Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Afghan hospital massacre: Snowden makes a brilliant suggestion

It is a sign of our times that no-one believes that the military or the administration will conduct a thorough and honest investigation into the destruction of the hospital in Afghanistan. Ed Snowden tweeted a brilliant suggestion as to how we can get a better idea as to what really went down:
AC-130 warplanes record the gunner's video and audio. It's time to release the tapes to an #IndependentInvestigation.
If Obama does not divulge those tapes to the world, then we must conclude that he is engaging in a cover-up.

If Hillary and Sanders do not demand the release of these tapes, then they are aiding and abetting the cover-up.

If journalists covering the story refuse to mention Snowden's suggested course of action, said journalists should be considered part of the cover-up.

And if any pundit, editorialist or TV talking head offers an inane and unpersuasive argument as to why those tapes should not be released, then you should consider that pundit, editorialist or TV talking head to be part of the cover-up.

You want to know why so many people mistrust the military, the government, and the media? This is why.


No excuses. I don't want to hear any alleged expert say something along the lines of "Well, the situation is actually rather complicated..." I don't want to hear even a hint of that nonsense.

Just release the evidence or be considered a co-conspirator

Added notes: Most people don't know that the jets returned to the scene repeatedly to pound that hospital again and again. There were no other targets.
MSF said that despite calls to US and Afghan military authorities in Kabul, the attacks lasted another 30 minutes, targeting the main hospital building housing the intensive care unit and emergency rooms.

"The bombs hit and then we heard the plane circle round," said Heman Nagarathnam, MSF's head of programmes in northern Afghanistan. "There was a pause, and then more bombs hit. This happened again and again. When I made it out from the office, the main hospital building was engulfed in flames."

"Those people that could had moved quickly to the building's two bunkers to seek safety. But patients who were unable to escape burned to death as they lay in their beds."
This was not a case of collateral damage. Why did they target Doctors Without Borders?
Yes, I agree with this 100%. It'll absolutely never happen though, because after Collateral Murder got out I'd bet they're much diligently destroying any evidence of war crimes now.
I suspect because they didn't want to leave a functioning hospital for the Taliban and the occupied city.
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The hallucinations of Matt Drudge

Matt Drudge, Republican propagandist, appeared on a radio show run by Alex Jones, the world's premiere 9/11 conspiratard. Right there, on the air, Drudge entered into a state of hallucination:
"We never heard of ISIS until recently," Drudge told Jones. "Do you know it was designed to be confused with Darrell Issa?"

According to Drudge, President Obama decided to do that "because Darrell Issa was the enemy at the time of this administration." He noted that Obama could have been impeached over the IRS scandal, which Issa investigated as chairman.

"They came up with the name ISIS to be confused with Darrell Issa. I’m really being honest with you," Drudge said.
We have multiple layers of stupidity here.

First and foremost, there is the fact that President Obama is not the one who names terror groups; this is not a presidential power. The group named itself. In 2006, it was ISI, the Islamic State in Iraq. When their ambitions expanded, they began to call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a term commonly abbreviated in the west as ISIS or ISIL. Both are considered acceptable.

(I'm not sure which English-language news organization first published a piece which included the term "ISIS," but it was probably either AP or Reuters.)

"Al-Sham" is the difficult term here, since -- for historical reasons -- it has more than one meaning. It can refer to a specific region within Syria (the area around Damascus), to Syria as a whole, or to the Levant as a whole. To make matters even more complex, the term "Levant" has more than one meaning: Some think that it includes Iraq, and some do not. In the past, even Turkey and Greece were considered part of the Levant.

Most Americans presume that ISIS stands for "Islamic State in Syria" and that ISIL refers to "Islamic State in the Levant." Until recently, I was under that impression myself.

Contrary to Drudge, this White House has been pretty strict about using "ISIL," not "ISIS." Why? My bet is that the administration wants to stress that the group poses a threat beyond Syria.

John Kerry has called ISIS "Daesh," which is considered derogatory. This name derives from the original Arabic initials for "the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham." By happy coincidence, "Daesh" sounds like the Arabic words for "sower of discord" and "one who tramples underfoot." Those who live in areas controlled by ISIS can be killed if they say "Daesh."

"Drudge" means slave, lackey, or one who is hired to do dull and contemptible work. "Matt" sounds like "matte," which means dull; it also sounds like "mat," the thing upon which one wipes one's shoes. Perhaps Matt Drudge will one day try to convince the world that his embarrassing -- and surprisingly appropriate -- name was chosen for him by Barack Obama.
No one is ever outraged to usurp the goddess Isis' name. ISIL or Daesh it is.
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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

This is Israel

So is this. They were dressed as Palestinians and started to throw stones to create mayhem

I also think they fire off rockets to blame Palestinians too.
I suspect this is all quite common (Joseph's post as well as the link Anon 9:00 AM posted). Probably less common that it is reported to the world at large. The Israeli government created terrorism in the middle east, the Arabs just learned to emulate them.
To make it simple,
by showing this image and writing "This is Israel"
You save Yourself some effort, namely the effort of analyzing "Israel".
Starting with what can only be the result of a reasoning smells always un-reasonable.
Instead of dividing Israel in 2 classes plus the mob [lumpen-proletarier],
If YOU unite them, why should the ruling class NOT come to the help of the mob,
defending "the nation" ?
And collect the vote of the proletarian class, which IS international, but FEELS national.
This is only but ONE example how unscientific-socialism is worse than even the darkest "consrvatism".

If only You had titled "THE MOB" - under the protection of the Zionists" or so ...
We must find a way to defund, divest and sanction this pathetic excuse for a country. Israel is not our ally.
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New apocalypse!

Boy, that was quick. Our last apocalypse was September 23. Now we learn that the "permanent" destruction of planet Earth will occur October 7. Today. Wednesday. This is kind of a bummer, since my favorite podcasts come out on Thursday.

Some would argue that if our apocalypses become too frequent, they will cease to have any meaning.
Ho hum. You seen one apocalypse and you seen 'em all.
Already the 8th so I figure it's OK to continue slitting wood. Please include the time of day in all time zones this will happen so we can plan your schedules. If like I had one:)

This is a public service? :)
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D.E.A.: Drug Enhancement Agency

Here's a nearly-hidden fact that, if better known, would change everyone's understanding of how the world really operates: Bolivia kicked out out the American Drug Enforcement Agency in 2008 -- and since then, cocaine production in that country has gone down. As in: Way way way WAY down.

For the full story, go here then here. For a jaw dropping photo, go here. I have not yet seen the documentary My Enemy's Enemy, but it apparently presents some very relevant material.

And if you want to know where all of that drug money went, this helpful letter to the New York Times may offer a few clues.
I suspect this isn't news to most of your readers. I became aware of such things back around Iran-Contra, but undoubtedly it was going on long before that. Just check out Daniel Hopsicker's work.
This is, of course, one of the great taboos in our Western societies - do not talk about establishment complicity in the drug trade. A few weeks ago a Reuters story discussed fighting in Helmand province of Afghanistan, describing a NATO pushback against recent incursions by the Taliban. The story suggested the Taliban were seeking to gain control of the huge poppy fields, and mentioned how the region supplies much of the world's heroin. The story then said that the region has been largely under the control of NATO since 2002. The logical inference - that NATO controls much of the world's heroin - was left for the reader to process.
Perhaps the Bolivia story is related to the fact that US military forces have occupied Afghanistan for 14 years, and our government has allegedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars there to combat drugs. But somehow the output of opium and heroin have increased over that time frame to the point where now Afghanistan accounts for over 90% of the heroin production of the entire world. Maybe we should ask the Taliban how they managed to almost eradicate the growing of opium and the production of heroin in only a few short months during their brief period in power. We must be doing something wrong, or else the billions of dollars in annual cash sales of drugs are why we are still there after 14 years.
What, no mention of the fine work of Oliver North and the Reagan Administration? They didn't even bother to hide it, and both remain right wing icons.

Stuff like this always makes me wonder about Lyndon LaRouche and what's really going on there.
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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Video: A lynch mob in Israel takes a victim

The full story is here. Also here. Even more chilling than the bloodlust on display in this video is the fact that a completely fictional version of the event appeared in the Jerusalem Post.
Even in Ferguson you didn't see this. We must set this colonialist, settler monstrosity free from our protection and largess and let it meet it's well deserved fate.
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Why does our goddamned press (especially the goddamned NYT) tell so many goddamned lies?


The Russians are fighting an actual war on terror -- not the bogus war that the US has ostensibly been waging for so many years. And our newswhores can't stand it. CNN:
Did his experience in Ukraine tempt Vladimir Putin to begin Russia's Syrian expedition? Are they both examples of the Kremlin taking advantage of Western hesitation or caution? Or are they two episodes (with more to come) of Russia taking revenge for previous humiliations (Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, etc.) and reasserting itself as a Great Power?
Russia did more damage to ISIS in a couple of days than we did in a couple of years. Yet that is how CNN covers the situation -- and the above words appeared in what is supposedly a news piece, not an editorial! Even in the bad old days of Joe Stalin, Pravda was never so bold in its disregard for reality.

