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Archive for the ‘hypocricy’ Category

Louis C.K. – You cant take a People’s historical context away from them.

Louis C.K. – You cant take a People’s historical context away from them.

Early life
C.K. was born on September 12, 1967, in Washington, D.C.,[2][4][12][13] the son of Mary Louise Székely (née Davis), asoftware engineer, and Luis Székely, an economist.[2] C.K.’s parents met at Harvard University, where his mother was completing her degree in a summer-school program.[1] They were married at St. Francis Church in Traverse City,Michigan.[14] C.K. has three sisters.[15]
When C.K. was a year old, his family moved to his father’s home country of Mexico, from where his father had earned a degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico prior to graduating from Harvard.[14] C.K.’s first language was Spanish; it was not until after the move to the U.S. that he began to learn English.[16] He has since mostly forgotten his Spanish.[17] C.K.’s paternal grandfather, Dr. Géza Székely Schweiger, was a surgeon. Székely Schweiger was aHungarian Jew whose family immigrated to Mexico, where he met C.K.’s paternal grandmother, Rosario Sánchez Morales.[18] Sánchez Morales was a CatholicMexican.[17] C.K.’s grandfather agreed to have his children raised Catholic, but was (according to C.K.) “quietly Jewish”.[19]
C.K.’s mother, an American with Irish ancestry, grew up on a farm in Michigan.[20][21] She graduated from Owosso High School in Owosso, Michigan. She attendedUniversity of Michigan and graduated from Ohio State University Phi Beta Kappa. C.K.’s maternal grandparents were M. Louise Davis and Alfred C. Davis.[14]

At age seven, C.K. left Mexico with his family to move back to the United States and settle in Boston.[22] Upon moving from Mexico to suburban Boston, C.K. wanted to become a writer and comedian, citing Richard PryorSteve Martin, and George Carlin as some of his influences.[1] When he was 10, his parents divorced. C.K. said that his father was around but he did not see him much and when he remarried, C.K.’s father converted to Orthodox Judaism, the faith of his new wife.[19] C.K. and his three sisters were raised by their single mother in NewtonMassachusetts.[23] The fact that his mother had only “bad” TV shows to view upon returning home from work inspired him to work on television.[23] C.K.’s mother raised her children as Catholic, wanting them to have a religious framework and understanding, and they attended after-school Catholic class until they completed communion.[19] C.K. has said that his father’s whole family still lives in Mexico. C.K.’s paternal uncle Dr. Francisco Székely is an academic and an international consultant on environmental affairs who served as Mexico’s Deputy Minister of Environment (2000–2003).[24]
C.K. attended Newton North High School, and graduated in 1985. He graduated with future Friends star, Matt LeBlanc whom he would later be nominated with in the same category at the Primetime Emmy Awards multiple times.[25] After graduating from Newton North High School, C.K. worked as an auto mechanic and at a public access TV cable station in Boston.[2] According to C.K., working in public access TV gave him the tools and technical knowledge to make his short films and later his television shows. “Learning is my favorite thing”, he said.[7] He also worked for a time as a cook and in a video store.[15]

