Hypocrisy is thy name


Only our unique American exceptionalism could create hypocrisy so great that it threatens to blot out the sun.

Historians have documented that empires fail when the discrepancy between what elites say and what they do grows too large.

It’s hard to know where to begin, but for me the most blatant hypocrisy is the one that lies at the heart of the so-called “war on terror.” After 15 years of fear mongering about Al Qaeda terrorists, it turns out that the US is using the very same Sunni terrorists as proxies to effect regime change in Syria. For anyone paying attention, this dirty-little-secret has become difficult to miss. It’s been acknowledged hereherehere, here, and here.

Now that Russia has intervened decisively in Syria to aid the government of Bashar Assad against said Al Qaeda terrorists, the corporate media is awash with concern about Russian and Syrian “barrel” bombing, with the victims of these dastardly attacks trotted out to crocodile tears. That the US regularly bombs hospitals, wedding parties, and civilian infrastructure, is magically forgotten. Even more hypocritically, while the US decries Russian and Syrian war crimes, it’s ally Saudi Arabia is busy bombing defenseless Yemeni civilians, using US made cluster bombs delivered by US F-15’s.

However, our foreign policy elite, sensing a Hillary landslide, are pushing for more war in Syria, never mind that an attack on Assad and the Syrian army risks a nuclear conflict with Russia. Veteran investigative reporter Robert Parry says that, “Virtually the entire mainstream U.S. media (and much of the progressive media) are onboard for a U.S. “regime change” operation in Syria and for getting tough with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

There’s plenty more hypocrisy.

On the economy, who are you going to believe, Obama, or your lying eyes? Recently, DNC chairwoman, Donna Brazile, tweeted this boast. “Under President Obama, the economy has experienced a record 70 straight months of private-sector job growth. Over 14 million jobs!”  However, a recent study entitled Problems Unsolved and a Nation Dividedby Harvard University points out that, despite claims of an “Obama Recovery,” in fact, the U.S. economy has continued to deteriorate in the aftermath of the “great recession.”

There’s also political hypocrisy, where the political elite and their corporate media allies have united to decry Trump’s questioning of American political legitimacy. The corporate media solemnly assures us that our American system of political legitimacy is sacrosanct. Never mind the election of 2000, where Republican political operatives staged a riot to prevent a recount in Florida, that would have elected Gore rather than Bush.

In a hilarious turn of events, Russia is trolling the US with an offer to monitor US elections. “In what can only be described as an epic attempt to troll both Obama and Hillary, and an apparent move to embarrass the United States over Trump’s claims of that the upcoming presidential election will be “rigged”, Russia has asked to send monitors to US polling stations for the Nov. 8 vote, according to reports by Russian media.”

Then, there’s the tax hypocrisy. The political and media elite are aghast that Trump hasn’t paid his fair share of taxes. But Trump is hardly the first elite to game the tax system. In fact, right now there is a scheme afoot to trade the financing of much needed American infrastructure for a tax holiday on the profits that US corporations have squirreled away in offshore tax havens.

“Last year, behind the scenes, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., quietly tried to lay the groundwork for a classic Washington, D.C., bipartisan solution — i.e., the kind of deal that both parties’ big donors adore and regular Americans would despise, if they ever heard about it. Under U.S. law, multinational corporations based here theoretically must pay taxes on their profits earned anywhere around the world at a rate of 35 percent. However, they don’t have to pay U.S. taxes on overseas profits until they repatriate the money back to the U.S…The prospective Ryan-Schumer deal doesn’t have many details. But it would change the law so that profits earned by U.S. multinationals overseas, including the $2.4 trillion overseas now, would be taxed whether or not they were brought back to the U.S. — while also radically reducing the tax rate on those overseas profits. This would essentially make the 2004 tax holiday permanent.”

Whoever wins the presidential election in November is going to face a growing crisis of legitimacy because of the ongoing hypocrisy. The American people may have slept through the last 40 years but they are starting to wake up. And, they are pissed off.

If Hillary wins the election, and all signs are pointing that way, she could face a danger greater than the loss of legitimacy. In my opinion, a domestic insurgency in the United States is a real possibility. The Americans that she castigated as “deplorable,” are the ones who, by and large, have served in the military and are heavily armed.

This could get interesting.




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Let me get this straight. Pussy grabbing is bad, but assassinations, torture, and invading a largely defenseless country are cool?

Image: Michelle Obama, George W. Bush

Watching the 2016 Presidential election has been illuminating.

In my opinion, what bothers our elite, who are united in revulsion against Trump, is that he never learned how to maintain the proper decorum. Unlike Michelle, Barack, and W, Trump didn’t go to Harvard or Yale, institutions that serve as sociopathic finishing schools for America’s elite.

