President Obama has made permanent the enormous increase in military spending since 2001. His budget projections through 2017 allocate $4.8 trillion for the Defense Department, compared with $4.6 trillion spent by Bush over eight years. Given the escalation in Afghanistan, however, it is likely that Obama will spend more than $5 trillion on the military -- more, in inflation-adjusted terms, than has been spent during any eight-year period since 1946. The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has been euphemistically "drawn down" -- as of May 2010 there were 92,000 -- but all evidence suggests that we will never fully withdraw. In 2010, American military contractors were still building permanent bases all over that shattered country, and even if every single American soldier were to be withdrawan (a condition no competent observer ever expects to see), an army of unaccountable mercenaries employed by the United States is still by any substantive definition an American occuption force. In December, when Obama nnounced his surge in Afghanistan, the Congressional Research Service reported that the 30,000 new troops would be accompanied by up to 56,000 additional private contractors. As of May 2010, according to the official Pentagon figures, there were 112,092 private military contractors in Afghanistan and 95,461 in Iraq, with 42,782 in other U.S. Central Command locations, for a total of 250,335. The official total is very likely to be a significant undercount, of course, and it does not include the contractors employed by other agencies, such as the State Department and USAID, nor does it include those working for the CIA.
No, no comptent observer ever expects to see that but then when has -- as he's known among his students -- Professor Bitch ever been compentent? The over-praised blogger deleted a post he put up yesterday -- if he'd like to deny it we have screen snaps -- which resulted in people pointing out that academics should stick to reality and not tea leaf reading. Poor Professor Bitch, he'd almost lived down the tender smack down on Iraq that Steve Rendell inflicted upon him a few years back when he was making an appearance on CounterSpin. Thanks, Professor Bitch, for showing your true colors yet again. Screen snaps will run in the gina & krista round-robin and we'll be handing them out at speaking engagements all week as well. It takes a lot of whores to keep propping up Barack, in fact it takes an entire brothel.
Which is why Hodge's book is so important. Tariq Ali has a new book out (disclosure, I've known Tariq for years) entitled The Obama Syndrome: Surrender At Home, War Abroad. It's an excellent book. But Hodge manages to easily top Tariq for one reason.
Look Who's Blurbing. While both books offer excellent text, Hodge's book is a keepsake For Those Of Us Who Never Drank The Kool-Aid for the dust jacket alone. It's there you'll find key members of the Cult of St. Barack. Look, there's Socialist Barbara Ehrenreich.
You may know Babs from her constant attacks on women (such as at the FAIR gala last decade where the 'feminist' thing to do was for her to deliver a speech trashing Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda). You may not know her political affiliation because, like so many too juvenile to cop to being a Communist or Socialist, she flocked to "Progressives" for Obama. Why not "liberals"? You need to study up on your New Left and Cold War history -- Socialists and Communists do not identify as liberals. There was Babsie injecting herself into the Democratic Party primary, writing psychotic pieces about Hillary's 'secret' religion -- while Babsie hid in a political closet -- and doing everything a media whore could. As Bob Somerby noted in real time, "There ought to be a special circle in hell for hustlers like Barbara Ehrenreich." You may also know Babsie from her big-boned daughter Rosa Brooks who now works in the administration (Los Angeles Times readers are just glad she's gone) where she is most infamous for advocating that the US government institute licensing for journalists thereby controlling who could and who could not report. As Babsie and her brood have long demonstrated, totalitarianism knows no political boundaries.
On the back of Hodge's book, Babsie pants: "This is what I've been waiting for -- a profound and hard-hitting critique of the Obama administration from the left!" Golly, Babs, couldn't you pen one yourself? Oh, of course not. Whores aren't known for courage, now are they. She continues, "The Mendacity of Hope should help wake up all those Obama voters who've been napping while the wars escalate, the recession deepens, and the environment goes straight to hell."
Who's been napping, Babs? Those of who didn't enlist in the Cult of St. Barack didn't pack up our bags after the 2008 election. Closet Communist Leslie Cagan did and, when packing up her own bags, she packed up the bags of the organization she RUINED United for Peace & Justice. Napping? Babs, you've written six columns in two years -- going by your own website -- and for one who proclaimed Barack to be The One, you've been strangely silent on him ever since, now haven't you, tired whore?
Oh, look. Another whore, Naomi Klein, blurbs, "Ready to wake up from the Obama dream yet? If so, this thrilling scathing and relentlessly truthful cri de coeur is your strong cup of coffee. Hodge skewers the sloppy intellectual cluture that willed this political chimera into being, while expertly unmasking the corporate machine that is the real Barack Obama. Drink up." You first, Naomi, and why don't you choke on it?
For those who don't know, Naomi swore she was staying out of the 2008 election -- and, as a Canadian-American citizen, she had every reason to. She really doesn't want to raise the issue of dual citizenship, does she? If you think the immigration discussion is ugly in this country (and it is) wait until people get a load of the fact that Naomi may be voting in US elections . . . after her father fled the US (I applaud him for it) to avoid serving in Vietnam. You can hear the rumble of grandstanding on the part of GOP senators starting up, can't you? "She has American citizenship and her father deserted!" Yeah, Naomi, you really need to learn to stay out of US elections.
But of course she couldn't. And it went far beyond what she thought was her 'careful' and 'undetectable' slanting on the Real News Network in 2007 and 2008. Naomi decided to do a book tour. Naomi decided to do stand-up on her book tour. The Chicago September 2008 appearance? So much sexism has never been unleashed by one woman -- not even by Phyllis Schlafly. Stay on the sidelines? No. Despite preaching in 2004 that the peace movement (Naomi prefers "anti-war movement" so that she can reject her father -- having already rejected her feminist mother) should never be hijacked by elections, there was Naomi making a fat ass out of herself. There was Canada's very own Tiffany-era mallrat telling 'jokes' that would make Hugh Hefner blush. Was it worth it, Naomi? Really?
There are two Naomis. Many confuse them. Used to be Naomi Klein was the thin one -- that changed about two years ago. Not because Naomi Wolf began to lose weight but because Naomi Klein's been seriously packing on pounds. Naomi Wolf. Everyone's favorite pill-popping columnist. Naomi explained the 'feminist' thing to do was to spit on Hillary and support Barack. She did that during the primaries. She did that by cloaking herself as the victim. It was a cute little act and the only time the term "cute" has been applied to Naomi in years. She continued that bulls**t throughout the lead up to the election as well as after -- breaking only when donning her sexually enhancing burqa. She was on CNN in January 2009 proclaiming -- as Ms. magazine had -- that Barack was what a feminist looked liked.
On the back of Hodges' book, Naomi Wolf blurbs, "Roger Hodge has written a desperately needed expose of how Barack Obama is not the messiah of liberalism but its deisgnated gravedigger -- he is one of the all too few voices on the progressive side who dares to tell the truth about the corporate masters this administration actually serves, and the dire effects of that allegiance upon what is left of our Republic. This is a blazing indictment of corporate collusion and a bracing injection of hard truths."
I'm counting nine columns you've written for the Huffington Post, Naomi, since Barack was sworn in. While I see your attempts to distract and defocus for the administration by obsessing over the Tea Party -- a party that your last bestseller (and I do mean "last") owes a debt too but we don't talk about that, do we? -- I see nothing calling out the administration. Where is it, Naomi? Or did you pop a pill and think you wrote it when you didn't?
Babsie's always been nuts, Naomi Klein's been a non-stop disappointment to her parents, but Naomi Wolf? No one went nuttier than Naomi Wolf. Appearing in public -- often with a dirty face and hair unkempt -- she spent most of 2007 and 2008 insisting her tax returns were stolen by the government. (Because the government didn't have them already?) She would tell anyone who listened that she was being spied on, her mail opened, her calls listened into. She could hear the "clicks"! Was she on a party line? Today's surveillance doesn't provide clicks when tapping. (Echos do, however, occur.) She went completely bonkers. An Alan J. Pakula character transposed into a Stephen Spielberg film. It was not a pretty sight.
And the reason we open with this is to make very damn clear: IT'S NOT THAT EASY.
Having whored and lied for Barack Obama, you're not just going to sneak back in to the party. No. The three above are not Democrats (Naomi Wolf once was but she denounced that around the time she denounced Judaism). In their political affiliations, they damn well know they have to practive confessions in their own political cells. They need to make a point to do the same in the political discourse at large. Meaning, you better get honest about your whoring or you better expect that you will go the way of Faith Popcorn and so many other pundits whom the public rejected. You whored, you lied, you attacked.
Those of us who gave a damn about the Iraq War -- the one that is still going on, the one that Naomi Klein can't seem to find today despite the fact that it is her claim to fame -- refused to play the game, refused to whore. We're not letting you back in unless and until you confess. You were handed the reigns of the movement -- look at Leslie Cagan -- and what did you do? You destroyed the movement. (UPFJ posted a yea-war-is-over message the day after the 2008 elections and closed shop.) To let you slink back in now without confessing to your crimes would be a betrayal of the movement.
So your pimp Barack got a little rough with you, slapped you around and now you want to sneak back over to our side? It's not that easy. And what's up here online is nothing compared to what we have taken to college audiences for two years now. They know you, across the land, as the whores you are. Outside of the tiny circle-jerk that passes for Panhandle Media, you are whores, you are known whores. And as others in the beggar media realize that, you won't be booked. Or they'll risk being fired on air as well. This isn't a vanity issue, this isn't hurt feelings. This is you have blood on your hands.
You whored and Iraqi s died. You whored and the war went on. You have blood on your hands and you will confess or you will continue to be known as the whores you are. Naomi Klein asks if people are "Ready to wake up from the Obama dream yet?" Naomi, what were you doing in DC the day of the inauguration? Oh, that's right, you were fundraising. And partying. We know you were attacking others. You gave that idiotic interview to Matthew Rothschild, remember? Castigating 'radicals' who refused to belive that Barack was the savior. Do you expect The Progressive to 'disappear' your words, Naomi? Your attacks on the left critics of Barack Obama are well known and public record. Now you want to show up on a dusk jacket pretending you were there all along? They really raise those Canadian mallrats dumb, I guess.
The Cult of St. Barack got their commemorative plates in January 2009. It took a little while for the truth tellers of the left to get our own commemorative keepsake: The dusk jacket of Roger Hodge's new book. Suitable for framing. At your local bookstore and available online. And let's note this from yesterday's Law and Disorder Radio .
Heidi Boghosian: Roger, you actually sort of sum up it up in talking about health care by saying: "The health bill is of a piece with Obama's general approach to governance which is to make loud, dramatic claims about his purportedly reformist agenda -- claims that both his supporters and his enemies almost always take at a face value -- while working behind the scenes to make sure that no major stakeholder in his coalition of corporate backers will suffer significant losses." And that could sum up most of what he's done.
Michael Smith: Yeah, that was an outstanding passage in the book, I thought
Roger Hodge: Thank you. Thank you. And we see it again and again. We see it with detentions --
Heidi Boghosian: Guantanamo.
Roger Hodge: Guantanamo. We see it with --
Michael Ratner: State secrets.
Roger Hodge: -- Afghanistan. We see it with Iraq. Supposedly the war in Iraq is over. People take that at face value. 'Oh, he ended the war in Iraq.' Well he didn't.
Michael Ratner: He just said he did.
In England, the Iraq Inquiry has been going on for some time and we've covered it for some time. We voiced doubts but, until they went to Iraq and refused to interview Iraqi citizens, we held off passing a judgment that they were a fake process. They were fake, they were a fraud and that's revealed in today's news cycle. Robert Booth (Guardian) reports, "The British government promised to protect America's interests during the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, according to a secret cable sent from the US embassy in London.
Jon Day, the Ministry of Defence's director general for security policy, told US under-secretary of state Ellen Tauscher that the UK had 'put measures in place to protect your interests during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq war'." From the cable:
10. (S/NF) Day also promised that the UK had "put measures in place to protect your interests" during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq war. He noted that Iraq seems no longer to be a major issue in the U.S., but he said it would become a big issue -- a "feeding frenzy" -- in the UK "when the inquiry takes off."
Anthony Fest: The whistle blower website WikiLeaks released another trove of confidential documents today. Last month WikiLeaks released thousands of Pentagon documents most associated with the US occupation of Iraq. In contrast, the documents made public today include thousands of diplomatic cables -- communications between the State Dept and Washington and US consulates all around the world. The documents cover both the George W. Bush and the Barack Obama administrations. WikiLeaks gave an advance look at the documents to several media organizations including the New York Times and the British newspaper the Guardian. Those publications now have articles on their websites analyzing the documents. WikiLeaks says it will post the documents on its own website in the coming days although it has said its site was the target of a cyber attack today. The documents release is certain to provoke tension between the US and its allies. For example, some of the cables say that Saudi donors are the largest financiers of terror groups. Other cables detail the cover-up of US military activities. One of them records a meeting last January between US Gen David Petreaus and the president of Yemen about air attacks against rebels in Yemen. The president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, tells Petraeus, "We'll continue to say they are our bombs and not yours." According to the Guardian, the documents reveal that some Arab leaders had privately urged an air attack against Iran and that US officials had been instructed to spy on the United Nations' leadership. Among the other disclosures are deep fears in Washington and London about the security of Paksitan's nuclear weapons. Another document asserts massive corruption at high levels of the Afghanistan government saying the Afghan vice president traveled to the United Arab Emirates carrying $52 million in cash. Still other documents disparage the British military in Afghanistan.
