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‘Ad hominem’ is not Latin for ‘I cannot rebut your argument’

By: danps Friday January 30, 2015 5:17 am

Cross posted from Pruning Shears.

Jonathan Chait’s latest adventure in pointless contrarianism has already been wrestled to the ground and noogied, with Alex Pareene doing an especially delightful job. The short version is this. With the exception of the incident at the top of the article (about which: intimidation, violence and threats of violence are completely wrong) Chait catalogues some snarky behavior and petty grievances, then tries to blow it up into a threat to democracy.

As Angus Johnston pointed out, everything else that Chait objects to in his article is speech. He says he’s in the “solution to speech you don’t like is more speech” camp, then proceeds to lament people using more speech to prevent, say, Condoleezza Rice from having yet another opportunity to share her unique thoughts about things. Those who didn’t want their university to sponsor one of the architects of the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history had, in Chait’s view, an unwillingness to encounter contrary ideas. (Does he not know what the point of protest is?)

So while in theory Chait favors more speech for everyone, he doesn’t really like how it can work out in practice. Those he disagrees with are welcome to their more speech, but only on the condition that it is exercised in a way no one notices.

He traces this troubling development to the beginning of the political correctness movement in the early 90s. This is kind of funny because the title of his essay recalls a formulation conservatives loved to use back then – invoking the phrase as a way to endorse reactionary positions. (“Well, this may not be politically correct, but (insert antediluvian sentiment here).”)

Whatever the origin, lots of people can now broadcast their opinions on social media. Someone says something, then others respond. If the first thing said is provocative then there might be lots of responses, and those responses might be pointed. Chait is totally fine with that first thing, which makes sense considering he’s a professional instigator at a major media outlet. But that second thing? Why, it’s “swarms of jeering critics” (everyone to the cellar!)

Here’s another curiosity. Chait deplores mansplaining as “an all-purpose term of abuse that can be used to discredit any argument by any man,” but he uses his own all-purpose term of abuse to respond to Pareene. (It also violates Rule #1 for Contrarians. Bad form!) In Chait’s case it’s “ad hominem.” This is something I’ve observed more and more lately – writers using that phrase as an excuse to not address substantive criticism.

A great deal of online criticism has a mix of styles. Some combine insults and mockery (the dreaded ad hominem) with substantive critiques. To grab one random example of someone who favors this approach, consider Jonathan Chait. In just the last couple of weeks he has called James Inhofe primitive, the opinions of climate-science skeptics “bizarre ramblings,” the Republican Party “obviously unhinged” and senseless, and so on. He certainly likes his personal attacks, doesn’t he?

Which is fine, or can be anyway. Name calling can be an effective rhetorical technique. Making your opponent look foolish can help persuade others that your position is the right one. What you can’t do, though, at least not without looking like a thin skinned and pompous twit, is use ad hominems when it suits you and then recoil in priggish horror when they’re used against you. And that’s exactly what Chait does in his response – one which, hilariously, both uses and decries ad hominems in the same sentence.

I don’t think many people who dive in to the rough and tumble of social and political debate have an unwavering sense of propriety. Calls for civility usually come from those who are on the inside looking out. If you’re on the outside, your voice may be all you’ve got. Sometimes it takes being a little bit loud and colorful to get noticed. That goes both ways though. It’s fun when your preferred targets are on the receiving end of ridicule, not so much when you or your allies are. But if you’ve been dishing it out you damn well better be able to take it.

You don’t get to have it both ways. You don’t get to say, this piece has personal attacks and therefore should not be dignified with comment, then gleefully use personal attacks in your own writing. If you do, anyone who’s paying attention will understand the real reason for not responding: you’ve got nothing. That’s certainly how it looks in this case.

 

“Just Like Witches at Black Masses”

By: Big Al Thursday January 29, 2015 9:55 pm

“Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerer of death’s construction”
War Pigs – Black Sabbath

The Pentagon and our elected “representatives” worked together in a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting to lay the propaganda groundwork for continuing the U.S. military empire full speed ahead. They focused on the sequester cuts and how they will continue to hinder their quest for Full Spectrum Dominance, in fact, they’d have to “craft a new national defense strategy while losing their ability to conduct two major operations simultaneously”.

Granted, Full Spectrum Dominance costs alot of benjamins, but we all know the only thing they’re defending are the interests of the rich and powerful. Evidently “two major operations” must mean wars because they have special forces troops conducting operations in over 130 countries. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the U.S. couldn’t wage two illegal wars at the same time?

Of course, John McCain and friends did their part.

“Senior Senate Armed Services Committee members bemoaned more sequester cuts, but none offered a plan nor spoke of a new effort to get rid of them.
“Despite an accumulating array of complex threats to our national interests … we are on track to cut $1 trillion from America’s defense budget by 2021,” SASC Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said. “If we in Congress do not act, sequestration will return in full in fiscal year 2016, setting our military on a far more dangerous course.”

Of course that’s a deceitful statement.  The “cuts” are actually reductions in the budget projections, made by some humans, to the year 2021.  Nothing is being cut, it’s just not as much is being added.

Incredibly,

“Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said his force is as unready as at any other point in its 239-year history.” Can you believe that? This country has poured many trillions into this “Global Force for Good” and it’s unready. Unready for what?

They’re pouring it on thick man. Not good for us antiwar/anti-Empire types.

“Odierno said if sequestration hits again, he will remove tens of thousands more soldiers, and end, restructure or otherwise change “all” of its acquisition programs, resulting in a “40 percent modernization decrease.”