Here's a piece by the NYT, written by THE EDITORIAL BOARD:
Why exactly President Vladimir Putin is sending “volunteer” ground forces into Syria is not entirely clear. It may be to protect the Russian base near Latakia from which Russia has begun flying bombing missions against Syrian rebel groups, or it may be because Russia’s Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, is in such danger of falling that Russian ground troops will actually enter the fray against the innumerable insurgent groups fighting him.
You'd never know from this nonsense that Putin was fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Did it ever occur to THE EDITORIAL BOARD that Putin was in Syria to do the right thing? Why can't THE EDITORIAL BOARD admit the simple fact that Putin is trying to defeat the evil bastards who have been beheading journalists and destroying precious historical artifacts?

And then THE EDITORIAL BOARD starts in with the real lying...
If Mr. Putin had ever been eager for peace, he could have exerted pressure on the Assad government before it stoked the civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians, driven millions from their homes, and destroyed vast stretches of the country.

Instead, he supported Mr. Assad and his brutal reprisals against civilians and the opposition, which opened up space for extremists to operate and expand, turning this war into a threat to the entire region.
The truth has no place in the NYT, it seems.

Readers of this blog have known the truth for a long, long time: The west started this war. Using the Saudis, Qatar and the Turks as funding conduits, we encouraged the creation of a proxy army, similar to the many proxy armies which our CIA has set up in the past. The goal: Toppling Bashar Assad.

Why was Assad targeted? One big reason is Israel. Israel wants to see Syria -- a modern, secular, pluralist, relatively prosperous country -- transformed into a primitive, barbaric land run by religious maniacs perpetually at war with each other. If jihadist apes take over Damascus, and if the country devolves into a series of battling fiefdoms, Syria will no longer be in any position to harm Israeli interests. Most of all, the Syrians won't be in a financial position to aid the Palestinians.

There are other motives. Assad has stood in the way of a Qatari natural gas pipeline which, if completed, could drastically hurt Russia's economy.

So it was decided more than a decade ago that Assad had to go. Thus, we flooded the region with a proxy army composed of religious maniacs. This army has two main groups: ISIS and the Nusra Front -- a.k.a., Al Qaeda. (There is also a "moderate" force, which is very tiny. They have a marked tendency to join the extremists or to let Al Qaeda "accidentally" capture their equipment. Basically, the "moderate" rebels are a fairy tale which DC tells to the American people.)

ISIS and Al Qaeda are the ones who have treated civilians brutally. Various religious groups -- Christians, Yezedis, Sunni, Shiites, Alawites -- have lived in peace under the Assads for many years. Our proxy warriors changed all that.

Assad did not start this war. We did. A declassified Pentagon report revealed that ISIS was our baby from the start.
The secret Pentagon document thus provides extraordinary confirmation that the US-led coalition currently fighting ISIS, had three years ago welcomed the emergence of an extremist “Salafist Principality” in the region as a way to undermine Assad, and block off the strategic expansion of Iran.
THE EDITORIAL BOARD prefers to pretend that this document does not exist. Although the NYT may consider the blindfold to be a fashion necessity, historians will not.

I refer, once again, to the words of John Pilger -- a far better journalist than any of the propagandists now employed by the NYT:
This is insane, of course, and the big lie justifying this insanity is that it is in support of Syrians who rose against Bashar al-Assad in the Arab Spring. As The WikiLeaks Files reveals, the destruction of Syria has long been a cynical imperial project that pre-dates the Arab Spring uprising against Assad.
Here's former CIA analyst Ray McGovern:
At his news conference on Friday, Obama said, “in my discussions with President Putin, I was very clear that the only way to solve the problem in Syria is to have a political transition that is inclusive — that keeps the state intact, that keeps the military intact, that maintains cohesion, but that is inclusive — and the only way to accomplish that is for Mr. Assad to transition [out], because you cannot rehabilitate him in the eyes of Syrians. This is not a judgment I’m making; it is a judgment that the overwhelming majority of Syrians make.”

But Obama did not explain how he knew what “the overwhelming majority of Syrians” want. Many Syrians – especially the Christians, Alawites, Shiites and secular Sunnis – appear to see Assad and his military as their protectors, the last bulwark against the horror of a victory by the Islamic State or Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which is a major player in the so-called “Army of Conquest,” as both groups make major gains across Syria.
Precisely. It's not as though the people now fighting for Assad have no choice. They have seen the choice, and they don't like it. They know that if Assad falls, ISIS takes over. They are therefore willing to risk their lives to keep Assad in power -- to keep secularism in power.

The jihadis -- the fighters for ISIS and Al Qaeda -- are mostly foreigners. We have inflicted an alien invasion on Syria.

How the hell does our president claim to know what is in the hearts of Syrians? And why are so many Syrians willing to die to prove him wrong?
Yet, it is an open question whether Obama has become captive to his own propaganda, such as his obsession with Syria’s use of “barrel bombs” in attacking rebel strongholds, as if this crude home-made weapon were some uniquely cruel device unlike the hundreds of thousands of tons of high explosives that the United States has dropped on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries in the last dozen years.

Does Obama really think that his “humanitarian” bombs – and those given to U.S. “allies” such as Saudi Arabia and Israel – don’t kill innocents? In just the past week, a Saudi airstrike inside Yemen reportedly killed some 131 people at a wedding and an apparent U.S. attack in Kunduz, Afghanistan, blasted a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, killing at least 22 people.

(By contrast, too, The New York Times treated the Kunduz atrocity gingerly, with the cautious headline, “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” noting that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter extended his “thoughts and prayers to everyone afflicted” and added that a full investigation is under way in coordination with Afghanistan’s government to “determine exactly what happened.” Surely, we can expect the slaughter to be dismissed as some unavoidable “accident” or a justifiable case of “collateral damage.”)
Actually, the American people seem to be paying real attention to the Afghan massacre. Thank God. It's nice to see that our fellow citizens can shake off their obsessions with comic book movies, racial bickering, identity politics and Illuminati-spotting just long enough to pay attention to something real and important.

Added note: Moon of Alabama made a good catch. The NYT ascribed a statement to "a senior Kremlin defense official," when the statement was actually made by a member of the Russian Parliament. Our newsfakers don't want Americans to believe that Russia is a democracy.
The NYT of course loves to depict Russia as a dictatorship and attributes everything someone in Moscow says or does to the President of the Russian Federation or, even darker, to "the Kremlin". But that is propaganda, not reporting.
Do you even need to ask why the New York Times continually toes the Israeli line? Blood is thicker than water, and Zionists stick together.
About the russians volunteers who may fight in Syria, read Moon of Alabama of today and the comparison with NYT saying that McCain is an official of the White House.
"The west started this war."
Only problem, there is no such thing in the world of real as "The west".
"The west" is just a word, filled with whatever meaning each individual reader likes.
It is 1 completely ideo-logical word.
Inconsistant with reality.
I am 1 individual living in the territory of what usaually is considered as being of "the west".
I have NOT started the war, to the contrary, I was hindered to stop it.
And there are MANY more like me, including You.
??? ?

I am not at ALL comfortable with that "blood is thicker" remark. Noeconservatism is an idea. While neoconservatism and zionism are close kin, there are differences. And plenty of Jews in this country have had it up to here with the neocons.
posted by Anonymous -> : 6:36 PM

I also have voted with as millions of others, counterpunch has a great take down today on this.

Joseph, how dare you complain about what the new and improved Amerika is doing. It's for the motherland, dod vendors, all those others that earn their Blood Money. The .0001% way.

Everything is on schedule, please move along.
@Blogger jo6pac : 8:38 PM
1. There is no such thing as "Anonymous ->"
There is only 1 "->".
2. "I [Blogger jo6pac] also have voted with as millions of others"
Admitting to Your deed makes You 1 honest man.
But even 1 billion of jo6pac's having voted are not in any position to transform any virtual, fictional, IDEAL "entity", be it "the west", "god", "the prophet" or any wort of that sort into a REALITY.
IF [capitals] You object to that argument, speaking for all of the jo6pacs, jo6pac typically designing US-American average individuals,
THEN [capitals] You are inclusively agreeing to ideally hyjacking me [and billions of other individuals in the "REST-of-the-world]
May be, next time You'll be more careful about this.
->"or any wort of that sort"
read "or any WORD of that sort.
In general I agree with everything you say, but this tendency to absolve Bashar of his criminally insane behaviors is getting exceedingly counterproductive. For those of us who are familiar with Assad father and son crimes that is painful. Remember the enemy of your enemy is not always your friend
I didn't say Jewish people stick together, I said Zionists stick together. There's a difference.
Blood is thicker than water, the water being amniotic fluid. The original meaning is that people linked by blood they have spilled or have had spilled, are linked more closely than those linked only by the lottery of birth.
@Anonymous Anonymous : 5:34 AM
"this tendency to absolve Bashar of his criminally insane behaviors is getting exceedingly counterproductive. For those of us who are familiar with Assad father and son crimes that is painful."

