FEBRUARY 13, 2013 5:00AM

Libby’s Political Stew: War-Torture-Drone Truthers & Liars

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Ludwig Watzal in “U.S. Military Casualty Statistics Not the Senators’ Main Concern” calls out the Senate Armed Services' Committee hearing vetting former Republican Chuck Hagel for U.S. Secretary of Defense:

They only asked silly and irrelevant questions such as whether Hagel will be more subservient to the Israeli government in the future. Mainly, they were so obsessed with Hagel’s position on Israel and Iran as if both countries were the hub of the world. They performed like grand inquisitors. They asked Chuck Hagel to repent and to revoke his earlier statements about the “Israel Lobby”, its intimidation of Congress and his other realistic political judgments about U. S. American foreign policy towards its client state Israel. And Hagel behaved like a poor sinner. Lindsey Graham, John McCain and their ilk proofed by their inquisitorial behavior on whose orders they were acting. Their script was written by the Lobby and their neoconservative think tanks that dominate inside the Belt way.

Watzal indignantly asserts that the plight of the troops should have been the focus. Their demoralization and the social, psychological and physical costs to the troops after the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The increasing suicides “among military personnel,” the broken families, the epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder. The disabled enduring traumatic brain injuries and amputations.

Watzal tallies up the deaths and woundings of our troops. From 2001 to today, 6,656 soldiers died and over 50,000 were wounded. 130,000 have been officially diagnosed with PTSD. Between 2000 to 2012 253,330 have experienced TBI. 1,715, amputations.

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In reviewing William Blum’s book, America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy Gary Corseri:

In his chapter on “Patriotism,” Blum relates how, after a talk, he was asked: “Do you love America?” He responded with what we may take for his credo: “I don’t love any country. I’m a citizen of the world. I love certain principles, like human rights, civil liberties, meaningful democracy, an economy which puts people before profits.”

Quotes Mr. Corseri highlights from Blum:

“War can be seen as America’s religion.”

“Obama is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the American left.”

“Capitalism is the theory that the worst people, acting from their worst motives, will somehow produce the most good.”

Corseri compares Blum to Zinn, Nader, Paul Craig Roberts, Sheehan, Manning in being committed to exposing truth for the proverbial “historical record.” Corseri:

... His book is dangerous. Steadfast, immutable “truths” one has taken for granted—often since childhood—are exposed as hollow baubles to entertain the un/mis/and dis-informed.

One such Blumism recollects Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez’s account of a videotape with a very undiplomatic Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and cowboy George Bush: “`We’ve got to smash somebody’s ass quickly,’” Powell said. “`We must have a brute demonstration of power.’ Then Bush spoke: `Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! … Stay strong! … Kill them! … We are going to wipe them out!’”

snip

.... He [Blum] juxtaposes the noble rhetoric of our professed values with the mordant facts of our deeds. The cognitive dissonance makes for a memorable, very unpretty picture of how an immensely privileged people lost themselves, while gorging on junk food, junk politics, junk economics, junk education, junk media. ...

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In Ray McGovern’s “Drone Memo Puts Brennan on Spot”, almost as an aside, McGovern has this to say about the bold mendacity of Nancy Pelosi:

I am reminded of the lame lament by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who — after an unusually long tenure on the House Intelligence Committee — complained that she had been lied to by the CIA about torture. But CIA’s Office of Congressional Affairs quickly dug out memoranda of conversations with Pelosi alleging that she had been let in on the dirty secret. The California Democrat suddenly fell silent.

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Amy Goodman in "Brennan and Kiriakou, Drones and Torture" writes of an American heroic whistleblower John Kiriakou about to go to prison:

John Kiriakou spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and a case officer. In 2002, he led the team that found Abu Zubaydah, alleged to be a high-ranking member of al-Qaida. Kiriakou was the first to publicly confirm the use of waterboarding by the CIA, in a 2007 interview with ABC’s Brian Ross. He told Ross: “At the time, I felt that waterboarding was something that we needed to do. ... I think I’ve changed my mind, and I think that waterboarding is probably something that we shouldn’t be in the business of doing.” Kiriakou says he found the “enhanced interrogation techniques” immoral, and declined to be trained to use them.

