The silly season starts earlier and lasts longer with each cycle, to the point that it is now one big blur. Trying to make a choice which candidate to support for just the nomination is going to be tough this time. On the Republican side there is a bus load of right wing extremists while the Democrats appear to have the “inevitable” Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Republican platform is still stuck on what Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) called “stupid” from social and economic issues to foreign policy. The Democrats may differ with them on social issues, however, on economic and foreign policy their actions speak louder than their words.
So where does that leave the large Democratic left? Thank FSM there is time to ask questions and maybe get some satisfactory answers. But sadly, that may not be too easy considering the quality and tenor of the mainstream news media. Take for example the media obsession with Secretary Clinton’s announcement of her candidacy, her trip by van to Iowa and her stop at a local Chipotle. So far there hasn’t been any substantive discussion about the issues that are most important to the vast majority of America. Except that there has been; it’s just been hard to find.
Former secretary of state, senator and first lady Hillary Clinton has formally entered the 2016 race for the White House in a second bid to become the first woman U.S. president. We host a roundtable discussion with four guests: Joe Conason, editor-in-chief of The National Memo, co-editor of The Investigative Fund, and author of “The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton”; Michelle Goldberg, senior contributing writer at The Nation; longtime journalist Robert Scheer, editor of Truthdig.com and author of many books; and Kshama Sawant, a Socialist city councilmember in Seattle and member of Socialist Alternative, a nationwide organization of social and economic justice activists.
Former senator, 2008 Democratic candidate for presidential nominations and former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced she is again seeking the office of President of the United States.
Not everyone is jumping on board, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told “Meet the Press” that he is holding back his endorsement until Mrs. Clinton clarified her economic platform. Too friendly with Wall St isn’t her only problem. She has been silent about the m P5+1 negotiations with Iran over it’s nuclear program. She has supported arming the so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria uprising. Where does she stand on drone attacks, targeted assassinations and overall use of military force, the out of control surveillance community?
Right now, like the song goes, “Still I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say, to try and make me change my mind and stay.”
Scientists have bad news for West Coasters in the grips of the worst drought in decades: The worst is yet to come.
The record-shattering drought currently gripping California is a light crudité compared to the “mega-drought” that’s expected to envelop the Southwest and Great Plains over the next 35 years, NASA revealed Thursday. The full study, ominously named “Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains,” was published in Science Advances.
Some illusions are not good. Keeping up appearances can be dangerous. We should have the courage to admit that we or those we love or should love are in need. A political party that is too afraid to speak this message is nearly worthless.
I love the honest moment many critics hate in Akira Kurisawa’s One Wonderful Sunday (1947) when the director, through the female co-lead, confesses the act of creating for the public good by turning to us, the viewers, and begging for help for the poor lovers of post-WWII Japan: “There are so many poor lovers like us.”
Generations later, the Japanese left is by and large retaining its moral courage against a denialist onslaught that would have fit right in with Fascist days gone by. In a vicious campaign of moral inversion that would make Karl Rove proud, those who dare to stand by the historical veracity of the exploitation of “comfort women” are themselves scandalized. The current conservative Japanese effort to expunge from history the Japanese military’s mass brutalizing of women during WWII is, needless to say, itself deeply shameful. But this need for maintenance of societal illusion is by no means a new creation. Nor can the U.S. exempt itself from criticism with respect to its own deep and wide illusion at home and abroad, and in particular with respect to Japan.
The title of The Audacity of Hope was derived from a sermon delivered by Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright had attended a lecture by Dr. Frederick G. Sampson in Richmond, Virginia, in the late 1980s, on the G. F. Watts painting Hope, which inspired him to give a sermon in 1990 based on the subject of the painting – “with her clothes in rags, her body scarred and bruised and bleeding, her harp all but destroyed and with only one string left, she had the audacity to make music and praise God … To take the one string you have left and to have the audacity to hope… that’s the real word God will have us hear from this passage and from Watt’s painting.”
While “her” audacity is commendable, where is “ours”? Can we look on at a person in such a condition and not ask why and then do all we can to change those conditions?
