OK I saw it too today and thought of all the people like these knaves who heaped merde on the truth tellers. Pile on!
Oh! I would except Bernanke from the passenger list. IMO he just happened to be on the manifest yesterday. pl
OK I saw it too today and thought of all the people like these knaves who heaped merde on the truth tellers. Pile on!
Oh! I would except Bernanke from the passenger list. IMO he just happened to be on the manifest yesterday. pl
"The adversarial relationship between Mr. Trump and the Spanish-language news media, which has simmered publicly since he announced his candidacy in June, boiled over on Tuesday at a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa, when the candidate erupted at Jorge Ramos, the main news anchor at Univision and Fusion, when he tried to ask a question without being called on. Mr. Trump signaled to one of his security guards, who physically removed Mr. Ramos from the event.
“Don’t touch me, sir. Don’t touch me,” Mr. Ramos said, as he was marched out of the room. “I have the right to ask a question.”
Mr. Ramos was eventually allowed to return. But for the Spanish-language press, which has grown in size and influence in politics, the tense exchange was a highly public flexing of muscle against a candidate who many outlets no longer pretend to cover objectively: They are offended by Mr. Trump’s words and tactics — and they are showing it." NY Times
I watched the Trump-Ramos imbroglio this morning and I would agree with the Morning Joe crew and Donald Trump that Ramos was WAY, WAY out of line.
Ramos who has fixed and parochial views on all things related to Latinos in the US, traveled to Iowa and attended, uninvited, a Donald Trump presser in a Trump hired hotel meeting room where he stood up while Trump was answering another reporter's question and began to harangue Trump on Ramos' favorite agenda:
- You cannot build a sufficient border barrier.
- You cannot deport 11 million illegal immigrants.
- You cannot stop "birthright citizenship."
- You cannot change the constitution.
- I am a reporter. I have a right to question you.
- I am an immigrant and a citizen and you must listen to me.
None of this was expressed as question. It was all accusatory diatribe. Well, pilgrims, Ramos does not have a RIGHT to ask anything of Trump or anyone else and to demand a response. He was at a private meeting, paid for by Trump. Trump is under no obligation at all to accept this kind of ethno-centric harangue from someone who, IMO, has no respect at all for the American political process or American law if it is inconvenient to his ethnic brethren. He behaved in much the same way toward President Obama, calling him "deporter in chief."
Ramos may be a citizen of the United States but, like a lot of non-Latino media people he needs to learn how to behave himself in the context of AMERICAN society and to accept the idea that journalists DO NOT determine our political future.
What Ramos has done is win more votes for Trump. pl
In this episode of "The Newshour," we have evidence of cracks in the usually seamless nature of the policy collective.
- Susan Rice ( 13:34 ) makes a clear eyed and (for her) impassioned defense of the Iran nuclear agreement.
- OTOH we have the baying of a panel of the "usual suspects" assembled evidently for the purpose of having Judy Woodruff feed them "set up" lines so that they could declaim against the deal. (20:30)
Michael Haydon's denunciation of the deal was a bit of a surprise, but of such material are generals made these days. Perhaps he is not on good terms with Hillary or simply thinks that she will implode eventually, weighted down by her plasticized campaign and that Obama will be succeeded by a faithful servant of Natanyahu.
Sandy Berger made a few fitful attempts to inject just a little balance into the discussion but was treated with barely concealed disdain as a perhaps "reformed" kleptomaniac. (Berger was apprehended some years ago while trying to steal documents from the US National Archives.)
Woolsey is a long time, big time neocon operator and Dennis Ross, well, he is on record as being a faithful son of Israel. (They, are, he said, my people.)
IMO The Newshour has become the most sophisticated mechanism in the hasbara network. Gwen Ifill is an excellent reporter but she is really fronting for the controlling interest there.
The Borg is splitting over this. How much farther will the cracks spread? pl
If you missed this episode of Larry Wilmore's "Nightly Show" I recommend you watch it all the way through. Here we have a group of Black comedians discussing the phenomenon of the "Trans-Racialled" White woman who until last week portrayed herself as Black and who was the head of the Spokane, Washington branch of the NAACP as a Black woman. Among the interesting things about her now known are the lawsuit she brought against Howard University as a graduate student for discriminating against her as a White woman and the hate mail she sent herself in Spokane.
This morning on Fox News a psychiatrist tried to tell the morning news crew that it is a bad thing for people to tell themselves that they are what they feel themselves to be. Given the current mania in the US for self-determination in identity that idea clearly frightened the news people and they did their best to shut him up. pl
"And that leaves the ISF and the PMUs. Both are already overextended. Baghdad's units are currently fighting at Bayji, Hamrin, Ramadi, and dozens of other places. They will be tied up protecting Baghdad and the Shia pilgrimage routes during religious periods including Ramadan (approximately June 16-July 16), Ashura (October 22), and Arbaeen (December 2). ISF simply lacks enough operational combat brigades to handle so many operations at once, especially as ISIS opens up new fronts to deliberately drain away reinforcements and as attrition grinds down Iraqi forces yet more." WINEP
Timing is everything in war, timing, psychology and logistics.
The author of this essay correctly states that it is the ISF and Shia PMUs that are over-extended and not IS. It is the ISF and Shia PMUs that have the need to defend numerous places and activities over the next months while IS has the luxury that is provided by a lack of threat of attack on its major centers. Because of this IS can choose the time and place of attack. We are told by Patrick Bahzad that Baghdadi (Caliph Ibrahim) massed forces at Ramadi by issuing a more or less public appeal for his Amirs and brethren to go there. Remarkable. No "five paragraph field order?" Somehow I think that there were planning documents somewhere in this process.
In any event, the ISF and Shia PMUs are playing the IO game well with the few cards they have. Uncle Joe Biden professes to love them still and the foreign press is being courted in the hope that they can be persuaded (along with their masters in the West) that the Iraqi government is still master of the game.
I have the luxury with which to watch endless 24/7 and other news. Luxury? Well, perhaps that is not a luxury. What I have seen is a succession of escorted trips by Nick Paton-Walsh, Arwa Damon, etc. to Habbaniya and Beiji. There they are told how brave the ISF and PMUs truly are. They are shown fighters shooting bravely from embrasures and roofs at what is said to be IS in the distance. After a suitable interval, the ISers reply with some fire, usually said to be mortar rounds and the thirty or so Shia fighters shuffle out of the place, get into their trucks and motor off to the south, Baghdad and the comforts of home.
Once there, the foreign devil reporters (well, maybe not you, Arwa.), are questioned on air about all this and repeat the lessons they have been taught on the class trip. One increasingly detects (or imagines) doubt on their part as to what they have been shown, but indifference in the audiences has thus far shielded the IS effort from disdain.
Well, pilgrims, soldiers involved in serious fighting against serious enemies do not un-ass the position and run away because the opposition shoots at them. This is not how things are done. This behavior reinforces my belief that the ISF/PMU capture of Tikrit may have been a standard maneuver by IS to fix enemy forces and attention in one place so that one's own forces can be moved to another point (i.e., Ramadi).
And then is the matter of the method of use of armored (not armed) bulldozers at Ramadi. If I remember correctly the bulldozers were used to push obstacles to the shahiid trucks aside so that the suiciders could be on their way to paradise, rather than the bulldozers having been blown up themselves. After all, there are only so many armored bulldozers available while shuhada abound.
The media seem intent on not understanding what happens in Iraq.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior Iranian official, said Tehran was ready to help confront Islamic State, and he was certain the city would be "liberated".
Islamic State, which emerged as an offshoot of al Qaeda, controls large parts of Iraq and Syria in a self-proclaimed caliphate where it has carried out mass killings of members of religious minorities and beheaded hostages." Reuters
"Resistance is futile," proclaimed the Borg in an endless, mindless repetition of the ultimate in group-think. Today we have the policy Borg speaking with one voice. John Kerry in South Korea and USMC BG Weidly in Baghdad have the same talking points, exactly the same talking points.
Thought control became a priority for the US military after US policy (not the military) was defeated in VN. After much soul searching and rummaging about in the farther reaches of pseudo spirituality and science, the armed forces leadership stopped looking at such things as; spoon bending, fire walking and psycho-kinesis as expressions of non-material power and an explanation for defeat in VN and decided that we had simply been defeated at home in the media and because of that among the people. Clausewitz would have appreciated that thought.
