It’s time to pay up America!


Less than a week after gaining control of the House, Republicans are coming out swinging at Obama and the American people.  If what they’re saying is any indication of their mindset, and I believe it is, America is in for more war and debt, more fear mongering and attempts at curtailing dissent.

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is already calling for war with Iran, obviously an Israeli objective for quite a long time. The synchronization of efforts between the Republican Party and the Israeli government is an amazing ballet for the American people to sit by and watch since it is their sons and daughters who will be the sacrificial lambs of this play.  This talk of more death and destruction comes amid news that the Army’s suicide rate is now double the national average but that doesn’t seem to deter the Republicans  from offering the Nation’s children to fight unnecessary, unsustainable wars that are a drain on the American economy.  Urged on by challenges to their masculinity, ‘put your man pants on’ I think is how Palin encourages or derides them, Republicans seem to believe in the notion that war helps the US economy. Don’t be surprised therefore to see another causus belli for war with another foreign country far, far away; this is what we as a Nation voted for, and with the ever obsequious press that seems impervious to dissent, intent on silencing even its own voices, a la  Keith Olbermann for example, it appears we are witnessing another procession towards war, Rand Paul’s voice notwithstanding.

The Rethuglicans caught lying again


But not before enough people have believed them.  Racism is insane, inhumane and should be a war crime, and I say that being a racist.  I have to deal with my irrational hatred of groups of people on a regular daily basis where I am, but having said that there isn’t even the slightest bit of empathy from me for people who were stupid enough to believe this bit of thuggery from the right.

Even Andrew Card formerly of  the Bush White House said, the rumors proclaimed by the wingnut audio/video philes don’t pass the ‘sniff test’ unless what you want to smell is the odor of bigotry.  The opposition towards Obama is not principled, please don’t believe that lie either….  It is grounded in hatred for a black president with a strange sounding name whose father was African and possibly Muslim and a white mother who was a “n” lover and procreated with him…something “white America” and especially white males have feared and tried to stop since the beginning of time….if time for you revolves around the beginning of this Republic.

To specifically address today, any of the points of contention, regarding the numbers in the Presidential entourage, ships protecting him and other issues of logistics  from the homophobes of the right is pathetic and laughable when such questions impact presidential security.  Let’s not forget such questions were an anathema during the Bush years when we were fighting the phony war on terror, and enough to get one called a traitor for potentially endangering the life of the president.  Yet today, these questions are the grist of today’s media stars.

The fact that such a bald faced lie comes so soon after Rethuglican victories in the House means the wish of Mitch O’Connell, making Obama a one term president no matter what the cost,  is indeed the agenda of that misdirected, racist and homophobic party.  However, the underlying question for me is can you trust your money, the future an commitment of your country,  to a Party that relies on rumor and innuendo from the Press Trust of India in their opposition to the commander and chief of the United States?  If you buy that then, caveat emptor.

Politics in today’s America


The above billboard can be found in somewhere in the state of Colorado. It obviously takes aim at Obama and shows him in images America has come to fear and loathe the most.  Very stereotypical in nature it appeals to the most base of American suspicions and fears of this President.

With the exception of health care, Obama has managed to continue the policies of the previous president, especially in the area of foreign policy, yet he still is faced with the demons portrayed above.

Paul Snover, the artist who conceptualized the board is known in the area as a Tea Party supporter but he is not the one who paid for the board itself and he won’t say who paid him to do it.  It really doesn’t matter who paid for it, the presence of the board is what matters.  It’s nice to read there is some discomfort about the images, and in these days of spurious talk of ‘freedom of speech’ the board’s presence means the concept is still alive and well in a very divided country but it shows just how serious a problem America has with people and ideas that are even in the slightest bit different than a centuries old status quo that now feels itself besieged by the likes of Obama.

Obama’s Image with the International Community


GW Bush was such a bad president that anyone elected after him would be warmly received on the world’s stage and the new office holder would barely have to do anything to get such  adulation.  The fact that an African-America with a very exotic past and name would be the next president guaranteed him success even if his policies were/are as disastrous as those of Bush.

In his first year, Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize when all he did was make a speech in Cairo reiterating basic precepts that this country was founded on or has built up for the past 200 years, but such ideas were so denigrated or ignored by the Bush administration  that to hear them come from Obama after years of neglect and abuse sounded like a new country had been born on the North American continent.  Sure, there is no doubt that many people hoped the election of Obama would signal a change in the approach America would take towards the rest of the world but sadly such a change has yet to come to pass.

America is still stuck in two wars with no sign of either abating and there is a growing likelihood of a third front looming on the horizon with Iran . Regrettably, after a rather pitiful response to Israel’s massacre of aid activist, Obama doesn’t appear to be able to stave off such a possibility.

The Obama administration is celebrating its victory in getting the UN Security Council on Wednesday to approve a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran. Obama also is expected to sign on to even more draconian penalties that should soon sail through Congress.

Obama may be thinking that his UN diplomatic achievement will buy him some credibility – and some time – with American neocons and Israel’s Likud government, which favor a showdown with Iran over its nuclear program……

Just as the neocons and Israel wanted “regime change” in Iraq, they have long hungered for “regime change” in Iran, too. A favorite neocon joke at the time of the Iraq War was to speculate on which direction to go next, to Syria or Iran, with the punch-line, “Real men to go (sic) Tehran!”