The U.S. and Chemical Weapons: No Leg to Stand On

By , May 2, 2013

    If, as alleged, the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons, it would indeed be a serious development, constituting a breach of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, one of the world’s most important disarmament treaties, which banned the use of chemical weapons.
    In 1993, the international community came together to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, a binding international treaty that would also prohibit the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, and transfer or use of chemical weapons. Syria is one of only eight of the world’s 193 countries not party to the convention.
    However, U.S. policy regarding chemical weapons has been so inconsistent and politicized that the United States is in no position to take leadership in response to any use of such weaponry by Syria.
    The controversy over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles is not new. Both the Bush administration and Congress, in the 2003 Syria Accountability Act, raised the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, specifically Syria’s refusal to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. The failure of Syria to end its chemical weapons program was deemed sufficient grounds by a large bipartisan majority of Congress to impose strict sanctions on that country. Syria rejected such calls for unilateral disarmament on the grounds that it was not the only country in the region that had failed to sign the CWC—nor was it the first country in the region to develop chemical weapons, nor did it have the largest chemical weapons arsenal in the region.
    Indeed, neither Israel nor Egypt, the world’s two largest recipients of U.S. military aid, is a party to the convention either. Never has Congress or any administration of either party called on Israel or Egypt to disarm their chemical weapons arsenals, much less threatened sanctions for having failed to do so. U.S. policy, therefore, appears to be that while it is legitimate for its allies Israel and Egypt to refuse to ratify this important arms control convention, Syria needed to be singled out for punishment for its refusal.
    The first country in the Middle East to obtain and use chemical weapons was Egypt, which used phosgene and mustard gas in the mid-1960s during its intervention in Yemen’s civil war. There is no indication Egypt has ever destroyed any of its chemical agents or weapons. The U.S.-backed Mubarak regime continued its chemical weapons research and development program until its ouster in a popular uprising two years ago, and the program is believed to have continued subsequently.
    Israel is widely believed to have produced and stockpiled an extensive range of chemical weapons and is engaged in ongoing research and development of additional chemical weaponry. (Israel is also believed to maintain a sophisticated biological weapons program, which is widely thought to include anthrax and more advanced weaponized agents and other toxins, as well as a sizable nuclear weapons arsenal with sophisticated delivery systems.) For more than 45 years, the Syrians have witnessed successive U.S. administration provide massive amounts of armaments to a neighboring country with a vastly superior military capability which has invaded, occupied, and colonized Syria’s Golan province in the southwest. In 2007, the United States successfully pressured Israel to reject peace overtures from the Syrian government in which the Syrians offered to recognize Israel and agree to strict security guarantees in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied Syrian territory.
    The U.S. position that Syria must unilaterally give up its chemical weapons and missiles while allowing a powerful and hostile neighbor to maintain and expand its sizable arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons is simply unreasonable. No country, whether autocratic or democratic, could be expected to accept such conditions.
    This is part of a longstanding pattern of hostility by the United States towards international efforts to eliminate chemical weapons through a universal disarmament regime. Instead, Washington uses the alleged threat from chemical weapons as an excuse to target specific countries whose governments are seen as hostile to U.S. political and economic interests.
    One of the most effective instruments for international arms control in recent years has been the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which enforces the Chemical Weapons Convention by inspecting laboratories, factories, and arsenals, and oversees the destruction of chemical weapons. The organization’s most successful director general, first elected in 1997, was the Brazilian diplomat Jose Bustani, praised by the Guardian newspaper as a “workaholic” who has “done more in the past five years to promote world peace than anyone.” Under his strong leadership, the number of signatories of the treaty grew from 87 to 145 nations, the fastest growth rate of any international organization in recent decades, and – during this same period – his inspectors oversaw the destruction of 2 million chemical weapons and two-thirds of the world’s chemical weapons facilities. Bustani was re-elected unanimously in May 2000 for a five-year term and was complimented by Secretary of State Colin Powell for his “very impressive” work.
    However, by 2002, the United States began raising objections to Bustani’s insistence that the OPCW inspect U.S. chemical weapons facilities with the same vigor it does for other signatories. More critically, the United States was concerned about Bustani’s efforts to get Iraq to sign the convention and open their facilities to surprise inspections as is done with other signatories. If Iraq did so, and the OPCW failed to locate evidence of chemical weapons that Washington claimed Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed, it would severely weaken American claims that Iraq was developing chemical weapons. U.S. efforts to remove Bustani by forcing a recall by the Brazilian government failed, as did a U.S.-sponsored vote of no confidence at the United Nations in March. That April, the United States began putting enormous pressure on some of the UN’s weaker countries to support its campaign to oust Bustani and threatened to withhold the United States’ financial contribution to the OPCW, which constituted more than 20 percent of its entire budget. Figuring it was better to get rid of its leader than risk the viability of the whole organization, a majority of nations, brought together in an unprecedented special session called by the United States, voted to remove Bustani.
    The Case of Iraq
    The first country to allegedly use chemical weapons in the Middle East was Great Britain in 1920, as part of its efforts to put down a rebellion by Iraqi tribesmen when British forces seized the country following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.According to Winston Churchill, who then held the position of Britain’s Secretary of State for War and Air, “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.”
    It was the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, that used chemical weapons on a scale far greater than any country had dared since the weapons were banned nearly 90 years ago. The Iraqis inflicted close to 100,000 casualties among Iranian soldiers using banned chemical agents, resulting in 20,000 deaths and tens of thousands of long-term injuries.
    They were unable to do this alone, however. Despite ongoing Iraqi support for Abu Nidal and other terrorist groups during the 1980s, the Reagan administration removed Iraq from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in order to provide the regime with thiodiglycol, a key component in the manufacture of mustard gas, and other chemical precursors for their weapons program. Walter Lang, a senior official with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, noted how “the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern” to President Reagan and other administration officials since they “were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose.” Lang noted that the DIA believed Iraq’s use of chemical was “seen as inevitable in the Iraqi struggle for survival.” In fact, DIA personnel were dispatched to Baghdad during the war to provide Saddam Hussein’s regime with U.S. satellite data on the location of Iranian troop concentrations in the full knowledge that the Iraqis were using chemical weapons against them.
    Even the Iraqi regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians was not seen as particularly problematic. The March 1988 massacre in the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, where Saddam’s forces murdered up to 5,000 Kurdish civilians with chemical weapons, was downplayed by the Reagan administration, with some officials even falsely claiming that Iran was actually responsible. The United States continued sending aid to Iraq even after the regime’s use of poison gas was confirmed.
    When a 1988 Senate Foreign Relations committee staff report brought to light Saddam’s policy of widespread extermination in Iraqi Kurdistan, Senator Claiborne Pell introduced the Prevention
    of Genocide Act to put pressure on the Iraqi regime, but the Bush administration successfully moved to have the measure killed. This came despite evidence emerging from UN reports in 1986 and 1987, prior to the Halabja tragedy, documenting Iraq’s use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians—allegations that were confirmed both by investigations from the CIA and from U.S. embassy staff who had visited Iraqi Kurdish refugees in Turkey. However, not only was the United States not particularly concerned about Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, the Reagan administration continued supporting the Iraqi government’s procurement effort of materials necessary for their development.
    Given the U.S. culpability in the deaths of tens of thousands of people by Iraqi chemical weapons less than 25 years ago, the growing calls for the United States to go to war with Syria in response to that regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons that killed a few dozen people leads even many of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s fiercest opponents to question U.S. motivations.
    This is not the only reason U.S. credibility on the issue of chemical weapons is questionable, however.
    After denying and covering up Iraq’s use of chemical weapons in the late 1980s, the U.S. government—first under President Bill Clinton and then under President George W. Bush—began insisting that Iraq’s alleged chemical weapons stockpile was a dire threat, even though the country had completely destroyed its stockpile by 1993 and completely dismantled its chemical weapons program.
    Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel—when they served in the U.S. Senate in 2002—all voted to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq, insisting that Iraq still had a chemical weapons arsenal that was so extensive it constituted a serious threaten to the national security of the United States, despite the fact that Iraq had rid itself of all such weapons nearly a decade earlier. As a result, it is not unreasonable to question the accuracy of any claims they might make today in regard to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
    It should also be noted that many of today’s most outspoken congressional advocates for U.S. military intervention in Syria in response to the Damascus regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons were among the most strident advocates in 2002-2003 for invading Iraq. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), whom the Democrats have chosen to be their ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the right-wing minority of House Democrats who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction. When no such weapons were found, Engel came up with the bizarre allegation that “it would not surprise me if those weapons of mass destruction that we cannot find in Iraq wound up and are today in Syria.”
    Engel is currently the chief sponsor of the Free Syria Act of 2013 (H.R. 1327), which would authorize the United States to provide arms to Syrian rebels.
    UN resolutions
    Unlike the case of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, there are no UN Security Council resolutions specifically demanding that Syria unilaterally disarm its chemical weapons or dismantle its chemical weapons program. Syria is believed to have developed its chemical weapons program only after Israel first developed its chemical, biological, and nuclear programs, all of which still exist today and by which the Syrians still feel threatened.
    However, UN Security Council Resolution 687, the resolution passed at the end of the 1991 Gulf War demanding the destruction of Iraq’s chemical weapons arsenal, also called on member states “to work towards the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of such weapons.”
    Syria has joined virtually all other Arab states in calling for such a “weapons of mass destruction-free zone” for the entire Middle East. In December 2003, Syria introduced a UN Security Council resolution reiterating this clause from 12 years earlier, but the resolution was tabled as a result of a threatened U.S. veto. As I wrote at time, in reference to the Syrian Accountability Act, “By imposing strict sanctions on Syria for failing to disarm unilaterally, the administration and Congress has roundly rejected the concept of a WMD-free zone or any kind of regional arms control regime. Instead, the United States government is asserting that it has the authority to say which country can have what kind of weapons systems, thereby enforcing a kind of WMD apartheid, which will more likely encourage, rather than discourage, the proliferation of such dangerous weapons.”
    A case can be made, then, that had the United States pursued a policy that addressed the proliferation of non-conventional weapons through region-wide disarmament rather than trying to single out Syria, the Syrian regime would have rid itself of its chemical weapons some years earlier along with Israel and Egypt, and the government’s alleged use of such ordnance—which is now propelling the United States to increase its involvement in that country’s civil war—would have never become an issue.
    This was originally published at Foreign Policy in Focus.

