Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Some may or may not know that one of my favorite books of all time is 1984 written by George Orwell. To be honest, since about ten years of age, I’ve must have read this book more than 20 times. Each time I read it I come away with something new. To refresh your memory, the main character in the book is a man named Winston Smith. Smith works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite history per the desires of the Party that runs the totalitarian government of Oceania. Specifically, he revises old writings, politically inconvenient facts and history to advance the propaganda interests of the Oceania government.  One tool Orwell invents for this purpose was the memory hole.

In 1984, Orwell describes a memory hole is an opening in a wall connected to a tube that is connected to an incinerator. It is employed to destroy any inconvenient or embarrassing fact on historical records that is no longer considered useful for politics. In addition, using the memory hole made it easier for the government to get people to engage in “duckspeak” (speaking without thinking), obviate “oldthink” (thoughts, beliefs or ideas enthused by past events, memories and history in the times before the revolution) and to encourage “blackwhite” (getting folks to believe that 2 + 2 is 5, or that white is black and black is white and to forget that one has ever believed anything different.

Over the past few years, a movement in the African American community has been afloat to remove all historical confederate reminders of the period in which the United States was engaged in a Civil War (1861-1865) and this scares me.  Not because I support the confederacy or do not support the confederacy, but because I support history and learning and pedagogy.  Removing these symbols will do nothing for black folk and make things a lot worse in my view.  First, this is just cosmetic, it will not mean nothing, since when do you get your feeling hurt by looking at a flag or a statue of a many you don’t know historically anything about? Robert E. Lee owned slaves sure, and he ran a plantation before the war, but he historically is no different than Thomas Jefferson or George Washington from this perspective.  Are you upset with the state of Virginia too? Will it be next? After all Virginia was named after the person who introduced slavery to America. Half of the folk so offended likely couldn’t tell you when the civil war was fought without the assistance of google nor have read any book about it or any other American wars for that fact.

I fear that without these historical reminders, being as lazy as we are with respect to reading and our penchant to watch TV more than we read, we will have forgot about this tragic and painful part of U.S. History and sleep walk back into a similar predicament in future generations. It isn’t like we discuss history with our children anyway especially with this most recent generation.  This is one reason why Marcus Garvey wrote “A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Our incessant focus on memory holing history is idiotic and ridiculous.  Why is it that we put more time into complaining about statues and flags than our kids killing each other on the streets of Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans or Memphis every day? Why do we spend more energy on superficial actions when we can go around to any government public school and find more than half of the kids not proficient in ANY subject on grade level? Now these are worth attention, but nope, not sexy or dramatic enough (Deray trained yawl hypocrites well).  I’m not offended or traumatized by any statute or flag.  Why are we as black folk offended and traumatized by historical fact? Will removing them take the historical record away? Will it make more black folk richer? Will less of us live in poverty? Will we start more business? Will it lower STI rates in our community? NOPE – NOT ONE BIT. Because this is misdirected and misguided energy aimed at something that has no tangible impact on any black person in America unless you a puzzy with a soft as wet toilet paper mentally.

It seems as this fake synthetic outrage is becoming a contagious pandemic.  Baltimore City Council has voted to remove four Confederate monuments in the city. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus want to remove all Confederate statues from the Capitol. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), told the Hill that “Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol. These images symbolize a time of racial discrimination and segregation that continues to haunt this country and many African-Americans who still to this day face racism and bigotry.”  Can’t make this up, so now black folks are afraid of ghost and haunted by images and symbols? Even more comedic is that magically, by removing these images and symbols, the past “time of racial discrimination and segregation” will either be forgotten or vaporize and end. Simple ain’t it? Talk about historical revisionism and make-believe.

Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, in Chicago is calling for the removal of a statue of statue George Washington and his and President Andrew Jackson’s name removed from Washington and Jackson parks respectively, because they owned slaves. I suspect cats will be going after all confederate cemeteries and even the Confederate monuments in Gettysburg National Military Park (although Park and State officials say they will never be removed)

What will be next, removing all members of the confederacy or former slave owners from history books? Removing said history books from the libraries’? Preventing people from even writing books on the confederacy or slavery because “these images symbolize a time of racial discrimination and segregation that continues to haunt this country and many African-Americans who still to this day face racism and bigotry?” Will John C. Calhoun, a former vice president and staunch supporter of slavery be next? What about the Dallas Cowboy football team whose blue star is from the Bonnie Blue Flag (a banner of the Confederate States of America at the start of the American Civil War in 1861).  Since many of us black folks do not read as much as previous generations, these two may be safe for as they say “to hide something from a nigg@, put it in a book.”