An infamous essay called "Mind War" was authored in that time by Paul Vallely (Fox News consultant) and a strange fellow named Michael Aquino. Aquino was later notorious as the High Priest of the Temple of Set, a Satanist cult in California (where else?). This paper, written by this pair of half baked psychological operations reservists, somehow insinuated itself into the thinking of the US Army, then into all of the Defense Department until it came to be an article of faith that "Information Operations," (propaganda- IO) and "Kinetic Operations" (shooting people as necessary) were equally effective ways to wage war. This belief led to an exaggerated faith in the IO side of COIN (hearts and minds) and repeated attempts to change through persuasion the basic beliefs of the many different peoples of the earth who simply do not want to be changed by foreigners. As a result of this kind of thinking we have done all kinds of foolish things. Among them; we attempted to persuade the hard core Dawa Shia activist al-Maliki that he should be politically "inclusive" with Sunnis whom he regarded as the enemies of God and of his blood. We also situated outposts in totally hostile parts of Afghanistan next to villages from which our men would never be able to defend themselves. We were trying to be persuasively nice.
Worst of all it came to be consensual thought in the US government and among their co-opted media "friends" that it was normal to propagandize the American electorate in order to block political action intended to prevent or stop a war. This was an odd development for a country in which the United States Information Agency (USIA) was forbidden by law to direct its propaganda at US audiences.
That kind of approach took us into war in Iraq. The Republican Party is now trying to deal with the truth of that crime and their tribe of midget candidates is having a hard time justifying what their party did. Good! At the moment 76% of registered Republicans are shown by polling to think that the war in Iraq was a mistake. Good! Unfortunately it took a very long time for the Koolaid and BS to lose its potency.
We are still captives of the IO internal propaganda mindset and dogma. In Iraq, Syria and Yemen the US government in all its many parts continues to lie to us in order to control us. The government narrative is that all goes well. Defeat at Ramadi is nothing, "a momentary setback" is the theme propagated by the government while a minor raid in Syria is trumpeted as a distraction from the catastrophe that is now so clear to see in Iraq.
The most hurtful thing of all is to see an officer of the US Marine Corps, sworn to protect The Republic, stoop to lie to us from Baghdad in the service of WH talking points. Ah, but perhaps he believes the BS. When you are part of the Borg you eventually come to believe that the talking points are the only reality and that defeat is evidence of impending victory.
Locutas said that resistance is futile. Perhaps it is. pl
The Jon Stewart Show is the favorite of all the shows my wife and I watch. Stewart’s view of life: his determination to reverence the facts, his intense desire to be free of cant or popular falsehoods, his determination to be free of fad, his suspicion of the fashionable and the current, his determination to be truthful, no matter what the cost, make him a special delight for us.
Could anyone have deflated the pompous idiocy of the White House Correspondents Dinner with more deftness, or more skin peeling sarcasm than Stewart? When you have CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer standing there in his tux, facing the TV cameras, saying, “I can’t believe that I am standing here with Jane Fonda," one makes the effort to suppress the urge to puke. (My language is vulgar, I realize, but then, so is Wolfie.)
I know Judith Miller, the disgraced The New York Times journalist. I knew her socially in the 1970s when she was dating Larry Stern, an editor at The Washington Post. We made friends there. Judy is very good looking, a virtue she is very aware of, and which she uses to great effect. Men adored her. We used to have lunch and trade tid-bits but we were simply friends. She was a very hard worker, very ambitious and productive, and I always respected her until the advent of the 2003 war when she like Hillary Clinton, were fed, spoonful by spoonful, the bigoted second hand nonsense originating in the white House --- the allegation that Saddam Hussein was developing WMD. He wasn’t, and had not been since May of 1991, and the “intelligence community” knew it.
The ideal of the journalists with whom I have worked and have respected, is the reverence for facts, especially inconvenient facts. All of us have tendencies, habits, deep rooted beliefs that, if not corrected prevent us from calmly and critically evaluating the information our sources give us. Reporters are a bit like bees that alight on different blossoms until we can come up with a mixture of truthful facts to be used in a story.
"I also think we shouldn’t exaggerate the level of this military assistance. On one hand, you have the Saudis, who are leading a coalition of 10 countries who are attacking Yemen with warplanes. And the Iranians are potentially sending weapons, but I don’t think we should expect that these weapons are of the highest standard or quality, not because the Iranians don’t have them, but just they’re — as you said yourself, there’s so much scrutiny, it’s hard for them to physically bring these weapons to Yemen.
And then I have been in Yemen once. It is a country awash with weapons. So I also don’t know how many weapons the Iranians would actually need to send." Thomas Erdbrink on the Newshour
What do we know of Judy Woodruff? If you watch this and other tapes of her interviews that involve Iran a pattern is visible in speech and body language of a certain hostility to anyone who does not think Iran the land of Mordor in disguise. Her interview with John Kerry a few weeks back was particularly instructive. pl
"As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock." NY Times
We don't usually dwell a lot on US domestic politics on SST but this time...
Was this intersection of favorable developments for "Uranium One" and the Clintons corrupt? I leave it to you, gentle reader, to decide.
What interests me is the willingness of the mass media in the USA to talk about it. "Morning Joe" this morning featured a shouting match between Howard Dean (a Clinton man to be sure) and Joe Scarborough (tool of unseen forces) over the worthiness of the Clintons as reflected in this NY Times article and the Washpost article linked below.
Dean attempted to ignore the speaking fees collected by Bill Clinton from foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation in matters in which Hillary was involved as Secretary of State. This, and a soon to be published book on the subject, are sure to be damaging to HC's chance to become president.
IMO what is happening here is that the "unseen forces" do not want Hillary to be president. Her level of experience and intelligence would make her an unreliable "asset" in office. She would not be someone who could be easily "pushed." OTOH there are many among the Republican hopefuls who beg for election money and favor. Perhaps one of these is thought more controllable.
We shall see where the really big money goes. pl
"The emerging agreement in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price to pay for aggression - on the contrary, Iran gets a prize for its aggression," Netanyahu said.
"Moderate, responsible countries in the region, primarily Israel but other countries as well, will be the first to be harmed by this agreement," he added.
Netanyahu emphasized that he finds it impossible to understand how the powers at Lausanne are averting their eyes to Iran's ongoing aggression in Yemen, where Iran-backed forces are occupying more and more territory.
"But we [in Israel] are not closing our eyes, and we will continue to act against any threat," Netanyahu stressed." Haaretz
I wrote this earlier on my FB page. pl
"I just heard Joe Scarborough, mouthpiece of some strange group, claim that the reason Sunni Iraqis won't rise against IS is that the Iranian Quds Force is in Iraq and the Sunnis fear them more that IS. Joe's view ignores the fact that Sunni Iraqis hate and fear their own Shia dominated government and THAT is the determining factor." pl
Natanyahu's open mouth betrays much. Here is one example.
To be fair, the Saudis are doing much the same thing through several expensive PR companies. pl
"Capehart calls the two recently released reports of the Justice Department’s investigations into the killing of Brown and the underlying problems in Ferguson “must-read,” and he admits they, in his words, “forced me to deal with two uncomfortable truths: Brown never surrendered with his hands up, and Wilson was justified in shooting Brown.”
Adam L. Silverman
The ongoing Islamophobic attempts to promote the crack pot idea that the US and the US government has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood has found a new host - Glenn Beck (h/t Betty Cracker at Balloon Juice). Apparently Mr. Beck is concerned that Grover Norquist is really a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and, through his membership on its board of directors, has infiltrated the National Rifle Association. He also claims that he got the NRA Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, to undertake an investigation into Mr. Norquist prior to the board being reseated at the upcoming NRA Annual Meeting. While I don't agree with Mr. Norquist on much, no one deserves this.
So where does this latest bout of Islamophobia come from? It originated with former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, who has been accusing Norquist of being a member/agent of the Muslim Brotherhood for several years. This included trying to get Norquist banned from attending the Conservative Political Action Committee Annual Meeting a couple of years ago, which he believes, along with the American Conservative Union and the Republican Party, have been infiltrated by the Brotherhood. How did this start, you might ask? Norquist is married to Palestinian-American woman who is also Muslim. Who cares? Apparently former Assistant Secretary of Defense Gaffney does. Gaffney's vicious anti-Muslim prejudice* has caused quite a bit of trouble over the past several years. He was able to convince former Congresswoman Bachmann that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated five executive branch agencies: State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, and the White House. This was partially a circuitous attack on then Secretary of State Clinton as one of her then senior staffers, Huma Abedin**, was the target of Mr. Gaffney's allegations. As you can imagine hilarity ensued. And by hilarity I mean we all had to jump through our grommets answering requests for information explaining why our operations were not being soft on Islamic extremism. The amount of hours spent on this, across multiple departments, agencies, offices, and sections was a tremendous waste of resources. I spent several days helping the folks running my higher headquarters draft our portion of the answers to these requests. Now he's managed to pursue his personal vendetta against Mr. Norquist, via Glenn Beck, all the way to the NRA. Ordinarily a fight between two different types of conservatives wouldn't be of much interest, however, the Islamophobic conspiracies that Gaffney peddles contribute to the increase in prejudice and hate crimes against Muslim Americans, Muslim immigrants in the US, and those misidentified as Muslims (the Sikhs). As President Washington wrote to the Jewish community of Newport: "For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support." Its about time that the rest of us started living up to President Washington's understanding of the US.