This vision, which was ultimately an appeal to honestly assess the requirements of justice in the service of love, has been diminished through a societal psychosis brought about only in part by an opposition party strategically incapable of telling the truth on anything serious. The Republican Party is built on lying, to be sure. But it has received decades of assistance from the pathetic unwillingness of the U.S.’s so-called liberal party to have the audacity to honestly call even for old time liberal religion and from the pathetic unwillingness of the so-called liberal media to have the audacity to expose lies on a prolonged basis except of the inconsequential variety–such as the covering up of the pathetic sex life of a president with a consenting intern. While I hope most of us would agree that Bill Clinton was a putz, our collective political lives should not turn based on what he does with his. Had he turned to the camera and said “There are so many poor [so to speak] lovers like us” we all should have clapped, laughed, or yawned, but certainly immediately moved on.
It is worth pondering who is really running this sickly thickly syrupy daytime theatre of life in the U.S.–so comfortable with societal psychosis once reserved for dreams of a heavenly one–while we put on our daily generally modest costumes. We have lost the will to pray, oh Lord, for a Mercedes Benz or even a new pickup, although we may still feel this unexplained ungratified compulsion to purchase new gizmos with whatever is left over after the tank of gas that will get us from our trailer to our part time jobs if we can get them.
It can sometimes be difficult, however, to tell the actors from the playwrights, for even the playwrights have to play dress up, or, more typically, dress down. When you are an imperial family, it is important to look the part, which will vary according to the needs of the occasion. If your power is mainly cultural, with pretentions of divinity, your plumage may need to be bold. While living large you may feel compelled to use your women and children more like props than actors on the stage of your pampered world.
If your power is economic, you may need to dress like regular small business folk on the way to the quaint grand opening of a new five and dime, complete with soda fountain. Your appearance should reflect the business needs of your milieu, even if that means you too must look like you eat tons of that processed corn-shit you sell to us at everyday low prices.
Before I come back to them, I want to mention the customers. You may wholly or partly not realize it, but, if you are reading this, you are likely sitting or standing (pray not driving) in the Wholly Walton Empire. You won’t actually get to “[m]eet the 6 Walton Heirs at the [t]op of the Walmart [e]mpire,” but it is important to their tight hold on power in the U.S. that you and hundreds of millions of species-beings like you remain alienated and not develop class consciousness of them and moral consciousness of the ends and means of their empire.
Now back to our story …
The Walton family are just regular folk, plus lots of money and power. They are at the pinochle of a homestyle capitalist family built on the illusion of choice. They are mere country vendors.
Other small town folk make the stuff that they vend, which we stuff into our bodies and souls to the limit of our credit and physiological and psychological capacity to intake stuff.
These ultra rich “regular folk” use slick mercenary politicians from both U.S. ruling parties to carry out their policies in exchange for chump change and neoliberal-circumscribed political power implemented through the kabuki theatre of “aw shucks, pass me them taters” known as U.S. “democracy.” A broad spectrum of “regular folk,” sometimes already wealthy but usually not “ultra rich,” compete within this mercenary class. Enter folks like Jeb (make no mistake, Jeb does not come to Arkansas because he cares about education)
and “our” very own HRC.
Now what in tarnation does this have to do with Japan?
“It’s always the same story. For a fact that interests us, touches us, it is necessary that it becomes part of our inner life, it is necessary that it does not originate far from us, that is the people we know, people who belong to the circle of our human space.”
“Hasta allí Gramsci. Siempre un adelantado. Siempre con los que sufren.”
We all need justice and safety, none more than Jews in the wake of the Holocaust. But apparently those “filthy Arabs” are humans too. An artificial redefinition of space known as “a new nation” can be founded for ostensibly “humane” reasons but use patently inhumane means of achievement.
I thought in a “constitutional” “democracy” we were supposed to all agree on certain basic organic principles (not including freedom from want and fear, of course) and then work out the details with voting?–unless, of course, we are Native Peoples, African Americans, or European Americans who happened to be poor in the temperate Atlantic region of North America in the late 1700’s. What could possibly go wrong? For a contemporary answer to this non-academic question, so dependent on militarization and deception, look to the southeastern side of the Mediterranean Sea.
