate, should infuriate his fans. And yet somehow it doesn’t.

theatlantic.com | Mar 1, 2012

By Molly Ball

Ron Paul is helping Mitt Romney. It’s been obvious for months. You’d think Paul’s followers would be outraged by this — but they’re not.

The Paul-Romney alliance means the race’s most ideologically pure fiscal conservative has effectively sold out to the least conservative, least consistent, most establishmentarian candidate in the field. Romney favors the basic concept of progressive taxation and a government’s right to compel citizens to purchase health insurance. It’s unthinkable that he would, if elected, end the Federal Reserve. Alone among the candidates, he insists that there be no cuts to any military spending. All these stances are anathema to Paul’s staunchly absolutist world view.

On paper, you would think Romney would be the chief subject of attacks from the Paul campaign, which has, in its television ads, been more unapologetically negative than any other. Paul has run one ad that slams all three of his rivals — Newt Gingrich (“serial hypocrite”), Rick Santorum (“counterfeit conservative”) and Romney (“flip-flopper). But that’s nothing compared to the attacks he’s unleashed pointed solely at Santorum (“fake,” “a record of betrayal”) and Gingrich (“selling access”).

Romney is the major only candidate Paul hasn’t singled out in an ad. And Paul’s ads against his competitors have been far more brutal than anything Romney or his super PAC have put on the airwaves. In crucial stages of the GOP primary thus far, he’s put hundreds of thousands of dollars behind these ads, helping squelch Santorum and Gingrich when they posed the most danger to Romney’s candidacy.

Helping Romney in his quest to make potential alternative candidates unpalatable to the conservative base is a major assist. But it’s far from the only way Paul has boosted the man who ought to be his biggest nemesis — the embodiment of the sort of soft, big-government Republicanism Paul says it’s his mission to eliminate.

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First there are the sins of omission — the opportunities to criticize Romney that Paul has passed up. The liberal group ThinkProgress studied the record and found that Paul attacked other candidates 39 times in the 20 debates to date, but didn’t go after Romney a single time. Even when moderators have tried to draw him into a potentially illuminating contrast with Romney, Paul has demurred. (David Gregory to Paul, Jan. 8: “Do you believe Governor Romney now when he says he is a man of constancy and that he’ll stand up for conservative principles?” Paul: “You know, I think this whole discussion so far has been very superficial, and I think the question in the way that you ask it is superficial.”) In some cases, Paul has even defended Romney, as in this totally unprompted swipe at Rick Perry on Sept. 7: “You know, the governor of Texas criticized the governor of Massachusetts for Romneycare, but he wrote a really fancy letter supporting Hillarycare.” His attacks on all the other candidates have been gleefully vicious. But he’s handled Romney with kid gloves.

That’s not the only example of Paul coming proactively to Romney’s aid. When Romney was under fire for his out-of-context “I like being able to fire people” sound bite in January, a “Ron Paul Campaign Statement on Republicans Attacking Capitalism” landed in reporters’ inboxes. “Two important issues that should unite Republicans are a belief in free markets and an understanding that the media often use ‘gotcha’ tactics to discredit us,” Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton wrote in the statement. “Rather than run against Governor Romney on the issues of the day Santorum, Huntsman, and Gingrich have chosen to play along with the media elites and exploit a quote taken horribly out of context. They are also using the language of the liberal left to attack private equity and condemn capitalism in a desperate and, frankly, unsavory attempt to tear down another Republican with tactics akin to those of MoveOn.org.” Romney couldn’t have said it better himself.

Paul’s campaign has acknowledged a policy of not going after Romney and sought to frame it as a matter of strategy. “We’re not fishing from the same pond,” Benton told reporters in the post-debate spin room in New Hampshire, meaning there’s no overlap between potential Paul voters — young, rebellious, idealistic — and potential Romney voters — older, status-quo-oriented party regulars. But that’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the two candidates most singly focused on fiscal issues and the economy, Romney and Paul could be competing for the same universe of voters not interested primarily in social issues. On the campaign trail, I have met more than one voter who claimed to be deciding between the two, like the Nevada man I encountered at a Paul rally who told me while he agreed with Paul’s ideas, he planned to vote for Romney because he thought Romney could win. The upcoming Virginia primary, in which only Paul and Romney managed to get on the ballot, could test the Paul camp’s theory that he wins the anti-Romney vote once Santorum and Gingrich are eliminated as choices.