* Anti-Muslim prejudice is actually a form of anti-Semitism, as Islam originated as a Semitic religion among a Semitic population. Because the term has become so tightly entwined with anti-Jewish prejudice this often gets over looked.
** Ms. Abedin is married to former Congressman Weiner.
Adam L. Silverman
This morning, just before I saw COL Lang's post about American Sniper, I read Matt Taibbi's commentary at Rolling Stone. Taibbi has a very interesting and insightful take into why the movie has been so popular. It relates back to what a lot of people - analysts, commentators, and just informed regular citizens - have identified as a problem in our ongoing experiment in self-government. American Sniper, like the war movies that came out in the years after the Vietnam War, allows Americans off the hook. As a result there is no need for deep politial or ideological self examination. There is also no reason to actually do anything to change the circumstances that allow for poorly conceived and ill advised adventures abroad and the ongoing degradation, at all levels, of self-government at home.
"Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism. The only thing that forces us to take it seriously is the extraordinary fact that an almost exactly similar worldview consumed the walnut-sized mind of the president who got us into the war in question."In reference to an actual revuew of the movie, Taibii also writes that "Griggs added, in a review that must make Eastwood swell with pride, that the root of the film's success is that "it's about a real person," and "it's a human story, not a political one." Well done, Clint! You made a movie about mass-bloodshed in Iraq that critics pronounced not political! That's as Hollywood as Hollywood gets."
"The thing is, it always looks bad when you criticize a soldier for doing what he's told. It's equally dangerous to be seduced by the pathos and drama of the individual solider's experience, because most wars are about something much larger than that, too.
They did this after Vietnam, when America spent decades watching movies like Deer Hunter and First Blood and Coming Home about vets struggling to reassimilate after the madness of the jungles. So we came to think of the "tragedy" of Vietnam as something primarily experienced by our guys, and not by the millions of Indochinese we killed.
That doesn't mean Vietnam Veterans didn't suffer: they did, often terribly. But making entertainment out of their dilemmas helped Americans turn their eyes from their political choices. The movies used the struggles of soldiers as a kind of human shield protecting us from thinking too much about what we'd done in places like Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos.
This is going to start happening now with the War-on-Terror movies. As CNN's Griggs writes, "We're finally ready for a movie about the Iraq War." Meaning: we're ready to be entertained by stories about how hard it was for our guys. And it might have been. But that's not the whole story and never will be.
We'll make movies about the Chris Kyles of the world and argue about whether they were heroes or not. Some were, some weren't. But in public relations as in war, it'll be the soldiers taking the bullets, not the suits in the Beltway who blithely sent them into lethal missions they were never supposed to understand."
Click on over and read the whole thing! And while you're there, if you haven't already, check out his writing on both the financial crisis and the criminal justice system. Make sure to catch his explanation of how turning the commodity markets into a casino helped to hugely inflate the price of gas. And treat yourself to his book and column reviews of Tom Friedman. WARNING: Do NOT eat or drink anything while reading the reviews of Friedman!
"... the question of England, specifically a political quandary known as the West Lothian Question that has long bedeviled Britain since Scotland, along with Wales and Northern Ireland, began going down a road of decentralization several decades ago. They established their own legislative assemblies and already enjoy varying control over a broad array of domestic policy, including education, transport and environmental matters.
In England however, Scottish, Welsh and Irish members of Parliament still have a say in how England is run, an arrangement that irks many conservatives.
“There's a public concern out there,” said Alan Trench, a constitutional researcher at University College London. “The English think they're being mistreated.” LA Times
A lot of people will find the idea of the English being mistreated to be ironically funny, But, as we say in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," that's history. Not many Americans know any history. That is why we mouth nonsensical, dismissive inanities of that kind. A recent poll indicated that many US citizens cannot name the three co-equal branches of the federal government. Many think that the president is absolutely in control and are therefore puzzled when he/she/it cannot make sweeping changes to reflect their own taste. I have been watching the Kenburnsian revision of history now being screened as "The Roosevelts, an Intimate History." It is an excellent production that reflects Burns' left wing convictions. The series implicitly argues for governance by a disinterested "progressive" elite "to the manor born." I doubt that the people who need to watch this not too subtle exposition do so. I may be wrong. Perhaps they contemplate such matters during the commercial messages broadcast during NFL games.
"Will the UK become a federated state?" It seems inevitable to me considering the renewal of "the '45," Welsh restlessness and the angst of the English, but, then, I know more history than is good for me. A better question might be, why should the UK not become a federated state? What would be lost in such an evolution of form of government? The monarchy would presumably be continued. The English could have regional parliaments somewhat like US state legislatures. In such a system the Scots, Welsh and Ulstermen might be content at least for a while. Perhaps a written constitution arrived at with the sovereign's consent might contain a Bill of Rights that forbade laws like the Official Secrets Act and the methods by which the press is blocked from publication of unpleasant things.
I say that while aware of the sad slide toward federal government supremacy happening in the US. Yesterday a madman climbed over the fence in front of the White House, rushed up to the front door and went in before apprehended. He was lucky that he was not shot before he reached the door. I applaud the restraint of the Secret Service uniformed branch, but today the media are criticising them for not having killed this man. Their adequacy for the job of presidential security is questioned. The thought that a prudent judgment about the threat actually posed by him was a good thing is absent from public commentary. Instead, the questions raised are all about further "hardening" the White House as bunker.
How would England be divided into regions? I do not know enough about the country to have an opinion. Literature, the "Hinterland" series on Welsh TV and an endless required exposure to UK TV at my house are not a sufficient basis for judgment, but I would like to learn what people here think of the question? pl
"Now it is up to Virginia lawmakers to shake themselves from their gauzy complacency and prove to Virginians that they have absorbed the lessons of the McDonnell debacle. If they fail to act, they will only compound Virginia’s disgrace." Washpost editorial 5 September 2014
One of the enduring phenomena of the Washington scene with its Washington Post sub-culture is the newspaper's unending hostility to the Commonwealth of Virginia. When I arrived here from the Deep North in 1958 this animosity quickly became apparent to me. I had never seen anything quite like it. Washington sits across the river, the city built on a swamp. It is now, as it has always been, bloated on federal government and lobbyist money and it looks with disdain to the south.
I was once on a plane making a southern approach on short final to Reagan National. The Masonic Memorial to George Washington was visible out the window. It looms over my Alexandria home. The New York City female transplant to DC sitting by the window said, "I wonder what it's like out there..." "Out there?" I responded. "You know," she said, "among them." I am now one of "them," and that anecdote sums up rather well the kind of attitude toward Virginia, the South, and "them" that has infested the Washington Post for a long time.
These days the creatures who inhabit the Washington Post staff have an unending chance to preen on MSNBC while riding their favorite hobby horses. The percentage of homosexual activists driving the choo choo train for "marriage rights" goes up and up on MSNBC as does the number of crazed feminists like Mika B, and the just flat crazy and ignorant like Chris Matthews and his buddy Mike Barnicle. The editorial staff and columnists of the Washington Post fit in just fine in that group. Ah, yes, and now the Washpost has found its conscience about the Redskins.
If the McDonnells had been tried under state law they would never have been convicted. You don't like that? Well good for you, son, good for you. pl
- The US 24/7 media circus is filled this morning with the bloviations of the Morning Joe types. Neocon enthusiasts like Dan Senor and Max Boot were brought on the show to agitate for US commitment to another war in Iraq. The claim is made that IS is an existential threat to the US. what are we, Israelis, to make such a claim? Boot quoted a supposed comment by Bonaparte to the effect that "if you start to take Vienna, then you should take it." One would think that Boot would have learned from his earlier cheerleading about the Iraq War that Vienna is a lot harder to take than might be imagined from his university based viewpoint. Joe Scarborough himself raved on. He cannot grasp the fact that the US is not the world's hegemon. He, and similar chickenhawks, yearn for such a role and have a very hard time believing that people will not simply obey an imperial ukase delivered from the White House. In regard to Europe today Joe suggested that if the EU countries will not obey us they should be abandoned to their fate. Clearly he sees all the world as made up of clients of the US. He is a simpleton. Tom Friedman was on this fool's show today to describe his recent interview with Obama. In the course of this exposition he tried to explain to Joe that he had learned in the last ten years of the limits of US power. Joe bellowed and carried on about that, trying to bully Friedman into saying that if only the US had armed the "secular, moderate, middle class" opposition to the Syrian Government then all would have been well. Friedman told him there really was no such available group then and even more now as Joan Walsh said on Saturday. "a moderate Syrian opposition fighter is as hard to find as a unicorn." Friedman said that Obama told him that the USG would be be arming far more FSA fighters if they could find them. At the same time McCain snarls his enmity for Obama on every available platform and the Old Lady from South Carolina predicts another 9/11 occurrence if IS is not destroyed immediately. Unfortunately some of the more simple among us are beginning to believe in the worldwide menace of IS. IS is intent on building a salafist state in the Arab World. We should resist that but yet more hysteria will not serve that purpose and we should take note of the fact that the same people who instigated the last war in Iraq are pushing for another major US commitment.