They also had the CNO, Chief of Naval Operations and the Air Force Chief of Staff on to complain about what sorry shape the Navy and Air Force are in and that their fleets are filled with antiques and we’re in danger of all dying tomorrow because of it. You never know. Air Force dude said the same thing about simultaneous or multiple wars:
“Welsh said if sequester kicks in again, the Air Force would be unable to defeat one foe while holding off another and “defending the homeland.”

The Marine General dude differed in approach:

“In a twist, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford called his force “the best trained and equipped” ever. But he did say the Marines are investing in new hardware at “historically low levels.”
He said another round of sequestration would leave the Corps unable to meet the requirements of the country’s current defense strategy.”

I sense a touch of irony in the Defense News article however, hopefully on purpose.

“All of these dire predictions came a day after Defense News broke the news that the Obama administration will seek $585 billion for the Defense Department in its 2016 budget request. That will include a $534 billion base budget request, which would be the largest such request ever.”

Largest request ever. And they’re complaining because it’s not enough. Actually I believe them. Look what they’re trying to do with their military. They’re trying to rule the damn world. You just can’t do that on the cheap. And with the Asian pivot, Ukraine war/Russia/Putin, and the ISIS “Cover” war, I can bet they do need to up their games at this point.  The perpetual Global War OF Terror requires perpetual budgets to match.

This could be an achilles heel if we could mount a challenge.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/congress/2015/01/…

Reflections on Charles De Gaulle, and Why Americans Are Told to Hate the French

By: Ohio Barbarian Thursday January 29, 2015 4:22 pm

I recently read a book by an apparently popular English author, Douglas Boyd(to any Brits out there, correct me if the jacket was wrong) called De Gaulle: The Man Who Defied Six US Presidents.

It was a quick read, but I was not all that impressed. Boyd does have an agenda, to which he readily admits, to use De Gaulle as and example to his compatriots to show that it IS possible for a European democracy to stand up to the United States in order to protect its own interests. He does a pretty good job of chastising recent and current British leadership for saying “How high?” whenever an American Administration says “Frog,” and holds up De Gaulle as the best example of such defiant European leadership.

Unfortunately, he has an annoying tendency to get his facts wrong, such as an allegation that Douglas MacArthur ran for president in the Republican primary of 1944.  Kind of hard to do while directing a war from Australia and the Phillipines. He also got some dates wrong which, for a historian, is just plain sloppy. Sometimes I found his sources questionable, but he DID have access to recently declassified American State Department cables from the World War II era.

Those make a damning case that Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration were bound and determined to militarily occupy the liberated countries of Western Europe until such time as a pliable government could be installed which would both tow Washington’s foreign policy line and to allow American businesses full access, up to and including domination, of their domestic markets.  Boyd alleges that FDR wanted to carve out another country from the Benelux countries and northeastern France to serve as a buffer between what was left of France from Germany, and just assumed there would be an Anglo-American occupation of all of liberated Western Europe.

There was this one, wee problem. There was this big-nosed French guy who had refused to surrender to the Nazis in 1940, refused to even recognize the legitimacy of the collaborationist Vichy government, did a fair job of persuading many overseas French colonies to declare for Free France and fight against the Axis, and who was instrumental in fanning the flames of French resistance to the Nazi conquest. Because of that, De Gaulle was a hero to most British and American citizens at the time, a fact that he repeatedly exploited in his dealings with Churchill and Roosevelt.

There are four things about Charles De Gaulle that I think are indisputable: 1. He was a strong French nationalist. 2. He considered himself a French patriot, and his goal during and after World War II was to restore France to it former position in the world or better, and to take its rightful place in the councils of the great world powers. 3. He succeeded. It took a few decades, but he succeeded. 4. He was personally courageous. He had fought in World War I  and taken been taken prisoner. He also fought during the 1940 campaign, leading an armored brigade in one of the few French victories over the Germans that year.

When it came to the Americans and the British, De Gaulle never wavered in his goal of the full restoration of France, and he drove both Churchill and Roosevelt nuts. He stalled, he bluffed, he outright refused to endorse any Allied policy that would violate full French sovereignty over its own soil after the war. He insisted that Free French forces be the first into Paris. He insisted on the French occupying part of Germany, and won. France emerged from the war heavily damaged but still intact as a polity. He was for NATO on general principles, but insisted on French consent before any American nuclear weapon based in France could be used, and that American servicemen in France should be required to obey French civil law. When, after he was returned to power in 1958, the Americans refused to do agree to either demand, he kicked all of their armed forces out of France.

That’s the real reason, I think, why generations of Americans have been propagandized to believe that the French are a bunch of cowards and born collaborators who can’t fight worth a damn, anyway, and are ungrateful to America for saving their sorry asses not once, but twice. So goes the narrative. I’ve always thought it manifestly unfair. For one thing, the United States would not even exist had it not been for French intervention in the American Revolution, for another, some 1.3 million French soldiers died in World War I, and another 85,000 or so of them did during the German invasion of 1940, which lasted only six weeks.

That hardly sounds cowardly to me. In 1940 the French soldiers fought as hard as they could, at least for the first few weeks, but they had horrendous leadership, no air support, no preparation or training for the tactics which were employed against them, and just plain whupped. But they did not give up without a fight.

As for De Gaulle’s conditions for American bases and troops remaining in his country, were they really that unreasonable? Would Americans tolerate the reverse?