Regarding our sociopathic elite, I’m reminded of an article I read years ago in the New York Times, that I can’t find now, where Madeleine Albright tutors students in the finer arts of dinner behavior. This was after Albright, former Secretary of State under the Clinton administration, had admitted to Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, that the sanctions the US had imposed on Iraq that had resulted in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth the price.

For such a horrible candidate, the Donald has unintentionally performed a public service by clarifying what our values are.

Misogyny bad, mass murder of far-away brown people, not so much.

No wonder our elite despise him.

Update: Matt Taibbi gives us the Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail angle:

“Trump’s shocking rise and spectacular fall have been a singular disaster for U.S. politics. Built up in the press as the American Hitler, he was unmasked in the end as a pathetic little prankster who ruined himself, his family and half of America’s two-party political system for what was probably a half-assed ego trip all along, adventure tourism for the idiot rich. 

That such a small man would have such an awesome impact on our nation’s history is terrible, but it makes sense if you believe in the essential ridiculousness of the human experience. Trump picked exactly the wrong time to launch his mirror-gazing rampage to nowhere. He ran at a time when Americans on both sides of the aisle were experiencing a deep sense of betrayal by the political class, anger that was finally ready to express itself at the ballot box.”


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The Flying Lemon


Reading the Project of Government Oversight report on the F-35, it’s apparent that the fighter/bomber is a flying lemon, and we the taxpayers are the unwitting buyers. The report claims that the F-35, built by Lockheed Martin, is weighed down with problems and, contrary to Air-Force assurances, not ready for combat.

“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews.”

This development is not surprising. The US’s system of military procurement is hindered by corruption, where the Military/Industrial/Complex, uses programs like the F-35 as opportunities  for price gouging and extra profits. By choosing the most complex, and expensive weapons systems, instead of simple, rugged, inexpensive ones, the MIC ensures that they will make exorbitant amounts of money far into the future. If they have to fix a bunch of problems on these expensive weapons systems, oh well. It’s cost-plus, after all.

“This is all further evidence of program mismanagement. There is still a long way to go to complete the development phase of the F-35 program, but rather than budgeting to resource that adequately, program officials seem to be focused more on expanding future procurement budgets. F-35 program officials both inside the government and at Lockheed Martin have repeatedly expressed their desire to ramp up from low rate initial production. They want Congress to authorize a block buy of 465 planes—with commensurate large pre-payments—for the United States and foreign military partners beginning in 2018.”

If a weapons system, like the F-35 works or protects us is a mystery, thanks to the very same information asymmetry that plagues used car sales, and causes people to purchase lemons. Weapon systems like the F-35, are controlled by incredibly complex sensors and computer software, “…with 24 million lines of computer code.” This complexity ensures that only experts, who usually work for the MIC, can understand and rate these complex weapons systems. Do you think that it’s a coincidence that high ranking military officers, when they leave the service, go to work for the MIC?

This article by Federico Pieraccini, at the Journal of Strategic Culture, examines the dangerous situation the US has gotten itself into with its corrupt military procurement program. While this procurement system might have sufficed when the US was fighting 3rd world nations without an air-force, it’s a real handicap in conflicts with competent opponents.

“Military spending is an essential gear in the machine of the US system of oligarchy, but the consequences are starting to drag down the future military capabilities of the United States. Its rivals are catching up, using systems that are more advanced, more economical, and more effective, while also easier to use or replicate. The military leaders at the Pentagon are starting to show telling signs of impatience, calling for a transformation that will be difficult to achieve, since it will require a sea change in the country’s top-brass establishment. The ultimate consequences are evidence of a pattern that is slowly draining Washington’s wallet and greatly reducing the competitive advantage that Washington possesses.”

I find it darkly humorous that the neoconservatives are having their dreams of empire derailed by the neoliberals penchant for looting.

I mean, how are the neocons going to impose their treasured no-fly zone in Syria with a flying lemon?


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plus ça change


Sometimes, I think that I’ve become too cynical.

But, then I see something like this.

Image: Michelle Obama, George W. Bush

Look, I’m for political comity as much as the next fellow, but that calculation is for a political system that crafts policies and hammers out bi–partisan legislation that benefits our republic and its citizens. That’s not exactly the system we have, is it? From endless war, to financial parasitism, to rancid globalization, our elite political class doesn’t serve us. They serve the wealthy and the corporations they control.

Our system, to be frank, reeks of oligarchy.

This oligarchical bi-partisanship is what the corporate press glorifies with pictures like the one above, where the wife of a war criminal hugs another war criminal.

Hope and Change was always a suckers bet.

Perhaps the French, with their longer arc of history, have a more nuanced view of such affairs: plus ça change.




