Did a covert op ignite the Ukraine crisis? We've touched on this question in a previous post. Remember this...?
What provided the rationale for the coup d'état was the killing of demonstrators by uniformed snipers, blamed on the previous government... But there are serious questions about this interpretation of events: the special forces were never issued rifles and were never ordered to open fire on the protesters; there were quite a few special forces members themselves among those killed; the killings were carried out in such a manner as to incite rather than quell protest, by targeting women, bystanders and those assisting the wounded.
I wasn't convinced by this assertion, but I found it intriguing. Now we have further evidence.
According to a leaked EU's Ashton phone tape, the Kiev snipers, who shot both protesters and police, were hired by Ukrainian opposition leaders, did not work for overthrown Yanukovych
The link goes to this YouTube video, which contains the (English language) call between Urmas Paet, a representative of the European Union, and Catherine Ashton, a British Labour politician and Vice-President of the European Commission. You have to get about eight minutes into the video if you want to hear the important stuff.
Paet (who has just returned from Ukraine) says:
"There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition..."
Paet claims that he spoke with a doctor named Olga Bolometz who treated the victims of the shooting. According to this doctor, the same people shot both the protestors and policemen.
“And second, what was quite disturbing, this same Olga told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides...”
He says that the same type of bullets were used on both sides, and the new government in Ukraine has been unwilling to investigate.
Question: Did the now-deposed Ukrainian leader Yanukovich have a motive to perpetrate an act of violence? He had just negotiated an agreement that would keep him in power for the near future. The shooting of the demonstrators undermined that deal.
The obvious parallel goes to Syria.
As readers know, I came to doubt Assad's responsibility for the chemical attacks in that Damascus neighborhood. The saintly Mother Agnes, a peace activist who is no Assad fan, felt that the true perpetrators were the pro-Al Qaeda rebels.
In both Syria and Ukraine, our first and best question is, as always, cui bono?
The CBW attack against civilians in Damascus gave Assad no military advantage. The only people who benefited were American neocons seeking to drag us into Syria's civil war. Fortunately, Obama wisely let Congress decide the question of American involvement. Congress had no choice but to listen to the voters -- who, still recovering from the Iraq disaster, insisted on non-intervention.
If Paet is correct, then a very similar ploy took place in Ukraine. A bloody tragedy shocked the world. That tragedy was blamed on a leader whom the neocons had targeted for removal. Now we have excellent reasons to question whether that leader bears actual responsibility.
We do not yet have hard proof that Yanukovich was framed. Frankly, though, that seems to be the way to bet.
America has Ukraine on the brain right now. I don't think that the neocons want actual war with Putin, but they certainly want a new Cold War. Their propaganda push has invaded all aspects of our national culture.
Consider this interview with Fedor Bondarchuk, director of the new Imax Stalingrad film. I haven't seen the movie, but I'm a huge admirer of Fedor's father, Sergei Bondarchuk. The interview is worth reading despite the appalling headline:
“Stalingrad”: A national myth for Putin’s Russia
Fedor Bondarchuk on his eye-popping WWII epic, which helps explain the psychology behind the Ukraine crisis
Why are these words appalling? Because nothing in the interview buttresses the idea that this new movie has any relationship at all to Putin or the Ukraine crisis. So why did Salon hit us with that headline? It's as if a Russian film critic tried to convince his readers that The Thin Red Line offered some deep insight into the inner workings of Bill Clinton's mind.
I cite that headline as one small (yet telling) example of what happens when the war drums begin to bang bang bang BANG BANG. Everyone starts bopping and nodding and tapping toes to the rhythm. It's infectious. Insidious. Even people who damned well ought to know better get caught up in the beat.
So why is this happening?
I am persuaded that this crisis was ginned up. But why was it ginned up?
Many have offered theories involving oil pipelines. While those theories probably have much in their favor, let's not overlook an even simpler idea.
This story, on its surface, has no direct bearing on Russia and Ukraine. And yet...
The nation’s top military commander painted a dark picture Tuesday of future U.S. defense capabilities clouded by shrinking Pentagon budgets and adversaries’ technological advances that he said would erode American battlefield superiority.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided his sobering views as part of the Quadrennial Defense Review, a congressionally mandated evaluation of U.S. military strength issued every four years.
Dempsey predicted that it would become increasingly difficult to balance the competing demands of protecting allies abroad, securing Americans at home and deterring future wars.
“The smaller and less capable military outlined in the QDR makes meeting these obligations more difficult,” he said. “Most of our platforms and equipment will be older, and our advantages in some domains will have eroded. Our loss of depth across the force could reduce our ability to intimidate opponents from escalating conflicts.”
Some of you may recall that, in 2010, I predicted that we'd be seeing a lot of stories like this. I said that the media would overflow with dire warnings of imminent military collapse.
More than a year later, I had to admit that my confident forecast remained unfulfilled. That confession was difficult to write. I honestly could not understand what was happening:
For decades, the only Keynesianism which the punditry would ever countenance was military Keynesianism. That was Reagan's big trick -- and to be frank, it more or less worked.
I had once predicted that our real rulers would prepare the way for a military Keynesian solution by inundating us with propaganda about the horribly antiquated equipment our soldiers must use. If you lived through the Reagan years, you'll know the kind of ad campaign I'm talking about: "America still uses biplanes and wooden ships and muskets! Our soldiers wear tri-corner hats! We need to upgrade now!"
When that kind of propaganda didn't flood our airwaves, I began to suspect that maybe this crisis was different.
Damned right it was different. Over the past few years, the Ayn Randroids within the Republican establishment have actually been talking about defense cuts. Yes: Cuts. To the Randroids, military Keynesianism was just as odious as any other kind of Keynesianism.
For the longest time, the hard core libertarians appeared to have won the day. But now, it looks as though the people running this country have finally decided not to give up on the U.S. economy after all. They came up with a new plan to put people back to work again.
This "new" plan is, of course, the old plan -- the traditional plan. It has three steps.
First: Scare America with dark talk of a Big Bad Russian Wolf.
Second: Permit increased deficit spending in order to fund a new peacetime military build-up.
Third: Erect "Now Hiring" signs in front of Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing and every other defense contractor.
I doubt that the people running this country bear Putin any actual ill will. It's nothing personal. We simply need a new bogeyman, and Putin will more or less do.
Osama Bin Laden is no longer available for the bogeyman role -- and besides, the War on Terror never sufficed as a justification for a new round of Military Keynesianism. Putin, by contrast, is the head of a major power, and he's an ornery and eccentric old cuss. If Vladimir Putin did not exist, we would have to invent him
What was it Gore Vidal used to say? When politicians tell you that the Russians are coming, hang onto your wallets -- it's just another raid on the Treasury.
My own feelings are mixed. Obviously, I believe in Keynesian solutions. I believe that the government should invest in a jobs program. But must those jobs be linked to building up our already bloated military? And must the jobs program be accompanied by shady covert ops and dangerously bellicose talk? Can't we at least try a non-military form of Keynesianism?
The gas pipelines in the Ukraine are unlikely to be an important reason, because they all begin in Russia. No government in the Ukraine is going to want the flow to stop. This article in the Guardian is rubbish.
posted by b : 4:18 AM
The big issue: Ukraine is on the brink of default.
Russian government economics adviser Sergei Glazyev:
"An attempt to announce sanctions (against Russia) would end in a crash for the financial system of the United States, which would cause the end of the domination of the United States in the global financial system."
posted by b : 4:25 AM
We don't necessarily need the government to think up new jobs. We do need the government to incentivize the REDUCTION of consumer debt by offering lower interest credit card and student loan PAY DOWN programs.
The government is locked in on growth through increased consumer death, this is the kiss of death of the entire planet over the next 10 to 50 years.
It's always pretty obvious that the media apparatus in this country practices strict top-down control from an editorial perspective, but whenever the powers-that-be decide we need to villainize someone or convince Americans of the need for war, that control becomes impossible to ignore.
I know I've mentioned this before, but just because Operation Mockingbird was eventually exposed doesn't mean the agency gave up on it; if anything, the decades of media consolidation since the program was first exposed have made it far easier for the ruling class to exercise editorial control over what people see/hear/read.
I also often think you can glean nearly as much insight into the objectives of the media by questioning what they doesn't tell you.
I would describe it as a form of gatekeeping; by limiting the spectrum of acceptable thought to within point A on the left and point B on the right, you can then label anyone who strays outside of those boundaries as a conspiracy theorist or nutcase in general.
A couple of cases in point would be the timely death of both Senator Paul Wellstone and Pat Tillman. Both men were causing problems for the cabal running the country duing the 2001-2004 timeframe, and both died under extremely suspicious circumstances, however there was never any mention in the media that their deaths may have been the result of political assassinations.
Wellstone had just voted against the AUMF and was the leading GOP poster boy Norm Coleman in the polls with a month left to go until the mid-terms in 2002. He was pushing for more aggressive investigations into 9/11 and was every bit the populist; he couldn't be bought, he wouldn't sell out is ideals to the highest bidder, and Cheney et al HATED that.
His plane mysteriously went down with zero radio communications on final approach in Minnesota. The fuselage burned beyond recognition, but the wings - which held the fuel - remained intact. The corporate media then launched an aggressive campaign to discredit the democrats who rightly called out the hypocrisy of Cheney attending Wellstone's memorial service. I guaran-fucking-tee Cheney ordered the hit on Wellstone.
Pat Tillman was propagandized to no end when he walked away from his lucrative NFL contract to join the Rangers, but he was kept on a very short leash, i.e. every communication he made, every letter he sent, every book he read, was scrutinized and catalogued by Rumsfeld's henchmen. When they learned he was vehemently opposed to the Iraq war and was planning on returning to the US in early 2004 to campaign for Kerry and lead the anti-war movement, they realized it'd be easier to deal with him over there than it would be to deal with him over here.