Watch Out…We’re Surrounded! by Frank Scott

Watch Out…We’re Surrounded!

legalienate.blogspot.com/2013/03/watch-outwere-surrounded.html

After the tenth anniversary of the destruction of Iraq passed with the usual historic distortion and pieties from established power about the waste and rationalizations about why we had to do it, America’s bipartisan war party has even more loudly revived the same lies and logic perversion used to get support for that slaughter. Without even a hint of embarrassment, political puppets of wealth from congress to the state department to the white house are again talking about gas and chemical weapons of mass destruction, substituting Assad of Syria for Hussein of Iraq as this season’s demonic Hitler-figure to lull Americans into accepting further military crimes to perpetuate finance capital’s empire and keep our minds off the fact that it threatens to collapse on our heads.
Media fulfills its responsibility as corporate stenographer to power by reporting these charges, without a blushing reminder that this is the same puppet-speak that was only called by its rightful name after hundreds of thousands were dead, an educated class had become refugees and a materially developed secular nation had been broken up into a scattering of underdeveloped sectarian neighborhoods. This process was repeated in Libya but without invasion and simply by using NATO servants to front for our mass bombings. That assault on morality and reason included the usual charges of genocide – when anyone dies in a foreign country our rulers don’t like, it’s called genocide – and new descent into the sewers of western consciousness with tales of mass rapes committed by monsters given Viagra by the evil dictator. Though not accepted by any but the most tortured minds – our leaders – these tales from the toilets of degeneracy helped reduce another nation developed along lines not totally in keeping with the desires of the Master-Race-Chosen-People deities of the west. Libya was transformed into a shattered place with freedom for high finance and oil companies and near chaos for almost everyone else. The latest atrocities in Syria seem to indicate that while the imperial cabal dominated by the MRCP minority of multi-billionaires and their servants flounders in deadly crisis, it’s intention is not only to maintain the diseased system but spread its affliction until the entire global population joins the terminal patients in the universal intensive care ward that is being created by global capitalism.
The banking crisis that began in the USA and spread to Europe has brought near total destruction of the social democratic policies that had previously saved capitalism. The economic cancer that gripped the world in the 1930s was placed in remission for more than a generation by the relatively enlightened – for capital – policies called Keynesianism. These created government spending to prop up anarchic markets that were collapsing under exclusive minority control. It wisely – for capital – used tax money to create jobs, food, clothing and shelter for great masses of people, so that they might not only refrain from revolting against minority power, but also consume all the goods and services they created in order to profit that minority.
The material improvement in the lives of many – though far from most – enabled a generation of relative peaceful control for great wealth in the west, even while the world was consumed by more wars that killed more millions, forgotten because unlike the Euros who perished in wars one and two, these were mostly from the darker skinned members of our race, the third world majority. They were and remain either colonized, neo-colonized or otherwise economically subjugated and thus remaining invisible to newly created middle classes subjected to mind numbing consciousness control and mind managing entertainment that often passes for news on TV. This newly affluent class – by peasant standards – consumed billions of dollars of mostly needless garbage advertised into being absolutely necessary-for-survival drugs, cosmetics, therapies, toys, pets, gadgets and processed foods, while financing with its tax dollars and plastic debt a massive version of fake democracy and a far more massive supply of real weapons of mass destruction.
Already badly overstretched and financed only by imaginary electronic funds backed by very real military power, imperial dictatorship is creating new problems to bolster its war state while simultaneously destroying a civil society hardly conceived by moral values but nonetheless preventing complete physical breakdown. While so-called “austerity” is employed to cut government spending – the only thing that has maintained MRCP capitalism for a generation – while at the same time attempting to militarily protect finance from any and all national models daring to attempt going a different way finds more warfare threatened, with these idiotic fantasy charges to make the public accepting of the need to cut back on their meals in order to buy more guns.
As this is written and the arms shipments to Syria increase along with the death toll and lies, the hallucinatory threat from North Korea gets headlines. This tiny nation once invaded and bombed by the USA and suffering death and destruction unknown to intellectually impoverished Americans, is said to be threatening the USA with bellicose statements. The fact that the USA has troops on its borders and regularly conducts what criminally infantile elements here call “war games” on Korean seas play no role at all in North Korea’s posture, of course. The only thing that may help them, and it is a big maybe, is that North Korea does possess nuclear weapons and could wreak terrible retaliatory havoc if the warhead in our half white house decides to go totally over the edge and attack them.
Meanwhile, the financial crisis has reached new lows in Europe, especially Cyprus where the bailout not only involves robbing taxpayers but stealing money from their bank accounts. Those in America who think this is a laughable situation might start removing their money from these corporate casinos and placing then under the mattress the way their grandparents did. Of course, authority may ultimately attempt confiscation of those mattresses so maybe the second amendment gun lobby fundamentalists have an argument approaching reason? No, but given present conditions, any crackpot theory will get some hearing. Unfortunately, the most crackpot of all, from capital central in the USA, is getting far too much.

Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald

On the resignation of Gen Petraeus.
It’s a mess and a rabbit hole, that goes very, very deep. I find it strange that folks can go around killing innocents, drone striking, torturing, destroying infrastructures on other people’s land, dropping depleted uranium on towns and villages, messing up the water and electric infrastructure, cause all manner of birth defects, cover up rape and abuse towards
military women, deal very poorly with the veterans upon their return, declassifying PSTD to other than a medical issue, have these veterans homeless and suicidal, fund and support terrorists militias, cover up and enhance the opium production, drop bombs on people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, arm the insurgents in Syria, yet, when they pull their little dingy out and flash it around, inserting it here and there, NOW THEY MUST RETIRE?????

Something is seriously and morally wrong with American ethics. Dude done did something else other than fool around with a drama queen, and that’s for sure!!! NB

Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald
2011: Holly Petraeus (left) holding a bible as David Petraeus is sworn in as CIA director by Vice President Joe Biden. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Saturday 10 November 2012 
The reverence for the former CIA Director is part of a wider religious-like worship of the national security state.
(updated below [Sun.])
A prime rule of US political culture is that nothing rivets, animates or delights the political media like a sex scandal. From Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards, Larry Craig and David Vitter, their titillation and joy is palpable as they revel in every last arousing detail. This giddy package is delivered draped in a sanctimonious wrapping: their excitement at reporting on these scandals is matched only by their self-righteous condemnations of the moral failings of the responsible person.
All of these behaviors have long been constant, inevitable features of every political sex scandal – until yesterday. Now, none of these sentiments is permitted because the newest salacious scandal features at its center Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned yesterday as CIA Director, citing an extramarital affair.
It has now been widely reported that the affair was with Paula Broadwell, the author of a truly fawning hagiography of Petraeus entitled “All In”, and someone whom Petraeus, in her own words, “mentored” when he sat on her dissertation committee. The FBI discovered the affair when it investigated whether she had attempted to gain access to his emails and other classified information. In an interview about Broadwell’s book that she gave to the Daily Show back in January, one that is incredibly fascinating and revealing to watch in retrospect, Jon Stewart identified this as the primary question raised by her biography of Petraeus: “is he awesome, or super-awesome?”
Gen. Petraeus is the single most revered man in the most venerated American institution: the National Security State and, specifically, its military. As a result, all the rules are different. Speaking ill of David Petraeus – or the military or CIA as an institution – is strictly prohibited within our adversarial watchdog press corps. Thus, even as he resigns in disgrace, leading media figures are alternatively mournful and worshipful as they discuss it.
On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell appeared genuinely grief-stricken when she first reported Petraeus’ resignation letter. “This is very painful”, she began by announcing, as she wore a profoundly sad face. Her voice quivered with a mix of awe and distress as she read his resignation letter, savoring every word as though she were reciting from the Dead Sea Scrolls. On the Rachel Maddow Show later that night, Mitchell began her appearance by decreeing that “this is a personal tragedy” and said she was particularly sorrowful for “the men and women of the CIA, an agency that has many things to be proud about: manythings to be proud about” [emphasis in original].
Christiane Amanpour of CNN and ABC made Mitchell look constrained by comparison as she belted out this paean on Twitter:
 For good measure, she then added:
What does all that even mean? From which glorious “battlefield” is the CIA Director now absent, and how and why are we “at a time when we need them most”? But Amanpour is reciting something akin to a prayer here, and it’s thus insusceptible to rational inquiry of that sort.
Meanwhile, Michael Hastings – whose Rolling Stone cover story ended Gen. McChrystal’s career by including numerous intemperate quotes and, in doing so, revealingly prompted widespread animosity among his media colleagues for the crime of Making a General Look Bad – was on MSNBC yesterday with Martin Bashir. Hastings explained how the media has been devoted to Petraeus’ glorification and thus ignored all the substantive reasons why Petraeus should have received far more media scrutiny and criticism in the past. In response, Bashir – who has previously demonstrated his contempt for anyone who speaks ill of a US General – expressed his anger at Hastings (“That’s a fairly harsh assessment of a man who is regarded by many in the military as an outstanding four-star general”) and then quickly cut him off just over two minutes into the segment.
Then there’s the Foreign Policy Community, for which David Petraeus has long been regarded with deity status. Foreign Policy Magazine Managing Editor Blake Hounshell, under the headline “The Tragedy of David Petraeus”, gushedthat “Petraeus’s downfall is a huge loss for the United States,” as “not only was he one of the country’s top strategic thinkers, he was also one of the few public figures revered by all sides of the political spectrum for his dedication and good judgment.” He added: “He salvaged two disastrous wars, for two very different presidents.”
Also at Foreign Policy, Thomas Ricks, formerly of the Washington Post, arguedthat Obama should not have accepted his resignation: “So the surprise to me is that Obama let him go. But the administration’s loss may be Princeton’s gain.” Like most people in the media, Ricks has long been an ardent admirer of Petraeus, even turning his platform over to Paula Broadwell in the past for her to spread her hagiography far and wide.
There are several revealing lessons about this media swooning for Petraeus even as he exits from a scandal that would normally send them into tittering delight. First, military worship is the central religion of America’s political and media culture. The military is by far the most respected and beloved institution among the US population – a dangerous fact in any democracy – and, even assuming they wanted to (which they don’t), our brave denizens of establishment journalism are petrified of running afoul of that kind of popular sentiment.
