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newthinking

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Member since: Tue Feb 9, 2010, 11:51 PM
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It’s not just Fox News: How liberal apologists torpedoed change, helped make the Democrats safe

It’s not just Fox News: How liberal apologists torpedoed change, helped make the Democrats safe for Wall Street

Center-left pundits have carried water for the president for six years. Their predictable excuses all ring hollow
Thomas Frank
SALON

http://www.salon.com/2015/01/11/its_not_just_fox_news_how_liberal_apologists_torpedoed_change_helped_make_the_democrats_safe_for_wall_street/

As the Obama administration enters its seventh year, let us examine one of the era’s greatest peculiarities: That one of the most cherished rallying points of the president’s supporters is the idea of the president’s powerlessness.

Today, of course, the Democrats have completely lost control of Congress and it’s easy to make the case for the weakness of the White House. For example, when Frank Bruni sighed last Wednesday that presidents are merely “buoys on the tides of history,” not “mighty frigates parting the waters,” he scarcely made a ripple.

But the pundit fixation on Obama’s powerlessness goes back many years. Where it has always found its strongest expression is among a satisfied stratum of centrist commentators—people who are well pleased with the president’s record and who are determined to slap down liberals who find fault in Obama’s leadership. The purveyors of this fascinating species of political disgust always depict the dispute in the same way, with hard-headed men of science (i.e., themselves) facing off against dizzy idealists who cluelessly rallied to Obama’s talk of hope and change back in 2008.

It is, in other words, a classic apologetic. The pundit, a clear-thinking, reality-based fellow (and yes, they are almost always fellows), knows that if you paid attention back in 2008 you understood that Obama wasn’t promising anything great. Plus, the president has delivered all kinds of subtle but awesome stuff that his soft-headed fans overlook. Besides, there are those awful racist Republicans. Good Christ! Would we rather have one of them in the Oval Office?

Continued:
http://www.salon.com/2015/01/11/its_not_just_fox_news_how_liberal_apologists_torpedoed_change_helped_make_the_democrats_safe_for_wall_street/

We created Islamic extremism: Those blaming Islam for ISIS would have supported Osama bin Laden

Excellent Piece. The historical pictures are worth a look alone! Reagan sitting with the Taliban. This period of history is remarkable (and tragic)


[font size=3]We created Islamic extremism: Those blaming Islam for ISIS would have supported Osama bin Laden in the ’80s[/font]

Jingoists conveniently forget the West's Cold War strategy was to arm the Islamic extremists that became al-Qaida
Ben Norton

http://www.salon.com/2015/11/17/we_created_islamic_extremism_those_blaming_islam_for_isis_would_have_supported_osama_bin_laden_in_the_80s/


Osama bin Laden, reported on favorably in the U.K.’s The Independent in 1993 (Credit: Imgur)

SNIP>>>>>>>


Gore Vidal famously referred to the USA as the United States of Amnesia. The late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai put it a little more delicately, quipping, “One of the delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory.”

In order to understand the rise of militant Salafi groups like ISIS and al-Qaida; in order to wrap our minds around their heinous, abominable attacks on civilians in the U.S., France, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Nigeria, Turkey, Yemen, Afghanistan and many, many more countries, we must rekindle this historical memory.

Where did violent Islamic extremism come from? In the wake of the horrific Paris attacks on Friday, November the 13, this is the question no one is asking — yet it is the most important one of all. If one doesn’t know why a problem emerged, if one cannot find its root, one will never be able to solve and uproot it.

Where did militant Salafi groups like ISIS and al-Qaida come from? The answer is not as complicated as many make it out to be — but, to understand, we must delve into the history of the Cold War, the historical period lied about in the West perhaps more than any other.


How the West cultivated Osama bin Laden


Continued: http://www.salon.com/2015/11/17/we_created_islamic_extremism_those_blaming_islam_for_isis_would_have_supported_osama_bin_laden_in_the_80s/

We needn’t reach back far into history, just a few decades.