- The Yazidis are rescuing themselves from Sinjar Mountain with the assistance of US air strikes and a small number of Pesh Merga and Kurdish fighters from Syria. Some 20,000 Yazidis have made their way north into the Kurdish held NE wing of Syria. It seems unlikely that Erdogan will let them into Turkey since he is an ally of IS.
- There is an interesting contrast in the way the Richard Nixon gave up the US presidency peacefully in the Watergate crisis and the way Maliki now threatens a coup in Baghdad. Should there not be a lesson in that?
- The media are trying to make something of the CIA's executive agency in the direct delivery of armaments to the KRG. This is a big nothing. Specific US law permits delivery of military materiel to the Iraqi government but not to the KRG. By making the delivery a covert action under the authority of a presidential finding authorized by the National Defense Act, that legal problem is avoided.
- The claim is being made that a few US air strikes have halted IS advances oward Irbil. No. IS troops reaction thus far has been limited to taking their black flags off their vehicles, The two little towns that IS lost over the weekend are insignificant. pl
We now live in an age of 24-hour reporting of news and are being bombarded with innumerable bits of information and soundbites that need processing. IMO Twitter is by far the most onerous of these soundbite machines. This is a time of information saturation. Yesterday's news is being rapidly discarded in pursuit of the next new thing.
Wikipedia's entry offers a critical assessment of the phenomenon:
According to former journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, 24 hour news creates ferocious competition among media organizations for audience share. This, coupled with the profit demand of their corporate ownership, has led to a decline in journalistic standards.
With little time to react, there is little time for research, and the perpetual risk that somebody beats them to the story. So they run a story, even with incomplete information, which makes the news vulnerable to disinformation and propaganda. The result is a poor quality of reporting even without companies enforcing policy as US networks did by removing troublesome journalists for the crime of not sticking to network narrative.
With all that information around - a fact lost on many a twitterer - journalists need to have an a attention span beyond a 24-hour news cycle. It is hardly an impossible task: The internet makes yesterday's news available through tools like Google.
It's also entirely possible that the network felt Mohyeldin's objectivity had been compromised after witnessing such tragic violence up close. Or, fearing post-traumatic stress, felt he needed, emotionally, to be extricated from the war zone. But if that's the case, NBC should say it, rather than broadly claiming "security concerns."
The network has not responded to a request for comment." NY Magazine
"A spokesman for Hamas?" What more do you need to know? pl
"A Malaysian airliner crashed over eastern Ukraine Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard and sharply raising stakes in a conflict between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels in which Russia and the West back opposing sides.
The total number of dead in the crash near the Russian border includes 23 U.S. citizens, a Ukrainian interior ministry aide said. No other independent confirmation of the total was available. " Chicago Tribune
The lunatic "yellow" US media has immediatedly leapt into pursuit of the theory of a missile shootdown by rebel forces aligned with Russia. Like Obama and the R2P Harpies they seem to have no concept of the risk of provoking Russia into an irrationally hostile act towards the US. US DoD has stated that in spite of continuous surveillence of the scene they have no indications of the cause of this event. I will observe that we now have seen two Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft that have come to an ill end at approximately the same altitude. pl
Michael Oren was US born and educated in the "best" American schools that raw talent could reach and money could buy. He emigrated to Israel where he bacame a career IDF intelligence officer specializing in analysis of the United States. He is an apologist for the repeated and unproked Iraeli air force and navy attacks on the USS Liberty, a naval vessel engaged in collecting Egyptian military signals off the Sinai coast during the 1967 war. He served as Israeli ambassador to the United States. I was told by a senior CNN figure that Oren gave up his US citizenship before taking up his post as ambassador. That means that he had been a dual national while serving as an IDF intelligence officer.
Yesterday CNN announced Oren on the air by describing him as "CNN's Middle East Analyst."
Does CNN have a balancing Middle East Analyst or is Oren, an obvious Israeli agent, the whole story?
Can CNN still be considered an Americn news source? pl
"The Pentagon military analyst program was an information operation of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that was launched in early 2002 by then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke. The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing retired commanders for network and cable televisionappearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts;Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Pentagon's intent is to keep the American people informed about the so-called War on Terrorism by providing prominent military analysts with factual information and frequent, direct access to key military officials.[3" Wiki on the program.
Ten years ago this was a hot issue. The intention of the Rumsfeld Pentagon in that program was clearly to control and create the media delivered narrative with regard to the "Global War On Terrorism."
Is this happening again?
I watch a lot of 24/7 television news. This is a personal failing that I acknowledge freely. I fritter away my time in this way to "feed" my obsession with this blog.
We now have several very contentious overseas military crises; Boku Haram and the Lost Girls, Ukraine, Syria, a deteriorating politico-military situation in Afghanistan and the truly big "Kahuna," Iraq. The temptation must be severe among the Public Affairs squirrels to want to "handle' these problems by manipulating the message. After all, these PAO people have to justify their continuing existence.
In the last week I have heard several suspicious statements made on the air by retired US officers under contract to the media, statements that indicate to me that some sort of communication has been re-established between DoD and the media military "analysts."
On two occasions a retired officer said on the air that he had been in communication with "the Pentagon" and had been told the true story on Iraq. He seemed to think that was normal and that this injection of "the poop" into his knowledge base made his statements worthwhile.
On another occasion a retired four star general who works for a different network, described the 300 special operations advisers going to Iraq as "very mature, very skilled and capable of accomplishing their missions." This retired general never served in special operations, has never been particularly friendly towards special operations forces, and has no present contact with these forces. My question: how would he know all this unless he has been privately assured by the Obama Administration and DoD of what it is that he should think about "the advisers."
Does history repeat itself? Perhaps it does. pl
BREMER: I had been told we had to get the oil going because it was an oil-dominated economy. This was fairly straightforward. Unless you can get the oil going, you can`t get the economy going.
MADDOW: What Bremer and his team find when they get into Iraq is an oil infrastructure decimated by decades of war, sanctions, and corruption.
ROB MCKEE, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY: I was shocked when I got there about how undercapitalized it had been, how neglected it was.
BREMER: The oil fields were being held together by baling wire and duct tape, in some cases literally duct tape.
MADDOW: The day after Bremer arrives in Baghdad, the Bush administration draws up secret policy guidelines, which are later declassified, stating that the coalition will move to privatize state-owned enterprises in Iraq, including the oil industry.
BREMER: Oil was the lifeblood of the Iraqi economy. You got to get the oil going if you`re going to get the economy going. It was not something we were going for selfish American reasons or because we wanted more oil on the world market or all of these fantasies that people dream up. We were doing it because we were the Iraqi government." MSNBC
It has been my contention for a decade that the neocon drive to invade Iraq and revolutionize the Middle East has to be seen against a long US policy of maintaining energy flows out of the Gulf (that Gulf). That does not mean that the decision to invade Iraq was made by nefarious oil industry interests rather than by the Bush/neocon government.
It should be remembered that Saddam would have been more than happy to have UN/US sanctions against Iraqi oil production and exports relaxed so that Iraq could earn foreign exchange.
Maddow and MSNBC are relentlessly Left and anti-capitalist. She, Isikoff and Corn take every opportunity in this production to exonerate the neocons and blame the war on business. pl
"... let’s be frank as the New Year begins: This sort of relentless pessimism is destructive and, what’s more important, it’s inaccurate. We in the media pride ourselves on purveying bad news, so it’s easy for our readers to overlook the abiding reality that America is generally at peace and, relative to most of the world, wildly prosperous. In our national funk, we paint the present in darker colors than warranted and the past in brighter hues. One way to position the country more accurately is to look back at the time of triumph in World War II, when our modern myths were created, and unpack what really happened. That’s possible thanks to an extraordinary work of history completed this year by my colleague Rick Atkinson. His “Liberation Trilogy” revises many of the things you thought you knew about the war in Europe – and teaches the greatest lesson of all for the present, which is the need for patience and perseverance against obstacles." Daily Star
Well, well. David Ignatius does not seem to grasp the difference between optimism and damned fool delusion. Paul Bremer was on BBC News America tonight, still filled with self importance and unwilling to take responsibility for the disastrous mess that he made in Iraq. He blames it on Iraqi politicians. That is a bit like blaming a lion for his behavior as he chews your leg off.
