Wednesday, June 15, 2016

USA! S(E)lectoral Drama  (Clinton Unqualified Nuclear Appointee Quits Abruptly)  Mass Shooter Chaos Strikes Again Distracting Frenzied Populace

That courageous patriot, Cindy Sheehan, has captured our time brilliantly.

And it wasn't really that hard when you consider the events and how the "chosen" ones have sported themselves about.

The Dramedy of US (S)Electoral Politics in Four Parts by Cindy Sheehan

Read her thoughtful essay at the link above and ponder how she's been treated by those fortunate enough to determine the course of the U.S.'s current uncomprehending pilgrim's progress.

From Tom Clark's blog's brilliant analysis:

Sanders has challenged Democratic orthodoxy on free trade, Middle East policy and the scope of executive power to conduct unlimited military campaigns under the auspices of the war against terrorism. In doing so he has exposed one of Clinton’s greatest vulnerabilities in a general election: Her judgment when conducting foreign affairs.
Clinton’s record as a military hawk is well-known. She voted for the Iraq War as a senator. As secretary of state, she pushed for U.S. intervention in Libya and lobbied President Obama to take military action against Bashar al-Assad in Syria. She was lukewarm about the nuclear deal with Iran. With respect to Israel, in March she gave a major policy speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) without so much as mentioning the plight of the Palestinians –- a point later highlighted by Sanders, a son of Jewish immigrants, during their debate in Brooklyn.
Progressives, independents and liberal democrats who have been voting in large numbers for Sanders hold the keys for Clinton to defeat Donald Trump. If Clinton is to consolidate her support among these important constituencies, she must reassure them that despite her record, she is willing to follow in President Obama’s footsteps and not seek military solutions to every vexing foreign policy problem.
To be sure, Clinton’s hawkish instincts fall within the mainstream of the foreign policy establishment. Yet in this election year she faces two problems. First, in the past two national elections, the Democratic base has embraced President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine, loosely defined as emphasizing negotiation and collaboration rather than confrontation and unilateralism. Sanders has projected a similar view of the United States’ role in the world.
Second, Clinton’s opponent in the general election, Donald Trump, has consistently conveyed a message that America is taking on too much of a burden in providing global security for its allies and not receiving enough of the commercial benefit. This argument has gained traction in a Republican Party that increasingly sees endless military campaigns in the Middle East as a drain on American blood and treasure. Thus, Clinton’s reliance on hard power as a means of advancing American interests is a tough sell in an election year where voters seem to prefer retrenchment rather than military adventurism.
Rather than embrace President Obama’s foreign policy of military restraint, Clinton signaled in a major foreign policy address last week that she would be doubling down on the conflict in Syria by imposing a no-fly zone something the Obama administration has ruled out for fear of deepening America’s involvement in the Syrian civil war and risking escalation with Russia and Iran, the Assad government’s main patrons.
Furthermore, Clinton has proclaimed that she would reaffirm her “unbreakable bond” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Fidelity to Israel’s security is a staple of all presidential campaigns, but Clinton has gone on record embracing an Israeli prime minister who repeatedly embarrassed President Obama, tried to torpedo his signature foreign policy achievement -– the Iran nuclear deal -– and paid only lip service to the peace process with Palestinians.
Such positions put her at odds with Sanders’ supporters, who, like President Obama, are committed to Israel’s security but also recognize the tremendous toll the occupation and continued expansion of Israeli settlements take on American security interests in the Middle East and on Palestinian society. They would like to see the United States play a more evenhanded role. So far, Clinton has not shown any willingness to confront more hard-line Israeli policies that make peace harder to achieve.
To defeat Trump, Clinton must not revert back to the U.S. foreign policy status quo, which is grounded in the theory that military force and intervention hold the key to peace and prosperity -- and has brought little in the way of either. During the more than two decades that U.S. forces have been engaged in military action in the Middle East, militancy and instability have increased, not decreased.

