Glenn Greenwald: “Watching self-proclaimed progressives attack and malign a courageous whistleblower, while defending the US military’s patently abusive detention practices and steadfastly defending the government’s extreme secrecy powers, is one of the most potent symbols of the Obama presidency.”
The War in Afghanistan. We’ve spent enormous blood and treasure on this adventure, yet it almost never shows up in most daily papers. The candidates for president almost never discuss it. In eleven years, no one has articulated why it is that we have invested so heavily in being there for eleven years. The official platitudes are based on horrific lies. No politician wants to discuss that our “ally” Pakistan is encouraging the Afghanistan insurgency.
What should we say to the families of the soldiers who died there? Your loved ones died for what? “Freedom!” scream the politicians.
No politician has discussed all of the things we could have done with that money had we truly invested in something permanent and valuable rather than something wasteful, tribal and destructive. No candidate has stated the obvious: We have been propping up a corrupt regime in Afghanistan. And the media cooperates with all of the above ignorance, making Afghanistan a bloodless, vague, distant thing that we don’t know anything about, and we, as a nation, don’t care that we know nothing about it.
No one in power wants to admit that fighting wars is good insurance for re-election, or that it simply makes us feel like we’re doing something meaningful and patriotic to fight a war, even an insane war.
I thought I might write about something other than politics this morning, but some things are just too there to ignore. But perhaps this isn’t strictly about politics.
Representative Paul Broun of Georgia recently said the following. I’m pulling the quote from news sources so I don’t get it wrong.
“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.
[More . . . ]
At Salon.com, Matt Stoller questions the liberal hero-worship of Bill Clinton:
Back in June, Clinton angered Democrats nationwide by calling for an extension of the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy. He also spoke glowingly of Mitt Romney’s “sterling business career,” getting in the way of an effective line of attack by the Obama campaign. And in terms of deregulation, Bill Clinton was one of the patron saints of the crisis: pushing through the final repeal of the Glass- Act, which legalized the heretofore illegal merger of Citigroup; signing the Commodities Future Modernization Act, which fully deregulated derivatives; and reappointing bubble blower Alan Greenspan to the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve.
In his recent detailed article published in The New Republic, “The Incoherence of Antonin Scalia,” Judge Richard Posner has taken United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s theory of textual originalism to task. Yes, this article presents an extended series of technical legal analyses, but it is written in a way that many lay readers can appreciate. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand the repeated protestations by Justice Scalia that when he rules on case, he is doing so by rigorously paying attention to the actual words of enacted laws. [More . . . ]
From Glenn Greenwald:
It is hard not to notice, and be disturbed by, the vastly different reactions whenever innocent Americans are killed, as opposed to when Americans are doing the killing of innocents. All the rage and denunciations of these murders in Benghazi are fully justified, but one wishes that even a fraction of that rage would be expressed when the US kills innocent men, women and children in the Muslim world, as it frequently does. Typically, though, those deaths are ignored, or at best justified with amoral bureaucratic phrases (“collateral damage”) or self-justifying cliches (“war is hell”), which Americans have been trained to recite.
It is understandable that the senseless killing of an ambassador is bigger news than the senseless killing of an unknown, obscure Yemeni or Pakistani child. But it’s anything but understandable to regard the former as more tragic than the latter. Yet there’s no denying that the same people today most vocally condemning the Benghazi killings are quick and eager to find justification when the killing of innocents is done by their government, rather than aimed at it.
Americans and their media simply don’t care about people being killed in the Middle East, unless they happen to be American. I suppose this is to be expected because we tend to have more in common with Americans. But why isn’t that our media simply don’t try to delve into the deaths we cause with our weapons? This is what we should be striving for:
“The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”
Imagine reversing the situation between Iran and Israel. Noam Chomsky sketches it out:
Iran is carrying out a murderous and destructive low-level war against Israel with great-power participation. Its leaders announce that negotiations are going nowhere. Israel refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow inspections, as Iran has done. Israel continues to defy the overwhelming international call for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region. Throughout, Iran enjoys the support of its superpower patron.
Iranian leaders are therefore announcing their intention to bomb Israel, and prominent Iranian military analysts report that the attack may happen before the U.S. elections.
Iran can use its powerful air force and new submarines sent by Germany, armed with nuclear missiles and stationed off the coast of Israel. Whatever the timetable, Iran is counting on its superpower backer to join if not lead the assault. U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta says that while we do not favor such an attack, as a sovereign country Iran will act in its best interests.
I’m really getting sick of this Republican BS. They are so incredibly ashamed of their extended recent track record that they have banished George W. Bush from the convention, lest he remind us what their program really amounts to, even though he was the President for eight fucking years of lies, waste, ignorance, secrecy, torture, naivete and corruption. Further, they banish Sarah Palin from the stage because even they know that she is a ill-informed PR craving clown. Look, I’m not a big fan of the Democrats these days either, but there is something surreal about this Republican party, a syndicate that plunges us into huge debt with their two non-ending corrupt miserable wars that have no defined objective and then they further plunge us into debt with non-stop tax cuts for the rich (and no, the war continues in Iraq–we just aren’t officially there).
And then they cart out a candidate who hides his money in Swiss banks after making his multi-millions by plunging vulnerable companies into massive debt using third party money. And now their plan is to have more of the same: Destroy our last functioning social institutions, redirecting those tax dollars to their uber-rich friends too and then the victims–and many of people are truly innocent victims of this insanity–will be showered with unrelenting blame. This Republican Convention is nothing but an hyper-orgy of social darwinism where the corporate media will mostly (luckily there are a few exceptions) pretend that this star-studded stunt is part of normal functioning democracy.
No thanks. This is the party of Goldman Sachs–this is the party of big money in search of nothing by more money. They will NEVER have enough. What is being paraded in front of us is actually Oligarchs at Work and their followers who want to believe more than anything else that sucking the treasury dry and otherwise doing NOTHING will somehow make the nation highly functional. Doing nothing does not make for a garden–it makes for a twisted tangled jungle. THAT is the plan.
In the meantime, most of those thousands of corporate media reporters in attendance have no damned idea about how to ask a meaningful question, even though 90% of those attending are one half-baked question from being exposed as fear-peddling criminals and chumps parading as paragons of morality. This is shameful, dangerous and sick. The only quick remedy I can think of for what’s going on is mass derision. Those of us who are self-critical and informed need to talk up. We need to call and write and make lots of noise, in email, on websites, in newspapers, to our representatives, to our neighbors and to anyone who listens. We need to establish that the new growing trend is that we are not buying any of this. Urge your friends and family to turn off their TVs, to really get informed and join this movement.