Hugh (Corrente) notes the laughable response fromt he US government and press talking heads, "The most recent release of wikileaks docs has provoked all the standard reactions we have come to expect. The punditocracy, both governmental and media, have thrown everything they could think of at them hoping something will stick. We are told that the docs are an attack on our national security and not just that but the international community. Then we are told often by the same people that they are of no importance, that they are full of mistakes and inaccuracies, that they are essentially gossip, that foreign leaders say even worse and more impolitic things about our leaders." That's an excerpt, he charts the kabuki dance in full. In full on Media of the Absurd,The NewsHour (PBS) 'explored' the issues last night by having Judy Woodruff speak to (I am not making this up and link has text, video and audio) with Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stephen Hadley. Hadley, of course, still hopes that the cover story on the outing of Valerie Plame holds. Strangely, Hadley had much to say to reporters about how the leak of Valerie Plame wasn't really a story. For some reason, Judy didn't bring any of that up. Brzezinski maay be the most Castro hating official to serve any administration and that might be his tombstone note had he not been the 'genius' that turned Afghanistan into a quagmire that became the Taliban. That's right, he should be on trial for War Crimes but instead PBS thought we needed to know that he was against WikiLeaks. By the way, if The NewsHour is going to be played on NPR stations --and it now is -- and they want to remember the war dead, they need to name the fallen. Showing pictures and displaying text onscreen? Doesn't play on the radio. Not at all. It's so obvious you wonder how they could be so stupid? Then you remember, they booked Stephen Hadley to talk about leaks. To catch how The NewsHour should have covered the WikiLeaks release but didn't, check out Marco Werman (PRI's The World) discussion with Le Monde's Sylvie Kauffman. Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) and Leila Fadel (Washington Post) cover the WikiLeaks release in terms of Iraq and US fears of Iranian influence.
In bad news for Hoshyar Zebari, Alsumaria TV reports, "WikiLeaks documents revealed on Monday that Iraq's Foreign Ministry has provided US Embassy in Baghdad since 2008 with the names of Iranian diplomats asking for a visa to enter Iraq." Zebari is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Staying with the WikiLeaks revelations, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that the release includes State Dept cables about how the US Embassy in Spain pressured Spanish officials to drop the case brought by the family of journalist Jose Couso -- a Spanish citizen who was killed by the US military in Iraq.
Turning to the topic of Bradley Manning. Background, Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. This month, the military charged Manning. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Manning is now at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. The latest WikiLeaks release has brought Manning's name up again.
Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic blogs, "To date, Bradley Manning stands accused only of providing a classified video of U.S. operations in Iraq to WikiLeaks. But U.S. government officials say they consider Manning the prime suspect behind the flood of documents that have wound up being promulgated by the group determined to bust U.S. secrecy." In every culture in decay, you need the whores like Marc Ambinder. Little flecks of trash who will repeat what the government wants them to. Isn't it funny that Manning is identified by Ambinder but his accusers are not.
Does Marc Ambinder know the first damn thing about the US justice system? I'm sure if we were to ask him how to best pleasure a source or how to toss the salad of government anonymice, he could give us a vivid description, probably even draw an intricate diagram. But the actual justice system and the belief that people are innocent until proven guilty? He'd be hazy there. He'd be even more confused if we asked him to speak to the issue of the government attempting to try their case in the press. And even more so about the issue of the government going off the record to plant details in the press about an ongoing case.
But whores don't need to be smart, they just need to be willing. Marc Ambinder is always willing -- kind of like cellulite, which has a memory, Ambinder.
Hillary embarrassed herself yesterday in such a manner that the press conference may go down as her Colin Powell before the UN moment. If the US is in danger, as Rebecca pointed out last night, or if the White House just believes the US is in danger, then that was a message that should have been delivered by President Candy Ass. As president of the United States, it's his job, if the US is in danger, to alert the citizens. He didn't do that -- big surprise, what jobs can he handle? But Hillary joined a long conga line of self-righteous government officials decrying leaks.
The only leak that matters, pay attention employees of the US electorate, is the leak that interferes with a legal case and is done by the government. The government's not allowed to leak and, if it's demonstrated that they have, judges can and often do toss cases out of court. Point, if you're going to ride your self-righteous pony through the town square, you damn well better shut down your own leaks. The administration has always been a glossy photo of hypocrisy but never more so than when they send the anonymice out to attack Bradley Manning and his chance at a free trial. Climb down from the crosses, Hillary and all the rest, you have no grounds to decry leaks while you turn a blind eye to your own leaks that attempt to poison public opinion against someone who has not been found guilty of a damn thing.
Richard Savill, Victoria Ward and Nick Allen (Telegraph of London) report that Bradley Manning's family attempted to visit him and WERE TURNED DOWN. He's been arrested since May. What does it say about the United States and the pathetic leadership of Princess Candy Ass that someone found guilty of nothing is refused the right to see his family. Furthermore, even if he were found guilty, they would have no rights to deny him visits. Bradley has been found guilty of nothing and locked away for months and they won't even let him see his family. His own mother was refused the right to see her son. As David Bowie once sang, "This is not America" (song written by Bowie, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, first appears on the soundtrack for The Falcon and the Snowman).
Turning to violence, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports a Baghdad car bombing claimed 1 life today while a second Baghdad car bombing has left three people injured and, last night, a Baquba car bombing claimed 4 lives and left twenty-nine people injured.
Over the long holiday last week, The Nation waived through an attack on a US citizen by the 'reporters' who've brought you so many distortions on the Tea Party (those wanting actual reporting on the Tea Party should refer to Kate Zernike's Boiling Mad: Inside the Tea Party -- the only clear eyed study of the movement thus far). And you can refer to this column by Justin Raimondo for details of the shameful piece of 'writing' The Nation ran. Excerpt:
If Ames and Levine are going to become the "go to" team for the dirt on libertarians, such as it is, they ought to learn their subject. Because the very idea of Charles and David Koch leading a national resistance movement involving civil disobedience on a massive scale is laughable: to anyone who knows them, or knows of them in more than a glancing way, this can only provoke gales of unrestrained laughter. It is sheer laziness to believe this. Indeed, if only the Brothers Koch, and the plethora of organizations their money has funded, were that radical! Unfortunately, they are not: a stodgy, boring conservatism marks both their methods and their politics, and always has.
But the editorial policy of The Nation for a long time now has been slowly strangling the magazine. The underlying problem is that this once great journal has become a house organ for the Democratic Party. Nowhere is this more evident than in the editorial stance of The Nation on the wars in Iraq and Af-Pak, especially at the all-important moment to our politicians, election time. While the editorial problems at The Nation affect virtually every issue of importance to its readers, let's simply focus on the question of war and empire to see the nature of the fault.
In 2004, The Nation endorsed John Kerry on its cover despite the fact that he ran as a pro-war candidate. Ralph Nader was also turned into a non-person in the pages of The Nation for daring to run again as an independent. The unappealing and egotistical Kerry may have lost the election because of his pro-war position, as the polls shifted against the war in October 2004 to a near majority, too late for Kerry to make the switch. Had he taken on the war and opposed it, that shift might have turned into a majority against the war and Kerry might have been the victor.
Then came 2006, when the Dems promised impeachment hearings against Bush for his wars should they win control of the House. The Nation urged us to vote Democratic, but when the hearings did not materialize, silence fell over the magazine. John Conyers was the Democrats' poster boy for the promise of impeachment, but after the election he folded at once. The much ballyhooed impeachment hearings never materialized, and Conyers slunk away.
In 2008, The Nation backed Obama, the candidate of the most "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party and of "Progressive" Democrats of America. The endorsement was proffered despite the fact that Obama was promising to step up the war in Afghanistan. When Obama won and the wars continued and military spending increased above Bush levels, The Nation went limp in its criticism of empire. Yes, there were exhortations to Obama to do the right thing, implying that he wants to do so, a proposition so lame at this point as to be comic, but never attacks like the well-deserved salvos fired at Bush for the very same policies on war and civil liberties.
Walsh sweeps over one thing and I'm sure it's due to space -- he's a longterm critic of The Nation. They didn't just walk away from impeachment. They attacked it after the Democrats got control of both houses of Congress. You can refer to the Feb. 4, 2007 "The Nation Stats" at Third where we cover the February 12, 2007 issue which ran Sanford Levinson's awful "Impeachment: The Case Against" (and we parodied Levinson here). Again, I'm sure that John Walsh knows about that article and that space limitations prevented him from going into it. Prior to the election, The Nation never questioned impeachment, they fully supported it. After the election? Time to damp down on voter expectations.