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Nederlog

January 23, 2016

Crisis: Lying Media, Guantánamo, SCOTUS, Iraq, Bernie v. Media
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Introduction   

1.
The Seven Stages of Establishment Backlash:
     Corbyn/Sanders Edition

2. Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Launches "Campaign to
     Close Guantánamo" for Obama's Last Year in Office

3. Citizens United Anniversary: How Anthony Kennedy
     Turned American Democracy Into an ‘Open Sewer'

4. U.S. to Put 'Boots on the Ground' in Iraq to Combat ISIL
5. Bernie v. Media
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, January 23, 2016.

This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about an interesting article by Glenn Greenwald on the lying main media; item 2 is about Roger Waters' attempt to get Obama to keep his promise that he would lock Guantánamo; item 3 is about SCOTUS judge Kennedy, who designed Citizens United, that gave virtually all political power in the US to the very rich; item 4 is about - again - "boots on the ground" in Iraq + the utterly crazy ideas of Panetta; and item 5 is another article about the very unfair treatment Bernie Sanders gets in the main media.

Also - just to remind myself - I still have to update the
crisis index, which will be more difficult than otherwise, because it must be restarted (for the html is just too confused).

1. The Seven Stages of Establishment Backlash: Corbyn/Sanders Edition

The first article is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
The British political and media establishment incrementally lost its collective mind over the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the country’s Labour Party, and its unraveling and implosion show no signs of receding yet. Bernie Sanders is nowhere near as radical as Corbyn; they are not even in the same universe. But, especially on economic issues, Sanders is a more fundamental, systemic critic than the oligarchical power centers are willing to tolerate, and his rejection of corporate dominance over politics, and corporate support for his campaigns, is particularly menacing. He is thus regarded as America’s version of a far-left extremist, threatening establishment power.
And in fact Bernie Sanders is neither "far-left" nor an "extremist", while many of those saying he is are in fact rightist extremists who either believe their own stupid, greedy, shallow and crazy political ideology or are paid by the rich to lie.

Incidentally: I really have had it with the sick spying Guardian with most of its obviously lying Blairite "journalists", but I reserve this for later. (But yes, I did learn a lot from The Guardian's journalists' many recent lies about - especially - Jeremy Corbyn. And no, I am not a socialist. More later.)

Here is Glenn Greenwald's opinion on Sanders' chances to win the candidacy and the nomination:
I personally think Clinton’s nomination is extremely likely, but evidence of a growing Sanders movement is unmistakable. Because of the broader trends driving it, this is clearly unsettling to establishment Democrats — as it should be.
This is fine with me. I don't quite agree with Glenn Greenwald, but everybody is allowed to guess. [1]

Here is Glenn Greenwald on the parallel treatments Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, who in fact both are long-standing and genuine left candidates, who are as such very rare these days: Most "leftish" candidates currently are "leftish" at best, and also have hardly ever defended real leftist positions. [2]

Next, there is this:

Just as was true for Corbyn, there is a direct correlation between the strength of Sanders and the intensity of the bitter and ugly attacks unleashed at him by the D.C. and Democratic political and media establishment. There were, roughly speaking, seven stages to this establishment revolt in the U.K. against Corbyn, and the U.S. reaction to Sanders is closely following the same script:
I think the script is very interesting and quite subtle. If you want to read it (which I recommend you do) click the last dotted link (and save the article for later reference).

Here is the end of Glenn Greenwald's article:

But the nature of “establishments” is that they cling desperately to power, and will attack anyone who defies or challenges that power with unrestrained fervor. That’s what we saw in the U.K. with the emergence of Corbyn, and what we’re seeing now with the threat posed by Sanders. It’s not surprising that the attacks in both cases are similar — the dynamic of establishment prerogative is the same — but it’s nonetheless striking how identical is the script used in both cases.
Yes, and three reasons Glenn Greenwald did not mention are that (1) most of the main media are vastly corrupt and are owned by the very rich, while (2) they also have many corrupt journalists working for them who pose as "leftists" but are in fact Blairites (in England) or Clintonites (in the US), both of which are highly corrupt "brands" (in their own terms) (3) whose careers are based on lies, lies and more lies, whose frontmen are multimillionaires with more than $100 milion dollars each, and who cannot be distinguished from conservatives except by their lies and styles of rhetoric.

2. Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Launches "Campaign to Close Guantánamo" for Obama's Last Year in Office

The second item is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:

Today marks seven years since President Obama signed an executive order calling for the closure of Guantánamo Bay within one year. But Guantánamo remains open, and now Obama only has one year left to fulfill his pledge. We are joined by the world famous musician Roger Waters, who has helped launch the "Countdown to Close Guantánamo" campaign, which asks people to take photos of themselves with signs calling for Guantánamo’s closure before Obama leaves office in 2017.

As I have pointed out several times, I am the son of a father who survived more than 3 years and 9 months of Nazi concentration camps as a communist (and who in the end was one of the - in total! - two Dutch communists who ever got knighted in Holland, although the whole Communist Party resisted in the 2nd WW, and many were tortured and murdered) and I also am the grandson of a grandfather who got murdered as a communist in a German concentration-camp.
And I also was deceived by Obama in 2009.

The reason I was for the most part undeceived within half a year was precisely  that Obama broke his word about the US concentration camp - so yes: I do have a personal interest in this (although it is indirect).

This is a fairly long interview from which I will quote just two parts, both by Roger Waters.

The first is about how he got involved, after he got a letter (originally not directed to him) from on of those imprisoned in Guantánamo, who wrote that he was much inspired by singing songs, one of which was Roger Waters' "Hey You" (<- the text of the song):

ROGER WATERS: Well, Hey you, out—"Hey you, out there in the cold, getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me?" is the first line. And in his letter, he says that those words and the couplets that come after it—he said, if you want to know how it feels to be in here, to be incarcerated, you should listen to this song, because it describes my feelings—which was very moving for me, for him to say that.

I mean, it’s impossible for any of those of us who have not been incarcerated, as entirely innocent men with no recourse to the law—I mean, this is the fundamental problem with Guantánamo and the law involved, is that habeas corpus has been thrown out of the window, and so we no longer have our fingertips on the grasp of the law that we’ve been used to for the last 800 years since Magna Carta in the fields of Runnymede in London. And it’s gone now. We don’t—we don’t have it. It’s been removed from us.

Yes, indeed: That is the fundamental problem - there is no more habeas corpus in the USA since 2001. And yes, that right did exist for 800 years.

He also has some excuses for Obama:

And, I mean, Obama has had a pretty hard row to hoe during his incumbency as the president, and clearly the machinery of government that he’s trying to work alongside is broken. It has broken. It’s far too susceptible to financial considerations and so, after Citizens United, as we all know. So, yes, let’s try and encourage him. You know, he’s got 365 days from today until he leaves office, so Andy’s plan is, let’s get Guantánamo closed before the end of that time.

I agree with Roger Waters that "the machinery of government" in the United States "has broken", but I do not think this excuses Obama's many lies.

Also, while I agree with Waters, I think it is unlikely he will succeed. But indeed that is no excuse for not trying.

There is considerably more in the original, which is recommended.

3. Citizens United Anniversary: How Anthony Kennedy Turned American Democracy Into an ‘Open Sewer’

The third item is by Joe Conason on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

This week marked the anniversary of the Citizens United decision, which exposed American democracy to increasing domination by the country’s very richest and most reactionary figures—modern heirs to those “malefactors of great wealth” condemned by the great Republican Theodore Roosevelt—so it is worth recalling the false promise made by the justice who wrote the majority opinion in that case.

