Thursday, August 29, 2013







We're going to kick off with Truth Dig's Robert Scheer and his thoughts on an attack on Syria.  We called out Scheer for his verbal attacks on Ralph Nader and Hillary Clinton and have avoided him since.  He's getting pulled back in now because he spoke out against the Iraq War and he's speaking out against an attack on Syria.  We'll ignore him with regards to election politics (although, who knows, he may now regret his blind cheer leading of Barack) but I will applaud him for speaking out.  Ava and I are planning a piece for Sunday on all the human crap that has chosen to remain silent -- but, wait, is silent promoting yourself?  No, they're not silent, they Tweet and blog about their albums, concerts and movies -- they can hawk their wares, they just can't call out the illegal spying or the attack on Syria.  But, oh, how they had a great deal to say when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.  I strongly and loudly applaud Robert Scheer for having the ethics to speak out today as he did during the Bully Boy Bush reign.

Philip Maldari:  So in this piece, you sort of run down the history of the US close relationship with Saudi Arabia indicating that the Saudis are very interested in encouraging an attack on the Assad regime and, in this case, the possible -- I'm using the word "possible" -- nerve gas attack on the civilians there as a pretext to your way of thinking.  Do you want to elaborate?

Robert Scheer:  Look, the US record in the whole MidEast is so tawdry, so wrong headed for so long, I mean, gosh you could go back to the overthrow of [Prime Minister Mohammad] Mosaddegh in Iran, you know the last really significant, secular, democratically elected leader.  Now we're financing the military and they've overthrown a democratically elected government in Egypt. And for  John Kerry and others to oh-we're-shocked-and-we-have-to-act-and-we-have-to-respond?  No, the US does not have to do anything.  I mean this idea that we are somehow the moral force keeping the peace when we're still the people who believe in using nuclear weapons.  We're the only ones who have used nuclear weapons.  And we just went through the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a couple of weeks ago and we still, as a nation, have not absorbed the significance of killing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children.  And yet we get on our high horse, here is Kerry -- you know, how did Kerry come to prominence?  He was an officer in Vietnam and, you know, War Crimes were committed, 3.5 million people were killed.  So I'm only going through this whole litany to challenge the whole idea here that somehow a US response or France -- the great colonial power -- or England, that they have to respond.  It's utter nonsense.  But the real subtext here, the important subtext is this is all being done for a theocracy, for oil.  This is all driven by Saudi Arabia for gosh sake.  This is, all markers [point to], as I pointed out in my column Bandar bin Sultan the guy who was the Saudi ambassador in Washington for two decades -- and they're the great winners in this thing -- whether you're talking about Egypt or Syria or anything else that's happening.  They have made Iran the great enemy here.  Somehow Iran is identified with terrorism and so Syria has a connection with Iran and Hezbollah and so forth.  And the real issue here is whether Saudi money and along with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates should be allowed to buy, purchase what was the Arab Spring.  And that's what's happened.

Philip Maldari:  And in the meantime, we've got the video of hundreds of men, women and children were murdered.  We're talking about no visible trauma on their bodies.  It has not been proven by the UN inspectors yet that it's nerve gas.  This is playing on TVs around the world.

Robert Scheer:  Yes.

Philip Maldari:  And for you to suggest, 'Oh well, what's a person to do' is just -- 

Robert Scheer:  No, no, no.  Not 'what's a person to do,' you know, no.  What is the United States to do.  And the idea that the United States has a responsibility everywhere in the world to be the moral force and decider and 'Oh, the UN inspectors got in there too late' and so forth.  And by the way, you're talking about a people killed what about the people killed in Egypt?  We didn't do anything.  We still haven't even cut off aid even though legally our president's required to cut off.  So we are the ones who are intimately involved in a military coup to destroy democracy in Egypt, the most important Arab country in the MidEast by far.  You know, we are the people who supported intervention in Egypt forever.  And, no, we are not the great decider, old George W. Bush.  Why do you buy into that?

Philip Maldari:  [snapping] I'm not buying into anything! 

Robert Scheer:  You know what about these pictures, there are pictures all over the place of people killed in Egypt.  Did we then intervene to prevent this military coup?  No.  So this hysteria that is created and then somehow -- What I am challenging is, yes, the basic assumption that the US is the great moral force that should intervene everywhere in the world.  And what's happening in Syria, which we should understand here, we don't know, it's very murky, who is creating, producing poison gas or what have you.  But the fact of the matter is that the people who are opposed to the regime are people who we claim are terrorists.  They're supporters of al Qaeda, they're coming in from all over the world.  We forget that it was Saudi Arabia, the same Bandar who supported the Taliban in Afghanistan where the whole war on terror started. And Saudi Arabia's financing the opposition in Syria, they're supporting the military in Egypt and they were one of the three governments in the world that recognized the Taliban along with the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan and we're now following their lead.

