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Sanders’ “Barn-burning” Chicago Speech is for Recalcitrant Suckers

In response to Bernie Sanders alleged barn burning speech in Chicago.

By Phil Rockstroh | The Greanville Post | June 11, 2017

How can Bernie’s supporters still be marinating in toxic innocence about his true relationship with and his place within the Democratic Party? Still, despite all evidence to the contrary, they cling to the reality-bereft notion that he can and will act as a redeemer figure to the irredeemably corrupt Party as opposed to the Judas Goat he has proven himself to be.

Yep. You might have surmised. I don’t feel the burn. I’m burnt out on Comrade Bernie. I feel like a burnt offering placed before corrupt Democratic Party deities. Why? Not once did Bernie call out the Clinton Campaign and their toadies in the DNC for their election malfeasance thus he betrayed his credulous flock. Instead, he delivered them to a candidate who stood for everything he claims to stand against.

But it is not only his Judas Goat proclivities, he, in stark contrast to Jeremy Corbyn, is a drone murder apologist, a liberacrat imperialist who slags Russia, he urged the Saudis to bomb more countries, and he embodies all the genocide-enabling proclivities of a garden variety liberal Zionists. Moreover, history reveals, the Democratic Party is the reeking landfill of leftist, labouring class, and minority socio-economic movements. If Sanders was sincere, he would not act as an advocate for the irredeemably corrupt Democratic party — but be would break the news to his followers, they will only truly feel the burn by the act of burning down the infamous thing — so that a true leftist/socialist party could be seeded in its compost and ashes.

“Bernie did the best under the circumstance,” Berniecrats are prone to respond.

Demonstrably false. Sanders, had he made an honest effort, would have called out the Clintonites and their operatives in the DNC, all through the primaries season, and, in particular, after the Wikileaks revelations about their malfeasance. He even stood silent when his supporters were insulted and bullied at the Democratic convention. In short, he has revealed, by his actions, he is far from worthy of trust.

“So what is your solution? A two-party system is what we have.”

Easy enough. As Voltaire averred about the miseries inflicted by the dogma of The Church and its hold on the collective mind of the populace, the solution will be found in “Ecrassez l’infame!” i.e., “crush the infamous thing” i.e., the Democratic Party.

“But that risks too much chaos,” blubber Fainting Couch Liberals.

You haven’t seen anything yet. Capitalism lurches from bubble to bubble. An economic collapse comes to pass every seven or so years. We are a year overdue. And this time, there will not be trillions to funnel to the Wall Street crooks who caused the collapse, as their quisling Obama, AKA President Drone von Citigroup, did. Political duopoly, the enabler of capitalist despotism, is the problem, rotten root to noxious bloom. And Bernie Sanders is one of the system’s constant gardeners.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Voters are Fired Up for Single Payer Creating Dilemma for Democrats

By Margaret Flowers – Health Over Profit – June 5, 2017

On Sunday, June 4, the same day that Our Revolution, a Democratic Party group that arose from the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, organized rallies and die-ins to highlight the number of people dying in the United States due to lack of access to health care, the New York Times published an article, “The Single Payer Party? Democrats Shift Left on Health Care,” prominently on the front page and above the fold.

The article quotes RoseAnn DeMoro, head of National Nurses United, saying, “There is a cultural shift. Health care is now seen as something everyone deserves. It’s like a national light went off.” Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan was also quoted, saying that rank and file Democrats “are energized in a way I have not witnessed in a long, long time.” Nolan is correct in stating that following the Democrat’s large loss in 2016, the party needs “a more boldly ‘aspirational’ health care platform.”

Democratic Party voters have been strong supporters of single payer health care for a long time. Polls have consistently shown that super-majorities of Democratic Party voters want single payer, but Democratic Party candidates keep telling them that they can’t have it. The Democratic Party has refused to add Medicare for All to its healthcare platform despite resolutions introduced by single payer advocates. Even the Congressional Progressive Caucus refuses to include single payer health care in their “People’s Budget.”

In 2009, with a Democratic President and majorities in the House and Senate, single payer health care was off the table. Instead, the “public option” was used to divide the Democratic Party voters and convince them that they were asking for too much. Democrats were told that the public option would be more politically feasible and would create a “back door” to single payer. Many were fooled. And the joke was on them because even the public option, which I call the “Profiteer’s Option,” was never meant to be in the final legislation.

While the New York Times wrongly blames the liberal and centrist Democrats for not supporting a public option, it was actually the White House and Democratic Party leadership that kept it out of the final bill. In December of 2009, public pressure was working to convince the Senate to include a public option in its healthcare bill. That’s when leadership stepped in to stop them. Glenn Greenwald writes:

I’ve argued since August that the evidence was clear that the White House had privately negotiated away the public option and didn’t want it, even as the President claimed publicly (and repeatedly) that he did.  … it is the excuse Democrats fraudulently invoke, using what I called the Rotating Villain tactic (it’s now Durbin’s turn), to refuse to pass what they claim they support but are politically afraid to pass, or which they actually oppose (sorry, we’d so love to do this, but gosh darn it, we just can’t get 60 votes).  If only 50 votes were required, they’d just find ways to ensure they lacked 50.  Both of those are merely theories insusceptible to conclusive proof, but if I had the power to create the most compelling evidence for those theories that I could dream up, it would be hard to surpass what Democrats are doing now with regard to the public option.  They’re actually whipping against the public option.  Could this sham be any more transparent?

I was present at the Center for American Progress in March of 2009 when Senator Max Baucus stated that the public option was a bargaining chip being used to convince private health insurers to accept more regulations. It was Baucus’ staffer, Liz Fowler, a former senior vice president for one of the largest private insurance corporations, WellPoint, who wrote the framework for the Affordable Care Act and shepherded it through Congress. The scam was revealed early and though progressive groups knew it, they were complicit in the scam because they accepted being controlled and silenced by the White House.

Jim Messina, a former Baucus chief of staff, was hired by the White House to be “the enforcer” for President Obama’s agenda. Ari Berman described the situation in this enlightening article:

The administration deputized Messina as the top liaison to the Common Purpose Project. The coveted invite-only, off-the-record Tuesday meetings at the Capitol Hilton became the premier forum where the administration briefed leading progressive groups, including organizations like the AFL-CIO, MoveOn, Planned Parenthood and the Center for American Progress, on its legislative and political strategy. Theoretically, the meetings were supposed to provide a candid back-and-forth between outside groups and administration officials, but Messina tightly controlled the discussions and dictated the terms of debate (Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake memorably dubbed this the “veal pen”). “Common Purpose didn’t make a move without talking to Jim,” says one progressive strategist. During the healthcare fight, Messina used his influence to try to stifle any criticism of Baucus or lobbying by progressive groups that was out of sync with the administration’s agenda, according to Common Purpose participants. “Messina wouldn’t tolerate us trying to lobby to improve the bill,” says Richard Kirsch, former national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now (HCAN), the major coalition of progressive groups backing reform. Kirsch recalled being told by a White House insider that when asked what the administration’s “inside/outside strategy” was for passing healthcare reform, Messina replied, “There is no outside strategy.”

The inside strategy pursued by Messina, relying on industry lobbyists and senior legislators to advance the bill, was directly counter to the promise of the 2008 Obama campaign, which talked endlessly about mobilizing grassroots support to bring fundamental change to Washington. But that wasn’t Messina’s style—instead, he spearheaded the administration’s deals with doctors, hospitals and drug companies, particularly the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), one of the most egregious aspects of the bill. “They cared more about their relationship with the healthcare industry than anyone else,” says one former HCAN staffer. “It was shocking to see. To me, that was the scariest part of it, because this White House had ridden in on a white horse and said, ‘We’re not going to do this anymore.’” When they were negotiating special deals with industry, Messina and Baucus chief of staff Jon Selib were also pushing major healthcare companies and trade associations to pour millions of dollars into TV ads defending the bill.

This was the Democratic Party’s deal with the devil. They rejected their voter base and went with the donor class to create and market a health law, the so-called Affordable Care Act, that protected the profits of the medical-industrial complex, and it backfired. In the 2010 election, 63 Democratic incumbents lost their seats in Congress and the party has been in decline ever since with a record low number of elected officials nationally. On issue after issue, the Democratic Party betrayed its base and voters finally gave up, choosing either to vote for other parties or not vote at all.

The question now is whether the Democrats will change.

So far, despite the title of the New York Times article, the answer is no. Although there is widespread voter support for single payer, Nancy Pelosi says the party is not going there and is funneling advocates’ energy to the state level, even though state single payer systems are not possible without federal legislation. At the national level, Democrats are paying lip service to Medicare for All: “We need to get there eventually but right now our task is to fix the ACA” is the current talking point.

