Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Obama Drafted To Expand BushWar to Syria (Only the Palest Background Is Acceptable to NeoLibs?  NPR/PBS Robbing/Nooners Alert) Please Stop Electing Morons! (Bob Woodward:  Terrorist for the Old Guard?) Gaza's Moral Perversity (The Body In What Street?)

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Sorry today's essay is sooo long, but stupid stuff keeps happening.

And happening.

And happening.

A tall, cool one should suffice.

Maybe two.


Obama Declares War on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

The Islamic State is the pretext. Syria is the target. At issue is regime change.

It's replacing its sovereign independence with pro-Western stooge governance. It's wanting unchallenged regional control.

It's wanting Big Oil exploiting its resources. It's wanting Iran isolated. It's aiding Israel's Greater Middle East agenda.

It's making the world safe for war profiteers. It's about colonizing nations.

It's advancing America's imperium. It's about carving up whole continents belligerently. It's doing so for dominance and profits.

It's about justifying might over right. It's about destroying nations to save them.

It's about calling imperial exploitation economic development. It's about glorifying war in the name of peace.

It has nothing to do with democratic values. It's not about humanitarian intervention or responsibility to protect.

It's expanding Obama's Iraq aggression cross-border. It's violating core international law.

No nation may attack another except in self-defense. None may do so without Security Council authorization.

None exists. Obama added more crimes to his rap sheet. He's a war criminal multiple times over.

Washington uses the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other extremist groups as both allies and enemies. It does so in different war theaters. At times simultaneously.

Morning headlines reflect what's likely. Obama authorized surveillance flights over Syria. He did it lawlessly.

Violating another country's air space without permission is illegal. Doing it as likely precursor for airstrikes reveals Obama's real intention.

According to The New York Times:

"(D)rones and possibly U2 spy plane (surveillance) flights are a significant step toward direct American military action in Syria…"

"Administration officials said the United States did not intend to notify the Assad government of the planned flights."

"(T)he Pentagon is drafting military options…" On Monday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki justified unilateral US action, saying:

"(W)hen American lives are at stake, when we're talking about defending our own interests, we're not looking for the approval of the Syrian regime."

"(W)e're not going to be restricted by borders…And certainly we would not view (confronting the Islamic State in Syria) as being on (its) side just because there is a common enemy."

The so-called "common enemy" has been Washington's ally throughout many months of conflict. Regime change remains official policy.

Washington won't work jointly with Syria against the Islamic State. According to deputy national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes:

"It is not the case that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Joining forces with Assad would essentially permanently alienate the Sunni population in both Syria and Iraq…"

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said "entire wings" of the Pentagon are "dedicated to making sure the president has a range of plans and options that they can present to him when - if and when necessary.

"(A) lot of cross pressures (are in play) here. There's no doubt about that."

"But our policy as it relates to pursuing American interests in this region of the world are actually really clear, that we want to make sure that we are safeguarding American personnel."

False! Official US policy prioritizes regional dominance. It's resource control. It's eliminating independent governments.

It's replacing them with pro-Western ones. It's waging wars of aggression to do it.

It's ravaging and destroying one nation after another. It's America's dark side writ large.

It has nothing to do with "safeguarding American personnel" or protecting national security.

It has everything to do with advancing Washington's imperium.

Earnest falsely claimed Obama has constitutional authority to violate another nation's air space or territory to protect US citizens or interests.

No such authority exists. Or international law authorization.

On Tuesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his government "is prepared to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international levels to combat terrorism as per Security Council resolution no. 2170 within the framework of respecting Syria's sovereignty and independence."

On August 15, 2014, SC Resolution 2170 was unanimously adopted. It "condemn(s) gross, widespread abuse of human rights by extremist groups in Iraq (and) Syria."

It "called on Member States to take national measures to prevent fighters from traveling from their soil to join (terrorist) groups…"

"It expressed readiness to consider putting on the sanctions list those who facilitated the recruitment and travel of foreign fighters."

It left unexplained Washington's direct responsibility. That rogue NATO partners, Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states and Jordan share it.

Al-Moallem correctly called "any violation of Syrian sovereignty (by) any party (an act) of aggression."

At the same time, he welcomed all countries willing to fight terrorism in Syria cooperatively with the Assad government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow supports Syrian and Iraqi efforts against Islamic State terrorists.

Washington claims a unilateral right to operate extrajudicially. To target any country for any reason. To violate international law unaccountably.

Lavrov said "each military effort cannot be granted without the consent of the country concerned."

"We will be fully prepared to work together and coordinate efforts with the countries which came under direct terrorist threats, and here I particularly mean Iraq and Syria, which we will be helping to consolidate their capabilities against armed terrorism."

"We will stand firmly for all anti-terrorism operations to be conducted in agreement with the country concerned and in full respect to its sovereignty."

