Friday, April 21, 2017

After the civil war in America, several new political terms were introduced into our lexicon, one of which was the word carpetbagger. A carpetbagger was a northerner who moved to the South during Reconstruction (1863–1877 or 1865-1870 depending who you read) mainly to seek political office in an area where they did not live. To be accurate, during Reconstruction most of the Republican governors in the South were from the North.  This past week in Georgia, where I live and in a district, I don’t, a carpetbagger managed to place himself in a run-off for the Georgia sixth congressional district and his name is Jon Ossoff. I will expound on this and in the process, introduce a new term of political etiquette, the “vacuum cleaner.”

Ossoff like carpetbaggers back then were only concerned with self-interest that could be attained via exploitation. Exploitation in the sense that he is trying to profit by making use of and benefiting from resources from other cats outside of the 6th district to use the same district to enrich himself – nothing more or nothing less. Ask anyone in the 6th about him and you will quickly find out they don’t know him or ever see him. He has raised millions of dollars from folk that ain’t even in Georgia just to try and get the Republican seat in the special election vacated by Dr. Tom Price.

There are several reasons I consider Ossoff a carpetbagger throwback yet I will stick to two: that he doesn’t live in the district he is running to represent and that he cannot even vote for himself in said district.  I could add that I personally think Ragin Edwards, an actual East Cobb county and 6th district resident would have been the best choice for the Democratic party to support, but I should have known better based on the racist history of the Democratic party, that they would support a white man over a black woman who also happens to be a graduate of Georgia Tech. Then there is the fact that very little of his financial support comes from Georgians or folk that live in the 6th district. One source reported that he has raised tens of thousands from many of the Hollywood liberal and progressive elite, which proffers the question, what are they buying? Ossoff’s campaign, per Politico had raised more than $8 million by the election date with more than 95 percent coming from out of state. The Atlanta Journal Constitution noted: “If 95 percent of Ossoff’s $8.3 million was from out of state, that means 5 percent was from Georgians.And 5 percent of $8.3 million is $415,000.

I find it hard to consider that folk like Debra Messing, Rosie O’Donnell, Kyra Sedgwick, Chelsea Handler and actresses Jane Fonda know anything about the needs of Georgians to even comment or tell folk who to vote for. Not to mention that they most likely send their kids to private schools and have private security and therefore are unqualified to remark on such public issues on behalf of citizens involved in selecting their new representative. But who cares if out of state cats fund a Sixth District’s Georgia candidate for the U.S. Congress who also doesn’t live in the district they are running to represent and can’t vote for himself in said district? True, Ossoff did get most the votes in the primary for the 6th district, but in terms of basic math, it was less than Republicans and independents combined.

But such logic is lost on the new political class of what I call “vacuum cleaners.”  I describe vacuum cleaners as a byproduct of this new social media age.  They are hyper-partisan and typically are liberal progressive types that believe they are tolerant but are not.  The suck up every and all bits of information that supports their political view and on places like twitter, RT their views which they get from other folk, all day long.  A good sign that they are a vacuum cleaner is if most the folk they RT are from DC, New York, or California.  You may see a Massachusetts, Chicago or Atlanta person RTd but not as much as an inside the beltway or NYC cat. Honestly, I think Democrats need to suck up this L because this past Tuesday they had their best chance in Georgia but the lost it.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I have attempted to stay out of the fray regarding what has just happened in Syria.  It is almost as if Obama is still in Office and as if Trump has turned into Obama in the same fashion Obama turned into Bush. For all I know Trump is putting together a secret “kill list” like his predecessor and continuing Obama’s drone strike assassination program. I have read some interesting perspectives on this topic and agree with many of them.  For example, Norman Solomon’s suggesting that all this incessant Russian bashing may have been used to ‘bait’ Trump to bomb Syria, with or without evidence. I also agree with MIT professor of Science, Technology, and International Security Dr. Theodore Postol in his assessment of the White House report noting that it provides no evidence that the Sarin came from or was dropped from an Airplane and that without being on the ground at the time such a position is impossible to prove given Assad’s advantage in his battle against IS and other western supported terrorist proxies. For lack of a better statement, to use the words of Mike Whitney, “You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the case against Syrian President Bashar al Assad is extremely weak.” Or as the free-thinking cats at MOA have pointed out, the White House “assessment” begins with "The United States is confident that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapon attack, ..." noting that “The U.S…. does not have"proof" - it is just "confident".” And returning to Dr. Postol, he was also correct in 2013 when he disproved the Obama Administration uninformed position that Assad was responsible for a chemical nerve agent attack in Damascus.  My question is will Trump be another Obama with respect to Foreign policy in West Asia and use his war powers even out there past Obama? Will he engage in even more unjustified and clandestine wars in the same way Bush and Obama did by targeting even more majority-Muslim countries?

Let us begin with some historical perspective. The west has had its eye on Syria for decades now.  Although many would assert it started with a 1949 coup attemp timplemented by the CIA just 3 years after Syria became an independent country, I would suggest it started after WW1 in 1919 and continued up until the Franco-Syrian war initially. Specifically, after the implementation of the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916 - which cut up what was left of the Ottoman Empire between France and Britain. The war itself happened in 1920 ending in a victory for the French and the formation of a new pro-French government. This resulted in Syria being divided in to several regions according to religion. This is an important historical event because it appears the object of current western interference and the call for regime change in the nation has a similar objective.