Justice Anthony Kennedy masterminded the Supreme Court’s Jan. 21, 2010 decision to undo a century of public-interest regulation of campaign expenditures in the name of “free speech.” He had every reason to know how damaging to democratic values and public integrity that decision would prove to be.

Once billed as a “moderate conservative,” Kennedy is a libertarian former corporate attorney from Sacramento, who toiled in his father’s scandal-ridden lobbying law firm, “influencing” California legislators, before he ascended to the bench with the help of his friend Ronald Reagan.

In fact - from my quite informed but European perspective - what are called "libertarians" in the USA are in fact mostly extreme neo-conservatives. I do not know how extreme or moderate a neo-conservative Kennedy is, but he clearly is a neo-conservative, who also clearly got what he wanted with the Citizens United decision - and what he wanted was to give the rich all the powers they desired in order to subvert real democracy.

Here is a sum-up:

“Independent” expenditures from super-rich right-wing donors have overwhelmed the opponents of their chosen candidates, promoting a durable Republican takeover of Congress—often through the deployment of false advertising and false-flag organizations.

Late last year, Kennedy confessed that his vaunted “transparency” is “not working the way it should,” a feeble excuse since he had every reason to know from the beginning that his professed expectation of “prompt disclosure” of all political donations was absurdly unrealistic.

I simply say he lied, and did so on purpose, indeed for the reason Joe Conason gives: Of course he knew what he did.

4. U.S. to Put 'Boots on the Ground' in Iraq to Combat ISIL

The fourth item is by Adam Johnson on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:

In an op-ed in Politico and in an appearance at Davos World Economic Forum Friday morning, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the U.S. will deploy "boots on the ground" in Iraq to help local forces fight the so-called Islamic State. The policy shift is a turnaround from the Obama's White House's previous stance of not deploying combat troops in Iraq and one sure to shape the foreign policy debate in the 2016 election.

Incidentally, Iraq was first attacked by the USA 25 years ago: See the Wikipedia's Gulf War - which seems wrongly named to me, but which did run in January and February of 1991, indeed also with several European allies with the USA.

In brief, the Iraqis now have some 25 years of experience with the US army, although indeed Saddam Hussein was deposed and arrested only in 2003, and was hanged in 2006.

There is also this piece of "information":

It remains unclear if the Obama administration plans on deploying any more troops. Sec. Carter's predecessor, Panetta, claimed that the fight against ISIL would be a "thirty-year war".

The reason I wrote"informatiom" is not that the Obama administration is the most obscure administration ever (which it is), but because of Panetta's claims:

These must be intentionally insane, in view of the facts that (1) Isis has some 25,000 troops, no atomic weapons, and only illegally sold oil as regular income; (2) the armies of the Islamic states surrounding them count about 5,000,000 - five million - troops (200 times as many); and (3) the US has (by far, also) the strongest army, the most troops, and the most money dedicated to warring in the world. [3]

So somebody who says that in these circumstances there will be "a thirty years war" is simply lying - or rather: engaging in pure totally blind wishful thinking.

5. Bernie v. Media

The fifth item is by David Swanson on Washington's Blog and originally on the American Herald Tribune:
This starts as follows

Major corporate media outlets in the United States are reporting on a new viability for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, based on his rise in the polls nationally and in Iowa and New Hampshire — and possibly, though this goes largely unmentioned, based on his big new advertising purchases from major corporate media outlets. In independent progressive media as well, there’s a small flood of maybe-he-can-really-win articles.

I say. The reason that I am somewhat amazed follows:
As of last fall, Bernie Sanders had received a total of 8 minutes of coverage from broadcast evening news, less than Mitt Romney or Joe Biden got for deciding not to enter the race.