De Gaulle also understood that Stalinism was NOT real Marxism, that Stalin was just using Communism for his own purposes and for expanding the Russian Empire in the same manner as the czars. He repeatedly told FDR this, but FDR liked Stalin and some of the workers’ rights rhetoric that Stalin lied about believing in. He told Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson the same thing. Maybe he was frustrated because none of the American leaders grasped what should have been obvious.

De Gaulle was capable of learning both from his own mistakes and the mistakes of others. When the new Fourth Republic formed after WWII without a strong executive, just like the Third Republic which fell in 1940, De Gaulle left government. He was convinced that France needed a powerful executive to ever get anything done when the legislative branch was quite rightly and democratically divided by multiple political parties. He only became president of France again in 1958, when France was teetering on the brink of civil war largely over the Algerian War for Independence which was bleeding France dry, and that was just because of his reputation with most of his own people. Well, France had no civil war, and De Gaulle shocked lots of people by understanding that the French could not win the war with any tactic other than genocide, and negotiated Algerian independence.

Not only that, but he let the French voters decide what to do. He held two referendums, the first on whether to make peace with the Algerians and end the war in principle, and the second on whether or not to accept the treaty De Gaulle had negotiated. Both passed overwhelmingly.

When was the last time American voters got to decide whether or not they should continue to fight a war? Makes De Gaulle look downright populist.

He’d learned from watching the earlier events in Indochina that it is impossible to occupy a country when the vast majority of its inhabitants really, REALLY want your ass out. So he got the hell out of Algeria, and pissed off several million French citizens whose families had been living in, and exploiting the “native” labor, of that country for over a century. Former colonial military officers tried to kill him multiple times(great movie about that time, Day of the Jackal) but De Gaulle refused to change his public schedules.

De Gaulle  pushed France’s nuclear weapons and energy program because he thought it was necessary in order for France to regain great power status. He spurned American offers of nuclear protection on the grounds that America might choose to sacrifice Europe in a nuclear confrontation with the Soviets in order to save itself. In fact, that very scenario was one of the Pentagon’s contingency plans. Long after his death in 1970, France did in fact achieve total nuclear independence, with its own very effective nuclear deterrent, for better or for worse. And now France, like all of the other nuclear powers, has weapons that simply can never, ever be used, so nobody can bully it too much.

It also has a history of sometimes saying “No” to American administrations who want it to join them in doing some truly boneheaded things, like the conquest and occupation of Iraq. Unfortunately, IMO, French governments also often say “Yes,” such as they did recently with Libya and Syria, far too often.

De Gaulle definitely had his major flaws, and politically I find myself in disagreement with him quite a bit–for example, he had no problem with capitalism’s continued dominant existence with just a few checks on it–but he was neither a fool nor a coward. And he did successfully stand up to the American Empire on several occasions. If the French can do it, so can other Europeans.

And they’d damned well better. It’s in their own best interests, and in the interests of the American people themselves, as well. Better Charles De Gaulle than Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair.

This Week in Stupid: “Dearborn, Michigan, Is a ‘No-Go’ Zone”

By: Tammany Tiger Thursday January 29, 2015 1:47 pm

The latest blatant falsehood from the right-wing noise machine is about “no-go” zones: communities inhabited by violent, America-hating Muslims. Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council[1], said the other day that Dearborn, Michigan, is such a zone, a place where sharia law is in effect.

Really? That would come as news to the mayor of Dearborn. His name? John B. O’Reilly, Jr.

It’s safe to say that Mr. Perkins’ Dearborn IQ is close to absolute zero. He’s probably unaware that the city has had Arabic residents for several generations, and that many of them are Maronite Christians with roots in Lebanon. To him, they probably “all look alike.”

He’d also be surprised to learn that Fordson High School, whose enrollment is 98 percent Arab, has a football team. A few years ago, the team was the subject of a documentary about how the players coped with both ethnic prejudice and the Ramadan fast, which overlapped that year’s football season.

Dearborn is the home of Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, the Detroit area’s number-one tourist attraction. In other words, people go to the no-go zone. In the Village, they won’t see public stonings. What they will see is homes of famous Americans, vintage baseball players, and Civil War re-enactors. The museum is filled with classic cars, farm equipment, and other all-American inventions. Okay, it uses Arabic numbers, but so do the rest of us.

Everyone in Greater Detroit knows that Henry Ford put Dearborn on the map, and that Ford Motor Company’s world headquarters building, The Glass House, is located there. Ford remains the city’s largest employer. Its new CEO, Mark Fields, is Jewish—something the imams wouldn’t stand for if sharia law were in effect.

Dearborn is also the home of Buddy’s Pizza and Miller’s Bar, among other licensed establishments. It’s a known fact that you can enjoy a beer in town without fear of a public flogging.

Last but not least, there’s the Dearborn Sausage Company. In addition to sausages, lunchmeat, and pierogis, the company sells high-end spiral-sliced hams which, presumably, are not certified halal.

Perhaps Mr. Perkins should pay a visit to Dearborn and see for himself how wrong his characterization is. On second thought, that would be a terrible idea. He might prove as ungracious a guest as another self-professed Christian, the Reverend Terry Jones[2].

[1] Perkins has a history of making crazy statements. Last year, he claimed that gay rights advocates are “going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians.” Is he aware of how bad train service is in this country?

[2] Jones had a unique way of spreading God’s love: burning Qurans in public. I use the past tense because Jones quit his church and opened a chili cheese dog stand in a Florida shopping mall.

