March 21st, 2014
in Op Ed
by Surly1, Doomstead Diner
“It is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise. . . He speaks for the Werewolf in us; the bully, the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and bleeding string-warts on nights when the moon comes too close…”
― Hunter S. Thompson
Nixon may be gone, but that “dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character” still remains alive and well, and is currently driving American foreign-policy.
Watchers of doom are notorious for scoring at home, but even those of us in the cheap seats recognize when it’s time to spring to our feet in rapt attention. So it was with this past week’s news, chock-full of chewy nuggets of doom. Center stage, we have the United States fomenting conflict with Russia over Crimea and Ukraine, led by a foreign-policy establishment stuffed full of Bush–Cheney–era neocon salts, and featuring nouveau-cowboy John Kerry acting like he’s John McCain’s Secretary of State; news that Russian oligarchs are pulling their money out of Western banks ahead of expected economic sanctions; a renegade, do nothing, neo-Confederate House of Representatives, pledged to do nothing that will aid anybody outside of its paymasters, passing a law requiring Obama to enforce federal marijuana laws in states which have decriminalized the green (previously held “tenther” scruples and advocacy for “states rights” be damned); and, oh yes, the missing Malaysian plane, of which the absence of news hasn’t prevented wall to wall cable news coverage, thus providing proof that in the absence of information, people will just make news up.
As of this writing, residents of the Crimea are heading to polls to vote a plebiscite about whether to join Russia, or to remain an independent state loosely affiliated with Ukraine. Since Crimeans are ethnic Russians, and the fact is that Russia’s Black Sea naval bases aren’t going anywhere, the result seems foregone. When Crimea becomes a Russian protectorate, the neocons screeching like howler monkeys inside the Obama administration (where they’ve been safely salted away since the Cheney administration) will gnash their teeth, utter dark oaths, and contrive to keep the United States and Russia on the kind of collision course unseen since the end of the Cold War. The stresses will occasion a new round of demands for high-tech weapons systems, unnecessary arms and airplanes, and high-tech geeks to run them, all of which will swell the profits of arms manufacturers.
Which is exactly the point.
Let’s be clear: assistant secretary of state for European affairs Victoria Nuland (she of “Fuck the EU” fame), remained in place along with Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and CIA apparatchik John Brennan. Nuland’s husband, former Reagan administration official Robert Kagan, (himself an architect the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC), was the first to call for destabilization of unwelcome regimes in Iraq. That Obama has allowed such neocon cockroaches to fatten themselves in the foreign-policy apparatus of his administration may prove to be the most unwelcome and far-reaching accomplishment of his administration. Robert Parry has recently talked about this:
The crisis in Ukraine apparently caught the President off-guard, even though elements of the U.S. government were stoking the fires of political unrest on Russia’s border. Assistant Secretary Nuland was openly advocating for Ukraine’s “European aspirations” and literally passing out cookies to anti-government protesters.
Meanwhile, the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy (essentially a three-decade-old neocon-controlled slush fund that pours money into “democracy building” or destabilization campaigns depending on your point of view), was running 65 projects in Ukraine. Last September, NED’s president Carl Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and expressed hope that “Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
In other words, even as Obama leaned on Putin to avert more wars in the Middle East, the U.S. government was seeking to embarrass and undermine Putin at home. Not surprisingly, this double-dealing has provoked the Russian government’s suspicion and confusion, made worse because the latest U.S. media swagger in support of the coup regime in Kiev has forced Obama to puff out his own chest and do some breast-beating at Putin’s expense.
. . . which led to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who in 2002 voted as a senator for the United States to invade Iraq on the basis of Dick Cheney’s hand selected, cherry picked evidence, to utter this bon mot, which may itself in the fullness of time resonate as much as Neville Chamberlain’s, “peace is at hand:”
“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”
(Remember the fall of the Berlin wall and the promised peace dividend? This “nuclear mafia,” this nexus of arms manufacturers, lobbyists, and general officers have claimed it for themselves and for the priorities of the Deep State. By fomenting eternal war, they have commandeered the surplus of a nation, perverted the sense of domestic priorities, and presented a bill which is, in a literal sense, being paid for with the rapid disappearance of the middle class in this country, and with it the “American way of life”.) Well done, plutocrats.