And yet, Bernie polls better against Donald Trump (now that a pollster finally asked that question and released the results) than does Hillary Clinton. And Bernie is gradually catching up to Clinton in polls of Democrats. If he wins New Hampshire (very likely) and Iowa (pretty likely), all sorts of bandwagon jumpers could switch their support to him, and uninspired voters become inspired to vote in the next several primary states, snowballing the magical force of “momentum” into an upset victory with great media ratings, even if horrifying political implications from the point of view of major media outlets’ corporate owners.
This seems all true to me (that is: I think they are valid guesses), but one also must keep in mind the state of the main media, and its virtually infinite capacities to lie and deceive, for which also see item 1.

There is also this, which I quote in part because you can compare in with item 1
and in part because of a comment I'll make under it:
Look at this Time magazine video and text. The video at the top of the page is remarkably fair. The text below it, including an error-plagued transcript apparently produced by a robot, is less fair. Time says of Bernie: “[H]e’s so far been unable to convince most Democrats he’d make a better candidate against a Republican than Clinton.” By no stretch of the English language is the 48% or 52% backing Clinton in polls “most Democrats.” The polling story should be that Sanders has climbed from 3% to 37%
or 41% without any help.

Here’s Time‘s summary of Sanders’ platform: “He talked taxes (he’d raise them), turning points (he thinks he’s at one) and tuxedos (he’s never owned one).” Notice that two of the three items are sheer fluff and the only serious one is that he’ll raise your taxes. Time follows that by linking to an article making the case that Sanders cannot win. Time of course has no “balancing” argument that he can win.

Clearly, Time's treatment of Sanders was intentionally fraudulent. [4] But this was not the comment I wanted to make, which needs a little introduction:

A good part of the technique of lying the main media use these days is to treat very many things as if the media are neutral (which is a lie: they are owned by billionaires, and generally serve the very rich), and as if the topic they treat has two equal sides (which is in fact rarely the case), such as climate change (which
in fact is extremely unequal: virtually all climate scientists claim it exists; vritually all US GOP-politicians say either it doesn't or they don't know).

Now to the remark I do want to make: Time, like nearly all other main media in the USA, has given up that technique of falsifying all issues as if there were a pro and a con, with the media neutral between the two, in the case of Bernie Sanders, it seems because this would involve the media's often mentioning Bernie Sanders. And even this they do not want to do.

So now they lie about him, also in a very dishonest and gross way, as mentioned above and in item 1.

---------
Notes

[1] As for me: First, I am an European, not an American. I don't know whether this sharpens or hinders my seeing the facts: I know a lot about politics and economics, and a reasonable amount about US politicians, but I never visited the USA and very probably never will, and I also do not have any loyalties to "the USA" or USA politicians.

Second, I hope Bernie Sanders wins. Third, if I have to guess about who wins, I'd rank the candidates thus: Clinton > Sanders - but not by much (not "extremely", in Glenn Greenwald's words), and indeed the only two reasons I think Clinton is still the somewhat more likely winner is that she has much more money and a much more widely known last name. And most of the US electorate is neither very intelligent nor very informed - to formulate it very diplomatically.

Then again, all this is merely early guessing.


[2] In fact, most "leftish" politicians - who on this issue have to be distinguished sharply from the electorates they deceive - are simply not leftist.
Most of them are relativists, who only care for their own invariably very well-paid and very easy careers.

This again has been brought about mostly by the very rich multimillionaires (over $100 million dollars each) Clinton and Blair and their "Third Wave" lies.

I will write soon about the difference between - these days - very rare leftist politicians, and the these days very common "leftist" politicians, because I am getting very sick of these fundamental frauds who lie, and lie, and lie, and lie
simply to get better themselves.

[3] I note that the three facts - or "facts" - I quoted are very widely known, and have been heard or read many times by me. One of the many things I do not understand - without making pretty outlandish sounding assumptions - is how 25,000 troops can stand up and remain standing up against the American army.

[4] Of course it was! Check the article "fraud": Fraud is "
deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain
". They got paid for their lies by those who buy these gross lying sheets, and they evidently lied as explained in the text. So yes: They clearly are frauds.

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