Recall the intense controversy that erupted last Memorial Day when MSNBC’s Chris Hayes gently pondered whether all soldiers should be considered “heroes”. His own network, NBC, quickly assembled a panel on the Today Show to unanimously denounce him in the harshest and most personal terms (“I hope that he doesn’t get more viewers as a result of this…this guy is like a – if you’ve seen him…he looks like a weenie” – “Could you be more inappropriate on Memorial Day?”), and Hayes then subjected himself to the predictable ritual of public apology (though he notably did not retract the substance of his remarks).
Hayes was forced (either overtly or by the rising pressure) to apologize because his comments were blasphemous: of America’s true religion. At virtually every major sporting event, some uber-patriotic display of military might is featured as the crowd chants and swoons. It’s perfectly reasonable not to hold members of the military responsible for the acts of aggression ordered by US politicians, but that hardly means that the other extreme – compelled reverence – is justifiable either. 
Yet US journalists – whose ostensible role is to be adversarial to powerful and secretive political institutions (which includes, first and foremost, the National Security State) – are the most pious high priests of this national religion. John Parker, former military reporter and fellow of the University of Maryland Knight Center for Specialized Journalism-Military Reporting, wrote an extraordinarily good letter back in 2010 regarding why leading Pentagon reporters were so angry at WikiLeaks for revealing government secrets: because they identify with the military to the point of uncritical adoration:
“The career trend of too many Pentagon journalists typically arrives at the same vanishing point: Over time they are co-opted by a combination of awe – interacting so closely with the most powerfully romanticized force of violence in the history of humanity – and the admirable and seductive allure of the sharp, amazingly focused demeanor of highly trained military minds. Top military officers have their s*** together and it’s personally humbling for reporters who’ve never served to witness that kind of impeccable competence. These unspoken factors, not to mention the inner pull of reporters’ innate patriotism, have lured otherwise smart journalists to abandon – justifiably in their minds – their professional obligation to treat all sources equally and skeptically. . . .
“Pentagon journalists and informed members of the public would benefit from watching ‘The Selling of the Pentagon’, a 1971 documentary. It details how, in the height of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon sophisticatedly used taxpayer money against taxpayers in an effort to sway their opinions toward the Pentagon’s desires for unlimited war. Forty years later, the techniques of shaping public opinion via media has evolved exponentially. It has reached the point where flipping major journalists is a matter of painting in their personal numbers.”
That is what makes this media worship of All Things Military not only creepy to behold, but downright dangerous.
Second, it is truly remarkable what ends people’s careers in Washington – and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.
Yet none of those issues provokes the slightest concern from our intrepid press corps. His career and reputation could never be damaged, let alone ended, by any of that. Instead, it takes a sex scandal – a revelation that he had carried on a perfectly legal extramarital affair – to force him from power. That is the warped world of Washington. Of all the heinous things the CIA does, the only one that seems to attract the notice or concern of our media is a banal sex scandal. Listening to media coverage, one would think an extramarital affair is the worst thing the CIA ever did, maybe even the only bad thing it ever did (Andrea Mitchell: “an agency that has many things to be proud about: many things to be proud about”).
Third, there is something deeply symbolic and revealing about this whole episode. Broadwell ended up spending substantial time with Petraeus when she, in essence, embedded with him and followed him around Afghanistan in order to write her biography. What ended up being produced was not only the type of propagandistic hagiography such arrangements typically produce, but also deeply personal affection as well.
This is access journalism and the embedding dynamic in its classic form, just a bit more vividly expressed. The very close and inter-dependent relationship between media figures and the political and military officials they cover often produces exactly these same sentiments even if they do not find the full-scale expression as they did in this case. In that regard, the relationship between the now-former CIA Director and his fawning hagiographer should be studied in journalism schools to see the results reliably produced by access journalism and the embedding process. Whatever Broadwell did for Petraeus is what US media figures are routinely doing for political and especially military officials with their “journalism”.
Other matters
Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith, formerly with the Bush justice department, has an excellent analysis explaining why “one important consequence of President Obama’s re-election will be the further entrenchment, and legitimation, of the basic counterterrorism policies that Obama continued, with tweaks, from the late Bush administration.” He explains why an Obama presidency will strengthen these policies far more than a Romney presidency could have (as a former Bush official, Goldsmith is understandably delighted by this fact).
In Seattle tonight, I’m delivering the keynote speech to the annual Bill of Rights dinner for the ACLU in Washington; there are still a few tickets left for the event, which begins at 7:00 pm, and they can be obtained here.
Finally, I participated, along with ABC’s Jake Tapper and Lisa Rosenberg, in a report by NPR’s “On the Media’ on Obama’s first term record on transparency. My participation is in the first four minutes or so and can be heard here. I was also interviewed yesterday by NPR’s local Seattle affiliate for about 30 minutes on Obama’s foreign policy and civil liberties record, and that segment, which was quite good as it included several adversarial calls from listeners, can be heard here.
UPDATE [Sun.]: CORRECTION
I wrote above that Petraeus “sat on [Broadwell’s] dissertation committee”. This is inaccurate. Petraeus was one of Broadwell’s “dissertation advisers”.