Students Save Palestine

By: David Swanson Thursday January 29, 2015 1:24 pm

In proposing that Congress Members boycott or walk out on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress, expected to push for sanctions if not war on Iran, activists are drawing on actions engaged in by college students in recent years, as they have boycotted or walked out on or disrupted speeches by Israeli soldiers and officials on U.S. campuses. Netanyahu’s noodle-headed move — oblivious, apparently, to the U.S. government’s effective evolution into a term-limited monarchy — may provide a boost to both the movement to free Palestine and the movement to prevent a war on Iran.

Peace activists sometimes marvel at how young people have taken up environmentalist activism (with very little emphasis on the environmental destruction caused by militarism). Why, antiwar activists ask, don’t young people get active opposing wars?

Ah, but they do. They are increasingly active, organized, strategic, bold, courageous, and determined about opposing a particular war: the ongoing war that the government of Israel wages — with U.S. funding and support — on the people of Palestine.

Nora Barrows-Friedman’s new book, In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine, tells their stories, often in their own words: What motivates them? How did they get involved? How do they view themselves in their activism? How do they relate to the non-activist world? We should all pay attention.

Don’t misunderstand the case. Most students, like most adults, do little or no activism. The movement to free Palestine is far from success and up against huge opposition. Movements against other wars exist, a movement against all war exists, and all of these movements overlap. But, relatively speaking, students are far more engaged, I think, in opposing the Israeli occupation than in halting drone strikes or the U.S. wars in Iraq or Afghanistan (if they’re even aware that those wars haven’t ended).  Opposition to U.S. wars tends to come disproportionately from an older and whiter crowd — a result of the Vietnam era, of a less informed view of Israel, and/or of dozens of other likely factors. In Our Power doesn’t address this question, but it provides much food for thought.

It’s not clear that most advocates of Palestinian freedom think of themselves as opposing war or demanding peace. Hoda Mitwally, a student at the City University of New York, is quoted by Barrows-Friedman as describing the movement for Palestine as “one that amazingly has sustained itself in ways that other movements have fizzled out. The antiwar movement fizzled out very quickly, for example.” It seems that many demanding justice for Palestine think in terms of demanding human rights, even if prominent among those is the right not to have your home bombed. But human rights is how pro-war advocacy is framed in the U.S. media and politics. We must attack Syria because we care. We must destroy Libya to save the Libyans. Wrecking Yemen is a model of humanitarian warfare. Of course this is all a pack of lies, but it is a prominent pack of lies. Perhaps the movements for peace and for Palestinian justice, already intertwined, could still benefit from deeper exchanges of thinking, for war opposition must be a human rights demand, and unless a system of peace is created in Palestine/Israel, the human rights violations including those formerly known as war, will continue.

The peace movement has put an emphasis on the financial cost to the aggressor nation, the damage to U.S. troops, the trade offs in poor schools and parks, etc., assuming that people need a direct connection to a moral atrocity before they’ll act. I don’t believe that for a minute, not as an absolute law. But the stories of Palestine activists do bear it out. Many of them have a direct connection and even personal experience on the ground, witnessing the horrors of what they oppose. They are Palestinian Americans or Jewish Americans or other Americans who have visited Israel or Palestine or who have close friends who have done so. Many of them have been moved by the recent Israeli attacks on Lebanon or Gaza (“Cast Lead” and “Protective Edge”) or by the relentless construction of “settlements” and accompanying ethnic cleansing. Many have experienced bigotry in the United States following 9-11 and have sought out a comforting community. As Anwar al Awlaki came to favor anti-U.S. violence after experiencing such bigotry, many young people engage in constructive nonviolent activism instead. They gather as Palestinians or Arabs, and then they take up the Palestinian cause.

Beyond direct experience lies the factor of severity, or rather I think the combination is potent. Young people who become aware of mass murder and abuse and discrimination, especially after having been taught that it didn’t exist, are likely to protest. Yet I suspect — and this is pure speculation — that another factor weighs heavily. That is the absence of the sort of U.S. government propaganda that promotes U.S. wars. The U.S. government does not market Israel’s attacks on surrounding lands in the way that it markets a U.S. attack on Iraq or Libya. U.S. wars are marketed as patriotic duties, and as mad urgent crises that cannot wait for cool consideration. Once begun, they must be continued forever or one fails to “support the troops.” Colleges notoriously turnover their student population every four years or so, and a movement that opposed a particular war as not a good civilized and acceptable war like the wars we really need has a half-life of about two years. Israel’s war in contrast goes on and on and on, and while opposing it gets you accused of anti-Semitism, it does not get you accused of treason — nor does it get you accused by remotely as many people. In fact opposing U.S. support for Israeli wars allows you to attack illegal and unacceptable foreign influence. So, while opposition to Israel’s war may benefit from the war not being American, awareness of the U.S. government’s role may actually help build the movement — not just because people are reflexively patriotic but because they are rightly indignant about being forced to support a crime.

In addition, Israel’s war and occupation involve elements quite familiar to African Americans and other abused groups in this country — including Latinos along the border wall — to the extent that Freedom Rides on buses are created in Israel, and mock border walls are created in Arizona. Mock eviction notices are all too frightening in college dorms. The echoes of South African Apartheid inform the movement with technical details and inspire it with the idea of success. And the U.S. movement for Palestine is supported by a global network better organized than those against U.S. wars — so far — not to mention the strength of global public opinion.

