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Paris, 1968. Teheran, 1980. Tel Aviv, 2012?

7:01 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The person calling himself “Mobutu Sese Seko”, but who most manifestly is not the late Congolese dictator, is in my opinion one of Gawker’s better and more perceptive writers, and he just hit another home run, in the course of discussing Mitt Romney’s all-too-likely illegal foreign policy collusions with his best bud Bibi Netanyahu. While delineating that misdeed, he then cites two others committed by Republican presidential candidates:

… In 1968, with the expectation of a plum position in the Nixon administration, Henry Kissinger persuaded the south Vietnamese to spike the Paris peace talks with unreasonable demands, promising a better deal under a GOP administration. About a half decade and 20,000 dead Americans later, Kissinger brokered an accord like the one he’d scuppered illegally. But it had already served its purpose: Kissinger destroyed Hubert Humphrey’s peace strategy and a huge 1968 campaign plank. Lyndon Johnson refused to publicly condemn Nixon and Kissinger for doing something incredibly fucking illegal (under the Logan Act), lest he be seen to use the office of the president to aggressively campaign for a successor or divulge the shady means with which his evidence had been gathered.

And if that example feels too quaintly historical or insufficiently Middle Easty, there are always the more recent depredations against truth and policy, like announcing Mission Accomplished 40 days after a war’s commencement and eight-and-half years before its end—but only one year before an election.

He left out another infamous electorally-inspired meddling — to wit, Reagan’s October Surprise from 1980: Read the rest of this entry →

The One-Percenters’ Misdirection Plays: Because They Can’t Handle the Truth

1:14 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Pay no attention to the Iraq warmonger behind the curtain!

Republicans and other elite representatives of the One-Percenters running this country know that the facts are against them, in everything from economic dealings to the criminal-justice system to the environment. So, when confronted by the facts, they do everything they can to draw attention away from themselves, preferably through the use of inflammatory statements intended to bog people down in defending against them.

It’s yet another misdirection play, part of the Wall Street counterinsurgency plan, just like the Cost to the Taxpayer and the Stinky Noisy Rowdiness gambits. They want oh so badly to make this about the protesters and not the message, and to be about the smears the one-percenters create as opposed to the methods and motives and actions of the one-percenters themselves. “Pay no attention to that oligarch behind the curtain!” is their cry.

Now comes the latest and most vile smear of all. The Wall Street hedge fund financed ECI Republicans and conservatives like William Kristol and Gary Bauer who are currently screaming “anti-semites!” now (in the face of all the evidence to the contrary) are the same ones who backed the Iraq invasion and did their damndest to paint Iraq war opponents as anti-semites in order to keep the public from pulling back the curtain on the phony WMD claims and other nonsense used to justify the invasion of a nation, their slaughter of its peoples, and their plans to profit from it all.

One of the things that gives these conservatives’ and Republicans’ game away is their odd blindness to all other forms of bigotry. They flatly refuse to admit what even Michael Steele was compelled to admit — the decades-long use of the Southern Strategy, the Republican fanning of race-hatred flames as a way to get and hold white votes. Professional Christian (in the Twain sense) John Mark Reynolds has been assiduously broadcasting the ECI-backed smears against Occupy Wall Street, yet is also on record as saying that conservatives and Republicans don’t regularly use racism and bigotry for electoral gain, a classic case of hollering about the hypothetical mote in a neighbor’s eye whilst ignoring the two-by-four sticking out of one’s own.

Will the elites who among other things brought us the Iraq catastrophe get away with their similarly-dodgy attacks on Occupy Wall Street? Not if we continue to turn the focus away from the one-percenters’ trumped-up smears and back where it belongs: on the one-percenters’ actions.

Veterans! Claim Your Stop-Loss Pay NOW!

10:18 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

If you or a loved one is an Iraq or Afghanistan war vet, you have until December 18 to claim the money that’s coming to you:

The DoD Web site (http://www.defense.gov/stoploss) links to service-specific sites, where you can get more information, or begin the RSLSP claim process.

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP), providing $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status.  Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of service members whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009 are eligible for RSLSP. 

To receive this benefit, those who served under stop loss must submit a claim for the special pay (by Dec 18, 2010).  Throughout the year, the services have been reaching out to service members, veterans and their families through direct mail, veteran service organizations, and the media.  But there is still money left to be claimed, and the deadline is approaching. 

The average benefit is $3,700.

Do it NOW. The deadline is December 18.

Stop-Loss Vets: Apply NOW for Your Stop-Loss Money!

6:21 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

[Ed. note: Please spread the word with Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. Thanks!]

Are you a stop-loss veteran? Do you know someone who is? Better read on, then:

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP), providing $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status from September 11, 2001 through September 30, 2009. Being in "stop loss" status meant that the affected troop could not leave active service when his or her tour of duty ended. This typically extended tours of duty by several months for each troop affected.

Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of servicemembers whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009 are eligible for RSLSP.

To receive this benefit, those who served under stop loss must submit a claim for the special pay. Throughout the year, the services have been reaching out to servicemembers, veterans and their families through direct mail, veteran service organizations, and the media. But there is still money left to be claimed, and the deadline is approaching. The average benefit is $3,700.

Individuals who meet eligibility criteria may submit an application between Oct. 21, 2009 and Oct., 21 2010. By law, there is no authorization to make payments on claims that are submitted after Oct. 21, 2010, so apply NOW.

Eligible members should print, complete and sign Department of Defense Form 2944, Claim for Retroactive Stop Loss Payment.

Next, choose the appropriate method for submitting the claim form and available supporting documents based on your service specifications. This information can be found on your service’s stop loss Web site.

The following service-specific sites provide more information and allow you to begin the RSLSP claim process.