We’re told that -
Crimea’s referendum Sunday has been loudly condemned as illegitimate by much of the international community. As heavily armed forces apparently under Russian command have effectively taken control of the peninsula, the vote to join Russia has been widely criticized as a mere formality.
If you check up on Zerohedge, they will tell you that the Russian oligarchs, smart cookies that they are, already pulled their money out of Western banks to avoid the coming currency freeze and credit stranglehold that western sanctions will likely entail.
Russian companies are pulling billions out of western banks, fearful that any US sanctions over the Crimean crisis could lead to an asset freeze, according to bankers in Moscow.
Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s giant partly state-owned banks, as well as industrial companies, such as energy group Lukoil, are among those repatriating cash from western lenders with operations in the US. VTB has also cancelled a planned US investor summit next month, according to bankers.
The flight comes as last-ditch diplomatic talks between Russia’s foreign minister and the US secretary of state to resolve the tensions in Ukraine ended without an agreement.
ZH notes that the likely outcome of such sanctions will be to force China and Russia to engage far more actively in bilateral trade, and to conduct that train their own currencies, or even gold. Apparently it never occurs to those who think that the highest and best good in life is for the S&P 500 close up to realize that a country that is rich in commodities that others want– like natural gas–cares mostly commodity prices are high.
And the Tea Party House of Representatives, that gaggle of unmedicated, unrestrained sociopaths busy doing the bidding of the worst human beings on the planet, managed to interrupt yet another vote repealing the Affordable Care Act in order to pass the “Enforce the Law Act,” a response to the Kenyan Usurper’s so-called “lawlessness.”
Upon the adoption of a resolution of a House of Congress declaring that the President, the head of any department or agency of the United States, or any other officer or employee of the United States has established or implemented a formal or informal policy, practice, or procedure to refrain from enforcing, applying, following, or administering any provision of a Federal statute, rule, regulation, program, policy, or other law in violation of the requirement that the President take care that the laws be faithfully executed under Article II, section 3, clause 5, of the Constitution of the United States, that House is authorized to bring a civil action in accordance with subsection (c), and to seek relief pursuant to sections 2201 and 2202 of title 28, United States Code. A civil action brought pursuant to this subsection may be brought by a single House or both Houses of Congress jointly, if both Houses have adopted such a resolution.
Apparently DC is an irony free zone, witness the sangfroid around Kerry’s pronouncement. The fact that Obama has not accompanied the bills he had signed with “signing statements” as Bush did, explaining how he would or would not enforce the law he had just signed, regardless of Congress’s intentions apparently means nothing as long as the incumbent is still uncomfortably black. Harry Reid pronounced this act of legislative vandalism dead on arrival, and as long as Democrats control the Senate, such bills, the purpose of which is simply to make it easier for sitting Republiconfederates to sue the president, will go nowhere. But this is an election year.
And oh yeah, the plane. As everyone who is not been hidden in a bunker on a Philippine island waiting for the end of World War II already knows, the search for a Malaysia Airline Boeing 777 has now entered its 2nd week. Flight 370 disappeared from radar screens on its announced trajectory from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The airline’s CEO said Sunday the missing jet took off with its normal allotment of fuel on board, and without extra fuel that could have extended its range. The plane veered deliberately and sharply away from its planned course to parts unknown. A search of the expected crash area revealed nothing.
Over the past several days, little of substance has been revealed, and the plane is still missing. In the absence of hard information, cable “news” networks manufactured coverage by interviewing former pilots, aviation specialists, and those willing to speculate.
Humorist Andy Borowitz had it best:
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) — A total absence of actual information about the missing Malaysia flight is not in any way hindering twenty-four-hour coverage of the story, the major cable news networks confirmed today.
