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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 22,368

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Thanks for showing the culmination of this sorry trend.

A statement that forthrightly rejects war and interventionism, and acknowledges that people around the world do not want foreign military in their countries, is now... racist. (No need to say why based on the statement itself; it comes from the tainted people, and is therefore automatically so.)

Again, illustrating the tragedy of which I speak:

Once Obama commands the war machinery that was thought so odious under Bush, and the opposition to it comes not from liberals but from the left and in part from palecons like Paul, the cognitive dissonance is intolerable to those who need their team to be good team and the other team to be bad.

Thus war becomes peace, opposition to it becomes racism. It shouldn't be surprising, since it's only the mirror image of the language-reversals practiced by the neocons under Bush, whose dichotomous simplifications rendered all opponents of Bush's wars into friends of the "terrorists." It shouldn't be surprising, except to those who expect better from Democrats and liberals.

Here's an example of the tragedy.

The Paul campaign released a video based on one of his speeches that condemns wars for empire and military occupation categorically, as inexcusable wrongs that kill people and that generate the hatred and "terrorism" (a catch-all term that also includes insurgency) that then threatens the US and is used as the excuse to wage more wars for empire, in an endless cycle.

I consider it nothing less than tragic that no national political leader on the left represents this truth in what is indisputably the most important issue. It is not an endorsement of Paul to say that the above words are true and important, regardless of how regressive his politics is otherwise. I do not endorse Paul. Those who react by claiming this is "support for Paul" rather than support for peace and an end to empire are engaging in sophistry.

Many liberals are reacting absurdly. They should be clamoring for peace and an end to empire regardless of who is president. Instead, this issue, which they understood was central under Bush, is suddenly considered a peripheral matter, a "special interest." Wasting more than half of the US discretionary budget for spreading destructive potentials around the world is supposed to be a triviality, a concern only for an intransigent antiwar minority. (So is the imprisonment of two million people, mainly for dealing or possessing drugs, and the support for murderous narcostates abroad.)

It gets even worse. Liberals who condemned Bush's interventionism discover that interventionism is good.

Here's one example of where it leads: a horrid piece of sophistry in The Nation in which the writer tries to deflect leftist interest in Paul's foreign policy by urging leftists to consider the merits of... Huntsman's! Which is indistinguishable from the "centrist" pro-imperial consensus that already has the US intervening worldwide in pursuit of evanescent "strategic interests" and hunting 99% fictional "terrorists."


That's the impression I get here too. That people really do prefer the imperialism of a Romney because he falls within the "bipartisan" foreign policy consensus, even though objectively he'd be the greater threat to Obama in the fall.

Standing up for principle should be more important than avoiding the appearance of agreeing with Ron Paul.

So why'd they do it?

The UK Liberals are not the first or last party to commit suicide for the interests of capital (always called "the national interest.") It never seems to take much pressure. The Spanish socialists, the Irish left and even long-running dynastic or oligarchic survivors who'd never otherwise give up power, like Berlusconi and Papandreou, have since readily done the same. Fascinating.

(The Democrats have taken damage for the same cause but that's an old story and US politics seems to be more forgiving thanks to its up-is-down logic and six-second memory.)

Military spending will remain at or above current levels.

The only question is whether the military and war budgets will be slightly lower after accounting for inflation. The absolute spending in dollars is supposed to rise.

In Obama's words, the military budget will remain larger than at the end of the Bush years and larger than at least the next 10 nations combined.

This means that the military and war supplemental budgets, plus the costs that follow from war (such as higher veterans benefits and higher interest payments), will continue to make up the majority of the federal discretionary budget.

In Panetta's words, the military will be built to engage in a major land war in Korea and then deal with the simultaneous blocking of the Straits of Hormuz.

I find it hard to make statements more hyperbolic than these.

And yet: They are just facts.

In combination with the expansion of the drone and other largely remote-based programs, the escalations of hostilities on several fronts (Afpak, Yemen, Somalia), and new legalisms defining the homeland and the rest of the world as battlespace and allowing indefinite detention without charges, lawyers or even notification, it is no exaggeration to speak of a leaner, tougher imperialism.

One would have to intentionally distort to compare such factual statements to the defactualized monologues of a Glenn Beck. (What's with the strawmen? Is that how it's going to be when we disagree? Always accuse those deviating from a simplistic D-party line of being R's, or Freepers, or Paulites, or Becks?)

And if something has changed at FDL and indeed at DU, then I submit it's that we've crossed the threshold where there is any rationale for supporting the Obama administration other than lesser-evilism. Consider what that means; and as a supporter you shouldn't be so intent on rapping everyone who says it on the knuckles, because lesser-evilists and not full supporters are going to make up the bulk of his voters come November.

Brutal repression of the protests has already set an important agenda item...

The right of the people, peaceably to assemble, must be restored and protected.

All else must and will follow.

On the big agenda, I think stopping foreclosures and forcing renegotiations of underwater mortgage debt (as well as other forms of injust personal debt) are the intermediary goals with the highest legitimacy, clarity and attainability. MERS can still turn into the badly-needed legal Waterloo for the criminal banks.

Otherwise, the points all along have been that many issues are related in one highly dysfunctional system and that the normal channels and institutions long ago lost legitimacy, forcing "occupy" as a strategy to be heard. (Without OWS, the public discourse and corporate media would have continued to indefinitely suppress the issues of poverty, wealth concentration and economic injustice.)

