While objective, ethical, non-tabloidy CNN blasts Kellyanne and Ivanka clickbait at us nonstop here’s some real news we might have missed this week. Afghanistan’s US commander Gen. John Nicholson has asked the Senate for about 30,000 additional troops. We’re 15 years into this so-called war — and this is only one of our wars in that region — and it’s going backwards while countless Muslim civilians suffer and die for no apparent reason.
Not only that, Nicholson also says the Russians are now secretly backing the Taliban there. Yikes. Now why, why, would Russia back the Taliban? Think this through with me. First, as always with government, we follow the money. The Russians aren’t Islamic fundamentalists so why support the Taliban?
It’s the heroin, y’all. Read it and weep. This is why the CIA keeps supporting the Taliban even as our military tries to defeat them. Out of the billions (with a B) we’ve spent fighting in Afghanistan a whopping $8 billion of that has gone directly to stopping opium production but instead, somehow, production has skyrocketed to the point that today a whopping 90% of the world’s illegal opium originates there (UN figure).
In short, we have turned Afghanistan into a narco state by accident or design. This is a fact, not a conspiracy theory. The conspiracy theory would be that this is no accident and we did it on purpose, but that’s another conversation. Oh heck, let’s have it now.
The heroin trade has been aided and abetted at the top levels of our government. ‘Almost everywhere in the world I worked, I had static with the CIA,” says ex DEA agent Edward Follis in his memoir The Dark Art: My Undercover Life in Global Narco-Terrorism. “We’re often working the same terrain, but with different legal and moral parameters … They exist completely in the shadows.” And let us not forget the CIA’s history of profiting from the opium trade using Air America.
So, who is profiting from selling all this Afghan opium? The Taliban who control the fields, the farmers and the crops. Also anyone who works with the Taliban must surely get a hefty return on their investment. This is CIA v. SVR in a drug lord smackdown with billions of dollars of profits at stake on the world market. It’s worse than laughable, it’s diabolical. I say let the Russians have the freaking heroin but no one’s gonna walk away from that much dough, so here we are.
Does anyone remember Hollywood actress Jean Seberg? She made the mistake of supporting the Black Panthers and going against the FBI. Here’s what they did to her, straight from the NY Times, 1979. The lie caused her to miscarry and commit suicide.
“WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 — The Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledged today that its agents plotted in 1970 to besmirch the reputation of Jean Seberg, the actress who committed suicide last week, by planting a rumor with news organizations that she was pregnant by high‐ranking member of the Black Panther Party.
The action against Miss Seberg, part of the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence program COINTELPRO, was intended to discredit her support of the black nationalist movement.
According to a document dated April 27, 1970, the Los Angeles office of the F.B.I. requested permission from J. Edgar Hoover, then Director of the bureau, to publicize Miss Seberg’s pregnancy, saying it was “felt the possible publication of Seberg’s plight could cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the general public.”
Former Husband Assails Bureau
Romain Gary, the prominent French author and diplomat who was Miss Seberg’s husband in 1970, said at a news conference in Paris last week that the baby was his and that the F.B.I. had destroyed the actress’s life. (continue reading…)
If anything comes from this new round of media attention about racial incidents I hope it’s a fostering of dialogue among teachers, parents and kids about the wrongness of racism and bullying.
I am, though, troubled by the major media’s using racist attacks as click bait and making it appear that racism suddenly started happening in the past two days or that there’s been an “uptick” (stats proving that, please).
I’m concerned about well-meaning white people posting such news stories online with ominous comments like “it’s starting” and “so it begins” which is laughable to any person of color I know. Talk about speaking from a position of privilege! For many, and I include those closest to me, racial slurs, attacks and graffiti have been a fact from childhood on, so no, it isn’t starting, it’s ever present.
Even now, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that in my daily travels through NYC and Philly I regularly encounter racist graffiti that far predates Trump. Has anyone counted the swastikas and tested for the age of the spray paint and determined that there really are more of these per capita in the past two days? This is an absurd proposition, yes?