Yes, one day our kids will not know anything about US history, slavery, the civil war or the deeds of many, good or bad, for the fear of as then Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake noted in signs that confederate monuments were just “part of a propaganda campaign” to “perpetuate the beliefs of white supremacy. “Again, although I am a black man, I will likely be called a racist piece of uninformed white trash, or worse – described as not being woke - for not supporting non-substantive cosmetic actions under the guise of African American self-determination and empowerment. But like the Taliban who destroyed the historical largest standing Buddha’s, in the world in Bamiyan, who had been standing since the century. In Afghanistan, or ISIS, who destroyed the Temple of Baalshamin at the Syrian site of Palmyra because they found the offensive to Allah, similar suggestions about confederate monuments are equally claims of bull shit.

You do not have to agree with me but this is how I see it.  If you do not believe me, just try to take down Auschwitz, Dachau or Buchenwald: Jews will never let it happen because they do not want ANYONE to forget about what happened to them so it will never happen again.  Not us. They write and make documentaries incessantly on every aspect of the Holocaust and you will see at least one every day or weekly on TV around the world.  Whether is on the Kristallnacht or the  Nuremberg Laws or the Jews of Poland or the Jews of Lithuania or the human experimentation they tolerated, they telling their story. Not US.  Instead we get mad and formulate #Noconfederate because we too lazy to write and make our own and/or tell our own historical reality. Like I said. try to take down Auschwitz, Dachau or Buchenwald: Jews will never let it happen because they do not want ANYONE to forget about what happened to them so it will never happen again.  Not us.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Saturday, July 1, 2017

When I look at the current state of U.S. liberal democrats, it reminds of watching a semi-cool white person on the streets of Memphis trying to juk.  They are more than out of place, off rhythm and seemingly unaware of both, which puts them out of touch with reality and the perspectives of others watching them.  It is as if they did not learn any lessons from the victory of Donald Trump in 2016 and like zombies, respond to only things that they see the mainstream media tell them to be outraged about. No real issues, just outrage here, outrage there, here an outrage, there an outrage, everywhere an outrage. Russia collusion or Russian hacking. Trump tweeted this or Trump tweeted that. It is like the dance of the person in Memphis, awkward and an indicator of the dim electoral future liberals have in the U.S. if they do not get on beat.

For starters, they saw what worked for Trump and Bernie Sanders yet they pull out the same old veer offense that continues to turn the ball over after 3 downs. They should be able to observe that they need a similar and HONEST message presented by a younger and more genuine person, not just some east or west coast big wig city elite to garble mumbo jumbo on 30 second commercials that don’t offer policy solutions for everybody.  Instead they run out city slick carpetbagger named Ossoff to run in a district in which he did not live in and spend $23million and worse, did not harvest as many votes as Rodney Stooksbury, the Democrat listed on the ballot during the general election last November. Or as Newsweek put it: “Rodney Stooksbury, who raised no money and had no campaign website or online presence

Trump can say the word puzzy and liberals run out of their house to protest, complain and destroy property, yet seem to forget and equally said nothing and saw no offence in President Obama bombing kids around the globe and cats in Flint have no water to drink and being ordered by democrats to pay for what they cannot consume or face foreclosure. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee just recently called for President Trump to resign for his tweets attacking Mika Brzezinski.  Last I heard the dozens isn’t illegal.  Putting it plainly it is like Mika saying “Donald you dumb and ride the retarded bus” and Trump responding “yo momma smoke crack rock.” End of story (if you cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen).

This is just one problem; how do they justify calling themselves liberal or progressive if they ignore global suffering and continue to promulgate neoliberal policy that causes suffering not only in the US but around the globe because of wars promoting the global imperialistic goals of neoliberal republicans and democrats?

This dance doesn’t end there.  As 2018 quickly approaches, they still lack not only a solid policy message but also candidates.  They have Tulsi Gabbard who is on the record calling for restoring Glass-Steagall, consistently is opposed to regime change, is against any cuts to Medicare or Social Security and the NSA’s bulk collection of data. But Gabbard speaks her mind and equally goes against the core liberals in the democratic party.  This faction question her passion for LGBT and abortion rights. They also will never forget that she doesn’t tote the party line on fundamental Islamic terrorism noting that for over the last decade most terrorist attacks conducted around the world are the result of “radical Islamic ideology.”  Even more of a concern for the democratic establishment was her resolution she introduced to prioritize Christians and Yezidis — when granting refugee status. 