The movement for Palestine has somehow avoided the plague of frustration that has peace activists announcing that they will not attend a protest because they’ve attended them before and we don’t have peace yet. Instead, the history of Palestinian activism going back nearly a century provides inspiration, lessons, and structures to bolster a movement driven by temporarily engaged young people, further inspired by their established understanding that the “peace process” has been a fraud. Meanwhile the antiwar movement seems cursed to believe every new wild justification for every new war until it is debunked some weeks or months later.

None of this is to say that the movement for Palestine has it easy. When we passed a resolution in my town against a war on Iran, and then asked people to do the same in other towns, they came back empty-handed informing me that they’d been rejected as anti-Semites. If opposing bombing Iran is anti-Semitic, you can imagine what interrupting Israeli VIPs to denounce their crimes counts as. But BDS (boycotts, divestments, and sanctions) against the Israeli government are easier to advance than those against the U.S. government — although some are beginning to talk about the latter idea and many weapons companies that sell to Israel sell to everywhere else as well.

In the end, I can’t claim to know why activism for justice in Palestine is showing relative promise, but I can advocate giving it all the help we possibly can, respectful of the young people who are leading the way. Read their stories in In Our Power. If they succeed, it will help millions of people. It will also help the movement to end all war. Because the myth of ancient hatred between two parties will have been replaced by the reality of war as the political choice of a misguided government.  Ancient hatreds can be sold as inevitable. Choices made by misguided governments cannot.

Taher Herzallah, a young activist, explains where the confidence comes from: “[Y]ou have all these organizations pouring millions of dollars into doing work to combat the work we do for free. . . . [T]he work that we’re doing doesn’t need people that are paid millions of dollars. . . . When a freshman comes out and yells, ‘Free Palestine!’ and that threatens the existence of the state of Israel, that shows you how shallow that narrative is.”

Adds student activist Rahim Kurwa, “The [divestment] process enforces a debate on campus. It forces people to have to look at what’s going on and what they’re directly investing in. Every time you have that debate, you come out ahead.”

January 29th – Ukrainian Commanding General admits there is no Russian invasion of Ukraine.

By: operationmindcrime Thursday January 29, 2015 12:17 pm

“There is no Russian regular army in the Donbass” said Ukrainian Colonel-General Viktor Muzhenko.

This statement was reported on Poroshenkos very own Chanel 5. This statement puts a serious dent in the US’s narrative that Russia invaded Ukraine. Discerning posters should be fully aware of this fact by now as the Kiev spokesperson, nicknamed ‘Baghdad Bob’, has made the false claim on over thirty separate occasions in the past year and neither the US government nor he have ever provided any evidence to prove this repeated assertion.

2 links to Poroshenkos Chanel 5 showing Generals comment : http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=41f_1422552867

http://www.5.ua/ato-na-shodi/myjenko-ykrajna-ne-maye-dokaziv-masovoj-ychasti-zbroinih-sil-rf-y-boyah-na-donbasi-68687.html

Throughout the Ukrainian conflict every once in a while Ukrainian government officials have come clean about the invisible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

To the chagrin of the Obama Administration and NATO, Russia has not invaded. This latest admission came twice today. Once by inference from the Kiev spokesperson and the other by a direct admission from Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Victor Muzhenko.

During a briefing with General Muzenko he announced that “To date, we have only the involvement of some members of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and Russian citizens that are part of illegal armed groups involved in the fighting. We are not fighting with the regular Russian Army. We have enough forces and means in order to inflict a final defeat even with illegal armed formation present. “- he said.

If that wasn’t embarrassing enough for the Poroshenko regime which has consistently stated Russia has invaded and that Ukraine is fighting the Russian Army, it was Petro Poroshenko’s own TV station Channel 5 news that broke the story.

Earlier in the day Ukrainian Military spokesman Lusenko said he was worried if a provocation happened Russia would justify bringing in the Russian army. In inadvertent admission that the are not currently in Ukraine.

This was perfectly in line with General Muzenko’s statements which fully destroy western propaganda and agree the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a hoax.

Now, what about those other 37 Russian invasions Kiev and the US government and media stated happened last year?

On November 6th in an interview with Gromadske TV, Markian Lubkivsky, the adviser to the head of the SBU (the Ukrainian version of the CIA) stated there are NO RUSSIAN TROOPS ON UKRANIAN SOIL! This unexpected announcement came as he fumbled with reporters’ questions on the subject. According to his statement, he said the SBU counted about 5000 Russian nationals, but not Russian soldiers in Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics.

He further clarified that there were no organized Russian units in Donbass. The SBU thinks there are representatives of the Russian FSB (Russian CIA) and mentors who provide training and organization that grew the Novorussia army quickly in its fight with Ukraine.
He went on further to state that the SBU estimates the armies of Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics are about 20-25 thousand strong. In other words it always has been a civil war with possible military advisors from Russia. The people fighting are predominantly ethnic RussianUkrainians who are fighting to be free from a regime that they consider to be fascist. This insurgent army is comprised of the fathers and sons, moms and daughters of Novorossiya. They are people who held two democratic referendums to be separate of the Kiev regime who used extreme violence, intimidation, bombings and massacres against the innocent people of East Ukraine. The US government has backed this fascist, murderous regime and even stated on record that they are within their rights to bomb civilians in order to maintain Ukrianes territorial integrity.

