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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 24,979

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Penn State: great example.

As we know, Sandusky had been given decades of protection by other PSU staff who knew what he was doing, which is a hair-raising indicator of the relative value of children's bodies as against the all-important football culture. But when, finally, the responsible Joe Paterno was asked to retire, it prompted riots by hundreds of rowdy, threatening students who overturned a cop van. When this, of all things, is what stirs up student protests, then yeah, there's a serious culture problem at the place. It's about more than rape, clearly, but by making rape into an irrelevancy and Joe Paterno's career into a priority, it is very definitely a culture that fosters rape.

Thanks for the answer.

I asked for a reason.

No one's minimizing it. Some Iranians chant "Death to America" (note: not specific "Americans". It's not a metaphor, fine. It's also not the policy of the country to murder Americans, as you have suggested above -- I'd say outrageously.

Meanwhile, the actual U.S. government routinely prepares to murder tens of thousands of Iranians (although luckily it has consistently put the breaks on its Israeli ally's rabid urgings to do so). The tentacles or allies of the U.S.G., including the designated terrorist group MEK (which the neocons love, however) actually do murder Iranians in bomb attacks, assassinate scientists, and dispatch sabotage software in acts of cyberwar, while the U.S.G. winks and nods.

That's certainly not a metaphor, either. It's obvious enough who began the actual (not evoked) violence between the two nations, who has committed 99% of this actual violence, and where 100% of this actual violence has occurred (possibly 99%, depending on who was really responsible for the Lockerbie bombing).


Subterfuge wrong on principle and bad practice.

bemildred, I cannot agree with your statement, "If it resulted in good governance in Ukraine, I'd be fine with a bit of subterfuge." at all.

On many levels:

- The U.S.G. should not be the judge of what constitutes "good governance" in Ukraine. (Is your use of governance witting?)

- The U.S.G. has no business covertly undermining democratically elected governments. No argument based on the supposed ends can make that right.

- State-backed subterfuge to undermine foreign governments is hostile covert action, by definition. It makes enemies. They retaliate.

- Those holding office in U.S.G. have no business deciding on secret policy, especially not covert war on foreign entities, without going through this country's republican/democratic institutions. (That's what happened in this case: no public, no debate. Who decided what "our" policy to Ukraine should be? No one in the open, not even in an elite process.)

- Engaging in these practices generally means giving up a large part of sovereignty to an unaccountable deep state and parapolitical actors.

- The apparatus required to do such action effectively worldwide is enormous and creates a top-secret Frankenstein branch (or realm of many covert branches) of government, which is a permanent deep bureaucracy with many parapolitical tentacles, and largely in charge.

- In the big picture, you may like the results of one or another action but the end result, especially for the world's Mr. Big, is that everyone will consider him an enemy. It's a self-destructive policy as far as the people are concerned.

So to me, that it didn't have "good results" in Ukraine is not due to incompetence or mistakes or picking the wrong side. It's a predictable fallout of a nuts foreign policy system run as a self-service store for a tangle of elite geostrategists, corporations, spook groups and the super rich. The system will produce or contribute to such destabilizations constantly, keep the U.S. permanently entangled in machinations everywhere, and create the pretext for a trillion dollars spent on "security" and "defense" by the federal govt every year.

Beware the Hitler talk

Hillary Clinton, on March 5, said that Putin’s concern for Russians in Ukraine is like Hitler’s concern for Germans in Poland and Czechoslovakia.

It is also like Ronald Reagan’s concern for US medical students in Grenada by which he justified his 1983 invasion of that small island nation.

Clinton said, “We can learn from this tactic that has been used before.”

That is good advice if by "this tactic" we mean
a) personifying a nation by its leader’s personal name, and
b) labelling that leader “Hitler.”

This is a sure way to activate a demon in the American national memory and to mobilize the United States to again fight evil personified by the new Hitler.