But the world has such high expectations of an Obama presidency that despite these shortcomings and many others people are still willing to place their hope in the American president’s ability to change the world for the better. Unfortunately these attempts are sorely misguided and very premature.

For example, why would the International Criminal Court  want the US, which is not a signatory or member, and thus not bound by the rules of the Court,  be the enforcer of the Court’s decisions while being out of reach of the purview of the Court?  Such an idead definitely sends the wrong signal to law abiding nations.  Over one hundred countries are members of the ICC, and while there is no lack of  international lawlessness and atrocities the world over for the Court to investigate and adjudicate, it has only managed to  work on cases from the African continent, something which no doubt offers the newly formed unified combat command  of the Defense Deparetment, AFRICOM,  a lot of encouragement and raison d’etre for years to come.

The United States has only recently ended eight years of a complete disregard for international bodies and their decision making processes, yet it is now being enlisted to enforce at the point of military action, internationally arrived at edicts?  Such is the proposal being considered by the ICC.  Perhaps in another time and another place something like this could be contemplated, but now it is too early to tell whether America is ready to assume the role of world leader or remain the world’s number one aggressor.  Judging by the her reaction to the Israeli pummeling of ally Turkey and the sabotaging of diplomacy as well as the reaction to raw power and murder occuring at the time of the ICC convention in Uganda ,of all places, now is not the time for America to enforce any law when it demonstrates abject violations of the law at every turn.  The ICC would be better off rethinking this idea and the sooner they dispel themselves of it, the better and safer we might all be.

The Origins of America’s New Racism


How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane

John Amato and David Neiwert

On the day Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, much of the nation — particularly those who supported and voted for him — celebrated the election of the first African American to the country’s highest office. For those who voted for his opponent, John McCain, there was naturally the usual bitterness and disappointment.

Among a certain subset of those Americans, however — especially those who opposed Obama precisely because he sought to become the nation’s first black president — it went well beyond the usual despair. For them, November 5, 2008, was the end of the world. Or at least, the end of America as they knew it.

So maybe it wasn’t really a surprise that they responded that day with the special venom and violence peculiar to the American Right. Like the noose strung in protest from a tree limb in Texas.

Students at Baylor University in Waco discovered the noose hanging from a campus tree the evening of election day, near a site where angry Republican students had gathered Obama yard signs and burned them in a big bonfire. That same evening, a riot nearly broke out when Obama supporters, chanting the new president’s name, were confronted outside a residence hall by white students who told them: “Any nigger who walks by Penland [Hall], we’re going to kick their ass, we’re going to jump him.” The Obama supporters stopped and responded, “Excuse me?” — and somehow managed to keep the confrontation confined to a mere shouting match until police arrived and broke things up.

There were also the students on the North Carolina State University campus, in Raleigh, who spent election night spraypainting such fun-loving messages as “Let’s shoot that Nigger in the head” and “Hang Obama by a noose.” The university’s administration was so upset by this behavior that it protected the students’ identities and refused to take any legal action against them or discipline them at all.

Those were just warm-ups from the student cheering section. The real thugs, exemplars of the dark side of the American psyche, were shortly to make their mark.

That night, four young white men from Staten Island “decided to go after black people” in retaliation for Obama’s election. The men first drove to the mostly black Park Hill neighborhood and assaulted a Liberian immigrant, beating him with a metal pipe and a police baton, as well as their fists and feet. They drove next to Port Richmond, where they assaulted another black man and verbally threatened a Latino man and a group of black people.

The hooligans finished up the night by attempting to drive next to a man walking home from his job as a Rite Aid manager and club him with the police baton. Instead, they simply hit him with their car, throwing him off the windshield and into a coma for over a month. The pedestrian was actually white, but this crew of geniuses managed to misidentify him as a black man. All four of the thugs wound up convicted of hate crimes and will spend the duration of Obama’s first term in prison. Look for them to turn up on Fox News in a few years claiming to be victims of the oppressive Obama administration.

The day after the election in Midland, Michigan, a discarded Ron Paul activist named Randy Gray (he had been peremptorily dismissed from the Paul campaign when his white-supremacist activism was revealed), dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia, stalked the sidewalk in the middle of a heavily trafficked intersection and waved an American flag. He also toted a handgun.

Police talked to Gray but let him continue his display after he told them his behavior had nothing to do with Obama winning the presidency.

A bus full of schoolkids in Rexburg, Idaho, started chanting “Assassinate Obama” just to tease the tiny minority of their fellow schoolkids who were Obama supporters. In Rexburg — where the population is more than 90 percent Mormon — that’s about three kids in the entire school. District officials didn’t discipline the children who had led the chants, but they did send a letter to the kids’ parents reminding them that students are to be told such behavior is unacceptable.

Then there were the arsons.

On election night, a black family in South Ogden, Utah, came home from volunteering at their local polling station to discover that their American flag had been torched.

In Hardwick Township, New Jersey, a black man taking his eight-year-old daughter to school emerged from his front door the morning after the election to discover that someone had burned a six-foot-tall cross on his lawn, right next to the man’s banner declaring Obama president. It had been torched too.