What I can see is, that the tendency of completely isolating individuals, events, from the really existing CONTEXT, be it socially, be it historically,
is becoming less and less fruiticious.
Because in both absolute as in relative numbers,
the amount of humans in the world, who refuse to NOTt use their - if You like - "god given" mental skills,
is over the course of history growing like in a logarithmic scale.
I counsel You and Your likes to hurry and catch up.
For todays absolute-moralists will be tomorrow considered as ... Your guess.
Greetings to the bible belt.
Yesterday I turned on the radio partway through an interview on Here and Now (midday news show produced by WBUR, a local public radio station, syndicated on many other stations) with an expert who doesn't spout the US Putin/Russia-as-evil line: They describe the interviewee as "Richard Sakwa, professor of Russian and European Studies at the University of Kent and author of 'Putin and the Oligarchs: The Khordorkovsky-Yukos Affair,' and the recent 'Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands.'" The comments might hearten you as well.

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Monday, October 05, 2015

The latest, greatest outrage

As I am sure you know by know, ISIS has destroyed the Arch of Triumph in the ruins of Palmyra. They also beheaded the art historian who looked after the site.

I had another post almost ready to go, but I cannot think about anything else right now.

Never forget: ISIS was created by neoconservatives in the United States and Israel. ISIS is the demon child of the same people who whipped up the Iraq war.

After the disaster of the Iraq war made direct American intervention in the region unpopular, the neocons decided that they had to create a proxy army to fulfill their dream of overturning Bashar Assad. Since Assad was a secular leader, the opposing army was -- naturally -- filled with religious maniacs.

In many previous posts, we have seen incontrovertible evidence that the money for ISIS came from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey -- all American allies. These countries could never have created this massive proxy army without our consent.

Israel has been quietly aiding ISIS. Why? Because ISIS is fighting Iran and Assad's Syria, two states which Israel wants to see overturned. See here, here, here and here.

Think on this, as well: Many of the young religious maniacs who joined ISIS came from Europe and the United States. A lot of guys who should have been on the "no fly" list suddenly were allowed to jet into the war zone. How did that happen?

Allow me to make another point. The key point.

Not long ago, Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham said these words: "With Assad being propped up by Russia and Iran, it means the war [in Syria] never ends." That sentiment is echoed by all Republicans and most Democrats. And yet...

If Assad falls, ISIS will control all of Syria. 

That's a simple fact. There is no third option. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

In that light, we should join Putin and Assad and the leaders of Iran in their heroic efforts against ISIS. But are we helping them? No, we are not. We are doing everything we can to impede their efforts.

It's a zero-sum game: You cannot hurt Assad without helping ISIS. I wish the situation were otherwise, but reality is reality. Reality is made of a stuff far more obdurate than the stones of Palmyra.

Given this reality, anyone who seeks the overthrow of Bashar Assad is -- objectively speaking -- pro-ISIS.

In other words, our entire political establishment is pro-ISIS, because our entire political establishment has been committed to overthrowing Assad.

Even the Islamophobic right is pro-ISIS. They will never admit this truth, yet it is the truth.

Consider these things are you view those infuriating photographs of the latest ISIS outrage.
Maybe you've already covered this, Joseph, but it seems pretty obvious to me that the reason for trying to overthrow Assad is the hopes that the new regime will force the Russians to give up their naval base in Tartus. This is their only base on the Mediterranean, and one of only two military bases they have outside of their satellite zone (the other one is in Viet Nam).

It used to be that we valued a balance of power. It seems that now we're insisting on a complete shift of the balance to the USA (with its 700 military bases around the world) and trying to paint Putin's defensive measures in Crimea and Syria as imperialism.

Destabilizing he conventional balance of power will inevitably lead to an escalated arms race in nuclear and high-tech weaponry--one which will of course be very profitable for the Masters of War. Obama's actions in service to PNAC's agenda of global domination are transparent.

Well into the piece an Israeli military man depicts Hezbollah as still the worst enemy of Israel, more powerful than in 2006.
Moscow-Damascushezb-Tehran, the axis of liberation.
Should explain a little about Amer-israeli policy.
What percentage of the total anti-Assad forces does ISIS actually constitute? All reports seem to be "through a glass, darkly". We're told of Al-Nursa as opposed to ISIS, and lately of "the Army of Conquest" as a supposed umbrella group of non-ISIS rebel groups but are they a significant factor on the ground or jusr a fig leaf for ISIS? Conflicting reports...conflict.

It's obvious to me this plan to topple the ME powers and reduce them to internally warring mini-states unable to project military power is approaching 40 years old. It was the Yinon Plan of the '80s, the Clean Break plan of the '90s, and when the writers of the Clean Break made it into the W administration in the '00s, it was the plan of W's Pentagon as early as December 2001. Seven ME countries to be taken down this way in five years, according to what Gen. Wesley Clark says he was informed at the Pentagon in late 2001.

The harm to Russia's base is secondary to one of the end goals of this plan, taking out Iran. (After Iraq has been taken out as a unified country, Iran remains as the next sizable regional power, and Syria is their only nearby ally.) And Iran was explicitly named as one of the seven countries to be attacked to Clark.

right again joe. damn shame, that millions of media viewing idiots here, will never hear a word of these obvious truths. our 4th estate is dead.
Read Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World: An Insider's View by J. Michael Springman

The power paradigm. The nastier the leader, the nastier the warring factions within the country the nasty leader has managed to control. Get rid of the nasty leader and Al Queda type groups step in and the U.S. is happily supplying weapons of destruction to all who have money as the warring factions fight their never ending civil wars.
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Saturday, October 03, 2015

Let's "slut shame" the media whores

Readers, I need your help with this one. I beg you to read this one through, and to offer suggestions.

Between 2000 and 2004, an excellent liberal website called Media Whores Online exposed the lies told on a daily basis by conservative reporters and opinion-shapers. I was reminded of "the Horse" (as the site was nicknamed) while reading a recent speech by John Pilger.
These are dark times, in which the propaganda of deceit touches all our lives. It is as if political reality has been privatised and illusion legitimised. The information age is a media age. We have politics by media; censorship by media; war by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions.
The aim of this invisible government is the conquest of us: of our political consciousness, our sense of the world, our ability to think independently, to separate truth from lies.

This is a form of fascism, a word we are rightly cautious about using, preferring to leave it in the flickering past. But an insidious modern fascism is now an accelerating danger. As in the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the regularity of a metronome. Muslims are bad. Saudi bigots are good. ISIS bigots are bad. Russia is always bad. China is getting bad. Bombing Syria is good. Corrupt banks are good. Corrupt debt is good. Poverty is good. War is normal.
Let's be even more specific: Neoconservativism controls our national discussion of foreign policy. The controlling force is not a government or a political party, but an ideology. Yet the control is no less fascistic. (Yes, that is the right word.)

Even John Oliver bows to the dictates of the neocons: Just listen to the cringe-inducing nonsense he spews about Vladimir Putin. If Oliver did not so spew, he'd lose his show. That's how the system works and everyone knows it.

Currently, the big project of the neocons is to place ISIS in power in Syria. Paradoxically, they intend to accomplish this goal by exploiting the public's well-justified hatred of ISIS. This cheeky gambit can work only if the citizenry is kept in a miasma of misinformation.

As Pilger notes:
There is currently an American and European attempt to destroy the government of Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron is especially keen. This is the same David Cameron I remember as an unctuous PR man employed by an asset stripper of Britain’s independent commercial television.

Cameron, Obama and the ever obsequious Francois Hollande want to destroy the last remaining multi-cultural authority in Syria, an action that will surely make way for the fanatics of ISIS.

This is insane, of course, and the big lie justifying this insanity is that it is in support of Syrians who rose against Bashar al-Assad in the Arab Spring. As The WikiLeaks Files reveals, the destruction of Syria has long been a cynical imperial project that pre-dates the Arab Spring uprising against Assad.
For the latest example of this Big Lie technique, take a look at this BuzzFeed article, written by "Ilan Ben-Meir, BuzzFeed News Reporter." He uncritically repeats Lindsey Graham's latest malarky about Syria, Iran and Russia.
“Number one: Our biggest problem is that our commander in chief is incompetent, and our secretary of state is delusional, regarding the politics of the Mid-East, Putin, Iran, and just the entire situation over there,” said the South Carolina senator during an interview on the Fox News Radio show Kilmeade and Friends.

“Our president, quite frankly, is weak, he is indecisive, and what does it mean for America?” Graham went on. “With Assad being propped up by Russia and Iran, it means the war [in Syria] never ends.”
See how it works? People who don't watch Fox are likely to read Buzzfeed. Thus, BuzzFeed becomes the conduit by which Fox-flavored nonsense is spoon-fed to an audience of young liberals and moderates.

What Ben-Meir has done is not objective journalism. If it were, Graham's silly lies would be given context.

No, I'm not talking about Graham's attacks on Obama: That's just partisan politics. I'm talking about these words: "With Assad being propped up by Russia and Iran, it means the war never ends."

In the first place, the Syrian civil war was instigated by this country. I've proved the point in many previous posts. So have many other writers, including John Pilger.