If we go back to 2015 and before, we can easily find a slew of local news accounts and youtube stories about these same kinds of incidents, and since when is racist graffiti in a middle school worthy of national news coverage? My god, when I think back to my middle school, probably yours too, a small group of rabble-rousing minors chanting a cruel slur was a typical day for some students (and teachers) of color. Swastikas, the n-word, and every other slur you can think of, carved into desks and scrawled on bathroom walls was sadly the norm.
Were these childish acts Reagan and Bush’s faults? I never saw any news trucks outside my school to cover it. This doesn’t mean it’s acceptable and that it should be disregarded; again, I hope this week’s media spotlight fosters dialogue and teaching opportunities.
My fear is that what’s happening is that profit-driven major media news editors are finding it of interest to cull every local story they can find about racists acting out (mostly minors but I realize not entirely) and cobble them into a sensational front page news story. (continue reading…)
Trump insults Muslims. Hillary kills ‘em. Although she does have better manners, I’ll give her that. I’m not voting for either of these reprehensible people. 150,000 dead Iraqi civilians and counting, and Hillary remains staunch in her vote to invade while a New York Senator (more on that below). She should woman up and give an earnest mea culpa like Tony Blair and she might have my ear. Then there’s her 2011 Libya disaster. Also, “top Pentagon officials, and even one of the most progressive Democrats in Congress, were so wary of Clinton’s warmongering that they corresponded with the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in hopes of pursuing some form of diplomacy. Qaddafi’s son Seif wanted to negotiate a ceasefire with the U.S. government, opening up communications with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Clinton later intervened and asked the Pentagon to stop talking to the Qaddafi regime.” And her post-war Libya plan was to “play it by ear” which is why ISIS invaded and why we’re back there now bombing the country some more. President Obama calls the aftermath “a mess” and admitted that “failing to plan for the day after” was the worst mistake of his presidency. I admire the President’s honesty, but even Hillary’s supporters concede she’s “more hawkish” than Obama, and that’s a terrifying proposition. Sorry, y’all, I’m with Malala. Seven wars, people. Barack Obama has involved us in seven military actions in sovereign nations during the past eight years. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen. How many Muslim civilians and elected leaders is Hillary planning to kill? How many more Muslim nations are we planning to help devastate?
The Home Front
Hillary voted for the Patriot Act. She also supports NSA surveillance, calling Edward Snowden a criminal. She also supports the Trans Pacific Partnership about which I remain highly suspicious. She has no record on LGBTQ rights other than the fact that she spent years openly opposed to gay marriage. She also accepts campaign funds from Middle East regimes that publicly execute homosexuals. I say this as a New Yorker who voted for her as Senator. Her stance against gay marriage was extremely disappointing to me. Then there was the time she made the racist remark about men sometimes getting angry and going “off the reservation,” in other words behaving like a bunch of drunk Native Americans. Lovely. She next offended the Indian-American community by joking that she thought Mahatma Gandhi “ran a gas station.” Then there was the time she thought it would be cute while addressing a black congregation to quote a Reverend James Cleveland spiritual at length in a Jim Crow accent. (continue reading…)
My Tweets last night–
were the dying embers of a liberal Democrat. Yes, I was already on the precipice but the ridiculous display from Franken and Silverman at the Wells-Fargo Center less than a mile from my Philadelphia home were the final shove I needed.
Do you think the DNC has learned anything from the leaked emails? They’re going to be neutral in future elections because, boy, they sure did learn their lesson? No, the lesson they’ve learned is that it worked. Hillary will win the nomination. They just need to be more secretive the next time around and have better email security; that’s what they’ve learned. This thing has been rigged against Sanders since the word go, and it’s not just at the highest levels with DWS. It trickles down to the Democratic poll workers across the country who were called out and investigated for destroying Sanders votes and de-registering likely Sanders voters in advance of primaries.