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The Deep State Goes Rogue


It appears that the military/intelligence arm of the deep state has gone rogue, bombing Syrian Army positions, and potentially jeopardizing the truce agreement with Russia that Secretary of State, John Kerry negotiated, and President Obama signed off on.

Here’s Mike Whitney writing at Counterpunch.org.

“A rift between the Pentagon and the White House turned into open rebellion on Saturday when two US F-16s and two A-10 warplanes bombed Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions at Deir al-Zor killing at least 62 Syrian regulars and wounding 100 others. The US has officially taken responsibility for the incident which it called a “mistake”, but the timing of the massacre has increased speculation that the attack was a desperate, eleventh-hour attempt to derail the fragile ceasefire and avoid parts of the implementation agreement that Pentagon leaders publicly opposed. Many analysts  now wonder whether the attacks are an indication that the neocon-strewn DOD is actively engaged in sabotaging President Obama’s Syria policy, a claim that implies that the Pentagon is led by anti-democratic rebels who reject the Constitutional authority of the civilian leadership.  Saturday’s bloodletting strongly suggests that a mutiny is brewing at the War Department.”

Why has the deep state gone rogue and escalated the new Cold War with Russia?

The dirty little secret of the war in Syria, is that for all the rhetoric about the “war on terror,” the US is wielding terrorists as part of its regime change policy. The US Defense Department and the CIA have been working with Sunni extremists, including al-qaeda, and ISIS, in an effort to overthrow the Syrian government, headed by Bashar al Assad.

When the Russians intervened forcefully in Syria to prevent the regime change plot from going forward, the deep state reaction in Washington was rage, and dismay. The new Cold War that’s been whipped up in the corporate media is a direct result of this reaction. ” The ‘Cold War Bloc,’ which includes Defense Secretary Ash Carter and House Speaker Paul Ryan, is extremely angry.”

Indeed, the deep state hawks are in open rebellion against any agreement with Russia to resolve the conflict in Syria. They don’t want to admit it, and are doing everything they can to deny the reality, but their terrorist proxies have been decisively stalemated and are on the way to being defeated through the efforts of Russian air-power.

There is also a domestic angle to this story. The deep state hawks, and their political intermediaries are truly bipartisan, with as many Democrats as Republicans. For instance, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the queen of the neocons. For the hawks, the conflict with Russia is also related to domestic politics, a way to appear tough and paint their opponents as soft. And, of course, it’s also a way to steer lucrative military contracts to their districts or states.

The first Cold War was largely about domestic politics, despite breathless descriptions of imminent Soviet invasions, “steely eyed” deterrence, or protecting the “free-world.” The Republicans, with overwhelming business support, were desperate to regain the presidency and terminate the New Deal reforms, initiated by FDR. Communism was a very convenient cudgel with which to pummel liberal New Dealers.

Similarly, this present conflict is largely about domestic politics. With an election shaping up to a be nail-biter, the Democratic administration of Barak Obama, is using the conflict with Russia to discredit Donald Trump, who’s made some quite rational statements about Putin and Russia.

Despite the ongoing Constitutional crisis involving civilian control over the military, an even greater danger is the potential for a mishap between two nuclear armed protagonists, resulting in a “hot war.”

This could get interesting.

Update: Investigative journalist Robert Parry wonders why this behavior is not a big story.

“If you were living in a truly democratic country with a truly professional news media, you would think that this evolution of the United States into a rogue superpower violating pretty much every international law and treaty of the post-World War II era would be a regular topic of debate and criticism.”




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Corporate Patriotism


There’s a serious effort underway to get President Obama to pardon whistleblower, Edward Snowden, before he leaves office. There’s also a new movie about Snowden, by Oliver Stone, that has got me thinking about what it means to be a patriot.

What is patriotism?

Is it mindless obedience to our country, or a healthy skepticism towards the corporate deep state that seems to call the shots irrespective of presidential administrations and our so-called democratic republic?

In my opinion, there has been a corporate coup, in my lifetime. For example, US foreign policy mandarins have conflated our nations interests with corporate ones. They cannot see any difference between the two. These corporations now wrap the flag around themselves and claim that what they are doing is patriotic.

To support corporate aims, our foreign policy is increasingly organized around maintaining a faltering US empire, with an obsession on regime change that borders on psychopathic.

This nexus of corporate and foreign policy was forged in the crucible of the Cold War against communism, but, if anything, has become more pronounced with the demise of the USSR. We had a unique chance to reset US foreign policy with the end of the Cold War, in the early 90’s, but, alas, it was not to be. This lack of change should call into question the reasons given for our aggressive policies during the Cold War–like supporting murderous dictators, and overthrowing 3rd world leaders who put their country before US corporate investments.