Moreover: If Russia and Iran were to withdraw, the war would certainly end with the victory of ISIS. If Assad goes down, ISIS rules.

That's the all-important truth which neocons like Graham always lie about.

You won't hear that truth from any Republican candidate. You won't hear the truth from Obama, Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. You won't hear it from Fox News or ABC or CBS or the Washington Post. And you won't hear it from Buzzfeed, or Slate, or the New York Times, or even the Guardian.

In the preceding sentence, I listed four "liberal" media outlets often used by the neocons-in-disguise. On a daily basis, these publication feed neocon lies to decent people -- the kind of people who cannot stomach more than 40 consecutive seconds of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. Most of the time, the folks in this target audience would rather talk about gay marriage or some other topic that makes them feel virtuous. They don't want to talk about foreign policy: It makes them feel dizzy.

That's an understandable reaction. Trying to figure out what's going on in the big, wide outside world makes everyone feel dizzy, including me. (I'm sure that people in Syria get dizzy when they try to dope out what's happening in the United States.)

Our insecurity results, in part, from the fact that foreign affairs are so...foreign. Language differences. Cultural differences. Things get very complicated very rapidly.

But there's a larger problem: Over the past fifteen years, a vast, well-funded media infrastructure has been insinuating neocon lies into every psyche. Take, for example, this statement:

"If Assad falls, ISIS takes power."

Right now, that's a simple truism. No well-informed person can honestly dispute that proposition. This fact is inescapable and easy to grasp.

Now consider the staggering amount of media manipulation required to convince the public that the situation is something other than what it plainly is.

If the New York Times, Fox News, CBS, the Washington Post, the White House and every Republican candidate were to tell you on a daily basis that the sky is orange -- not blue, never say blue: It's ORANGE, dammit! -- eventually, it would start to look orange-ish to you. You'd squint. Shrug. Rationalize. You'd tell yourself that your senses must be lying to you, because the alternative theory is unthinkable. All of those important people -- liberals and conservatives, the NYT and Fox: Surely, they can't all be engaged in a conspiracy to deceive you?

In fact, it doesn't take that many people to convince you that blue is orange. Maybe the only requirement is a hundred people in key media positions. In fact, I suspect that the job can be done by a far smaller number.

The Iraq war was empowered by Judy Miller and perhaps a dozen others like her, planted in key positions in various publications. If those media whores had been exposed early on, the bellicose Bush administration could never have made its deceptions stick, and the Dems who let him have his war would have been pressured by the public to vote otherwise.

History is made by a small number of liars. Neocons need newsfakers.

Recently, newsfakers produced bogus videos designed to convince you that Assad is bombing hospitals. At the same time, the newsfakers offer nothing but justifications and excuses when the United States and Israel bomb hospitals. Most of the time, the newsfakers simply refuse to mention "our" hospital bombings.

The newsfakers won't tell you that Russia did more damage to ISIS in a couple of days than we managed to do in more than a year. The newsfakers have tried to convince you that Russia targeted our "moderate" rebels (a total lie). The newsfakers have tried to convince you that these "moderates" are anything other than a useful fiction. Whisper the name of Vladimir Putin, and the newsfakers at the New York Times go into fits of hysteria and dementia.

What to do? What to do?

I have an idea.

My proposal: We need a new version of Media Whores Online. We need a new website -- a database -- devoted to keeping track of neocon liars posing as journalists. We need to "slut shame" the media whores.

It's not enough for independent writers to counter these lies on a daily basis.

We need to develop a kind of institutional memory. We need to name the neocon newsfakers, and we need to list their lies next to their names.

We need to keep track of who these people are. We need to rob them of credibility.

I'm not talking about a site devoted to arguments over opinion. If an NYT editorialist were to say "I think Vladimir Putin is a thug" -- fine. No problem. But it's a very different matter if a journalist or editorialist were to state (as many have stated) that "Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea." That, my friends, is a demonstrable falsehood.

When hoaxed history becomes a commonly-held belief, the result can be war and want, misery and mayhem.

A possible name for this site: Neocon Media Whores. I think a shout out to the earlier site would help gain exposure. (That said, I'm open to alternative suggestions.)

I would like the help of my readers in coming up with a structure for this thing.

Ideally, I would like the site to feature a Wiki-style group effort, in which average readers could send in examples of neocon media manipulation. Unfortunately, the site would have to be moderated. Without strict moderation, the whole enterprise would quickly become a cesspool like 4chan or a YouTube comments section. And it would become the play-toy of paid trolls.

These ten commandments should be in place:

1. The site should concentrate on foreign policy.

2. The site should be devoted to exposing journalists with a neocon agenda.

3. The site should be non-partisan. I am a Democrat -- a grudging Democrat, often an infuriated Democrat. But I also recognize that neoconservatism is a virus which crosses party lines. This virus has infected some people whom I otherwise admire.

4. The site should keep a database of journalists who have signed their names to demonstrable lies, including lies of omission. Ilan Ben-Meir (referenced above) would therefore have a place on the list.

5. The site should be anti-racist.

6. The site should not become a repository of truly silly conspiracy theories.

7. The site should not waste much energy on matters of opinion, even when someone expresses a view which many would consider repugnant. The purpose of the site is to compile a database of provable lies told by neoconservatives in major media outlets.

8. The site must never be sidetracked by otiose arguments over identity politics and politically-correct speech. That trick has been pulled once too often. By now, most of us have gotten wise to it.

9. Those who would defend neoconservatism deserve no voice on this site. They have the rest of the internet in which to scamper about and do their mischief.

10. The site must not be hijacked by libertarians, by socialist ideologues, by anti-government trolls, or by those who seek to discourage involvement in electoral politics.

What do you think, readers? Would such a site serve a valuable purpose? If so, how can we make a go of it? How would you structure the thing?
Oh for the good old days of Bartcop, Media Whores Online, and when dailyhowler was in its prime.
For such a site to work the comment section would have to be heavily moderated, members only, or none at all.
Media Matters turns into quite the cesspool when the trolls are active.
Mike, you speak the truth. In general, I'd say that 2000-2006 were the glory years of online political activity, because the manipulators had not yet figured out how to game the comments section. For a long time, I did not moderate comments at all. Neither did a lot of other sites.

Another point: Nowadays, a site like this would have to do the social media...thing. Ugh. Not my bag. I hate Facebook and Twitter. Still, social media would seem to be a necessity.

Can anyone out there handle that aspect of the project?

There are four lights!

You know, the ancient Greeks called the sky bronze. So, it is my position that the sky is, in fact, bronze in colour and we live in a state of false consciousness. The simpler people of the past, with their closeness to nature, must have known the truth of the situation. Some may say that oranges are also bronze, for a sufficiently broad definition of bronze. Hence that is a uniquely inaptly chosen example.

John Oliver, I don't think he's being threatened with the loss of his career if he doesn't take a neo-con line. I don't think he's very bright, he's just toeing the party line. Unfortunately the current liberal consensus is infected with neoliberalism.

I believe items 5 and 8 on your list are contradictory. You can't have an explicitly anti-racist group without self-proclaimed anti-racists starting a witch-hunt.

Quote Albert Camus......."We have a right to think, that truth with a capital letter is relative. But facts are facts. And whoever says that the sky is blue when it is great is prostituting words and preparing the way for tyranny."

Check out some time Camus' journalism work with "Combat." the French resistance during and after WWII. One of the greats.

Hal Lewis
I think more clear and to the point would be WAR MEDIA WHORES.

I was just mentioning the other day to a friend that I miss the "underground" newspapers of the 70's. We definitely need to get back to something like that because I agree the NYTimes and Wash Post are just as much pushers for war as Fox or any right of center media.
It would never work. 1. These people have no shame and just plain don't care about the truth or providing it. 2. The American public also has no shame and doesn't care about the truth either. At some point people became more invested in their viewpoint rather than facts. Everybody keeps repeating the inane refrain that there are two sides to a story even when that is a complete fiction. There was a time when someone who lied about something would be chastised, ridiculed and never be taken seriously again. Just think not only did George Bush, Dick Chaney and Colin Powell lie our country into a war of choice none have ever faced any consequences of their actions and all are still held in high esteem by many in this country. We live in an age where the truth has little value.
Starting from the practically aproved working of the wor[l]d as well as the term "logic",
I consider there must be some reason for it exist to exist.
Also the word "ideology" exists.
Ideo-logy ?
Is there a beyond-logic-world?
There is a rule of thumb for scientists, which says "never start a new science, when there is no NEED for it".
There is - so far- not yet "A-theorie of-everything", but elements of it.
Those elements, based on simple, practical logic, provides us with an idea of the history as well as the working of the universe,
as much as the practical means of comunicating it, including all aspects.
So this idea, or better set of ideas, all nicely fitting together are they forming a locical system, are they ideo-logical?
What discriminates "logic" from "ideo-logic" ?
Is there a universe based on ideo-logic ?
How does it work, relative to the universe as seen by means of logic ?
Which , by simply using logigal methods, the method of logik, METHODICALLY,
allow us to know, what we don't know, and, find it !
Now, You go and waste Your and Your readers time, by re-inventing the wheel,
when in fact, this "wheel" was not only dis-covered, but actually set to motion about 260 years ago.
Where it says "all the NARRATORS" of history [Ideo-logs]have 1 thing in common,
they [ideo-logically] have interpreted history [in an infinitesimal growing number of ideo-logical means]
when [in fact] it (history) must be MADE [and continously is in the making, under the brute violation of logic, both in idea as in reality]
You, in Your "gut" somehow FEEL the inconsistency of the projcted images with Your proper reality, but
empirically trying an infinitesimal number of subterfugios,
carefully avoid the left thing.
Sticking to the all-chemists Newton-mechanics, the ideology of ether, all in order of preserving
an equivalent to anti-Einsteinan world-view, when it comes to socialisim [CAPITALS].
Scientific socialism, You not only deny, You denigrate it.
Instead, using the the TERM as a WORD for everything BUT socialism (capitals).
How do You dear to criticise, least defy, any adversary, accepting the adversaries terrain for granted, in the first place ?
(Hey, this type of rant is the best I can do to people I consider friends, only.
Keep trucking, brother. I wish You well.
The Einstein Theory of Relativity 1923
->shame on me.
"about 260 years ago" must be corrected and read about 160 years ago.
You could simplify your case by consolidating the terms neocon and neoliberal into their parent category, which is political Zionism. Divide and conquer is the name of the game, and playing two sides of the population against each other is the way it's played.
-> : ???