The reality is that the political currents have shifted. The public is not going along with the con. People want solutions to the healthcare crisis, not more tinkering with the current failed healthcare system. Across the country, the message is clear that the public supports National Improved Medicare for All. And whichever political party in power embraces this will see a surge in popularity.

Our task as advocates for National Improved Medicare for All is to stay fired up – continue to speak out about Medicare for All, write about it in local papers, meet with members of Congress, organize in our communities and run for office. We must be clear and uncompromising in our demand for National Improved Medicare for All to create a visible tsunami of support that will wake our legislators up.

When the people lead, the legislators will follow.

June 6, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Latest Russia-hacking ‘revelation’ only exposes more ‘garbage’ US journalism

RT | June 6, 2017

A report, allegedly based on leaks within the NSA, once again lacks underlying raw intelligence, yet reporters from The Intercept ran with it anyway, Brian Becker from the anti-war ANSWER Coalition told RT.

The US National Security Agency has arrested a former contractor after she allegedly leaked classified defense material.

A Department of Justice statement said Reality Leigh Winner had a complaint filed against her after stealing a document and supplying it to a news outlet.

Some Western media have already linked the arrest to a newly published article by The Intercept about alleged Russian hacking.

The report by The Intercept alleges Russia carried out at least one cyberattack against the US during the 2016 election. Like other so-called intelligence, it does not provide any concrete evidence. Nor does it name the source of the information it based the article on.

RT: “The Intercept” has published a highly classified report by NSA stating that Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier just days before the US presidential election. Do you think the report is credible?

Brian Becker: The article in The Intercept has to be read carefully, and I would say with a giant grain of salt. I actually think it is very shoddy journalism. Why would the NSA or NSA contractors, who have spared no effort to generate an anti-Russia witch hunt over the last year, release this document to The Intercept ? Why not The New York Times, why not The Washington Post, why not CNN? The Intercept is one of the few websites that has some audience in the US that has had critical thinking from Glenn Greenwald and others who have doubted the veracity of the assertions. The report shows that the report from the NSA – again, which was given by someone working with the NSA to The Intercept for some reason – lacks all underlying raw intelligence. So we have again the formulation ‘a high degree of confidence’ and then mixing and matching as if the NSA, which has made this revelation available to The Intercept, found out that Russia was hacking American voting machines on the eve of the election. But again with no connectivity to trying to get Donald Trump elected, and yet that is what the article summarizes in its conclusion. It’s shoddy journalism; I would say it is garbage journalism and it is based on nothing with underlying intelligence. Again, why would the NSA, FBI, and CIA have been waging a war for the past year to convince the American people that Russia is taking over America, why would they release this document to The Intercept ?

There are a number of things that are peculiar here. One of them is the circumstance of the arrest of this contractor so quickly after this item appeared in The Intercept. But on The Intercept article itself, it is a little odd: this is the first article that appears to be pointed toward any kind of compromise of the actual election system, as opposed to releasing information that maybe prejudicial to Hillary Clinton’s campaign that came from the DNC, which has been the allegation thus far. Also it seems odd it would be sent to some place like The Intercept rather than the usual vehicles for leaked information, like The Washington Post or The New York Times. – former US diplomat Jim Jatras

RT: Although it’s supposedly the most detailed US report yet on claimed Russian interference in the election, it doesn’t actually show the raw intelligence. Are we ever going to see the actual hard evidence?

BB: No one actually knows what the Russian intelligence agencies hacked or didn’t hack. We don’t know. We do know that during the past year when this has become the dominant narrative within the mainstream media, the dominant call by the Democratic Party elites, the primary allegation explaining why they lost the election, when we see all of this, and we realize even up to today, even with this article, not one piece of hard evidence backing it up. Wouldn’t there be some hard evidence now, after all of this time showing the raw intelligence underlying the report? For some reason, the NSA wanted to use this liberal website in order to give them a top classified document again without any real facts or evidence contained therein.

Some people are touting this as the first counter-attack from the Trump administration to this tyranny of leaks that has been going on here in Washington. I certainly don’t see it as that. If we look at other leaks, like ones concerning General Flynn, or Comey’s conversations with Trump or the meeting of Trump and Lavrov, again, these went to the prestige media, New York Times and The Washington Post. Nobody has been nailed for any of those leaks. Those are things coming from within the deep state itself. Here is a 25-year old contractor, who doesn’t seem to be the kind of vehicle for this we are talking about, and she gets nailed right from the top on a very questionable report. This just happened today, but it almost seems like a provocation of some sort. – former US diplomat Jim Jatras

RT: Even if the hacking took place, why does the NSA insist the Russian government made the interference? Couldn’t random hackers have done it with “patriotic leanings”?

BB: Because we are in the midst of a witch hunt. After WWII, and after the breakup of the US-British-Soviet military alliance that defeated fascism, the US media and the intelligence agencies, like CIA, like FBI, later now the NSA, joined to generate a witch hunt against anyone associated with the Soviet Union and thus Russia. We see the same thing happening today. There are no facts, there is no evidence, but there is a hysteria being created. The intelligence agencies, which have overthrown other countries’ governments if they win elections that the Americans don’t prefer, who have intervened in other countries’ governments, who have carried out assassination programs now are saying we are the champions and the defenders of American democracy from the great menace to American democracy which is posed by the Kremlin. This is political; it is actually pure politics.

Read more:

DOJ charges govt contractor with leaking top secret material to The Intercept

June 6, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment

Obama vs. Trump

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | May 31, 2017

Barack Obama presided over the sale of more than $100 billion in weaponry to Saudi Arabia during his presidency. These deals were transacted before, during and after the Saudis’ devastating attacks on Yemen. It is important to state these simple facts because there is now a concerted effort among the rulers to make us believe that these recent events never took place.

Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and announcement of yet another arms sale is the immediate cause of consternation. The continuity in foreign policy decision making from one president to another is a longstanding American tradition. But acknowledgement is problematic now that Trump is the one acting as his predecessors did.

The Saudi bombing and blockade of Yemen has resulted in starvation and a cholera epidemic. The corporate media and their talking heads ignored the crime as long as Barack Obama was in the White House. Now the same forces who hid the carnage beginning in 2015 behave as if the new president bears responsibility when Obama gave the green light.

A New York Times editorial is an example of the official propaganda scheme. Entitled “Will President Trump Help Save Yemen,” the editorial excoriated Trump for doing nothing more than what Obama had done. There was no mention of the former president’s support, in fact the Times gave the impression that he somehow opposed a policy he had carried out.

The New York Times is not alone in trying to make observant people disbelieve their lying eyes. Obama UN ambassador Samantha Power is also part of the amnesiac brigade. In a twitter post she responded to Trump administration boasting about the arms sale. “For a country whose attacks on civilians in Yemen — and inability to learn from mistakes — have been devastating to human life.” Fortunately, social media is a two way street and her obvious attempt at changing history was called into question by angry readers.

So concerned are the elites and their friends around the world that they won’t let Obama go. Defending the prerogatives of the ruling classes is a permanent position after all. That is why Obama was invited months ago to give a speech in Berlin with Angela Merkel by his side. The obvious goal of the photo opportunity was to help Merkel’s election campaign. Now an Obama visit may also undermine any foreign policy changes Trump may contemplate. Trump’s message of America first throws the imperial project into jeopardy and causes panic among current and former leaders.

The corporate media and foreign governments don’t care about the damage Trump is doing domestically. The ICE raids, emboldened racism, voter suppression and cuts to government programs don’t concern them. But Trump’s victory already killed the TPP trade deal. His white America first philosophy leaves less room for NATO machinations and imperial imperatives.

Trump literally shoved the president of Montenegro aside at the NATO summit. The juvenile alpha male move was ironic for several reasons. Tiny Montenegro has been pushed into NATO against the wishes of many of its people. But NATO is determined to expand because Russia is the last country capable of saying no to America’s whims and its determination to run the whole world.

Trump’s understanding of European foreign policy consists of worrying about how much America contributes towards NATO funding vis a vis other nations. He is a businessman after all and sees no reason to pay more than the next guy. This nationalistic impulse creates huge problems for the elites, who had no intention of giving up on their grand schemes of control backed by American muscle.

Trump’s non-commitment to NATO’s Article 5 may have done the world a huge favor. Article 5 makes every member nation responsible for the defense of the others. NATO assists in every act of aggression that the United States cooks up and that is one of the reasons the elites want Trump gone. The American/NATO effort to tear Yugoslavia apart included the bombing of Montenegro. Trump’s wrong headed impulse reveals some important truths about the state of the world.