Another cross was burned on the lawn of the only black man in tiny Apolacon Township, Pennsylvania, the night after the election. A black church in Springfield, Massachusetts, was burned to the ground the night of the election; three white men were arrested and charged with setting the fire as a hate crime.

And if the election itself wasn’t enough to bring the haters out of the woodwork, there was Obama’s inauguration on January 21, 2009.

Two days before the big event, arsonists in Forsyth County, Georgia, burned down the home of a woman who was a public supporter of Obama; she was in DC for the inauguration at the time. Someone also painted a racial slur on her fence, along with the warning “Your black boy will die.”

On inauguration day, someone taped newspaper articles featuring Obama onto the apartment door of a woman in Jersey City, New Jersey, and set fire to the door. Fortunately, the woman had stayed home to watch the inauguration on TV and smelled the burning, and she was able to extinguish the fire before it spread. If only she could have done the same for the hate that sparked the act.

The day after the inauguration, a large, 22-year-old skinhead from Brockton, Massachusetts, named Keith Luke decided it was time to fight the “extinction” of the white race, so he bashed down the door of an African American woman and her sister and shot them both; one died. Police cornered and arrested Luke before he could pull off the next phase of his shooting rampage. According to the district attorney, Luke intended to “kill as many Jews, blacks, and Hispanics a

he pain and violence inflicted by these haters were just beginning.

In all, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in Montgomery, Alabama, counted more than 200 “hate-related” incidents in the first weeks after the election of Barack Obama, a number that more than doubled after the inauguration. We called up the SPLC’s Mark Potok for his thoughts on what was happening. Here’s what he said:

I think there’s something remarkable happening out there. I think we really are beginning to see a white backlash that may grow fairly large. The situation’s worrying.

Not only do we have continuing nonwhite immigration, not only is the economy in the tank and very likely to get worse, but we have a black man in the White House. That is driving a kind of rage in a certain sector of the white population that is very, very worrying to me.

We are seeing literally hundreds of incidents around the country — from cross-burnings to death threats to effigies hanging to confrontations in schoolyards, and it’s quite remarkable. I think that there are political leaders out there who are saying incredibly irresponsible things that could have the effect of undamming a real flood of hate. That includes media figures. On immigration, they have been some of the worst. There’s a lot going on, and it’s very likely to lead to scapegoating. And in the end, scapegoating leaves corpses in the street.

Among the indicators of this spike in violent white racism was a sharp increase in business for white-supremacist Web sites like the neo-Nazi forum Stormfront. It collected more than 2,000 new members the day after the election. One poster to the Stormfront site, a North Las Vegas resident going by the moniker Dalderian Germanicus, reflected the consensus sentiment in the comments: “I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how ‘messiahs’ come to rest. God has abandoned us, this country is doomed.”

That theme popped up a lot among the denizens of the extremist Right in the weeks after the election. One middle-aged Georgian, quoted by an Associated Press reporter, voiced the typical view: “I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades, and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change.”

For the American Right, 2008 was indeed the end of the world.

Thomas Friedman, at it again!


NYT’s Friedman Rejects Iran Nuke Deal

By Robert Parry
May 27, 2010

Washington’s new “group think” on Iran – that the only possible approach is a heightened confrontation followed by “regime change” – is being shaped by the same opinion leaders who charted the way into the bloody disaster in Iraq and paid no career price.

On Wednesday, New York Times’ columnist Thomas L. Friedman rejoined the gang of tough-guy pundits by roughing up the leaders of Brazil and Turkey for daring to negotiate an agreement with Iran that would have it ship about half its low-enriched uranium out of the country and thus spur hopes for a peaceful settlement.

To Friedman, this deal was “as ugly as it gets,” the title of his column. However, others might think that seven-plus years of carnage in Iraq – the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, children with limbs blown off, and the 4,400 dead American soldiers and their grieving families – might be uglier.

But not Friedman, who like many of his fellow millionaire pundits cheered on the Iraq War as the only possible way to deal with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, just as they now are demanding “regime change” in Iran, rather than an agreement to ensure that Iran doesn’t produce a nuclear bomb, which Iran vows it doesn’t want anyway.

In his new belligerent column on Iran, Friedman makes clear that he isn’t really interested in nuclear safeguards; instead, he wants the United States to do whatever it can to help Iran’s internal opposition overthrow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Islamic-directed government.

“In my view, the ‘Green Revolution’ in Iran is the most important, self-generated, democracy movement to appear in the Middle East in decades,” Friedman wrote.

“It has been suppressed, but it is not going away, and, ultimately, its success — not any nuclear deal with the Iranian clerics — is the only sustainable source of security and stability. We have spent far too little time and energy nurturing that democratic trend and far too much chasing a nuclear deal.”

That argument, of course, runs parallel to the neocon case for war with Iraq, that “regime change” was the only acceptable outcome. False claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were just the means to get the American public to support that end, just as the exaggerated fears about Iran’s nuclear program are becoming the new excuse for another bid at “regime change.”

However, unlike Iraq which was ruled by dictator Saddam Hussein, the neocon goal of overthrowing Iran’s government faces the unacknowledged reality that Ahmadinejad almost certainly won the June 12, 2009, election – that he is a popularly elected leader.

The Election Fraud Myth

Though the U.S. press corps has refused to accept that fact – and routinely describes the election as “fraudulent,” “rigged” or “stolen,” the reality is there has been no serious evidence presented to support those claims.

