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Spirits in the Material World

SPIRITS IN THE MATERIAL WORLD

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There is no political solution
To our troubled evolution
Have no faith in constitution
There is no bloody revolution 

The Police – Spirits in the Material World

As I was driving home from work last week, an almost forty-year-old song began emanating from my radio. I’ve always appreciated the music of The Police, but was never a huge fan. Spirits in the Material World was a relatively minor hit from their 1981 Ghost in the Machine multi-platinum album. I’ve probably heard it hundreds of times over the last four decades, but the lyrics struck me as particularly apropos at the end of a week where lunatic left-wing politicians staged a battle royale of ineptitude, invective, and idiotic solutions, in front of a perplexed public in a Vegas casino. Sting wrote the lyrics to this song in 1981 at the outset of the Reagan presidency. It is less than 3 minutes in length, but says much about humanity and the world we inhabit.

The interpretation of Sting’s (Gordon Sumner) lyrics depends upon your position in the generational kaleidoscope of history. As a boomer, Sting came of age during the 1960s and 70s. He was thirty years old in 1981 as the Second Turning (Awakening) was winding down and Reagan’s Morning in America was about to launch the Third Turning (Unraveling) in 1984.

His passionate idealism and search for spiritual solutions to the problems of the day had not been extinguished. The raging inflation of the 1970s had led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. The Cold War was at its coldest. Politicians had been discredited as criminal (Nixon) or incompetent (Carter). Sting and many others of his generation had lost faith in the political system. His viewpoint fit perfectly into the Strauss and Howe assessment of our last Awakening period (1964 – 1984).

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16 Years After Iraq, the US Has Become a Nation of Passive Neocons 

ANTI WAR PROTEST

NEO-CONMEN 

16 Years After Iraq, the US Has Become a Nation of Passive Neocons 

After Iraq, the neocons began waging another war, one for America’s soul.

WASHINGTON (Opinion) — Sixteen years have passed and the memory of the Iraq War is distant for many, save for the millions of people — Iraqi and American alike — who saw their lives destroyed by one of the greatest lies ever sold to the American public. 

Yet, while plenty of Americans sleep easy thinking that such an atrocity as the invasion and occupation of Iraq could never happen again, the U.S. government has continuously been involved in many smaller, equally disastrous wars — both seen and unseen — largely thanks to the fact that those who brought us the Iraq War remain both respected and still present in the halls of power.

Indeed, the only thing the domestic outrage over the Iraq War seemed to accomplish has been a massive effort waged by the government and the corporate elite to engineer a public that doesn’t complain and doesn’t care when their government meddles or invades another country. 

For many Americans today, much like the war itself, the outrage over the Iraq War is a distant memory and comparable outrage has failed to emerge over any other U.S. government crime committed or contemplated on a similar scale — whether it be the “regime change” invasion of Libya, the ongoing genocide in Yemen, or in response to crimes the government is now setting up

Our forgetfulness has informed our silence and our silence is our complicity in the crimes — past and present — orchestrated by the neocons, who never left government after Iraq but instead rebranded themselves and helped to culturally engineer our passivity. As a consequence, we have again been hoodwinked by the neocons, who have transformed America in their image, creating a nation of neocon enablers, a nation of passive neocons.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How George W. Bush Corrupted America’s ‘News’-Reporting

How George W. Bush Corrupted America’s ‘News’-Reporting

How George W. Bush Corrupted America’s ‘News’-Reporting

In order to understand today’s demonization of Vladimir Putin, one must go back to US President George W. Bush’s propaganda for “regime-change in Iraq” and demonization of Saddam Hussein at that time. The US regime now has come to recognize that with Putin’s high approval-ratings from the Russian public, the US aristocracy’s dream of fomenting Putin’s ouster by Russia’s voters will not work; and, so, all foreign leaders who cooperated with Russia, such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Viktor Yanukovych, and Bashar al-Assad, were first targeted by the US regime for “regime-change,” so as to isolate Russia and soften it up for the demanded US-takeover (‘democracy’, ‘free market’, etc., which Russia actually now already has, at least as much as America does); and, then, since that hasn’t yet worked, came the US aristocracy’s campaign to ‘protect The West’ by NATO troops and weapons surrounding Russia and forcing regime-change in Russia. It has escalated now to the point where World War III is more likely than ever it was during the Cold War.

Regime-change in Russia will thus either occur by the democratic vote of the Russian public at some distant time and produce a Russian Government that’s likely to be against the US regime in every possible way (which the current Russian Government is not), or else it will require a US-and-allied invasion of Russia, and that would destroy the world (but the US aristocracy want it anyway).

However, America’s aristocracy (or as they call it when referring to the same thing in low-income countries, “oligarchs”) — basically just its billionaires — are very impatient; they want to control the entire planet during their own lifetimes, and care little (if at all) about what will happen to the planet after they’re gone.

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Must Watch Interview – Iraq War Whistleblower Banned from Twitter Tells His Story

Must Watch Interview – Iraq War Whistleblower Banned from Twitter Tells His Story

During my time in Iraq working for the State Department, a time that I initially was a red, white and blue government official, I frequently lied to the media. I lied to them about how things were going, I lied to them about how successful we were. My colleagues and I were contemptuous of them, most of the people we talked to in the media didn’t know enough to ask important questions, most of them didn’t care enough to ask questions and simply jotted down whatever we told them, and it was just remarkably easy to fool them. It’s almost as if they wanted to play along with us.

At one point I described it as they weren’t looking for “the story,” just “a story.” I made some remarks about how many of them were more concerned about looking good in their stand-ups, getting their makeup on straight than looking for details or questioning the lies that the government put forward. 

– Peter Van Buren, Iraq War Whistleblower, banned from Twitter a few days ago

The above quote is from an extraordinary discussion between Daniel McAdams, Scott Horton and Peter Van Buren that occurred yesterday.

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and watch this, it’s that important.

Let’s now get right into why this is so incredibly problematic. Mr. Van Buren claims that he was deleted from Twitter after making a mainstream journalist named Jonathan Katz uncomfortable with what was an obvious joke that no honest person would ever take as a real threat of violence.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump’s Disastrous Syria Attack

Trump’s Disastrous Syria Attack

Over the weekend, President Trump celebrated firing more than 100 missiles into Syria by Tweeting, “Mission Accomplished!” They say if you cannot learn from history you are condemned to repeat it. So I guess we are repeating it.

We all remember that “Mission Accomplished” was the banner behind then-President Bush as he gloated aboard a US navy ship that the war in Iraq had been won. After his “victory,” however, some 4,000 US military personnel were killed, perhaps a million Iraqis were killed, and the country’s infrastructure and social fabric were so badly destroyed that they probably can never be repaired.

Actually, there is much about the US attack on Syria that reminds us of Iraq.

With Iraq, the US moved in to start bombing before international inspectors had completed their mission to verify whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Had they been allowed to complete their mission and verify that he did not, imagine the suffering, death, and destruction that could have been avoided. In Syria, the US decided to start bombing before the international inspectors were even allowed to start checking claims that Assad gassed his own people in Douma. Why? What was the rush? Was Washington afraid they might not find Assad guilty?

Who really benefits from US attacks on the Syrian government? There were reports that ISIS began making moves immediately after the air strikes. Do we really want to be al-Qaeda and ISIS’s airforce? Is that going to keep us safer? I remember when al-Qaeda was actually considered our enemy, not an ally in overthrowing the last secular government in the Middle East.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Crime and No Punishment for the Iraq War

STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images

Crime and No Punishment for the Iraq War

It is unlikely that former US President George W. Bush or any member of his administration will ever stand trial for initiating a war of aggression in Iraq. But it is still worth recounting the illegality of that act, not least because it is directly relevant to official US thinking on Iran and North Korea today.

PRINCETON – Last month, the New York Times marked the 15th anniversary of the US-led war against Iraq with a poignant column by Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi novelist living in the United States, entitled “Fifteen Years Ago, America Destroyed My Country.” Antoon opposed both Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship and the 2003 US-led invasion, which plunged the country into chaos, inflamed ethnic tensions, and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. By destabilizing the region, the war enabled the rise of the Islamic State, which at its height occupied a substantial slice of Iraqi territory, beheading its opponents, attempting genocide against the Yazidi minority, and spreading terrorism around the world.

The war to overthrow Saddam was, beyond doubt, a tragic blunder. Antoon maintains that it was also a crime. If that is correct, its perpetrators are still at large. Few Americans will take seriously the assertion that President George W. Bush and other members of his administration – including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and John Bolton, recently appointed by President Donald Trump as his next National Security Adviser – are war criminals. Nor will many Britons think of Prime Minister Tony Blair in that light. Yet the case for saying that they committed a crime is surprisingly strong.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Presidency = Bush’s 3rd Term

Trump Presidency = Bush’s 3rd Term

Trump rightly criticized George W. Bush for getting us into the disastrous Iraq war.

But now Trump’s presidency is turning into Bush’s third term …

Trump is appointing John Bolton as his National Security Adviser.

Who’s Bolton?

He’s one of the key architects of the Iraq war, who  previously admitted that the Iraq war was about oil, not protecting the United States from weapons of mass destruction. And see this.

He has also openly called for partition of Iraq and Syria into a number of different countries … as Bolton’s beloved Neocons have been planning for over 20 years.

Slate notes:

John Bolton’s appointment as national security adviser—a post that requires no Senate confirmation—puts the United States on a path to war. And it’s fair to say President Donald Trump wants us on that path.

***

Bolton has repeatedly called for launching a first strike on North Korea, scuttling the nuclear arms deal with Iran, and then bombing that country too. He says and writes these things not as part of some clever “madman theory” to bring Kim Jong-un and the mullahs of Tehran to the bargaining table, but rather because he simply wants to destroy them and America’s other enemies too.

His agenda is not “peace through strength,” the motto of more conventional Republican hawks that Trump included in a tweet on Wednesday, but rather regime change through war. He is a neocon without the moral fervor of some who wear that label—i.e., he is keen to topple oppressive regimes not in order to spread democracy but rather to expand American power.

***

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How They Sold the Iraq War

How They Sold the Iraq War

Photo by Taymaz Valley | CC BY 2.0

The war on Iraq won’t be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as “weapons of mass destruction” and “rogue state” were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience: us.

To understand the Iraq war you don’t need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.

Consider the picaresque journey of Tony Blair’s plagiarized dossier on Iraq, from a grad student’s website to a cut-and-paste job in the prime minister’s bombastic speech to the House of Commons. Blair, stubborn and verbose, paid a price for his grandiose puffery. Bush, who looted whole passages from Blair’s speech for his own clumsy presentations, has skated freely through the tempest. Why?

Unlike Blair, the Bush team never wanted to present a legal case for war. They had no interest in making any of their allegations about Iraq hold up to a standard of proof. The real effort was aimed at amping up the mood for war by using the psychology of fear.

Facts were never important to the Bush team. They were disposable nuggets that could be discarded at will and replaced by whatever new rationale that played favorably with their polls and focus groups. The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week, al-Qaeda the next. When neither allegation could be substantiated on the ground, the fall back position became the mass graves (many from the Iran/Iraq war where the U.S.A. backed Iraq) proving that Saddam was an evil thug who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don’t explain. Say anything to conceal the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse the questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was made mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to justify it.

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Man Who Sold America the Iraq War Just Warned Iran Is Next, but Is Anyone Listening?

(ANTIMEDIA) — Fifteen years after the calamitous U.S. invasion of Iraq, an architect of the propaganda used to drum up support for the war is warning that it’s happening again — this time with Iran.

Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, helped the then-secretary “paint a clear picture that war was the only choice” in his infamous 2003 speech to the U.N. This week, writing for the New York Times — an outlet that, at the time, parroted misleading narratives in support of the war — Wilkerson accused the Trump administration of manipulating evidence and fear-mongering in the same way the Bush administration did to cultivate public support for ousting Saddam Hussein.

In his Monday op-ed, titled “ I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again,” he wrote:

As his chief of staff, I helped Secretary Powell paint a clear picture that war was the only choice, that when ‘we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction and provides haven and active support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future.’”

Though the U.N. and much of the world didn’t buy it, Wilkerson says Americans did, and it amounted to the culmination of a two-year effort by the Bush administration to initiate the war, which he now condemns.

That effort led to a war of choice with Iraq — one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East,” he wrote, going on to call out the Trump administration for pushing the United States down the same path in Iran.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bringing Back the Draft Won’t Stop Unnecessary Wars

Bringing Back the Draft Won’t Stop Unnecessary Wars

Conscripting soldiers neither stops unnecessary wars nor makes the death toll more egalitarian.

Every now and then the old argument that the draft should be reinstated pops back up. Most recently it appeared here at The American Conservative in a piece by Dennis Laich and Lawrence Wilkerson that contended America’s all-volunteer force is deeply unfair. Without directly stating it, they implied that the draft should be brought back.

“Said more explicitly,” they write, “if the sons and daughters of members of Congress, of the corporate leadership, of the billionaire class, of the Ivy Leagues, of the elite in general, were exposed to the possibility of combat, would we have less war?”

It seems like a reasonable question. Fortunately, history gives us the answer: No, we would not have less war. In fact, when we’ve had a draft we’ve actually had more war and more Americans killed in battle by several orders of magnitude.

Conscription Leads to More Death

In one 33-year period from 1940 to 1973 when conscription was in effect, we had three of the largest wars in American history, resulting in 497,271 Americans killed. In the 44 years since the end of the draft, we’ve engaged in a series of small overseas conflicts and three undeclared wars with about 7,000 Americans killed. About as many of our countrymen were killed in the Normandy landings than in all the wars since the end of the draft.

America has never fought a war with volunteers in which more than 10,000 Americans were killed in action. America has never fought a war with draftees in which there were fewer than 30,000 KIAs. There is no question about it: our biggest and highest-casualty wars have been fought with drafted troops.

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Imperial Arrogance: Tony Blair, Qaddafi and Torture

Imperial Arrogance: Tony Blair, Qaddafi and Torture

Jack-Straw-and-Tony-Blair-001

Tony Blair and Jack Straw.

That former British prime minister Tony Blair is a poster boy for corruption, mendacity, opportunism, and ruthless ambition is by now a received truth. The man who took Britain into the war in Iraq on the coattails of the Bush administration in 2003, did so imbued with a messianic desire to become a major international figure, basking in the embrace of a political establishment in Washington whose support and endorsement he valued more than that of the people in the UK who elected him and whose interests he was supposed to represent.

As he and others involved in engineering the facts to make the case of crashing into Iraq on the back of cruise missiles currently await the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry into the war, legal proceeding are underway in the UK Supreme Court to sue both Blair’s former foreign secretary Jack Straw and British intelligence agencies over their role in the rendition to Libya from London of anti-Gaddafi Libyan dissidents, where they were subsequently tortured.

Prime among those Libyan dissidents who are involved in the legal action is Abdel Hakim Belhaj, who went on to assume a key role as a military commander and official in the post Gaddafi Islamist regime based in Tripoli. Belhaj alleges that both he and his wife were rendered to Libya from the UK in 2004 and tortured in the presence of British MI6 operatives.

In the process the extent of the cooperation that existed between Blair and Gaddafi over the course of a relationship which officially began after Blair visited the Libyan leader, soon after he publicly renounced and ended Libya’s WMD program at the end of 2003 in the wake of the destruction of Iraq, has come to light.

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The Onion Predicted All Of This Back in 2003

The Onion Predicted All Of This Back in 2003

 George W. Bush may think that a war against Iraq is the solution to our problems, but the reality is, it will only serve to create far more,” read a 2003 article on The Onion a week after then-President George Bush launched the Iraq War. While a wide variety of organizations and individuals also rebuked that invasion, the satirical newspaper offered one of the most accurate assessments to date. So accurate, in fact, it all but predicted the rise of the Islamic State.

In the mock-debate piece, entitled, “This War Will Destabilize The Entire Mideast Region And Set Off A Global Shockwave Of Anti-Americanism vs. No It Won’t,” The Onion highlighted the very real risks of war.

As fictional debater Nathan Eckert warned:

This war will not put an end to anti-Americanism; it will fan the flames of hatred even higher. It will not end the threat of weapons of mass destruction; it will make possible their further proliferation. And it will not lay the groundwork for the flourishing of democracy throughout the Mideast; it will harden the resolve of Arab states to drive out all Western (i.e. U.S.) influence.”

He continued:

If you thought Osama bin Laden was bad, just wait until the countless children who become orphaned by U.S. bombs in the coming weeks are all grown up. Do you think they will forget what country dropped the bombs that killed their parents? In 10 or 15 years, we will look back fondly on the days when there were only a few thousand Middle Easterners dedicated to destroying the U.S. and willing to die for the fundamentalist cause. From this war, a million bin Ladens will bloom.

More than a decade into the chronic conflict, the Onion’s projects are eerily—albeit predictably—accurate. By 2006, national security experts were warning the war was inspiring further radicalism. One of the Boston Marathon bombers was radicalized by the Iraq War.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Unmasking ISIS

Unmasking ISIS

Asshole Terrorist - DAP

INTRODUCTION

Where did ISIS come from? How was it able to gain land, arms and money so quickly?

This book will answer those questions … and unmask ISIS.

Part 1 shows that the U.S. – through bad policies and stupid choices – is largely responsible for the rise of ISIS.

Part 2 reveals the strange history of the leaders of ISIS … Including one who never really existed, and another who – if you read mainstream media drivel – was killed … then arrested … and then killedagain.

Part 3 delves into the little-known, secret history of Iraq and Syria … and discusses the realmotivations behind our current policies towards those countries.

And Part 4 reveals the shocking truth about who is really supporting  ISIS.

So grab a cup of coffee, and prepare to learn the real story.

PART 1: OOPS … WE CREATED A MONSTER

President Barack Obama noted in an interview in March 2015:

ISIL [also known as ISIS] is a direct outgrowth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.

He’s correct.  After all:

ISIS is run by a council of former Iraqi generals …. Many are members of Saddam Hussein’s secular Baath Party who converted to radical Islam in American prisons.

 

Bush: One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take …

ABC News Interviewer: But not until after the U.S. invaded.

Bush: Yeah, that’s right. So what?

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US reputation suffers when it stands against human rights & rule of law – Snowden

US reputation suffers when it stands against human rights & rule of law – Snowden

Accepting Norway’s freedom of speech prize via a video link from Moscow, due to Washington’s pressure for his extradition, whistleblower Edward Snowden noted that the US’ reputation is crumbling every year it stands against human rights, the rule of law and its own values.

This year’s Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression Bjornson prize went to Snowden, who in his address to the audience disputed accusations that his whistleblowing was done to damage the US or get back against its intelligence services.

“I love my country. I signed up for the army, the military in my country, before the Iraq War because I believed the statements of my government,” Snowden said. “Unfortunately not all of the statements that were made were honest.”

Snowden said that as he became increasingly exposed to top secret material, he noted that the statements offered on a number of issues by the US establishment were not “simply untrue” but raised questions as to how the US was “interpreting the law.”

“And this is fundamentally dangerous. It is about more than just surveillance, I think. It is about democracy. It is about the relationship between the governed and the governing,” Snowden said.

While critiquing US mass data collection and spying on “everyone” 24/7, Snowden said that he remains a patriot whose duty is to protect freedom of speech and inform the public. At the same time in the United States, he faces up to 30 years in prison on charges of espionage and theft of government property.

 

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Neocons Falsify Iraq War ‘Lessons’

Neocons Falsify Iraq War ‘Lessons’


It really rankles some people that Barack Obama was correct from the outset, before any unfolding of the history confirming he was right, that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a huge mistake. And one can understand how to some ears Mr. Obama’s subsequent references to the Iraq War may have a grating “I told you so” quality.

Those most likely to be annoyed are the President’s most fervent political opponents, who include most of those who were the most fervent promoters of the Iraq War. Possibly there also is some unspoken annoyance among those who fit into neither of these categories but who allowed themselves to be swept up in the pre-war militancy that the war promoters skillfully exploited.

Washington Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

These latter people include, as Washington Post editorial page chief Fred Hiatt reminds us, President Obama’s Vice President and both of his secretaries of state, all of whom were among the majority of Democratic senators who voted — along with nearly unanimous Republican ranks — for the war resolution in 2002. Hiatt makes this observation in the course of acknowledging his own support for the war at that time and suggesting that the Iraq War ought not to be a “single-issue litmus test.”

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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