Friday, February 20, 2015

Terror Horror Monster Theater

Without a hint of irony or even a snippet of self-awareness, the Drone President gave a pair of speeches at a Terror Summit this week, arguing that we must wage a war on the extremists and ideologues and propagandists and recruiters and funders who incite disaffected people to commit violence.

He kind of sort of forgot to include himself, Congress, Wall Street, the Supreme Court, the Military-Industrial-Media-Prison Complex and homegrown religious or atheist fundamentalists on his list of the global enemies of humanity. America is exceptional, after all. Do as we say, goes his message to Muslim youth tempted to wage jihad -- not as we do. Obama railed,
As we speak, ISIL is terrorizing the people of Syria and Iraq and engaging in unspeakable cruelty.  The wanton murder of children, the enslavement and rape of women, threatening religious minorities with genocide, beheading hostages.  ISIL-linked terrorists murdered Egyptians in the Sinai Peninsula, and their slaughter of Egyptian Christians in Libya has shocked the world.   Beyond the region, we’ve seen deadly attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, Paris, and now Copenhagen.
Elsewhere, Israelis have endured the tragedy of terrorism for decades.  Pakistan’s Taliban has mounted a long campaign of violence against the Pakistani people that now tragically includes the massacre of more than 100 schoolchildren and their teachers.  From Somalia, al-Shabaab terrorists have launched attacks across East Africa.  In Nigeria and neighboring countries, Boko Haram kills and kidnaps men, women and children.
Oops. He forgot to mention the wanton deaths of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of innocent women and children from American hellfire missiles launched from Predator and Reaper drones. He forgot to mention the thousands of Palestinian civilians killed and maimed by Israeli extremists in their Gaza  concentration camp. He forgot to mention the hundreds of people kidnapped and renditioned and imprisoned by his own special ops security forces and denied due process as they linger without charge or trial, denied even the right to starve themselves because of the force-feeding torture that Obama himself ordered. He forgot to mention his continual protection of CIA torturers, war criminals and Wall Street financial terrorists. He forgot to mention that last year was the deadliest yet in the Afghanistan War. He forgot to mention that his ending of that war is just a fairy tale told for public relations purposes.

To say that he lied by omission is actually being too kind. He lied by revising history itself. For example, there is this:
Obviously, there is a complicated history between the Middle East, the West.  And none of us I think should be immune from criticism in terms of specific policies, but the notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie.  And all of us, regardless of our faith, have a responsibility to reject it.
But then came the typical, self-neutering Obama pivot which also managed to subtly blame the victims while ignoring the fact that the United States has criminally invaded and colonized vast swaths of their territory:
The reality -- which, again, many Muslim leaders have spoken to -- is that there’s a strain of thought that doesn’t embrace ISIL’s tactics, doesn’t embrace violence, but does buy into the notion that the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances  -- sometimes that's accurate -- does buy into the belief that so many of the ills in the Middle East flow from a history of colonialism or conspiracy; does buy into the idea that Islam is incompatible with modernity or tolerance, or that it's been polluted by Western values.
So Obama is essentially absolving Bush, Cheney and the neocons -- still powerful and still granted publicity and prestige despite their crimes -- of all responsibility for lighting the fuse under the current strife and rampage by ISIS. If you're an Iraqi or an Afghan whose whole family was wiped out by American extremists, then you're a conspiracy theorist. If you're aggrieved that American or European imperialism ruined your life or your livelihood, then you're buying into a "notion". And not only that, if you're an American Muslim who doesn't rant and rave against the violent elements every day of your life, then you too will bear responsibility for all the bad stuff, including the blowback against CIA coups and war crimes by the Pentagon.

It's the same thing as telling Catholics they're to blame for priestly pedophilia if they continue attending Mass without also becoming an anti-child porn activist. Obama's moralizing hypocrisy is not that far removed from the government policy of imprisoning Americans of Japanese descent during World War II, for the mere fact of their ancestry.

Obama just spat in the face of the very people he is pretending to care about. As he does so very often, he cancelled himself out. In much the same way that he pretends to fight for the middle class by advocating for the brutal and job-destroying Trans-Pacific Partnership. The same way he pretends to want peace by selling weaponized drones to any country that wants them and refurbishing the entire US stock of nuclear weapons. The same way he signs a climate agreement with China and then opens up the Atlantic to oil and gas drilling. The list goes on and on and on.