Indeed, the overwhelming evidence is that Ahmadinejad, with strong support from the poor especially in more conservative rural areas, defeated the “Green Revolution” candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi by roughly the 2-to-1 margin of the official results.

For instance, an analysis by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes earlier this year concluded that most Iranians voted for Ahmadinejad and viewed his reelection as legitimate, contrary to claims made by much of the U.S. news media.

Not a single Iranian poll analyzed by PIPA – whether before or after the June 12 election, whether conducted inside or outside Iran – showed Ahmadinejad with less than majority support. None showed Mousavi, a former prime minister, ahead or even close.

“These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process,” said Steven Kull, director of PIPA. “But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad.” [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It!”]

If these and other scholarly examinations are correct – and there is no counter-evidence that they aren’t – what happened after the June 12 election is that Mousavi simply refused to accept the voters’ choice and – with the enthusiastic backing of the U.S. news media – undertook to reverse the results with massive street protests.

During those demonstrations, a few protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police (scenes carried on CNN but quickly forgotten by the U.S. news media) and security forces overreacted with repression and violence.

Though it’s fair to condemn excessive force used by Iran’s police, you can be sure that if the same factors were transplanted to an American ally, the U.S. news media’s treatment would be completely different. Suddenly, the security forces would be protecting “democracy” from anti-democratic mobs disgruntled over losing.

But Friedman and other neocon pundits have taken the false conventional wisdom – that Mousavi was the voters’ choice – and transformed it into a new casus belli.

This pattern of turning propaganda into political truth is eerily reminiscent of the black-and-white portrayals of the crisis with Iraq eight years ago. Then, neocons advanced the notion that violent confrontation with Iraq was the only way to remake the Middle East so it would be less threatening to Israeli and Western interests.

‘Tony Blair Democrat’

However, Friedman’s new column leaves out the historical context of Iraq. For instance, he doesn’t recall how enamored he was of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s glib rationale for invading Iraq and forcibly planting the seeds of “democracy” there.

In those days, Friedman dubbed himself a pro-war Democrat who favored “regime change” – what he called “a Tony Blair Democrat” in line with the widespread neocon belief that President George W. Bush was right to invade Iraq but that Blair’s crisp English-accented rhetoric presented the case better.

Today, it might seem that anyone foolish enough to call himself “a Tony Blair Democrat” – after Blair has gone down in history as “Bush’s poodle” on Iraq and set the stage for this year’s historic repudiation of his Labour Party – should have the decency to simply vacate the public stage and let some other aspiring pundit try his or her luck.

But that’s not how it works in the world of U.S. punditry. As long as you don’t disrupt what the Establishment wants to do, you can count on keeping your job. When the carousel circles around to another possible war, you’re poised to reach for another brass ring.

So it has been with Thomas Friedman, whose witty observation before Bush’s invasion of Iraq was that it was time to “give war a chance,” a flippant play on John Lennon’s lyrics to the song, “Give Peace a Chance.”

Then, when the war didn’t go as swimmingly as he and other neocons expected, Friedman became famous for his repetitious, ever-receding “six month” timelines for progress. Finally, in August 2006, he concluded that the Iraq War wasn’t worth it, that “it is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are babysitting a civil war.”

Friedman added “that means ‘staying the course’ is pointless, and it’s time to start thinking about Plan B – how we might disengage with the least damage possible.” [NYT, Aug. 4, 2006]

Yet, despite this implicit admission that the war was a waste, Friedman kept slighting Americans who had resisted the rush to war in the first place.

Twelve days after his shift in position, Friedman demeaned Americans who opposed the Iraq War as “antiwar activists who haven’t thought a whit about the larger struggle we’re in.” [NYT, Aug. 16, 2006]

In other words, according to Friedman, Americans who were right about the ill-fated invasion of Iraq were still airheads who couldn’t grasp the bigger picture that had been so obvious to himself, his fellow pundits and pro-war politicians who had tagged along with Bush and Blair.

As I noted in an article at the time, “it’s as if Official Washington has become a sinister version of Alice in Wonderland. Under the bizarre rules of Washington’s pundit society, the foreign policy ‘experts,’ who acted like Cheshire Cats pointing the United States in wrong directions, get rewarded for their judgment and Americans who opposed going down the rabbit hole in the first place earn only derision.”

More Regime Change

In the nearly four years since then, the twisted reality of Official Washington hasn’t changed. The mainstream U.S. media is still dominated by the editorialists and news executives who endorsed the invasion of Iraq – and who now are determined to seek “regime change” in Iran.

Friedman is back reprising his role as a neocon propagandist with a friendly “pro-democracy” rationale for confrontation. Interestingly, however, he is acknowledging what some neocon critics, such as former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, have claimed, that the goal of the standoff with Iran isn’t really about its alleged nuclear-bomb desires, but rather about the desires for “regime change” among American neocons and Israeli hardliners.

Friedman is arguing that the Obama administration, instead of seeking an agreement that would ensure that Iran will live up to its word that it doesn’t want to build a nuclear bomb, should pursue “regime change” by supporting the Green Revolution and promoting “democracy.”

The fact that Ahmadinejad was the choice of the majority of the Iranian people doesn’t seem to matter much in Friedman’s “democratic” calculations. In that, Friedman seems to be expressing a view that he knows what’s best for the Iranian people, although he masks that paternalism with his bogus claim that Mousavi actually won.