Philip Maldari:  So in the meantime, Bob, we've got Obama already having said, more than a year ago, there's some kind of red line if chemical weapons are used in Syria.  So he appears, if he does nothing, to be essentially a wimp internationally and that is actually his reputation with Republicans right now.  So that's okay with you?

Robert Scheer:  What is this language wimp?  This is how we discuss foreign policy? Because Obama's speech on this or his comments on this the other day were very clear that you should have evidence, and you should be international and the UN should -- and so on.  All the things that Bush did not do.  Everyone's forgetting this horrible war that Bush waged on Iraq -- which by the way extended Iran's influence enormously and put people who had been living in exile in Iran in power in Iraq.  And Saddam Hussein, by the way, is someone who did use chemical warfare.  We supported Saddam Hussein.  That's what Rumsfeld went and met with Saddam Hussein after he had used that against Iran in the Iraq - Iran War.  We didn't think that was such a horrendous thing.  And then we invented the charge of Weapons of Mass Destruction which turned out to be a big lie.  You would think after waging this war and totally upending the whole life and politics of the MidEast on the basis of lies that you would have some humility.  Where is humility in foreign policy?  George Washington in his farewell address said, "never use force in international relations, use gentle means."  He was against this arrogance and foreign entanglements.  The whole notion of the American republic was not to be an empire, not to follow the lead of Rome, France and England and their empires -- Spain.  And so you're talking like -- what is this wimp language, it's stupid. Frankly, it's stupid.  What is this machismo?

We'll stop there.  Robert Scheer's exactly right and if Philip is more concerned about Barack's image than Syrians who would be harmed in killed in missile strikes?

Oliver Holmes and Erika Solomon (Reuters) report today, "People in Damascus stocked up on supplies on Wednesday and some left homes close to potential targets as U.S. officials described plans for multi-national strikes on Syria that could last for days."  And Philip's fretting over Barack's image?  Where are the priorities?  And Philip needs to stop talking about Republicans -- it was the second hour of The Diane Rehm Show last week (Diane was not part of the broadcast) when the guest host and 3 journalists advocated for war (if you're late to the party, see "Media: Pimping War") and basically called Barack a p**sy.

Philip really needs to re-examine why Lew Hill started Pacifica Radio and ask himself why he's at Pacifica?  What a sad day for Pacifica, as an on air (with KPFA for too many years -- forced retirement needs to be raised at Pacifica) implores for war on the basis of 'not attacking will mean the man I want to suck off will be called a wimp.'  Actually, Philip should have been removed from the air in 2008 when he was saying, on air, that Barack was a Socialist.  At this point, Philip's KPFA's Bertha Mason -- who knows what horrors took place before he was confined to the attic and seen as insane?

Picking up on a point Robert Scheer made above, we'll note Robert Fisk (Independent via ZNet):


If Barack Obama decides to attack the Syrian regime, he has ensured – for the very first time in history – that the United States will be on the same side as al-Qa’ida.

Quite an alliance! Was it not the Three Musketeers who shouted “All for one and one for all” each time they sought combat? This really should be the new battle cry if – or when – the statesmen of the Western world go to war against Bashar al-Assad.
The men who destroyed so many thousands on 9/11 will then be fighting alongside the very nation whose innocents they so cruelly murdered almost exactly 12 years ago. Quite an achievement for Obama, Cameron, Hollande and the rest of the miniature warlords.

It's a point that pops up when Julian Pecquet (The Hill) interviews former US House Rep Dennis Kucinich:

Airstrikes on Syria would turn the U.S. military into “al Qaeda's air force,” former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) told The Hill.
The outspoken anti-war activist said any such action would plunge the United States into another war in the Middle East and embolden Islamist militants fighting Bashar Assad's regime.
“So what, we're about to become Al Qaeda's air force now?” Kucinich said. “This is a very, very serious matter that has broad implications internationally. And to try to minimize it by saying we're just going to have a 'targeted strike' — that's an act of war. It's not anything to be trifled with.”

Kucinch spoke out then and speaks out now.  Another person who spoke out against war on Iraq and speaks out against the push for war on Syria is Sara Flounders.  From this Workers World video:

Sara Flounders: A big thing on Syria, and a reason that the US is determined to destroy it, to shred it, to rip it apart is that it is a secular state and there is nationalized property.  And, as Barbara just described, there's a rich culture.  There's enormous -- whether it's in TV or it's archaeological or its the high education level, or it's the fantastic, really, I mean, the medical schools?  Top notch.  The pharmaceutical industry.   They want to destroy all of this.  And they also -- It's what they want to destroy.  It's what they're targeting in Iran.  The idea of a country using its oil wealth for its own development and the development of the culture and the educational level of its people and a huge improvement in life expectancy -- a big cut in child mortality.  That's big accomplishments.  But the very fact that Syria -- it's an example to the whole region --  could be a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural, secular state.  And it's secular, see.  And the US response has been how to bring in intolerant religious fanaticism.   And fund it.  And fund it and use it as a battering ram against any kind of progress.