But Gabbard is ignored and even avoided, just as several other noteworthy leaders of the new school like Kimberly Ellis (as the vote for the Democratic party chair of California held its election demonstrated) and former Ohio state senator Nina Turner. Instead they prefer others like New Jersey senator Cory Booker, Maryland congressman John Delaney and relative newcomer Senator Kamala Harris of California.

Harris is interesting, she has come to political fruition after she was cut off by her colleagues in the Senate while she questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions (an event that she quickly used to raise tens of thousands of dollars) and came to politics being the 29-year-old girlfriend of California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown when he was 60. In 1994 Brown named Harris to the California Medical Assistance Commission, before that he appointed her to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. She was described by several people at the Capitol as Brown’s girlfriend.”  Harris barley was elected California’s Attorney General in 2010 by about 50,000 after provisional ballots were counted. While AG, her department argued against expanding the early release program for inmates on the basis that it would deplete the cheap (slave) labor force.  Many see Harris as a corporatist and in the mold of the establishment democratic core of the state.

These inconsistencies make the democrats seem fickle.  Take the recent health care debate ironically, in California. Nurses, unions and average citizens were overwhelming in support of what was described as a single payer Medicare for all (the Healthy California Act). But Democrats who maintain complete control of the state to pass a bill like this, did the opposite. In support of corporate donors in the healthcare, insurance and pharmaceutical industries, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon helped to block a Democrat-sponsored bill to create the Healthy California Act. Reports indicate that Rendon has taken in more than  $101,000 from pharmaceutical companies and another $50,000 from major health insurers over the past 5 years. This is par for the course considering that the California Democratic Party has received more than $1.2 million from the specific groups opposing the bill, and more than $2 million from pharmaceutical and health insurance industry donors.


Democrats must show that they are the party of the people. However, their addiction to corporate plutocratic funding seems to prevent them from being able to do such. Not to mention that it abrogates the voices of the citizenry they claim to represent. The liberal establishment wing of the Democratic party is Cleary out of touch, out of step and off beat – awkward choreography sure to lead them to where they do not want to be in 2018.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


I grew up in the 1960s and although there was inherent bias evinced in the press during that time in both print and television media particularly regarding race, there remained objectivity when it came to covering basic news events and stories. This was a time in which I can still remember the folks I read in the local newspapers in my hometown in Memphis and occasionally when I would read the Tennessean out of Nashville, Chicago Tribune or New York Times at the library. But mostly it was The Commercial Appeal, the Memphis Press-Scimitar and the Tri-State Defender. I can even still recall reading the writings of Seymour Hersh, Rheta Grimsley Johnson and Ted Knap as well as watching the evening news reports by Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Ed Bradley - although there were only four TV channels then.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and what I was raised to consider journalism and objective reporting to service the need of the people and republic first has molded into the sinew of vile partisan collectivism practiced to serve and maintain a plutocratic status quo – something unheard of in the times of award winning journalist Ernie Pyle.

Now I am not as too well-versed on Pile as many maybe and first became acquainted with him as a child when I was collecting stamps (which I still do). It was beautiful brown and white 16 cent stamp that came out in 1971.  I remember my mother bringing me home a block of four freshly minted stamps which I still have this day. Next I began to find out more about him. The only book I found at my neighborhood library was a collection of his newspaper columns from World War II titled Brave men.

Just revisiting it now, makes me wonder what would so called journalist of this incessant 24 hour a day cable news generation think of Pyle’s work and skill and most importantly, his objectivity. One would never imagine or even picture a 21st century war reporter joining in battle with a platoon they were covering and embedded with during a firefight on the battlefield. Yet this is our reality – we have gone from Ernest Taylor Pyle to CNN and a bevy of leftist and selfish misfits parading as journalist with names like Bash, Acosta, Blitzer, Cooper, Cuomo, Tapper and Lemon. To be honest, I can say the same for other similar news outlets too numerous to name (The Guardian, MIC, MSNBC, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, New York Magazine, New York Times, Vanity Fair & Vox), however, CNN has managed to put themselves out in front of even the nearest competitors for lack of honest reporting, objectivity and being truthful about their ulterior motives – which if I may state in my opinion is to bias and slander all things Trump and prop up the democratic party by any means required (see Kathy Griffin). Then there is the recent real-life example that resulted in three of their news staff being forced to resign over what seems to be a continuous trail of contrived stories on Russia/Trump collusion based on a single anonymous source, which had to beretracted.