They created a plan to split his unit and lure him into an ambush by faking an enemy ambush. The only problem was that there were zero enemy shell casings or bullet holes in any of the US equipment. He was killed with three rounds to his forehead in a 2" diameter cluster; the medical examiner who looked at him first suspected homicide and requested an investigation, but was overruled.
They burned his body armor and uniform, stole and likely destroyed his journal (which he'd kept since he was 16), and implemented their pre-planned cover story.
Only our "free press" never once asked if he was killed intentionally. The crime was always, ALWAYS, the cover-up as far as our media was concerned. To ask the question of whether he was killed because of the threat he represented to the ruling cabal would be a bridge too far.
Our media is corrupt and only serves powerful interests.
posted by Anonymous : 9:04 AM
I have little doubt that you're correct in your assessment, Joe--that part of this is the need for a new boogyman and that there is a tug of war behind the scenes regarding where the US will spend its money to jumpstart our own economy. Saint Ronnie certainly knew the formula. All the wailing about not having resources to take care of our own domestic problems are quickly evaporating. We always have money for more war, cold or not.
The sanctions that Kerry is proposing [which Germany is pushing back on] will be countered by Putin. Reported this morning, Putin has threatened to seize American business assets inside Russia. We start seeing corporate assets under the gun [for instance,the company my husband works for has a 'large' investment inside the country] tensions will ratchet up dramatically. National interests in spades.
From all indications, Putin is itching for a fight. His own economy despite all the oil and natural gas is sluggish at best, predicted growth of only 1.6. Though his own citizenry is firmly against the action in Crimea, the party line is that the surge of troops are Ukrainian, not Russian. The theatrics on both sides have a familiar, chilling ring.
The neocons who have successfully ginned up the chaos are like the cat who swallowed the canary. There are reports out now [additional hacked messages] that the snipers in Kiev were taking orders from the propped up opposition, deliberately firing on their own citizens and police.
Deja vu all over again. Btw, where was our intelligence community in all this? Mum and blind at best, complicit at worst.
posted by Anonymous : 10:04 AM
You may find the gas pipeline map of Ukraine interesting. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26418664
Estonian Foreign Ministry confirms authenticity of leaked phone call discussing how Kiev snipers who shot protesters were possibly hired by Ukraine's new leaders Leaked phone call suggests anti-government protesters hired the snipers
Call between EU's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonia's foreign affairs minister Urmas Paet
Paet appears to claim opposition leaders hired the snipers that killed 94
Russia Today said the clip was uploaded by officers of Security Service of Ukraine, who remain loyal to Yanukovich. They claimed the officers hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones to obtain the audio.
In Estonia, the foreign minister has claimed the police and protesters were shot by the same snipers, who were hired by the "protesters", in a phone call which was leaked to the press. Cue furious back pedaling.
in Donetsk, perhaps most famous for the recent success of their football team, Shakthar Donetsk, the leader of pro-Russian protests, Pavel Gubarev, has been dragged from him home by the authorities. The authorities also stormed local government building to eject pro-Russian demonstrators.
in Kiev a member of the new ruling party, Sergei Pashinsky, and former prime minister under the formerly imprisoned former president Yulia Timoschenko, has been found with a silenced sniper rifle in the Maidan.
in Russia Yanukovich has declared himself still president and asked for Russian military aid.
Can't we at least try a non-military form of Keynesianism?
No, we can't. Because socialism.
posted by Propertius : 1:27 PM
For a proper enemy to frighten the American public, there must be a name and face to focus upon. Ahmadinejad just wasn't up to it (not to mention that he held little power) and now Rouhani refuses to play that role. What's scary is that this new game of bear baiting involves nuclear confrontation. Do we now need to upgrade our nuclear arsenal and missile defense systems? Space weapons? What a gravy train!
Is this actually a cover for preparing to confront China? If so this new game may be bringing that future into reality. Ian Welsh thinks that isolating Russia will only force it to once again align with China. And this will result in Russia becoming a Chinese client state.
China sure could use Russia's oil, gas and lumber. I don't know how Europe will feel about Russian hydrocarbons going to China instead of them. I've read speculation that this could also be a ploy to sell American natural gas to Europe. A win win for big money! What could go wrong?
With a Sino-Russian alignment, will the Chinese have a monopoly on Kolinsky?
If the U.S. wants another Cold War then we'll need to design and build a new space shuttle for our satellites and space weapons. Or at the minimum a new heavy lift rocket system. The Russians won't be carrying stuff up there for us anymore.
McClatchy has up an article which contains a few interesting items.
THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!!!!
Okay, I know that there's some sort of war or near-war or something going on the Ukraine, and I've been kind of concerned about that -- especially now that Hillary, of all people, has played the Hitler card. (Why, Hillary, why?) And Iraq is falling apart now that we pulled out, and Afghanistan is likely to do the same soon, and Syria is a huge damned bloody mess. Also there are 20 million slaves in the world. And the NSA has apparently been spooking the Senate.
All of this evil stuff can definitely harsh your buzz, no doubt about it.
But now I want to direct your attention to a real scandal.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently preventing any importing or exporting of natural sable hair brushes. It has to do with specific forms needed by the US government and the original source of the hairs used.
Previously, the European brush manufacturers had been using their own version of this form and the Fish and Wildlife Service had been accepting it. That was until the sable became an endangered animal. Please keep in mind though, that the species of sable used to make the artist brushes are not endangered. But because of this, the US is requiring their form be filled out and stricter regulations followed.
Therefore, we and many other art supply companies in America, cannot get replenishment for our sable brushes. This has been going on for at least 6 months and we are hoping that an agreement can be reached by the first of the year.
Basically, here's the story: Kolinsky fur comes from a red weasel native to the Kola Peninsula and the Tajmyr region of Siberia. The best of the best fur comes from the tail of the male and is harvested only in the winter months. This precious commodity is shipped to Europe, where it is shaped into the world's finest brushes by skilled craftspeople.
The firms that make artists' brushes love to convey the impression that their Kolinsky fur comes from a land where balalaika music wafts over the permafrost. In reality, these days, most Kolinsky fur is harvested in farms located around Harbin, in China. (I'm not sure how many Kolinskys are still scuttling around the Kola Peninsula.)
Thanks to stringent new regulations, when fur items come into the United States, the American Fish and Wildlife Service tracks the fur to its point of origin. For some reason, the Chinese have been telling the FWS that the Europeans got hold of all that Kolinsky fur illegally, even though that's not true. The Euros imported it on the up and square, as they have always done.
So...who or what do we blame here? Do we blame the FWS? Or do we blame China?
It is possible that the Chinese are hoping to get into the business of manufacturing fine Kolinsky brushes, and that they want to drive those ancient European firms out of the market.
If so, fat freakin' chance. Producing truly top rate brushes on a routine basis is something that a company cannot accomplish in a single generation. These fur-tipped implements are hand-shaped by gen-yoo-ine masters. A good brush can be a fine work of art in and of itself.
I know what you are now dying to tell me: "Fur is murder! Use synthetics."
First, there is such a thing as justifiable homicide. Second, Kolinsky hair is harvested from the tail. It grows back in a year. The animal does not die.
Third, synthetic brushes just don't work the same. I have used synthetics -- the Winsor & Newton "University" series is nice -- but they don't last. If you're inking a comic book, you are lucky if a synthetic gets you to page 10. A great Kolinsky is a lifetime investment. It's an extension of the artist's hand -- of his or her mind.
My favorite brush in the world is a French beauty called the Raphael. Quite expensive, she is -- but worth it. (You'd be nuts to buy one from anyone other than these guys.) Even in the larger iterations, she comes to a point so sharp it could cut diamond. A Raphael knows where the stroke should go before you do. Back in the early 1980s, I went without food for nearly two whole days to buy a Raphael.
The second best brush is the venerable Winsor & Newton series 7, the preferred tool of Queen Victoria. The Series 7 is superb, but the Raphael is the quintessence of mysticism.
If you want to buy American, consider the inexpensive Kalish. (The brushes are actually made in Ireland.) They don't transport you into the beatific realms, but they do the job -- for half the price.
The truth is, I personally do not need any more Kolinskys. My collection, which came together in better days, includes two sublime Raphaels. One should use them only while playing John Tavener's The Veil of the Temple or the "Transformation Music" from Parsifal. On Christmas Eve, if you listen close, you can hear those two Raphaels sing Il est né le divin enfant.
So I'm good. But what about younger artists? Are they doomed to nylon, thanks to an infuriating spat between the Chinese and the FWS?
This will not stand! In previous posts, this blog denounced the romanticization of revolution. But damn it, some things are worth fighting for!
(We'll get back soon to the Ukraine thing. As if anyone's still interested in that.)
Because she's a political sociopath, Joe. No hype, I really mean it. Watch the Khadaffi killing video. Came after Iraq was well steeeped in bloody anarchy. Believe Hillary has spent one moment in regret for her war vote on humanitarian grounds?
You're too much the gender egalitarian. Feminist neolibs are sociopaths. There is no difference between W Bush playfully leaping around the stage looking for unfound WMDS and Hilly the Feminist Sociopath Clinton. It won't keep the majority of "progressives" male and female from voting for her.
posted by Ken Hoop : 4:16 PM
Why do people continually blame Hillary Clinton for the mess made by the men?
Joseph...you said..."First, there is such a thing as justifiable homicide. Second, Kolinsky hair is harvested from the tail. It grows back in a year. The animal does not die".
Ok, maybe to set up your joke you put reason number one, as reason number two, but, kind of makes me worry a bit.