Markian Lubkivsky’s official statement regarding a Russian invasion of Ukraine was made to the most prominent nationalist reporter in Ukraine, Natasha Stanko.

Both LifeNews and RT are wondering openly how Petro Poroshenko’s Channel 5 News became the most refreshing Putinesque Propaganda outlet on the planet, if only for a few moments.

A few moments later Channel 5’s talking heads were suffering once again from anti-Putin anxiety, and denied it ever happened.

Jen Psaki, aka ‘Baghdad Betty’ has not yet made any comment to AP reporter Matt Lee about the developing situation.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/01/kiev-announces-russian-invasion-ukraine-hoax.html

Great comment from the link: Major breakthrough news reporting from George Eliason. But will we learn about it on this evening’s ABC, CBS, NBC, or cable TV ‘news’? The Ukrainian Government finally acknowledges that all of their previous claims (none of which were documented) that Russia has invaded Ukrainian territory, have been false. This is shocking! And it’s enormously important! The basis for all of Obama’s (and the EU’s) sanctions against Russia is fraudulent. Will The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal — and Bloomberg ‘News,’ and ‘Public’ Television, and National ‘Public’ Radio — announce this stunning fact, to the American people?

It would be just as likely as for the U.S. ‘news’ media to have acknowledged that they had stenographically ‘reported’ the Bush Administration’s lies that Saddam Hussein was building nuclear weapons and was supporting Al Qaeda.

 

Some European Generals have known this all along: Former NATO Genral Kujat announced on German TV in October that he doesn’t believe the propaganda that the US and EU are conducting in regards to a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The above videos are proof that the US media and government are lying and covering up what is really going on in Ukraine. They have the majority of the American public convinced that Russia invaded Ukraine. Nothing can be further form the truth. If Russia did invade Ukraine the war would have long been over. Russia doesn’t want Ukraine. It wants the US and EU to pay for it fascist Frankensteins Monster that they have put in place.  Now take a quick look at the video below. You won’t find this story in the US media. This is the current truth about the Kiev regimes conscription for military service.

 

Oleg Boyko Ukraine General Staff ‘Only 6% of Those Drafted for Mobilisation Have Turned’ With Many Thousand Escaping to Russia

Only 6% of persons who are subject to a partial mobilization have volunteered. This was during a meeting of the chief of the Main Directorate of Mobilization Department of Defense and the General Staff of the mobilization plan of the Armed Forces, Oleg Boyko.

“At the moment … on the fourth stage partial mobilization at this rate, we have only six percent,” – said Boyko.

According to him, during the previous mobilization, this percentage was significantly higher and in some places reached 20%. “During the first stage of the partial mobilization in 2014, we were called for only 20% of the total number of volunteers mobilized. During the second and third stage of mobilization, this figure was up to 10 percent, “- said Boyko.

“The biggest problem in mobilization activities in the Transcarpathian region,” – he said.
According to him, sometimes people from whole villages go abroad. “There is a report of the Chairman of the Kosovo village of the district, according to which the local population hired two buses and drove them to the Russian Federation. On the border reservists paid for its crossover “, – said the head of mobilization department.

He added that in the Ternopil region continues mass escape of the male population abroad. “As if this was not a paradox, but people are fleeing to the Russian Federation”, – said Boyko.
There are also problems with the mobilization of crucial equipment for the needs of the army.

“Technology has been registered at the enterprises, while on business trips outside areas. And, as experience shows, was sent there literally on the eve of mobilization, “- he explained.
As previously reported, prosecutors have opened criminal proceedings in 1172 the facts of evasion from military service mobilization in 2014, the chief of the General Staff Mobilization Department Oleg Boyko.

 

In other words the Kiev regime is running out of people to fight their war and losing on all fronts. The part that is most interesting is that he personally states that the potential conscripts are fleeing to Russia of all places. He says it plain as day. They are fleeing to Russia for safety rather than fighting for the state of Ukraine. And this is the guy in charge of Ukrainian conscription for military service for the war the US is financing.

Bacevich: A Hug for the Muddlers

By: Tom Engelhardt Thursday January 29, 2015 9:47 am

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

After a State of the Union Address, we’re used to a rebuttal from the other party.  This year, two of them turned out to be on the schedule.  There was the one you probably missed — “You see, growing up, I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry…” — because who doesn’t switch to a little actual entertainment after an hour listening to any president?  That Republican “response” was delivered by new Iowa Senator Joni Ernst (she of the pig castration ads). The second one, not to be given until March 3rd, will be by the latest Republican senator and congressman, a fellow named Bibi Netanyahu. He will appear before a joint session of Congress, highlights from which will be all over the news undoubtedly showing both chambers rising repeatedly for standing ovations — some 29 times on the last such occasion — while the Israeli prime minister eviscerates President Obama’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.  Previews indicate that Netanyahu will also encourage Congress to pass further sanctions against Iran to ensure that those talks will be deep-sixed and the way paved for just what we all need: one more war in the Middle East.  A second audience will also be listening: Israeli voters, just two weeks before they go to the polls to decide whether Bibi is to remain in office.

All in all, call it an illuminating State of the Union moment, starting with the president’s fantasy address.  It was, after all, filled with proposals that might have been meaningful in year two of his first term but that now have as much chance of being enacted into law as the National Zoo in Washington does of housing a unicorn.  There was, however, one arena in which Obama might have assumed that something he said wouldn’t just be his own version of a Netanyahu-style election speech, laying the groundwork for the next Democratic candidate in 2016.  That, of course, was foreign policy.