This was not the first time. Earlier this month right before CNN hyped-up former FBI
Director James Comey's opening testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Gloria Borger, Jake Tapper and several others published a story (based on anonymous sources) that Comey was expected to dispute President Trump's claims that he had been told on multiple occasions by then Director Comey he was not under investigation. To make a short story shorter, they issued a retraction (they were wrong).

From Trump threatening to invade Mexico and the made-up removal of MLK’s bust from the Oval office to the fabricated increase in suicide deaths of transgenders since his election to the fake Treasury Secretary SteveMnuchin foreclosing on an elderly woman over some pocket change story, the Ernie Pyle’s and Ed Bradley’s are few and between them are thousands of hack’s named Josh Rogin, Anne Applebaum, Dana Schwartz, Sarah Silverman, Keith Olbermann, Matthew Yglesias, Reza Aslan and Joy Ann Reid.

We may have to accept that what was once consider journalism has been thrown out of the window for ratings and partisan demagoguery.  Whether it is intentionally distorting the record or exact quotes to make a point as was in the case of Betsy DeVos (Slate & The Daily Beast) or fake news by omission as in the recent example of NBC’s Meet The Press Host Chuck Todd interviewing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders about the Republican health care bill but nothing about Sanders and his wifebeing under FBI investigation in relation to bank fraud. I am almost certain if it were trump or any of his associates this would have led the questioning and there would have likely been no mention of the health care bill. 

I hope we do not have to settle for the above as being reflective of the new standards of journalism.  But it may just be that in the future, we should expect CNN political correspondents and Democratic operative to be synonymous and expect them to give questions to their hand-picked political favorites as standard operating procedure in the future. Maybe this is where we have landed in this brave new world, in a place where intellectual dishonesty is preferred to accuracy and smearing individuals you do not agree with is paramount than honest and objective coverage for the well-being of the country and public good, even if it means making up fabricated single unnamed sources stories that are unverified about Russia collusion with the executive branch and contrived election interference.  Personally, I have not had cable or television on my farm since 2006.  I say cut off the idiot box but also recognize that such is difficult for individuals not mentally tough enough to move away from the group think of the heard. We have truly come a long way from Ernie Pyle.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A while back around September, I started to write about why I agreed with those individuals that considered, or expressed the view that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was obsolete.  However, I refrained after reading other people expressing a historical viewpoint that was similar to mine and I did not want to just throw up more words on the same topic just in a different sequence and syntax of word usage.  But I have decided to revisit this topic upon the passing of former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl.

If we walk back in time to 1989, right before the fall of the Berlin wall, we would be able to see that the issues that concerned the western political establishment regarding German re-unification are similar in structure and content to those made in contradiction of the utility of NATO some 30 years later. What is going to happen to the stability of Europe that has been maintained ever since the end of the cold-war? Could and will Gorbachev (easily synonymous with Putin) accept the end of East Germany (soviet tanks were there at the time)?  What will happen to the Eastern borders of Europe (especially Poland in 1989 ironically where NATO is conducting war games currently)?

As then, these issues and questions persist and frequently brought up by pro-Hillary Clinton progressive Neoliberal NATO-crats and folks like Sen. John McCain who recurrently speaks out openly to convict any effort to normalization US and EU relations with Russia (Putin). This is done any time they get, like a talentless rapper who hypes the real star on stage, they hype-up the fake news that presents Russia being a military threat in Eastern Europe (and anywhere else if the can - see Syria). Seems some NATO or Brussel’s big wheel (Secretary-General Jens Stoltenber & German DM Ursulla von der Leyen) comes out of the back room every day to try and show how much they hate Russia over the next man or woman also.

Once upon a time NATO was simply a treaty designed to keep an occupying US army on European soil. Now it is just an outdated means of increasing US influence more so than being able to provide any real security anywhere. Basically, it is just a cash cow that seeks ways to justify immense military spending over the delusion America and European hallucination that we are perpetually on the brink of war with Russia, as well as a repurposed weapon of global neocolonialism and the tool of choice for regime change and national building. Thus, it’s clear that many have a serious interest in seeing the status quo (NATO) continue.