Surely, Ahmadinejad, like Saddam Hussein, has contributed to his and his nations’ problems with wrongful actions and stupid rhetoric, making the work of neocon propagandists all the easier. But the truth is that actions of any national leader can be made to appear more outrageous or more reasonable depending on how the media frames these matters.

For example, Ahmadinejad, a little-educated populist from the Tehran’s “street,” has made obnoxious and ill-informed comments questioning the Holocaust against Jews during World War II (though I’m told he recognizes his mistake and has agreed to keep his mouth shut on this topic for months).

However, to extrapolate Ahmadinejad’s idiotic comments about the Holocaust into a readiness to attack Israel, a rogue nuclear state with hundreds of undeclared nukes, is the kind of logical overreach that we saw before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Back then, the Bush administration conjured up nightmare scenarios of Iraq flying unmanned planes over the United States to spray poison gases.

The game here is always to put what an “enemy” says or might theoretically do in the worst – or most alarmist – light. Similarly, if the goal is “regime change,” then the recent peace-seeking actions of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had to be condemned, not praised.

Rejecting a Breakthrough

In what could have been an important breakthrough over Iran’s nuclear program, Erdogan and Lula da Silva persuaded Ahmadinejad to accept an agreement, originally brokered by the Obama administration last fall, to send 2,640 pounds of Iran’s low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for higher-enriched uranium that could only be put to peaceful medical uses.

Yet, even before the revived agreement was announced on May 17, the neocon editors of the Washington Post were already mocking the Brazil-Turkey initiative as “yet another effort to ‘engage’ the extremist clique of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

After the joint Iran-Brazil-Turkey announcement in Tehran, the rhetorical abuse escalated with Washington pundits and administration hardliners, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, treating the leaders of Brazil and Turkey as unwelcome interlopers who were intruding on America’s diplomatic turf in an effort to grandstand.

Lula da Silva responded by challenging those Americans who insisted that it was “none of Brazil’s business” to act as an intermediary to resolve the showdown with Iran.

“But who said it was a matter for the United States?” he asked. “The blunt truth is, Iran is being presented as if it were the devil, that it doesn’t want to sit down” to negotiate, contrary to the fact that “Iran decided to sit down at the negotiating table. It wants to see if the others are going to go along with what (it) has done.”

What Friedman revealed in his Wednesday column was that the neocons have no particular interest in a negotiated settlement regarding Iranian nukes; they want an escalation of tensions that can set the stage for either internal upheaval in Iran or an external assault on its military infrastructure.

Friedman essentially tossed the leaders of Brazil and Turkey out of the civilized world and portrayed them as dupes of Ahmadinejad, writing:

“I confess that when I first saw the May 17 picture of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, joining his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with raised arms — after their signing of a putative deal to defuse the crisis over Iran’s nuclear weapons program — all I could think of was: Is there anything uglier than watching democrats sell out other democrats to a Holocaust-denying, vote-stealing Iranian thug just to tweak the U.S. and show that they, too, can play at the big power table?

“No, that’s about as ugly as it gets.”

Notice how Friedman reprised all the key propaganda points regarding Iran, including the “vote-stealing” canard.

President Obama’s Letter

This unrelenting hostility toward the Iran-Brazil-Turkey accord caught Brazilian and Turkish officials by surprise, in part because it turns out they had been encouraged by President Barack Obama to pursue this initiative.

After Friedman’s column and the other derogatory comments, Brazil released a three-page letter that President Obama sent to President Lula da Silva just last month in which Obama said the proposed uranium swap “would build confidence and reduce regional tensions by substantially reducing Iran’s” stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

The contrast between Obama’s support for the initiative and the anger from other voices in Washington caused “some puzzlement,” one senior Brazilian official told the New York Times. After all, this official said, the supportive “letter came from the highest authority and was very clear.”

Yet, this extraordinary incident may actually clarify two important points:

First, that American neocons and Israeli hardliners aren’t really interested in getting Iran to agree to a nuclear accord, but rather want to use the nuclear standoff as an excuse to press for “regime change.”

And second, that neocon opinion-shapers, like Friedman, remain very influential in the U.S. news media and have the clout to obliterate a peace initiative – even one favored by the President of the United States.

Those Lying Republicans


The Party of “no”, the Republicans are so used to lying and not having their statements checked that they do it recklessly. Eric Cantor is the latest victim of his own carelessness. He denounced the Democrats while they were on their way to winning the health care debate because as he claimed they were responsible for heated, incendiary rhetoric which drove the masses to threaten him and indulge in acts of anti-semitism. While anit-semitism, as well as Islamophobia, are indeed rampant in todays societies, the threat against him, which he says took the form of a gun shot directed towards his district “office” has been proven without a shadow of a doubt to be a lie. Cantor just wasn’t counting on you discovering that, and why should he? The corporate media, all of it, not just the right side of the spectrum represented by FoxNews or any of the talking radio heads, has done nothing but be a mouthpiece for the Republican party since the beginning of this century.

So when the address of 25 E Main Street in Richmond was given by Cantor  as the location where a bullet was found everyone assumed, jumped to either deny the accusation, repeat or doubt it.  It didn’t matter that the building at that location had no identifying marks to Cantor,  we all guffawed or believed the lying Republican.  Then the police report came back saying the bullet was a stray bullet not meant for the premises but Cantor’s veracity remained intact and unchallenged.  Until….Until the lid was blown off, not by corporate media, but by alternative media and Cantor was discovered lying.  It turns out the address 25 E Main Street is not in Eric Cantor’s district but rather in the 3rd district of Virginia which happens to be  the district of congressman Bobby Scott, Democrat.  Why would Cantor give an address for an act of violence directed towards his “office” in a district that is not his?  Sloppy victimology.  Could it be the perpetrator of this crime, that of intimidation and destruction of property, was directing it towards Scott and not Cantor, who decided to make political hay of it by claiming victim status for himself.  A look at Scott’s legislative record who  is a liberal Democrat who voted for the Obama health care proposal reveals him to be the kind of politician today’s tea bagger would certainly love to shot at or intimidate. With the political right calling for such action against its enemies as breaking windows and a window broken in the district of a health care supporter, it wouldn’t take much of a jump for an ambitious politician to claim victim status for himself even when nothing about what happened had anything to do with him.  Therefore, you need to keep a sharp ear out for the name Eric Cantor, a politician who can easily and seamlessly lie about anything for political advantage, not blink an eye and not be held accountable by his friends in corporate media.  For liars and politicians,it doesn’t get any better than that!

Now You Get Mad?


We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, now you get mad!

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and
appointed a President. You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to
dictate energy policy. You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.
You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us. You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war. You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq . You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people. You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping
Americans. You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden. You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown. You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich. You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars  were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides. You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans… oh hell no.

The Dance of Denial


It has been very revealing watching members of the Right deny the responsibility of their ideology for two tragic murders that have recently occured which captured the attention of the Nation.  First came the cold blooded slaughter of an abortionist, Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas followed up shortly by the brutal killing of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC of all places.

Dr. Tiller’s death is troubling because he had been the target of anti-abortionists’ rage before and even the person charged with his murder had been known to stalk and even vandalize  the clinic where Tiller worked in the days preceeding his death.  Several people in the clinic have gone on record saying they knew about Scott Roeder’s attempts at disrupting the operation of the clinic and notified the proper authorities yet nothing was done to apprehend Roeder and possibly prevent Dr. Tiller’s death.  Such ineptness on the park of the federal beaucracy does not mean that even more layers of government are necessary to protect the citizens but rather irresponsible civil servants need to be replaced with more diligent and efficient ones.

The death of Stephen Jones at the National Holocaust Museum at the hands of a white supremacist is a tragedy underscored by the fact this murderer had a long history, easily documented that could possibly point to such a heinious crime being committed by his hand, age notwithstanding, yet he very easily walked down a metropolitan city street with a .22 caliber rifle and shot and killed an armed federal agent.  The reason why I mention again both of these crimes is because of the contortions those on the right are taking to distance their ideology from these two men who claimed to hold that ideology near and dear to them.   Political pundits are taking great lengths to say that these murderes aren’t from the right at all but rather from the left of the political spectrum, despite the fact they, the perpetrators clearly identify with the Right.  Punditry has managed to make actions a mark of political persuasion and not words and have told their admirers that death and killing are marks of the political left, terrorism marks of Muslims,  while the opposition the Right makes to anything is noble and necessary to save America from its enemies.

This was the kind of meme advanced by Dick Cheney, more recently, and the entire Bush administration before which reduced all argument to ‘with us or against us’ sloganeering.  In that small universe built by the likes of the triumphant Right there was nothing that we did to  those ‘against us’ that could be considered illegal or immoral behavior.   The concept of “exceptionalism” had been developed to the point that meant even the boundaries of legality didn’t apply to us or we made every attempt to legalize illegal behavior in order to legitimize our unlawful actions.  It was a vicious circle we continue to traverse by denying the rational of these latest criminals for their criminal behavior.

News accounts and political pundits have taken great pains to classify these murderers as lone gunmen who are completely separate and detached from the environment which they have enveloped themselves.  By doing so they hope to further distance themselves from the effect their rhetoric has on the people who listen to and subscribe to it.

In our system of law as it pertains to capital crimes unless there is a conspiracy there is no guilt by association. Conversely there is also no innocence by association. Christian leaders and conservative citizens in general have jumped at the chance to label Mr. Roeder a vigilante, a monster and things far worse.

Regrettably this tactic is only applied to members of the right who spent an entire two terms of a right leaning Republican administration to paint with the broadest of brushes entire groups of people based on the actions of individual(s).  This has been a common practice of demagoguery; the politics of the many condensed into the actions of the lone individual.  Cries of bombing the institutions that are symbolic of political ideology have given way to the absolute negation of ideology and their import on an individual’s actions.   Murderers on the right have suddenly appeared on our political landscape and killed their perceived foes because they were inherently defective and acting completely on their own, while the last eights years of a Republican administration were spent literally trying to root out whole communities of conspirators who lurked in every corner of our country waiting for a chance to reap their collective death and destruction at the earliest possible moment on an unsuspecting public that need the invasive protection of a government bureaucracy.