Since the interview, it has become known that Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times, and that he provided no useful information as a result. He remains imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, without charge. Kiriakou will soon start serving his 30-month prison sentence, but not for disclosing anything about waterboarding. He pled guilty to disclosing the name of a former CIA interrogator to a journalist, with information that the interrogator himself had posted to a publicly available website.

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Robert Scheer in “America’s Global Torture Network” on the Cheney legacy:

The unalienable human rights endowed to all by their creator—declared as a universal right in our Declaration of Independence—were replaced by the “dark side” declaration of Dick Cheney, quoted in the opening to the torture report: “We also have to work, through, sort of the dark side, if you will. … We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. … It’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.”

Cheney’s argument that the ends justify the means has long been the refuge of murderous scoundrels and rejected by civilized people because evil means inevitably corrupt the most noble of ends. But that truth is too easily ignored in the presence of threats from abroad. George Washington, aware of the dangers that had befallen Rome and other experiments in Republican governance, used his farewell speech “to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. …”

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In “Drones and Our National Religion” David Swanson considers average Americans and their cluelessness to the true nature of the drone assassination program:

Many U.S.ians have avoided knowing that U.S. citizens, including minors, have been targeted and killed, that women and children are on the list of those to be killed, that hundreds of civilian deaths have been documented by serious journalists including victims' names and identities, that U.S. peace activists went to Pakistan and met with victims' families, that the U.S. ambassador in Pakistan said there was a U.S. government count of how many civilians had been killed but he wouldn't say what it was, that the vast majority of those killed are not important leaders in any organization, that people are targeted and killed without knowing their name, that people are targeted and killed merely for the act of trying to rescue victims of previous strikes, that the wounded outnumber the dead, that the traumatized outnumber the wounded, that the refugees who have fled the drone strikes are over a million, that the drone wars did not replace ground wars but began war making in new nations so destabilized now by the drone strikes that ground wars may develop, that some top U.S. military officials have said the drones are creating more new enemies than they kill, or that what drones are doing to our reputation abroad makes Abu Ghraib look like the fun and games our media pundits said it was.

If our courts killed without trials there would be by definition a risk of killing the innocent.  The same should be understood when a president and his flying robots, or missiles, or night raids, kill without trial.

 

[cross-posted at correntewire] 

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And I have read reports that American polls indicate the general public is in favor of drone warfare. So, what's to be done?
Because most of the American public are drones themselves (insert sarcasm), following only mainstream media, and attempting to formulate opinions for ourselves, instead of relying on extreme positions.

For example, this passage (from above)

"Many (Americans) have avoided knowing that U.S. citizens, including minors, have been targeted and killed (by the drone assassination program) ... "

is misleading (mixing-in "U.S. citizens" with "minor") or is an out-and-out lie.

When someone can produce a name & clearly-innocent-circumstances of a U.S. citizen under the age of 18 who was targeted and killed by a drone, then that will get the attention of many Americans. Until then ... blah.
The end of the innocence is upon us. What ever happened to 'American as apple pie' or were they bad apple used then to?

R.
Jan -- drones and Obama are up in popularity. i find that staggering and dispiriting. what's to be done is for those who recognize the amorality to keep on calling it out. obama has assumed dictatorial power droning Americans without due process and the Congress and media are letting him without serious challenge. we should have impeached Bush. now we should be impeaching Obama as well as many in Congress who have betrayed us by supporting and colluding in criminal activity domestically and globally. Instead the citizenry lets the status quo media driven cultural matrix sink into deeper and deeper evil and criminality. best, libby
JS -- you have proven to be a two-faced hypocrit. please stay away from my blogs.
Lyle -- thanks for commenting.