Army

Marine Corps

Navy

Air Force

Our Wonderful Traditional Mainstream Media In Action

1:17 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Over at Balloon Juice, DougJ noticed that an incoherent New York Times thumbsucker on naughty public leaders and institutions had an illustration that showed Tiger Woods, John Edwards, David Paterson, a Toyota logo, and a generic picture of a headless someone raking in bucks behind a "FORECLOSURE" sign.

As DougJ says: "Is it really news that rich men like to have affairs?" But even if we accept the idea that we’re supposed to have national freakout sessions whenever rich men have affairs, why is there a decided double standard? As anticontrarian said: "Where are the pictures of John Ensign? Or David Vitter?"

Where, indeed?

I was chatting the other day with some random dittohead who was blathering on and on about what a creep Edwards was/is when I brought him up short by asking him "why is the media hammering away at a guy who retired from politics two years ago and hasn’t held an office for six years?"

He sputtered something to the effect that well, Edwards wanted to be president and he held himself up as so godly. To which I replied "You mean like Mark Sanford? That guy cheated on his wife too, and he held himself up as so godly — and he’s still considered a viable 2012 GOP candidate by some people. Oh, and he’s still a sitting governor."

He didn’t have a reply to that.

But going back to issues of trust that are actually our business, and are actually important, DougJ also mentions the absence of Judy Miller’s picture from that Wall of Public Shaming.

You’d think that enabling the ambitions of Ahmad Chalabi — who as we’ve known for years was working hand-in-glove with Iran — to create a war that destroyed one nation, killed untold hundreds of thousands if not millions, and has seriously damaged America’s financial and moral standing, would be a mite worse of a crime than catting around on one’s spouse, even if the adulterer is an evil Democrat as opposed to nice Republican Mark Sanford. But maybe that’s just me.

Remember When Republicans Liked Exit Strategies?

8:06 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

It’s so funny to hear all the Republicans like McCain and their fellow travelers like Lieberman complain about Obama’s having an exit strategy instead of an unending commitment to quagmire. As not-so-ancient history shows, Republicans hate exit strategies only when they’re applied by Democrats to wars Republicans started, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

When Democrats start wars, Republicans are all about the exit strategy — as they showed when opposing President Clinton’s Kosovo actions back in the late ’90s. Crooks and Liars back in 2005 put together a whole list of juicy exit-strategy-praising quotes from prominent Republicans, including my personal favorite from George W. Bush — who within three years after this statement would be starting his own exit-strategy-free wars of choice:

"Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

Preach it, Georgie!

A DoJ Attorney’s Take on Obama’s Speech

11:30 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Excerpted from Kossack and Justice Department attorney Lars Thorwald’s DKos diary on Obama’s speech:

I heard a level of determination in his voice that I think some could reasonably interpret as being tinged with a bit of pique over the political silliness of the last few weeks.  

Of course, the President used carefully weighed language, but I think his message was clear on those matters in which he was determined to set forth policy.  True to Obama: steel determination wrapped in a velvet glove.  

Where he wanted to be, the President was certain and clear and unwavering.  For instance, he forcefully declared that we will close the prison at Guantanamo–delivering that message without hesitation or reservation.

The message between the lines was, hey, you scairdy-cat and illogical Congress critters can sort of suck it if you think otherwise.  Some of these detainees are going to SuperMax prisons.  You’d best learn to deal with it.  So he took some in his own party to task in that measured, reasoned way that is becoming Obama’s hallmark.

But here’s the point: although Obama’s speech was powerful enough that he could have declared that there will be no further investigation or examination of the legality or illegality of the use of torture, and even though he did declare set positions on several key issues,  I did not hear such foreclosure with regard to possible prosecutions. Read the rest of this entry →

The Art of the Forced Confession

12:11 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Iran has convicted American-born journalist Roxana Saberi of espionage, using a confession extorted from her in exchange for the promise of freedom if she admitted whatever her captors wanted her to admit.

The United States of America, leader and moral arbiter of the world’s nations, waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times in one month in order to get him to say whatever his captors wanted him to say.

Now KSM, coerced confession or not, is a known terrorist.  And Iran is by no means incapable of brutality towards its detainees, as the case of Zahra Kazemi, who died in Iranian custody in 2003, shows.  Though so far, there is no evidence to show that Saberi is being beaten and tortured at all, much less as severely as was Kazemi, KSM, or any of the Gitmo and other detainees who, unlike KSM, are innocent of any terrorist acts.

If we’re the moral arbiter of the world, perhaps we shouldn’t be acting like — if not outstripping in amorality — nations we condemn as pariah states.

(We wouldn’t know about the 183 tortures if not for our own Emptywheel.  Show her some love here, if you could.)

MSM: Still Getting It Wrong On Iraq

9:12 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

The LAT’s Robert Kaplan (h/t to Andrew Sullivan) is all a-quiver about the crisis that he says will happen:

I fear a measurable uptick in violence in Iraq if Obama wins on Tuesday. The uptick will be significant enough to muddy the results of the surge, and the president-elect, rather than respond vigorously, will be tempted to say "I told you so" and thus win the Iraq debate with his Republican critics. The upturn in violence, he will be tempted to argue, only means we need to get out of Iraq even faster. But that would be a mistake.

Kaplan should talk to people outside of the GOP/Media Complex. He might want to talk to some actual Iraqis not named "Chalabi", for instance (h/t Siun):

Ibrahim expressed his hope that Obama would soon pull out U.S. troops from Iraq, saying "Get out of Iraq and leave us alone and we will solve our problems."

But of course Mr. Kaplan knows what’s best for Iraq better than a silly old Iraqi not named Ahmad Chalabi. Right? Right?