Ignatius calls on us all to remember the spirit of "the greatest generation." What? Japan attacked the US in Hawaii and the Phillipines. Germany and Italy then declared war on the United States in support of their alliances with Japan. How is that time anything like the gauntlet of self imposed misadventure that the US has endured since 2001?
Ignatius does not see that our malaise is the result of ten years of hubris and false optimism, hubris that that was based on all that "city on the hill" nonsense about how exceptional we are.
I fought a lot in obedience to my oath and I deeply resent this kind of crap. Where would he have us set out next to inflict our ideas in obedience to our optimism? Perhaps the duration of the next war can be calculated in "Ignatius units" rather than "Freedman units." pl
"The cable news host and guests made the comments on her Sunday programme about the Romney family Christmas photo. The photo shows infant Kieran Romney with his grandparents and their 21 other grandchildren, all of them white. "As black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic & never meant to suggest otherwise," Harris-Perry tweeted. "I apologise to all families built on loving transracial adoptions who feel I degraded their lives or choices." In the segment, one of panellists, actress Pia Glenn, sang lines from a Sesame Street song: "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others."" BBC
Those are Harris-Perry's parents. She is "black" to the same extent that Obama is "black" and don't even try to feed me that c--p about people not being white in the States if they have a drop ofblood from something else. That is long gone and we have Obama to prove it. People like this Tulane Professor are the product of America's policy of outreach and favor offered to talent. In spite of that as well as her family history she still is filled with hatred for white people. Does that include her mother?
Duckman Robertson was suspended however briefly for his inane remarks. Why is this woman not suspended? pl
I wonder/hope that/if Christopher (the prophet) Matthews might follow a similar trajectory. His recent ravings on MSNBC indicate a belief in his own sem-divine nature. Matthews is going to interview Obama tomorrow. It will be a contest of the egos. pl
"A military composed of warrior-professionals suits the agenda of hawkish conservatives at least as well as hawkish liberals. For those who dream of liberating the oppressed abroad and reversing the corrupting tide of liberalism at home here is an instrument ideally suited to making those dreams come true. Not persuaded? Consider the views of the noted conservative commentator and New York Times columnist David Brooks." Bacevich
Colonel Bacevich has a profound and steady view of people like Brooks. pl
The corporate media were infested today with neocons like Danielle Pletka, Jennifer Rubin and Chris Wallace who insisted that only US intervention in Syria would make the world safe.
Pletka and Rubin descended in their arguments to the truth of their position. This position is that Iran will be emboldened by what they call US "weakness" in Syria. Yes, that's right, its's all about Israel for them. Evidently they have never seen a war in which they would not sacrifice the interests of the US and the lives of her soldiers to make Israel safe and the undisputed hegemon of the Middle East. Iran is not a serious threat to the US.
Wallace on FNS had a slightly different response to conservative disinclination in his panel for a US war in Syria. His response was to ask "Well, then, you want the tyrant Assad to continue to rule and butcher these good people," and then later, "I guess you would have wanted Saddam Hussein to still be there as well..." In the end it is the same position as that held be Pletka and Rubin.
I suggest that Fox News send him on his way. Perhaps he can work at MSNBC where his anti-gun and interventionist sentiments will be welcomed. pl
WH has done a great job in "shaping" the MSM's efforts on gun control legislation. The MSM, (Joe and Mika, and their New York City menagerie, Hardhead, Sister Rachel, Wolf, Zakariya, Piers and the rest of the newly American commenters) have dutifully harped on background checks that would give the federal government absoute control of ALL firearms transfers in the United States. That would include neighbor to neighbor and family transfers. They cite polls that would indicate that around 90% of Americans favor some improvement in the present system of gun sale background checks. So do I. What these propagandists do not tell their audiences is that the question in the polls they cite has been posed to the public as "Do you favor improved gun sale background checks?"
Well, hell yes, people say. Put me down for that! These crazies who kill people at Newtown, Aurora, Blacksburg, etc. should be kept from making gun purchases. What the MSM are NOT saying are the details of the proposals that the anti-gun crowd really want in the law they are trying to make. The MSM are carefull avoiding talking about these crimes as mental health problems. Why are they doing that? Acela Joe let the cat out of the bag when he told one audience that the laws proposed are "just the first step." Wolf Blitzer did the same thing while badgering Asa Hutchinson, "If there were fewer guns, wouldn't children be safer" he asked.
To act this way is dishonest. It is reminiscent of the way that the Bush Administration sold the Iraq War. To do this is to lie. pl
"Father Lombardi repeated assertions by a prominent human rights campaigner that there had been “no compromise by Cardinal Bergoglio with the dictatorship.” The debate has simmered in Argentina, with journalists there publishing articles and books that appear to contradict Cardinal Bergoglio’s account of his actions. These accounts draw not only on documents from the period, but also on statements by priests and lay workers who clashed with Cardinal Bergoglio. " NY Times
There are always anti-clericals. They hate priests . They have always hated priests. Their prejudice is dignified by its persistence. Mark Twain was among them. "Mankind will only be free when the last priest is hanged in the guts of the last king." (either "Innocents Abroad" or "A Connecticutt Yankee at King Arthur's Court")
On the other hand we have the gay lobby. These folks have been so succesfull at recruiting support from media gay people, media corporations and the congress that it has become axiomatic to say that any opposition to their program of normalization will be attacked with the fury and deceptive self assurance that is usually associated with AIPAC.
Francis does not believe that gay marriage is justifiable for his church, therefore Francis must be attacked in the most horrendous terms. Francis must be said to be a fascist and supporter of fascists. How contemptible.
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
Like COL Lang, I'm also very pleased that Senator Hagel was nominated. Back in 2007 Esquire ran an in depth profile of Senator Hagel. It was written by Charles Pierce, who is now their primary writer/correspondent at their Daily Politics Blog. While he put up a short column on the Senator's nomination and why it is a good thing today, click over and read the much more in depth reporting he did back in 2007 if you're interested in more detailed information about Senator Hagel.**
Then go pop the popcorn, get your beverage of choice ready, and watch the show as the Senate, the news media, the blogosphere, and specific interests groups and think tanks like AIPAC, the Emergency Committe for Israel, AEI, Brookings, etc amuse us with their dysfunction, err, demonstrate why we have a mature and effectively functioning political system and news media!
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do NOT necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and or the US Army.
** Esquire does some really good in depth political reporting. In the past couple of years they've done profiles or reporting on Congressman Paul, Roger Ailes, John Demjanjuk and often post the full transcripts of the interviews shortly after publishing the stories.
"... misperception of the reality on the ground in Syria is fuelled in part by propaganda, but more especially by inaccurate and misleading reporting by the media where bias towards the rebels and against the government is unsurpassed since the height of the Cold War. Exaggerated notions are given of rebel strength and popularity. The Syrian government is partially responsible for this. By excluding all but a few foreign journalists, the regime has created a vacuum of information that is naturally filled by its enemies. In the event, a basically false and propagandistic account of events in Syria has been created by a foreign media credulous in using pro-opposition sources as if they were objective reporting. " Patrick Cockburn in "The Independent"
Yes, the demise of the Syrian government exists mainly in the "minds" of a couple of vendu think-tank analysts in Washington, the corporate media bandwagon, and the enfants terribles Wilsonians now riding high in the Obama Administration. The attempt is being made to simply BS Assad out of power. Obama is now functioning fully as the reincarnated Lincoln and sees himsef as "clothed in a great power." Well, pilgrim, he has placed the US in the position of an alliance with an AQ affiliate (al-nusra). The Syrians that he recognised as government are demanding that he stop condemning their AQ ally and are coming to Washington to tell him and the Wilsonians that he must de-list al-nusra as a terrorist group.
Group Think and the desire to be loved by colleagues and the powerful account for a lot of the intellectual irresponsibility on display but it is also the fact that many of those "running their mouths" over Syria are simply ignorant, callow creatures created by ten years of war and the super-abundance of government money that allowed the hiring of the pitifully under experienced.
The only real question in my mind is whether or not Syria actually wasted a few SSMs last week. Let's see some evidence, some wreckage, statements by Clapper about heat signatures at launch, something.
The civil war appears to be a stalemate. Having painted himself into a corner BHO will eventually have to opt for intervention of some kind. pl
It should be added that the menagerie of rebel groups has not been able to hold ANY ground at all against government forces when they wish to retake it. It seems Sly knows which way the wind blows at the Post. It is well established that that the editorial board of the Washington Post is in thrall to the neocons and the Wilsonians. Now, it appears that front page "news" is also to be the instrument of interventionist propaganda that the rest of the paper has been.
I make it a practise at Washington meetings on Syria to challenge the data. I do this because there is no accurate data except that held under secrecy by the US Government. Such challenges are protested as unfair because there is much "data" broadcast by the rebel propaganda machine. This propaganda is inherently unreliable.