Joseph, I could probably purchase a mid 90's top of the line S-VHS video machine, a top quality VHS Tape, an old microphone, and make a better voice demo tape than many people are making on the latest, compressed audio doo hickey.
But who is going to go back in time and get those things?
Ken, your comment about Hillary Clinton is unfair. Most of the people who are in Obama's inner circle she did not pick. If Hillary Clinton ges to pick her own people, she's probably going to be a tenderhawk, which is much better than being a chickenhawk.
To hold a truly fine tool is a magical experience. It not only becomes an extension of your hand, but there is a synergistic relationship where you can do better work than you knew you were capable of... that is if you treat the tool as a partner, not a servant. But the bean counters and paper pushers have destroyed the world in which such a thing can come into existence anymore. I treasure my grandfather's hand tools.
"... something that a company cannot accomplish in a single generation." Profound words Joseph. Keep the dermistid beetles away from those brushes.
For something to live, something else must die. Captive sables are a renewable resource. Nylon is not. And hydrocarbons will ultimately kill us all in the end.
posted by CBarr : 7:20 PM
[pedant] The Kola Peninsula is not in Siberia. [/pedant] :-)
posted by b : 7:27 PM
B, you're right. I mis-wrote. Kolinskys are (or were) found on that peninsula and in the Tajmyr region of Siberia. I will correct.
Cbarr, you understand. My larger point isn't just about brushes. It's about craftsmanship. Whatever your field of endeavor, there's probably something you love that isn't made quite as well as it used to be.
Of course, some things that are better than ever. Desktop computers are AMAZING right now, compared to the way they were a mere three years ago. But who is buying them?
I live in a small rural town in a ninety nine year old house. Just finished remodeling a seventy year old house. All the old wood is close straight grained without knots. Every item of metal is three times thicker than anything you can buy today. And objects were made to be beautiful as well as functional. The cork insulation in my attic needs updating though.
Fine old woodworking tools are extra special. They were made by craftsmen for craftsmen to use. Luckily a few people are keeping that tradition alive, but so much inter-generational knowledge has been lost.
I saved your link for Raphael brushes. With the completion of the house project my life actually lays before me once again. And I actually might need some new brushes. Hopefully the feds can get this sorted out. At the very least there is hope the European market may be enough to keep traditional manufacturers alive. If the Chinese make everything then what’s everyone else supposed to do? Sell houses to one another?
“Fur is murder!” I’ll bend over backwards to do my part to help maintain healthy wildlife populations. All individuals have defined life spans. Populations should be timeless, and are the rational focus.
Speaking of computers, my five year old laptop died, leaving me with my twelve year old desktop. The time it takes to load and scroll web pages is numbing, but enlightening. It is the advertisements which burden every page like ticks on a hound. And even after all the ads are in place they still suck the memory. It’s not because the website is sending info to my computer, but because my computer is sending info back to the advertisers! Google Analytics seems to be one of the hungriest parasites.
I was stunned to see Hillary make the Hitler comparison. Putin’s confronting neo-Nazis who commandeered a country on the western Russian border. Why make such an absurd bassackwards statement? Hillary knows what’s really going down in Ukraine. What’s her game here?
And the America population is either numb to the all the machinations or fooled into cheering the headlong rush into the next war. Seems we learned nothing from Iraq. It’s truly maddening to witness.
On what other blog can one learn about all things spooky, Tarzan movies, and fine paint brushes?
posted by CBarr : 11:28 PM
The spying on senate staffers thing may not be quite as bad as it sounds. This incident took place on CIA supplied computers provided for senate staff in a room in Langley. CIA searched computer history after the senate staff were finished, and found that the staffers had printed out a classified document. CIA guys weren't supposed to have done it, but it's not quite like hacking computers in Senate offices.
State Rep. DuWayne Bridges (R-AL) declared, “School shootings, patricide and matricide are due to the Ten Commandments not being displayed in schools and other government buildings.” Bridges also said, “The Tenth Amendment [sic] was adopted before the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea because Moses didn’t get to cross the Red Sea.”
One often meets "Christians" who claim to revere the Old Testament yet have never actually read the book. In the past, these pious folk got the gist of the key Biblical narratives stories from the religious epics produced by C.B. DeMille and other Hollywoodites. Alas, today's southern-fried zealots seem to be so jacked up on caffeine (or worse substances) that they no long possess the ability to sit through all four hours of the Charlton Heston version of The Ten Commandments. If DuWayne had seen the movie, he would know that Moses got across the Red Sea just fine.
At any rate, I don't know what the parting of the Red Sea has to do with the "Tenth Amendment."
What, exactly, is DuWayne trying to say here? His inability to express himself comprehensibly does not give one great confidence in his state's educational system. However, I think he intended to convey the idea that any school which does not display the Ten Commandments in each classroom will probably experience mass shootings, patricides and matricides.
So I can only presume that there must be shoot-em-ups every single day in French, British, German, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish and Swiss schools, because the classrooms in those nations have never displayed the Ten Commandments. Why, the blackboards must be caked with bloodstains.
Let me ask my European readers: What is the school day like in your country? Do you quake with fear every time your children return home from their classes because you know that they've taken lessons in how to off Mum and Dad?
Personally, I favor the Republican from Virginia's grand bit of oratory when he called pregnant women 'hosts.' Even though, he said, some people refer to them as . . . mothers. Must be a fan of Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale.'
Surely a statement to win hearts and minds. For decades.
Jindal needs to do another speech on "the party of stupid" because the GOP has rolled right off the rails and Peggy Noonan is weeping.
posted by Anonymous : 10:35 PM
Not unlike the NRA blaming gun violence on video games...like all those countries also don't play video games. When will we accept easy access means frequent use and misuse? Didn't intend to change topics, just thinking of Mr.Heston I guess. I miss Phil Hartman's voice.
posted by Arbusto205 : 11:18 PM
What a complete and utter tool! A careful reading tells anybody that it was the Second Amendment which was handed down because Moses never got to cross the Delaware.
posted by Anonymous : 7:34 AM
Wow, that's pretty terrible. I wonder how many of his constituents even are aware of his mistakes in that sentence.
I was guessing he meant to say 10th "commandment", not amendment, but either way it still makes no sense whatsoever.
Ukraine: Did a "Northwoods"-style covert op create the crisis?
Okay, here's my bottom line -- and it's bound to piss off many of you.
I don't like Obama, but I don't think he is a War Guy. Right now, he may be the only thing keeping the hawks from having their way.
The war drummers have reached a volume that Buddy Rich could only dream of. Obviously, that drumbeat is pushing the national debate toward the right, toward militancy. But it is also intended to make one specific person -- Barack Obama -- march toward the battlefield.
Many of you will scoff at the notion that Obama is the drummEE instead of the drummER. Well, perhaps you're right. Perhaps I'm wrong.
Let us recall that, in the early 1960s, lefties scoffed at those who suggested that JFK was a Peace Guy, despite the hawkish things that politics often forced him to say (and occasionally do). We now have a fuller picture of the pressures placed on him to invade Cuba during the Missile Crisis. Had he done so, had he been a real War Guy (instead of someone who occasionally had to talk like a War Guy), you and I probably would not be here. At the time, no-one in America knew that the Soviets had placed tactical nukes on the island -- which the ground-level commandeers were told to use at their own discretion. Those nukes would have been used against an invading force. Inevitable result: World War III.
Fortunately, JFK was not a War Guy. Those who insisted otherwise were wrong.
Let's hope that the ultra-cynics are also wrong about Obama.
It's pretty clear what these people want: A new Cold War. Maybe even a hot one.
Note that this same article also takes Obama to task for not going to war against Assad of Syria. Apparently, the editorial board of the WP doesn't give a damn about the will of the American people -- who, according to all the polls, did not want Obama to intervene in Syria. The hawkish elitist neocons who run our propaganda factories apparently don't have much tolerance for this whole "democracy" thing.
Don't listen to Obama's Ukraine critics: he's not 'losing' – and it's not his fight
The ‘do something’ pundits rear their heads. Just like they did on Iraq, Afghanistan and every other crisis of US ‘credibility’
Cohen scores the agit-prop promulgated by the neocons who have commandeered our opinion-making outlets. One of his targets is Julia Ioffe of The New Republic, whom I lambasted a few posts down.
Let’s start here with Julia Ioffe of the New Republic, a popular former reporter in Moscow who now tells us that Putin has sent troops into Crimea “because he can. That’s it, that’s all you need to know”. It’s as if things like regional interests, spheres of influence, geopolitics, coercive diplomacy and the potential loss of a key ally in Kiev (as well as miscalculation) are alien concepts for Russian leaders.
Isn't it amusing that the nation which formulated and still adheres to the Monroe Doctrine -- let me repeat that: The nation that formulated and still adheres to the fucking MONROE DOCTRINE -- now feels that it has the right to tell Russia not to interfere in a country on her border? A border state that was once part of the USSR? A border state run (until recently) by a democratically-elected leader who was forced from office by our own CIA, working in alliance with neo-Nazis?
If hypocrisy were an acid, this new formulation could burn through every floor of the Chrysler building and then sink into the bedrock for half a mile.
Here's a simple way to tell which stories about Ukraine are non-propagandistic: If a writer mentions Victoria Nuland and her machinations, that writer is probably worth reading. Scan for the Nuland name: If you don't see it, caveat lector.
Here's a piece which doesn't mention Nuland directly, but does get to the heart of the matter...