In a very carefully worded statement to the press after her meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the decision to carry out an attack on Syria hinged on three point. She welcomed the suggestion that was made by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia to place whatever chemical weapons Syria has under international control. The suggestion was also welcomed by Syria’s Walid Muallem
The exact circumstances of the ambassador’s death remain unclear. On Tuesday night a group of extremists attacked the US consulate building in Benghazi, setting it on fire, and killing one US diplomatic officer.
On Tuesday the US state department confirmed that one of its employees had been killed by the mob that stormed the US mission in Benghazi, incensed by a US film that they deemed blasphemous to the prophet Muhammad. Libyan officials said Stevens and two security staff were in their car when gunmen fired rockets at it, Reuters reported. The official said the US military had sent a military plane to transport the bodies to Tripoli and to fly them back to the US.
One witness told the Guardian on Wednesday that a mob fired at least one rocket at the US consulate building in Benghazi and then stormed it, setting everything ablaze. “I was there about an hour ago. The place [consulate] is totally destroyed, the whole building is on fire,” said Mohammed El Kish, a former press officer with the National Transitional Council, which handed power to an elected parliament last month. He added: “They stole a lot of things.”
Kish, who is from Benghazi, blamed the attack on hardline jihadists. He said locals in Benghazi were upset by the activities of Islamist groups and would revolt against them. He also said the US consulate was not well protected, unlike the fortified US embassy in the capital, Tripoli. “It wasn’t that much heavily guarded. In Tripoli the embassy is heavily guarded.”
“These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity,” Mr. Obama said in a televised statement from the White House Rose Garden where he stood side-by-side with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Make no mistake: we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”
Mr. Obama also offered praise for the Libyan government, noting that Libyan security forces fought back against the mob, helped protect American diplomats and took Mr. Stevens’s body to the hospital. “This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya,” he said. [..]
“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” Mr. Obama said, calling Mr. Stevens “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States” who had “selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi” and, as ambassador, “supported Libya’s transition to democracy.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who appeared visibly upset, made this statement:
“This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence and we send our prayers to the families, friends and colleagues of those we’ve lost.”
Mrs. Clinton described the Benghazi assailants as “a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya.”
Only two of those killed have been identified, Amb. Smith and Foreign Service Off. Sean Smith
Fear not, wanderers in this WTF Wilderness. Be not dismayed, let not your hearts be troubled. Lift up your eyes like you never have before, and behold the shiny objects flashing around the White House and the DNC. Look upon them in wonder and sing hallelujah, for salvation is at hand. Again.
I hope Obama and the clap louder crowd at Kos Communications will forgive me, but I’m not fired up. I’m not ready to go. The idiocy on full display every hour of every day on the campaign trail exposes how far gone this country’s political system is. We don’t see any real political debate, we don’t hear any real political commentary, there’s no dialogue about the fundamental problems we’re facing, no real solutions are offered. It’s not a campaign. It’s a beer commercial.
Tastes Great! Less Filling!
Corporate capitalism tastes great. No, it’s less filling. Gosh, I just can’t decide who’s right, it has so many appealing features. It’s not perfect yet, but perfection is so close the Beltway binge-drinkers can almost taste it.
Their friends at the five-hundred billion dollar Beltway Brewery are really cranking out the suds, the bipartisan beer trucks are rumbling down the highways of America, driven by austerity alcoholics with places to go and people to see.
It’s Happy Hour, it’s always Happy Hour here at the Trickle Down Tavern, so drink up everyone, order another round, put another trillion dollars in the jukebox. Yeah, I know, Too Big To Fail is the only song on it, but what the hell, get over it, quit pouting and grow up, be a patriotic patriot and praise the plutocrats, they created this paradise of prosperity and are disappointed because we haven’t been grateful enough, so grab a beer-soaked flag and wave it on high.
So Obama can sell out Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and millions of jobs while the Left looks around for somebody, anybody to run against that stinking con-man in the Democratic primaries, and meanwhile Hillary Rodham Clinton is promoting a rap concert with will.i.am.
You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya – the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.
The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said, “This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner.”
As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to “seduce” three other members to get the vote.
Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.
Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution.
“The government did not want the people to communicate with each other, and it did not want the press to communicate with the public.”–Hillary Clinton speaking about Egypt at an Internet Freedom seminar, while a 71 year old man who had been standing quietly with his back to her was dragged out before her eyes.