In addition, history shows us that the objective of these efforts was to dominate and control the rich natural resources (oil and natural gas) in the region. As early as 1957 President Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan were making plans to establish and support financially the establishment of what they called a “Free Syria Committee” for the singular purpose of regime change in Syria to try and control the oil fields of not only Syria but also Iraq. There was no real geopolitical reason for this other than the desire of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) to build a Trans-Arabian Pipe Line (TAPLINE) from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean via Syria through to Turkey. This required a “Syrian right-of-way” to be agreed upon without input from the Syrian people of course.

Unfortunately, the efforts of the west resulted in making a divide between Shiite and Sunni that has been going on since the seventh century even worse especially if one considers that Shiites are the majority in Iran and Iraq, and are the largest Muslim group in Lebanon and their lands include what many consider the richest oil fields in the entirety of the Middle East. 

These efforts have only increased and intensified over the past few decades with regime change in Syria being priority. First a unified Syria stands in the way of policy objectives in the region to numerous and nuanced to discuss (US interests both in Lebanon and preventing the establishment of an Iraq’s pipeline to the Mediterranean for example). We know this because recently unclassified documents show that the CIA even made plans to use Iraq, Israel and Turkey as proxies in 1983 to pressure the Syrian government by using covert military actions just to establish a pipeline. Although this didn’t manifest, it did not prevent the CIA from continuing to try for in 1986 they drew up some more ideas to overthrow Syria by provoking sectarian tensions (does this sound familiar?). The same policy goals were desired again in 1991 and in 2001.

What we see now - with the supposed “civil war” in Syria - has been years in the making and the recent efforts of ISIS and other terrorist extremist (all supported by the West and Saudi Arabia) may have finally come to fruition after hard work put in by the British government according to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas who is on record saying that he got it from the horse’s mouth that “top British officials” were in the process of arming Sunni nationals “to invade Syria” in 2009 – two years before the anti-Assad protest. Then there is what then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in 2012: that the best way to help Israel deal with Iranis to help overthrow Bashar Assad.

So it seems that President Trump is no different than Obama or Bush or his democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and their desire to use any excuse to make bankers and oil giants the benefactors of the wealth to be generated by a divided Syria without Assad at the helm.  Chemical weapons like WMDs in Iraq, was contrived as an excuse to justify their goals.  I mean we know that Turkey supplied Sarin gas to Syrian rebels in 2013in order to frame the Syrian government. We also know that independent Humanitarian organizations have documented that ISIS has used chemical weapons, including Sarin, chlorine and sulfur mustard agents, at least 52 times on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq since 2014.

We also know that just like the Bush Administration, Hillary Clinton and Obama cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government to fund and arm clandestine operations designed to take down Iran and its ally Syria  by encouraging Sunni extremist groups that not only champion a militant view of Islam but are also are anti-America and sympathetic to ISIS and Al Qaeda. All which seem to be from extremist Islamic fundamentalist groups with origins in or connections to Saudi Arabia. 
In all sincerity, the west, as in Yemen, is backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Sunni’s who are an openly admitted group that considers the U.S. and of Israel as lifelong enemies. By bombing Assad, we are basically s one writer put it serving as the ISIS/Al Qaeda Air force. This in my opinion, is no different that when Barack Obama invaded Libya without Congressional approval in 2011.  Trump clearly is no different and seems to take his marching orders from the neoconservatives and neoliberals who won’t be happy until a major U.S. military intervention happens in Syria (and other places) even if it means a confrontation with Russia and/or China. You may question my analysis but for what it is worth, NSC adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster is no dissimilar than Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, or Nuland’s husband – Robert Kagen on this matter.

Again as I asked in the beginning of this essay, is Trump any different than Bush or Obama? I suspect not. As one writer pointed out: “I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that Assad or anybody else in the Syrian government really ordered a chemical weapons attack on anybody.  To believe that it would require you to find the following sequence logical: first, Assad pretty much wins the war against Daesh which is in full retreat.  Then, the US declares that overthrowing Assad is not a priority anymore (up to here this is all factual and true).  Then, Assad decides to use weapons he does not have.  He decides to bomb a location with no military value, but with lots of kids and cameras.  Then, when the Russians demand a full investigation, the Americans strike as fast as they can before this idea gets any support.  And now the Americans are probing a possible Russian role in this so-called attack.  Frankly, if you believe any of that, you should immediately stop reading and go back to watching TV.”

I remember the Gulf of Tonkin and other major U.S. lies to justify war like the one in 1970 when our government lied to the American people and said, “We didn’t cross the border going into Cambodia” when in fact we did. Former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, was correct in his assessment equally when he said like Libya, Syria will "implode" if President Assad was removed from office period. Not to mention bombing Syria does nothing to provide humanitarian relief and merely distracts the world from the West supported atrocities in Yemen, Mosul and the South Sudan.
Torrance T. Stephens. Powered by Blogger.

I am Author, Writer and Infectious Disease Scientist. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee.

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