How oblivious or arrogant do you have to be to spend $5 billion dollars destabilizing a country (the actual total is undoubtedly much higher), have your diplomats caught on tape planning a coup, bring a gang of fascist thugs to power on Russia's doorstep--whose first order of business is to outlaw the Russian language, conduct a purge of opposing parties, threaten the Russian-speaking population, threaten to restore Ukraine's nuclear status and provoke and threaten Russia non-stop... and have the *balls* to lecture anyone about interfering? Oh, add to the pot that you have done the same exact thing in several other countries in the past few years alone. It simply boggles the mind.
That may be the best short paragraph on this crisis written in English so far.
Let's take this into "Northwoods" territory. Students of covert warfare may appreciate the argument made here:
On 23 February of this year in Kiev there took place a coup d'état in which armed neo-Nazi militants surrounded and took over Parliament and forced the parliamentarians, under duress, to replace the elected government with opposition figures who were supported and promoted by the EU representatives and the US State Department. Representatives of the party of the overthrown government—the Party of Regions—were threatened into resigning.
What provided the rationale for the coup d'état was the killing of demonstrators by uniformed snipers, blamed on the previous government. The overthrown president, who has since fled to Russia, was accused of mass murder, and the new government demanded his extradition (a dumb move, since Russia's constitution forbids extradition). But there are serious questions about this interpretation of events: the special forces were never issued rifles and were never ordered to open fire on the protesters; there were quite a few special forces members themselves among those killed; the killings were carried out in such a manner as to incite rather than quell protest, by targeting women, bystanders and those assisting the wounded. The killings were followed by a professionally orchestrated public relations campaign, complete with a catchy name—“Heaven's Hundred” (“Небесная сотня”)—complete with candlelight vigils, rapid clean-up and laying of wreaths at the scene of the crime and so on.
Unfortunately, this name has a nasty antecedent in the “Black Hundred” (“Чёрная сотня”), which was the name of a coalition of anti-Semites and ultra-right-wing nationalists back in 1905...
The writer goes on to compare these events to the Reichstag Fire. Frankly, I've heard rather too many things compared to the Reichstag Fire over the years, but in this case, I can only nod in agreement. Sometimes you've just gotta go with the cliche.
The killing of those demonstrators does seem fishy. Did American covert operatives gin up a new version of the Amritsar massacre? I'm not convinced, but I'm certainly persuadable.
Comparisons to the infamous Operation Northwoods document have also become something of a cliche. Still, under these circumstances, it would be criminal not to bring up that precedent. "The special forces were never issued rifles and were never ordered to open fire on the protesters..." Although I'm pretty sure that they did have arms, I question the rest of the story we've been told.
Is “regime change” in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative “regime changers” of Official Washington and their sophomoric “responsibility-to-protect” (R2P) allies in the Obama administration? Have they dangerously over-reached by pushing the putsch that removed duly-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych?
Unless Obama is completely bereft of advisers who know something about Russia, it should have been a “known-known” (pardon the Rumsfeldian mal mot) that the Russians would react this way to a putsch removing Yanukovich. It would have been a no-brainer that Russia would use military force, if necessary, to counter attempts to use economic enticement and subversive incitement to slide Ukraine into the orbit of the West and eventually NATO.
This was all the more predictable in the case of Ukraine, where Putin – although the bête noire in corporate Western media – holds very high strategic cards geographically, militarily, economically and politically.
I think it fair to conclude that forces within this government want war, or at least a new Cold War. Once again: I'm well aware that certain of my readers will argue that those forces must of necessity include Obama himself. We can argue the point until the cows come home, but only time will tell. (That last sentence was composed to demonstrate this blog's new "sometimes you've gotta go with the cliche" policy.)
Let's return to the issue of Ukraine's destabilization.
There is one huge difference between Prague in 1968 and Kiev 2014. The “Prague Spring” revolution led by Dubcek enjoyed such widespread spontaneous popular support that it was difficult for Russian leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Aleksey Kosygin to argue plausibly that it was spurred by subversion from the West.
Not so 45-plus years later. In early February, as violent protests raged in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and the White House professed neutrality, U.S. State Department officials were, in the words of NYU professor emeritus of Russian studies Stephen Cohen, “plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.”
We know that thanks to neocon prima donna Victoria Nuland, now Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, who seemed intent on giving new dimension to the “cookie-pushing” role of U.S. diplomats. Recall the photo showing Nuland in a metaphor of over-reach, as she reached deep into a large plastic bag to give each anti-government demonstrator on the square a cookie before the putsch.
More important, recall her amateurish, boorish use of an open telephone to plot regime change in Ukraine with a fellow neocon, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt. Crass U.S. interference in Ukrainian affairs can be seen (actually, better, heard) in an intercepted conversation posted on YouTube on Feb. 4.
The call is on freakin' YouTube. Anyone who wants to can listen to Nuland at any time of the day or night. Yet all reference to that revelatory chat is excised from our mainstream media, and even from most of our alternative media.
U.S. meddling has been so obvious that at President Barack Obama’s hastily scheduled Friday press conference on Ukraine, Yats’s name seemed to get stuck in Obama’s throat.
Obama doesn’t usually stumble like that – especially when reading a text, and is normally quite good at pronouncing foreign names. Perhaps he worried that one of the White House stenographic corps might shout out, “You mean our man, Yats?”
There are bound to be fissures in the international community and in the Western alliance on whether further provocation in Ukraine is advisable. Many countries have much to lose if Moscow uses its considerable economic leverage over natural gas supplies, for example.
And, aspiring diplomat though she may be, Victoria Nuland presumably has not endeared herself to the EC by her expressed “Fuck the EC” attitude.
Aside from the most servile allies of the U.S. there may be a growing caucus of Europeans who would like to return the compliment to Nuland. After all does anyone other than the most extreme neocon ideologue think that instigating a civil war on the border of nuclear-armed Russia is a good idea?
How come we're not seeing these common-sense observations anywhere in our major media? This level of press control is stunning.
It is indeed "stunning". I'm glad you took a look at Robert Parry's Consortium News, He is the only journalist that agreed with my observation that Obama has been played by the Neo-cons embedded in his administration.
Let's see if, like the Syrian gas weapon crisis, Obama can negotiate instead of going to war. I sure hope so.
Joseph, I think that your assessment and that of Dojo Rat, is good. Obama may be a tool of the banksters, but he is not a war monger. I also think that he’s constantly aware of the fate that befell JFK and MLK.
Barack Obama has not shown himself to be a strong leader. He entered office with very little experience under his belt. He can be expected to give up his bargaining positions in any negotiations. I really can’t think of any time that he has truly used the power of his presidency. Just as the CIA assumed that the young new president JFK could be gamed to go along with the Bay of Pigs operation, it would seem likely that Obama could be gamed into doing the same with Ukraine. The gambit almost worked with Syria after all. With the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy showed himself to be stronger than anyone expected. Obama lucked out in Syria and was saved by Putin. The relationship is different this time in Ukraine.
The clumsy heavy handed actions of Nuland do demonstrate arrogance on the part of the neocon faction. Maybe they just thought Obama to be such a push over that they could get away with murder and got careless. I also think that in their arrogance they badly underestimated Vladmir Putin. Only Americans with their ameri-centric world view would create such a clusterfuck on the Russian border. Did they really want to restart the Cold War or was it just blind delusion? They seem good at tactics but poor at strategy. The rest of the world can see what’s going on. Despite the opinions of our pundits, Putin greatly increased his stature with these decisive actions.
Yanukovych ordering snipers to kill unarmed protesters never made sense. That would be the act of someone desperate to retain power at any cost… not the act of someone preparing to flee across the border. The killing of innocents as a false flag action is the most reasonable explanation.
posted by CBarr : 1:53 AM
I'm a regular reader of your blog and a skeptic of the Western narrative on Ukraine. But we shouldn't overreach.
Nuland's, shall we say, indelicate call doesn't show her plotting a "coup d'état." Some context is needed. At the time Yanukovych had offered a power-sharing government; opposition leaders would be allowed to take up high, if largely formal, positions in government. Nuland was talking about whom she wanted to see in that government. She didn't want the former boxer because she thought he was - pardon the pun - a lightweight.
The call shows interference. It shows a degree of meddling the U.S would never own up to publicly. But not a coup d'état. And anyway, the opposition rejected the power-sharing offer, if anything showing that the U.S., while seeking to shape that government, had no means of forcing its creation.
More damning in the call - and no one I've seen has pointed this out - is the way she says "Yats" should be talking to the boxer and the leader of Svoboda, the fascist party (that now controls the ministry of defense and so many other positions), "4 times a week." Again, that's our diplomat saying Yats should be in near-daily consultations with a neo-fascist.
Maybe she meant that the phone conversations would be a way of placating the neo-fascist after his being denied power. That's a charitable interpretation. But keeping open that kind of channel between upper-government and a neo-fascist would be so dangerous. In any event, what Nuland didn't say on the phone call - has never said - is that this neo-fascist is a menace and should be kept as far away from power as possible and denied the trappings of legitimacy.
That says a lot about the way she, and America, calculates. No principle, just strategy, with all eyes on the overarching goal of sticking it to Russia and guiding Ukraine like a captured meteor into orbit around Europe.
These people just don't care all that much that neo-fascists are on the ascendance. That's what the call reveals. The cynical bastards.
posted by Anonymous : 2:32 AM
Maybe take a look at Oleksandr Turchynov's connection with Semion Mogilevich.
It was the Israelis (who held two posts in the Georgian cabinet) who egged on the Georgians to invade South Ossetia in 2008. (Does it sound crazy that the Israelis held two posts in the Georgian cabinet? Click here to confirm.)
posted by b : 6:16 AM
Joseph, thank you for showing me OpEdNews. Robert Parry has there an essay which lays out the whole situation; What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.