And that is why Obama will keep showing up for his friends. He is still working for the western oligarchs who want the system to keep running as it has done. No one should worry about Merkel’s lament that Europe can’t count on the United States. Trump’s boorish behavior is a lot less dangerous than the trans Atlantic alliance of war making.

Of course Obama acolytes are lying about his relationship with Saudi Arabia. American presidents always genuflect to their partner in crime. The Saudis have aided in the destruction of much of that region but those facts are inconvenient. Obama’s second act won’t work unless some very big lies are served up.

Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The silence of the pseudo-left on the danger of war

By Eric London | Defend Democracy Press | April 21, 2017

A wide range of nominally left-wing political groups and publications have acquiesced to a series of dangerous military actions by the Trump administration that have brought the world to the brink of war.

On April 13, the US dropped the largest nonnuclear bomb ever deployed in history in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb weighs over 10 tons and is so destructive it reportedly obliterated the homes of peasants living several miles from the drop zone.

Four days later, Vice President Michael Pence traveled to the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula, where the US has threatened to use preemptive military force against the nuclear-armed North. Pence acknowledged that the MOAB bombing was aimed at proving that the US was prepared to go to war.

“Just in the past two weeks,” he declared, “the world witnessed the strength of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan. North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.”

The growing danger of a nuclear conflagration is widely felt. A Marist poll published this month shows that 72 percent of Americans are concerned about growing international tensions. Leading figures in Russia, China, North Korea and the United States have warned of the real possibility of war.

“Nuclear war has become thinkable again,” reads a headline in Monday’s Guardian. The New York Times’ April 17 editorial warns of “President Trump’s Loose Talk on North Korea,” while the Times news section compares tensions in East Asia to the Cuban missile crisis. Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman wrote an article titled, “Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and the risk of nuclear miscalculation.”

All the more remarkable is the role played by various political groups that identify themselves as left-wing but have maintained an intentional silence with regard to the dropping of the MOAB and the threat of war in Korea. These groups hide the threat of war from their readers and provide political cover for US imperialism.

Not a single article relating to these events appears on the front page of Jacobin Magazine’s website, nor does its official Facebook page make any reference to the MOAB attack or the recent US threats against Korea. There are no references to the MOAB or rising tensions in North Korea on the front page of the Pabloite International Viewpoint website.

Similarly, Socialist Alternative’s website has no articles dealing in any detail with the bombing or US moves against North Korea. One article from April 15 titled “Trump administration damaged and unpredictable” includes a one-sentence reference to the MOAB in the 13th paragraph, while North Korea is addressed only briefly later in the article.

It is the most basic obligation of socialists to condemn and oppose US war threats and warn the working class of the dangers and root causes of imperialist war.

The front page of Socialist Worker, the publication of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), has no references to the dropping of the MOAB, and only on Tuesday did it publish its first article of the year relating to North Korea.

At no point in the article (“Will Trump start a new Korean War?”) does the writer, David Whitehouse, state that the ISO is opposed to the American government’s provocative war threats. It instead reports the potential outbreak of nuclear war as a disinterested observer, including 20 hyperlinks to various reports in the bourgeois press, including five from the New York Times alone.

Whitehouse refers to Washington’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea as a “sticky issue.” He reports US-South Korean joint war games, as well as proposals to assassinate North Korean leaders and launch preemptive strikes, but passes over them without making any critical comment.

The article downplays the danger of war. It begins, “Now that the latest North Korean missile test failed on April 16, the immediate risk of a US military attack may fade.” It comments further on that “Trump’s ‘new’ belligerence toward North Korea is really the latest oscillation between the twin options of ‘containment’ or ‘rollback’ that have lain in the US policy toolkit since the Cold War.”

Whitehouse complacently asserts that the likelihood of US military intervention is lower than some claim: “Trump can talk a tougher line, but US military options have begun looking weaker, not stronger, since the North’s three-decade arms build-up.”

Fifteen years after the mass protests leading up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the pseudo-left’s support for war shows that the present absence of an organized antiwar movement is not the product of popular apathy. Rather, it is due to the rightward shift of previously radicalized sections of the middle class whose opposition to war has disappeared in the decades following the Vietnam War.

This section of the population has greatly enriched itself since the late 1960s and early 1970s, in part from the spoils of the wars of the past quarter century that have inflated the stock market and enriched American banks and corporations. Their political orientation is toward the Democratic Party and the state.

This weekend, many representatives of this milieu will be gathering at New York University for the Historical Materialism forum. Sponsors and participants include Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara as well as historians Lars Lih and Eric Blanc. The ISO’s International Socialist Review is an event sponsor and ISO members Paul Le Blanc, Tithi Bhattacharya, Todd Chretien and Paul Heideman will appear as speakers.

Of the 60 scheduled panels, not a single one relates to the subject of war. The words “imperialism,” “war,” “Iraq,” “North Korea,” “Afghanistan,” “Libya” and “Somalia” do not appear in any panel title.

Instead, the NYU panel features discussion topics such as “Queer(ing) Marxism,” “Women’s Strikes in the Age of Feminization,” “The International Women’s Strike and the Anticapitalist Feminist Movement,” “Silencing the Subaltern: Resistance & Gender in Postcolonial Theory,” “Concerning Violence: Subjections, Resistance, Subversions,” “Adorno: Subjectivity and Critique,” “New Directions in Marxist/Feminist Theory,” “Race, Repetition, Rebellion: The Political Economy of Surplus,” and “Late Althusser: Politics and Theoretical Practice.”

Any connections that the radicalized middle class once had to anti-imperialism or socialism are long gone. The categories of analysis they employ have nothing to do with class or historical materialism. War, social inequality and poverty all take a back seat to what really interests them: race, gender and their own sex lives.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

David Ignatius’ 15 Years of Running Spin for Saudi Regime

By Adam Johnson | FAIR | April 28, 2017

Last week, in “A Young Prince Is Reimagining Saudi Arabia. Can He Make His Vision Come True?,” Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius (4/20/17) wrote what read like a press release for the Saudi regime. What’s more, he’s written the same article several times before. For almost 15 years, Ignatius has been breathlessly updating US readers on the token, meaningless public relations gestures that the Saudi regime—and, by extension, Ignatius—refer to as “reforms.”

Ignatius columns on Saudi Arabia break down roughly into two groups: straight reporting mixed with spin and concern trolling, and outright press releases documenting the dictatorship’s spectacular reforms. First the latter:

  • “Home-Grown Saudi Reform” (3/7/03)
  • “Saudis Act Aggressively to Denounce Terrorism” (6/13/10)
  • “Change and Balance in the Saudi Kingdom” (11/21/11)
  • “Women Gain Newfound Stature in Saudi Arabia” (1/18/13)
  • “Reshuffling the House of Saud” (2/3/15)
  • “A 30-Year-Old Saudi Prince Could Jump-Start the Kingdom — or Drive It Off a Cliff” (6/26/16)

Let’s begin by taking a look at his most recent iteration of this genre (4/20/17), featuring a brave Saudi prince taking on “religious conservatives” (vague reactionaries who are never named or defined) to change his own monarchy:

Two years into his campaign as change agent in this conservative oil kingdom, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to be gaining the confidence and political clout to push his agenda of economic and social reform.

Ignatius begins by doing something a lot of “reformer” boosters do in Saudi Arabia: conflating “economic reform” with social reform. The latter is typically the neoliberal lubricant to get to what really matters, the further privatization and leveraging of Saudi’s immense wealth. Indeed, the only social reforms even mentioned in the glowing report are “a Japanese orchestra that included women” performing to “mixed audience,” and a co-ed Comic Con. Perhaps by 2025 they’ll have mixed-gender D&D tournaments.

Ignatius’ cheerleading columns always rely on vague person-on-the-street sources as a placeholder for the Voice of the People. Take, for example, this framing in  “Women Gain Newfound Stature in Saudi Arabia” (1/18/13):

King Abdullah announced January 11 that 30 women would join the kingdom’s Shura Council, a consultative body of 150 persons, and that women henceforth would hold 20 percent of the seats. Skeptics cautioned that it’s a symbolic move, since this is an advisory group that doesn’t actually enact any legislation. But it’s a powerful symbol, according to men and women here.

Which men and women? Was a poll done? It’s unclear. He goes on to interview a Cambridge-educated woman who appears hand-picked by the regime for a glossy profile. She’s from a humble background and was about to drop out of college until the king stepped in and benevolently paid her tuition. A story Ignatius, of course, dutifully repeats without skepticism.