In addition to Paul’s policy of nonaggression against Romney, there are the instances of operational collusion between the two camps. Throughout the primaries, they have coordinated such details as the timing of their election-night speeches, the Washington Post reported — a routine courtesy, perhaps, but one not always extended to Romney by the other campaigns.

Other instances have been more consequential. When Romney decided he didn’t want to participate in a pre-Super Tuesday debate scheduled for March 1, his camp reached agreement with Paul’s behind the scenes that both candidates would decline the invitation, as Benton has acknowledged. The debate was quickly canceled for lack of participation.

Had Paul not backed Romney up on this, the debate might well have still been held, either showcasing Romney’s avoidance or pressuring him into recommitting. And while Romney had an obvious interest in killing the debate, to deny his unpredictable rivals national screen time and an opportunity to score points on him, Paul did not. Paul’s ostensible mission, short of winning the nomination, is to spread the gospel of liberty and convert Americans to his philosophy. The opportunity to reach a national audience through televised debates is practically the reason he’s running. In 2008, he had to fight to get into the primary debates. That he would pass up an invitation this year flies in the face of his candidacy’s whole rationale.

Another less acknowledged, but possibly more significant, boost to Romney was Paul’s decision not to participate in this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Paul had won the conference’s straw poll for three years straight, causing frustration among the organizers, who saw his mass ticket buys and buses of college students as distorting the would-be barometer of activist sentiment. But this year, Paul was the only presidential candidate not to attend and speak at the conference, and he made no attempt to organize for the straw poll. Who won in Paul’s absence? Mitt Romney, in a crucially timed lift to his candidacy that helped dampen Santorum’s momentum.

Both the candidates have denied that there’s any kind of deal. “There’s no truth” to the idea, Paul told CNN Tuesday. “No, of course not. No one is going to tell Ron Paul what to say,” Romney said in a Fox Business interview the same day. But the evidence is clear that a de facto alliance exists — and that it chiefly benefits Romney.

The biggest potential benefit to Romney, of course, lies ahead. In 2008, after he dropped out of the race, Paul never endorsed the GOP nominee, John McCain, who had open disdain for him and his followers. Romney clearly hopes to do a better job of courting Paul and his legions of supporters for the general election this time around.

A source familiar with the Paul camp’s thinking portrayed the “cahoots” idea as a conspiracy theory seized upon by a desperate Santorum as his candidacy struggles. The source acknowledged that the Paul camp had made a “strategic decision” not to target Romney-leaning voters, a calculation he said was supported by the campaign’s internal polling.

“We have been very forthright about the fact that Ron and Mitt Romney like each other as people,” as do their wives, the source said, whereas Santorum has called Paul “disgusting” and Gingrich has called him “stunningly dangerous.”

“Ron has major policy disagreements with Mitt Romney, which he has pointed out a bunch of times and run millions of dollars of ads referring to Romney as a flip-flopper,” the source added. “What we haven’t done, which we have done with the other candidates, is run direct ads hammering Mitt Romney where he’s singled out. And that’s in large part because we don’t really compete with Romney for votes.”

Given all that Romney has gotten out of their collaboration, speculation has focused on what Paul’s getting out of his work on Romney’s behalf. Some theorize that Paul has been promised a speaking slot or some other accommodation at the GOP convention. Others focus on the political future of his son, Sen. Rand Paul: running mate? Cabinet secretary? Presidential candidate in 2016? Still others have spun nefarious plots involving relationships between Paul advisers and the Romney camp.

But Paul has a simple explanation for his behavior, and it should appall his ideological followers just as much as a craven political quid pro quo would: The two men are friends. Unlike the rest of the candidates, by Paul’s account, Romney hasn’t treated Paul like a radioactive nutball; he’s greeted him with respect, as equals, and their families have become close. “I talk to Romney more than the rest on a friendly basis,” Paul told the New York Times. “He’s made a bigger attempt to do it. The others are sort of just real flat.”