As for me, I still believe Trump is a Hillary sideshow - a narcissistic, xenophobic, autocratic, calculatedly ignorant, media-generated Frankenstein, introspectionless, infantile blurter, vulgarian - rather a clown version of Bernie's, and that he has served as a needed distraction from the destruction awaiting US as the continuing war machine (and its favored candidate) marches on - and will not be the Republican nominee (in a sanely organized world). His outing of the Bushes and their carefully-planned, easily-attained, quick victory Iraq attack is just icing on the snack cake he has provided US at this and should hold his followers' attention until another sure-fire candidate, promised to be even more lethal than Hillary, is designated by the owners.

And we do have a very sane world run by people who are most concerned with the money to be made and wars to be fought, secure in the knowledge that no outsiders (citizens) would be able to interfere in their plans.

If you say that we’re all complicit in the doing because, after all, this is a democracy and a marketplace where we’re sovereign as citizens and consumers, I answer that we’re about as sovereign as flies caught in a spider’s web of 800-numbered, sticky-fingered pick-pocketing machines, including most news media, that bypass our brains and hearts on the way to our lower viscera and our wallets.

But why do these machines do that? Who designed and runs them? Why do we put up with their casino-like financing, predatory lending, omnivorous marketing, and deft political blame-shifting, letting them grope us, titillate us, intimidate us, addict us, track us, indebt us, and sell us illusory escapes that leave us too ill to bear our sicknesses or their cures?

We shrink from the answers. Instead we point fingers, fists and even guns at people who are really no more guilty than we. Or we blame the inexorable tides of globalization and technological upheaval. We excuse or, worse, adore the real perpetrators. When we do that, we’re complicit, because there’s still room for maneuver and resistance, and millions of our own children are telling us to seize it.

New Hillary Scandal Checks All the Boxes on the Clinton Controversy Bingo Card

Hillary Clinton had an undeniably great day on Thursday, but Friday brought a stark reminder that as the presumptive Democratic nominee looks ahead to the general election, there will be plenty of people justifiably looking into her past.
Thanks to a newly released batch of State Department emails, ABC News was able to revisit the story of Rajiv Fernando, a wealthy securities trader who gave heavily to both Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and the Clinton Foundation—and who just so happened to land himself a plum spot on a sensitive government intelligence advisory panel after Hillary became secretary of state.
Politicos rewarding donors is sadly not uncommon but what makes this particular example stand out is Fernando’s lack of qualifications for a job that involved advising the secretary of state — and, by extension, the president of the United States — on the topic of nuclear weapons. And if that weren’t enough, the story also looks an awfully lot like a Clinton Controversy Bingo Card. In addition to the appearance of quid pro quo with a major fundraiser, we also have a clear lack of transparency, Clinton loyalists going to great lengths to protect her, questions over access to sensitive government information, and, of course, Hillary’s private email account.
You can read ABC’s full blow-by-blow here, but the short version is this: The rest of the International Security Advisory Board was filled with nuclear scientists, past Cabinet secretaries, and former members of Congress. But the only thing Fernando had to offer the group was, in ABC’s words, “his technological know-how,” which none of his fellow panelists seemed to find all that helpful. Fernando was so out of place, in fact, that one board member told ABC that none of his colleagues could figure out why he was even there.

Days after the network started asking questions about Fernando in the summer of 2011, he promptly resigned from the panel citing a need to focus on his business interests. He and the State Department declined to make public a copy of his résumé and refused to field follow-up questions at the time. Which brings us back to the present. Via ABC:

The newly released emails reveal that after ABC News started asking questions in August 2011, a State Department official who worked with the advisory board couldn’t immediately come up with a justification for Fernando serving on the panel. His and other emails make repeated references to “S”; ABC News has been told this is a common way to refer to the Secretary of State.
“The true answer is simply that S staff (Cheryl Mills) added him,” wrote Wade Boese, who was Chief of Staff for the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, in an email to [Jamie] Mannina, the press aide. “Raj was not on the list sent to S; he was added at their insistence.”
ABC was unable to follow the trail directly to Clinton herself, though the emails did suggest her staff was eager to shield her from the controversy and any potential fallout. “We must protect the Secretary’s and Under Secretary’s name, as well as the integrity of the Board,” her press aide wrote. “I think it’s important to get down to the bottom of this before there’s any response.”
So just how big of a deal is this? In the big bucket of Clinton controversies (both real and imagined), this is merely a drop. Hillary and her staff had broad leeway to name pretty much whomever they wanted to the board, so while tapping Fernando was highly questionable, it wasn’t illegal. It is impossible to read the ABC report and not get a distinct whiff of favor trading, but there is no smoking gun—as there almost never is when it comes to this type of thing. In a political system where the inputs and outputs are both money and power, proof of guilt, or, really, innocence, rarely exists.
Still, it’s yet one more example of why Clinton is so fortunate that she’s set to face off against Donald Trump in the general. She and her allies want to make November a referendum about him, which is understandable given he’s a race-baiting demagogue who poses a unique danger to the world. But doing that will also conveniently allow her to skirt legitimate questions about what her past time in office suggests about the type of president she might be.

Another usually very knowledgeable reporter chimes in (unpopularly at this time) on the latest mass shooter carnage (although it's not really popular to be too observant and/or ask too many pointed questions):

Initially, I saw a CNN newscast and a RT report. The reports were heavy with verbiage of blood being all over the place, but the only visual evidence offered were three people, supposedly injured, being helped, not by medics or first responders, but by ordinary folks. A couple of people were helping a guy with tattoos in place of a shirt, but there was no sign of blood. Several people were helping people in police uniforms to carry a person who they dumped in the back of a pickup truck, not in the cab. About 6 people were carrying a person stretched out prone (no stretcher) down a street.
There was no blood and it looked like a crisis acting performance. Why prone? Is an injured person really able to keep his body stiff so that he can be carried along prone parallel to the ground? Where are they taking him? Is this just a camera walk-by?

What has become of the protocol that untrained people are not to attempt to help injured people? When police arrive at a scene, they usually run off bystanders, not recruit them to assist their activities or allow them to carry away the wounded and dead.

Readers have noticed that the visual evidence does not match the verbal reports. Readers report that Fox “News” and MSNBC repeatedly show the same footage described above of bystanders carrying supposedly injured victims whose facial expressions are completely unstressed and show no pain, fear, or blood.

So has anyone seen any dead bodies? Any body bags? Any wounded taken to hospitals in ambulances? Any of the hospital wounded interviewed by TV reporters? Has any reporter checked with the morgue?

Allegedly, people inside the massacre location made cell phone calls and texted. But no one took photos or videos? Are there no security cameras? No doormen to notice a heavily armed person enter?

With 50 people killed and 50 or more wounded and reports of oceans of blood, there should be plenty of evidence Have any of you seen any of it?

As far as I know, dead bodies, other than those of the perpetrators themselves, seldom if ever emerge from the terrorist attacks. No dead bodies materialized from the Paris attacks except those of the alleged perpetrators. No dead bodies ever emerged from the Sandy Hook shootings. The only dead bodies I recall from the San Bernardino shooting were the husband-and-wife-alleged-perpetrators, and their hands were handcuffed behind their backs. Do police handcuff dead people who the police have shot to pieces? I don’t remember dead bodies from Brussels, just reports of dead bodies.

One could say that the media is averse to invading the privacy of dead people and their relatives by showing dead bodies, or that the media doesn’t want to show gruesome scenes—except for the videos of Muslim terrorists cutting off people’s heads. But by now the unanswered questions from the various shootings have created so much skepticism that a person would think the media would provide corroborative evidence for the official claims.

. . . . In order to shoot 100 people, the principal weapon allegedly used, an AR-15, would have had to have been reloaded several times, a procedure that takes enough time for people to rush the shooter and overpower him.