Then there’s the other genre of Saudi coverage we’ll call Checking In On the House of Saud:

  • “Can Saudi Arabia Help Combat the Islamic State?” (7/28/14)
  • “Saudi Arabia’s Coming Struggle” (1/22/15)
  • “Saudi Arabia Stirs the Middle East Pot” (8/21/13)
  • “The Son Who Would Be the Saudis’ King?” (9/8/15)
  • “A Cyclone Brews over Saudi Arabia” (10/13/15)
  • “The Costly Blunders of Saudi Arabia’s Anxiety-Ridden Monarchy” (1/5/16)

These pieces generally consist of down-the-middle updates about the status of Saudi Arabia, with some light criticism around the margins. Saudi Arabia is painted as a fearful, almost childlike place, whose evil deeds are animated by paranoia rather than ambition—bumbling “misfires” and “mistakes” rather than sinister motives.

The one piece whose headline seems to indicate actual criticism of the Saudi regime is anything but. In “The Costly Blunders of Saudi Arabia’s Anxiety-Ridden Monarchy” (1/5/16), our tough-luck Saudis are bumbling around the Middle East under siege:

Saudi Arabia is a frightened monarchy…. Countries that feel vulnerable sometimes do impulsive and counterproductive things, and that has been the case recently with Saudi Arabia.

Counterproductive? Saudi Arabia has been a bad boy and needs a timeout.

Strangely, in 15 years of writing columns about the monarchy, David Ignatius has not himself used the term “human rights,” much less addressed their abuse in a meaningful way. In one of the few columns (1/5/16)  in which Ignatius actually levels criticism of the Saudi rulers’ gross human rights abuses, they are stripped of all autonomy, with the beheading of a minority religious figure painted as a response to the Evil Iranians: “The kingdom’s fear of a rising Iran led it to execute a dissident Shiite cleric.”

Ignatius went on to lament the execution in equally middle-management terms, saying it was a “mistake” and an “error.” What it wasn’t: “criminal,” “immoral” or “murder.” Moralizing is reserved for US enemies; US allies are simply under-performing employees in need of guidance and mild chiding.

Saudi Arabia, despite being an oppressive absolute monarchy that arbitrarily detains, tortures, executes and mercilessly bombs civilians, is never given the dreaded “regime” moniker like Assad and Gaddafi and North Korea. Actions are not done by an anthropomorphized state, but a nebulous blob of reluctant bureaucrats. And they are not even actions; they are always good-faith reactions to “Iranian hegemony.”

The Saudis’ ruthless bombing of Yemen, which has claimed over 10,000 civilian lives since March 2015, is almost never mentioned by Ignatius, and the few times it is touched upon it is glossed over as “costly and unsuccessful.” It is bad—not in terms of morals, but in process. It’s “costly” like an ill-advised real-estate investment.

Even more shockingly, Ignatius simply takes the regime’s word that all 47 people—including two minors—subject to its 2016 mass execution were guilty of being “extremists”:

A defensive, anxious Saudi leadership tried to show its resolve with last week’s execution of 47 extremists.

That “defensive, anxious Saudi leadership”—a caged animal always responding to threats and occasionally over-correcting.

In 2015, when King Abdullah died, Ignatius (1/22/15) insisted that the monarch who ruled for ten years over a country that didn’t allow women to drive, swim, own property or travel alone “was seen by many Saudi women as their secret champion.” A pretty well-kept secret, it must have been—aside from allowing women to take part in meaningless local “elections” and meaningless advisory councils, it’s unclear what Ignatius’ evidence is for this, but it’s “seen by many Saudi women,” so that’s good enough.

One Washington Post reader put it best in a letter to the editor (2/4/15):

The Saudis have been talking reform at least since I was a student of Middle East affairs in the 1960s. Yet it still is the epicenter of inequality, human rights violations and gratuitous state-sponsored violence.

The wheels of alleged reform in that country are perpetually spinning but going nowhere. The rulers continue to steal the oil revenue that belongs to the people; civil liberties and personal rights are repressed; beheadings, stonings and whippings for nonviolent offenses continue unabated; and people such as Mr. Ignatius still crow about how the regime is a force for change.

Ignatius, of course, is not alone. He joins a long line of faithful Western pundits who frame the Saudi regime as a reformist entity, earnestly pushing change in a fundamentally reactionary country under perma-threat from Shia forces. The Al Saud mafia is not in league with religious extremists, but a bulwark against them; they are not an illegitimate dictatorship, but an enlightened ruling class helping usher in “reform” in the face of a hyper-religious population.

And throughout it all, they are on a 71,500-year reform plan where they are effusively praised for moving their country toward the 19th century every five years or so. Other regimes that oppress their people and bomb civilians “must go” now, and are beyond the moral pale—mere allegations of being friendly with them, a career-ender. But the Saudi regime, a friendly host to light-touch US pundits, is just a well-meaning scrappy band of reformers this close to turning into Switzerland. All they need is a bit more time.


Messages can be sent to the Washington Post at letters@washpost.com, or via Twitter @washingtonpost. Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Haircut (2017) – A North Korean Adventure

Boy Boy – April 22, 2017

The isolated, hermit kingdom of the DPRK is shrowded in secrecy, It’s nearly impossible to get any reliable information from behind the bamboo curtain. Nonetheless, every week, on T.V. and online, we are bombarded by the bizzare media-spectacle of North Korea. From nuclear apocalypse and prison camps to banned sarcasm and compulsory identical haircuts – any shred of information regarding North Korea becomes a viral media hit, regardless of how dubious the story is.

But that’s all about to change.

Two Aussie boys decided to take matters into their own hands and go to North Korea to find out the truth for themselves. Join us as we look past the clickbait and unpack the forces behind the way our media represents the “Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea”.

– Warning – Graphic Content

April 30, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems

By Lucy Steigerwald | CounterPunch | April 21, 2017

There’s a season for it–the thinkpieces, the brave suggestions, the crawling out to the edge of the limb and saying, yes, I have the answer, we should force America’s youth to come together and serve in some collective cause.

In spite of the right’s fondness for military service and such pageantry, it’s usually the left or the more accurately, the muddy, authoritarian center that suggest this kind of thing. Progressives worry over wars, but they don’t worry enough over the civilian casualties in other countries, or the blowback in America. Sometimes they become overly concerned, instead about how poor people join the military, and rich, privileged people don’t. Sometimes they even pull up an extra deep argument, dust the dirt off of it, and say, gee, maybe the draft can stop wars! Charlie Rangel spent decades in congress trying to bring back conscription for that very reason.

And then the thought leaders–the columnists who have to waste space in the New York Times or various blogs each week–they need to get in on this brainstorming. America is broken. America is fractured and overly politicised, and we could be on the brink of a God damned civil war. This is dangerous. Also dangerous is the fact that young people aged, say, 18-25, just keep on choosing their own paths in life. Sometimes they get married or do important things that contribute to society’s togetherness. But sometimes they just eat exotic food and become polyamorists or or Instagrammers. We have to do something.

Why not bring back the draft? What was once the weight on the back of every young man–the fear that he would have to kill or be killed for a broadly-defined goal of patriotism, nationalism, service, whether he wanted to or not–is now gone. Youths are not grinding themselves down under nationalist knapsacks nearly as much as they did before, in the days that were good.

Sometimes a writer, politician, thinker, considers bringing back a draft without any kind of spit shine on it. Just, make those damn kids join the military the ways their pappies did, so they stop playing video games! Plus, after 58,000 of those kids died in Vietnam–along with about two million Vietnamese–we stopped the war! The draft works!

Most advocates for this tepidly-argued collectivism, however, take a different tact. They want it to be “national service” instead of mean old conscription. They are happy to offer options and choices, provided that engaging in this service is a necessary part of graduation from high school or college. At best they are the movie theaters who said you were free to defy the Hays Code if you had your own theater, and weren’t run out of town by moralists, and didn’t want to hire any known American actors, etc. At worse, they are mini dictators who, even if they don’t realize it, are simply deeply offended by the fact that American young people are making their own choices and living their own lives. They are central planners not of cities, but of human action and motivation.

Bloomberg View’s Noah Smith is one person who has no self-awareness about how many stock writers from Thomas Friedman to David Brooks, to this guy who wrote a letter, and who used to be a columnist, have already suggested national service as a cure for the nation’s ills, both real and imagined. Yes, as Smith notes, people in South Korea and Israel and other places are made to join the army. There is also what amounts to mandatory reserves training in places like Switzerland. Though all of those coercive policies are bad, certainly it’s a little more of a moral quandary to serve in Israel and be a real, fighting soldier, than it is to be made to do basic training in Switzerland, then come home and go back to your normal life (unless and until Germany invades).