US Elections: The Empty Politics of Duopoly

Friday, November 9, 2012
US Elections: The Empty Politics of Duopoly
Nile Bowie, Contributor
Activist Post

After months of rhetoric and political campaigning, the smoke has finally cleared on the media frenzy that is the US Presidential Election. Once the winner of the race was announced, supporters at the Obama Campaign headquarters in Chicago jubilantly celebrated.

The haze of American flags, pop music, and confetti worked wonders to mask the absence of any real political substance throughout the election process.

Cheering supporters shouted “four more years” as President Obama took to the stage to deliver his victory speech – complete with highly emotional grandiloquence, two mentions of the US military being the strongest in the world, and of course – a joke about the family dog.

After an exorbitant $6 billion spent by campaigns and outside groups in the primary, congressional and presidential races, Americans have reelected a president better suited for Hollywood than Washington. A 2010 ruling by the US Supreme Court that swept away limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns has paved the way for the most expensive election in American history, in the midst of an economic crisis nonetheless. [1]

In the nation that gave birth to the marketing concept of branding, it is to be assumed that politicians would eventually adopt the same techniques used to promote consumer products – enter Obama.

After eight years under the Bush administration, America desperately needed change. Instead of any meaningful structural reform, America ushered in a global superstar whose charm and charisma not only resuscitated American prestige, but also masked the continued dominance of deregulators, financiers, and war-profiteers.

Obama’s most valuable asset is his brand, and his ability to channel the nostalgia of transformative social movements of the past, while serving as a tabula rasa of sorts to his supporters – an icon of hope who is capable of inspiring the masses and coaxing them into action – despite the Obama administration expanding the disturbing militaristic and domestic surveillance policies so characteristic of the Bush years, and channeling never before seen authority to the executive branch.

The American public at large is captivated by Barack’s contrived media personality and the grandeur of his political poetry and performance, and is therefore reluctant to acknowledge his enthusiastic continuation of the deeply unethical policies of his predecessor. Obama is indeed a leader suited for a new age, one of post-intellectualism and televised spectacle – a time when huge demographics of voters are more influenced by Jay-Z and Katy Perry’s endorsement of Obama over anything of political substance he preaches. [2]

While the US has historically exported “democracy promotion” through institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy (trends that have accelerated under the Obama administration), so few see the American electoral process for what it is – unacceptably expensive, filled with contrived debates, and subject to the kind of meticulous controls that America’s foreign adversaries are accused of presiding over.

Patriot Game – OBAMA VS ROMNEY VIDEO GAME!

A leaked ‘Memorandum of Understanding,’ signed by both the Obama and Romney campaigns, provides unique insight into the nature of the three televised debates, and the extent to which organizers went to prevent the occurrence of any form of unplanned spontaneity. [3] The document outlines how no members of the audience would be allowed to ask follow-up questions to the candidates, how microphones will be cut off right after questions were asked, and how any opportunities for follow-up questions from the crowd would be disregarded. In what was billed as a series of town-hall style debates where members of the community can come together and ask questions that reflect their concerns – in actuality, the two candidates dished out pre-planned responses to pre-approved questions, asked by pre-selected individuals.

