RUSSIA AND “RUSSIAGATE”
I've of course enjoyed your work over the years.
I recently tweeted "Finally saw 'The Big Short'. Good. Sure they'll produce a film about folks who were right about Iraq wmds any decade now."
Immediately, a couple of McClatchy reporters I know responded, tweeting that you are working on "Shock and Awe."
At the Institute for Public Accuracy, we got a lot of critical information out scrutinizing claims regarding alleged Iraq WMDs from 2002-03 and I thought you'd be interested in learning of it.
A sample: in October, 2002, John R. MacArthur, author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War, noted on one of our news releases: "Recently, Bush cited an IAEA report that Iraq was ‘six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.’ The IAEA responded that not only was there no new report, ‘there’s never been a report’ asserting that Iraq was six months away from constructing a nuclear weapon." That's just the tip of the iceberg of what was knowable at the time. See other such news releases we put out from before the invasion: "White House Claims: A Pattern of Deceit" and "Bush’s War Case: Fiction vs. Facts at Accuracy.org/bush" and "U.S. Credibility Problems" and "Tough Questions for Bush on Iraq Tonight."
Fold: Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Omar herself can go largely silent on Israel. She can perhaps even offer a bigger apology than she did before or she can find some other way to draw closer to the establishment. This is a convenient path.
Continue the Current Pattern: Thus far, Rep. Omar has made statements about the Israel lobby and support for Israel that at one level are obviously true:
In case you missed that, she pointedly did not say "the economy isn't working well" or such, as we've all heard numerous politicos say countless times.
She rather said the opposite of that -- repeatedly: "The way I see it right now, Washington works great for giant drug companies, but just not for people who are trying to get a prescription filled. Washington works great for for-profit colleges and student loan outfits, but not for young people who are getting crushed by student loan debt. And you could keep going through the list. The problem we have got right now in Washington is that it works great for those who've got money to buy influence."
And in case anyone at all missed the point, she said it yet again: "We want a government that works not just for the rich and the powerful. We want a government that works for everyone."
It's laudatory that Warren is using her perch and analytical skills to avoid a common rhetorical trap and is articulating the truism that the political establishment largely does the bidding of the wealthy and connected when it comes to the economy.
The problem is that she doesn't articulate that in the same manner when it comes to bloody wars. Quite the contrary. That is, she says that she goes down a list -- drug companies, for-profit colleges and student loan outfits -- but that list doesn't seem to include those who have an interest in continuing horrific wars.
My latest piece, "Trump and Big Media: Clash or Collusion?" -- pegged to the Trump-Acosta controversy -- was published over the weekend at Consortium News. Among other things, it gets into Acosta's misreporting about my expulsion from the Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki and the symbiotic relationship between Trump and much of the major media.
Especially with Brett Kavanaugh's accession to the Supreme Court, many are understandably absorbed with the importance of trying to end the Republican majorities in Congress for the midterm elections.
But simply always backing Democrats will likely propel the party further toward the establishment corporate right. If voters are just going to get behind a Democratic candidate no matter what, there's no incentive for them to be progressive in any sense.
Some may point to some new left-leaning candidates coming out of the Democratic Party. But even the most optimistic assessment of these candidates must acknowledge they are far outnumbered by establishment Democratic Party incumbents.
And there's a reason for that: Establishment apparatchiks in the Democratic Party go around the country kneecapping candidates who might, maybe, have some actual progressive tendencies.
Exhibit A is Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives who was caught on a secret audio recording doing exactly that earlier this year.
Now, noted activist and author Pat Elder is challenging Hoyer. If people of whatever stripe -- Democratic, Green, independent, whatever -- want to challenge the Democratic Party establishment, then strongly backing Elder's campaign is perhaps the shrewdest move they can make right now.
Earlier this year, Lee Fang of The Intercept reported, based on secretly taped audio, how Hoyer works "to crush competitive primaries and steer political resources, money, and other support to hand-picked candidates in key races across the country."