In America, the draft was put to rest in 1973. Men are still made to register with the Selective Service, however. Though the changes of the US bringing back a military draft are not high, thanks to the potential outcry, as well as the technical skills needed for most army recruits in 2017, that registration still hangs over the heads of every young male citizen. Your choices are on loan from the military, it says. You can have your life for now, but if we need it, you will know.

Smith and his ilk are terrified of a polarized nation. At its worst point, yes, screaming cable news divides could transform into real wars. But as scared as we all are of fighting with relatives on Facebook, or being trolled by Twitter Nazis, that kind of unpleasantness is as far from a real conflict as you can get, until it actually isn’t (and it currently is).

Furthermore, Smith happily suggests that his plan would lead to “national unity.” He gives a startlingly shallow nod to the libertarian argument against coercive national service by saying, uh, people could get out of it if they wanted to become high school drop-outs. He doesn’t actually counter the Milton Friedman quote he mentions, which dubs drafted soldiers “slaves.” Smith simply says, well, libertarians might object to this grand scheme, but they are wrong. Best of all, he pays not even a whisper of lip service to the fact that all of human history teaches us that “national unity” can have some deadly side effects.

More paragraphs could be devoted to flipping Smith’s logic over, and then prodding its insides. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have enough to bother with. He has the fact that the country is, it seems, at odds. Occasionally, being at odds leads to violence and even wars. And also young people don’t work that much, and Smith has a chart to prove that. Ergo, national service it is.

This is a bad piece. It’s a weak, lazy spasm towards collectivism to solve the nation’s problems (real, imagined, and exaggerated). The draft and national service are blessedly unpopular. Rangel retired from congress without his pet project of bringing it back ever coming close to fruition.

And yet, Smith’s piece deserves a response if only because it encapsulates a dangerous, monstrously huge idea–that the individual belongs to the state. More particularly, the young individual of a certain age belongs to the state. With all of our concern over being bogged down in wars, or filling our prisons coming into the public sphere, this notion that we have to suffer or struggle in order to grow up remains. Millennials are the worst, right? They’re lazy, and they’re entitled. And yet, they’re rarely the ones demanding that the younger generation be pressed into servitude.

This attitude has killed. It has killed thousands and thousands of people. It is Teddy Roosevelt worrying about a soft nation that had tamed the West. It is the fear that American manhood would atrophy without natives to shoot, so let’s go to the Philippines, to Cuba, anywhere where our young men can grow strong on righteous suffering and contrived acts of bravery. We mustn’t let them turn feminine and soft.

Political polarization is a concern. At its peak, it can destroy a country. But forcible national unity destroys individuals, and has hacked its way across the world in conquest and conflicts for centuries. Placing youth into the mouth of the nation for sacrifice is swapping the potential problem of polarization for the definite one of unification–and that’s a problem much more likely to lead to tyranny and war.

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

Humanitarian hypocrites: 20 million face starvation but Western focus is on Putin and Assad

By Neil Clark | RT | April 15, 2017

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned last week that 20 million people are in danger of starvation because of conflicts and drought.

If you missed this shocking and very important news, then it’s no surprise, as it didn’t receive too many headlines – certainly not in the West. Those have been dominated instead by expressions of faux-outrage from the pro-war political and media Establishment over footage of children in Syria who appeared to have been the victims of a suspected chemical weapons attack, which the US and its allies were very quick to blame, without firm evidence, on Syrian President Bashar Assad.

How do we know that the Establishment concern we saw about child victims of war was insincere? It’s easy. True humanitarians care about all victims equally. The concern of phony humanitarians is only for those who have been killed, or who appear to have been killed, by an ‘Official Enemy’ of the Western elites – like Assad. This ‘outrage’ has to be expressed strongly, and very publicly, in order to build support for the bombing of the ‘Official Enemy’ country, and further the case for regime-change, which helps the arms industry and the 1% get even richer. However, if it’s an ally of the West or Western powers themselves responsible for the atrocities, it’s a very different story. Then it’s a case of: “Don’t mention the war!” Let’s change the subject as quickly as we can! Bellicose ‘liberal interventionists’ become as quiet as church mice.

What made the double standards even more glaring this week is the fact that a large proportion of those facing starvation, as identified by the UNHCR, are in Yemen, which has been bombed by staunch Western ally Saudi Arabia for two years now.

“In Yemen, which is experiencing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with almost 19 million people in need of humanitarian help, around 17 million people are food insecure,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards said.

The very same countries who are directly responsible for the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis” in 2017 are – surprise, surprise! – the ones who have sought to take the moral high ground over Syria. The same neocons and ‘liberal interventionists’ who screech “Something must be done about Assad!” on social media from 6 o’clock in the morning until 11 o’clock at night are quite happy for absolutely nothing to be done to stop the suffering in Yemen.

One man who did try to end the slaughter in  the country was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn- a consistent target of the Endless War lobby. Last October Labour put forward a motion in the British Parliament calling for the UK to suspend its support to Saudi Arabia. The resolution failed because over 100 Labour MPs either didn‘t turn up- or abstained. One of them was Corbyn’s deputy Tom Watson. ‘How can Labour ‘humanitarians’ support Saudi Arabia’? asked Stop the War’s Lindsey German.

Last week Watson broke with Corbyn yet again to issue a statement in favour of Trump’s illegal cruise missile strikes on Syria- saying, without any sense of irony, that they were a ‘a response to a clear violation of international law by the Syrian regime.’

When it comes to humanitarian humbug there’s no difference between right-wing Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories. Or, in America, between Democrats and Republicans. Vicar’s daughter Theresa May has spent most of the last few days robotically denouncing ‘the Assad regime’-which is battling ISIS and al-Qaeda and protects Syria’s Christian community from religious persecution. Yet just ten days ago the British Prime Minister was defending UK ties to Saudi Arabia on a trip to Riyadh. For all the moral grand-standing by May and Johnson and Trump and Tillerson, the bloodshed and chaos unleashed by the west and its allies in recent decades dwarfs any crimes that could be laid at Assad’s door. In 2015, it was revealed that at least 1.3m people, the vast majority of them Muslims, lost their lives in the US‘s so-called ‘War on Terror’ in just three countries; Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan- between 2001 and the end of 2013.

The Body Count death toll as I pointed out in my earlier OpEdge does not include deaths among the 3m refugees from Iraq subjected to privations, nor those killed in Libya and Yemen. But in spite of the mind-boggling numbers involved the victims of US-led military interventions are ’un-people’ who have been airbrushed out of western history.

Only Muslims killed by ‘Official Enemies’ are mourned- and splashed on the front pages of Establishment-friendly newspapers. When it comes to infanticide, the same grotesque double standards are on display. In a 1996 television interview about the  impact of sanctions on Iraq, the US Secretary of State Madeline Albright was asked if the death of  half a million Iraqi children was a price worth paying. She replied ‘I think this is a very hard choice, but  we think the price is worth it’. Just imagine if Putin or Assad had said such a thing! In an interview with David Edwards of Media Lens, Denis Halliday, the former UN Assistant Secretary General- and the co-ordinator of the UN humanitarian oil for food programme – said that the shortage of food and medical supplies in Iraq was the direct responsibility of Washington and London. ’For the British government to say that the quantities involved for vaccinating kids are going to produce weapons of mass destruction, is just nonsense. That’s why I’ve deliberately used the word ‘genocide’ because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq’, Halliday said.

The  genocide which preceded the Iraq war is a taboo subject in the west- like the genocide which came after it. Instead, we’re encouraged to focus solely on the ’heinous crimes’ of our ‘Official Enemies’. They- Assad, Gaddafi, Milosevic- are always ‘butchers’- ‘our’ leaders can never be called that- even if they kill millions more and illegally attack, or threaten to attack, different countries every few years.

Back to the UNHCR warning. In South Sudan, 100,00 people face starvation- and a further 1m are on the brink of famine. In northern Nigeria seven million people ‘are now struggling with food insecurity and need help’. The situation is perilous in Somalia too. Getting food supplies to these unfortunate people ought to be the number one priority for genuine humanitarians. But what was the top of the agenda for last week’s G7 meeting? How to get Russia to end its support for Assad!

This is the neocon agenda of the warmongering elites and not of those who really care about humanity. Next time you come across a ‘humanitarian’ saying that toppling Assad and ‘dealing’ with Putin is the most pressing issue, ask them why it’s more important than saving 20 million people close to starvation. They won’t have a satisfactory answer.