Also in typical Obama fashion, he mawkishly inserted his own wife and children into his platitudinous propaganda to show that he's a hokey-jokey human being, just like you:
I’m thinking of a little girl named Sabrina who last month sent me a Valentine’s Day card in the shape of a heart.  It was the first Valentine I got.  (Laughter.)  I got it from Sabrina before Malia and Sasha and Michelle gave me one.  (Laughter.)  So she’s 11 years old.  She’s in the 5th grade.  She’s a young Muslim American.  And she said in her Valentine, “I enjoy being an American.”  And when she grows up, she wants to be an engineer -- or a basketball player.  (Laughter.)  Which are good choices. (Laughter.)  But she wrote, “I am worried about people hating Muslims…If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do.”  And she asked, “Please tell everyone that we are good people and we’re just like everyone else.”  (Applause.)  Now, those are the words -- and the wisdom -- of a little girl growing up here in America, just like my daughters are growing up here in America.  “We’re just like everybody else.”  And everybody needs to remember that during the course of this debate.
Yes, except that Malia and Sasha were never stalked by the CIA-trained NYPD or put on terror watch lists because of what they believe or the clothes that they wear. Obama will neither repudiate nor end these surveillance programs, because they are not considered part of the acceptable "debate."

(And just as an aside, perhaps Obama got his valentine late from his daughters because they and Mom were away for the holiday, enjoying another Aspen ski vacation courtesy of the drone-manufacturing Crown family of General Dynamics.) 

The Crowns, the Kochs, the banks, the oil companies, the corporate media, the politicians: they all do their part to keep American terrorism perpetual and profitable and themselves safe, secure and rich.

Talk and summits and debates alternately substitute for and mask the de facto bellicose policies of ObamaWorld. 

Republican David Brooks, often cited as Obama's favorite columnist, slurps the president's bromides on extremism even as he goes along with the GOP extremists who are now revving up their usual bad-cop racist rhetoric and calling the president a touchy-feely soft-hearted wimp for pretending to care about disaffected Muslim youth. Brooks's solution? The middle Eastern jihadists should turn to nationalism  in order to make their world safe for American democracy. I am not kidding. They should make patriotism into their new religion. Brooks is essentially advocating for Nazism to substitute for Islamic jihad.

My published response:
The only extremism we have to fear is that of the predatory ideologues who decided it would be a great idea to plunder and nation-build in Iraq and other middle Eastern regions. These same ideologues continue to roam free and grow rich, attaching themselves like leeches to such corrupt pols as Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. They want to keep the endless wars going, start new ones, and ensure that the most extreme wealth inequality in modern times continues. These extremists would love nothing more than to convert we the people into a billion tiny droplets comprising a geyser of blood, sweat, toil and tears that will gush all the way to the top. And if some of us fall to the bottom in the process, that's just the way the cookie crumbles in GOP Land.
The Republicans and their plutocratic backers in Big Finance and Big Weapons and Big Media thrive on perpetual war and perpetual terror. It's the only thing left propping up the plutonomy -- an economy of, by, and for the obscenely rich.
To sell their extremism to the public, they ratchet up the dread and the fear and the resentment and call it a noble clash of civilizations and a fight for freedom. They broadcast their war and finance porn through the six media conglomerates that now control 90% of everything the American public sees and hears.
 The only extremism we have to fear is the extremism of neocons and hypercapitalists who dress up the greed and subterfuge in spiritual and humanistic terms. They're the devil in disguise.


Jay–Ottawa said...

For a long time there was a sidebar link to a site that listed Obama’s betrayals. I suppose the link had to be taken down because inactive for the past few years. Maybe the originators ran out of ink cartridges. But I miss it as a go-to reference covering the early years of Obama’s administration.

Not to worry. That link may be down, but Sardonicky is up. And this essay, among others of late, goes a long way to maintain the record of BO’s endless tergiversations.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Nuts! The Obama Scandals List. It is still there in the sidebar. Missed it twice when searching earlier.

Denis Neville said...

True terror is the realization of just how berserk our nation has become. It’s a horror show.

The war drums are deafening.

All day long on cable news, it’s terror around the globe.

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” - George Orwell, 1984

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz thinks it’s time for the United States to consider putting troops on the ground for this “religious war” with the Islamic State. “We can’t sit back here and watch hordes of people get their heads cut off. And why would we tell ISIS there’s no way we would ever put ground troops in combat situations?”

STFU!!! Why are people who never paid a price acting like we should listen to them?

We must put "boots on the ground" to fight ISIS, created in an Iraq destabilized by US-led regime change, now entrenched in Libya, destabilized by US-led regime change.

Americans, perhaps influenced by “American Sniper,” now want to send ground troops to fight ISIS. Why?

Who's more stupid and craven: the leaders, the voters, or the media?

Only 25 percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around earth, while 57 percent think re-invading Iraq and invading Syria is way to beat ISIS. How short their memories are.

An Iraqi assault to retake Mosul from the Islamic State is planned for April or May. No decision had been made on whether a “small group of US military advisers” would be needed. What could possibly go wrong?

“The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.” - T.E. Lawrence, "Report on Mesopotamia", Sunday Times (August 1920)

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” - Mahatma Gandhi

Meredith NYC said...