Pro-Clinton pundits have been coming on TV all week saying yes, Hillary and the DNC played dirty pool but the primaries speak for themselves — Democrats voted mostly for Hillary. That’s a disingenuous claim given the aforementioned DNC’s voter fraud against its own members, and the fact that the leaked emails show the DNC’s direct collusion with major media in manipulating public opinion during the primaries. So no, the primary votes don’t mean Hillary won fair and square. And have you noticed that DWS got raked over the coals but none of the pundits are going after CNN and the like for proactively playing along? I’m talking about fools like Maria Cardona and Donna Brazile.
Now what we’re being told in summary is this: yes, Hillary is crooked and the DNC operate a rigged system to silence liberal Democrats like myself, but you don’t want Trump to win do you? What a cynical and disgusting game they’ve resorted to playing. It means that nothing, absolutely zero, will change in the DNC. What they’ve learned from all of this is that their tactics work.
One day my child will ask who I voted for in life and why, and I’m going to have to look him in the eye, and look at my own self in the mirror, and give an honest answer. I want to tell my child that I voted my conscience. My child is approaching school age and I’ve taught him not to be bullied, and to stop bullying when he sees it. I am now being bullied by the DNC, and even Bernie Sanders, into voting for Hillary Clinton. This is what the DNC thinks of liberal Democrats such as myself.
Therefore I’m with Julian Assange, who told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman this week that choosing between Clinton or Trump is like having to choose between cholera and gonorrhea:
“Well, you’re asking me, do I prefer cholera or gonorrhea? Personally, I would prefer neither. Look, I think—you know, we know how politics works in the United States. Whoever—whatever political party gets into government is going to merge with the bureaucracy pretty damn fast… So it doesn’t make much difference in the end. What does make a difference is political accountability, a general deterrence set to stop political organizations behaving in a corrupt manner. That can make a difference.”
I’m out. I’m done tolerating blatant, unapologetic corruption in my political party. I’m hearing you loud and clear, DNC. You don’t want people like me. You will continue to proactively squash liberalism in your ranks, so I’m heading for Greener pastures. It doesn’t mean I’ll never again vote for Democrats but I’m done being treated by the DNC like a poor relation.
A fair question and an honest article and my honest, if not entirely fair, response…
Why are 22 of the 24 new Amtrak writing residents white?
This year, a majority of those selected members are white, and many creatives aren’t happy about it.
Amtrak writes that “the residents offer a diverse representation of the writing community and hail from across the country.” There certainly is some representation of different backgrounds—lots of women, some LGBT writers, and some disabled writers, too. However, 22 of the 24 selected are white, and there is not a single black writer…
PS – Here’s the full text of my response:
Hi Jaya, I can only speak for myself as an individual judge. Indeed when I saw the photos of the winners yesterday for the first time when they were announced my heart sank. As you’ve said it’s diverse in so many other ways but there are no black faces. Obviously this wasn’t done intentionally. As a judge I had no clue of an applicant’s ethnicity, appearance, or with which affinity group they identify, unless they state it in their bio, artistic statement, or any autobiographical pieces they may have included with their writing samples. Judges aren’t given specific guidelines. Speaking for myself, I was looking first and foremost at the artistic merit of the sample, then their publication history that might qualify them as a professional writer pursing a writing career in earnest and not just as a hobby, and their statement on why this residency would be beneficial to them. Should the application be modified for future applicants and judges instructed more specifically to weigh race in the application process? Maybe so. These are issues faced by every theatre organization with which I’ve been involved as a board member, every screenwriting contest I’ve ever judged, any college admission portfolio I’ve been asked to evaluate. I can’t speak for Amtrak but I would suspect they’d be wide open to suggestions for best practices for how to improve the diversity of the judges as well as the applicant pool. Feel free to shoot me any followups. Happy to talk more.
I know that not everyone here will agree with me. I’m speaking especially to my fellow liberal Democrats, esp those of us who support Bernie who are now, ironically, up in arms about England leaving the EU. All I’ve been hearing in preceding months, and I fully agree with this, is how corporations and billionaires are controlling politics, controlling global business, ignoring global warming, supporting TPP, enslaving the poor in the poorest of countries so we can have our geegaws and cheap clothes, and how they also control the mainstream media.
