Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Else Is in Hillary's eMails?

[H]istorians of the 2011 NATO war in Libya will be sure to notice a few of the truly explosive confirmations contained in the new emails: admissions of rebel war crimes, special ops trainers inside Libya from nearly the start of protests, Al Qaeda embedded in the U.S. backed opposition, Western nations jockeying for access to Libyan oil, the nefarious origins of the absurd Viagra mass rape claim, and concern over Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves threatening European currency.

[...]

Though the French-proposed U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 claimed the no-fly zone implemented over Libya was to protect civilians, an April 2011 email [archived here] sent to Hillary with the subject line “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold” tells of less noble ambitions.

The email identifies French President Nicholas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five specific purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”

Most astounding is the lengthy section delineating the huge threat that Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves, estimated at “143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” posed to the French franc (CFA) circulating as a prime African currency.

[...]

Though this internal email aims to summarize the motivating factors driving France’s (and by implication NATO’s) intervention in Libya, it is interesting to note that saving civilian lives is conspicuously absent from the briefing.

  Foreign Policy Journal
Gee. What a surprise.
Early in the Libyan conflict Secretary of State Clinton formally accused Gaddafi and his army of using mass rape as a tool of war. Though numerous international organizations, like Amnesty International, quickly debunked these claims, the charges were uncritically echoed by Western politicians and major media.
Another surprise.

You already knew the deposing of Qaddafi was political bullshit, but now you have some proof.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Waging (and Losing) the War on Drugs for 50 Years

How did the United States entangle itself in a policy of drug prohibition that has yielded so much misery and so few good results? Americans have been criminalizing psychoactive substances since San Francisco’s anti-opium law of 1875, but it was Ehrlichman’s boss, Richard Nixon, who declared the first “war on drugs” and set the country on the wildly punitive and counterproductive path it still pursues.

[...]

I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

[...]

Nixon’s invention of the war on drugs as a political tool was cynical, but every president since — Democrat and Republican alike — has found it equally useful for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the growing cost of the drug war is now impossible to ignore: billions of dollars wasted, bloodshed in Latin America and on the streets of our own cities, and millions of lives destroyed by draconian punishment that doesn’t end at the prison gate; one of every eight black men has been disenfranchised because of a felony conviction.

[...]

As long ago as 1949, H. L. Mencken identified in Americans “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy,” an astute articulation of our weirdly Puritan need to criminalize people’s inclination to adjust how they feel. The desire for altered states of consciousness creates a market, and in suppressing that market we have created a class of genuine bad guys — pushers, gangbangers, smugglers, killers. Addiction is a hideous condition, but it’s rare. Most of what we hate and fear about drugs — the violence, the overdoses, the criminality — derives from prohibition, not drugs. And there will be no victory in this war either; even the Drug Enforcement Administration concedes that the drugs it fights are becoming cheaper and more easily available.

[...]

This month, the General Assembly of the United Nations will be gathering for its first drug conference since 1998. The motto of the 1998 meeting was “A Drug-Free World — We Can Do It!” With all due respect, U.N., how’d that work out for you?

  Harper's


...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Appeasing Bernie

The two Democratic candidates have agreed with Democratic Party officials to a new apportionment of the 15-member committee that writes the platform, according to Democratic officials familiar with the compromise worked out this month.

Clinton has picked six members, and Sanders has named five.

[...]

The math is based on the number of popular votes each has received to date, one official said. Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will name four.

[...]

DNC rules allow the chairman to pick the entire slate of 15 people who govern the platform that will be presented at the party convention in July.

The change was made to be inclusive of Sanders supporters after the strong liberal challenge he mounted during a long and sometimes bitter primary.

  WaPo
Well, sort of. Sanders had to first have a snit fit over what he saw as the DNC stacking the convention committees with Hillary supporters.
Sanders’s choices include James Zogby, a pro-Palestinian activist who is president of the Arab-American Institute in Washington and a frequent commentator on Arab-Israeli issues.

[...]

Sanders also picked Cornel West, a liberal author and racial justice activist who has been a Sanders surrogate.

[...]

Sanders also named Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, among his most prominent elected backers, author and environmental activist Bill McKibben and Native American activist Deborah Parker.
Sounds like a good group at least by description. This may have been Bernie's first goal in making a run.
The Clinton campaign’s choices are Wendy Sherman, a former top State Department official and Clinton surrogate; Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and longtime Clinton confidante; Rep. Luis Guttierez of Illinois; Carol Browner, a former former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece and Paul Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

Wasserman Schultz also named former California Rep. Howard Berman; California Rep. Barbara Lee and author and executive Bonnie Schaefer.
I don't know the others, but Lee is a good one to have.

A bit.

UPDATE 5/24:


And They Call Themselves Progressives

Remember Neera Tanden, CEO of the self-described "progressive public policy research and advocacy organization" CAP (Center for American Progress)? (Hint: She's tired of freeloaders.)
As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent put it earlier this year: CAP “is poised to exert outsized influence over the 2016 president race and — should Hillary Clinton win it — the policies and agenda of the 45th President of the United States. CAP founder John Podesta is set to run Clinton’s presidential campaign, and current CAP president Neera Tanden is a longtime Clinton confidante and adviser.”

[...]