Did any of your comments to krugman ever NOT get published? I’m glad you brought up campaign finance in your comment today. Mine was about that, and didn't get in. So I replied to your comment with part of it and it got in.
Strangely they may monitor replies differently from comments, don't know. I’ve noticed my replies get in quicker than my comments, often.

Also any idea why still no comments link to Krugman’s blog posts, 2nd or 3rd day?

I’m looking for Krugman or someone on op ed page to write about campaign finance---someday? It relates to most of criticisms of policy but they seem to avoid it.

So the question is why doesn’t our NYT liberal, influential Nobel economist columnist ever mention campaign finance????

Please keep citing it where psbl. If commenters don’t keep it in, it’s ignored.

Karen Garcia said...


I still look at the Obama Scandals List for old time's sake. I assume that the person compiling the list had a nervous breakdown or just gave up, given the sheer number and ferocity of the Obaminations. He/she had also done a great job on the Bush Scandals, which of course continue to live on and plague us to this very day.


Ed Schultz is a right wing hack pretending to be a friend of labor. Reminds me of Huey Long. Both parties are equal warmongers: the GOP is just a lot more open about its bloodthirstiness.


They always publish my comments since I have the magical green check mark. They have, however, removed my comments occasionally (I believe this is done automatically, when enough people flag them.) That being said, I don't weigh in on every one of Krugman's columns, especially the repetitive ones on Obamacare. He sounds more and more like a paid DNC hack every day. That's why I rehashed my own blogpost on Leonhardt and the plutonomy and the Wall St branch of the Dem Party in my latest comment to him. He was not going to touch the economic flim-flammery of his own party with a ten foot pole. The thing to remember about Krugman is that although he is a genius economist, he is not a trained journalist. He seems to be overly involved in the petty back and forths with other economists in their closed, elitist little world. There is no passion or anger in his writing, no advocacy for the average person. Just a lot of praise for politicians and their half-measures. Even his occasional criticism of Obama is tempered with "sigh" or "it always could have been worse" or "bad, bad Republicans got in his way."

Like you say, he tends to blame everything on political stupidity rather than corruption and Supreme court-approved legalized bribery.

voice-in-wilderness said...

With the United States rapidly descending into Fascism from the one-two punch of sixteen years (!) of Bush and Obama presidencies, we are soon to get a knock-out punch from either Hillary or Jeb. It probably doesn't matter which one, since a knock-out is a knock-out for the victims.

Kat said...

I don't believe Huey Long was a warmonger. He was not a perfect character, but he was a force that pushed FDR to the left.

Kat said...

Since the NYT has a story on Venezuela on the front page, I'll say this. Learning about Huey Long in school is like learning about Chavez/ Maduro in the NYT. The problems are put under a microscope, the positives are ignored, and there is always the charge of autocracy. The real problem is- who benefits? I am sure at the time Huey Long was governor there were many autocratic governors sending out the troops to quell labor unrest. I did not learn much about them in school.
In the NYT --the paper that has never met a Bolivarian that it likes- they labelled the recently departed King Abdullah of Saudia Arabia a "cautious reformer".

Karen Garcia said...

Hi Kat,

I stand corrected on Huey Long. Schultz actually reminds me of Broderick Crawford playing Huey Long in All the King's Men. In other words, Schultz plays the part of the impassioned populist demagogue to a T. And he is no populist, as evidenced by his refusal to take a stand for his co-workers at NBC during their walkout.

I think one of the reasons Long is still getting a bad historical rap is his association with Father Coughlin and the fact that FDR hated his guts. Nobody can quite peg him to an ideology.

And re the Times treatment of Madura: they signal their disdain by calling him "shrill," a typical pejorative usually reserved for women with strong opinions. Given our country's history in Latin America, I absolutely believe that the CIA is down there staging a coup, and that the orchestrated decrease in oil prices is one of the American weapons being used to complete it.

Kat said...

Ha! I just looked at the train wreck of comments on the Venezuela article- this one was recently posted (since I first looked at the article.)
It is helpful to compare the attitude of the Times and the U.S. government towards the recent passings of Hugo Chavez and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Chavez, who was democratically elected and re-elected used his country's oil wealth to dramatically reduce poverty -- lowering infant mortality rates and expanding access to education, while contending with a vibrant opposition media was condemned as if he was a dictator, while Abdullah who presided over a theocratic torture state with no legal opposition to speak of, was praised as a great "moderate reformer." Abdukkah and the Saudi elite of course invest their country's oil wealth in U.S. real estate and happily flood the international market when the U.S. is seeking to put pressure on Russia, Iran and Venezuela.

Kat said...

I called the comments "train wreck" because when I looked at them previously they were exclusively of the "failed Marxist policies" variety.