Anon: You're being kind of silly. Zionism is certainly a major part (but not the ONLY part) of what drives neoconservatism. Neoliberalism? Different story.

As for that "divide and comment" remark -- watch it. You're showing signs of turning into one of those brainless Bircher types. I'm talking about a certain kind of conspiracy buff who, in an effort to prove that ONE BIG CONSPIRACY controls both sides of any given political equation, starts muttering vague and unprovable nonsense about "Hegelian dialectics."

Am I right? Is that were you were heading?

Whenever I run into a conspiratard who blathers nonsense about Hegel, my response is to ask: "Have you ever actually READ Hegel?" The Philosophy of Right, The Phenomenology of Mind? Any of that ring a bell?

Usually, the conspiratard who thinks he knows something about Hegel hasn't read any of the guy's books. (I've tried. They're hard. And boring.) Conspiratards know about Hegel only from Birchite writers who were desperate to devise a rationale for their self-contradictory theories, such as the theory that ONE BIG CONSPIRACY controlled the USSR and Wall Street (an idea that used to be popular on the fringe right during the Cold War). Nowadays, we have the theory that ONE BIG CONSPIRACY controls liberalism and conservatism.

Many conspiratards think that they can sell this silliness by muttering the magic name "Hegel" and the magic word "dialectics." The truth is, there is not one iota of evidence that the world is ruled by ONE BIG CONSPIRACY of Hegelians. If you look at the Birch literature where this Hegel meme started, you'll see that there is no citation of evidence -- it's all proof-by-presumption.

I don't think that there is ONE BIG CONSPIRACY. And even if there is, I'm sure that the people running the show care even less about Hegel than I do.

Am I ranting, anon? Yeah. Little bit. Sorry. I know that you did not actually mention Hegel in your comment. But you were heading in that direction, so I felt obligated to warn you that I've heard it all before. No Sale.

Anyways, folks, I'm a little despondent.

No-one has had any practical advice to offer. I guess no-one cares about my proposal. Instead of outlining a practical course of action against neoconservatism in journalism, my readers have demonstrated that they would rather blather nonsense about whether or not the sky really IS blue. Either that, or they hit me with the usual blasts of vague, amorphous, and utterly otiose conspiracy theory.

That shit never helps nuthin'.
What exactly do you want, in terms of advice? Something to do with web hosting? Advice on how to trawl websites looking for lies, or on recruiting people to do so?

"Offer help with this idea" is too vague.
Do people still go to web sites? I think they mostly get stuff from their Facebook newsfeed, or their friends newsfeed. I prefer going to web sites, but I'm not so young anymore and I get the sense that younger people want everything of interest to them in one place.

I wish I could offer something more constructive, as I'd love to see the kind of site you are talking about. I just don't know much about setting up web sites, unfortunately.
Short version ->
Ideologic = inconsistent with logic.
Private ownership of logic, jepp !

joseph, it's true the birchers were nuts to think one giant conspiracy controlled the soviets and capitalism. but there's also a hidden history of capitalists bankrolling the soviets. in fact, the first five year plan under stalin was largely designed in detroit, by albert kahn, chief architect for ford. and the list of major american corporations that provided massive technical assistance to lenin, stalin and beyon is truly staggering. you would profit by looking up the construction of magnitogorsk - based on gary, indiana - just for starters. then, of course, there's fred koch making his fortune from stalin. talk about the birchers - he was a founding member.
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Friday, October 02, 2015

The evil of banality

I suppose a few words are in order concerning the latest mass shooter, Chris Harper Mercer. These thoughts aren't presented in any order.

1. He was active on a bittorent site called Kickass Torrents, where he also maintained a blog of sorts (which has been removed). Interestingly, major media outlets are discussing his activity on KAT without publishing the site's name.

I guess KAT is now as unmentionable as MI6 was in the Connery-era James Bond movies. If you dare to say the Name Of Power out loud, you will anger the gods.

2. Judging from his uploads and other online activities, Mercer was a self-proclaimed conservative Republican who didn't like Christianity, who leaned toward paganism and magic (or "magick" as some prefer to spell it), and who immersed himself in right-wing conspiracy literature. He reminds me of Jared Loughner, the crazed shooter who was inspired by an idiotic documentary called Zeitgeist. That conspira-classic combined three popular stupidities: The "mythicist" theory of Jesus, Bush-diddit 9/11 nonsense, and gonzo libertarian economics.

The biggest difference between Loughner and Mercer is that Loughner was more obviously nutso. Until he decided to commit this horrific deed, Mercer's online persona seemed eccentric but not frightening.

3. Mercer seemed to be fond of IRA imagery. I doubt that he knew or cared much about the politics of that group: The IRA leans to the left, while he described himself as Republican. More than likely, he simply liked the bad-ass visuals (and maybe the music). For many a young man, bad-assery trumps ideology.

4. From the start, I knew that our ever-predictable conservative propagandists would paint Mercer as an occult-crazed liberal socialist who hated Jesus. That was always a gimme; no surprises there. What surprised me was the speed with which the wacko-rightwingers tagged Mercer as a Muslim.
It was obvious from the beginning that he was either black or a Muslim that’s why his race and name was withheld. If he was white his picture and name would have been posted all over the media
And under his breath, Obutthead utters “allah bless you my brother! Not only did you kill infidels, you also gave me more ammo to start more gun control so your muslime brothers can safey kill more infidels!”
I could go on. Need I? I need not. Welcome to America, folks: The only difference between a right-winger's skull and an empty beer can is that the empty beer can once held something useful.

5. The Illuminati-spotters are singing their usual song.
Of course, many people in the conspiracy community believe this is another false flag attack by the Illuminati using an MK Ultra mind controlled assassin to use as a patsy to roll out more gun control laws. Media analyst Mark Dice reporters.
He "reporters"? I scoffer at his reportering.

I wonder if dear old Sid Gottlieb ever realized that his sick little program would one day become one of our culture's most tiresome cliches? Right-wing conspiracy freaks are the most predictable -- and easily manipulated -- people on this planet. And yet, hilariously, they think they're hip. These ninnies consider themselves to be the Enlightened Ones, the insightful ones, the only true human beings in a nation of sheeple. Despite their avant garde affectations, most of them have no idea what a truly new idea feels like. These trite clowns are the living avatars of vapidity.

Y'know who loved to read about overly-familiar conspiracy theories? Chris Mercer. I have yet to see any indication that this fellow was capable of original thought. The Mercer story should be titled "The Evil of Banality."
I have heard that Mercer was also a Zeitgeist fan boy.

I also use Kickass Torrents. I have used it for quite some time, and it is now the most popular torrent site on the web, much more so than even the Pirate Bay. As far as I'm aware there aren't blogs on there, just forums and the site official blog. So it's hardly a sign of sinister actions, no.
I think 50% of the population thinks that the Bush government had some type of "influence" regarding 911. It wouldn't have taken much more than leaving a GPS transmitter in the building so the planes could latch on, no?
Wondering if any one has seen his med list?
Interesting analysis as usual.

This country is in trouble, but it's not just right wingers. THAT is a cliche.

Did you about the hospital the US bombed? I doubt the pilots were all right wingers.
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Syria, Russia, Al Qaeda, ISIS

Writing about Syria is depressing because both major American political parties -- along with most of the media -- have committed themselves to a narrative divorced from any semblance of reality.

Russia has come to the aid of Syria, and my response comes down to two words: Thank God. Yet our journalists and opinion-shapers have responded very differently. Doubling down on their "New Cold War" propaganda, the newsfakers are telling us to hiss Putin because he has committed the sin of making war against Al Qaeda.

In this topsy-turvy storyline, Al Qaeda has been rehabilitated. They are now viewed as noble and lovable, sort of like the oppressed Mexican farmers in The Magnificent Seven. And Vladimir Putin is Eli Wallach.