Dr. Kohl’s death is a reminder of this and that diplomacy is a skill set that is mandatory if peace and not war is truly the desired outcome for all conflicts. We must recall that the French said Kohl’s plan for German reunification was out of the question and there was a lot of resistance to the idea of a united Germany in general. Most (France and the UK) felt it would change the balance of the EU forever and it did. Not to mention there was the old axiom - NATO was designed to keep the Russians out, the US military machine in Europe and the Germans down. Making one Germany destroyed all three of these prospects. Moreover, Kohl’s success destroyed the justification for the incessant funding of the NATO war machine.

Probably the best detailed account of what Dr. Kohl had to deal with is described in Mitterrand, the End of the Cold War, and German Unification by Frédéric Bozo. Bozo describes how it only took Kohl less than a month to pre-empt all concerns from France, the U.K. and the United States when he came up with a 10-point plan to fast-track German unification. Of all his actions, his pledge to recognize the post-war German-Polish border (Oder-Neisse line) and his promise to pay for the cost of the Soviet troop withdrawal from East Germany were both shrewd and savvy and led to the end of the cold war. One could also posit that the post-Cold War reconfiguration of NATO that occurred after Kohl’s unification of Germany was the start of the post WWII uselessness of NATO.
The fall of the Berlin wall was then followed by Gorbachev dissolving the Warsaw Pact and relinquishing control over all the Soviet-occupied Eastern European countries. This should have been the end of NATO since it was FORMED and ESTABLISHED to serve as a  cooperative security peacetime military alliance against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact Nations. Kohl’s efforts also included getting the U.S. to promise that we would never expand NATO further eastward if he didn’t object to East Germany’s becoming a member of NATO.

Given the history, hard not to disagree but Donald Trump or anyone else as it regards NATO usefulness. Fact is that when the Berlin Wall fell, and the Soviet Union dissolved, the reason for the formation and maintenance of NATO ended too. If you want to keep it real, NATO was never capable of defending Europe without the US and its mission still hasn’t evolved to keep up with threat of international terrorism and combatting the Islamic State. Problem is when you openly say such, you end up hurting the feelings of the D.C. neoliberal establishment war machine profiteer cartel. Cats the likes of Will Marshall, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan, and Stephen Hadley who see NATO to extend their crony capitalistic ways. These are the folk who are the maddest when Trump and others point out that NATO freeloader nations need to “pay up or get out.”
Yes, Kohl reminds me of how archaic and old-fashined and unserviceable NATO is. Nations like Albania, Croatia Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia  are all member states now (although the U.S. promised Gorbachev that NATO would not encroach upon Russia’s borders). It is easy to see that in 2017 it has a single purpose: to serve as bait to start a world war with Russia.

Instead of heeding the wisdom of former statesmen before Kohl like Sen. Robert A. Taft in 1949 or President Eisenhower’s via his prophetic cautioning in 1961 that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex," the west has yet to objectively examine the utility of NATO – especially if the desire is peaceful co-existence globally. Taft understood all of this and saw the formation of NATO, regardless of what was said, as “an offensive and defensive military alliance against Russia,” saying that he believed “such an alliance is more likely to produce war than peace. A third world war would be the greatest tragedy the world has ever suffered.” True, the UN Charter supposedly only allows nations to use force only in self-defense when under threat of imminent attack, but it seems that NATO knowing it is no longer valid, is just itching to provoke a fight with Putin, against reason and even to the detriment of humanity.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Now as most of my readers know, I voted for Donald Trump, as well as I voted for Barack Obama in 2008.  This is one reason I do not see a difference between democrats and republicans. Moreover, my voting for whomever doesn’t come with me supporting them just because they received my vote.  Rather, it requires I speak up objectively about policy and events that occur under their leadership that in my view I consider to be wrong-headed and generally fcked up. The recent severing of all relations with Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates coincidentally after a visit from President Donald Trump in my opinion is such an event. Supposedly or at least based on media reports, because Qatar has relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas and funds terrorism in the region. Iraq has indicated that they will not be taking sides on this issue.

Saudi Arabia has demanded that Qatar ends these relationships and this has left me scratching my head. Did Trump give a green light for this, knowingly or unknowingly? How far will this go? How will this impact any of the recent OPEC agreements? What could or would the worst-case scenario be? Why now? The fear of other area nations, namely Oman and Kuwait is that tensions may escalate and result in more unforeseen problems for all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, maybe even a possible break-up of the GCC.