Specifically, after I sent out a series of news releases effectively arguing that then-president Bill Clinton should be impeached "for the right reasons" -- specifically, illegal bombings, Hitchens objected. He argued that the distinction between Clinton's personal and professional actions was a false one, that "it's all part of the same scummy guy."
As some argue that Kavanaugh shouldn't be judged on actions he committed when he was 17, are they pretending they are ignorant of his professional record, of his pattern of lying under oath even before Ford came forward?
Are we to act as though Kavanaugh's apparent attempted rape of Christine Blasey Ford has no relation to his backing torture?
Are we supposed to pretend that there's no connection between being a privileged hoodlum and flacking for corrupt presidents and corporations?
Are we supposed to just go along as though there's no relationship between putting misogynistic crap on your high school yearbook and expecting to get away with it and brazenly lying about it under oath decades later?
Should we really pretend that having a high school cabal who clearly seem to use their sense of privilege (Kavanaugh's mother was a judge) to get away with whatever they want to do doesn't relate to cliquish associations like the Federalist Society, using the law to further the interests of elites?
I've heard feminists say to the point of cliché that rape "isn't about sex, it's about power". I've seen a few articles pointing out the "power of sexual violence" exposed by Ford's testimony, but virtually no utterance connecting that violence and will to power to Kavanaugh's professional work.
Kavanaugh -- like Oliver North and Clarence Thomas before him -- was able to use a faux anger to bully punching bag Democrats who seemed more concerned about appearing judicious than winning. Many ask if Kavanaugh has the temperament to be a judge, almost to preclude more substantial arguments against him. The unasked question is if the Democrats have the temperament to be effective.
Who showed fire in their belly and articulated Kavanaugh's lying under oath? Who went for the jugular? Sen. Dick Durbin came close to doing so about Kavanaugh failing to call for an FBI investigation -- and then a (pathetic) FBI investigation happened. That should be a lesson.
Kavanaugh, when he was working for Ken Starr, suggested that Clinton be asked “If Monica Lewinsky says you inserted a cigar into her vagina while you were in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?”
Only one of my several questions got in without getting mangled:
Question: "Do you think there should be an open source social media platform?"
Craig Newmark: "Boy, I don't know if there is a need for that. Just reflexively almost, I supports open source almost automatically. The idea is that some people have tried to do that -- I think one of them recently shut down because of lack of interest. I do think as more and more of the ethics of our social media platforms, as more and more of that is explored, I think things are going to get better for all of us. One of the big problems for example is the lack of informed consent. A social media platform should clearly tell you what it is collecting, who they will share it with and so on. And those things are happening. I am involved with the Center for Humane Technology which is doing that kind of thing, and for that matter, there is the European GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation], which goes ways in that direction, requiring platforms to tell you, hey, here is what we are going to tell about you and here is what we are going to show about you. Different countries have different flavors. Some opt in, some opt out. And that's a controversial topic because implementing that is going to be hard for some people but I can see all of those areas improving. And I am committed."
Here's the video, that question is at about 45 min.
(Other questions I submitted included if Russiagate possibly threatens humanity (totally garbled so the point was unclear) and couple of questions on possible nationalization or democratic control over internet corporations (dumbed down to "do you favor regulation"). Newmark repeatedly said he doesn't think any good regulation will come from DC, kept mentioning Sacramento, was kind of a running gag in his talk.)
I realized there the way I felt about the soldiers commemorated there was decidedly similar how I felt about John McCain the POW in Vietnam: They both fought for a cause that was unjust and ended up enduring real suffering.
Of course, celebrations over the assassination of Bin Ladin were commonplace in the U.S. and McCain's death has prompted a virtual media and political deification of a serial war criminal. In a sense, he represents the latest example of Trumpwashing -- that is, the laudatory echo chamber around McCain is fueled in large part by an at least implicit put down of the current psudo isolationist president who, for better or worse, got multiple military draft deferments.