April 15, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Democrats Futile Search for Evidence

By Renee Parsons | CounterPunch | April 3, 2017

If there is anyone to blame for the election of Donald Trump,  it is not the Russians – it is the Democratic Party and its allies in the MSM.

It does not take a Trump supporter or a registered Republican to recognize that the Democrats’ hysterical allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign to influence the election has no merit and are nothing but petty, ideological over-reactions to their humiliating losses throughout the country in the 2016 election.

And it does not take a trained psychologist to see that the Democrat/MSM campaign to destroy a democratically elected President have perpetuated the anti-Russian effort as a coping mechanism to avoid the painful truth that they have suffered a publicly embarrassing loss of power and status. After 8 years of pretending that Barack Obama was a perpetual political gift they could ride to victory, the reality is too damned excruciating to admit that their own betrayals to peace, health care, the economy and jobs have brought them down.

The challenge for the Democrats is to suck it up and behave like mature professionals who deserve to be elected. Currently, they chose to remain in the wilderness of confused cognitive entanglement; unable to stretch beyond their narrow view of themselves as morally and intellectually superior. Instead, unable to do any independent thinking, they encourage the party’s rank-and-file to remain in the unproductive throes of an unhinged emotional breakdown that seeks to threaten the constitutional stability of the country.

While Wikileaks can take credit for revealing the DNC’s links with the MSM as now indisputable (a job well done by Operation Mockingbird), the joint Democrat/MSM attacks on the Trump – Russia have inadvertently revealed the potent politicization of the FBI, CIA and NSA as well as the morally bankrupt nature of the Democratic party.

Even the assertion of “no evidence” from multiple intel agencies has not stopped the delusional Democrats from going hog-wild insane; daring to suggest that unproven allegations of electoral interference should be considered as an ‘act of war‘.  Having sold their souls to the war machine during Obama’s terms in office, Congressional Dems have now linked arms with the appalling former Bush VP Dick Cheney and Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-Az).

An impeccable example of Democratic neurosis that has identified a conclusion lacking evidence, long time apologist for Israel Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca), ranking minority of the House Intel Committee, has set himself up as a moral arbiter of wildly unsubstantiated charges like “notwithstanding an abundance of evidence that Russia hacked our political institutions,” and more recently “there’s more than circumstantial evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.” Schiff has consistently failed to provide one iota of proof supporting his accusations while the MSM takes his fabrications as fact.

In an intensely partisan dispute that is about political control rather than national security, Schiff has demanded that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Ca) Chair of the House Intel Committee, recuse himself from the Committee investigation citing an inability to conduct an impartial hearing.

In a memorable December 8th interview on FoxNews with Tucker Carlson (which is ‘unavailable’ on YouTube), Schiff met with push-back from Carlson who is perhaps the only iconoclast interviewer on all of commercial TV. Carlson makes a game out of systematically peeling back the layers of any well established, status quo argument, frequently leaving his guest in knots or otherwise looking ridiculous. He is a joy to watch as he ripped the mask off the pompous Schiff.

In a typical response from an inquisitor who has lost control of the narrative, here are a few choice excerpts as Schiff escalates the witch hunt but cannot substantiate his claims as he seeks diversion by accusing Carlson of ‘carrying water for the Kremlin’:

Carlson: “I get it, I get it… Nobody’s for hacking. Let me just make one clear point. You don’t know that Vladimir Putin was behind those hacks?”

Schiff: “Well, we do know this…”

Carlson: “but you don’t know that so let’s not pretend you do…”

Schiff: “Well, let’s not ignore what the Director of National Security and the Secretary of Homeland Security said publicly which is that these hacks were of such seriousness that they could not have taken place without approval of the highest levels of the Kremlin.”

Carlson: “That’s speculation. What is speculation… is it a statement of fact”

Schiff: “it is not speculation. It is a statement of the intelligence community’s best assessment. Because there’s a political reason to do it… this is what the intelligence professionals are saying.”

Carlson: “Ok … I remember vividly the massive stockpiles of wmd in Iraq which the intelligence community assured us were there and they weren’t so pardon my skepticism.”

***

Carlson: “I’ve been following this. I get it. There’s been lots of hacking, at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA Director’s personal email was hacked, we think in some cases by Russia. I don’t remember you holding a press conference and saying, hey, Obama Administration,  your cyber security is  pathetic. In this letter to the President, you don’t mention the fact that American cyber security is inadequate and that the Administration is partly responsible for allowing these hacks to happen. Why don’t you mention that?”

Schiff: “You haven’t been watching the opening hearings of the…”

Carlson: “I have…”

Sciff: “I don’t think you have because if you had, you would see me pressing the Administration on the failures to protect our data …”

Carlson: “Then why not mention it in this letter?”

Schiff: “Because this letter was about Russian meddling and if you don’t think that’s significant that a power that is an adversary of ours is bombing civilians in Syria right now, that’s invading its neighbor’s and also interfering in our political process as well as our allies… if you don’t think that’s serious, it’s hard for me to imagine that you’re of the same party as Ronald Reagan.”

***

Carlson: “What were the means they used?

Schiff “… the means they used were hacking into democratic institutions and the leaking of documents designed in the primary process to sow division between Clinton and Sanders camps something we saw actually took place as a result of that because of that and then in general election to attempt to discredit secretary of State Clinton in a way to harm her and would help Donald Trump”

Carlson: “How did they do that?”

Schiff: “Well it was pretty obvious, wasn’t it? …. they hacked, they released documents that were…”

Carlson:  “… that were real..”

Schiff: “Oh yes they were real and they were ones that were damaging to Secretary Clinton.”

***

Carlson: “But they don’t know that the Putin government and neither do you. You don’t know that Putin was behind those hacks. I think it’s irresponsible for you to say that and you don’t know.”

Schiff: “You know what is irresponsible Tucker, is that you make that claim without looking at the evidence and more importantly have not seen the Russians…. “

Carlson: “You can’t say that you know the Putin government did that.”

Schiff: “… and more importantly for the president elect today to say that he doesn’t know whether the Russians…”

Carlson: “You’re dodging. You’re on the Intel Committee.  Let me just ask you one final question. Can you look right into the camera and say that you know for a fact that the government of Vladimir Putin was behind the hacks of John Podesta emails. “

Schiff: “Absolutely. The government of Vladimir Putin was behind the hack of our institution, not only in the US but also in Europe”

Carlson: “ … of John Podesta’s email…  you know that you’re dodging.  You can’t say it. Look and say that they hacked Podesta’s email.”

Schiff: “I think Ronald Reagan would be rolling in his grave that you are carrying water for the Kremlin”

Carlson: “I am not carrying water for the Kremlin. Look, you are a sitting member of Congress on the [House Intelligence Committee] and you can’t say they hacked…”

Schiff  “You’re going to have to move your show to RT – Russian television because this is perfectly…”

Carlson: “You know what? That’s so beneath your office because it’s so dumb, and you are being duplicitous. I’m asking you did they hack [John] Podesta’s emails and you can’t say it.”

Schiff: “You should not resort to personal insults like that Tucker.”

Carlson: “You just said I was carrying water for Putin. That’s pretty hilarious.”

Schiff: “When you essentially are an apologist for the Kremlin, that’s what you do.”

Carlson: “One last time Congressman. Look into the camera and say they hacked John Podesta’s emails. We know for a fact that the Russians hacked John Podesta’s emails. You can’t and you know you can’t and you are hiding behind weasel words.”

Schiff: “I’m not going to be specific….”

Carlson: “… because you don’t know it, that’s why. Done. You don’t know it and you’re alleging it without any evidence.”

Schiff: “You’re ignoring the evidence because you don’t care because the fact that it helped the Republican candidate is all you need to know.”

Carlson: “That totally false. I just think that if you’re going to make a serious allegation against an actual country with an actual government you ought to know what you’re talking about and you don’t.”

Schiff: “… ought to accept Republicans on intel committee if you.”

Carlson: “… if you could say it, you would have but you didn’t. I got to go. I’m taking cash from Putin, on RT.”

Schiff: “If you’re willing to be in denial because it suits a Republican president….”

Carlson: “You can blather on all you want. I gave you a chance to state it clearly and you couldn’t. I  need to take a call from Vladimir Putin so I need to put you on hold for one second.”

Meanwhile, as the Dems/MSM continue to waste time and energy on inane investigations of Russian collusion, the Russians have recently opened an office in Beijing to phase-in a gold backed standard of trade while the Chinese have opened a new central bank office in Moscow that will allow the Russians to issue federal loan bonds in the yuan – thereby decreasing their dependence on the dollar-based trade.