So far the Saudi royal family has imposed a naval blockade stopping most if not all of its  maritime trade and more importantly Qatar’s ability to export Liquefied natural gas is natural gas and oil. They have also closed their borders with Qatar, which immediately led to a run-on food the Qatari capital of Doha and suspended the license of Qatar Airways and ordered its banks to sell tall Qatari currency.  The Saudi’s have also ordered their citizens out of Qatar and gave Qataris abroad 14 days to return to Qatar. Now Saudi Arabia has given Qatar 24 hours to fulfill 10 conditions given to Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, who is operating as a mediator between Saudi and Qatar. If Qatar does not conform to the Saudi’s request, will a military operation be on the table for Riyadh?

President Recep Erdogan of Turkey has come out in support of Qatar and questions the validity of the Saudi’s allegations and their effort to isolate Doha. But this isn’t too much of an unexpected position for Erdogan to take, since the ruling AKP party is a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate and both have provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and groups currently fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Erdogan has also decided to deploy troops to Qatar after the 24-hour Saudi ultimatum was made. As part of an agreement signed in 2014 Turkey set up a military base in Qatar like the US base in Qatar. In his most recent statement about the growing tensions, Erdogan noted he did not consider sanctions against Qatar as being a good idea and added that in his view, the other nations were trying to impose a “guardianship over Qatar, which is in itself a violation of its sovereignty, and is rejected outright."

Honestly it is a weak argument for the Saudi’s and their supporting cast and Trump needs to seriously monitor and evaluate this situation. Saudi Arabia calling another nation out for funding terrorism is like the pot calling the kettle black. Although Saudi Arabia has provided no proof to support its claims against Qatar, the history books do confirm that the Saudi’s have remained as being one of the biggest sources of funding to so-called jihadi groups going back decades. Notwithstanding that nine of the fifteen 911 terrorist were from Saudi Arabia. So, there must be something else behind this.

Maybe it is Israel.  We all know they have been trying for decades to drive a wedge between the Arab states. True, Israel has worked with Doha and maintains amenable relationships but they have also let it be known of how their authentic feelings about the small nation. Israel may see this as an opportunity to drive a wedge between the Arab states (if the words of defense minister Avigdor Lieberman reflect the position of the Netanyahu administration and their views of all the Sunni Arab countries except for Qatar) who do not see a nuclear Iran as the number one threat in the middle east).

We know there has been bad blood between the Saudi’s and Qatar for decades most likely starting with overthrow of the former Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani by his son. Plus, there are a few other events over the past 20 years have seem to support this position. If I were asked, I’d say this was about the future of the middle east and energy resources. Doha doesn’t agree with the Saudi view of how the middle east should be.  In fact, they have openly shown how the despise the tyrants and dictators in the region including Saudi, Egypt and the Emirates and Qatar is on record for being willing to negotiate with Iran. The Saudi clique on the other hand see a single direction for the middle east which could shape it for many years to come.  They are against and move toward democratic rule which is one reason they hate the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas (which regardless of being terrorist or not, push for bottom up government).  This is something the monarch's fear and a reason why some suggest Saudi pushed for Present Egyptian President El-Sisi to take over Egypt. The Saudi’s have also given the world Salafism and Wahhabism and have been funding every Islamic fundamentalist ultra-conservative movement in support of jihad since the beginning of OPEC. Without the Saudi’s we would have never had Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

SiSi served as Egypt’s military attaché in Riyadh before returning to Egypt. Evidence supports that he was and remains paid and supported by the Saudi government, who used him to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Egypt Mohamed Morsi (again, they fear popular democratic rule and to stop such in Egypt, the had to overthrow the leader the people elected). One could say that it is the desire for the Saudi’s to stop all and every democratic movement in the region and maintain their feudalistic political domination, even if that means war as is evident for their support for bombing even other Sunni nations like Yemen and Syria.  Qatar was very critical of Sisi killing thousands of civilians during his Coup while Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Emirates were silent. Qatar is also anti secularist, dictatorships and unaccountable royals pushing their weight around and they express this openly.

This is about punishing Qatar not terrorism, so what is going on and why now? Qatar is a major energy producer and has become the single biggest natural gas supplier in the region. The offshore North Field, the world’s largest liquid natural gas reservoir which they share with Iran, may also be a causal factor for Saudi Arabia’s new stance. This may be why the Saudi’s acted so abruptly (it can no longer be a step-child of Saudi Arabia based on its increasing financial influence alone). Then there is the little item of Qatar removing a self-imposed ban on working with Iran to work jointly in operating the North Field.  This not only angers the Saudi’s but Israel equally, and only worsen the fact that the government in Doha has refused to sign on to the Saudi-Israel alliance (against Iran).