Perhaps even the 36.4% of American voters — the lowest turnout since the Neolithic age — who ushered in the present war-hawk Republican Congress imagined they were sending their representatives to Washington to deal with the usual set of issues (and non-issues).  So call House Speaker John Boehner an original.  Without bothering to notify the White House and evidently encouraged by Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer, he promptly invited Netanyahu to respond to the president on a major foreign policy issue, while himself preparing to pass those new sanctions the Israeli prime minister is so eager for.  (On that score, the move has already backfired, rallying Democrats to the president and so making a successful veto a certainty for the coming months.)

As an anonymous “senior American official” told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Netanyahu’s act was the equivalent of spitting in the president’s face.  By the way, whatever that is on John Kerry’s face after years working to develop a special relationship with Netanyahu — who didn’t even bother to tell him he was coming — I leave you to figure out.  All in all, think of it as the perfect cherry on the misbaked cake of an Obama foreign policy that, as TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich points out, has been outstanding mainly for its remarkable mediocrity.

As the president shuttles from India to Saudi Arabia on an increasingly incoherent planet, that classic philosophical thought experiment comes to mind: What is the sound of a politician falling in the forest if no one hears him go down? Tom

Save Us From Washington’s Visionaries
In (Modest) Praise of a Comforting Mediocrity
By Andrew J. Bacevich

En route back to Washington at the tail end of his most recent overseas trip, John Kerry, America’s peripatetic secretary of state, stopped off in France “to share a hug with all of Paris.” Whether Paris reciprocated the secretary’s embrace went unrecorded.

Despite the requisite reference to General Pershing (“Lafayette, we are here!”) and flying James Taylor in from the 1960s to assure Parisians that “You’ve Got a Friend,” in the annals of American diplomacy Kerry’s hug will likely rank with President Eisenhower’s award of the Legion of Merit to Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza for “exceptionally meritorious conduct” and Jimmy Carter’s acknowledgment of the “admiration and love” said to define the relationship between the Iranian people and their Shah.  In short, it was a moment best forgotten.

Alas, this vapid, profoundly silly event is all too emblematic of statecraft in the Obama era.  Seldom have well-credentialed and well-meaning people worked so hard to produce so little of substance.

Not one of the signature foreign policy initiatives conceived in Obama’s first term has borne fruit. When it came to making a fresh start with the Islamic world, responsibly ending the “dumb” war in Iraq (while winning the “necessary” one in Afghanistan), “resetting” U.S.-Russian relations, and “pivoting” toward Asia, mark your scorecard 0 for 4.

There’s no doubt that when Kerry arrived at the State Department he brought with him some much-needed energy.  That he is giving it his all — the department’s website reports that the secretary has already clocked over 682,000 miles of travel — is doubtless true as well.  The problem is the absence of results.  Remember when his signature initiative was going to be an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal?  Sadly, that quixotic plan, too, has come to naught.

Yes, Team Obama “got” bin Laden.  And, yes, it deserves credit for abandoning a self-evidently counterproductive 50-plus-year-old policy toward Cuba and for signing a promising agreement with China on climate change.  That said, the administration’s overall record of accomplishment is beyond thin, starting with that first-day-in-the-Oval-Office symbol that things were truly going to be different: Obama’s order to close Guantanamo.  That, of course, remains a work in progress (despite regular reassurances of light glimmering at the end of what has become a very long tunnel).

In fact, taking the president’s record as a whole, noting that on his watch occasional U.S. drone strikes have become routine, the Nobel Committee might want to consider revoking its Peace Prize.

Nor should we expect much in the time that Obama has remaining. Perhaps there is a deal with Iran waiting in the wings (along with the depth charge of ever-fiercer congressionally mandated sanctions), but signs of intellectual exhaustion are distinctly in evidence.

“Where there is no vision,” the Hebrew Bible tells us, “the people perish.”  There’s no use pretending: if there’s one thing the Obama administration most definitely has not got and has never had, it’s a foreign policy vision.

In Search of Truly Wise (White) Men — Only Those 84 or Older Need Apply

All of this evokes a sense of unease, even consternation bordering on panic, in circles where members of the foreign policy elite congregate.  Absent visionary leadership in Washington, they have persuaded themselves, we’re all going down.  So the world’s sole superpower and self-anointed global leader needs to get game — and fast.

Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently weighed in with a proposal for fixing the problem: clean house.  Obama has surrounded himself with fumbling incompetents, Gelb charges.  Get rid of them and bring in the visionaries.

Writing at the Daily Beast, Gelb urges the president to fire his entire national security team and replace them with “strong and strategic people of proven foreign policy experience.”  Translation: the sort of people who sip sherry and nibble on brie in the august precincts of the Council of Foreign Relations.  In addition to offering his own slate of nominees, including several veterans of the storied George W. Bush administration, Gelb suggests that Obama consult regularly with Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and James Baker.  These distinguished war-horses range in age from 84 to 91.  By implication, only white males born prior to World War II are eligible for induction into the ranks of the Truly Wise Men.

Anyway, Gelb emphasizes, Obama needs to get on with it.  With the planet awash in challenges that “imperil our very survival,” there is simply no time to waste.

At best, Gelb’s got it half right.  When it comes to foreign policy, this president has indeed demonstrated a knack for surrounding himself with lackluster lieutenants.  That statement applies equally to national security adviser Susan Rice (and her predecessor), to Secretary of State Kerry (and his predecessor), and to outgoing Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel.  Ashton Carter, the technocrat slated to replace Hagel as defense secretary, comes from the same mold.