The parallels with the JFK presidency are striking. JFK was struggling to wrest control of U.S. foreign policy away from other factions of the government, and resorted to secret communications with Khrushchev and Castro. Obama is at odds with his mongrel foreign policy team and has been dealing privately with Putin to help solve issues with Iran and Syria. Parry sees the neocon overreach in Ukraine in part as an attempt to drive a wedge between Putin and Obama.
One needn’t postulate CIA involvement to explain the sniper shootings of innocents. Seems that many different groups have their fingers in this revolutionary pie. The neo-fascist elements in Ukraine should be quite capable of making this calculation themselves.
posted by CBarr : 10:25 AM
OF course the Parry article was first posted on Consortium News. Lack of diligence on my part to not see that.
posted by CBarr : 11:01 AM
I don't like Obama, but I don't think he is a War Guy.
1) unrestricted drone warfare in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan - including the extrajudicial murder of American citizens
2) covert military action in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and God only knows where else
3) a proposal for overt military action in Syria that was only thwarted by massive Congressional and popular opposition
And he's not a "war guy"? He's much worse than a "war guy" - he's a war criminal.
posted by Propertius : 1:01 PM
Stunning and depressing, Joe. I've been reading the alternative explanations of what went on and continues brewing in Kiev and throughout Ukraine. And as is usually the case there are many moving parts with US fingerprints galore, neocon and transnational corp. agendas whipping up general chaos and confusion.
Btw, for all my criticisms of Obama, I agree: the man doesn't strike me as pro-war. There was great disappointment and anger when POTUS didn't strike in Syria, took the exit the Russians offered. He actually surprised me; I thought sure we were trotting right the Yellow Brick Road, missiles in tow, Raytheon stock soaring. The Israelis and Saudis were fuming. Beyond the arrogance and recklessness, maybe part of this neocon interference was payback.
On the other hand why isn't Victoria Nuland unemployed after her foot-in-mouth moment? How dangerous are those 'cookies' she's been passing out?
The more I read, the more questions I have. The propaganda fog is impressive. Although the GOP praising Putin as a symbol of 'true leadership' is amusing. You can imagine if a Democratic minority were howling in this vein; the Republicans would be leveling charges of treason.
posted by Anonymous : 1:44 PM
I think a big factor in deciding not to pepper Syria with cruise missiles, was Russia's sending a missile cruiser into the Mediterranean as well as upgrading Syria's air defense system. It might have proven rather embarrassing if our cruise missile barrage were shot down out of the sky.
posted by CBarr : 6:47 PM
Joe, you really believe Obama could have outfoxed IDF guy Rahm in Chicago? Vetted, made. Abbas early on said Obama pulled him out on a limb with his people three times and cut off the limb all three. Believe Netanyahu was surprised? Vetted made.
posted by Ken Hoop : 7:20 PM
Sharp analysis anon 2:32! Please post more frequently.
posted by Arbusto205 : 11:31 PM
Nice post JC. I would only add Michael Hudson's analysis to round it out:
This post may seem odd. Odd, because a great deal is happening in the world of politics, and a non-political Sunday post feels irresponsible. And it's odd because blogging is often a confessional avocation, making it a bit hypocritical for a blogger to argue in favor of privacy.
No, this isn't another NSA diatribe. In this piece, I want to talk about a different aspect of privacy: The social aspect. We have forgotten the advantages of keeping oneself to oneself. Hiding oneself is a virtue which our culture needs to rediscover.
The immediate impetus for this post was this Salon interview with a woman victimized by "doxxing." This slang term refers to personal information placed on the internet by enemies or pranksters. In this case, "Elizabeth" has had sexualized photos -- created for the enjoyment of a former boyfriend -- placed online. Now they are being ogled on sites devoted to "non-consensual porn." Such sites, one might argue, constitute a kind of rape.
I feel awful for this young lady. Nothing said here should be construed as blaming the victim. I have zero sympathy for those monsters who have bedeviled her. But...
...well, read the following:
I woke up one morning and I was not able to enter either my email or my Facebook account. I’m a very scatterbrained person, so I thought I forgot my passwords. But then, when I got back into my email, it was filled with 300 or 400 emails, which were just your market variety dick pics to “you’re a fucking slut” to “I hate you” to, lastly, a few, “I’m sorry, can I help you?”
It could have been my ex-boyfriend who did it and tried to smooth over his tracks by messing with my email. It could have been someone who had followed me online [hacking into my email]. There are a lot of porn sites where you can upload normal Facebook profile pictures and names of a person and say, “I think this girl is hot. Can anyone work on her email for me?” They make tasks that then hacker guys use as exercises.
This passage says all sorts of troubling things about our culture, including a problem that many readers may not have noticed. It is now assumed that any hacker who gains access to an attractive young woman's email will discover nude images or images involving sexual acts.
In other words, it has become expected -- almost mandatory -- for our daughters to get naked in front of a camera. Every girl does it. The first nude shot has become one of the standard stages of development: Her first bra, her first kiss, her first sexual encounter, her first nude photo, her first on-camera act of fellatio. A girl is now considered weird if she doesn't hit those markers.
I'm older than many of you are. Do you have any idea how freaky this culture seems to me?
Nobody ever accused me of being a blue-nose. Jeez, I grew up with hippies. Downright debauched, I am. (Or was. After the beard turns grey, fiendishness isn't as easy as it once was.)
During my training as an artist, I took several classes with live models who were quite naked, and happy to be so. I'm old enough to recall a time when art was the only socially acceptable way to display the naked body.
How strange things are now! How things have changed!
An oil painting of a nude woman, no matter how skillfully executed, is considered embarrassing -- bad taste. In the art world, noses have turned a shade of deep blue that Maxfield Parrish could never quite reach. Nudes are acceptable only if the artist advertises his honesty by painting bloated, unattractive people (see: Lucien Freud) or if the artist depicts hunky men. (The guys who run New York's gallery scene always have a soft spot for images of the latter kind -- although "soft" may not be the right word.)
And yet nudity is everywhere. We live in America the Nude. Today, the only place a young woman may not go unclothed is on a canvas.
Allow me to make a shocking suggestion -- and remember, I am not blaming the victim. Do not scry moralism into these words. I'm not being judgmental; I'm simply talking strategy.
Get ready to be outraged...
The best way to assure that nude photos of yourself do not escape "into the wild" is for those nude photos not to exist.
"But..." (I hear some young woman out there saying) "...those shots were meant only for my boyfriend!" If he's your boyfriend, he probably already knows what you look like.
You do not need to be naked in front of a camera. Honest. You really don't.
NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE SHARED!
If you have a beautiful body and you want to preserve some record of it, why not form a partnership with someone who knows what to do with a kolinsky paintbrush? In the old days, great things came of such collusions. You could end up in a museum instead of a scummy "dox" site. If you want to do nudity right, that's how to do it.
If you feel compelled to pose for a camera, why not keep those shots well away from the internet? No email, no attachments, no wifi, no ethernet, no nothin'. Think hard drives and jump drives. Yeah, I know: That way of thinking is so 1999. But y'know what? Things were safer then -- more controllable. Anything "internetized" stands an excellent chance of becoming uncaged.
And that brings us to a related topic: All of that information you younguns feel compelled to share on Facebook. Stop it. You can't be doxxed if you keep mum.
Facebook is a completely unnecessary part of your lives.
I know that the preceding sentence seems heretical or surreal, but it's really true. Not long ago, I heard of a woman who was near tears because Boyfriend A placed a sentimental birthday greeting on a public page where it might be seen by Boyfriend B. How to avoid such problems? Simple: Don't use Facebook.
Or, at least, be very circumspect in how you use Facebook.
NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE SHARED!
In the old days, diaries had locks. But even then, the keeping of a diary was a foolish act, because the locks were flimsy. A wise man once said that anyone who keeps a diary secretly wants to have his or her words read by an eavesdropper. That's why I never kept a journal.
That's also why I try never to let passersby see the books I'm reading. If they see your reading material, they've seen you naked. Arguably, that form of nudity is naked-er than nakedness itself.
One encounters "the privacy problem" even in daily conversation. Talking is supposed to be a form of communication, not self-expression. Dialogue is not a brain dump.
Just because an idea pops into your brain doesn't mean it has to seep out between your lips.
I can't count the number of times I've encountered people who seemed downright insane because they insisted on spewing out a reference to something far removed from the other person's experience. When you speak, try to understand that your listener is not in your head and does not have access to your memories.
If you see a short person, you don't have to mutter the name "Dinklage." Seriously. You don't need to say it. If you do, you're an impulsive idiot who feels compelled to vocalize every stray synaptic connection that ought to stay locked within your cranium. And if you feel that you absolutely must blurt out that name, make sure that you do so only if you are surrounded by people who know who the fuck Peter Dinklage is -- because even though the guy's a damned great actor, not everyone has seen Game of Thrones. Someone who can't place that name is going to think you've gone batty if you say "Dinklage" out loud for no discernible reason.
Just because an idea pops into your brain doesn't mean it has to seep out between your lips.
We need to reconfigure our entire culture around this message: Silence is good. Privacy is good. Keeping oneself to oneself is good.
Sharing one's innermost self is not always good. Sharing should be done with thought and care. Sharing is for your intimates -- for the people with whom you say tu, if you are French.
And that brings us back to the unfortunate young lady who had those intimate photos spread to a community of scoundrels. The introduction to her Salon interview contains this troubling passage:
I decided to interview Elizabeth, a European currently studying in America, as a means of going deeper on the topic. At her suggestion, we spoke via Skype for greater intimacy, because she tends to get emotional when talking about her experience being doxxed — and indeed she did. At a few points in our conversation — notably when talking about the ways her future has been limited by her harassers — she had to pause to collect herself or wipe tears from under her eyes.
(Emphasis added.) There she goes again, poor girl. The same mistake, made in a different way.