Is it possible for one person to shoot 100 people successfully but not be able to shoot even one cop when police appear? Remember the Charlie Hebdo event. The two killers were highly professional when they wiped out the magazine staff and a policeman in the street, but later when confronted by police they were so hapless and incompetent as to suggest that they were not the same people. Remember the San Bernardino shootings. Three eyewitnesses said that the shooters were three muscular males dressed in black, not a husband and diminutive wife with a new baby.

What is most troublesome about these shootings is that the story seems already prepared by the government and is immediately set. We are fed the story before there is time for investigation by government or media. The media never investigate. The media just repeat the government’s story over and over until it is set in everyone’s mind. Contrary evidence is just discarded.

The alleged perpetrators are always killed, so we never hear from them. The only survivor of the various terrorisms is the younger Tsarnaev brother who has been held incommunicado. We have never heard directly from him.

One might think that by now the US media would have at least a smidgen of skeptcism. After all, for the past 15 years we have wasted trillions of dollars in wars in the Middle East based on lies that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. So why is the media willing to accept whatever the government says without any investigation or even raising a question?

The chairman, co-chairman, and legal counsel of the official 9/11 Commission have said publicly that the commission was lied to by the US government, that information was withheld from the commission, and that the commission was “set up to fail.” If the government will not tell the truth to the 9/11 Commission, why would the government tell us peons the truth?

It is not reporting merely to repeat the government’s claim. But that is all we get from the payroll jobs, unemployment and inflation reports to terrorism reports and claims of “Russian aggression.”
. . . . It will be difficult, perhaps even impossible, to get any truth out of the Orlando shooting. Too many vocal and well organized interest groups have a strong stake in the government’s explanation. It comes to the aid of the anti-Muslim lobby and the Trump campaign which want Muslims kept out of the US and those here arrested and deported. It comes to the aid of the gun control lobby.

It comes to the aid of the progressive-left that wants to normalize homosexual and transgendered people, thus the outpouring of sympathy for those shot in the homosexual night club. It comes to the aid of the spy industry and the police state that want no check on their activities. It comes to the aid of Washington’s murderous foreign policy—so what if we blow up Muslim children—look what they do to us when they grow up, which is what the Israelis say about the Palestinians. It comes to the aid of the neoconservatives and the military-security complex for whom wars against Muslims advance their agenda and fatten their pocketbook.

There is another interesting insight one can glean from the following Gawker article:

Orlando Shooter Was Reportedly a Regular at Pulse and Had a Profile on Gay Dating App

Early Sunday morning, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, perpetrating the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Mateen, his father explained the next day, had repeatedly been angered by the sight of two men kissing. But according to witnesses, Mateen was also a regular at the club and exchanged messages with at least one gay man on a gay dating app.

“It’s the same guy,” Chris Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin, told the Canadian Press. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”

Ty Smith, who also goes by the name Aries, also said he’d seen Mateen being escorted drunk from the club, Pulse, on multiple occasions.

“(He’d get) really, really drunk... He couldn’t drink when he was at home — around his wife, or family. His father was really strict... He used to bitch about it,” Smith told the Canadian Press.

“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” Smith also explained to the Orlando Sentinel, which spoke with at least four clubgoers who remembered seeing Mateen at Pulse at least a dozen times. “We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times... He told us he had a wife and child.”

Both Callen and Smith, who are married, tell the Canadian Press they stopped speaking to Mateen after he threatened them with a knife, apparently after someone made a joke about religion.

“He ended up pulling a knife,” Callen said. “He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it’ll turn out.”

MSNBC host Chris Hayes also says he spoke to a man who claims both he and a friend received messages from Mateen via a gay dating app. The full story is set to air tonight on Hayes’ show, All In.


TONY @oakroyd said...

Good to see Cindy Sheehan still active and fighting the good fight. A great lady.

Cirze said...

When I listen to her/read her thoughts, I feel like she's the OED definition of "brave." She continues telling the truth to power that they hope no one has figured out yet. And never will.

Love live Cindy!

She speaks for all of us.