I keep wondering are times so horrifying now, or has criminality of our government been going on so long but those no longer blinded by the matrix were lost to it then. or I was, anyway. whatever my favorite news anchor told me I took as gospel.

it seems like the American collective ego comes out of its narcissistic exceptionalism stupor at certain points in time. The post Vietnam War period drove the US to some degree of shame and sense of responsibility for some, anyway. The unearthing of Watergate crimes. There were still might makes right, and America love it or leave it types. My country right or wrong types.

Other cockroaches made it through to wield power during the Bush era and even now without any moral consciousness raising. Look at Kissinger as a media star after the horrors he perpetrated but he has golden celebrity from being a famous PERSONALITY. Character and honor not important and the media gives him positive attention and young people never find out what he did.

Now the media is owned by 6 major conglomerates worldwide for the most part and that is tremendous propaganda power to brainwash this citizenry and those of other countries and anoint "leaders" who are pimped out to the corporate cronies.

Bonding with charismatic personalities on the tv happens by citizens. Especially faux-progressives like on MSNBC who support "lesser evilism" and minimize what should not be minimized just because it is from the supposedly the more progressive party which is a lie. Republicans act like "rapists" in their criminal behavior. Democrats are more like "date rapists" with their trust-us posturing.

There were the dark McCarthy years with the specter of communism and the ugliness of that, blackballing people from jobs and social standing. There were the detention centers for the Japanese during WWII. We can go back to slavery in America and the genocide of the Indian population. Lots of examples of mass amorality encouraged by manipulative leadership.

I remember watching the Canadian documentary "The Corporation" years ago and realizing that things would get so much worse for Americans. The corporations were doing so much evil to third world nations it was a matter of time. The documentary emphasized that legal personhood and rights given over to corporations meant endowing power to entities that had the psychological profiles of PSYCHOPATHS. NO CONSCIENCE. Profitmaking over the sanctity of human life. On such a grand scale.

Patriarchy is a paradigm we need to shift away from because it will destroy the planet literally. That was the message of, for one example, the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. She ran for people, peace and planet. But to the patriarchs and the matrix zombie citizens that was rejected. Humanism, cooperation, partnership, empathy.

And she was rejected because the corporate media deliberately iced her out of focus AT ALL, and people did not grassroots and word of mouth talk her up and GET IT and SPREAD IT. They over-trusted the con job of the media with the likes of Oprah, etc., shoving the Obama brand down our throats.

Obama the frontman for oligarchs as Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report calls him. Glen got that right. And disaster capitalism just keeps on happening enabled with our tax dollars and with the blood of America's young.

best, libby
I watching Obama's new genre of Kabuki Comedy Television last night (aka SOTU). I literally cracked up laughing when he said the lines, "We must enlist our values in the fight". What "values" Mr. President? The ones that support your war crimes or the ones that allow you to murder innocent children?

Though I thought it impossible, it got even MORE hilarious, when he went on to say that he would ensure that "our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world." That is after his administration denied that the program even existed? Now he's going to be even MORE transparent?

Does he REALLY think the American people are stupid enough to listen to the exact same lies twice? (of course he does! He got reelected didn't he?)
BTW, have you heard anything about the PtB not letting Jill Stein run for Senate in MA? I saw that they were only allowing Democratic and Republican candidates on the ballot. Do you know any more about that?
O.K., Libby, I'll stay away from your blogs. Safe_Bet's Amy asked me to do that over a year ago and I've honored her request.

I would like to leave you with this, however. You state that I'm hypocritical. I guess it's based on SBA's comment over at Rude's blog. Below is part of the response I wrote to SBA over there -- you can decide who the hypocrit is, k?

Finally, you'll get no converts and continue to diminish your audience if you refuse to engage commenters. I've asked you several unanswered questions regarding the why huge numbers of workers at multi-national corporations (who are minorities, LGBT, etc.) would purposely created misinformation that goes against what they stand for, where you got the number of 5,000 people killed by drones that your aggressively-assert as a comment, why is Toyko the most expensive city to live in with half of the richest people in the world (who obviously can "buy" the most reliable data available) owning homes there if it's so "radiated", etc.