Nevertheless, we now have two Washington analysts, Jeffrey White of WINEP and Joseph Holliday of the Institute for the Study of Warfare (a Kagan/Nuland dominated thinktank) proclaiming that the forces of the Syrian government are in decline. Thus far they say that their conclusion is based on rebel "data." White is a retired DIA executive and analyst and Holliday is a military reservist who spent some time in Iraq and Afghanistan. I suppose he is a captain or a major in the reserves. Are they really basing their estimate of the Syrian civil war's "direction" on BS from the rebels or do they have better information than that? Surely they are not feeding us more BS from the IDF. If not that, then what?
One would think that the rise of pharaonic rule tinged green in Egypt would give pause to the naive and the cynical. Surely the analogy to Syria is clear. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
On Sunday, the Al-Monitor published a very in depth and timely interview between reporter Laura Rozen and former Mossad Director and Israeli National Security Advisor Ephraim Halevy.** The interview covers many important foreign policy issues, specifically dealing with Iran, how to approach one's adverseries, and the impact of Israel's concerns with Iran on the US presidential campaign and US foreign policy.
Some of the most important take aways were his remarks about how one should deal with one's adversaries:
" Therefore, I realized that dialogue with an enemy is essential. There is nothing to lose. Although the claim was, if you talk to them, you legitimize them But by not talking to them, you don't de-legitimate them. So this convinced me, that we all have been very superficial in dealing with our enemies. [...]
Not everything you try succeeds. But you have to be willing to try. If you fail 10 times, and succeed once, the success outweighs the failures.
What happened: In order to meet public opinion, both Israel and the US governments have tied our own hands. There is a law [...] which prohibits US officials from talking to Hamas [...] In the end, you create an inherent disadvantage for yourself."
He also has some really important thoughts in regards to leadership at the strategic level in regards to operations, such as the one to kill/capture bin Laden:
"I think nobody who has been involved in ordering the use of force can forget the angst, the days and nights of concern, as to what and how it can be done.
Romney has said, Anybody could have decided to finish bin Laden. Even [Jimmy] Carter. This again was a mistaken concept. President Obama didn’t just decide [one day to kill bin Laden]. The operation to end the life of bin Laden necessitated multiple points of decision by him. I know from operations I have been involved with on a smaller scale.
They are very intricate. You don’t just give the order and wait in your office for commanders to come three months later and say it’s done. No. This kind of operation, which is accident prone, hands on operation, one has to make one decision after the other […] It took courage and cool headedness and leadership. Anyone who says it was an easy thing to decide, doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. [Such comments] show a total lack of understanding of what this kind of operation means.
Once I was in charge of an operation and Netanyahu was Prime Minister. One day, because of the intricacy of what we were doing, I talked to him 10 times on the phone […] Ten times. It was a Friday, a day I will not forget.
This kind of operation, every minute, an issue comes up, that sometimes requires a decision on the political level.
The Libya story, the way it’s being used, is a sordid manipulation. […]"
And he discusses something near and dear to my heart, which is trying to understand the identities of those we have to engage with - allies, competitors, and especially adversaries:
"Over the years, both because of personal contact with some key figures on the other side […] I realized, in order to be effective with one’s enemies, you have to have two essential capabilities: To overcome by force if necessary — and/or to withstand their force if necessary. And do everything you can to get into their minds and try to understand how they see things, what their concerns are — their dreams, aspirations, hopes, feelings are. And where if at all there is room for common ground of one kind or another.
I think that what we have had over the years is an abundance of one side, and a dearth of the other. There has been a big emphasis, and rightly so, [on overcoming adversaries by force]. But we have paid little attention [to understanding one’s enemies.] And I have always had the feeling to look for ways and means of creating channels for dialogue. I was involved in channels of dialogue in one way or other, in major and minor roles, as of 1973-1974, when I served here in Washington, D.C., as Mossad station chief."
The whole interview is excellent. Ms. Rozen did a great job, so click on over and read the whole thing! It'll be far more informative on anything at the debate, in the Spin Room, or in the coverage over the next week...
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
"... the Israel lobby seems to be breaking openly, between Likudniks and liberal Zionists. This is further evidence of the fact that Walt and Mearsheimer's thesis of the complicity of the Israel lobby in the disastrous Iraq war can now be discussed, because liberal Jews are disassociating themselves from the traditional lobby. Also notice that Alterman bashes David Gregory for calling Netanyahu the "leader of the Jewish people."" Mondoweiss
I think I will just leave this open to discussion. pl
In his speech at Lexington, Virginia on the 8th, Romney made it a point to praise General of the Army George Marshall the Nobel Prize for Peace winner who was also Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and head of the American Red Cross.
Why did he do that? It seems to me that this praise as well as the chosen venue for the speech was calcualted to move Romney's PR and marketing generated image back to the center of the political spectrum where the greatest number of American voters reside.
George Marshall has been a favorite punching bag for the extreme right in US politics since the 1950s.
After the end of WW2, PresidentTtruman sent Marshall to China to attempt to mediate the ongoing Chinese civil war, a war between the communists and the nationalist KMT government. At that time the nationalist government was heavily supported by the United States. Several billion dollars of military aid had been provided. Fifty thousand US Marines had been landed in China to prevent seizure of key facilities by the communists. Marshall found that the nationalist government and its forces had been very severely damaged in the struggle against Japan in WW2 and that the communist forces were far more capable. At the same time he reached the conclusion that the level of money corruption inside the nationalist government was so severe that the money and equipment being provided by the US was serving little useful purpose in defending the country against a communist victory. On that basis he recommended to Truman that the US should not involve itself more deeply in China's troubles. Predictably, the communists won control of China. Chiang Kai Shek, the nationalist president, later said that nationalist China had lost the war because it had "rotted from within." Marshall had resolutely resisted the idea of direct US involvement with its own ground forces in the outcome of the civil war. For that he was pilloried by the extreme right; Joe McCarthy, Joe Alsop, the John Birch Society and by others of that ilk as one of the men who "lost China." This theme has been an ongoing motif of the hard right in the US ever since. Romney moved decisively away from allegiance with that wing of his party in this praise of Marshall.
Today, Steve Clemons and David Ignatius attacked Romney's praise of Marshall in separate columns. These attacks were not on the basis of the old China nonsense. No. These attacks were squarely based on Marshall's advice as Secretary of State to Truman that he not commit the United States to recognition of Israel in 1948 (or any other time). In this advice he was joined by James V. Forrestal, George F. Kennan, Robert Lovett, John J. McCloy, Paul Nitze and Dean Acheson. Marshall foresaw that the independance of Israel would lead to an unending series of wars, the displacement of vast numbers of people from their native lands and a greatly increased burden of hostility to be borne by the United States on behalf of a small country in a far away place. Both Ignatius and Clemons acknowledge the results of American recognition but nevertheless assert that Marshall was "wrong."
He was wrong? How was he wrong in his judgment? He was wrong? Ah, he was wrong from the point of view of columnists who know which side of the bread is buttered. That's how he was wrong.
Romney has portrayed himself as the "next best thing" to an Israeli. You have to wonder what he thought he was doing in this speech. He must have known that the Israel first crowd would react. pl
The Outlook section of today's ( 23 September, 2012) Washington Post contains a three part essay on what the Post wants the American people to believe would be likely to happen in the event of an unprovoked Israeli "maximum effort" attack on Iran. This attack supposedly takes place before the US election in November. The essay is written by three groups of authors and it seems to have been intended that such a device would make the assembled essay seem more plausibly to represent three different points of view. They are all representative of the same point of view. Amusingly, this conceit recalls three plays once seen on British TV that were set in an English suburban house and garden. In these plays characters make entrances and exits from one part of the same house to another or out into the garden. Alfred Molina starred on television. The actors go from one supposed play to another simultaneously in a literary creation that really is but one play. A pretty device. it was better done than this collective sermon.
The three parts of the essay supposedly represent the action in Washington, Tel Aviv and Teheran in the event of this attack. A general defect of the thing is the complete ignorance reflected of the actual limitations of distances, weapons, numbers of aircraft and missiles, Iranian air defenses, the lack of any recovery air fields between Israeli bases and the targets or SAR capability for the attacking Israeli force. Basic military knowledge of the situation is ignored in the manner common in politico-military strategic war games. In these "games" any reference to actual limitations are airily waved off as not germane. In this essay it is suggested that one option is for the US to "shoot down' the attacking Israeli force before it passes beyond Iraq. The Joe Biden character angrily says that this is not an option. He is correct but not for the reason implied. In fact, since the completion of the US withdrawal from Iraq the US has no ability to do such a thing and neither do the Iraqis. The nearest USAF assets are in the Gulf or Turkey and the nearest US Navy assets are where the carriers may be. Look at the distances.