Debra Sweet also spoke out against the Iraq War.  She and her group World Can't Wait are the only left group that has remain true and ethical with regards to opposing wars others folded shop (United for Peace and Justice) and others offered cover for Barack (and whine today -- but we'll save that for Sunday).  Debra is calling out proposed military action against Syria and she notes David Swanson so let's point out that he too called out the Iraq War and he's now calling out the proposed violence aimed at Syria:

But while the U.S. never contemplated an intervention to stop the killing in Egypt by an illegitimate government it supports, President Obama is already intervening in Syria, "supplying paramilitary material, intelligence, and training and working to define the politics of the armed opposition forces. Its close allies—especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey—are supplying weapons to these forces" according to Revolution.

The US Navy is putting ships into place for an action that could have huge consequences: the killing of many more civilians in urban areas in aerial attacks; the increase in violence on both sides (both of which have terrorized the people); the widening of war into Iraq, Iran, Lebanon? Nothing good or the people of Syria can come of this "humanitarian intervention."
David Swanson wrote Saturday Lying About Syria, and the Lying Liars Who Lie About the Lying:

“Threatening to attack Syria, and moving ships into position to do it, are significant, and illegal, and immoral actions.  The president can claim not to have decided to push the button, but he can't pretend that all the preparations to do so just happen like the weather.  Or he couldn't if newspapers reported news.
“(Yes, illegal.  Read the U.N. Charter: ‘All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.’)”
Ask the population of Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia — the most recent recipients of U.S. "humanitarian intervention" — how it has U.S. presence worked out?

I only thought we were saving it for Sunday.  We'll touch on it there but I just went to the website of CodeStink.

Medea Benjamin, stop lying.

 She whines to Buzzfeed that it's just so hard these days to mobilize and Syria and blah blah.  Well you know what,  it's a lot damn harder to mobilize when you don't even bother to mention Syria on your website's front page.

3 action alerts, 3 events and 8 news items on their main page and six changing items (all listed below the slide show) and not one of them -- not one damn one -- is about Syria.

Medea, stop whoring.

You're not trying to do a damn thing re: Syria so stop lying.  No one needs it.  And no one needs to take you or Jodi seriously.  CodeStink is a joke because it was used in 2007 and 2008 to clear the path for Barack.  You whored before he was president, you whore now.

And don't bother telling me, "We had an action alert."  Yes, I found your attempt to get media attention ploy.  You just didn't put it on the main page of CodeStink, did you?  I already took a screen snap so don't try to rewrite history again.    Wait and see where Ava and I go on Sunday.  People's lives are at stake and we've had it with the Brigade of Barack's Bitches.  Maybe we'll call the piece "The Burial of Barack's Bitches"?  Tick-tock, find a spine by Saturday or be prepared for the humiliation that's coming.  That includes CodeStink's friends (I'm not referring to grassroots members of CodeStink -- believe me, when I say "CodeStink's friends," a shiver just went up Jodie's spine).

From the right, Libertarian Justin Raimondo ( spoke out strongly against war on Iraq.  (And was one of the first to call out the frauds of CodeStink, noting Medea's embrace of the Afghanistan War after Barack became president.)  Today he notes talk of attacking Syria:

The UN inspection team in Syria has been "delayed" due to a dispute among the rebels, who could not or would not guarantee the team’s safety. While the Assad government has granted them access, the suburb of Damascus where the alleged chemical attacks occurred is in rebel-controlled territory. Western news media aren’t reporting the reason for the delay, mostly sticking with the official UN statement:
“Following yesterday’s attack on the U.N. convoy, a comprehensive assessment determined that the visit should be postponed by one day in order to improve preparedness and safety for the team. Considering the complexities of the site, confirmation of access has not been obtained but is expected later today.”
The "complexities of the site" include a rebel occupation force that has everything to fear from a real inspection. These are same people responsible for serial hoaxes, some of them pretty crude, and all designed to fool us into believing Assad’s forces had launched a poison gas attack – not against rebel forces but against civilian bystanders. The last UN inspection led to the conclusion that if anyone had used chemical weapons it was the rebels, and after this tremendous buildup that’s the last news the US and its Syrian sock-puppets want to hear.
Of course it’s just a coincidence that the US government told the UN inspection team to turn back even before they arrived on the scene, with Washington claiming they already have enough evidence to convict the Assad regime out of hand.

At the State Dept today, their very own Minnie Pearl handled another briefing.  Could someone tell spokesperson Marie Harf that if she's going to be a spokesperson, she needs to pay attention to her appearance?  That means dressing appropriately, combing your hair before the briefing and choosing a non-ridiculous pair of glasses.  Those tasks shouldn't be too difficult, Jay Carney manages to accomplish them before every one of his White House press briefings and doesn't appear to be winded or wiped out from doing so.  Marie Harf's annoying "let me finish, I'm talking" b.s. is also starting to tick off the press so her superior may need to talk to her about that.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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