They are all “seasoned”  – in Washington, a euphemism for bland, conventional, and utterly unimaginative — charter members of the Rogers-Christopher school of American statecraft.  (That may require some unpacking, so pretend you’re on Jeopardy.  Alex Trebek:  “Two eminently forgettable and completely forgotten twentieth-century secretaries of state.”  You, hitting the buzzer:  “Who were William Rogers and Warren Christopher?”  “Correct!”)

Members of Obama’s national security team worked long and hard to get where they are.  Yet along the way — perhaps from absorbing too many position papers, PowerPoint briefings, and platitudes about “American global leadership” — they lost whatever creative spark once endowed them with the appearance of talent and promise.  Ambition, unquestioned patriotism, and a capacity for putting in endless hours (and enduring endless travel) — all these remain.  But a serious conception of where the world is heading and what that implies for basic U.S. policy?  Individually and collectively, they are without a clue.

I submit that maybe that’s okay, that plodding mediocrity can be a boon if, as at present, the alternatives on offer look even worse.

A Hug for Obama

You want vision?  Obama’s predecessor surrounded himself with visionaries.  Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, products of the Cold War one and all, certainly fancied themselves large-bore strategic thinkers.  Busily positioning the United States to run (just another “i” and you have “ruin”) the world, they were blindsided by 9/11.  Unembarrassed and unchastened by this disaster, they initiated a series of morally dubious, strategically boneheaded moves that were either (take your pick) going to spread freedom and democracy or position the United States to exercise permanent dominion.  The ensuing Global War on Terror did neither, of course, while adding trillions to the national debt and helping fracture great expanses of the planet.  Obama is still, however ineffectually, trying to clean up the mess they created.

If that’s what handing the keys to big thinkers gets you, give me Susan Rice any day.  Although Obama’s “don’t do stupid shit” may never rank with Washington’s Farewell Address or the Monroe Doctrine in the history books, George W. Bush might have profited from having some comparable axiom taped to his laptop.

Big ideas have their place — indeed, are essential — when the issues at hand are clearly defined.  The Fall of France in 1940 was one such moment, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized.  So too, arguably, was the period immediately after World War II.  The defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan had left a dangerous power vacuum in both Europe and the Pacific to which George Marshall, Dean Acheson, and their compatriots forged a necessary response.  Perhaps the period 1968-1969 falls into that same category, the debacle of Vietnam requiring a major adjustment in U.S. Cold War strategy.  This Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger undertook with their opening to China.

Yet despite the overwrought claims of Gelb (and others) that America’s very survival is today at risk, the present historical moment lacks comparable clarity.  Ours is not a time when we face a single overarching threat.  Instead, on several different fronts, worrisome developments are brewing.  Environmental degradation, the rise of China and other emerging powers, the spread of radical Islam, the precarious state of the global economy, vulnerabilities that are an inevitable byproduct of our pursuit of a cyber-utopia: all of these bear very careful watching.  Each one today should entail a defensive response, the United States protecting itself (and its allies) against worst-case outcomes.  But none of these at the present moment justifies embarking upon a let-out-all-the-stops offensive.  Chasing after one problem would necessarily divert attention from the rest.

The immediate future remains too opaque to say with certainty which threat will turn out to pose the greatest danger, whether in the next year or the next decade — and which might even end up not being a threat at all but an unexpected opportunity.  Conditions are not ripe for boldness.  The abiding imperative of the moment is to discern, which requires careful observation and patience.  In short, forget about strategy.

And there’s a further matter.  Correct discernment assumes a proper vantage point.  What you see depends on where you sit and which way you’re facing.  Those who inhabit the upper ranks of the Obama administration (and those whom Leslie Gelb offers as replacements) sit somewhere back in the twentieth century, their worldview shaped by memories of Munich and Yalta, Korea and Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Wall, none of which retain more than tangential relevance to the present day.

You want vision?  That will require a new crop of visionaries.  Instead of sitting down with ancients like Kissinger, Scowcroft, Brzezinski, or Baker, this president (or his successor) would be better served to pick the brain of the army captain back from multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, the moral theologian specializing in inter-religious dialog, the Peace Corps volunteer who spent the last two years in West Africa, and the Silicon Valley entrepreneur best able to spell out the political implications of the next big thing.

In short, a post-twentieth century vision requires a post-twentieth century generation, able to free itself from old shibboleths to which Leslie Gelb and most of official Washington today remain stubbornly dedicated.  That generation waits in the wings and after another presidential election or two may indeed wield some influence.  We should hope so.  In the meantime, we should bide our time, amending the words of the prophet to something like: “Where there is no vision, the people muddle along and await salvation.”

So as Obama and his team muddle toward their finish line, their achievements negligible, we might even express a modicum of gratitude.  When they depart the scene, we will forget the lot of them.  Yet at least they managed to steer clear of truly epic disasters.  When muddling was the best Washington had on offer, they delivered.  They may even deserve a hug.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is writing a military history of America’s War for the Greater Middle East. His most recent book is Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 Andrew Bacevich

Super Bowl: Seattle by 3

By: jaango Thursday January 29, 2015 7:33 am

As an aficionado for a ‘smart’ defense, Seattle should easily win.  Of course, I am a tad biased in my support for a Left Coast team.  Just don’t sue me?

Jaango