The White House declined comment on its strategy. According to National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden:

"We're not going to comment on intelligence or operational issues. As we've been saying, we'll use all the tools at our disposal when it comes to the protection of our people."

Other US officials said US policy doesn't make Syria an ally.

On August 25, Washington Post editors headlined "The Obama administration must put boots on the ground to stop the Islamic State," saying:

Kerry calls it an "evil" that must "be destroyed. Chuck Hagel says it's "as sophisticated and well-funded as any groups that we have seen."

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey says it "will have to be defeated" by attacking it cross border in Syria.

Unexplained is US support for Islamic State fighters and likeminded extremist groups. It's been US policy throughout three and a half years of Obama's proxy war on Syria.

It includes importing death squad killers from dozens of countries. It's about funding, arming, training and directing them.

It's using them to pursue regime change. It's doing so without Security Council or congressional authorization.

It's without popular support. It's at a time when the vast majority of Americans want peace, not war.

They want popular needs addressed. They want long neglected social justice.

They want what they've long been denied. They want what they won't get.

Obama is the latest in a long line of warrior presidents. Permanent war is official US policy. So is waging it preemptively.

Rule of law principles don't matter. Or democratic values. Advancing America's imperium is longstanding official policy.

Millions of lost lives are a small price to pay. So is unspeakable human misery. America's so-called war on terror is a war of terror.

It rages extrajudicially. It does so against largely defenseless populations. Direct US intervention against Syria appears likely. War on humanity may follow.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.

Obama Drafted to Fight Bush's War

By Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast

24 August 14

Let’s remember who got us into this mess in Iraq, despite plenty of warnings — from Republicans, even — that this is where it would all lead us. Blame Bush? In this case, absolutely.
picture is coming into focus now, is it not? As I write the United States has launched more than 80 air strikes against the Islamic State. As the strikes have already expanded — and in my view properly so — beyond the original goals of saving the Yazidis and protecting American people and property in Erbil, there’s no clear telling of where and when they will end.

So let me run this depressing thought by you: They have every chance of ending with Barack Obama, and undoubtedly his successor as well, having to prosecute the war that George W. Bush and his geniuses made inevitable with their lies and errors and perversions of law and criminally irresponsible fantasies about this Iraq that they promised us would reveal itself before our eyes as painlessly and quickly and even beautifully as a rose coming to bloom in time-lapse photography.

Conservative readers are already tweeting: Here we go, blame Bush again. Well, in a word, yes. I’m afraid these dots are preposterously easy to connect. But first, we have a date with the wayback machine.

I have been looking back over a few predictions about the Iraq War from back in 2002 and 2003. Recall Dick Cheney:  “Weeks rather than months.” Also “we will be greeted as liberators.” Paul Wolfowitz: “There's a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” Wolfowitz again, since he was to my mind the most Satanic of the bunch: “It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to imagine.”

Well, you know the rest. I could fill a book with these little memories. I could also fill another book — but a slenderer one, since so many of our “leading intellectuals” and so much of our foreign-policy establishment types noted the prevailing winds and hyped themselves into a pro-war frenzy — with grim predictions. But I’ll limit myself to two.

The first: “Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There would be an explosion of outrage against us. We would be seen as ignoring a key interest of the Muslim world in order to satisfy what is seen to be a narrow American interest.”

And second: “While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guidelines about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in mission creep, and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs.”

A jihadist organization unlike any we’ve seen before that was birthed (as al-Qaeda in Iraq) in the chaos of post-invasion Iraq around the time when the Iraqi people, we were told, were going to be tossing rose petals at our soldiers’ feet.
Pretty good, that first one. Hold up. Noam Chomsky? A Nation editorial? Nope. Brent Scowcroft, writing in The Wall Street Journal. The second is a bit of a giveaway, what with that first sentence, but the mordant irony of it is still delicious:  That was Scowcroft writing with none other than George W. Bush’s father.

George H.W. Bush and Scowcroft could not have known, writing in 1998, what those “incalculable human and political costs” would be. But they were on the right track, and now, we know. A jihadist organization unlike any we’ve seen before that was birthed (as al-Qaeda in Iraq) in the chaos of post-invasion Iraq around the time when the Iraqi people, we were told, were going to be tossing rose petals at our soldiers’ feet.

Yes, others deserve blame too — Obama (which I’ve written before) because of his Syria policy; the Iraqis themselves, chiefly Nouri al-Maliki, for freezing the Sunnis out of the government; and Bashar al-Assad, who’s been busy killing innocents and until recently winking at ISIS. But the group sprang to life because our invasion uncorked these sectarian forces in precisely the way Scowcroft (and others) predicted — only, in all likelihood, with more violence and vehemence than even he could have foreseen.

So this war, the one we’re starting now against the Islamic State, is the direct descendant of the Bush war. In fact, they’re not even different wars; just different chapters in the same war, precisely as if, after Hitler shot himself, an even more extreme and fanatical menagerie of Nazis arose out of Croatia or somewhere, and we needed another few years, another few trillion dollars, and another few thousand war dead to knock them down.


Don't remind me.

More N.C. stoopid stuff abounding.

And abounding.

Art Pope has accomplished his worst, and the "new guard" (ilk replacing ilk) has been appointed.

And you thought Cokie Roberts might disappear into the Mittering mists?

Or at least her litter?

Dream on.

New NC Budget Director Has Banking Background, Heritage of Politics and Journalism

By Ben Brown

August 6, 2014

RALEIGH — A former community bank director and recent appointee to the N.C. Banking Commission will take over as state budget director next month.

Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday announced Lee Roberts – son of journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts and grandson of the late Democratic Rep. Lindy Boggs of Louisiana – would succeed Art Pope, head of the Variety Wholesalers retail chain, whose government service McCrory praised at an executive mansion press conference.

Roberts, 45, is the former managing director of Piedmont Community Bank Holdings in Raleigh and was executive vice president and chief operating officer of VantageSouth Bancshares.

Roberts also founded a real estate investment and advisory firm called Coley Capital and has worked for Morgan Stanley & Co., Cherokee Investment Partners and as an associate with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

“His experience in the global marketplace will provide a useful and original perspective, and his leadership skills will further our administration’s goal of thoughtful, deliberate stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” McCrory said.

The state’s budget director oversees the development of the spending and revenue plan the governor presents to the N.C. General Assembly. The plan recently agreed upon by both legislative chambers totals more than $21 billion.

Roberts told reporters that his experience underwriting loans connected him deeply with North Carolina, taking him across the state. “I’ve been to a lot of places that most people have yet to,” he said.

But he did not clarify how he arrived at his new role.

“I was delighted that the governor asked me to serve,” he said, deferring to McCrory’s office on a question about the hiring process. Asked whether he pursued or applied for the position, Roberts said only: “I think with all these things, it’s just a process of getting to know each other and understanding how I can come in and make a contribution.”

A governor’s office spokesman would not comment on whether Roberts competed with other applicants or whether he was hand-picked by McCrory.

Said Roberts: “I don’t think I was a name out of the blue, but I can’t speak to the process.”

Roberts’ salary will be $154,836, which according to the Office of State Human Resources is the same as former governor Bev Perdue’s last budget director, Andy Willis.

“Lee has a terrific sense of fiscal responsibility, and I’m excited to have him join our team,” McCrory said in a statement. “North Carolina state government will thrive under his oversight.”

Unaffiliated Voter

According to the N.C. State Board of Elections, Roberts is not affiliated with any political party. He has contributed to Republican and Democratic causes on the state and federal levels. In 2012, he gave $4,000 to McCrory’s campaign and $1,000 to the re-election campaign of Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is expected to challenge McCrory in 2016.

Roberts grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, earned a degree in political science from Duke University, then a law degree from Georgetown University. He has lived in Raleigh for eight years. He is on the board of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Ravenscroft School and is vice president of the Duke Alumni Association.

The governor appointed Roberts to the Banking Commission in April 2013.

Roberts said Wednesday it “probably does make sense” for him to leave the banking commission because of his new role as state budget director, but did not express a commitment.

It will be his first salaried government position, he said, though he noted he worked as a congressional page as a 16-year-old in 1985. There, he met his future wife, Liza Roberts, who is editor and general manager of Walter Magazine, which is owned by The News & Observer. They have two daughters and a son.

Roberts said he was honored to follow Pope.

We’re different people, but I think you can’t argue with the effectiveness he’s had on behalf of the governor and his agenda, so I think he’s done a pretty good job,” Roberts said of Pope. “If I can be half as effective as he’s been, I feel like I’d be doing pretty well.” Staff writers John Frank, David Raynor, and Rick Rothacker contributed.

(Ben Brown writes for The Insider,, a government (paid-subscription) news service owned by The News & Observer.)

Fwowing up now.

So glad to have my tax money go to another Third Wayer(?) who contributes to both parties so they're available for any quick pick.

Although Cokie's scion could never ever be a quick pick as her platform is priceless.

And I'm not saying anything, not a word, but I believe this writer is one of my daughter's past suitors.

I see you finally found a comfy home, Ben.

Good luck rubbing shoulders with that crowd.

Someone Check Her Aricept Levels

Posted by constitutional mistermix

Aug 25, 2014

Benen Captures a Noonan Classic:

More than a week after Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was indicted on two felony counts, the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan shared her concerns about the case on national television yesterday. The exchange was one of my favorite of any Sunday show this year.

NOONAN: I think, yes, it was local Democratic overreach. It’s just a dumb case. I don’t think it should have been brought. Naturally he looks like someone who is…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the prosecutor is a former Republican, I think.
NOONAN: That may be. But when you look at this case, it just looks crazy.
[...]For the record, Democratic officials in Travis County recused themselves from the case, and the prosecutor in this case, Michael McCrum, worked in the Bush/Quayle administration. What’s more, McCrum, who enjoys a solid reputation as a credible attorney, was appointed to oversee this case by a Republican judge. [...]
It’s the ability to soldier on after her main talking point was completely refuted that marks Peggy as a true Sunday show regular.


Frankensteinbeck says:  August 25, 2014 at 9:32 am

It’s the ability to soldier on after her main talking point was completely refuted that marks Peggy as a true Sunday show regular.
It has been said before that the job of pundits like Noonan is propaganda, to make Republican talking points palatable. This is true, but it’s to make those talking points palatable to other pundits. You have a bunch of rich bigots hiring other rich bigots and talking to each other about how great they are and how poor people and minorities earned their abuse. Contrary voices are few and far between, and denounced as immature and unserious. That’s how an echo chamber works.
. . . the narrative is that Perry is presidential material and his glasses prove it. The narrative will not be stopped until praising Perry becomes embarrassing again. Mere scandals don’t count.

EDIT – @Amir Khalid:

Bullshitting, in the sense that she doesn’t care what’s actually true. She knows what MUST be true.

danielx says:  August 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

It’s the ability to soldier on after her main talking point was completely refuted that marks Peggy as a true Sunday show regular.
Our Lady of Stolichnaya is a pro, and well understands Republican and show business rules.

1. Never get off point, no matter whether your point is contradicted by the facts. Wingnuts are not interested in facts, they’re interested in red meat.
2. Never let ‘em see you sweat.

Cacti says:  August 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

Reminds me of the Katrina reporting where black survivors “looted” supplies from the swamped grocery stores, while white survivors “found” them.

beth says:  August 25, 2014 at 10:41 am


Fuck the NYT
The kid is being buried today – don’t they have any fucking shame? They couldn’t wait till tomorrow to tell everyone just what a thug they think he was?

Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:  August 25, 2014 at 10:44 am

@lamh36: NYT is disgusting. From their op-ed page to their lifestyles for millionaires features to their reporting on “kidz today” which is all about hyper wealthy mostly white scions of the lucky duckies who read NYT. It’s all terrible.
But their reporting on Ferguson reminds me of their attitude towards “The Negro” 100 years ago when they posted “funny” stories about rural Southern black men. It’s not ironic or hipster racism, it’s just racism. NYT’s total disregard all along for the truth in this case has been heinous.

kindness says:  August 25, 2014 at 10:45 am

Speaking of Republican Snake Oil Salespersons…

This morning I lasted 5 minutes on NPR. I left for work just in time to get Cokie Roberts' latest slam of the Obama Administration. Within the span of her segment I found myself yelling at my radio twice and before she even finished her piece I switched over to the i-pod.

NPR is dead to me.

Comrade Dread says:  August 25, 2014 at 10:46 am

@PatrickBeing a Villager in good standing means no one else from the tribe ever remembers when you were completely, utterly, stupidly, hopelessly wrong. Even if it happened to end up costing a few hundred thousand people their lives and wrecked a country or two.

Roger Moore says: August 25, 2014 at 10:57 am

@Amir Khalid:

I wonder, is Peggy Noonan lying here, or bullshitting?
I think the main thing she’s doing is repeating the conventional wisdom. The Village has decided that this is Democratic overreach, so that’s what she’s going to say, even when somebody points out that it’s incorrect. I don’t know if that counts as lying or bullshitting or some third category like parroting.

Jim, Foolish Literalist says:  August 25, 2014 at 11:02 am

I would like to force the G-Steph and whoever makes the casting decisions on these clown car shows to read Peggy’s Magick Dolphins column (and the “is it irresponsible to speculate…”) aloud and then tell me that those words are in no way a reflection of her intellect and her fitness to discuss politics and current events.

See also, too, Bill Kristol and “pop sociology”, Lindsey Graham and pretty much everything he said in the run up to the Iraq War, and of course John McCain and Sarah Palin.

magurakurin says: August 25, 2014 at 11:09 am

@Patrick: It was after Joe Biden’s debate in 2008 that I decided that Cookie Roberts needed to be roasted on a spit and fed to hungry pigs ala Brick Top. She slagged Biden for saying, Bosniak, the correct word in fact. Still waiting for her apology….asshole
and NPR has been dead to me since about 1998

During coverage of the October 2 vice-presidential debate on PBS’ Charlie Rose, Rose asked, “Did either of them make any mistakes that you noticed?” National Public Radio senior news analyst Cokie Roberts responded that Sen. Joe Biden “talked about the Bosniaks.” Roberts later said: “[I]f [Gov. Sarah Palin] had said ‘Bosniak,’ everybody would be making a big deal of it, you know.” In fact, Biden correctly referred to certain residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Bosniaks. According to the U.S. State Department, as of 2002, the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of the following ethnic groups: “Bosniak 48.3%, Serb 34.0%, Croat 15.4%, others 2.3%.”
link - video

Villago Delenda Est says:  August 25, 2014 at 11:45 am

@Jim, Foolish Literalist: In Peggy Noonan’s defense, she did call the 2008 election when she heard that Sarah Palin was the nominee: “It’s over.”

@Calouste: Cokie Boggs Roberts. The Original Luke Russert. That’s one shameful CV, or should be. Her mother took over her father’s seat in the House and was later named Bill Clinton’s Ambassador to the Vatican. Didn’t stop Cokie from turning on Bubba when his dirty, dirty sex life was exposed!

I once (late 90s) saw George Will on that CSPAN call-in show and some old crank wanted to know how poor Mr Will could stand to be in the same room with that god awful Clinton-loving Sam Donaldson. GWill told the old crank he knew of no one who believed more strongly than Sam Donaldson that Bill Clinton should have been convicted and removed from office. So throw in Russert and it was pretty much unanimous on your Beltway Sunday.

Villago Delenda Est says:  August 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

@srv:  Well, Osama bin Laden had world class support in his efforts to muck things up in the Middle East, in the form of the deserting coward and the Dark Lord.

Charlie Pierce has some very good advice for all right-thinking voters.

This situation is not really as humorous as some very serious people believe.

Just ask Roger Waters.

Please Stop Electing Morons!

Ebola does not exist in Central America. It has never been found there. This current outbreak is the first one that's occurred outside of very remote places in Africa, for god's sake. The reason that the "public would not be surprised" is because a good piece of "the public", and almost all of "the public" to whom Tobin is pitching himself for Congress, gets its "news" from grifters and charlatans and professional hysterics. And Tobin is not alone. For example, this cluck is a physician. These guys are elected members of the Congress. And, of course, this guy is from Zontar.

"Because they see people coming across as undocumented Democrats. And so, they want to keep the surge of people coming in illegally, even though it includes a big spike in Other-Than-Mexicans, OTMs as we call them...It includes a spike in people from countries where terrorism abounds," he continued. "We have people coming in from countries where Ebola is located."
God, this election is going to suck so much pond water.

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters:  Why Moral Perversity of U.S. Position in Gaza Is Stunning

I think it's safe to say that if U.S. neighborhoods were living under siege, folks like Rand Paul wouldn't take it

The carnage in Gaza continues after the latest collapse of cease-fire talks and over four weeks of asymmetrical bombardment by Israel. With the death of more than 2,000 Palestinians, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, the complicity of the American government has been exposed to the world as never before. Yet the mantra repeated ad nauseam by the U.S. government and media alike remains the same: Israel has a right to defend itself.

The moral perversity of the U.S. position is stunning. How can the U.S. government ask Israel to be more careful about civilian lives while simultaneously arming and then rearming the IDF so it can more effectively inflict such devastation on an imprisoned and occupied people?

The U.S. could act to stop the senseless slaughter but it won’t. Instead, it’s cheerleading. Members of Congress are mindlessly parroting Israeli talking points without a thought given to the Palestinian perspective or to preserving human life. Brimming with righteousness, they argue for turning Israel loose – Sen. Rand Paul in particular – and invoke Israel’s right to self-defense, despite the fact that, as the occupying power, Israel has an obligation to protect the Palestinians it rules, not massacre them.

Do congressional leaders ever stop to wonder what they would do if they were born Palestinian, had their homes and private property stolen from them, and were forced to live without freedom under an illegal Israeli occupation for 47 years? Do they know what it means to be on the receiving end of Israel’s barbaric “mow the lawn” euphemism? Scarcely a word is said about the rights of Palestinians who are being pummeled from the sky and shot dead in their neighborhoods by the region’s most powerful military. What, I wonder, would Americans do if it were their neighborhoods being invaded and if they were the ones living under siege? I think it’s safe to say Americans wouldn’t stand for it.

Despite these realities, it’s far more advantageous in Washington to come down like a ton of bricks on the Palestinians and maintain that they are the cause of their own suffering. No politician’s career has ever been hurt by blaming Palestinians or by applauding Israel’s illegal occupation, colonization and war crimes.

Pressure on American politicians to conform to the party line is abetted by skewed media coverage.  For instance, CNN, while purporting to be a news channel, relentlessly churns out Israeli propaganda.

It is easy for those of us who do not live under the tyranny of the occupation to condemn the military wing of Hamas for using randomly fired rockets that might cause civilian casualties in neighboring Israel, and I do unreservedly condemn it. Having said that, an occupied population has the legal right to resist the military of the occupier. The occupier has a legal obligation to protect the occupied. Under these circumstances the reporting on CNN is biased beyond all belief.

Numerically, one can readily see the bias. Far more pro-Israel guests than pro-Palestinian experts are invited on air to make their case.

An exception to that general rule, and obviously not on CNN, is Henry Siegman, a prominent Jewish voice and a former national director of the American Jewish Congress, who recently got the opportunity to expose the shortcomings of Israeli talking points. Siegman was interviewed fairly and in depth by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Sadly Democracy Now! is not mainstream media. If only it were!

Contrast that appearance with the reception Yousef Munayyer received during an extraordinarily “unfair” Fox News interview by the execrable Sean Hannity. Actually, to dignify Hannity’s rude and infantile shouting and finger pointing as an “interview” would be wrong.

In case you've missed some of the past Bob Woodward enlightenment, here's one jewel you won't have to regret missing (because you can relive it now).

Remember the 2006 exposure of the ongoing Bush/Cheney stupidity by Bush Jr.'s father's coterie?


My guess is that it's because the noise level on the faux news channels was turned up to 120 decibels during the last two years of Jr.'s second term in order to impede all knowledgeable reporting before the next election.

War in Heaven:  Woodward's Book and the Establishment Insurgency

Monday, 02 October 2006

Bob Woodward has long been the voice of the American Establishment – or of certain quadrants of it, at any rate. When Richard Nixon's criminal depredations and mental instability had gone too far and it was decided to rein him in, former military intelligence officer Woodward was there as a safe pair of hands to receive the damning revelations of "Deep Throat" and help bring down the Nixon presidency.

When the Establishment decided it was best to throw in with the Bush Faction's aggressive militarism after 9/11 – lots of big money to be made out of war and fear, and those tax cuts were just too sweet to pass up - Woodward was there again, with a series of stories and books which, as Michiko Kakutani notes in the New York Times, "depicted the president — in terms that the White House press office itself has purveyed — as a judicious, resolute leader, blessed with the 'vision thing' his father was accused of lacking and firmly in control of the ship of state."

And now, when it is clear that George W. Bush is – to put it plainly – a self-deluding addlepate in the late Nixon mode (without any of Nixon's considerable intelligence, of course), and that the orgy of war profiteering and corporate welfare he has thrown for the elite has reached a level of such murderous frenzy that it threatens to kill the whole golden goose of American power – or at least seriously damage the bottom line for years to come – the Establishment has turned to Woodward once again. And the old trouper has delivered.

His new book, State of Denial, is a stinging attack on the Bush-Cheney Faction, although, as Kakutani astutely notes, there's nothing really new in its depiction of the moral nullity, rank stupidity and sheer incompetence of the Faction - beyond the usual telling anecdotes and killer quotes that Woodward garners, often second or third-hand, from his sources.

But it is those sources which clue us in to what's going on. Again, Kakutani: "The former Saudi Arabian ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Mr. Card, Mr. Tenet, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage, Brent Scowcroft, the former national security adviser (to Bush senior), appear to be among the author’s primary sources." This is heavy Establishment artillery, and the presence of "Bandar Bush," the Saudi royal, and Scowcroft, the Bush Senior courtier, among Woodward's main sources tells us that Daddy Bush has reverted back to the old-line, white-bread, "Eastern Establishment" in a move against the Sunbelt oil men, crank pseudo-Christians and Nixonian diehards like Cheney and Rumsfeld that Junior Bush has thrown in with.

(Speaking of Nixonian diehards, one of Woodward's few original revelations is the extent to which Henry Kissinger has been advising Bush and Cheney, even resurrecting old memos he wrote to Nixon about "staying the course" in Vietnam and not letting the American people get a taste of peace and sanity by allowing even a partial withdrawal of troops. Such a move would “will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded," Kissinger told Nixon – and pressed the same memo on the poltroons now polluting the Oval Office. )

So parts of the American Establishment are at last making a move against the Bush Faction. Unlike the Nixon takedown, this could be too little, too late.

For one thing, Nixon didn't have 9/11 to play with; nor did he have use of the Mighty Wurlitzer of the hard-right media juggernaut that serves Bush with Goebbelsian intensity and fidelity; nor did he have control of the Congress, with a party full of lockstep lickspittles and genuine moral and intellectual cretins willing to follow him over a cliff.
In addition, Bush doesn't face constant riots in the streets against his foolishly and murderously prolonged pointless war; the American people are infinitely more docile, distracted and servile than they were in Nixon's day, as anyone who was alive then can vividly remember.

Nor did the Republicans in Nixon's time possess the extensive, high-tech vote-manipulation and vote-suppression systems that they have today, which have so far ensured that the Faction retains its overwhelming power – despite the overwhelming unpopularity of almost all of its core policies. In Nixon's day, Republican Establishment members had to worry about a backlash at the polls; this is still a danger for them, of course, but not nearly to the same extent.

Today, it is possible – just – that an actual, massive landslide for the Democrats might result in a very narrow victory at the polls; it remains to be seen if the Bush Faction's vote-fixing machinery can plausibly handle anything beyond a fairly close losing vote for their side. But certainly nothing less than an historic landslide against the Republicans has a chance of bringing even a miniscule Democratic majority back into power.

So although Woodward's book clearly signals that the game's afoot, and another civil war among the American Establishment is gathering strength, the outcome is by no means assured.

We've seen signs of this before, particularly before the Iraq invasion, when again it was Scowcroft leading the way – and every time, the Bush Faction has managed to fight off – or buy off – its Establishment opponents. (Think of Sumner Redstone's craven announcement, after "Rathergate," that he, an old-time liberal Democrat, would be voting for Bush in 2004 because that would be "better for the corporation.")

Nixon was a loner, a bagman who used his own sinister savvy to scale the greasy pole, yet remained forever outside the golden circle of the Establishment (as he never stopped complaining about); but Bush Junior is to the manner born, a true scion of the predatory elite that has served as America's aristocracy for generations.

That fact alone will make it harder for the Establishment to bring Bush to heel than it was to flush the lowborn Nixon away. And that's why it will never come to impeachment or resignation; such things would reflect too badly on the elite itself, not least on Daddy Bush, one of its leading lights.

But some strong shots across the bow, some public humiliation, something to get Bush and Cheney to alter the disastrous course in Iraq – that's fair game, and that's what we're seeing today from some of the old-line Establishment factions. And as ever, Woodward is a key player, toting heavy lumber for the cause.

(Note: is not the destruction of constitutional liberties that concerns these factions and brings them out against Bush, of course. They could(n't) care less about that – in fact, it's yet another good argument to them for keeping the Bush Faction in power, albeit chastened somewhat on the military aggression front. Not that these elite players don't hold the same ideal of American domination of global affairs that drives the Bush Faction; they do, in spades. But they recognize that after a certain point you get more buck for less bang. As the Emperor Tiberius used to tell his satraps when he sent them out to govern the conquered lands: "I want my sheep shorn, not shaved.")

In the corrupted currents of our day, Woodward's book – and the factional struggle within the Establishment it represents – is to be welcomed. Anything that can mitigate some of the evil being done by the Bush Faction must been seen as a positive intervention.

But only in the sense that having an ink pen jammed through your trachea when you are choking to death is a positive intervention. For make no mistake: what we are seeing is a "war in heaven," an intramural struggle between elites, a falling out among thieves, and, literally, a family quarrel in the imperial house. It has nothing to do with the welfare of the American people, or the restoration of democracy. The "consent of the governed" will play no part in how the affairs of the state are finally ordered by the exalted ones.

The Body in the Street

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

22 August 2014

. . . they have built the electric chair and hired the executioner to throw the switch all right we are two nations America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have bought the laws and fenced off the meadows and cut down the woods for pulp and turned our pleasant cities into slums and sweated the wealth out of our people...
-- John Dos Passos, "The Big Money," USA
keep coming back to what seems to me to be the most inhumane thing of all, the inhumane thing that happened before the rage began to rise, and before the backlash began to build, and before the cameras and television lights, and before the tear gas and the stun grenades and the chants and the prayers. I keep coming back to the one image that was there before the international event began, before it became a television show and a symbol in flames and something beyond what it was in the first place. I keep coming back to one simple moment, one ghastly fact. One image, from which all the other images have flowed.

They left the body in the street.

Dictators leave bodies in the street.

Petty local satraps leave bodies in the street.

Warlords leave bodies in the street.

A police officer shot Michael Brown to death. And they left his body in the street. For four hours. Bodies do not lie in the street for four hours. Not in an advanced society. Bodies lie in the street for four hours in small countries where they have perpetual civil war. Bodies lie in the street for four hours on back roads where people fight over the bare necessities of simple living, where they fight over food and water and small, useless parcels of land.

Bodies lie in the street for four hours in places in which poor people fight as proxies for rich people in distant places, where they fight as proxies for the men who dig out the diamonds, or who drill out the oil, or who set ancient tribal grudges aflame for modern imperial purposes that are as far from the original grudges as bullets are from bows.

Those are the places where they leave bodies in the street, as object lessons, or to make a point, or because there isn't the money to take the bodies away and bury them, or because nobody gives a damn whether they are there or not. Those are the places where they leave bodies in the street.

Bodies are not left in the streets of the leafy suburbs. The bodies of dogs and cats, or squirrels and raccoons, let alone the bodies of children, are not left in the streets of the leafy suburbs.

No bodies are left in the streets of the financial districts. Freeze to death on a bench in the financial districts and you are whisked away before your inconvenient body can disturb the folks in line at the Starbucks across the street.

But the body of a boy can be left in the street for four hours in a place like Ferguson, Missouri, and who knows whether it was because people wanted to make a point, or because nobody gave a damn whether he was there or not.

Ferguson, Missouri was a place where they left a body in the street. For four hours. And the rage rose, and the backlash built, and the cameras arrived, and so did the cops, and the thing became something beyond what it was in the first place. And, in a very real way, in the streets of Ferguson, the body was still in the street.

The rage rises.

The very last march in which Martin Luther King, Jr. participated ended violently. He had come to Memphis to lend support to a strike by the city's sanitation workers. On March 28, 1968, King led a march in support of the striking workers. It did not end well.

King arrived late and found a massive crowd on the brink of chaos. Lawson and King led the march together but quickly called off the demonstration as violence began to erupt. King was whisked away to a nearby hotel, and Lawson told the mass of people to turn around and go back to the church. In the chaos that followed, downtown shops were looted, and a 16-year-old was shot and killed by a policeman. Police followed demonstrators back to the Clayborn Temple, entered the church, released tear gas inside the sanctuary, and clubbed people as they lay on the floor to get fresh air. Loeb called for martial law and brought in 4,000 National Guard troops. The following day, over 200 striking workers continued their daily march, carrying signs that read, "I Am a Man"... At a news conference held before he returned to Atlanta, King said that he had been unaware of the divisions within the community, particularly of the presence of a black youth group committed to "Black Power" called the Invaders, who were accused of starting the violence.
The backlash builds.

Whites, angered by the property damage to businesses during the aborted march, blamed blacks. The President of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce told the New York Times: "You can't take these Negro people and make the kind of citizens out of them you'd like."(sic). Rev. Lawson would later note that the nonviolence of thousands of black citizens who moved back to the church and their homes was lost in press accounts of the story.

A week or two later, Dr. King stepped out onto the balcony of his motel room in Memphis. A white man shot him through the neck and he died. They covered his body with a sheet. They did not leave it there on the balcony, blood pooling around it, for four hours.

In 1965, the editors of the National Review traced the violence of the Watts riots back to the baleful influence of Dr. King's various campaigns throughout the South.

For years now, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his associates have been deliberately undermining the foundations of internal order in this country. With their rabble-rousing demagoguery, they have been cracking the "cake of custom" that holds us together. With their doctrine of "civil disobedience," they have been teaching hundreds of thousands of Negroes - particularly the adolescents and the children - that it is perfectly all right to break the law and defy constituted authority if you are a Negro-with-a-grievance; in protest against injustice. And they have done more than talk. They have on occasion after occasion, in almost every part of the country, called out their mobs on the streets, promoted "school strikes," sit-ins, lie-ins, in explicit violation of the law and in explicit defiance of the public authority. They have taught anarchy and chaos by word and deed - and, no doubt, with the best intentions - and they have found apt pupils everywhere, with intentions not of the best. Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. But it is not they alone who reap it, but we as well; the entire nation.

In 2014, the editor of the National Review traced the violence of the disturbances in Ferguson to the baleful influence of MSNBC.

You get the feeling that the enormous emotional investment in Ferguson from the left - from Eric Holder to MSNBC on down - reflects a nostalgia for the truly heroic phase of the civil rights movement. They (most of them, at least) can never be Freedom Riders, but they can write blog posts complaining that the police gear in Ferguson looks scary. They can never register voters in the Jim Crow South, but they can tweet dramatic pictures of tear-gas canisters going off. They can never march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge circa 1965, but they can do some cable hits. Ferguson is all they've got, so it must be spun up into a national crisis - our Gaza, our apartheid - to increase the moral drama.

They do not leave bodies in the street in Arlington County in Virginia, where the editor of the National Review grew up.

The story now seems to be about the "healing process" going on in Ferguson. The nights are quieter. The National Guard has pulled out. Some of the reporters have moved on to other things. There will be a funeral on Monday for the boy whose body was left in the street. It will be a dignified spectacle and it will be terrific television and it will be said to be "healing" the wounded place. Meanwhile, there are other people finding their healing in many different ways.

I support officer Wilson and he did a great job removing an unnecessary thing from the public.

An unnecessary thing.

The body they left in the street.

The body that, in so many ways, is still in the street.

An unnecessary thing.

The body they left in the street. For four hours. Ferguson, Missouri was a place where they left a body in the street. For four hours. And the rage rose, and the backlash built, and the cameras arrived, and so did the cops, and the thing became something beyond what it was in the first place. And, in a very real way, in the streets of Ferguson, the body was still in the street. What kind of place leaves the body of a boy in the street? What kind of country does that?

Dos Passos was correct.

All right.

We are two nations.

All right?


TONY said...

Read it right through, C. Your first conclusion stands out - a tall cool one. :) x

Cirze said...

Thanks, Tony.

Just as I do yours at the best blog in blogtopia.

Oh, for a cool one now.

It's over 90 degrees here (in the shade).

Love you!