Dig it:
As we documented earlier today, Russia wasted no time launching strikes against anti-regime targets once the country's lawmakers gave the official go-ahead and the West wasted no time accusing Russia of breaking protocol by targeting "modetrate" Syrian rebels (like al-Qeada) that aren't aligned with ISIS.
The bottom line going forward is that the US and its regional and European allies are going to have to decide whether they want to be on the right side of history here or not, and as we've been careful to explain, no one is arguing that Bashar al-Assad is the most benevolent leader in the history of statecraft but it has now gotten to the point where Western media outlets are describing al-Qaeda as "moderate" in a last ditch effort to explain away Washington's unwillingness to join Russia in stabilizing Syria. This is a foreign policy mistake of epic proportions on the part of the US and the sooner the West concedes that and moves to correct it by admitting that none of the groups the CIA, the Pentagon, and Washington's Mid-East allies have trained and supported represent a viable alternative to the Assad regime, the sooner Syria will cease to be the chessboard du jour for a global proxy war that's left hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead.
Over the past two years, we've heard a lot about the very real crimes of ISIS -- yet the United States has done little or nothing to combat the jihadis in Syria. In fact, we created the problem in the first place.

In recent times, we've spent enormous amounts of money arming the (mostly fictitious) "moderates" in Syria -- the ones who are always described as "vetted." Funny thing about those vetted moderates: They have a terrible habit of letting ISIS and Al Qaeda capture all of that fancy equipment. Oopsie. For two years, it has been one oopsie after another.

Cah-MON. Even a kid should be able to see what's really going on here. Marcy Wheeler has it figured out:
More recently, Adam Johnson caught NYT and Vox pretending CIA’s efforts don’t exist at all.
This past week, two pieces—one in the New York Times detailing the “finger pointing” over Obama’s “failed” Syria policy, and a Vox “explainer” of the Syrian civil war—did one better: They didn’t just omit the fact that the CIA has been arming, training and funding rebels since 2012, they heavily implied they had never done so.
To be fair, some intelligence reporters have done consistently good reporting on CIA’s covert war in Syria. But the policy people — especially the ones reporting how if Obama had supported “moderate” rebels sooner — usually pretend no one knows that Obama did support Qatar and Saudi-vetted liver-eating rebels sooner and they often turned out to be Islamists.

The selective ignorance about CIA’s covert operations in Syria seems to have been eliminated, however, with one Russian bombing run that targeted them.
Whatever Russia’s entry does for the tactical confrontation (I have no hopes it will do anything but make this conflict even bloodier, and possibly expand it into other countries), it has clarified a discussion the US has always tried to obscure. There are plenty of US backed forces on the ground — which may or may not be Islamic extremists (see Pat Lang on this point) — whose priority is toppling Bashar al-Assad, not defeating ISIS. While there will be some interesting fights about who they really are in coming days (and whether CIA has already acknowledged that it inflamed Islamists with its regime change efforts), American priorities will become increasingly clear.
Marcy goes on to say that she is not defending Vladimir Putin. On this point, she and I disagree: I do have hopes that Russian involvement will help shrink ISIS. Now is the time to state out loud -- without cheap cynicism, without equivocation -- that Putin is doing the right thing, the heroic thing. In just a few days, Russia has done more to destroy the jihadist maniacs than "the west" has done since 2013.
I'm dumbfounded by the ubiquitous reach of the disinformation machine. Whether it's intentionally misrepresenting history and reality in the writing of the articles or flooding comment sections with sock puppets toeing the official line, the psyops portion of this war is astounding.

The truth is always the first casualty of war, Joseph.
You got it right again Joe.
Our media reporting is in full absurdity mode:

But several military sources and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said Russia had hit areas controlled by groups other than IS. A security source said they had been aimed at "military positions and command centers held by the Army of Conquest in Jisr al-Shughur... and Jabal al-Zawiya in Idlib".

That's right. Those pesky Russians are bombing the "moderate" Army of Conquest, the coalition of al Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham put together back in January under the blessing of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, a group which went on to capture the town of Idlib with US backing from an operational center in Turkey!

Oh the humanity!

The headlines should read: "US furious Russia is attacking murderous jihadist forces it has worked long and hard with to bring down Assad. Turkey and Saudi Arabia pissed off too."

LINKS 1 2 3
The "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" is situated in a private home in Coventry, England. It's in effect an equivalent of Bellingcat.
We're backing Al Qaeda in Syria. It's that simple. Twenty years from now we'll hear about how direct this support was, when the CIA officers running the ops retire and spill the tea.

If there is a 20 years from now. World events are unfolding like a slow-motion apocalypse. In Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and soon Afghanistan, a Fourth World is taking shape. These crisis spots are fundamentally different from anything dealt with during the Cold War, because intractable: they're black holes where any application of force in an attempt to create order leads to deeper disintegration. Putin can't defy the physics of these new geopolitical dimensions any more than a photon can reverse course over the event horizon.

These places have no future. I don't think civilization has much of one either. The rot is spreading.
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Thursday, October 01, 2015

If Republicans know how to create prosperity, why is Alabama so poor?

The headline speaks for itself. Alabama has been Republican for years:
Republican candidates have won all but one of the state's elections for governor since 1986. Many of these recent contests, however, have been quite competitive. Both of Alabama's current U.S. senators, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, are Republicans, but Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986 as a Democrat. Following the 1994 election, he switched to the Republican Party. Since the 1990s, Republicans have held a majority of Alabama's U.S. House seats. After the 2010 elections, the Alabama State Legislature came under Republican control for the first time in the state's history.
Now go here:
In presidential races, every Republican except Gerald Ford has carried Alabama since JFK.

Republicans have won six of the last seven governor's races.

Lucy Baxley, the last Democrat to hold a statewide office, lost her PSC race in 2012.
Republican orthodoxy holds that a state which creates a low-tax, business-friendly climate will attract "job-creators." Why, then, is Alabama so sickeningly poor that it can no longer issue drivers' licenses in many (poor) counties?

California -- a more "purple" state than many outsiders realize -- finally elected a Democratic governor in 2010, and the obstructionist conservatives in the legislature finally had their power (somewhat) curtailed. Result: Jerry Brown managed to end the outrageous deficits run up by his Republican predecessor. Brown's new problem has been called "the politics of prosperity."

The Republicans, undaunted, are blaming the drought on Brown. Please note: Nobody is saying that the big problem in Republican-led Alabama is prosperity.
Good times, they're just around the corner. The problem is, those darn liberals keep making Alabama wait!
Kansas is the state to look at where Brownback's trickle-down policy experiment has left Kansas on the brink of financial ruin. In June, the state issued a $840 million debt certificate, basically a worthless IOU to keep the lights on. This was after slashing education, health and basic services to the bone and raising taxes on the poor and middle-class because . . . Brownback and his buddies just can't let the theory go or admit they're wrong. Anymore than the Bush Administration is willing to admit they brought the country to its knees after 8 years of wanton spending, disastrous wars and slashed taxes for the rich and mighty.

Poppy Bush was correct: trickle down is voodoo economics, a huge scam perpetrated by the well to do.

As for the South, Alabama et al? Lawrence Wilkerson said just days ago that without revenues from states like California and New York, the South would be Bangladesh. Yet the propaganda machines keep pumping out the same tired tune--the country's going to hell in a hand basket because of all those damn liberals! Corporations are people. Money is free speech. Yada, yada.

It's amazing how dumb people can truly be.

It's possible that Alabama is closing drivers' license offices for reasons other than poverty. It turns out that the offices are closing in the poorest counties that just happen to be more than 75% black in their demographics. Of course, voter ID cards cannot be a reason, since such cards are also available at the voting Registrar, right?
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Exposing lies about Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton

I think that there is a reasonable chance that Carly Fiorina could become the leading Republican candidate, if and when Trump fizzles. That's why everyone should watch this video.

Planned Parenthood does extremely important work, and the current assault on that organization is appalling. The attacks are based on pure deception.

Another fraudulent story: The headline seems quite striking, at first glance -- "Emails: Russia-linked hackers tried to access Clinton server." Those who do not read past the headlines will have more fuel for their mindless Clinton-hate. Those who read the actual text will learn the truth: That email account received several deceptive "click on this attachment" messages from hackers.

MOST email accounts gets those things. You get them. I get them. Our accounts are all filled with viruses waiting to be activated.

Most of the time, those deceptive messages end up in the spam filter. Since Hillary's account was on a private server, the spam remains on the machine. Examiners found them, and now everyone is making a big deal out of bullshit. 

There is no evidence that Hillary or anyone else ever clicked on those attachments.

One other point: It is clear that the hackers did not know that they were targeting an account used by Hillary Clinton. The hackers disguised the viral payload in an email which pretended to be about unpaid traffic tickets. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if a million people got that one. (Hillary does not do her own driving, a fact easily obtainable via Google.)

When hackers want to target a specific person, they send messages which purportedly come from a friend or associate of that person.