"Elizabeth" has yet to learn that there are many types of porn (a point once made by James Joyce, of all people) -- including emotional porn. Why would anyone conducting an interview for public consumption deliberately seek intimacy? Let's put the matter crudely: What is the difference between placing your nipples on display and placing your tears on display?
Arguably, tears are more private. In ancient Egypt, respectable women painted their nipples gold and went topless in public, but they did not weep in front of just anyone. Weeping is not supposed to be a spectator sport. Tears are for your friends and family.
Alas, at some point within my lifetime -- in the 1970s, I think -- our society decided to toss aside that important lesson.
When young men and women learn the virtue of privacy, of not sharing, then fewer people will feel invaded and degraded. Brigands cannot easily invade your inner sanctum if you keep it guarded. It's easy to make fun of those who are, by nature, reserved and taciturn. But such people are less vulnerable.
In this piece, I want to talk about a different aspect of privacy: The social aspect. We have forgotten the advantages of keeping oneself to oneself. Hiding oneself is a virtue which our culture needs to rediscover.
If only your blog didn't expect commenters to sign into Google by default...
All kidding aside, Joseph, I'm also a few years older than you. Despite a long career at the cutting-edge of high tech, despite having been on the Internet since it was still known as the ARPAnet, despite having had email longer than my 40-something wife has been alive:
I don't FaceBorg.
I don't Twit (and make no mistake about it, that's the proper term).
I use Google pretty sparingly through a VPN to obscure my IP address, I block banners, ads, trackers, etc., and I use a search fuzzer to generate enough search chaff to make their analytic processes difficult (though clearly not impossible).
I honestly can't imagine why anyone would want a FaceBorg account.
As Lambert over at Corrente likes to say, if you're not paying for the product (and sometimes even if you are), you are the product.
posted by Propertius : 2:43 PM
I dunno. I think the real story here are the guys who harassed the girl. Back when I could afford to indulge in it, I was very pro-nudity. Skinny-dipping, sheer clothing, pictures, you name it. I co-edited a zine that always featured a male centerfold...and we editors sometimes punctuated our own page with clothing-optional snapshots.
I'm with you, tho, on the journals. Baring one's inner self is another matter...but I understand why writers do it and feel the coward for my revelatory reticence.
Also, never ever tell people your dreams. There are some that speak enough of its metaphorical and punnish language to understand what the message was!
ps- Propertius, this blog allows one to enter their own name or nym. I love that option and never participate in those places that require some other account.
posted by prowlerzee : 3:36 PM
Facebook or (as a contributor to a British Ex-pats forum calls it) Arsebook , appears to be as big an addiction as any drug or alcoholic drink. Overdoing it has similar effect on one's inhibitions it seems.
I'm glad I'm old, so don't have the temptations of 2014, and the urge to Arsebook. The youth version of "keeping up with the Joneses" is so strongly felt, has always been, but the net has to intensify it greatly. I'm another of your readers older than you Joseph, much older I think (was born same year as WW2 -British version!) Am I revealing too much? ;-)
Google has merged all their accounts. If you have a gmail account and haven't logged off, posting here will automatically apply your name from the g-account, irregardless of which identity option you've chosen.
posted by CBarr : 4:10 PM
Well, let's see if that's true about gmail and evil Google. I access my gmail through Thunderbird, unless I'm unable to get to my own computer, in which case I muddle through pure, unmediated gmail. Thunderbird is always signed in, since the mail keeps coming through without my intervention, yet I think I'm going to be showing up here under my preferred name. If not, I'll try not to be too embarrassed.
posted by CambridgeKnitter : 11:01 PM
Joseph, Agreed. I do have a question though. What can you do on facebook that you can not do using email or texting or messaging? I am not being flip. I am not a facebook user so I am clueless about facebook. Margie
posted by Anonymous : 12:33 AM
I am not sure if you have heard of the women who had no nude pictures but were photoshopped onto/into them and then placed on these rape sites, which as you accurately pointed out. Anonymous took one guy to task recently for his behavior. Evil women hating hacking monsters exist. He has ruined the lives of more than one innocent woman.
posted by Anonymous : 1:26 AM
Loose lips sink ships.
It's not rape. Rape is rape. This is not rape.
It's not really doxxing either, I believe the term is "revenge porn".
This is nothing new. Have you ever heard of posture photos? This used to be official policy at many American universities. Clinton did it. Supposedly they've all been destroyed now.
When keeping a diary, keep it in code.
Emotions are like shit, not inherently wrong but better not done in public.
I am a rock. I like rock. I don't use facebook. It's bad enough having a phone.
We are being inundated with "new Cold War" propaganda right now. Inundated. We're drowning in the stuff. I should hold a contest to allow readers to send in their own picks for the most over-the-top anti-Russian diatribe.
Right now, I would say that the most outlandish example is this piece in -- wait for it! -- the New Republic.
Yep. The ostensibly liberal rag that led the charge against Bill Clinton (back in the days when it earned the title "The Newly Republican") is now serving up the kind of shit that hasn't been shat since the first Reagan administration. Apply clothespin to nose and take note...
Russia, or, more accurately, Putin, sees the world according to his own logic, and the logic goes like this: it is better to be feared than loved, it is better to be overly strong than to risk appearing weak, and Russia was, is, and will be an empire with an eternal appetite for expansion.
No. That's America you're talking about.
That "better to be feared than love" formulation? It became a staple of right-wing commentary during the 70s and figured into Reaganite speechifying (albeit in a softened form, with the word "respected" standing in for "feared") throughout the 1980s. We heard that sentiment incessantly in the aftermath of 9/11, especially from the kind of people who felt comfortable using terms like "Freedom fries." You still encounter that "no love" formulation a great deal if you spend much time on the right side of the blogosphere.
Does anyone doubt that 95% of the people in the Pentagon -- and 100% of the attendees at any given Republican National Convention -- would agree with the statement that "It is better for the US to be feared than loved"?
We need a new word to describe what The New Republic is doing here -- a portmanteau word that combines "hypocrisy" and "projection."
Now let's talk about an "appetite for expansion." Oh really? Just which country has spent a truly absurd amount on armaments? Which nation recently wound down two wars it should never have become involved in -- wars that cost trillions and murdered millions?
Let's get to the meat of the matter. Just which of this globe's many nations has, over the past 60 years, routinely used covert action, bribery, propaganda, psyops, and ginned-up pseudo-revolutions to bring about regime change (or to prop up friendly despots) throughout the planet -- most recently in the Ukraine?
Any honest evaluation of the history of the CIA and the KGB will tell you that our spooks have been infinitely more aggressive and audacious than have their spooks.
Even if Putin does send a massive number of troops into Ukraine, by what right may we complain? Ukraine is a nation bordering Russia and was once part of the Soviet Union. It has many ethnic Russians. It's a nation in which a democratically-elected government was toppled by indigenous fascists and "protestors" who received a CIA payoff.
We had far less right to be in Vietnam or Iraq than Putin's forces have to be in Ukraine.
How dare any American president give lectures on the concept of sovereignty? Look at the list of countries in which we've interfered: Iran, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, the Philippines, Afghanstan -- well, one could go on for quite a while. The list of nations we have left alone is, in fact, far shorter. William Blum's Killing Hope tells the story.
Moreover, we did not noticeably complain when Boris Yeltsin -- a drunken American toady with single-digit approval ratings -- bolstered his popularity by launching a brutal war in Chechnya. In fact, Bill Clinton compared Yeltsin to -- get this! -- Abraham Lincoln.
So who is the Russia "expert" who contributed such an absurd agit-prop piece to the Newly Republican? Her name is Julia Ioffe.
I think we should keep an eye on her.
The neo-conservatives who write for right-wing publications are important, yes, but their influence is limited. When you see a byline like "Ledeen" or "Podhoretz", you know what to expect. For the most part, their influence extends only to their ideological confreres.
More pernicious, perhaps, are the neocons who sneak their wares into mainstream, moderate or liberal venues. (Or, one may argue, into a Democratic presidency.)
A while back, I told you about a journalist recruited by the CIA who, during the Carter era, functioned as a Moscow correspondent for a major publication. The Soviets had this guy pegged from the get-go, but the American public had no idea that he was spooked up.
Time to name names, and damn the consequences.
The writer was Christopher Wren, and his publication was The New York Times. I heard about Wren's CIA recruitment from an old chum of his.
Is Julia Ioffe of a similar nature? I don't know. I do know that one of the publications she writes for is the Washington Post.
(The Soviet allegation against Wren is mentioned in Carl Bernstein's classic expose on CIA infiltration of our media, for which one named source is none other than David Atlee Phillips. Although Bernstein dismisses the charge against Wren, my own information is that the Soviets had that one right. Bernstein's still-relevant piece is mandatory reading, or re-reading, if you want to understand the propaganda barrage we are undergoing right now.)
Interesting timing for all this. With the Olympics, the anti-Russian propaganda machine was able to get up and rolling before Ukraine was even in the headlines. And now they can just dust off the old anti-Russian playbooks.
The United States has been on a war based economy ever since Pearl Harbor. We are addicted to war. I share your disillusionment Joseph. It's like being the parent of a meth addict. You can try and try to change the situation but eventually you have to cut loose, protect yourself as best you can, and be there to help if it ever again becomes a possibility. But it's quite sorrowful to accept that most likely all is lost.
posted by CBarr : 7:59 PM
Saddam Hussein is dead, Osama Bin Laden is dead. The War On Terror just isn't cutting it anymore. Gotta have a Boogeyman. Gotta have a Boogeyman. Vladmir Putin fits the bill nicely.
posted by CBarr : 8:12 PM
During the Olympics in Russia, Sixty Minutes ran two surprisingly hostile pieces about Russia. I did not understand the timing, but now I do.