Perhaps the real reasons for the Cold War were corporate ones?

Maybe the same logic applies to the new Cold War. It sure was easy to whip up media hostility to Russia at the drop of the hat. Who owns our media? Oh, yeah, corporations.

One might assume that the American people would notice the continuity of US foreign policy, but that never  seems to happen and it probably won’t happen, due to the incessant blaring of the overpowering message of American exceptionalism by our uniquely commercialized propaganda system.

Sometimes, if you’re really paying attention, there will be a picture, or story, or quote that briefly shines a light on our uniquely corporate foreign policy. Here’s leading globalization cheerleader, Thomas Friedman, in a moment of candor“The hidden hand of the market, will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglass, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.”

To put our system of corporate foreign policy in context, let’s conduct a thought experiment. Imagine that we’d invested the 2-4 trillion dollars used to invade and occupy Iraq, in a post-petroleum economy. A high-tech, energy efficient economy; manufacturing solar cells and wind turbines, constructing bike and walking paths, retrofitting millions of homes and businesses, and most importantly, employing millions of Americans.

Instead, Vice President Cheney plotted with a secret cabal of oil insiders to seize Iraqi oil deposits and privatize their oil industry, after the US invasion.

We all know how that worked out.

Americans are supposed to be the government, as in “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”

This is the America that I treasure, represented by the flag with 50 stars and 13 bars.

Here’s what the corporate flag looks like:

American flag with the stars replaced by corporate logos

Maybe this flag is more appropriate?




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The Russians are coming


How did the new Cold War get started?

Maybe we need an enemy to keep us distracted as much of the country spirals into 3rd world status?

Maybe we need an enemy to keep the Military/Intelligence/Industrial/ Complex profitable? For example, the military-complex grows rich through war, so endless war is a feature – not a bug – of our foreign policy.

Or, maybe Orwell was right in that we’ve always been at war with Eastasia?

Whatever the reason, it’s apparent that the Russians have become our official enemy, with Russia being accused of everything from hacking our elections, to plotting to invade the Baltic’s, to killing Santa Claus. And, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President, is depicted as a cross between Satan and Doctor Evil.

Don’t get me started on our corporate media. Their coverage lately in relation to Russia has been the worst stretch of rank propaganda I’ve witnessed since the run-up to the Iraq war. The latest article in the New York Times, where writer Timothy Egan lambasts American’s for their ignorance is a wonder to behold. Egan rants that American’s don’t know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when it was US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and American NGO’s that helped instigate a coup in Ukraine, during the Winter Olympics in 2014. Talk about projection. Articles like this are why Americans increasingly distrust corporate media.

Our corporate media has been decidedly silent on some of the true causes of the new Cold War. Like NATO, for example. Since the demise of the USSR, NATO has expanded eastward, adding Eastern European nations to its roster. In fact, NATO has expanded to where it surrounds Russia. NATO has also recently installed an ABM system in Romania and Poland, ostensibly to counter Iranian ballistic missiles, but in reality to deter Russian ICBM’s. Most Americans are completely unaware of these developments and are therefore easy marks for this new Cold War propaganda.

This propaganda blitz is reminiscent of the propaganda model that Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman wrote about in Manufacturing Consent. It also illustrates that our Republic is in grave danger. A democratic republic and a deceived public cannot coexist in the same country. This thanks to an “elite” intellectual culture that cleanses history and content, consistent with the official amnesia that holds official and doctrinal sway across the US foreign policy establishment and their fellow travelers in the media.

During the first Cold War, C. Wright Mills wrote of a “crackpot realism”, where our foreign policy mandarins evoke national security to disguise the operations of the corporate deep state. “For the first time in American history, men in authority are talking about an ’emergency’ without foreseeable end.”

The new Cold War is a direct result of this all-American, corporate empire. An official enemy and endless conflict are more in keeping with an empire than they are with a democratic republic. A democratic republic has no need for endless war or the vast security apparatus that’s been constructed since 9/11, but an empire certainly does.

We’ve discussed before the existence of a secret unaccountable deep state that operates independently of presidential administrations. This deep state requires endless war to maintain its power and keep its citizens in a fearful thrall.

In Orwell’s novel, 1984, Emmanuel Goldstein explains that the purpose of war, “is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”

The salient question of the 2016 presidential election should be: are we going to be a republic or an empire?

Update: Jesus, you can’t even make this shit up.

Sen. Rand Paul’s expression of opposition to a $1.1 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia — which has been brutally bombing civilian targets in Yemen using U.S.-made weapons for more than a year now — alarmed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday afternoon.

Blitzer’s concern: That stopping the sale could result in fewer jobs for arms manufacturers.

“So for you this is a moral issue,” he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. “Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s gonna be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?”


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