You've asked me (and my questions) to stay away from your blogs. O.K.

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Hey SBA,

Ya ever see this comment before?

"Secondly, Many lesbians find butch to be seriously attractive and are nowhere nearly as weight biased as men are."

Hint -- that's you responding to JohnieWolfy about his Kansas Sperm Donor blog.

So, you're allowed to characterize a type of lesbian as "butch" but others are not?
JS
You specifically asked for this information.
Anwar al-Awlaki's son was 16 years old. He was an American targeted and murdered by a drone for the crime of having a father who was targeted and killed by a drone. It was no accidental death and it was open assassination for merely being related to someone. He was guilty of nothing else.
@ JS:

It shows your great disregard for people's wishes and you absolute disrespect when you STILL comment after someone specifically tells you not to. Who the hell do you think you are to do that?

As for your homophobic comment, there is a VAST difference between what I said and making a homophobic slur by calling me "SafeButchAmy". If you can't see that you are as much of an idiot as you are a homophobe and misogynist (which is saying a LOT!).
“Obama is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the American left.”

If this statement is false it is only becasue there is just way to damn much competition. I remember I was so frustrated with GHWB that I thought Clinton would be great by comparison; it turned out he did what it took to allow for the media consolidation that eliminated reliable news from the comercial media.

Now it is obvious that the political establishment can't be trusted to take out the trash let alone decide who lives and dies.
what, jan asks, needs to be done?
a drone scandal in our country!
a drone that preferably harasses an innocent citizen,
then cnn and msnbc pick it up.
do not get me wrong, no harm to our sacrificial lamb.


drone=one that lives on the labors of others : parasite

War can be seen as America’s religion yes ma'am.

~
This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games. All games are basically hostile. Winners and losers. We see them all around us: the winners and the losers. The losers can oftentimes become winners, and the winners can very easily become losers. William S. Burroughs, "The War Universe
Thanks for your stew - an informative post.
Now that I am full I was wondering if we were every anything more or better than what we are now . If the truth behind actions of the past - even our actions were fully known, we might not be so roiled by the killings tagged to this administration. I do not know of a time after FDR when this country has behaved any better, even Carter flubbed it with his drug policy.
We are fourtunate to have greater access to real time information than we ever did - and access to each other.
How we grow beyond the same old corpgov owned parasitic nation populated by delduded consumers requires a plan I have not yet seen, let alone the ability to carry it out. For now I am thankful for not having thugs breaking my windows or burning down my house, because that has been the traditional lot of dissenters.
The best action I can figure is to consume as little as possible, stay informed, and try to inform.
Thanks for these insights. Tweete about #SOTU subtext on drones. The only peeps that interacted were the ones that agreed. Not many. But it's not over. There is a demand for transparency that will not be snuffed out.
Thanks, Amy. I watched the SOTU (which was unusual for me since I can't stomach watching Obama in person as much as I couldn't Bush and I read transcripts later) but i had on a Green Party livestream with commentary on the side from fellow greens reacting and later Jill Stein gave her own State of the Union live.

What she talked about was so relevant and so urgent and she exposed Obama's bubble rhetoric. I tried to get Zachd's issue of her taking Kerry's place engaged but no one on a very fast and busy chat picked up on it. I don't know much about it honestly.

I listened to Obama lie and use rhetoric to hook hope from people, hope that won't go anywhere and will help stall protest for him, well, he is teflon and more, but stall protest to the down and dirty machinations of the ENTIRE government matrix to screw more people.

Obama specifically will move in for another kill, especially with social security and medicare and medicaid soon. He will blink and flash the amiable and duper's smile and say he tried and then will promise even smaller crumbs later that he will eventually take away, too. Crumbs of economic hope, as he trashes further democracy.

I am sorry for the disrespect coming at you, too, from some on open salon as you are a forceful voice for peace and justice and thus a lightning rod for people's anger at having their comfort zone of denial disturbed in terms of the reality of this government and specifically our mendacious president.