The political domination of the Republican and Democratic parties over the debates is nowhere more apparent than in the arrest of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, as the two attempted to enter the site of the second presidential debate. [4] 

Despite the obscurity and almost non-existent media presence of third party candidates, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party received 1% of the popular vote in the general election, amounting to over 1.1 million votes, the best in the history of the Libertarian Party. [5]

In contrast to the choreographed exchanges offered by the televised debates between Obama and Romney, Moscow’s state-funded Russia Today news service offered third-party candidates an opportunity to voice their political programs in two debates aired on the channel. [6] Throughout these debates, third-party candidates spoke of repealing Obama’s authorization of indefinite detention through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the need for coherent environmental legislation, the gross misdirection of American foreign policy, the necessity of deep economic restructuring, and the illogicality of marijuana prohibition. In her closing statement at the debate, Green Party candidate Jill Stein brought up a significant point:

They’re 90 million voters who are not coming out to vote in this election, that’s one out of every two voters – that’s twice as many as those who will come out for Barack Obama, and twice the number that will come out for Mitt Romney. Those are voters who are saying ‘No’ to politics as usual, and ‘No’ to the Democratic and Republican parties. Imagine if we got out word to those 90 millions voters, that they actually have a variety of choices and voices in this election.

American presidential politics are not devoid of progressive voices; but, in reality, America doesn’t need a third-party – it needs a second party. The overwhelming lack of choice offered by this election can only be attributable to the political duopoly of the Republican and Democratic parties.

 As President Obama begins his second and final term, some feel that this could be a chance for the White House to pursue more progressive ends – an opportunity for Obama to act on his own campaign rhetoric and roll back militarism and the influence of Wall St. financiers.

Barack Obama now prepares for his second term as the President of the United States. Though the race was tight, especially in states like Florida and Virginia, Obama won by more than 2 million popular votes at last count, and had at least 303 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206. (Florida was still too close to call as of midday Wednesday.)

While such optimism may prevail in the minds of many, the fact that President Obama issued a drone strike that killed three people in Yemen just hours after being reelected is a telling sign of things to come from the Obama administration. [7]

As the United States continues to project itself around the world as the definitive model of “freedom and democracy,” it is apparent that the central bankers, corporate financiers, and crony capitalists who control America’s electoral system did indeed learn and thing or two from Communism:


The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves. – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Notes:



[3] Obama and Romney agree to cowardly debates, Russia Today, October 16, 2012


[5] Gary Johnson Pulls One Million Votes, One Percent, Reason Foundation, November 7, 2012

[6] RT presents third-party presidential debate, Russia Today, October 19, 2012

[7] Yemen drone strike kills ‘al-Qaeda members’, Al-Jazeera, November 09, 2012

Nile Bowie is a Kuala Lumpur-based American writer and photographer for the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada. He explores issues of terrorism, economics and geopolitics.

It’s Official: Liberals and Conservatives Becoming Zombies

Anthony Freda Art

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post  
http://www.activistpost.com/2012/11/its-official-liberals-and-conservatives.html

In the wake of the 2012 Presidential election, the expected gloating over Obama’s victory and sulking over Romney’s defeat by their respective supporters is taking its typical turn toward the absurd, at least for those who are aware of the true lack of choice that was presented in this election.

As every other failed presidential campaign in history has done, the Romney camp will soon come to grips with their loss. The Obama camp, however, will now be presented with four more years of a President who has been and will continue to be identical to the President they claimed to have hated for so many years.

As Obama continues to execute, for another four years, the very same policies implemented by Bush (and by Romney had he been elected), individuals who call themselves “liberals” or “progressives” will be faced with the challenge of defending what they perceive to be “their candidate” irrespective of reality, facts, and common sense.

Like the first four years, self-proclaimed progressives will continue to support the wholesale slaughter of innocent people in foreign countries, indefinite detention, banker bailouts, free trade, and a gross violation of civil liberties and Constitutional rights. While these very acts were once what liberals claimed was fueling their hatred of George W. Bush, it turns out that what passes for a progressive in 2012 is a rejection of war and totalitarianism directed by Republicans – not war and totalitarianism itself.

Indeed, when asking your average Obama fan their reason for such irrational support, one can scarcely receive an answer that does not have its root in false and divisive social paradigms such as his party, his race, or his age. Simply put, Obama supporters main reason for their allegiance to Barack Obama can be boiled down to two words – “He’s Obama!”

Even so, when Obama was first elected in 2008, and in the face of his obvious support for the banker bailout, continued war, and blatant disregard for civil liberties, we critics were met with pleas to “just give him time.” After all, he can’t fix eight years of Bush in one year of his own. This was the same statement that was repeated after Obama’s second year. And then his third. Even his fourth year as President still held echoes of the argument to just “give him time.”

Nevertheless, with Obama’s re-election there now appears a small shred of potential silver lining to this dark cloud. Namely, it will eliminate the argument posed by so-called Progressives for the last four years that Obama did not have equal time to right the wrongs of Bush or that he was not given a fair shot at the Presidency which now consists of, according to party hacks, an eight-year reign.

At the end of the Obama regime, it will be apparent to every Democrat that “their” candidate was every bit as bad as the one belonging to the “other team.”

There will be no more excuses echoed from the chambers of the Obama supporters that do not highlight an already delusional perspective and unwillingness to face reality. In 2016, like Bush supporters in 2008, the defense of Obama will appear more and more to be a mental illness than a political opinion. Unfortunately, one does not have to go much further for this to be the case.

This statement is not meant to pick on Obama supporters alone of course. In fact, Republicans and so-called Conservatives showed their own true colors this election by flocking to a full representation of the candidate they claim they are so opposed to. The differences between Romney and Obama, besides ethnicity and political party, were virtually non-existent. Indeed, those differences that did appear to exist were merely propaganda pieces for public presentation.

