Tag Archives: Saddam

Emigrating To La La Land

A  fellow Bernier) sent me the link to a short film, as one of the reasons she could never vote for Hillary. Hearing veiled remarks about ‘corruption’ and ‘can’t trust her’ and just ‘follow the money,’ I realized: this is what Hillary first called ‘a right-wing conspiracy” back in the ’90’s. All the rumors of the terrible things done by the Clintons, or by Hillary specifically, have a funny way of never being confirmed or proven. And the conspiracy-mongers always have an explanation, how ‘she’ or ‘they’ wriggled out of it.

And it does come out of the right-wing. It’s the kinds of things right-wing radio ranters and the Enquirer have been shouting for years.

A current example, Clinton Cash was produced by Breitbart Films. The organization also publishes Daily Caller and is a well-known right-wing propaganda mill.

So, viewing Clinton Cash must be done with a healthy dose of skepticism. The film itself is rich in images of cash, of supposedly corrupt people being greeted by or hosted by or hosting Bill and Hillary and of a drawn, unattractive Hillary announcing decisions as Secretary of State—none of her announcements are actually shown, but the commentator helpfully tells you what nefarious deals they facilitated. So, there are a lot of inferences drawn, a lot of circumstantial “evidence” is mustered, but the inferences in all these cases are only insinuations.

Since Brightbart doctored videos that destroyed ACORN and then attempted to do the same thing to Planned Parenthood–posing as innocent reporters, they twisted the videos through deceptive editing, to show that PP was selling fetal tissue for profit, when it has never been proven that PP ever did: they sell tissue at cost, to cover handling expenses, since they want to make it available for scientific research. Why believe anything declared by Brietbart?

You have to realize, this is the same propaganda that animates Fox News, and the screamers in Cleveland calling for Clinton to be jailed or executed. It has about as much credibility as the failed effort to destroy Planned Parenthood.

And, almost all the stories about Hillary and Bill, extensively investigated over and over and found baseless, have been circulating on the Tea Party network for years. Now these same propaganda “news” groups are seeking new converts: among Bernie or Busters: to persuade as many Berniers as possible that they should NEVER vote for the demon, Hillary Clinton. Trump’s been pretty up front about that, himself.

Just to know where all this comes from should tell you how insidious and spurious it is.

I think Hillary has made some mistakes, because she listened to longtime experts in State, for example, to support the Honduran coup, and to overthrow Libya’s Qaddafi, without a realistic scenario for what should come after–both incidents NOT covered in this film. But to portray her and Bill as on the take, solely motivated by accumulating money on the backs of poor Haitians or Congolese is just completely BS. Yes, they sought funds to carry out their programs abroad, programs they believed would do good. They thought the people in charge knew what they were doing, or that the only way to get things done was to work with questionable people. That’s an especially old story in foreign development circles, where corruption is endemic and expected. Any politician trying to get things done will probably have to make questionable connections.

Bernie’s wife, Jane, is also supposedly tarred by questionable actions vis a vis an education fund. No one is pure.

As for Trump: his whole career has been built on legally (that’s why so many lawsuits) bilking contractors, workers, students, and ordinary people in virtually all his “business” dealings. That’s how he’s made his money.

If you don’t vote for the Democrats (including Hillary) you are making it easier for Trump to be elected, and he could win. He’d probably have the mob with him—and his own mob. He’s admired Putin and Saddam because that’s the kind of dictatorial regime he wants to lead himself: he’s also on board to discriminate against: immigrants, Latinos, blacks and the LGBTQ community (despite his careful repeating of the initials in his speech). He would abolish the health care act, privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, while cutting taxes on the wealthiest, thereby creating huge deficits that would require slashing government services to any except the very wealthy. And, he’d build up our military (now accounting for 40% of all defense spending in the entire world), so he’d probably need new taxes: maybe an “America Tax”, a sales tax or a value-added tax that would hit the poor especially hard (they are his favorite victims in business, after all).

I’ll vote Democrat to protect my children, all of whom are identified as in the LGBTQ spectrum. I’ll vote to protect a Supreme Court that could become either even more conservative than it was with Scalia, or could be progressive if Hillary gets to appoint his replacement and the other Justices getting too old to serve. That court will serve long after I’m dead.

I’ll also vote to insure that we have someone leading our country who is sane, not unstable and unpredictable.

That Hillary has also signed on for a good part of Bernie’s agenda is a bonus we could work for. It would be impossible for us to even think about the Bernie agenda (except maybe through violent revolution) if Trump were elected.

The idea that, even if Trump got elected he couldn’t do anything, is unwarranted. He offered Kasich the Vice Presidency, in which he, the VP, would be in charge of Domestic and Foreign Affairs, i.e. the one getting things done for Donald. It’s very likely Pence signed on for the same deal. And there are all sorts of radical ‘conservative’ Republicans who would do the kinds of things outlined in their platform. Pence would dismantle as much of the Federal Government as he could, except for Defense, Homeland Security and DOJ. If he and Trump were elected, they’d probably take Congress, too. And, of course, the Supreme Court, since he, or Trump, would have the pleasure of appointing the most conservative, pro-monopoly-corporate, “Christian,” anti-LGBTQ lackeys they could find.

Tell me: what would voting for Jill Stein do, if Trump were elected?

Would her 3%—5% make a difference in the election? You can already see it in the polls: Jill takes votes from Democrats. Trump and Hillary were neck and neck, when Stein and Johnson were included in the latest polls, while a pairing of Hillary only against Trump shows Hillary slightly ahead.