That's how I once got hit. In 2008, my anti-Obama writings were pissing people off. I received a message which allegedly came from writer Evelyn Pringle, who had published an investigative series on Obama. The message was a fake, and I should have recognized it as such. Stupidly, I clicked on the attachment -- and shortly thereafter, I was forced to wipe my drive. A year's worth of emails disappeared from the Yahoo account I then used.

If these "Russian" hackers (probably lone operators, not government goons) had targeted Hillary, they would have used a similar tactic. For example, they might have sent an email which pretended to come from Chelsea or Huma.

By the way: You can be pretty damned sure that every political figure, Republican and Democrat, makes private use of one or more email accounts. You can also be pretty damned sure that these accounts have deceptive (and virus-laden) emails from bad guys lurking somewhere in the spam folders.

What happened to Hillary happens to everyone.
Again, if there was any there there as it relates to HRC's email scandal, then the Bush administration's gross abuse and misuse of private email would be mentioned in these stories. It's not, and that alone should prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these attacks are purely political and highly partisan in nature.
Hair-piece vs. harpy. Hair-piece wins. Hail President Trump.
We're back to the Clinton Rules, Joseph. What is ordinary for the rest of the world is automatically nefarious when a Clinton is involved. McCarthy uttered the truth yesterday pertaining to the Benghazi investigation[s], 8 Congressional and 1 independent, which were/are meant to bring down HRC's poll numbers. McCarthy crowed about it on Hannity. Wanted a pat on the head he did for his grand accomplishment--"Look Ma, ain't I a good, splendid boy, messing with those dastardly Clintons."

This was all in attempt to justify a do-nothing Congress, paint the GOP as grand warriors, rather than the smear/smut artists they truly are. Boehner was running around the Capitol today trying to clean up the mess. Good luck with that!

We need to simply resign ourselves to the fact that the Republican Party is demented, insane, gone 'round the bend. Then a lot of things begin to fall into place.

As should the straight jackets.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

From ancient Egypt to the Pope

I would have resumed regular blogging duties yesterday, but this household suddenly became very active with various projects. I had to help paint some large murals for the local children's museum. To be specific, I've been painting hieroglyphics. Hundreds of them. If I knew more about Egyptology, I would have written "God, I'm sick of hieroglyphics" in hieroglyphics.

I have told myself that if I ever returned to blogging, I should find a way to piss off everyone. Today's news provides an opportunity to do just that.

Headlines tell us that the Pope met with the famous/infamous Kim Davis -- an act which instantly gave Francis a new status: He is no longer "The Cool Pope." For a while, some questioned whether the meeting actually occurred, but the Vatican finally offered confirmation to the New York Times.
In his public addresses in the United States, the pope spoke in broad strokes about the importance of religious freedom. On the plane trip home, an American television reporter asked him about government officials who refused to perform their duties because of religious objections to same-sex marriage.

The pope said that he could not speak specifically about cases but that “conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right.”

“It is a right,” Francis said. “And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.”

The pope did not mention Ms. Davis, but added: “Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise, we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying, ‘This right, that has merit; this one does not.’ ”
And now I shall offer the words designed to piss off everyone: I don't see a problem with this sentiment.

One should respect someone who has the courage of his or her convictions, even when one does not share those convictions. It's a bit like the respect one holds for a brave warrior who fights for an opposing army.

That said, I do think there should be a legal mechanism to remove Davis quickly from that job. Whether you're a senator or a stripper, a gig should go to the one who will actually perform. Kim Davis has the right to determine her own actions but does not have the right to set the parameters of her position.

In order to tick off even more readers, I shall repeat something I've said before about the church. From a liberal perspective, many Catholics are good on social issues -- as long as those issues have nothing to do with wee-wees. They're conservative on sex and less conservative on Everything Else.

Unfortunately,  the hypersexualization of everything has transformed many alleged liberals into blinkered ninnies who see wee-wee issues as the only issues. Orgasm is all; nothing else is really real.

Despite appearances and affectations, the Catholic Church is not monolithic. Unlike (say) the Southern Baptists, Catholicism has wings, liberal and conservative, just as our political parties once did. You almost never hear about liberal Baptists, do you? Such creatures do exist, but they are rare and exotic. The Baptist tradition has no place for anyone like Sister Agnes or Oscar Romero or Hans Küng. There is a place for such people within the Catholic church, though the position is not always a comfortable one. Catholicism offers room for diversity because there really is no one Catholic Church, although it pleases both the Vatican and its enemies to pretend otherwise.

That said, it is true that the rank-and-filers within most Catholic congregations tend to be sexually conservative. Even the ones who believe in peace and tolerance and single-payer health insurance suddenly become quite annoyed whenever someone mentions The Dong and its many uses. That's just the way it is. If a pastor suddenly decided to espouse a hipster attitude toward sex, the flock would probably just up and leave. There's a growing sedevacantist movement which exists to service the disaffected.

Orgasm-obsessed liberals ain't never gonna genuflect, and they'd rather eat slugs than say their Hail Marys. So why should the Pope care what they think? Why cater to a market that won't buy your product no matter what you do or say? Asking the Vatican to rewrite all of its doctrines on sex in order to make liberals happy is like asking musicians to make music for the deaf.

This Pope dares to question capitalism. He is the only world leader to do so. In today's world, that's bravery enough.

I now pause for you to sploogie your hate-gasm all over the preceding words. This post has dared to mention the Church that Everyone Everywhere Must Hate Hate Hate, and now I expect you all to respond with a frenzied festival of Hate Bukake. Don't let me down!
"Hate Bukakke" would be a great name for a punk rock band. :P
Well, actually, I'm going to let you down. I am pretty much in total agreement with you. Though I will say this.......I think you are wrong about everyone HATE HATE HATING the Catholic Church. I don't, and I'm pretty Liberal when it comes to sexual issues (or most issues, really). Frankly, I don't really give much thought at all to the Catholic Church as I'm just not really that interested in anything they say or do (the history of the Catholic Church is another matter entirely......very fascinating and interesting). The new Pope does seem pretty "cool", for a Pope, but it was only a matter of time before he pissed of the hardcore liberal atheist crowd. I mean, how could he not? The Kim Davis meeting was an interesting move, almost like he wasn't comfortable with all the liberal love he was getting from people that feel god and religion are fantasies people indulge in to fend off the eternal nothingness of death, so he figured he throw 'em a curve ball. As you point out though, he's got his base to deal with, just like a politician.
I will have to let you down, I guess. You're right about the Catholic Church. I know very cool devout, church-going Catholics. Now, as to Baptists, I think you may have conflated the Southern Baptist Convention with all Baptists. There are also American Baptists, who seem to be much more in the tradition of Baptists in America; Baptists and Quakers were the dissidents back in the day, opposing government entanglement with religion and such things.

In Cambridge, we have Old Cambridge Baptist Church. From their website: "We are a progressive and inclusive Christian community in the American Baptist tradition that seeks to answer God's call to hold fast to love and justice for all the earth and its peoples. OCBC has been a welcoming and affirming church since 1983." I first heard of OCBC in the early '80s as the FBI's favorite place to break into in Cambridge because of all of the leftwing organizations that rented space there.

Anyone who's really been paying attention to the Pope has noticed that the change he represents is in tone and emphasis much more than in doctrine. That's welcome, but insufficient. He is also rightly criticized for being OK with women's second-class status in the church. I like that he gives me even more of an opportunity to fling the label cafeteria Catholic at some of my rightwing friends. He may pave the way for further modernization of the church that actually does bring doctrine closer to the beliefs and practices of actual American Catholics (and, for all I know, large numbers of Catholics elsewhere).
Kimmee has an absolute constitutional right to believe as she believes. She does not have the right to impose that belief on everyone else. Her job is not a religious one; it is secular. If she is uncomfortable doing the secular job, she should quit. In the USofA she is still free to take her conscience with her.
I think this is pretty good.

I wish the Pope would help the Vatican divest of all it's wealth though. That would be the anti-capitalist thing to do. And then they could give all that money to the poor. Problems solved. Chutzpah much?
You're right, Joseph, for some time now anti-Catholicism has been the acceptable form of social hate. And I'm surprised how many Catholic haters have trouble distinguishing between them and born again, bible thumping Protestant evangelists. As a lapsed Catholic who has moved on I can attest that it was always a broad Church phenomenon with a very strong intellectual basis, even if parts of that intellectual tradition are later abandoned by its followers(James Joyce anyone?)

And the penis fixation is a problem for gay culture even if one accepts people's rights to be gay. I remember one family day parade with huge strap-ons paraded before an audience which included many very young children. I wondered if they were ever permitted to have a time of innocence, of sexual non-awareness.

Kim Davis is a sad indictment of much thinking in the US. She is qualified to set the marriage license policy of Rowan County, Kentucky because of her three divorces and four marriages -- that and approval from the Lord.

This conflict underscores the need for some kind of public charter of social rights and obligations. Sure, you are entitled to your own private morality, but society is entitled to its version as enshrined in the law. If you can't do the job then you quit. That's civil protest, not punishing private citizens. They not only are not obliged to live by your private morality but they have no obligation to even hear about it.