And now England, which has been around for many centuries longer than anything called the “EU,” and which will surely be around for many more, has opted, just barely, to leave this so-called EU which destroyed Greece and Spain’s economies. All anyone can come up with to complain about the Brexit, at least in the aforementioned billionaire-controlled media over the past 24 hours, is “See? The stock market plummeted!” and “See? Cameron’s resigning!” as though these are signs of the apocalypse. The stock market plummets all the freaking time. A Saudi prince can break wind and “the stock market plummets.” A conference on global warming can be held and “the stock market plummets.” Obama can sneeze and “the stock market plummets.” New fracking legislation can be passed and “the stock market plummets.”
And now the billionaires are using this very tactic to criticize the British populace, and so many of my liberal friends are…falling for it? And as for Cameron’s resigning, big deal. A few weeks ago many of you were, like me, excoriating him right along with ClintBama for being a corporate-owned shill. So what happened? Don’t stop using your brain and your anger just yet. The truth is we don’t yet know what the end result will be, and we probably won’t for 5 or 10 years. Until then don’t believe the hype. It might turn out to be bad but it isn’t *necessarily* bad, and the EU is already in bad shape. Would you want to be financially linked to it right now if you could opt out?
What IS disturbing to me is the reasoning that 50% of the Brits have for wanting the split–xenophobia, racism, and complete denial that the European refugee crisis has been caused in large part by their and our own leaders’ disastrous, mass-murdering foreign policy. The fact that Cameron’s running away to make someone else clean up this mess is infuriating to me.
But if the Brexit had been voted in by left-leaning social democrats would we still be this upset about it? I think not, even though the result would be the same. Instead we’d all be cheering Britain on for sticking it to the man.
I’m just suggesting let’s all step back and take a breather on this and not be so worried about whether Britain is or is not a part of a loose conglomeration of countries with a weak central government. It’s way too soon to start conjuring up ghosts of WW I and II (or III). Economically speaking it might turn out to be the smartest move Britain ever made.
Our first and foremost concern should be the ongoing refugee crisis.
If you think I’m missing something here please let me know.
I am troubled by the double standard (on several levels) at work in the media’s depiction of a black wife standing up for her allegedly rapey husband and a white wife doing the same. I’m talking of course about the two Bills. I’ve heard lots of dismissive and insulting words used to describe Camille Cosby (she’s a sheep, a fool, when is she going to wake up?, etc.) whereas Hillary Clinton is “classy” for “shutting down” a “heckler” simply because the so-called heckler, Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien, a state representative, is a Republican rape victim.
I was appalled seeing Hillary’s women supporters booing this woman and shouting her down during Hilary’s recent town hall in New Hampshire. If this had a been a Trump town hall we all be up in arms (by “we” I mean liberal Democrats and liberal Independents). Don’t know if you saw the clip of the so-called heckler afterward but if not I urge you to see this cnn.com link. She’s clearly visibly shaken and tearful as she describes herself as a rape victim standing up for other rape victims and as yet I have no reason to doubt her, I don’t care what party she’s from.
“I asked her how in the world she can say that Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey are lying when she has no idea who Juanita Broaddrick is…She told me this summer she doesn’t know who she is and doesn’t want to know who she is. How can she assess that they are lying?…She says that rape victims should be believed. I agree with her, that is true, they should be believed and we should assess what they are saying, she doesn’t even what to assess it.”
“I would say that everyone should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence,” Clinton said calmly before moving onto other questions. [SHE SOUNDS LIKE BILL COSBY'S LAWYER!]
Meanwhile, Camille’s being forced to publicly give testimony against her husband…
Let’s do a math problem. Of Syria’s 300,000 (and counting daily) dead civilians,
percent killed by Assad: 85%
percent killed by the US: X%
(it’s classified thanks to the most obstructionist, secretive president in US history; gee, I wonder why, but see some hints below)
percent killed by ISIS: 5%
Let’s solve for X. If 90% of the deaths are an Assad/ISIS combo, that leaves 10%, which is twice the amount killed by ISIS.