“As a news network, we regard a lack of news as a worthy challenge,” the CNN chief Jeff Zucker said. “Our people are doing a heroic job of filling the void with rumor and hearsay.”
A spokesperson for MSNBC, however, scoffed at Mr. Zucker’s assessment that there was no information about the missing plane. “We are receiving tons of erroneous and conflicting reports from authorities every hour, and the instant we get them we pass them on to our viewers,” he said.
Over at Fox, host Sean Hannity expressed confidence in his network’s coverage. “When it comes to broadcasting twenty-four hours a day with no verifiable facts, I wouldn’t trade our experience and expertise for anybody’s,” he said.
Promising that the network was working overtime to generate new unfounded conspiracy theories, Mr. Hannity said, “We’ve put our whole Benghazi team on this.”
Recent events as of this writing focus on investigation into the pilots and flight crew. The Malaysian government has apparently concluded the light 370 was hijacked.
One finds it interesting that while the intelligence arm of the Deep State knows about our Amazon purchases, Google queries, porn searches, completed online forms, and every website and cat meme we retrieve, several trillion dollars of orbiting spyware has gotten them absolutely bupkus about the location of this plane. Or so they want us to believe.
The tinfoil hat types are already speculating that this was a deliberate hijacking, either by Islamic cell ready to wreak havoc upon the United States, or by the Deep State itself, the better to mount a false flag attack in the name of said Islamic caliphate. More proof that, in the absence of news, people make up their own. A hijacking, a hostage scenario, the plane exploded or disintegrated, the plane was blown up by the Mossad/CIA/Al Qaeda, the plane landed on a small, uncharted island, the plane will be repurposed an enormous flying bomb, alien abduction, a viral marketing campaign for Liam Neeson’s next movie, etc. And they’re out there in droves on the inter-tubes.
Perhaps someone can riddle me this: there were 239 persons aboard this flight, it is reasonable to assume that at least some of them have cell phones. With every cell phone being its own transponder, why have we not heard from any of the people on this flight?
And now, doom fans, some bonus coverage. It is often entertaining to watch the Tea Party contort itself into a variety of yoga poses to escape the consequences of many of their utterances. Here’s the story of one who instead chose to double down on crazy. The ongoing Republican war on women was evident for all to see over the last several years. It continues apace, even in areas of the country from which one would expect better sense. Here is the latest episode of Tea Party family values on display.
New Hampshire State Rep. Kyle Tasker, who is no stranger to controversy, yesterday told WMUR that he would not apologize for posting what some call an explicit graphic online. The graphic, pictured above, seemed to mock women who have suffered at the hands of sexual abuse.
“I didn’t mean that as a joke, it was a t-shirt print I thought was pretty ridiculous that someone would wear that around,” Tasker said.
Tasker is the same remarkable waste of skin who dropped one of the guns he was packing at the start of the committee meeting this past session.
State Rep. Steve Shurtleff (D-Concord), a member of the committee, said that he was sitting three seats away from Tasker in the committee room when he heard “a clang” and saw that the gun was on the floor. Shurtleff said Tasker routinely wears two guns in a shoulder holster to legislative meetings.
“I was glad it was his blood that he was giving and not someone else’s,” Shurtleff told The Huffington Post.
Reporters in the committee room confirmed the account. Josh McElveen , a reporter for WMUR posted on Twitter that Tasker had said the blood donation left him “loopy.” Tasker has not returned a call for comment.
The incident comes a year after the Tea Party-controlled House voted to allow guns in the Statehouse and the nearby Legislative Office Building. Shurtleff, a former deputy U.S. marshal, said he has been told that as many as 45 legislators, more than 10 percent of the full 400-member House, carry firearms to sessions.
“There are a couple of other members of our committee, about three or four, who are armed at any time,” Shurtleff said.
Who knew that serving the people of New Hampshire was such risky business?
What gives me pause is the thought, often attributed to Tocqueville, that “In a democracy, the people get the government that they deserve.”