If the Trump team is smart, they may be able to take advantage of the good relationship the US military has with Qatar to squash this nonsense. As it stands, no one knows were Trump stands other than a few tweets which in my observation are just pouring gasoline on an already burning part of the globe. First Trump applauded the actions against Qatar, but later stressed the need for unity by the GCC during a phone call with Saudi King Salman. Moreover, Qatar is the location of al-Udeid air base, the U.S. largest airfield in the region were all missions for Syria are originated.

So, I don’t have the answers, but it interesting to think about and I would rather occupy my mind with this than nonsensical Russia Trump collusion BS.  I feel that Qatar will be alright and that nations including but not limited to Iran, Russia, China, and Turkey will jump to fill the void. I also see this as a fight among two versions of extreme Islam and as the Saudi’s overtly showing their fear for a Shia dominated middle east. I worry about Saudi military intervention in Qatar but do not fear of any Saudi annexation and occupation of Qatar: Qatar shares largest natural gas field in the world with Iran, and they won’t allow an occupation or invasion to happen.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Now I don’t watch the Sunday network talk shows, but I do get to read the transcripts.  I was sent one via email from a friend of mine on Susan Rice’s appearance on the Sunday talk show hosted by Former Bill Clinton Press Secretary George Stephanopoulos.  My friend was cracking up and couldn’t stop laughing. Now for the record I like Susan Rice, I may not agree with her often, but I do like her (nothing like a smart black woman to make me smile). I digress. Nonetheless, it was obvious the powers that be on the mainstream media wanted or needed to get former Ambassador Susan Rice into the collective unconscious of the public left.

From reading the transcript, the first thing that jumped out was that Stephanopoulos was tossing former Ambassador Rice under hand softball pitches or even worse, setting the ball on the T for her to hit without much difficulty. The set up (as has been the case since the presidential primary), is to first use a few of Trump tweets like they were chum (fish parts, bone and blood) to attract the anger and lure Ambassador Rice like a shark to the Trump smell. This is followed by the introduction of the Great White or Tiger Shark they are baiting (chumming) for: this time it being the person who served as national security adviser and UN ambassador under President Obama. His first question, referring to the commixture of tweets pertained to how alarmed should we be because of the recent terrorist attacks in London? Rice gave the basic scripted Benghazi type answer: “We need to remain very focused on dealing with that threat. But at the same time, we need to recognize that there will be homegrown extremists in all our countries. And there is no easy way to predict and defeat every single one of them.” 

Stephanopoulos’s next question was pure chum. "You heard the president say that travel ban would bring an extra level of safety. Your response?”

RICE: “Well, George, there's really no evidence to suggest that by banning Muslims or banning Muslims from a particular set of six countries that we would make ours here in the United States safer. And that's, I believe, one of the major reasons why the courts thus far have been very skeptical of the travel ban. Moreover, I think there's a very real risk that by stigmatizing and isolating Muslims from particular countries and Muslims in general that we alienate the very communities here in the United States whose cooperation we most need to detect and prevent these homegrown extremists from being able to carry out the attacks.”

Yes, that is correct, targeting the same predominantly Muslim nations Obama did in 2011 would only result in the “real risk that by stigmatizing and isolating Muslims from particular countries and Muslims in general that we alienate the very communities here in the United States.” It would be easy to conclude then that Obama’s slowing down of refugees and the level of Iraqi resettlement, would have resulted in the same. Now both programs are different, but it is the logic (or illogic) that sticks out as peculiar.

His next line of questioning briefly (and I mean briefly) addressed leaks.  From reading the transcript and lack of follow-up by Stephanopoulos it was clear he did not want to accidently ask her about possible leaks and unmasking by Obama administration appointees so he deftly moved to the next subject which was her critique of President Trump published in The New York Times. Stephanopoulos stated, “… one of the things you wrote is that Russia has been a big winner under President Trump. How so?”