Despite the White House’s extreme secrecy on this figure, it’s now known that our illegal drone campaign has killed at least 450 civilians so far, and that’s an extremely modest estimate. Still, we have officially only acknowledged two civilian deaths from our illegal drone strikes, which would be a hilarious discrepancy if it weren’t so horrific. All the while ISIS has grown exponentially stronger.
Our coalition’s commander, Lt. General John Hesterman, has called our illegal drone campaign “the most precise and disciplined in the history of aerial warfare.” Except that it isn’t. He’s lying. The fact is, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in our drone strikes were not the intended targets. The US military hides this from us by labeling these unknown victims, including children, as “enemies killed in action.” In short, we are helping Assad massacre his own civilians and having almost no impact on ISIS.
Even those who acknowledge that they’re being lied to by the White House about the so-called surgical precision and humaneness of drone strikes will all too often try to justify the barbarism. They play a game with themselves that some civilians’ lives, i.e., brown strangers, are less important than other civilians’ lives. 129 dead white Parisians is an act of war whereas 450 dead Syrians is merely unfortunate. Are you really going to play the #whitelivesmattermore game?
And even if you let yourself fall into that propaganda hypnosis and go along with it, there is a practical price to pay with the illegal drone program. When suspected terrorists are assassinated outright rather than being captured and interrogated as POWs we deprive ourselves of a chance to extract potentially valuable intelligence. Also, the friends and relatives of the civilians we kill become enraged and want to kill, kill, kill Americans in retaliation. Remember how we felt after 9/11? The French now feel the same way, so why wouldn’t Syrian civilians, who’ve lost their families in US-led airstrikes and then had the US cover up the deaths by hiding them from the media, feel the same way? According to Parisian survivors, the gunmen at the Bataclan Theater yelled out, “This is for Syria!” as they opened fire.
My point: the indiscriminate nature of our illegal drone program is exacerbating the very threat the U.S. pretends it wants to eliminate in Syria. We are making ISIS stronger. We cannot defeat ISIS by being ISIS On Steroids and killing twice as many Syrian civilians as they do. “The military is easily capable of adapting to change, but they don’t like to stop anything they feel is making their lives easier, or is to their benefit. And this certainly is, in their eyes, a very quick, clean way of doing things. It’s a very slick, efficient way to conduct the war,” said the anonymous whistle blower who recently leaked the classified Drone Papers to the media. Clean for the US, that is; not so clean for the Syrian populace.
In response to the recent Paris attacks, President Obama has said, “The Syrian refugees that have captivated so much attention are fleeing precisely the type of senseless slaughter that occurred in Paris.” So how about if we ease up on the senseless slaughter, eh?
And this is only regarding Syria. Just across the border in Iraq the total number of deaths over the past 14 years of our illegal occupation has reached 500,000. Please let that number sink in. These aren’t just digits. They were people. And I ask you: would you rather live in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, or in Iraq as we have left it today? I’m guessing you’d pick Saddam, who, just a reminder, had nothing to do with 9/11. We’re now sending Syria in the same direction as Iraq and Libya.
Our Middle East foreign policy is either a nightmarish debacle, or it’s an intentional, equally nightmarish plan to permanently destabilize the Middle East by carpet-bombing it back into the stone age, wantonly killing civilians, and taking turns arming one local militia against another to help speed along the mass slaughter and destabilization. In that case, our foreign policy must secretly be considered a resounding success by the White House. It needs to stop. Even in the most selfish sense it’s not helping Americans. It’s making us all less safe.
Now for the Syrian refugees. You’re worried about Muslims? Please, Republicans, Democrats, far left socialists and far right Tea Party conservatives, stop being sheep and following CNN and Fox News’ command that you cower in fear of refugees. If you want to try and stop a Paris-style mass shooting please focus your attention on profiling gun-toting Christian white men.
Texan Mike Rawlings agrees with me (see Dallas Mayor Says He Fears White Mass Shooters More Than Syrian Refugees). Stand up to the NRA and vet the white men in order to weed out our next Timothy McVeighs, our Unabombers, our Dylan Roofs, Jared Loughners, James Holmes, etc., etc. (see A Paris Every Day).