And if there is going to be an investigation of interference in US elections, let it include Israel.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

April 3, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Left degeneracy plumbs new depths

Saint Obama
By Patricia Greanville | March 13, 2017

An appeal landed in my mailbox yesterday from I suppose the editors of Mother Jones or their marketing machine in conjunction with an outfit called Citizens United. The letter blares across the page something that can only be of interest to people suffering from a bizarre sense of priority, abysmal ignorance or clinical stupidity:

Donald Trump just SLANDERED President Obama!

The implication is that we should urgently do something about this. Aux armes! Further, in what we must accept as a compelling supporting rationale for action, the authors of the appeal, proving they do come from Lalaland, offer this laughable argument:

… Donald Trump is wrong!!! President Obama has always been on our side. He’s been fighting to overturn Citizens United since Day One.

With equal breathless dishonesty, the letter has the audacity to talk about defending “Obama’s legacy”, a supposedly sterling body of work apparently about to be wrecked by the horrid Trumpinator.

By the standards of silliness this marks a new low; by the standards of left thinking, such as it is practiced in the US, it confirms the irrelevancy of this “new”, thoroughly bourgeois identity politics “left” to the problems really threatening humanity. By the standards of honesty, well, it does not qualify in that category, but let’s just say it is yet another contorted effort at bashing Trump. Which would be alright—considering the man offers any serious critic a multitude of valid grounds on which to oppose him— if these guardians of political correctness and truth also looked homeward for many of the curses besetting the nation.

The fact that these liberal champions refuse to recognize the horrid, smoothly hypocritical track record of the Democrats (their darling Obama and the abjectly corrupt Clintons, in particular), and their favorite party’s drive to war, in lockstep with their new pals, the CIA and the resilient Neocon vermin, a posture which now almost guarantees some sort of nuclear confrontation with Russia or China in the near horizon (with unthinkable consequences for this planet as we know it lest we quickly correct course), says all you need to know about the degeneracy of the so-called left in the United States and in the West, in general.

The traditional “left” in the US (always basically a bunch of centrist liberals since the radical left was reduced to ashes by unrelenting campaigns of anticommunism endorsed by the very same liberals) is so wanting these days in essential morality that now even voices that just a few years ago would have been categorized as unqualifiedly on the Right—and therefore by the left’s own reckoning “on the wrong side of history”, are about the only ones saying and doing things that are desperately needed.

Like opposing imperialist wars, for example. Do you see any of the legendary voices on the mainstream “left” uttering a single word of opposition to the dishonest campaign to demonize Russia? Instead, they are busily criminalizing any kind of contact with Russian diplomats or politicians that could lead to a de-escalation of tensions. So, nope. They are not there. Quite the opposite. Which leaves us as I say with the likes of Ron and Rand Paul and other libertarians, or the new French right champion, ultranationalist Marine Le Pen (already in the CIA crosshairs), doing wittingly or unwittingly what the left should be doing.

Incidentally, Le Pen’s banishment from polite society is predicated on her opposition to the EU’s slavish attachment to Washington’s push to war with Russia, and her impatience with NATO. I suppose that were France’s WW2 iconic hero Gen. Charles de Gaulle alive, he too would be promptly consigned to the netherworld of political undesirables since, as a recalcitrant nationalist and one suspicious of Anglo-American intrigues and treacheries, he held almost exactly the same views as Le Pen. This all by itself shows how much the world has changed.

The question arises: Has humanity —with the help of the lying, escapist mainstream media — really forgotten how to use its imagination? Sure, capitalism with its endless economic-insecurity distractions and malignantly convoluted superficial politics does consume a great deal of a person’s psychic space. This certainly stunts the imagination, especially in a culture that boasts a long history of proud anti-intellectualism. But still.

Not too long ago, when some sanity and probity still held sway and when the collapse of liberaloid values was not yet total, most people in these formations clearly understood that the first and foremost duty of a progressive was to avoid wars at all costs, particularly a terminal, horrid war between the nuclear superpowers. This was and is the ultimate sin, the ultimate obscenity. Besides being the most elementary proof of common sense. Avoiding the Doomsday scenario was seen as imperative. People openly pushing for such confrontational policies would have lost much if not all political traction and even the presstitutes would have filed some demurring comment. Some on the liberal left might have even risen to denounce such dangerous warmongering.

This was the basic consensus for generations, ever since atomic weapons came to occupy center stage in world politics.

Even the ever supremacist, devious, and savagely capitalist United States agreed with its nemesis, the Soviet Union, to lower the threat of an Armageddon by signing treaties of weapons parity and reduction in nuclear arsenals, thereby at least assuring a balance of terror: the aptly labeled Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), a concept promulgated and observed even by reactionaries like Ronald Reagan. Apparently it worked.

The importance of this glimmer of sanity in the engulfing madness cannot be overestimated. But the dark forces never give up and in the intervening years the Anglo-American establishment quietly retired the MAD principle, reinstating the far more dangerous and de-stabilzing “first strike” principle. Meanwhile, nuclear weapons have become even more potent, and there’s now almost open acknowledgement by the Pentagon that DU (depleted uranium) munitions, warheads and other forms of “tactical nukes” are standard choices for field commanders. The Middle East, of course, has been the testing lab, with Iraq, Syria and other victim nations subjected to what many suspect is an international crime of truly horrifying and unprecedented dimensions.

The problem with the development and use of tactical nuclear weapons in the modern battlefield (besides the abject cowardly criminality involved in using such weapons against weaker nations) is that when used by a superpower on another superpower’s troops or “prime assets”, things can get rapidly out of control. A shooting war is no moment for cool heads to prevail, especially in utterly brainwashed and self-righteous chauvinist nations like America, where the public has been systematically denied access to truth in these essential matters. In America, for most people, the first realization that a war had begun would be a huge flash and thunder and then—well nothing. Utter pulverization. In other words, for most Americans the final war and their own death sentences would come as total surprise.

In Russia at least the public is well aware of where the world stands, and some, many I hazard, perfectly understand the context and support their leaders’ struggles to maintain the peace. That said, if attacked by the US and the rest of the NATO mafia, Russia will not back down. It will respond with devastating efficiency. After all, last time Russia was attacked it lost 27 million lives, the equivalent in those days of the whole population of New York, California and Texas combined. This is something the American mind, still obsessed with less than 3,000 casualties on 9/11, can’t begin to wrap its jingoist mind around. So there will not be a repetition of Barbarossa no matter how much the despicable, overwhelmingly Zionist US Neocons push and huff to make it happen. Prominent, highly respectable Russians residing in the US, filed a letter of warning to the American people. The media naturally chose to ignore the document entirely.

The Russians’ warning packed a sobering sentence. It should be obligatory reading:

If there is going to be a war with Russia, then the United States will most certainly be destroyed, and most of us will end up dead. (1)

The dream of nuclear supremacy, the longed for “pre-emptive strike”, the ability to deal Russia a disabling blow, with a “tolerable” level of retaliation, say only 50 to 75 million dead in the US, is talked about seriously in high military policy precincts. The submerged crime that such a war would be provoked and waged to secure not US national security but decisive advantage for its ruling class of billionaires and associated cliques of privileged rulers around the world, is never discussed. How could it? This truly insane posture has also been official Pentagon policy since at least 2006 when some people began to believe the US had attained nuclear supremacy over Russia and China. A paper filed in 2006 by two analysts with Foreign Affairs, a blue-ribbon establishment think tank, summed up the situation rather nicely:

For almost half a century, the world’s most powerful nuclear states have been locked in a military stalemate known as mutual assured destruction (MAD). By the early 1960s, the nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union had grown so large and sophisticated that neither country could entirely destroy the other’s retaliatory force by launching first, even with a surprise attack. Starting a nuclear war was therefore tantamount to committing suicide.

During the Cold War, many scholars and policy analysts believed that MAD made the world relatively stable and peaceful because it induced great caution in international politics, discouraged the use of nuclear threats to resolve disputes, and generally restrained the superpowers’ behavior. (Revealingly, the last intense nuclear standoff, the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, occurred at the dawn of the era of MAD.) Because of the nuclear stalemate, the optimists argued, the era of intentional great-power wars had ended. Critics of MAD, however, argued that it prevented not great-power war but the rolling back of the power and influence of a dangerously expansionist and totalitarian Soviet Union. From that perspective, MAD prolonged the life of an evil empire.