[E]mails, provided to The Intercept by a source authorized to receive them, are particularly illuminating about the actions of Tanden [...] , a stalwart Clinton loyalist as well as a former Obama White House official. They show Tanden and key aides engaging in extensive efforts of accommodation in response to AIPAC’s  [...]  vehement complaints that CAP is allowing its writers to be “anti-Israel.” Other emails show Tanden arguing that Libyans should be forced to turn over large portions of their oil revenues to repay the U.S. for the costs incurred in bombing Libya, on the grounds that Americans will support future wars only if they see that the countries attacked by the U.S. pay for the invasions.

[...]

In 2012, a former AIPAC spokesman, Josh Block, launched a campaign to brand several young, liberal writers at CAP’s blog, ThinkProgress, as anti-Semites due to their writings on Israel, Palestine and Iran.

[...]

Rather than stand behind its writers, top CAP officials, led by Tanden, applied constant coercion to stifle content upsetting to AIPAC.

[...]

Most of the CAP writers accused of Israel heresy were gone from the organization within a short time thereafter, and several have publicly revealed that they had been censored on matters pertaining to Israel.

[...]

In October 2011, a CAP national security writer, Benjamin Armbruster, circulated a discussion on CNN about whether Libya should be forced to turn over its oil revenue to the U.S. as compensation and gratitude for the U.S. having “liberated” Libya.

After one CAP official, Faiz Shakir, noted how perverse it is to first bomb a poor country and then make it turn over its revenues to you for doing so, Tanden argued that this made a great deal of sense.

[...]

Tanden’s twist on the argument — that Americans will continue to support foreign wars only if they see the invaded countries forced to turn over assets that the U.S. can use to fund its own programs — is singularly perverse, as it turns the U.S. military into some sort of explicit for-profit imperial force.

  Intercept
Well?
“CAP’s top donors include Walmart and Citigroup,” and also “include the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents leading biotech and bio-pharma firms, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.” Other large CAP donors include Goldman Sachs, the Em­bassy of the United Ar­ab Emir­ates, Bank of America, Google and Time Warner.


Here's an exchange between Neera and Glenn Greenwald two days ago:



The Intercept Tweeted today that Hillary named Tanden to her DNC platform team. I haven't been able to confirm that, but it's not like The Intercept to put out something prematurely. (UPDATE: She did. It's here.)

So much for "progressives".

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

The Smoking Gun

[T]ranscripts [have just been] published by [Brazil's] largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, [revealing] secret conversations that took place in March, just weeks before the impeachment vote in the lower house took place [against the democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff]. They show explicit plotting between the new planning minister (then-senator), Romero Jucá, and former oil executive Sergio Machado — both of whom are formal targets of the “Car Wash” corruption investigation — as they agree that removing Dilma is the only means for ending the corruption investigation.

[...]

[According to the transcripts,] Jucá said the Brazilian military is supporting the plot.

[...]

The second blockbuster revelation — perhaps even more significant — is Jucá’s statement that he spoke with and secured the involvement of numerous justices on Brazil’s Supreme Court, the institution that impeachment defenders have repeatedly pointed to as vesting the process with legitimacy.

[...]

The transcripts provide proof for virtually every suspicion and accusation impeachment opponents have long expressed about those plotting to remove Dilma from office.

  The Intercept
You might want to read this entire article if you have any interest in what's happening in Brazil.  There's more information about the newly installed government of corrupt and implicated politicians as it supports the coup and its rush to make policy changes that benefit the elite right wing.
For months, supporters of Brazil’s democracy have made two arguments about the attempt to remove the country’s democratically elected president: (1) the core purpose of Dilma’s impeachment is not to stop corruption or punish lawbreaking, but rather the exact opposite: to protect the actual thieves by empowering them with Dilma’s exit, thus enabling them to kill the “Car Wash” investigation; and (2) the impeachment advocates (led by the country’s oligarchical media) have zero interest in clean government, but only in seizing power that they could never obtain democratically, in order to impose a right-wing, oligarch-serving agenda that the Brazilian population would never accept.

[...]

[U]nlike the events of the last two weeks, these transcripts are not merely clues or signs. They are proof: proof that the prime forces behind the removal of the president understood that taking her out was the only way to save themselves and shield their own extreme corruption from accountability; proof that Brazil’s military, its dominant media outlets, and its Supreme Court were colluding in secret to ensure the removal of the democratically elected president.
So, unless those transcripts are phony, it looks like Brazil's democracy may survive the coup.
For his part, Jucá admits that these transcripts are authentic but insists it was all just a misunderstanding with his comments taken out of context.
How do you take agreeing "that removing Dilma is the only means for ending the corruption investigation" out of context and it not mean what it means?

Toast.  Stay tuned.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

How Are They Polling?



If Sanders were to pull out an amazing lead over Clinton in the remaining few primaries, the DNC would have a very difficult time sticking to nominating Clinton.  I would like to see him do it just to see what happened.

Humor me, California, Washington, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and DC Democrats:  No Hillary votes.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Are We Still That Gullible?

Or are we just pretending to be?






...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

All You Need Is the Right Color of Paint

By definition of the Obama administration, if you're in a war zone, you're a participant/combatant. The media follow suit.














...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

BernieBros!






It's Helpful to Read Past the First Line



So I'm staring at the picture for several seconds thinking, the middle one doesn't look like a tie any mafia guy would wear.  (I got past seeing "mark down" as "marked down" after the word "attack".  "marked down Mafia ties" - I don't know.  There could be a thing.)

 Better read on to see which of these guys are wearing "mafia ties".


 

OH! Mafia ties. Ties to organized crime.  Haha.  I got up too early.  Time for a nap.

Still, Ed's tie is crap. And inappropriate. That looks like a formal party.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.