Republicans, by no means, have a leg to stand on when it comes to the issues mentioned above, be it economics, war, civil liberties, or any other issue for that matter.

Regardless, it is a fact that Liberals and Progressives, once the majority of the anti-war, 9/11 Truth, and freedom movements, simply dissipated with the election of Obama. What is worse, however, is that they never reappeared after Obama proved that, as President, he would not only be as bad as Bush, he would be worse.

While rumblings amongst true Liberals of Obama’s treachery are indeed beginning to take place, the fact is they have remained dormant for far too long. In truth, it is a shame that they were ever silent to begin with.

Thus, with Obama firmly locked in to another four years and with no possibility of his own re-election in 2016, Progressives are now given an opportunity to return to the principles they have neglected for the last four years. With no possibility of costing Obama the election, you can now be free to oppose the killing of innocent men, women, and children. With “your team” squarely in office, you can now meekly ask for your right to privacy, to a trial, and even to life without worrying about your chosen party losing the White House. As Obama takes over in his second term, you can now acknowledge the worldwide economic depression and perhaps take some steps to avoid a total collapse and return to real American standards of living without the fear of reflecting poorly upon “your President.”

A four-year vacation from your principles was long enough. Now, however, your country and the rest of the world needs you to return to the fight.

You can only blame “those other guys” for so long. Whether you like it or not, it is an unfortunate reality that both you and those on the other side of the falsely constructed aisle are more alike than you think. Likewise, Republicans must realize that economics, war, and civil liberties are issues that effect Americans regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in office.

Both Conservatives and Liberals are equally responsible for the moral, intellectual, and rapidly physical wasteland we now find ourselves inhabiting. Because both groups are divided only because they have been subjected ad infinitum to scientific propaganda in order to make such an environment possible, it is high time they both become responsible for repairing it.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 175 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

The Special Interests Won Again

Cory Michael Skaaren Art

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The Special Interests Won Again

Paul Craig Roberts, Contributor

The election that was supposed to be too close to call turned out not to be so close after all. In my opinion, Obama won for two reasons: (1) Obama is non-threatening and inclusive, whereas Romney exuded a “us vs. them” impression that many found threatening, and (2) the election was not close enough for the electronic voting machines to steal.

As readers know, I don’t think that either candidate is a good choice or that either offers a choice. Washington is controlled by powerful interest groups, not by elections. What the two parties fight over is not alternative political visions and different legislative agendas, but which party gets to be the whore for Wall Street, the military-security complex, Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and energy, mining, and timber interests.

Being the whore is important, because whores are rewarded for the services that they render. To win the White House or a presidential appointment is a career-making event as it makes a person sought after by rich and powerful interest groups. In Congress the majority party can provide more services and is thus more valuable than the minority party. One of our recent presidents who was not rich ended up with $36 million shortly after leaving office, as did former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who served Washington far better than he served his own country.

Wars are profitable for the military/security complex. Israel rewards its servants and punishes its enemies. Staffing environmental regulatory agencies with energy, mining, and timber executives is regarded by those interests as very friendly behavior.

Many Americans understand this and do not bother to vote as they know that whichever candidate or party wins, the interest groups prevail. Ronald Reagan was the last president who stood up to interest groups, or, rather, to some of them. Wall Street did not want his tax rate reductions, as Wall Street thought the result would be higher inflation and interest rates and the ruination of their stock and bond portfolios. The military/security complex did not want Reagan negotiating with Gorbachev to end the cold war.

What is curious is that voters don’t understand how politics really works. They get carried away with the political rhetoric and do not see the hypocrisy that is staring them in the face.

Proud patriotic macho American men voted for Romney who went to Israel and, swearing allegiance to his liege lord, groveled at the feet of Netanyahu.

Obama plays on the heart strings of his supporters by relating a story of a child with leukemia now protected by Obamacare, while he continues to murder thousands of children and their parents with drones and other military actions in seven countries.

Obama was able to elicit cheers from supporters as he described the onward and upward path of America toward greater moral accomplishments, while his actual record is that of a tyrant who codified into law the destruction of the US Constitution and the civil liberties of the American people.

The election was about nothing except who gets to serve the interest groups. The wars were not an issue in the election. Washington’s provoking of Iran, Russia, and China by surrounding them with military bases was not an issue. The unconstitutional powers asserted by the executive branch to detain citizens indefinitely without due process and to assassinate them on suspicion alone were not an issue in the election.

The sacrifice of the natural environment to timber, mining, and energy interests was not an issue, except to promise more sacrifice of the environment to short-term profits. Out of one side of the mouth came the nonsense promise of restoring the middle class while from the other side of the mouth issued defenses of the offshoring of their jobs and careers as free trade.

The inability to acknowledge and to debate real issues is a threat not only to the United States but also to the entire world. Washington’s reckless pursuit of hegemony driven by an insane neoconservative ideology is leading to military confrontation with Russia and China.

Eleven years of gratuitous wars with more on the way and an economic policy that protects financial institutions from their mistakes have burdened the US with massive budget deficits that are being monetized.

The US dollar’s loss of the reserve currency role and hyperinflation are plausible consequences of disastrous economic policy.

How is it possible that “the world’s only superpower” can hold a presidential election without any discussion of these very real and serious problems being part of it?

How can anyone be excited or made hopeful about such an outcome?

This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts’ new website Institute For Political Economy.  Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

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