The three essay parts can be somewhat summarized by capital:
- Tel Aviv. Natanyahu is depicted as masterful, deeply insightful, profoundly wise and decisive. He dominates the play and tells the president of the US that he expects the US to fully support Israel's action. Israeli attacks are described as not fully but significantly effective against the Iranian facilities and Israel is said to have "misplaced" one aircraft. There are many aspects of intelligence preparation of this battlefied that the Israelis could not do for themselves and that would not be done for them in the context of a unilateral attack. Those aspects would cost them dearly, but the authors know nothing of that and do not mention it.
- Washington. BHO is "drawn" as a "lightweight" ditherer who would rather have dinner with his family and counsel his children than focus on this world crisis. His administration is depicted as deeply divided over a response to Israel's seizure of the initiative. While he dithers, the Senate of the United States votes 99 t0 1 to support a war powers resolution. The House would presumably be even more supportive of war. Senor, the neocon voice of Romney, denounces the president of the United States for his disloyalty to Israel.
- Teheran. Having been struck the mullahs decide to refrain from retaliation for fear of a "regional war." This is a striking piece of cognitive dissonance. In one part of the larger essay the Iranian leaders are said to be madmen intent on jihad. In this part of the essay they are rational actors who decide against retaliation on a coldly calculating basis. If they would do that, why attack them at all?
Economic effects are portrayed as minimal, the Arab states are depicted as favorable.
The general message is that such an Israeli attack would largely succeed in spite of the fecklessness of Obama. The authors claim that costs of all kinds would be low.
The Washington Post chose to publish such a propaganda piece with the obvious goal of undermining the president of the United States and supportiing a foreign political leader.
I fear for October. pl
"I agree with Maureen Dowd in nearly all of her criticism of the foreign policy team around Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. In specific I agree with her (a) that since there is so little there, there to Romney's own expressed foreign policy views, it is fair to observe that he has surrounded himself with advisors whose well-established past opinions are now reflected in his policy statements, and (b) that those advisors were deeply involved in leading the United States into its costliest foreign-policy error of at least the past 40 years, the invasion of Iraq. Some of the people who fit categories (a) and (b) are Jewish. Some of them are not -- notably including Dick Cheney, who still speaks up regularly to disparage the current administration; Condoleezza Rice (despite her successful service as Secretary of State), who lambasted the administration at the Republican convention; John Bolton; and many others. - Therefore I really disagree with Jeff Goldberg's casting of Dowd's column as one millimeter away from outright anti-Semitism, and I agree with the counter-arguments by Kevin Drum at Mother Jones and by another friend and former colleague, Andrew Sullivan, at the Daily Dish." James Fallows
I know a little something about being "suppressed," having been there myself. When I used to do foreign policy media appearances, I several times experienced the phenomenon of journalists contacting me to say that their editors or producers or network corporate executives had been contacted by prominent neocons (most of whom worked at right wing think tanks) who told these people various untruths about me. The most common one was that I was or had been a FARA registered agent of the Syrian or Lebanese government and that if the media outlet wanted to quote me, etc. they should state that I was a foreign country's agent. On one occasion a reporter called me from L.A. to angrily demand why I had not told him that I was a foreign agent. On another occasion the director of a major Washington "think tank" (an immigrant from abroad) called to demand that I confess to my "agentry." When I said I would add it to my CV he said he was happy and hung up.
None of this was true. At one point I ran the family foundation of a rich Middle Easterner. The foundation contributed money to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City for the purpose of funding studies to support the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. Henry Siegman was in charge of the process. The resulting papers were given to the State Department and NSC to assist the process. The FARA law specifies that if a foreign entity does anything that seeks to influence US foreign policy then the Americans involved must register under FARA. Corporate counsel advised me that to be in strict compliance with the law I should register under FARA. I took his advice and registered as the "agent" (like any business agent) of the named individual who was the proprietor of the foundation. I was never the "agent" of anything but this man for whom I worked. I de-registered when I ceased to work for the man in 2006.
On another occasion a prominent civilian historian of military/strategic matters confronted me in the Green Room of the Newshour to say that I must be an Anti-semite because I used the term "neocon" and according to this fellow that was mere code for "foreign policy Jew."
So, I know a little something about suppression of freedom of expression and press freedom. The problem with people who do such things is that they act without regard to any sort of code of honor, and indifferent to the truth or falsity of their charges. They are concerned only with controlling "the narrative." Nothing else matters to them.
Maureen Dowd got a taste of it. They will continue to pursue her. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
The Innocence of Muslims affair (incident? incidents?) has become a fast moving story that seems to get more fantastical the more that gets reported. It is now pretty clear that Sam Bacile is not an Israeli, Israeli American, or even Jewish. Bacile is, apparently, a pseudonym for a Nakoula Basselly Nakoula - who appears to be an Egyptian emigre and was involved in this project with a number of naturalized American Copts and native born American Evangelicals. Members of the cast have clearly indicated that the film was supposed to be/originally about Coptic persecution and was overdubbed in both English and Arabic with the anti-Islamic dialogue that has led to some serious problems in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen including the death of four American foreign service personnel. The thirteen minute clip, posted to You Tube in July, began to gather interest over the past several days due to its being promoted by both Quran burning advocate Terry Jones and Egyptian-American Copt Morris Sadek. The fatal anti-American violence in Libya may have partially been the result of various media and extremist movement sources claiming that the video had been produced for the 9-11 remembrances and was being widely shown on American TV on that day.
While the story will continue to undergo change over the next several days as more facts come to light, the real issues are how does the US adjust its strategies and policies in the Middle East in response to these activities. It also demonstrates very clearly that no matter what America's official positions, messaging, and actions are they can all be overcome by events regardless of whether they are unofficial messaging being transmitted by Americans - official or otherwise or the activities of the actual actors on the ground in the Middle East.
*Adam L. Silverman, PhD is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College (USAWC). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAWC and/or the US Army.
"LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: So, the basic problem in Afghanistan -- there are many -- one of them is that we're working in a country that's really been devastated by 30 years of war. So the human capital really isn't there.
In Iraq, the soldiers knew how to read. They didn't know how to fight. In Afghanistan, the soldiers know how to fight, but not how to read. And, unfortunately, it's harder teaching people to read than it is to teach them to fight.
So, we're struggling with basic human infrastructure problems. The other big problem is that we really took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan for so many years while we were focused on Iraq.
And we have been playing catch-up ball for the last couple of years.
And so as you rush to build a force in a very short period of time, some bad apples slip through.
And we're seeing some of that. We're also seeing continually cultural connection problems, so,
Americans, even after 10 years working in this country, burning Korans, American Marines desecrating Taliban corpses. And that sort of cultural conflict and tension does erupt into violence in this kind of society.
MARGARET WARNER: Is there any -- you mentioned the Iraq war. Is there any precedent for an occupation force, a force like the United States, training up such a huge indigenous force so quickly in modern warfare?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: We tried to do similar things in Iraq, actually.
After quite cleverly disbanding the Iraqi force, we decided that that was a bad idea and decided to rebuild it. General David Petraeus worked hard in that effort to rebuild an Iraqi force, but he was working from a much larger force that had previously existed, a much better trained force.
MARGARET WARNER: And, as you said, they could read.
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: And they could already read." Newshour
"And they could already read." Yeah? So what? Does Nagl think that these Afghans are killing our men because they cannot read? I was training 3rd world soldiers when Nagl was in diapers. Our " manual" was the same warmed over colonial anti-revolution doctrine that Nagl worships. It sounds better in French. Their training never had anything to do with literacy. "Reading" has little to do with basic soldiering, very little.
The Newhour in its headline manages to make it seem that LIEUTENANT COLONEL Nagl commanded the training of the Afghan army. The Afghan "hands" here can tell us if that is true or if it is true that he trained some smaller number. The false prophets of the COIN revelation included a number of people who had limited real experience of counter-revolutionary warfare but possessed a burning desire to write a book about what had been "shown" them on "the mountain." Another man like that is Kilcullen who was a LIEUTENANT COLONEL in the Australian Army. His real world experience seems to have been one year as the commander of a support COMPANY in East Timor. The rest of the time he was some sort of analyst. And then he wrote a book? No, no, there were several articles.
Nagl says that if only we have patience and stay committed to the COIN mission in Afghanistan for another 10 years, then all will be well. Perhaps if he had worked for imperial Britain in the mid-nineteenth century that might have been possible. IMO we will be largely out of Afghanistan by the end 0f 2013. That withdrawal will end Nagl's fantasy.