Voting for Jill Stein, if Trump were elected, would signal to him that the left is divided and weak, so he can destroy us as predatory “leaders” are apt to do: by turning us against each other.

Maybe, he/they have already done that, with the help of Brietbart, Fox News, Limbaugh, and all the other right-wing propagandists.

I hope not, but if so: Welcome to their LaLa land!

A History Lesson: the recent Middle East

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The first misstep the US took in the Middle East was to get involved in it, at all.

Oil and competition with Britain for it in Iran, and our continual maneuvering against the USSR on its periphery, led our CIA to overthrow a nationalist government led by Prime Minister Mossadeq in 1953, because he advocated nationalization of foreign oil operations (British and US). The US backed the Shah, who gave them oil fields for their efforts on his behalf. However, luxury at the top didn’t improve the lot of those on Iran’s lower rungs; it got worse, but the Shah’s American and British supporters didn’t notice: they were making money.

The Islamic Revolution was the inevitable result of the Shah’s repression, his overreaching and his attempts to keep the lid clamped down tight: Iran exploded.

The Shah was the first to go probably because his reemergence was a foreign creation to begin with.

After that, the Middle East became a lot less stable. It was held together by strongmen: Nasser’s successors in Egypt, the Assad’s, the Saudi monarchy and Saddam.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution?

Arabs and Persians (Iranians) rarely get along, and neither do Sunnis and Shiites; they fought a bloody war between Iran and Iraq, in which the US allied with Saddam!

We drove out Saddam Hussain, who had been CIA’s man until he got too ambitious and tried to take over Kuwait, and then the unforgivable: plotting to assassinate George HW Bush. By overthrowing Saddam and his whole Baathist organization we turned Iraqi society upside down by empowering the majority Shiites. They promptly began discriminating and abusing their former rulers, the Sunnis, probably what they had learned from them. The Sunnis, therefore, were fertile ground for Daesh (also known as ISIS).  American bad judgement gave Daesh its professional military—Saddam’s army dissolved by American forces: soldiers and officers were eagerly recruited by Daesh. Fitting, when they captured so many of the successor Iraqi “Army’s” US-supplied weapons.

I doubt Obama thinks the Libyan strategy (a coalition under his leadership) was a success. Qaddafi was summarily executed by his militia captors and the whole nation-state fell apart. Now, Libya has no functioning state. There are two regional governments, each claiming to be the legitimate government, while the vast majority of the country is controlled by militias of all stripes, often fighting each other. Qaddafi’s collapse, despite vast caches of arms, also armed Islamic militants as far away as Nigeria. And 150 miles of Libyan coast (on the Mediterranean) is controlled by a Daesh offshoot. We’re bombing them, so far with little success.

When Reagan sent aid and training to the “Freedom Fighters” in Afghanistan, they were the mujahedin, but some of them, the non-Afghans, morphed into al Qaeda and many of the Afghan mujahedin formed the Taliban.

So, our military interventions in the Middle East since 1953, created: an enemy Iran, a Shiite Iraq informally allied with it, al Qaeda, the Taliban, and then, Daesh in Iraq and Syria, as a result of Shiite arrogance and American stupidity, chaos in Libya and a Daesh foothold, still chaos in Afghanistan and a ferocious rebellion in nuclear armed Pakistan.

We still count on our “friends,” including the Saudi monarchy, the monarchies of the Gulf plus Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, but some of our “friends” are much more concerned with stopping Shiite (Iranian) gains, than with stopping Daesh. They’re bombing rebels and civilians in Yemen and have locked down Bahrain. Iran, of course, is aiding the rebels in both places.

And Turkey, our longest, closest military ally, is bombing our most effective fighting force against Daesh, Kurdish allies in Iraq and Syria.

Quite a mess, isn’t it.

We should get out of the Middle East and leave it to its own chaos. Islamic radicalism, was fomented by our interventions—and our support of the Saudis, the core of Wahabist radicalism.
We should create a cordon sanitaire and announce a non-interventionist position. Then, the US and Europe would be less likely targets, and non-radicals among both Shiites and Sunnis would realize they were going to have to handle the radicals themselves, or be exterminated. We’d sell them weapons, but what gives both the US and Europe long-term leverage: we don’t need their oil, especially since we should be converting to non-fossil fuel energy sources as rapidly as possible.

In Europe, not only is Germany leading the way with solar and wind, Norway is reconfiguring its hydropower system, so it can become the battery for all the solar and wind energy collected above current daytime use.

Refugees generated from Mideast chaos should be seen for what they can be: dynamic replacements for aging populations in both Europe and North America. If we are no longer intervening in their region, we should have much less to fear from them.

Even when we were dependent on Mideast oil, we simply could have purchased it (it’s fungible), instead of thinking we had to control it. That’s especially true now. If American oil companies are scared of losing their investments, that’s their business, not ours.

As for Israel, from my perspective, they’re making the same mistake the Iraqi government is making: alienating their Muslim population, and squeezing it, instead of attempting to peacefully separate, or peacefully integrate (two states, or one unified state with citizens of different faiths). One or the other must happen, but the US cannot and should not attempt, anymore, to interfere.

On the other hand, it should not support Israel if it oppresses its non-citizen subjects, and that includes military aid. To do so, continues to make us anti-Muslim, in the eyes of most of the Middle East, and therefore involved and a target, perhaps the primary target, of the dispossessed.

Chaos creates more and more of the latter.