Finally the absence in many cases of condemnation from the progenitors of rightist motivation for such murderous tendencies is another characteristic of the sudden revisionism going on in Obama’s America.  During the Bush years people were always challenged to condemn the acts of coreligionist or fellow ideologues, today’s America sees there is no need for condemnation because such acts rarely accomplish anything and not worth the time spent doing so.

Condemning Roeder doesn’t add anything to the pro-life cause. Pro-abortionists are always quick to remind the Christians of Christ’s rule of not judging or condemning. Why add fuel to the fire by condemning Mr. Roeder, isn’t it just a matter of six of one and a half dozen of the other? Both Tiller and Roeder have One that will be their final judge and he is neither hot under the collar, biased or partial. Why don’t we leave all that to Him?

In many ways such ideas mirror the current glossing over done by the Obama administration vis-a-vis Bush Administration crimes of torture and violations of the US constitution and are entirely motivated by groups’ needs to absolve themselves of responsibilty for actions of the past or the future.

Could the Government be Complicit in the 12/25 Terror Attack?


Even this early after the event there are attributed news stories to say certain officials in government wanted Umar AdulMuttalib  to enter the US, even though they knew of his terrorist ties.  The rational was his presence would lead actionable intelligence, bigger fish during his visit in America.   If  intelligence knew of his connection to Awlaki who it’s said is in Yemen, who could be bigger than that on the shores of America?  Frankly, the answer is no one, but what AbdulMuttalib’s failed attempt did do for the government was to allow intelligence officers to go on record saying, under certain circumstances, they could  and would target  American citizens for assassination no matter where they were in the world and continuing the previous administration’s assault on the US Constitution .  Building on the Bush administration’s precedent of proclaiming a war on terror, something the neocons have claimed Obama is no longer prosecuting,  the present administration has taken the step of reinterpreting the 5th amendment’s proscription of violating one’s life, liberty or property without due process, and in the process established future  precedent which could allow for extra judicial killing of any American, any where in the world.  For a government that finds its purpose in massive military expenditures and the perpetuity of conflict, the risks to the general public  of allowing Muttalib into the country  were dwarfed by the benefits to the government of a citizenry motivated by fear to allow constitutional and fiscal excesses .

Patriotism No Longer


Many of us who opposed George Bush’s policies and the lies he used to enact, and enforce them, were called traitors for not supporting our president during a time of war.  Now, those same voices which assaulted our patriotism and trumpeted their own are behind the likes of these billboards and many others gracing American highways.  We’re still in a time of war, if you accept the first declaration of war against terror, misplaced and erroneously called by George Bush, but now it appears its ok to oppose this president, and as some seem to imply, even overthrow him!  Where were these voices when we called for an end to wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to these same people who talk of revolution in America today, why aren’t you supporting a President who is on the verge of possibly sending more troops to fight this pseudo war on terror, or end it?  Why don’t you see your calls for actions against a sitting president as giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and why aren’t your talking radio head icons not making that point on their daily shows?  America…….I’ve got three words for you, Race, Party Politics. 

The first billboard above was taken down and replaced with the one below.

Hat tip to the Brad Blog and Think Progress.

Meet Uncle Ruckus


Uncle_RuckusIf you haven’t heard of him, uncle Ruckus is the character from the cartoon television series, now defunct by the way, called Boondocks.  If ever there was a self-hating man for any ethnicity, it’s Ruckus who hates and denigrates everything  that has to do with African-Americans while extolling and exaggerating  everything about whites.  This is what is written about him.

Ruckus claims God says the path to forgiveness for being black is to rebuke your own race. Ruckus champions the small traces of Native American, French, or Irish ancestry he claims to have although a DNA test he took to hopefully discover white blood showed he was “102%” African descent, and wishes that all black people were still enslaved. He prattles white supremacist rhetoric and calls Michael Jackson (who suffered from the pigmentational skin changing disorder vitiligo) a “lucky bastard”, as he no longer looks black. Ruckus claims that he himself has “re”-vitiligo, to explain his own skin tone. During the Civil Rights Movement, he protested against Martin Luther King‘s marches, and would occasionally throw bricks at him, but usually missed. Ruckus served on a jury in 1957 (making him a minimum of 70 circa 2009) in Tennessee that helped convict a blind black man of killing three white girls. In spite of being blind, the African American man supposedly shot the three with a Winchester rifle from about 50 yards away. (Ruckus is the only black person on the otherwise all white jury, in what is a Jim Crow courtroom.)

I must say Ruckus is extremely profane and his often use of the “N” word means I will not quote some of the profound, self-hating revelations he has uttered on the show.  One might think therefore it would be difficult to find someone in real life like this character,  but I think I have.  Meet Rev.James David Manning, a self anointed doctor who preaches in the heart of the black community of New York city, Harlem, his own special brand of Uncle Rukusism and who has been discovered by racists who oppose Obama.  He is featured prominently on a Louisiana Gun website  that is a place for gun enthusiasts and others of like mind who might like the comic relief of dr. Manning’s rantings. What’s sad about the pairing of a Manning and a 2nd amendment website is the latter somehow thinks it has a connection to the former; Manning is a stereotypical portrayal of what many even in today’s 21st century America think black people should look, sound and think and the fact there are many who are comfortable with this real life caricature is more disconcerting to this observer than the buffoonish Manning who wants to join in the white revolution against Obama .  No one, least of all me, ever heard of this character until Obama’s act came to Washington, but if you want to see how life is sometimes stranger than fiction or how Manning is really more outlandish than an Uncle Ruckus, take a look.