John Kerry said Assad is Hitler. John McCain said Castro is Hitler. George Bush said Saddam was Hitler. Donald Rumsfeld said Chavez was Hitler. The list of leaders the US has targeted as Hitler includes Allende (Chile), Noriega (Panama), Ortega (Nicaragua), Milosevic (Serbia), Arafat (Palestine), Gaddafi (Libya), Ahmadinejad (Iran), and Kim (North Korea).


Sounds like he's preparing for a concordat of some kind...

Looking for a line where he can show understanding while announcing disapproval, and create an opening for deescalation. Better than WWIII, right? No one ever said the man is stupid (which is why the apologias for the Iraq war can't be parsed away, incidentally).

U.S.G. logically would be looking to settle this on the basis of the current stand. They're ahead in the imperialist game. The West gets to economically sack the Ukraine for at least a few years, while Russia keeps Crimea as consolation.

It will probably work as an arrangement, except for what may develop within Ukraine. The very likely neo-liberal/right government coming up after elections will be implementing debt slavery and austerity. They'll have nothing to offer the people, other than the divisive strategy we've seen in the coup (oh, sorry, interim) regime: stoking Ukrainian ethno-nationalism with a Russian image of the enemy. This will foster and encourage the Nazi types and keep the situation explosive.

Legislators don't write laws.

Their staff does.

This is a silly objection. It's like saying you can't tell the taxi driver where to take you if you're not also a driver yourself.

Elected members of a parliament are supposed to make policy that represents the interests of the country's people. Lawyers are not per se better qualified to do so than anyone else. The dominance of any one profession (and thus one class) within the group of representatives within the parliament is a very bad sign.

Clearly, a random selection of citizens would be more representative, less beholden to monied interests, and likely to produce better policy.

You really didn't have to reply to that one.

In most cases, the ROFL smiley is an admission that one doesn't want to agree with a proposition, has nothing credible to say in reply, and, generally, doesn't even want a credible reply. The idea is to label the offensive proposition as out of bounds and subject it to ridicule preremptorily. To engage on the facts is to lose, so brainlessness or use of reptile brain is preferable. It's a bullying attempt. It's mobbing, team cheerleading, tapping into hive psychology.

If it comes as the first move, however, change "most" to 100 percent. You may have pissed off some self-appointed local commissar or hall monitor.

Should the U.S. have supported the coup in Ukraine?

Rewind with me back to February [2014], before the elected government of Ukraine was overthrown, extraconstitutionally, by the uprising centered on Euromaidan. At that time, a leak of a taped discussion at the U.S. embassy in Kiev exposed that the State Department was deeply involved in a covert action to enact a secret policy to overthrow the Ukrainian government. If you haven't seen the tape of this discussion, please watch it now.

Tape Reveals State Department Officials Plotting Covert Intervention to Overthrow Government of Ukraine (Feb 20)


(That's my headline.)

My question: Should the U.S. government have been engaging in this secret policy? (The policy was secret, not the result of a public debate or proceeding of Congress; and the means of action were covert.)

By bringing up this question, please note what I am NOT saying:

1) I am not saying that the U.S. government is responsible for the movement and eventual coup that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government, or that these would not have happened without U.S. planning behind the scenes. It may be that U.S. government action was not the most important factor. What matters is that the U.S. government supported the overthrow, and did so on the basis of a secret policy.

2) I am not taking sides in the subsequent events, or defending or supporting anyone's subsequent actions, certainly not the Russian state's. (We can talk about that in other threads.)

My comment, from Feb 20, before the overthrow of the Ukrainian government:

I'm glad someone has finally covered the real story in the leaked recording of Victoria Nuland, undersecretary at the State Department, discussing strategy for Ukraine with the ambassador at the U.S. embassy in Kiev. Only in the reality-show world of the mass media is it a story that Nuland in passing happened to say, "Fuck the E.U." (oooh, how terrible!).

It also matters little who released the tape, since its authenticity is not in dispute.

What the tape reveals is that Nuland and the ambassador are involved in the management of a covert intervention aimed at overthrowing Ukraine's democratically elected government.

Without any prior public discussion or announcement of a U.S. government policy in the supposedly democratic United States, Nuland and Pyatt discuss how the U.S. government should

1) open a channel to the Ukrainian president to negotiate his resignation;

2) forestall efforts by one of the opposition leaders (Klitschko) to resolve the crisis in parliament by joining the government coalition;

3) get their preferred opposition leader (Yatsenyuk) into power; and

4) keep the opposition leaders they don't like as much as Yatsenyuk outside power, but in a stable alliance with Yatsenyuk. (The ones they want on the outside are Klitschko, who is perhaps disliked because he is too German-influenced, and Tyahnybok, leader of the extreme right party supported by John McCain.)

In this unannounced, secret, hostile intervention to overthrow and replace the government of another country, the U.S. agency is expecting to have a say in the micromanagement of who sits in the new cabinet, according to Nuland:

"What needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week. You know, I just think Klitsch going in [to the cabinet], he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenyuk. It’s just not going to work."

Why the love for Yats, as Nuland calls him? (Whether she gives these nicknames condescendingly or familiarly is unclear.) "I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience," she says. Read into that what you will.

More importantly, why does Nuland get to judge that? When did any Ukrainians vote for Nuland and her CIA-infested State Department to play kingmakers for their country?

When did any Americans even get to know, let alone discuss this policy of overthrowing the Ukrainian government, which ultimately will be put down as having been pursued in their name, with their tax money?

In the same clip from Democracy Now!, Yats is shown, to his credit, admitting that he cannot control and has little idea of who is in charge at this point among the protesters battling the police on the street level.

(Note: That proved quite important, as extreme right parties took over key ministries in the new government, which on the day after the coup d'etat passed a law to abolish the status of the Russian language, triggering the Crimea crisis.)

I wish to emphasize that by posting this here, I take no set position on the Ukrainian struggle.

I am an American and a democrat and I am talking about my own government making secret policy on my behalf, without a public process. I oppose that on principle.

I oppose it ten times over if this government policy involves--as it typically does--a mere handful of self-appointed geostrategists like Nuland using U.S. public resources to intervene covertly in faraway countries on the basis of whatever they imagine are legitimate U.S. interests.

Now our junior geostrategists are involving us in another mess most of us do not even understand. We are making new "allies" (whom we may later betray, as usual) and new enemies, and if it ever comes up that these enemies actually act against us, most Americans will be puzzled, hurt and confused: Why do they hate us? They must hate our freedoms!

You are wrong.

The U.S. and UK initiated the unprovoked war of aggression on the non-threatening nation of Iraq without benefit of a UN resolution. The majority even of U.S. allies within the NATO alliance opposed a war universally understood to be unilateral and in violation of international law.

This was a stated point of pride among some of the neocons, such as Perle who was happy that it would put an end to international law.

Please show your bigness by correcting yourself. You should apologize for this serious error, go learn some shit about "reality," and cede the field for a while to people who have a clue. Thank you.

Okay then, but then Obama is also self-appointed.

Insofar as they execute a foreign policy that is secret (not announced, not debated in public, therefore not democratic) and do so by covert means (a.k.a. hostile action, a.k.a. political war by whatever name, by definition illegal in the country in which it is done), they are self-appointed geostrategists, even if they were elected to office. Election is not a carte blanche to define "U.S. interests" in secret and devise a secret policy. No body of government in the U.S. had a public debate about spending taxpayer funds to support overthrowing the prior Ukrainian government (which is what Nuland is discussing in the videotape). It was not found by a majority of the parliament that this is the country's interest, or that hostile covert action should be taken. (Not that this make it right, either, but it would at least have the veneer of democracy and rule of law.) So it's rogue, a parastate action, even if the parastate includes the president. Even if it's a "good" idea in the first place, even if it actually is a "U.S. interest." Obviously that is also not so. It's an interest of a segment of the U.S. ruling class and otherwise a burden on Americans who get no benefits from the resulting natural resource and arms constracts and debt/tribute payments, and who later will be surprised and puzzled to discover that they have new enemies they never heard of. (Why, o why, do they hate us? It must be for our freedoms!)
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