The most important thing of all is to come back in larger numbers as the weather improves and keep it growing the year round.

When the insolvency of the TBTF banks becomes obvious again - it's a question of when, not if - there is an excellent chance that OWS will explode in size and stop further bailouts. From their failure, massive changes to the system necessarily follow.

So to quote you, which is it, "cut spending" or "slow growth"?!

Obama said yesterday:

Over the next ten years, the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this—it will still grow, because we have global responsibilities that demand our leadership. In fact, the defense budget will still be larger than it was toward the end of the Bush Administration. And I firmly believe, and I think the American people understand, that we can keep our military strong—and our nation secure—with a defense budget that continues to be larger than roughly the next 10 countries combined.

"Still grow," "still be larger." As he says, this is not a cut. Who am I going to believe, his words or your spin?

Cuts in planned future growth are not cuts in actual spending. Spending will stay the same or possibly grow, depending on supplementary war budgets and the rate of inflation. The absolute dollar amount will not be cut.

Note: Pretend incomprehension is not an answer. "Hmmmm?" and "What?" and other items of miscellaneous snark are not answers. Engage the facts. Earn your snark.

There's downsizing and then there's "downsizing"

Just like there's banking regulation and "regulation." The difference with the cosmetic "regulation" is that the next crash happens anyway.

The difference with the PR downsizing of the military as opposed to the real thing is that the next war happens anyway.

The Pentagon remains sacrosanct. This "cut" is actually an increase in absolute terms. Obama underlined in his speech that the Pentagon budget will remain higher than in 2008, and that's not counting war spending. Cutting back on future planned spending is not an actual cut. (Example: I spend 100. In two years I plan to spend 120. But wait, I'm going to cut that. In two years I will spend only 110. That's a cut!)

Panetta gave you a laughable two-war scenario: Why should we ever want such a thing?! How in the world do you believe "US security" would ever necessitate wars with both of these nations on the other side of the globe? That's not a question of security, it's a question of empire and the drive to be the one who settles all major questions for everyone.

The countries he's talking about taking on simultaneously are not coincidentally the two remaining targets in Bush's "Axis of Evil." This is how the US military-industrial complex works. It's independent of administrations.

Love the spin, kentuck: I am not fearful that...

Obama is going to the left! Thanks for the laugh, though.

The recess appointments are good.

The new military policy is merely an adjustment of the same old military policy that attempts to project dominance everywhere in the world and foresees the continuation of perpetual war. Panetta laying out in detail plans for having a land war in North Korea while simultaneously bombing Iran cannot be anyone's credible idea of "moving to the left."

In Obama's own words, which I just heard on the radio to confirm, the military budget is not being cut. It will remain higher than at the end of the Bush term.

The "cuts" are against projected increases.

They do not include the Afghanistan war.

Your "center" is a fiction. In the present economic depression, the people of this country would welcome not having their wealth wasted making more trouble and generating the next generation of wars all over the planet.

And regardless of where you think the fickle "center" may be right now, what about reality?

The end of the empire is inevitable. Will the United States effect an orderly and friendly withdrawal of its attempt to project its force everywhere? Or does it prefer the road of bankruptcy and eventual defeats?

Here are some links about HB Gary vs. Wikileaks/Anonymous/Greenwald

Sorry about that, the host for the images is down and thus my commentaries make little sense. Punch-and-Judy:

1) When Aaron Barr of the security firm and private military contractor HB Gary Federal threatened to expose the alleged leadership of Anonymous (his guess was wrong),

2) Anonymous retaliated by hacking Barr's mail accounts and throwing it on the Web,

3) allowing everyone to discover Barr's pitch to Bank of America for how HB Gary and two other security firms in an alliance called "Team Themis" could end their Wikileaks problem for them.

Barr's idea, gleaned from his own power point presentation, was to conduct multiplatform surveillance, spoofing and harrassment of Assange and Wikileaks, including of his family and his network, which Barr decided must include Greenwald as the main US supporter.

When this and other similarly criminal plans were exposed, BoA and other entities like Chamber of Commerce promptly denied having accepted any of Barr's pitches. Although Barr was initially recommended to BoA by their own fancy law firm. So who knows?

ON EDIT: Fixed some language, added more links...

Some stories off the Google:



Very in-depth technical version (excellent!)

Greenwald's reaction

Greenwald talks about it on Colbert

I can't see the video anymore (Flash issues) but if it includes Colbert's initial summary of the case, it's excellent.
Following thread has much more material compiled, if you can get past the silly in-jokes at the start...

How many levels of meta are we allowed to acknowledge?

I knew that was a joke, so does it count as a pledge or as something that everyone knows is a snow-job? Only thanks to the rules of etiquette, you must pretend otherwise to remain within the pale of acceptable discourse. You can't just say, bullshit! Like during the same campaign when he said he wouldn't "nation-build," he had me cracking up. Of course his already well-known Iran-Contra crew was about starting as many big wars as they only could.

It's like when Republicans use coded racism, and everyone gets the message, both supporters and detractors, but liberals can't call them on it because by whatever ridiculous media rules they've maintained plausible deniability.

Or like when his father came out and said, "I want to be the education president!" I mean, seriously, does transparent crap like that have to be dignified until he "proves" otherwise?

Or the Happy Skies initiative, or whatever the Bush policy to allow more pollution was called. Or, of course, the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. Or announcing Operation Iraqi Liberation for an hour, and then pretending they hadn't noticed what it spelled and switching to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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