Right Wing Hate


I have been watching and listening with a certain amount of detachment the vitriol aimed at President Obama’s health care proposals because it is nothing more than racism that’s fueling the debate and I really want to stay above that base animal instinct.  The “right” has a habit of pulling the body politic down into the moral abyss of racism and xenophobia, the two ingredients which also were responsible for the phony war on terror which was led by some of the same cheerleaders and talking heads that are spearheading the anti-health care rhetoric now heard in hallowed halls.  Some of the talking heads are so deep in their moral depravity that some of the other right wing groups are saying “enough”!!   I really don’t want to deal with the talking head media types that have spoiled our political landscape….I don’t think they’re worth the bandwidth and some of their supporters are so rabid there’s no amount of convincing in any language that’ll get them to reconsider their positions.

I was cruising through my regular reading one morning and ran across the comment section of a story  entitled, ‘Obama’s Life at risk in health care battle’ and one comment caught my eye and sums up to me what has gone on in this country the last eight years.  The author nails it, so kudos to ‘trippin’ the author of what appears below.  Well done!

A 21st Century Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a prosperous and moral nation. Their citizens were the envy of the world.

Their rulers became corrupted. They robbed the population in the interest of their political allies, to the point that the once-prosperous nation was now destitute.

Those corrupt political leaders justified their actions by convincing themselves that God hand picked them as leaders, so they were above respecting the moral codes they demanded the citizens abide.

These political figures propagandized the people with easily disprovable lies, but the populace chose not to question. They stoked the flames of discontent at their humiliating fall from grace to whip a jingoistic populace into a frenzy of irrational support for policies that continued to undermine their own interests.

They invaded other nations that were no threat to them, under the guise of self-defense. They used torture designed to elicit false confessions to justify their illegal war. They ginned up stories of imaginary threats to national security, and used them to conduct surveillance on the citizenry. They leveraged the destruction of a prominent building as part of the rationale.

Their military leaders were infused with the arrogance that they were ordained by God. Some interpreted their mission to exterminate all the peoples of a certain religion, a sentiment shared by many of the people who were ignorant of cultures other than their own.

They pitted citizens against each other by spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Those that sought diplomacy were labeled appeasers, those who disagreed, traitors. Violence and mob rule strong armed people into compliance. Bands of thugs shouted down political opponents, and used intimidation to overturn the will of the majority as expressed in elections.

People were shot in churches, police were killed based on rumors propagandized by the media, gay businesses and government buildings were bombed, and even physicians were assassinated.

Citizens of conscience saw the signs early enough to do something, but because it was politically incorrect to draw parallels with past atrocities, they chose to avert their eyes until the entire nation was gripped in fascist totalitarianism. Soon, it was too late.

Name that country.

Trippin’ you get an ‘atta boy’.  Well said!

Americans Punked by the Israeli War Machine


MIDEAST-ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CLASHESIt’s sad to see how helpless Americans feel when they try to help Palestinians and have to deal with the Israeli government instead.  Placing themselves at great danger when confronted with Israelis, Americans have come to learn they cannot depend on Washington to help them in such confrontations.  Witness the hopelessness in the Shapiro post here.  It’s interesting to note that Shapiro’s cargo that was interdicted by the Israelis included toys, medicines, toolkits, olive tree saplings, and one 50-kilo bag of cement.  This is the same relief effort that got Cynthia McKinney arrested, who said the cargo was mostly crayons for kids to draw; the point being there was nothing that could be even remotely considered threatening to the existence of Israel.  A simple check of the ship’s cargo by all the people assembled to block this one boat could have ascertained this more quickly and at less expense to US taxpayers than all the showboating and bluster put on by F16 overflights and the incarceration of those aboard.   Existential threats to Israel ceased long ago and what Israel seeks to do with it’s blockade of Gaza, an act of war, is to get Palestinians to leave Gaza, or at the very least accept serfdom under the authority of the Israeli government.

By accepting this 2nd class international relationship,  the US is giving up its claim to being a superpower and has become instead a super bitch to the Israeli war machine.  Even now the US Secretary of Defense is headed to Israel to hold talks with officials there about Iran.  There is no mutual give and take in the American-Israeli alliance there is only take on the part of the Israelis who leave even people of good will feeling utterly hopeless, and which makes Washington look increasingly more impotent.

Who will win


Avigdor Lieberman is clearly a terrorist. At one point in his career he was aligned with a party the US government has placed on a list along with all the other terrorist organizations the world over, you know like al-Qaide, HAMAS and others.  So how is it that he has become the foreign minister of a particularly influential US ally?  It doesn’t seem he will voluntarily step down so perhaps now is the time the US boycott Israel?  I don’t think the present American leadership can stand up to an ally hell bent on pursuing criminal intent with criminals at the helm.  Perhaps this bit of news of an investigation that might cut short Lieberman’s career is America’s way of suggesting to Israel they won’t support such an ardent racist as a member of the Israeli government. At least that’s what I hope the news signals.  If Lieberman steps down, then score one for Obama; if he stays, then it’ll be another in a long line of bitch slaps US presidents have received at the hands of the Israelis.  Stay tuned!