RICE: "Well, George, the United States has been the leader of the world because the world trusts and respects us, because we have an unprecedented network of alliances with close partners that work with us, whether it's to defeat ISIS, whether it's to deal with a threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon, or to go after challenges of a new sort like pandemic disease or climate change. We need these partners. And when we alienate our western allies, when the president went to NATO and failed to reaffirm, as every president has since 1948, that we're committed and remain committed to the defense of our NATO partners, he sent shockwaves through Europe. And that is exactly what Vladimir Putin wants. Because Putin's interests, as he reaffirmed just on Friday, is to see NATO weakened and ultimately destroyed. And when the United States, the most important player in NATO, casts doubt about our commitment to that vital alliance, it undermines our security. It undermines the security of our closest allies. And it's a big win for Vladimir Putin.”

Now what is missing from this response you might ask? For starters, it is questionable if the prior administration tried to or wanted to go after ISIS. Obama did call them the JV team and blamed everyone in the universe (Bush, the second amendment & even global warming) for his not recognizing them as a threat.  In fact, Obama was occupied with Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden so much so that he basically breast fed ISIS into existence with his policy of unilateral invasion of Libya under the dress of NATO. Which reminds us of how poorly he and Rice responded to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens. Moreover, the concept that Iran as a major nuclear threat is also laughable given that they are still on the path and the deal negotiated by team Obama does nothing to prevent them from becoming a nuclear power. Not to mention the illegal and off the record $1.7 billion payment to Iran in 2016 made entirely in cash, with non-U.S. currency.

When asked about President Putin, Rice quickly responded that “he's lying” and that "The reality is, …the Russian government, at the highest levels, was behind the very unprecedented effort to meddle in our 2016 presidential election.” Continuing she said, “Russia is an adversary. Russia not only has invaded a sovereign country and annexed part of it in Ukraine and Crimea [After Obama orchestrated coup]. It's not only in cahoots with a regime in Syria that uses chemical weapons [yet to be proven], it has interfered directly and deliberately at the direction of the highest levels of its government in our democratic process…That is a threat to the integrity of our democracy. That's a threat to our country on a bipartisan basis. And we need to hold Russia accountable.”

Who else to know if someone is lying than the always honest Susan Rice who had the gumption to go on national television and lie to hundreds of millions of U.S. citizens and people around the globe when on one news show she said: “Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is at present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy, sparked by this hateful video.…We do not — we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned. I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al-Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al-Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.”

Again Stephanopoulos let her hit the pitch right up the middle of the field without making a play on the ball. Without a transition, it was easy for him too move to the next point of liberal discontent – when he asked, “Would it have been appropriate for Jared Kushner to have a back-channel during the transition? Your successor, General McMaster, has suggested there's nothing wrong with it.”

RICE: "Well, George, I think, these reports, if accurate, are concerning, not just because of communication between the Trump transition and the Russian government, and we do have communications between transition teams and foreign governments, but rarely with adversaries like the Russians, and rarely with the frequency that we have seen. But what I found most concerning about that report, which, if true, is that Jared Kushner suggested to the Russian ambassador that they communicate using Russian communications in a Russian diplomatic facility to hide their conversation from the United States government. That's extraordinary, if not mind-boggling from the point of view of a national security professional. I have worked in this field for 25 years. And I have never heard of such a thing. The United States -- and from one administration to the next -- has one government, one president at a time. And we worked very hard to do a professional and effective handoff. A seamless one. We worked very hard in this transition to accomplish that and to do so transparently.”

This was probably the most historically inaccurate and artfully mendacious crock of Buffalo feces of the entire interview. First communication alone is not as heinous as Rice makes it out to regardless of who is President or what country it is, even Russia. And the part about advisories is either the result of a historically ill-informed person or a calculated lie.

After the election of Richard Nixon in 1968, his future national security adviser Henry Kissinger set up a back-channel to contact and communicate with the Soviet leadership via a known KGB operative named Boris Sedov, whom Kissinger had come to know from interactions at Harvard. Even before Nixon, FDR’s used a long time fried Harry Hopkins as a go between the U.S., U.K. and Stalin. Only difference was that Roosevelt was President at the time. Then there’s Obama’s backchannel fiasco with Iran which occurred in 2008 while he was running for president in which prior to even being elected, his staff established secret communications with the Iranian leadership using William Miller to relay how they planned to interact with Iran if Obama was elected.

I don’t know if Rice believes what she says in interviews or rather if she just like hearing herself talk. One thing for certain is that she has a short memory span and here knowledge of history is suspect or intentionally confined. I mean, the Obama administration and the democrats went from loving Russia to hating Russia and calling the nation the greatest threat in the world when just a little while back it wasn't.
Torrance T. Stephens. Powered by Blogger.

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