When I recall the pieces Sixty Minutes has done that are simultaneously inspirational chronicling how absolutely poverty stricken countries create youth orchestras by creating musical instruments out of garbage, I see the other side as well. How can we as americans ever feel we have it bad after watching those inspirational pieces.
Is Sixty Minutes part of the Government propaganda clique?
The Olympics is a major publicity opportunity for the host country which usually goes out of its way to avoid any negative perceptions surrounding the event. Not only did the Russian Winter Olympics provide the anti-Russian rhetoric a head start, it also helped delay the Russian response to the U.S. sponsored Ukraine coup.
These things don't just happen by accident.
posted by CBarr : 9:22 AM
For more of calling people out on their shit: http://www.salon.com/2014/03/01/thomas_friedman_supreme_toady_also_shameless/
Billmon is writing again. Two posts about Ukraine on Storify.
(and humorous is not the opposite of serious)
posted by CBarr : 9:47 PM
Though I've learned not to expect much from TPM anymore, I read the two articles that Josh Marshall linked to as being particularly insightful. The New Yorker article by David Remnick provided insights into how messed up the Ukrainian government was under Yanukovych, but showed a blatant anti-Russian slant and stooped to give bogus keyboard-psychological profiling of Putin to explain his motives.
The New York Times article by Charles King gave itself away with the image of a boot print as its lead. There was an appearance of impartiality but this sentence tells all you need to know; "... the immediate task of diplomacy is to rescue Ukraine from the consequences of its accidental revolution."
This revolution wasn't "accidental." Any analysis that doesn't mention Victoria Nuland is bogus. With her "Fuck the European Union" phone conversation with the US ambassador in Kiev, and her boasting that the U.S. spent five billion dollars to destabilize Ukraine and foment this coup, it is plain as day what went down in Kiev. Propaganda is truly the word to describe what the U.S. media is promoting.
My personal schedule has not allowed much time for blogging. More than that: My heart isn't in it.
This country may be gearing up to make an Iraq-sized historic mistake, vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine. What to do, what to do?
Whenever we face an "historical error" moment, a flight-or-fight response takes over: Either I spend every spare second trying to help right the course, or I retreat off into a corner to watch old Humphrey Bogart movies.
At this time, what sane person wouldn't rather be watching Bogie than watching the news? Obama has never been quite so infuriating:
“We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,” Obama said, speaking at the White House. “Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing.”
If Russia had paid Mexican rebels billions of dollars to overthrow the Mexican government, you bet your ass DC would send troops down south.
Meanwhile, John Kerry says the elections don't insure democracy. At first, I thought his statement was exasperating, but on deeper reflection, I can't really disagree. After all, we have elections in this country -- but do we have true democracy?
If we had a true democracy, whistleblower organizations would not be reporting mysterious break-ins.
The majority of the American people don't want the NSA and the CIA to be doing the kinds of things we now know they are doing, such as practicing psy-war on the American people (as detailed a few posts down). Democracy and psy-war are incompatible.
Do you honestly think that the majority of the American people want the government to eavesdrop on our Yahoo webcam conversations? True, the afore-linked article references eavesdropping by the UK's GCHQ, but everyone knows that GCHQ and NSA work closely together.
In 2009, polls indicated that a bare majority of the American people backed a Canada-style single-payer health system, yet that idea was not even considered in the health care discussions. Isn't democracy supposed to have something to do with the will of the majority?
Those are just four examples which indicate that John Kerry may well be right in ways that he did not intend. He wasn't talking about our own country, but he might as well have. In America, we have elections, but elections don't guarantee democracy.
Come to think of it: If we had a true democracy (instead of a "Diebold democracy"), then John Kerry probably would have been elected president in 2004.
Perhaps this writer has it right: Our compromised democracy may be sliding toward fascism without totalitarianism.
As my title implies, I do not regard fascism and totalitarianism as synonyms. The proper way to view matters is that a very pernicious form of fascism (and of course, the word fascism implies it's pernicious) can exist without totalitarian control; if totalitarianism implies near-total government control over people's lives, it strikes me that government can do a particular sort of grievous harm to its subject population--harm that fully merits the term fascism-- while still falling short of totalitarian dominance. Perhaps the best way of viewing this is that fascism inevitably tends in a totalitarian direction (because excessive power, by a well-documented psychological dynamic, always strives to tighten its grip, often to the point of overreach), but it can often achieve its toxic purposes--and arguably, achieve them more effectively--without any need for total control.
Before giving needed historical justification for my applying the F-word to current circumstances, I wish to pinpoint two practical implications of the fascism-totalitarianism distinction: one alarming and the other quite hopeful. The alarming part is that fascism can fool a nation's people and have them deeply in its grip before they've even noticed--largely because they've confused fascism with totalitarianism, and falsely conclude they're fascism-free because daily life isn't (yet) totally under their government's thumb. The hopeful part is that because fascism can exist for some time without totalitarianism, people can (if sufficiently awakened) still retain enough freedom to fight back and reverse their nation's fascist course. I think ALL these characteristics--except, scarily, the sufficient awakening--exist in today's United States.
So fascism is essentially a cancer on democracy, and would not exist without its modern democratic host. Which brings us to the quintessentially modern means by which the fascist spreads: mass propaganda, as enabled by modern communications media.
It's in its absolutely central reliance on mass propaganda that fascism proves its incestuously close relationship with democracy, for a weakened democratic body is the only kind fascism's cancer can grow in. (Not that there aren't truly awful regimes that were never in any sense democratic; my point is that they're simply not fascist.) So far from true is Americans' smug assurance "It can't happen here" that one with far greater justice identifies ours as exactly the sort of society where, if democracy fatally weakens, the cancer of fascism can thrive. Our long brainwashing by electronic media advertising has in many ways been our grade school for graduation to fascism, and it's especially sobering to realize that Goebbels learned much of his satanic bag of tricks from American advertisers.
Quite simply, it's too potentially dangerous--and too disreputably messy--to control large modern populations (especially ones that believe in democracy) by force, so mind control through mass propaganda (and its Siamese twin, censorship) has become the preferred modern means of tyranny. Since fascism is the modern version of tyranny, mind control through mass propaganda, transmitted by modern electronic media, is an essential defining characteristic of fascism. Not that sheer force is outmoded; quite the contrary, it's essential to fascism. But force against the domestic population, when not applied to official scapegoats (see below) is reserved almost exclusively for dissidents uncontrollable by propaganda.
I've already quoted too much; the entire piece is thought-provoking and definitely will reward study. The point is made: If John Kerry and Barack Obama want to argue that elections do not guarantee democracy, then why are they interfering with Ukrainian politics? In our own country, elections may soon become nothing more than the attractive package that fascism comes in.
In centuries past the wealthy could always go out and find a "terra nullius" -- a country empty except for a small population of savages, and therefore worthy of the moral improvement that comes with foreign conquest and pillage -- the Spanish in South America, Belgians in the Congo, the English in India and China, the US in the Phillipines. Of course, those lands are no longer far away and they are are no longer "terra nullius" (they never were). The lies that sustained those exploitations are unsaleable in a modern, connected world. So there has to be a new way for the rich to exploit established nations. The methods are twofold:
(1) Denounce a country as a rogue state and either invade it or install your own leadership group (Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Venezuela).
(2) Where such denunciations are impossible (eg developed Western nations and the EU) then sell the lie that a good economy and national well being can only happen when the State has been removed from every aspect of social and economic life. The national assets, the environment, and the citizens themselves will then be open for "development" and "free markets". Only when the State as a buffer against the worst forms of predatory capitalism has been removed can the philosophy of "terra nullius" be established in a modern form and the nation looted.
This is where we are at with these Libertarians and Beltway courtiers and their cheap definitions of the individual and the State -- we are untidy and disposable obstructions to the last great rush of colonial looting by the rich of this world.
The method is simple and unremitting: deny the legitimacy of the State to act on behalf of its citizens. Where it does operate effectively for all citizens then destroy it. Leave the forms of democracy as public theater while the key mechanisms such as the army and the courts are used to serve an economic and political elite. At all times keep up the appearance of a functioning democracy. Public displays of the right sentiments are they key.
posted by alex : 7:01 AM
There was never any idea of India as a terra nullius. When Clive took over Bengal it had a larger population than the UK does now.
Part 1: I have been of the belief that the neo-cons that have burrowed into the State Department are working against Obama, to undermine him and continue on their global destabilization plans. This is the textbook realization of "The Shock Doctorine". One journalist that supports this view is Robert Parry, who points out that the Reagan-inspired and mis-named National Endowment for Democracy is behind the Ukraine operation.
I also believe that this is Obama's "Bay of Pigs" moment. His embedded neo-cons have sandbagged the U.S. into a dangerous gambit that is perhaps destined to fail, luring the U.S. into a wider conflict. I sure hope not. But if I am right, Obama, like Kennedy, could pull back and seek diplomacy. Of course, we all know what that got Kennedy.
Cheney, Rumsfeld and Richard Perle must all be having a collective orgasm right now.
The Russians will never give up their naval port in Crimea. Best case scenario is that it becomes an independent country supported by Russia. Additionally, Germany has won Ukraine, as with much of their WW2-era goals. Neo-Nazis are flooding into Ukraine to save the white race:
Understand this, Joe. The American-Israeli Empire fears most a Eurasian Union creating a friendly axis arching Deutschland and Mother Russia. It will use moronic "neo-Nazis" and any other force available to prevent such. Some of the "neo-Nazis" now are objectively "pro-Jewish" in that they tell Israelis they approve of and will support on coming to power Israel's racist policies and ask only that Israel allows its fifth column in the West "white Europeans and European-Americans" the right to formulate their own solidarity campaigns without being called racist. Of course a Eurasian/National Bolshevist coalition supports Freeing Palestine. Get the picture? Apply that geopolitical reality to the ruling classes running the government here. Bingo! Oh, and Preident Obama? You say the "international community" demands Russia stay out of Ukraine. Beg your pardon-China makes no such demand and China is the largest member of the real international community. You speak for a decaying empire, Barack, not the international community. And you have betrayed your Palestinian friends in Chicago, just as Rahm knew you would.
posted by Ken Hoop : 2:23 PM
Ken, I see no immediately apparent Israeli interest in Ukraine, and I oppose a knee-jerk response that everything one does not like must somehow be Israel's fault.
Syria? Now THAT I could see. Assad backs Hezbollah; Israel naturally wants rid of Assad and will make various deals with various devils to get the job done. There we have a story that makes sense.
But Ukraine...? It's a little more difficult to make a case.
That said, we know from the strange case of Anders Breivik that the neo-Nazis of Europe have s strange new attitude toward Israel.
Great article to link to, thanks for that. This brings into light another issue I have privately stewed about for years.
Google, Youtube and Facebook do not take phone calls from the public. This arrogance leads to higher profit margins which makes their stock more valuable.
And yet, virtually all brick and mortar buildings in the past allow for some type of phone communication with the public.
Having said that, I do appreciate the google blogger software that is available to bloggers for free.
It's kind of like painting Darth Vader as the ultimate bad guy even as he allowed those cute lil ewoks to roam freely on the death star, who eventually helped to overthrow Darth Vader, (have I got my Star Names correctly identified?)
Sorry I was called away; you should see a meaty post here later today (I hope). In the meantime, I direct your attention to this article by Brent Budowski on Bill Clinton, who is leading the Democratic charge in the 2014 mid-term elections.
Yes, it's a partisan puff-piece, one which never mentions the discomforting truth that Clinton may campaign in areas where the far-less popular Obama is unwelcome. But consider these words about our current political state:
Many Americans warmly smiled when former first lady Barbara Bush said “I love Bill Clinton.” The respect and affection between former presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush is genuine and very American. It hearkens back to an Americanism dating back to the early republic of Jefferson and Adams, which voters would greatly value today, when political opponents collaborated with mutual respect to advance national interests.
The mudslinging attack by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) against Clinton is a textbook case of why Kamikaze Republicans lost national elections in 2006, 2008 and 2012. Voters are disgusted by this lowball brand of GOP politics, practiced by politicians who look mean, shallow and small against a former president who is widely liked, admired and respected.
Ditto for Republicans addicted to what I recently called their “Benghazi disease,” which has left former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton towering above potential Republican opponents in polling for the 2016 presidential race.
My question is this: Has the low road, as defined here, truly failed? I would argue that the Republicans have been practicing scurrilous politics since well before Bill Clinton became president, and that the strategy of sleaze has often prevailed.
Today, Benghazism hasn't gained much traction for the GOP, and Rand Paul's (and Mitt Romney's) attempt to hoist the flag of Monica's blue dress did not make the party seem more attractive. Such tactics may inflame the troops, but will not increase their numbers.
Nevertheless, the "mean, shallow and small" approach must work -- otherwise, our default economic mind-set would be something other than neo-liberalism and our default foreign policy approach would be something other than neo-conservativism.
Yes, Democrats did win in 2006, 2008 and 2012. Moreover, I would argue that Democrat presidential candidates really won the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. But what about traditionally Democratic ideas?
Those have lost.
Budowski may have forgotten what happened in 1994, but I never will. That was the year when Republicans learned the true value of paranoia and rage. Consider this account by a Salon writer of a sad case of Fox News addiction:
My father sincerely believes that science is a political plot, Christians are America’s most persecuted minority and Barack Obama is a full-blown communist. He supports the use of force without question, as long as it’s aimed at foreigners. He thinks liberals are all stupid, ignorant fucks who hate America.
I don’t recall my father being so hostile when I was growing up. He was conservative, to be sure, but conventionally and thoughtfully so. He is a kind and generous man and a good father, but over the past five or 10 years, he’s become so conservative that I can’t even find a label for it.
What has changed? He consumes a daily diet of nothing except Fox News. He has for a decade or more.
Democrats have become accommodating squishy-conservatives while Republicans have had their brains transformed into vats of flaming bile. When an allegedly "Democratic" president spends eight full years eschewing Keynesianism while failing to heal the economy (and that's the Barack Obama story in nutshell), the public may see no alternative but to back the candidate favored by an army of bile-brains.
I share Budowski's admiration of Bill Clinton, but I cannot share Budowski's optimistic view of the American public.
I know terms like mind control and brainwashing carry connotations of conspiracy theory, but when I step back and look at the mass media in this country, those are really the only terms I can think of to explain the stranglehold they have over the population. Until we can engage Americans in an honest, comprehensive debate of topics on their merit as opposed to continuing to appeal to people's base instincts, we'll never fix what's wrong in this country, or the planet for that matter.
And this element who truly now exist in an alternate reality, have stockpiled weapons and ammunition. Rwanda comes to mind.
posted by CBarr : 11:27 AM
Joseph, how can you be admiring of Bill Clinton after his passive complicity in the stolen election of 2004? The winter following that he was palling around with Poppy Bush as if nothing were wrong--when he should have been leading the charge to put W in jail.
posted by Anonymous : 12:59 PM
If we played a game where someone picks and number between 1 and 10 and then we had to see who came the closest, if you picked 9, I would choose 8. That is what is going on with the Democrats, Republicans are so far over the edge that Democrats want to be just a little closer to the middle so they can win. If Republicans choose 9, Democrats think they would be crazy to pick 2.
the olds are living longer and FOX knows this and caters to their fears was visting aunt myrtle she has FAUX news on constant tried changing the channel but she just switch it back.
posted by Anonymous : 5:47 PM
@CBarr - The movie Hotel Rwanda is my go-to reference when I'm talking about the damaging effects of an out of control media apparatus, and I think the comparison between the far-right media elements in this country and the role played in the Rwandan genocide can't be overlooked.
I'd like to add that I'm no robot, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what the twisted letters are in the confirmation box when I'm trying to leave comments here.
posted by Anonymous : 6:14 PM
joseph 2:43 By that logic, if the Republicans were all jumping off a cliff, you'd want 98% of Democrats to jump off the cliff. If the Republicans wanted wars with 7 countries, the Democrats should want war with 6 countries; if the Repubpicans wanted to cut education budgets by 99%, the Democrats should want to cut the budgets by 98%.
You wouldn't be getting the Beltway virus, would you?
Barbara Bush's love for Bill Clinton, and the respect and affection between former presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush predates their leaving office.
Before Bill Clinton was president, and even before H.W. Bush was president, H.W. Bush was Reagan's Vice President. While serving as VP, H.W. Bush was tapped by DCIA Casey to run the Iran-Contra "Enterprise".
The "Enterprise" needed a base of operations within flying distance of Nicaragua, and Bush needed assets in place to provide political cover for the operation. Cargo plane equipped with extra fuel tanks could reach Nicaragua from Texas and Louisiana, but Bush found the political assets he needed in place, in Arkansas.
posted by Anonymous : 10:30 PM
Joseph 1994 is explained in one word - Waco. No one talks about this, but I was working with elected officials in Texas at the time - I watched Ann Richards crash and burn over Waco and Waco-rage; that was the birth of the modern rightwing fringe.
The phenomenon has never been fully acknowledged in mainstream circles, but anyone who was there on the ground in 1994 knows and remembers.
Waco was a giant turd in the punchbowl of American politics - it set up GW Bush and worse over the next 20+ years. I don't blame Clinton - there's blame to go around and he deserves some - but you gotta understand Mount Carmel to understand everything after . . .
I really have suffered complete total Clinton burnout, once called "Clinton fatigue" by the media. You know, I supported Bill Clinton when he was going through all of that crap with the far right during the impeachment/coup attempt mess, but now I just wish he would go away and retire from public life. Hillary Clinton also needs to retire from public life. Her husband is just too high maintenance, too needy, and feels he has to be "out there in public" all the time. She needs to put him on a tight leash from now on and keep him out of the public eye. I frankly am sick and tired of neoliberals in both political parties spouting off b.s. about how this is a "global economy" and "globalism" this and "globalism" that. It's just code for a "race to the bottom." "Globalism" or neoliberalism or libertarianism is the ruination of the country, of the world, and I can't stand to hear one more word from people who would sell the Democratic Party down the river to help the financial elites and multinationals.
Bill Clinton has a LOT to answer for. He needs to apologize for his ruinous welfare "reform," his sellout on trade agreements, and his refusal to veto Glass-Steagall repeal (the Gramm bill, I believe it was with the repeal within it). Without an apology to the American people for these travesties, I don't want to hear anymore from him or from Hillary.
Some intriguing tidbits in these comments about Waco and the Iran-Contra Enterprise's connection to Arkansas.
I have no doubt that Fox News poisons minds...the sickest thing, tho, is not how the Dems are 8 to Rethugs' 9 but how the "progressive" news stations think the answer to Fox is to become them. When I first saw Rachel Maddow's show that everyone was raving about I was sickened by her smarmy smug delivery of the same but flipside partisan crap.
If we don't get a news station that discusses topics, subjects and laws in terms of their import and impact on Americans, as opposed to their impact on the popularity of this or that personality or figurehead, we're doomed. It's all celebrity approach and sports-team approach and outrage porn approach, all the time.
What anon 9:54 said.
Brent Budowski? Pass. Brent was marshmallow flavored vodka before there was marshmallow-flavored vodka.