My conscience says that if I live in the US then I can drive on the left hand side of the road because God told me so. I wonder how far I would get with that one?
The term Conscientious objection usually applies to conscription in military service. A person has a right not to be forced to serve in the military against his conscience. Mandatory alternative service can be required to meet his social obligation. In the case of Kim, she was not conscripted into her job and she is free to quit at any time if her conscience does not allow her do her job. No one is forcing her to work at her government job. And the Pope is really only talking about conscientious objection for Roman Catholic beliefs and not the right of a conscientious objection to manual labor by some atheist government employee. If Kim worked at a slaughter house and took action to stop the production line because she had a conscientious objection to killing animals would/should she to allowed keep her paid job? By the way Kim is not performing the marriages, she is only granting state permission for the couple to have a state marriage (aka civil union) not a religious marriage and she refused to grant, by herself or others, that permission against a court order.
Your points are well taken, William. But I think the rather romantic comparison goes back to someone like Sir Thomas More, standing up for ancient precepts even when secular authority insists on change. When we watch "A Man For All Seasons," even non-Catholics tend to applaud More's stubborn adherence to his principles.
I have a good friend who is a lapsed Catholic. He complained to me about John Paul II's choice of cardinals. He said they were too conservative. I told him to go to Church and make his complaints known, that if he didn't go, they wouldn't listen to him. In any event, my only concern with the Pope is how he is with regard to the Jews. The truth is that since the sainted John XXIII, they have all been quite good. Which leads to Pope Francis. When Hezbollah blew up the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, at the behest of Iran, then Cardinal Bergoglio was quite supportive of the Jewish community. He has also co-written a book with his good friend Rabbi Skorka, On Heaven and Earth, which details their conversations. When men of different faiths can have a respectful dialogue, and learn from each other, THAT is something we can all learn from.
This is a great stance to take, in the face of the twitter-hysteria over this, Joseph....but I stand with Cambridge-knitter because anyone who's been paying attention knows and has marked this Pope's attitude toward women. Less than stellar.

His comments on believing in God and his stance on economics are welcome additions to the global conversation...but as always, certain issues take a hit or a back seat, and it only came as a surprise to those who habitually don't pay attention.
Driving on the left is a suitable beach to die on. Do you know how many thousands of people die because of the unnatural insistence on driving on the right? The human brain is made to look to the right for oncoming traffic, just look at the difference in traffic deaths between the UK and USA. Feel free to martyr yourself in this noble cause.

Nor do I think the Vatican should divest itself. Most of its wealth is ancient books and works of art, which I'm not in favour of privatising.

The Bible is quite clear about women teaching: no. It hardly seems reasonable to want the pope to contravene that. Personally, I think he should take a stand against women teaching in secular schools, too.

And Davis is not a conshy. She is more like a deserter, or whatever one would call a person who joins the army and then only agrees to shoot Arabs, and not everyone order to.

" When Hezbollah blew up the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, at the behest of Iran...."

Minor challenge there joseph at 12:08. I don't think that's true.
"DON'T do as Jesus did, for You SEE what happened to HIM."
This is the self-fullfilling alpha and the omega of the church.
I'm with Stephen Morgan on this one, which may be a first. Remember, through deception, they will wage war.

Blowing up your own community center and blaming it on your enemy is a more effective tool than actually being attacked by your enemy, because you get to control the entire process. That's also probably why they murdered the prosecutor, to perpetuate the lie.
Yes, James, which is why the Iranians keep murdering their own nuclear scientists.

I think we both know who's murdering the Iranian scientists, joseph.
If you haven't already, slip over to Esquire and read Pierce's piece on Kimmee ratfckng the Pope.
And we know who blew up the Jewish Community Center. You can't take the silly position that one is a false flag and the other isn't.
small-j, I have not studied the Argentinian outrage in any detail, so what I have to say here is purely theoretical. But it is certainly possible to argue that the explosion in Argentina was a false flag op and the murder of the Iranian scientists was not.

By way of comparison, one can argue that the destruction of the Maine was a false flag. (A number of people believe just that. I'm not saying that I do; I'm saying that the argument has been made.) If you say that the Maine affair was a false flag, you are not necessarily arguing that ALL mysteries involving ships are false flags.

Regarding the specific comparison you have made (which, by the way, has nothing to do with my actual post), one need only ask "Cui bono?" to understand the difference between the two matters.

The killing of the Iranian scientists benefits those who do not want Iran to develop certain weapons. There is a specific purpose to these killings; they were not cases of murder-for-the-sake-of-murder. They were not mindless acts of terror. Those scientists had information and capabilities that made them difficult to replace.

But the explosion within the community center -- who, exactly, did it benefit? I can't see how the incident could benefit any state actor -- EXCEPT if one is willing to contemplate a "false flag" scenario. No other scenario makes practical sense.

(Well, I suppose, someone could argue that the explosion was actually a targeted assassination of a particular individual, whose death would be hidden within the context of a much larger act of apparently senseless carnage. That would be an intriguing possibility. But I don't that anyone has made such a suggestion.)

In sum: The all-important "cui bono" question tells us that the death of the Iranian scientists benefits only those states opposed to Iran. By contrast, a terrorist outrage against a community center benefits no state on earth -- with the possible exception of Israel. One can argue that there are Israelis -- Bibi not least among them -- who want to hammer home the theme that Jews are safe only in Israel.

I'm not saying that this is the real reason why the explosion occurred. Frankly, my bet is that it was simply the act of a lunatic, perhaps aided by a few other lunatics. But if you insist on looking for state sponsorship for the act, then only one state had motive.

Cui bono. As always, this is our first and best question.
It is clear that it was the Iranians, not the Libyans, who were behind the Lockerbie bombing. Why? In retaliation for the inadvertent bombing of the Iranian airliner. So who benefited from the Lockerbie bombing? Nobody, but it made the Iranians feel better. They like to flex their muscle and congratulate themselves. Nobody has to know and there doesn't have to be a particular benefit to them. The idea that Israel bombed the center is not only made in the absence of even a shred of evidence, but is facially stupid. It is clear that one of Iran's proxies carried out the bombing. The question is whether Iran is directly involved. I think the evidence is clear that they were and that the present president was directly involved. In fact, Interpol had arrest warrants for a number of Iranian officials.
Your comments are usually intelligent and interesting, except for anything to do with Israel. Then, you sound closed minded, biased and right down stupid and stubborn.
Knowing that about you, I tend to believe the opposite of your stance about matters involving Israel.
This discussion reminds me of the Vineyard of the Saker's attitude towards Russian Orthodoxy, with its cultural conservatism being a contrast to the hyper-sexualized West and the ambiguities of (per one of his examples) Conchita Wurst..

Because despite the discomfort with changing sexual mores, the deeper Christian message has always really been revolutionary - and if only a fraction of those who identify as Christian really tried to give a shit about the poor and the weary then maybe it would be a different world..

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Sunday, September 27, 2015


I want to thank everyone who offered help and advice in response to the preceding post. My ladyfriend is trying many of your suggestions, and there has been definite improvement. The real secret seems to be activity and exercise.

I will be back to writing soon -- maybe tomorrow. I've been working on a children's book. It's a self-generated project, utterly outrageous but still (sort of) appropriate for young readers. Most of all, it is completely unlike those thuddingly didactic kids' books I used to illustrate, back when I worked for other people. As I've said before, the problem with most children's literature is that it is written by parents. Well-meaning parents invariably write do-gooder stories filled with important lessons: Be tolerant, don't litter, and do your homework.

Yuck. Who wants to read that?

Anyways, it occurs to me that I could use this blog to push the book that I am creating, which means that I'll have to keep the blog going. And if I want to do that, then I'll have to catch up with -- Lord help me -- the news.

Yuck. Who wants to read that?

Although I've taken a much-needed respite from headline-watching, I've been told that Boehner is out. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Party of Crazy has found a way to become crazier still.

Depressing. Reading the news is always depressing. Time to head back to the Wacom tablet.

But before I do that, I want to mention that I've been watching the fourth series of that marvelous BBC show Fake or Fortune?, which you can find online if you know where to look. One question: Why is there no-one like Fiona Bruce on American television? That woman is incredibly smart, classy, poised, professional and charming. I know that we have plenty of women in this county who are smart, classy, poised, professional and charming -- but for some reason, we usually don't put them in front of television cameras.
Take all the time you want we will still be back to check once a while to see if you come around again. I'm some one that was never brave enough to have children and to those of you that have my hat is off to you.

I do hope some of the info from last post helps:)
Well, as I said before, my personal theory is that the best writers of kid lit never had children of their own -- Dr. Suess and E. Nesbitt being good examples. Kids' books should be written by uncles and aunts, not by mothers and fathers.
Why is there no-one like Fiona Bruce on American television?

It's the British accent, of course.
Roald Dahl, the ultimate childrens' storyteller.
Having failed as a Wacom tablet user, I'd like to read something on your experiences with the tablet.

Been looking to you for REAL news with a good friend for a long time.

Don't quit. Your followers need you. SOMEBODY has to have an idea what really happened, whence the hit really does hit the proverbial fan for good.

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