(Credit: U.S. government)

Learning How Not to Rule the World

Learning How Not to Rule the World
John Grant

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/19/learning-how-not-to-rule-the-world/


(Al Qaeda’s) strategic objective has always been … the overthrow of the House of Saud. In pursuing that regional goal, however, it has been drawn into a worldwide conflict with American power.
– John Gray, Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern

Al Zarqawi … is an example of how the west has created bogeymen. Al Zarqawi is also an example of how the bogeymen have a habit of, eventually, fulfilling the role we give them.
– Jason Burke on the founder of al Qaeda in Iraq and, by extension after his death, ISIS

I know it’s not patriotic, but every time I hear some politico talk of bombing Iraq and Syria in response to the gruesome massacre in Paris I think of The Battle Of Algiers and the scene where a leader of the guerrilla movement is captured by the French military. A French reporter asks the man how he can justify the gruesome carnage from explosions in cafes and bars. “We’ll be glad to exchange our satchel charges for your jet bombers,” he says.

Always angling to be the farthest right of his fellow Republicans, candidate Ted Cruz honed in on the moral issue from Dick Cheney’s dark side. Cruz questioned whether a concern for civilian deaths was fitting when it came to the need to bomb ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Jeb! said we should only protect Christian refugees. Trump hollered to his fans, “We need to bomb the shit out of ISIS!” Rubio decried not having thorough dossiers on the refugees. The brilliant surgeon smiled beatifically. Pressed by the reactionary right of Marine Le Pen’s National Front, French President Hollande publicly declared war (whatever that meant in 2015) and increased the number of bombing raids on targets inside Syria provided by US intelligence. Reports suggested there were significant civilian casualties. Anti-Assad activists pleaded on Twitter for the French and other western forces to restrain their bombing, since, as Cruz understood, western bombs kill lots of people victimized by ISIS. Being caught in the crossfire between ISIS and the bomb-crazy West helps drive refugees to flee to Turkey and Europe. Sympathy for these refugees is evaporating rapidly, since fear-mongering demagogues are stigmatizing them as potential terrorists. Twenty US governors have said, “Not in my backyard. Send them back to where they came from.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews got worked up into a lather and wanted all the able-bodied refugee males to return to Syria as a fighting force. Not a bully Teddy Roosevelt type, the Peace Corps veteran didn’t volunteer to lead it.


Continued:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/19/learning-how-not-to-rule-the-world/

Dark Humor: Western Media Makes Light of Political Repression in Ukraine

Dark Humor: Western Media Makes Light of Political Repression in Ukraine

by Eric Draitser
CounterPunch


Political repression and violence are allegedly incompatible with Western liberal democratic values. Respect for human rights, freedom of expression, and protection of the rights of minorities are all purportedly the hallmarks of “free societies,” the goals toward which all nations should be striving. And yet, such standards of freedom and democracy are only selectively applied, and only when beneficial to the Western (US-UK-EU-NATO) agenda.

Western media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are quick to highlight abuses, both real and imagined, in countries where it is politically useful to do so, such as in North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and China. However, when it comes to the US-EU project in Ukraine, magically the liberal democratic values and human rights are no longer of central importance. Indeed, were one to read the Western media coverage of Ukraine, not only is political repression and violence not concerning, it’s downright funny.

The Real Story

An article published in the exalted liberal pages of Britain’s The Guardian ran with the headline The force awakens (in Ukraine): Darth Vader statue replaces Lenin monument (23 October 2015). The story highlighted the transformation of a statue of Lenin in the city of Odessa, into the Star Wars villain Darth Vader by Ukrainian artist Alexander Milov. The lighthearted tone of the piece, with tongue-in-cheek references to “the Force” (a Star Wars plot point) of the WiFi being radiated from the statue’s head belies the seriousness of the issue – the intimidation and violent repression of political forces in the ‘New Ukraine’ – which the author conveniently downplays.

The story makes only passing mention of the “decommunization laws” – conspicuously referenced in parentheses with a hyperlink, as if they were an afterthought – under which this statue has now legally been defaced and destroyed. In fact, the “controversial decommunization laws” were not merely an attempt to erase the symbols of Soviet history, but part of a broader process of political repression that has included violence, kidnappings, and death. In fact, the appropriation of the Lenin statue is merely an outgrowth of the repeated attacks upon the Communist Party and its grassroots organizers all throughout Ukraine, as the pro-fascist government and police systematically attacked, and ultimately dissolved the entire Party which had been traditionally one of the most popular in the country.

In a grossly dishonest bit of writing, the author of the article noted that, “Darth Lenin is in a factory in the Black Sea port city, which has been the location of clashes between separatist and pro-Ukraine forces, and recently saw pro-western former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili installed as governor of the region.” Note the twin distortions embedded in the excerpt.


Continued:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/02/dark-humor-western-media-makes-light-of-political-repression-in-ukraine/


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