One must ask - what does the Newshour think it is doing? pl
Christopher Matthews claims to be a Roman Catholic, The teaching of the Catholic Church is that a fetus becomes a person at conception and that, therefore, deliberate abortion is homicide. Matthews has repeatedly said on "Hardball" that Paul Ryan's adherence to this teaching is a species of primitive misogyny. The RC faith is not like eating in an old style Chinese restaurant where one can pick something from column A and something else from column B. Matthews knows that. He is a graduate of Holy Cross College, a Jesuit institution . Matthews knows that "cafeteria catholics" are not Catholics at all. They simply do not acknowledge that have left the church. IMO Matthews is creating a "public scandal." This is a term redolent with meaning in Catholic teaching.
I think Matthews lives in northerh Virgina and in the diocese of Arlington. His bishop is named Loverde. IMO, he and the Jesuit president of Holy Cross are complicit in Matthews' rejection of church teaching and the resultant scandal if they do not condemn him.
I know that the bishops are largely self-serving careerists but surely that is not true of the Jesuits?
Spare me the any nonsense about dissident nuns being "the chuch." They know that they are operating on the fringes of the Catholic Church.
FWIW I think that abortion law should be returned to the states as an issue. the federal government possesses no special wsdom or virtue. There is no such thing as "settled law." "Plessy vs, Ferguson" and "Brown..." should have made that clear.
If you are going to comment on this, tell us if you are or were Catholic. I do not want to deal with any more peple who have no idea what they are talking about. Expect a quiz if there is doubt. pl
PLOUFFE: No, the president and his national security team --
first of all, these are the folks who waged just a relentless and effective
effort against al Qaeda and its leadership. We decimated most of the top
leadership including bin Laden. This national security information is so
critical for the president and his administration to make the right decision.
Nobody takes it more seriously than the president of the United States.
WALLACE: Forgive me, sir. It's a yes or no. Did the
president declassify any of this information?
PLOUFFE: No, of course, he didn't. Of course, he didn't.
WALLACE: He did not?
PLOUFFE: No." FNS Transcript
The president and his designated henchmen have the legal authority to do this but did they do it? pl
I know. I know. I shouldn't watch c--p like this program, but, it is so egregious and self absorbed that I cannot resist. This show has developed into an inside joke produced by rich Manahattanites for rich Manhattanites. It thinks that it has relevance for the rest of the country but it does not. iI is an extended coffee table chat among a boringly homogeneous group of New Yorkers who actiually think they live in the navel of the world. They spend their mornings kissing up to each other and promoting books that everyone else on television promotes. Mika is a ridiculous scold. Joe is a political has been whose attempts at integration in the New York City scene make him look foolish, but the show appeals to the New Yorkers who decide the fate of programming and so it will "live" on. pl
David Sanger (NY Times) wrote the story published this week on the joint Israeli/US Stuxnet cyber sabotage project called "Olympic Games." This is an ongoing highly classified covert action of the US Government. It was presumably authorised by the president as a "finding" under the national security statutes of the US.
Today, on "Face the Nation," Sanger and his writing colleague claimed that they, over a period of a year, had interviewed officials who had access to this program and who told them all about it "for reasons of conscience." And then, according to the journalistic duo, they went to the White House to tell "them" how much they knew and to request yet more information. They say that the government complied and gave them informatin to complete the picture of this ongoing US strategic covert action.
"DAVID SANGER: You know, in the case of Olympic Games, I spent a year working the story from the bottom up, and then went to the administration and told them what I had. Then they had to make some decisions about how much they wanted to talk about it. All that you read about this being deliberate leaks out of the White House wasn't my experience. Maybe it is in-- in other cases. I'm sure the political side of the White House probably likes reading about the President acting with drones and cyber and so forth. National security side has got very mixed emotions about it because these are classified programs." Face the Nation - 3 June, 2012
Now it is true that the government has an absolute legal right to decide who it will prosecute or not prosecute for any federal crime. Nevertheless, the willingness of the Obama Administration to allow this particular security violation brings into question the willingness of the Obama Administration to prosecute journalists and sources in much less sensitive cases. You can name the cases. I was an expert witness in one and so will not comment on that matter.
If it occurred, was such government action legal? It probably was. Was it unjust in light if the government's other actions? Yes.
As I stated in another post, there really is no justice. pl
I confess to having been less than impressed with Professor Gates during the Gates/Cambridge cop "crisis" of a few years back. I don't think it was his finest moment. Neither was it the president's finest moment, now repeated in the Zimmerman/Martin affair.
I never knew a lot about my ancestry. There were bits and pieces of family mythology. Much of this has proven to be wrong in the light of my wife's commitment to genealogical research centered on the internet. Incidentally, if you have a subscription to "ancestry.com," you can access our "tree." It is the Lang/Lessard tree.
From my wife's research I learned that contrary to family myth my family had no Indian blood, were evidently ardent Abolitionists who served in the Union Army, and were afflicted with the "wandering gene" that drove them from the eastern seaboard in New England and New France in the early 17th Century to the Pacific rim of North America by 1900.
I have a continuing political "problem" with those who have mixed emotions involving at least some loyalty to the "old country (ies)" For that reason I asked my wife to see if she could find me a rabbi or two among the centuries. So far, no luck.
Now we have these two television progams devoted to genealogy. I think they are marvelous. What they demonstrate is the pattern of relations and richness of our North American people. There is a certain amount of picking and choosing in the "lines" researched on the shows, but ground truth is emerging about the people who are featured and the people they came from.
On the boob tube, Andrea Mitchell and her gal pal Rachel Maddow just now insisted that they know best in the case of the killing in Sanford, Florida and not local or state government. After all, Sanford is in the "SOUTHERN" part of central Floroda.
Mitchell interviewed a Mr. Bonaparte, the city manager. He is African American. She badgered, bullied and ridiculed him and the city of Sanford in a clear attempt to force him to suspend the Chief of Police. Bonaparte patiently explained to this harridan that the situation on the ground was and is not yet clear and that under Florida law that situation must be made clear for state, city and now federal authorities before anything can be done to George Zimmerman, the admitted shooter, who insists that the dead youth assaulted him.
Maddow and Mitchell then launched themselves "into orbit" with a hand-wringing cry from the heart about guns, beastly laws and the political penalties that will be paid by "sinning" lawmakers and Jeb Bush.
So now we have truth expressed and we understand that MSNBC runs Florida, not Floridians. They do this, of course with the help of the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson (Rainbow Coalition) who are appealing for mass marches in New York City (?) and Sanford, The Reverend Al, of Tawana Brawley fame, seems tired of blueberry themed commercials and now turns his hand once again to matters of racial justice.
Inconveniently, George Zimmerman is a Spanish speaking Latino with African American relatives according to his father. Well, that's close enough. pl
Today McCaffery turned away from endorsement of COIN without end. He said that it was time to consider a cost/benefit analysis of what we are doing. That means that his pals in the generals' club are making a similar assessmen. They don't get to determine national policy but at least they will probably stop urging a continuation.
Colonel Jack Jacobs expresses similar but more sensible things on MSNBC.
The command in Afghanistan tried today to make up for murder of children and women by a US infantry staff sergeant (probably a rifle squad leader?) by sending Green Berets (US Army Special Forces) into the violated villages to try to make peace with the people. TTG and my other SF brothers here will see the awfulness of that. The GBs are the culturally sensitve linguist commandos who have been making progress in eastern Afghanistan in building village defense forces from the villagers as well as village police. The big army dislikes these men, but they always are called when somethig really hard has to be done. Major Gant was the prophet of that kind of thing in Afghanistan and many here mocked the idea, Why does the big army dislike the GBs? Why does the salami fear the slicer?
In Washington and Kabul the staff boot-lickers and spokesmen all rushed to explain that this wuld have no long-term effect. Good luck on that. The asses at the WH said the same thing. McCain implied that this "incident" will have no lasting effect. This is more stupidity.
Several years ago, I said in a debate (IQ2) that COIN would not work in Afghanistan because the human, time and financial resources would not be available to do the job. To do COIN like the GBs can do it you mist become a part time member of that community and culture. The infantry can't do that. Their function is to kill and destroy enemy forces. They don't even like the idea. Combatting enemy forces is a valuable function in the right circumstances but not in COIN except to engage enemy guerrillas. Larry Derita (one of Rumsfeld's pretty boys) told me once that they wanted to make the whole Army like the GBs. I laughed and explained that these men really are SPECIAL and that not many are like them or can be made to be like them. It went right past him.
Steve Clemons and I were right in that debate in NY City. Do we get a bonus?
The media srill does not grasp the difference betwee post,camp, station and unit. "This sergeant is from Joint Base" blah! blah!. LISTEN!! The post you are at is your address. It is not your identity. Your unit is your identity. Don't ask where the unit is based in the States, Germany, Korea, etc. These troops are not the NG. They are not home town folks in the local community. Ask what unit they belong to. Ask who is in the chain of command. A unit has a soul. It has a culture. Some are good. Some are terrible. This unit is not Tacoma. pl