The chickens have come home to roost and we need to let them in. Please wake up, take just a little responsibility for the Syrian refugee crisis and offer a hand to these poor, desperate victims of our incessant oil wars. We claim we’re over there in Syria helping them, right? Now they’re at our doorstep begging for shelter and we’re going to turn them away and order them back to the hell we helped create in their homeland? Not on my watch.
Obama helped create the Syrian refugee disaster and will never own up to it, but at least he’s pushing to admit destroyed families he helped spawn. For that I applaud him.
AND THIS JUST IN: Four former Air Force servicemembers, including three drone operators and one drone technician, have issued a letter to President Obama warning the U.S. drone program is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism. The whistleblowers risk prosecution by speaking out. “We witnessed gross waste, mismanagement, abuses of power, and our country’s leaders lying publicly about the effectiveness of the drone program. We cannot sit silently by and witness tragedies like the attacks in Paris, knowing the devastating effects the drone program has overseas and at home.” More at http://www.democracynow.org/2015/11/20/exclusive_air_force_whistleblowers_risk_prosecution
I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but — oh heck, I’m a conspiracy theorist and I love it so I’ll just come out with it. Now lemme get this straight:
2011 – a “floating city” appears in the clouds over rural villages in Nigeria, twice. Also a “floating city” appears in the clouds over the Xin’an River in China
October, 2015 – a “floating city” appears in the clouds again in China, twice.
According to this week’s flurry of articles, most of which blatantly copy each other’s content verbatim, unnamed “scientists” say these sightings were all rare “fata morgana” optical illusions, which apparently aren’t so rare after all because they keep happening.
I put the word scientists above in quotes because I still can’t find one article that actually names who the “scientists” are who say these specific cases are all just illusions. Can you? If so please post links. I’ve only seen “according to Wikipedia” (and linked to a generic definition of fata morgana that isn’t directly related to these sightings) and “according to Wired” (and pointing to a Wired article from 10 months ago that again only describes the fata morgana phenomenon and which has nothing to do with anyone analyzing footage of these recent sightings) and, “experts said…” (again not in reference to recent events but only speaking generally about optical illusions). The only other time I’ve seen so many nameless “scientists” and “experts” thrown around so haphazardly in so many articles at once was in a typical issue of the Weekly World News.
In other words, the journalism here stinks. The first question to ask should be, is it possible to project a large, lifelike optical illusion onto clouds? The next question should be, has anyone with deep pockets, like a large corporation or, I don’t know, say, a major government’s military R&D wing, ever been caught developing large-scale holograms as a possible means of crowd control?
The answer to both questions is a resounding yes. None of these recent articles have bothered mentioning the creative collaboration between an artist and a scientist in Project Nimbus, in which the creators openly discussed that their inspiration was a US weapons research paper stating that holograms have been in development since the Vietnam era:
“Lynch was inspired by a paper he read, entitled Non-lethal Weapons: Terms and Reference by Dr. Robert J. Bunker [currently a researcher at the US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute]. There was a section detailing weapons from as early as the Vietnam War, in particular, a part on hologram projection, in which the military had proposed projecting ‘the image of an ancient god over an enemy capitol whose public communications have been seized and used against it in a massive psychological operation.’”
Furthermore, while the fata morgana optical illusion may explain how a portion of a city’s skyline is reflected up into a cloudy sky in urban China, it doesn’t explain how a city appears over a rural Nigerian village. One Nigerian eyewitness described the floating city as “a large mass of something that looked like a cloud, appeared from nowhere and flew slowly over the village just at the height of an average tree. The cloud was transparent and I saw beautiful tall buildings inside it, and tarred roads and cars.” Hundreds of eyewitness reported seeing the same sights, which they concluded was a miraculous act of God. This religious reaction to a large-scale hologram is exactly what is hoped for in Dr. Bunker’s paper.
So hey, call me a crazy conspiracy theorist but I’m rolling with the Chinese or US military hologram experiment theory. Maybe these most recent Chinese occurrences were us taking a cat swipe at the Chinese military in retaliation for their recent hacks.