This debate may now seem like ancient history, but it is actually more relevant than ever — because the age of MAD is nearing an end. Today, for the first time in almost 50 years, the United States stands on the verge of attaining nuclear primacy. It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike. This dramatic shift in the nuclear balance of power stems from a series of improvements in the United States’ nuclear systems, the precipitous decline of Russia’s arsenal, and the glacial pace of modernization of China’s nuclear forces. Unless Washington’s policies change or Moscow and Beijing take steps to increase the size and readiness of their forces, Russia and China — and the rest of the world — will live in the shadow of U.S. nuclear primacy for many years to come.

One’s views on the implications of this change will depend on one’s theoretical perspective. Hawks, who believe that the United States is a benevolent force in the world, will welcome the new nuclear era because they trust that U.S. dominance in both conventional and nuclear weapons will help deter aggression by other countries. For example, as U.S. nuclear primacy grows, China’s leaders may act more cautiously on issues such as Taiwan, realizing that their vulnerable nuclear forces will not deter U.S. intervention — and that Chinese nuclear threats could invite a U.S. strike on Beijing’s arsenal. But doves, who oppose using nuclear threats to coerce other states and fear an emboldened and unconstrained United States, will worry. Nuclear primacy might lure Washington into more aggressive behavior, they argue, especially when combined with U.S. dominance in so many other dimensions of national power.

Finally, a third group — owls, who worry about the possibility of inadvertent conflict — will fret that U.S. nuclear primacy could prompt other nuclear powers to adopt strategic postures, such as by giving control of nuclear weapons to lower-level commanders, that would make an unauthorized nuclear strike more likely — thereby creating what strategic theorists call “crisis instability.”

(The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy | By Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press* | Foreign Affairs | March/April 2006)

Goes without saying that enormous, obscene sums are being dedicated by the US to achieve this “nuclear supremacy”, all, as previously stated, under an almost complete news blackout about the subject. Problem is, the Russians and the Chinese are not exactly pikers, and Russia’s nothing short of astonishing rebirth as a first class world power, its Phoenix-like re-emergence from the Western-inspired Yeltsin putrefaction, has created new realities to factor in. Western leadership, of course, we see from their actions, continues to ignore them. And yet, as even some Western news sources have indicated, the Russian nuclear defence/deterrent force is something that should compel attention and respect. Ponder:

Russia Unveils RS-28 Sarmat ‘Satan 2’ Nuclear Missile

Russia has declassified the first image of its new thermonuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile.

The RS-28 Sarmat could carry a payload capable of wiping out a landmass “the size of Texas or France,” according to a report by the Kremlin-aligned Sputnik news agency.

Known colloquially as “Satan 2,” the missile will replace the RS-36M — which was dubbed “Satan” by NATO after entering service in the 1970s.

Satan 2 missile: Good bye to all that. Just one can wipe out all of Texas or France. An image of an RS-28 Sarmat missile. Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau.

Robert Kelley, a former nuclear weapons expert at the U.S. Department of Energy, said the new missile was likely an upgrade of electronics — rather than explosive power or range.

“The range of the missiles will be about the same, the explosive destructive power will be about the same [but] the reliability, flexibility and confidence [in the warheads’ ability to hit their targets] will go way up,” said Kelley, who is now a now a distinguished associate fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

He added: “Your iPhone can do thousands of more things today than in the 1970s when these systems were first deployed. Many of the clunky electronic circuits of that era no longer exist and no one knows how to make them anymore.”

According to Russian media, the missile’s first stage engine PDU-99 was tested in August, while a hypersonic warhead was reportedly tested in April.

The new version of the Sarmat is expected to enter service late in 2017.

(Source: NBC News)

That means that just two of these “Satans” could wipe out the whole US Eastern Seaboard for the next 50,000 years. What do you call a leadership that consciously and recklessly plays with such diabolical weapons of mass destruction? That constantly taunts and provokes the population of a nuclear-armed nation that wishes no conflict with anyone but which has suffered terribly in recent wars?

Silence and misdirection

The whore media will not talk about these things—things that really matter— because the US ruling class thinks that it can win a nuclear clash with Russia, and that the sooner this is resolved, the better. The thousands of prostituted “strategic analysts” crawling all over the so-called “defence establishment” of the West, the people who furnish the MIC with its excuses and raison d’etre, believe this posture is “rational”, well, their careers and livelihoods depend on that.

The current situation means that a huge war can now occur by choice—following Washington’s unquenchable desire for hegemony— or by a concatenation of absurd grotesque increments, as the Great War of 1914 demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. This folly which buried a whole generation and destroyed 40 million lives, as documented by historians such as Barbara Tuchman, showed that humanity can indeed bumble its way, inch by inch, into a horrid conflagration. And politicians in 1914 Europe, multiple defects aside, were towering statesmen when compared to the sociopathic dwarves, cowards, and drooling fools running the show these days on both sides of the Atlantic.

This is the backdrop against which we measure the ludicrous sense of priority exhibited by the editors of Mother Jones, their cohorts in the rest of the liberal media, and their millions of low-info, desperately confused followers, as they feed off of these inflammatory messages about Trumpian sins.

MJ wants Trump’s scalp for daring to imply that the saintly Obama wiretapped his phones. But, is Trump so far from the truth in this case? Apparently, to the alarm of his innumerable critics, all zealous guardians of the warmongering imperial status quo, this is a broken clock that manages to tell the right time more than twice a day. Too often for their comfort. Accordingly, and quite possibly dishonestly given the IQ prevailing in this segment, this crowd remains tediously and recklessly fixated on the admittedly ugly idiosyncrasies defining Trump and his regime as if the US had never seen a repulsive chief of state before, well, not so overtly, that is. More than that, they are tilting at windmills. Donald Trump for all his bluster caved in to the Deep State with the firing of Michael Flynn, and these days, stylistic questions aside, he is simply more of the same criminality at the helm of the empire and no longer represents a real neofascist threat, as continually proclaimed.

The only real and credible neofascist threat to the people of the United States and the world at large can now emanate exclusively from the unified councils of the US ruling plutocracy, acting through their favorite tool, the mendacious duopoly, and the power ministries (CIA, FBI, NSA, Pentagon agencies, etc.) operating with the usual support of the whore media (including so-called alternative media such as Mother Jones, which provide a “left” imprimatur to these undemocratic proceedings). In other words, the US will go into full overt fascist mode when the deep state deems it necessary and not a moment sooner, Trump or no Trump in the equation.

Glen Ford, for one, refuses to be swept into the anti-Trumpian frenzy on the basis of stupid or fabricated reasons. Declares the editor of Black Agenda Report, dismissing the charge that Trump is in this case offering just one more of his famous “alternative facts”:

The ruling class/War Party/corporate media campaign for regime change in Washington has moments of pure silliness, with grown men claiming that U.S. presidents don’t have the power to wiretap people. Someone should have informed Dr. Martin Luther King. But, if self-described “progressives” can believe that the CIA is a benign, democratic institution, they can believe anything. “The destabilization of the U.S. bourgeois state is a project, not of the Kremlin, but of multinational and finance capital headquartered in the U.S.” (Corporate Media Counting Cadence to Fascism, BAR )

Facile observers like to compare Trump to Hitler and Mussolini, but those two, despite their criminality, perhaps insanity in the former, at least had the ability in their prime to thread coherent thoughts and even weave a complete ideology. Hitler and Mussolini took pride in writing their own speeches, in an age without teleprompters. They both read voraciously, and even wrote books, without the aid of a corral of ghost writers, not to mention professional spin doctors. Hitler, no chicken hawk, fought with valor in WW1 and entertained dreams of artistic distinction. That Mein Kampf, besides its ugly message, is basically unreadable due to pervasive incoherence and shall we say, “philosophical overreach”, is nonetheless an accomplishment that the Donald could only dream of. What’s more, both Mussolini and der Fuhrer faced at the beginning of their careers a real left, something that Trump has never seen in his entire minuscule tenure. Because a real left has not existed in the United Sates for generations.

Still, by shilling for the Democrats and the imperialist Duopoly, Mother Jones, along with the rest of the bankrupt “liberal intelligentsia”, has become a joke, even if millions of low-info liberals, sold on the largely manufactured anti-Trump hysteria, continue to cheer.

As said many times on these pages and articulated by numerous authors, this is NOT to excuse, defend or endorse Trump, except in those moments when the man, regrettably in a rather incompetent and opportunistic fashion, happened to make noises toward peace and non-intervention in the world. Such worthy ideas —perhaps the difference between life and death for this planet, or at the very least untold suffering for many millions of human beings around the globe—have now been betrayed by Trump himself, or abandoned or neutralized in large part as a result of the machinations of the deep state and their allies in what used to be the left in America.

Should we now kneel and pray on the altar of St. Obama?

(1) A Russian Warning

Patrice Greanville is founding editor of The Greanville Post.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment