Friday, December 4, 2015

Environmental Terrorists Meet In Paris?  (Story of the 1% - You Better Sit Down, Kids)  The Buying of Paul Ryan  (Call Them Nazis or Rabid Dogs and Be Praised?)  No Price Exacted for Touting Iraq War  (Ted Cruz A Pretender - Not Crazy) Tricky Dick Stoned

Killer Drone News Blackout Continues - Mainstream Media Ignore Four Whistleblowers

Environmental Terrorists Meet in Paris - World “Leaders” Hold World Hostage, No Release Seen Soon

COP21 stands for the 21st session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty established in 1992 (at the Rio Earth Summit) “to consider what they could do to limit global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with its impacts.” Like the UN, UNFCCC is dominated by the richest and most powerful countries, whose perceived interests give little weight to the needs of the poorest or most vulnerable countries.

The official goal of this gathering of world leaders is: “COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.”

COP21 is theatre of the absurd, diverting the frogs as the water boils

What passes for global “leadership” has already pissed away more than three decades since climate change was identified as a clear and present danger to life on earth. Even now the world’s leaders appear content to lounge in their comfortable bubbles of denial of reality and conflicts of interest that reinforce that useful denial. We live in a time when shameful leaders almost everywhere appear to lack the capacity for shame, much less the capacity to change their shameful behavior.

They aim to achieve a legally binding agreement on climate? If they wanted a legally binding agreement, or even an agreement that worked, they would have had one long since.

Ever wonder who was the big money behind the invasion by the Paul Ryan backers into your economic fortunes (err, misfortunes?)? Not to mention his being chosen as the Vice President for President Mitt Romney?


Keep those tax breaks coming for the rich!

This is what the vast amalgamation of wealth brings to these highly educated, cultured individuals?

Maybe Singer should start a business like, oh, making sewing machines?

Something resembling honorable work.

With his taxpayer-awarded, jobs-providing riches.

Looking more closely at these individuals, I became fascinated with Singer. He seems to typify the ability of today’s ultrarich to amass tremendous power while remaining out of the limelight. Singer did receive a flurry of attention in late October when news broke of his decision to back Marco Rubio’s presidential bid, but it quickly faded, and he moved back into the shadows. Going online, I found out (from "Forbes") that Singer is worth about $2 billion. He is the single largest donor to the Republican Party, with his money going overwhelmingly to candidates who support free enterprise and oppose regulation. (A major exception is his support for groups promoting gay rights and same-sex marriage; his son is gay.)

From the "Times" I learned that the fund-raisers Singer hosts in his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side can net more than $1 million a session, and I read in "The Wall Street Journal" that he was instrumental in the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. In a detailed profile of Singer in "Mother Jones," Peter Stone noted that Elliott Management has frequently been called a “‘vulture fund’ because a chunk of its profits comes from buying distressed companies’ or countries’ debt at a steep discount.” In 2012 a subsidiary of the firm, seeking to extract full payment from Argentina for some bonds on which it had defaulted, had an Argentine naval vessel impounded in a Ghanaian port. In 2004, Singer contributed $5,000 to "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," which attacked John Kerry’s war record, badly damaging his presidential bid. Since then, he has given generously to American Crossroads and the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group that has backed many Tea Party candidates.

Singer’s influence, though, extends far beyond that. He is chairman of the board of the Manhattan Institute, a member of the board of "Commentary" magazine, and a major donor to the American Enterprise Institute. He has given to and/or sat on the boards of several organizations dedicated to a strong Israel, including the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs; the Republican Jewish Coalition; the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that sponsors trips to Israel by members of Congress; and the Israel Project, a group dedicated to boosting Israel’s image. From 2008 to 2011, Singer gave $3.6 million to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which has worked tirelessly to isolate and sanction Iran.

All of these groups were active in the campaign to kill the nuclear deal with Iran. As I examined their interlocking boards and overlapping missions, I became aware of the enormous political, financial, and lobbying infrastructure behind that campaign. From Paul Blumenthal at "The Huffington Post" I learned that four hawkish-on-Israel billionaires — Singer, Sheldon Adelson, Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus, and Seth Klarman, the head of the private investment house Baupost — gave a combined $11.5 million to anti-Iran groups from 2011 through 2013 (while also giving $115 million to Republican Party Super PACs in the 2012 and 2014 elections). A parallel array of groups (led by J Street and the Ploughshares Fund) worked to support the deal, but as Eli Clifton pointed out at "LobeLog," the anti-Iran groups opposing it had operating budgets nearly five times as large as those in support.

Welcome to Panem?

What century is this again?

Nomi Prins is our trusted source on the latest Trump political hoodoo today.

Tom at the "Dispatch" introduces the bad news.

In 2016 there is evidently no longer anything, no matter how extreme or offensive, that Donald Trump and the rest of the crew can say to the Republican base that will affect their popularity negatively. Quite the opposite, such statements, along with the promise to be “tough” on the Islamic State, are now the equivalent of popularity meters. In a country where public opinion not so long ago seemed down on more boots-on-the-ground interventions in the Greater Middle East, you can’t threaten to send in too many boots and planes these days. The attacks in Paris and threats of them elsewhere are clearly God’s gift to Republican extremity. And right now, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his caliphate pals seem to control the electoral fate of politicians in both the United States and Europe.
In the midst of this "Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride" to election 2016, lest you think that the category of extreme and perverse is confined to foreign policy, and refugee or immigrant bashing, climb aboard "TomDispatch" ’s campaign tour bus and let Nomi Prins, author of All the Presidents' Bankers:  The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power, take you on a wild, Hunger-Games-themed ride into the wilderness of Republican economic policy in the ongoing campaign from hell. 
The American Hunger Games 
The Six Top Republican Candidates Take Economic Policy Into the Wilderness

Glenn goes full Driftglass on "fair and civilized discourse" 's ass:

What Foreign Policy "Debate" Means on "Face the Nation"

Glenn Greenwald, "The Intercept"

29 November 15

BS’ "Face the Nation" is the most-watched Sunday morning news television show in the U.S., attracting roughly 3 million viewers each week. On this Sunday morning, the show is focused on foreign policy, as it interviews Ben Carson, Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham on the issues of ISIS and refugees. As it always does, the program has assembled a panel of “experts” to discuss those matters; one of them, Jeffrey Goldberg, proudly announced its composition this morning:
In addition to host John Dickerson and Goldberg himself, the rest of the panel is composed of former Bush 43 speechwriter and current "Washington Post" columnist Michael Gerson, "Washington Post" columnist David Ignatius, and former Bush 41 speechwriter and current "Wall St. Journal" columnist Peggy Noonan.
Aside from the glaring demographic homogeneity – all middle-aged-or-older white people who have spent their careers in corporatized Washington establishments – there is a suffocating ideological and viewpoint homogeneity on this panel as well, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. All of the panelists, for instance, were vocal, aggressive advocates of the invasion of Iraq (as were all three GOP presidential candidates featured on this morning’s show).

Goldberg, in a 2006 profile of Gerson, wrote that “Gerson, like Bush, has never wavered. ‘The people of the Middle East are not exceptions to this great trend of history, and, by standing up for these things, we are on the right side of history,’ he said.”Ignatius repeatedly used his "Post" platform to argue for the war:  eight months after the invasion, he wrote a gushing profile of Paul Wolfowitz (“a rare animal in Washington — a genuine intellectual in a top policymaking job”) and decreed:  “this may be the most idealistic war fought in modern times”; in 2004, he proclaimed: “I don’t regret my support for toppling Hussein.” Noonan, in February, 2003, told "Slate": “I have come to the conclusion that we must move. I do not imagine an invasion will be swift and produce minimal losses. But I believe not stepping in is, at this point, more dangerous than stepping in.”

Other than Tom Friedman, Goldberg himself was probably the journalist most responsible for tricking Americans into supporting the war by circulating blatant falsehoods under the guise of “reporting,” using his "New Yorker" perch to legitimize claims of the non-existent Saddam/Al Qaeda alliance (which he continued to tout as late as 2010) and the Iraqi nuclear program.

The "Face the Nation" host, John Dickerson, was a reporter for "Time Magazine" at the time and therefore pretended not to express opinions about Iraq, but he disseminated “objective” reporting like this:

Text. (photo: Text)

TIME headline covering former President Bush's adminstration

Many have observed that no American journalists or pundits (let alone political officials) other than Judy Miller paid any career price whatsoever for their dissemination of falsehoods about Iraq and the use of their platforms to vocally cheer for one of the worst, most destructive crimes of their generation. That’s true, but it’s worse than that.

To this day, being regarded in establishment circles as a serious and credible foreign policy expert for a journalist or pundit all but requires that one have supported the Iraq War along with subsequent military actions. The few public figures who opposed the war and are admitted to such circles are admitted despite that opposition, and a requirement is that they opposed the invasion on pragmatic and strategic grounds, not moral or legal ones.

This dynamic is particularly thriving right now in the U.K., as scores of political and media figures who cheered Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq malign Jeremy Corbyn, who opposed it, as an “extremist.” In order to be a serious “moderate” in western imperial capitals, one must endorse the right of your government to invade, bomb and attack countries which haven’t attacked yours; only an “extremist” would oppose such a radical precept (anger at Corbyn is currently at its peak because he opposes UK bombing of Syria against ISIS).

To see how this mentality works, watch this amazing 2003 BBC program as one of the UK’s most despised-among-the-establishment figures, George Galloway, debated the invasion of Iraq with numerous still-respected pro-war pundits; virtually everything Galloway said in opposition to the war proved prescient and virtually everything the war cheerleaders said proved utterly false, and yet they are still regarded as credible and serious while he is loathed and dismissed as an extremist.

There is, needless to say, an enormous amount of viewpoint, experience and mentality homogeneity among these "Face the Nation" panelists extending far beyond their vocal enthusiasm for the attack on Iraq. The fact that the nation’s most watched Sunday morning news TV show convenes such similar “experts” to comment on foreign policy illustrates how illusory is the supposed “free debate” which establishment media outlets permit.

And try not to think about what happened to this revered leader.

Watch out Corbyn?

Ted Cruz acts crazy (and ignorant of the facts/issues).

But he's hardly that.

A crazy person doesn't become the clerk to the Chief Justice of the United States. Crazy people don't get those jobs. Even a contradictory boil like Antonin Scalia has his logic:  it's the hemorrhoidal resentment for foreignness and change that leads your granddad to rage at anything that threatens his fantasies of the good old days. Ted Cruz isn't any different, and buying his line that he's uniquely earned "Democrats'" label of crazy not only obscures the work, it's part of it. Ted Cruz knows that, for all his erudition, he's still an intellectual one-percenter in a party that rejects elites and revels in combative anti-knowledge. Reading his book is like watching him put his mask on in the morning:  the pages wear on, and the incisive first half gets quieter, as the volume on the demagoguing second half gets louder, until there he is — Ted Cruz, brother — and the arena goes nuts.
Cruz has mastered the useful gaffe. He's playing the heel to the media he knows he can outrage enough to disseminate his comments, riding his name and statement for page views for a three-day cycle:  outrage, interpretation, contrarian defense. And he's playing face to the fans at home who he knows already want to agree with him in whatever visceral jaundiced hell they inhabit.
Ted Cruz is too smart not to know that replacing all of Planned Parenthood's services with "rubbers" is objectively stupid. He knows claiming that Christian terrorism has been dormant for centuries is a contemptuous violation of an even Jeopardy!-level understanding of history. He knows a bearded mass shooter who mentioned "baby parts" was probably not firing from the left side of the aisle in defense of his feminine identity, but he knows speculating about it commits him to nothing. These assertions form a web of cold malignancy too tactically useful to lack intent. It's a work, and it works. It's his ticket to the main event.

'Fukushima Fingerprint': Highest-Yet Radiation Levels Found Off US Coast
Why Fast-Track Trade Deals, But Not Climate Agreements?
The Sanders Corporate Tax Reform Plan (Bernie Sanders)

GOP Climate Denial
Puts "Future of Civilization at Risk"

We miss you, Frank.

Tricky Dick Enstoned - U.S. Entombed

From 2 Political Junkies:

Here's the story. Doesn't matter. As Glenn Greenwald writes:  As vice president, Dick Cheney was a prime architect of the worldwide torture regime implemented by the U.S. government (which extended far beyond waterboarding), as well as the invasion and destruction of Iraq, which caused the deaths of at least 500,000 people and more likely over a million.

As such, he is one of the planet’s most notorious war criminals.

Prosecute the torture.

Prosecute the torturers.

Prosecute Dick Cheney.

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