What Paul, who has spent his decades in the House as a political outcast, is essentially saying is this: After all his humiliating years in the political wilderness, someone important has finally been nice to him. Alone among the establishmentarians, Romney has allowed Paul into the sacred clubhouse of legitimacy. For that, Paul is apparently willing to swallow their disagreements and play lapdog. He’s been co-opted — revealed to be less than the loyal libertarian soldier his fans take him for.

Naturally, instead of being outraged by this turn of events, Paul’s devoted following is deep in denial. “Ron Paul and his campaign people are geniuses,” one fan wrote on a RonPaulForums.com message board recently. “For months — nay, years — we’ve been hearing, ‘Who is the Alternative to Romney?’ THAT is why Ron Paul is not attacking Romney. He’s using the media’s priming against the media.” (No, this doesn’t make sense.) Another poster volunteered that “such an ‘alliance’ even if it didn’t violate so many of Pauls principals (which it does) still wouldn’t be needed.”

The Paul army’s calculation is simple: Ron Paul is perfect; therefore, anything Ron Paul does must be correct and unimpeachable. But the evidence is staring them in the face. Their man has sold out.

Marines posed with flag resembling Nazi SS logo in Afghanistan


Scout snipers in the Marine Corps shown with a flag bearing an “SS” similar in design to one used in Germany by the SS, a paramlitary force that operated under the Nazi party.

NBC News | Feb 9, 2012

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Marine Corps confirmed Thursday that a sniper team in Afghanistan posed for a photograph in front of a flag with a logo resembling that of the notorious Nazi SS.

Use of the SS symbol is not acceptable, and the Marine Corps has addressed the issue, Lt. Col. Stewart Upton said in a statement. He did not specify what action was taken.

Upton said the Marines in the photograph, posted on an Internet blog, are no longer with the unit. The picture was taken in September 2010 in Sangin province, Afghanistan.

The photo shows a flag with what appear to be the letters “SS” in the shape of jagged lightning bolts. The symbol resembles that used by SS units in World War II.

Another photograph, which showed a stylized “SS” on a rifle held by a Marine, also recently began circulating, the Marine Corps Times reported.

The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was the police and military force of the Nazi Party, which was distinct from the general army. Members pledged an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler. SS units were held responsible for many war crimes and played an integral role in the extermination of millions of Jews along with gypsies and other people classed as undesirables. The SS was declared to be a criminal organization at the Nuremberg war crime trials.

The Knights Armament Company blog published the photo in May 2011, and attributed it to Tayler Jerome, of the 1st recon BN Charlie Co.

Related

Fury from Auschwitz survivors as U.S. Marines sniper squad is seen in Afghanistan with ‘SS’ flag (but they say it refers to ‘scout sniper’ team NOT Hitler’s henchmen)

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation in Washington D.C., which found the picture online and alerted the Marine Corps Times, said it was outraged and wants a full investigation.

Foundation officer Mikey Weinstein said he has been flooded with calls from former Marines offended by the photo and from one member of his organization who is an Auschwitz survivor.

“This needs to be fully investigated. This is a complete and total outrage,” he said.

War stresses to blame in Marine urination video?

Weinstein said his organization was sending a letter to the head of the Marine Corps and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva, a spokesman at Camp Pendleton, Calif., said the photo was brought to the attention of the 1 Marine Expeditionary Force inspector general in November, and he found there was no intent on the part of the Marines to identify themselves with a racist organization.

Oliva said the investigation found that the SS symbol was meant to identify the Marines as scout snipers, not Nazis, but it was nonetheless not acceptable.

This is the second time this year the Marine Corps has had to do damage control for its troops’ actions.

The Marine Corps is also investigating a separate group of Marines recorded on video urinating on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters.

Here is Upton’s statement on the SS symbol, also called “runes.” It was emailed to msnbc.com by Capt. Gregory Wolf, Marine Corps spokesman:

In November, the I MEF Inspector General became aware of the “SS” flag photo.  They then received confirmation from the 1st Recon Battalion Commanding Officer in Afghanistan in November 2011 that several of the personnel in the photo were from 1st Recon Bn from the OEF 10.2 deployment (Afghanistan deployment in 2010).  These Marines are no longer with the command.  1st Recon Bn is deployed forward again, but none of the personnel in the photo are still in the unit.

Certainly, the use of the “SS runes” is not acceptable and Scout Snipers have been addressed concerning this issue (“SS runes” are prohibited from use as a symbol or any other use).