Misogyny and homophobia and xenophobia are clear and frustrating. Communication needs to happen in an orbit of at least minimal reciprocal respect. We can learn from each other when we on open salon see things differently and talk it out even angrily. But hitting below the belt with prejudice and character assassination to one's face or hypocritically behind one's back here is repellent and should not be encouraged even though it titillates many who egg it on or reward that kind of acting out.

There is a game people play, too, where no matter what you respond with your response is denied and your sources are invalidated by the asker without warrant or exploration. The game is to frustrate the one being asked, not to really learn. When the trust in honest communication is gone it is futile to play the sadistic game of the asker.

best, libby
toritto, never heard that quote. maybe it is yours! it certainly says it well. best, libby
Zachd, totally agree. There seems to be a race to the bottom with our politicians. The saturation of corruption. It is like fish in a fishbowl that deny the existence of water because it is breathed in by them and they exist in it 100%. All that soul-sold out corruption.

I compare the Reoublicans to rapists and the Dems to date rapists. Glen Ford calls Obama not the "lesser evil" by far, but the the more EFFECTIVE evil, because the alternatives and strategies he is offering the people are lies... demanding or coaxing that he be trusted and will do his best for us when he is, as Ford declares, the front man for oligarchs and their needs.

He is working for the corporate pirate profiteers, not us. When he lies that he wants to be bipartisan, it is a signal that he is going to dig in deeper to take benefits and rights from the citizens to give even more money to the criminal corporate class. The horror of legal immunity for crimes that continue and become even more vast and grotesque among the white collar criminals is not being registered by our media and our citizenry enough. It used to be you saw people on 60 minutes being called out and you knew they would go to jail. Now the big guys are not called out on tv and if frontline manages to, say, do a show about, still nothing much happens.

Then you have people like Michael Moore and even Ellsberg advising to vote for Obama as lesser evil. Springsteen and James Taylor entertaining for him. You have the MSNBC Team Dem charmers cherrypicking the Republicans and minimizing or ignoring Dem corruption.

Compromise on the fundamentals is evil. Obama is attacking and no longer even covertly the fundamentals. So much of the citizenry is simply watching it or more not seeing through the fog, "forces of greed" Zeese calls them, the smoke and the mirrors thanks to amoral media.

Addictions, like war and greed addictions, won't be stopped until the perpetrators hit bottom or the people they are taking with them WAKE UP AND SAY NO, and often these addicts in power destroy innocent lives as they plunge to their bottom. Is the bottom of our neolibs and neocons destruction of our planet via climate change and/or via bloodbath wars or a combo of both?

Humanism, diplomacy. These need to be demanded by people of conscience. The media wants us passive.

best, libby
James, so appreciate the eloquence and sensibility of your comment. Thank you.

Yes, gamesmanship or gamespersonship determines leadership now, sociopathic dimensions of gamespersonship whereby "lesser" people not in their gated privileged community are pawns or bugsplats or whatever -- no sanctity of human life respected by the powers that be enjoying their privilege shamelessly, so cronied up and callous, while statespersonship is gone or those exhibiting it are iced out by the media and the corrupt government cronies, like statesperson Jill Stein is and was.

And if the media ignores someone so many of our poor bobble-headed citizens can't connect the dots as to why this is happening. They are distracted by life crises being set up for them by a callous government, they are seduced by the consumerism of the tube and the shallow values espoused there, or they would rather exercise and voice their lazy, knee-jerk prejudices against fellow humans, etc.

We have to call out reality from the grassroots because the top layer of society is lost to corruption and sociopathy, sadly. I'm talking not re their personae personalities but the "character" choices they have made. Their rejection of their own capacity for conscience. Their capacity for real critical thinking and more importantly for critical empathizing.

We are in a spiritual dark age.

best, libby
Marcia, thanks for stopping by and your wonderful comment.

This gives me hope:

"There is a demand for transparency that will not be snuffed out."

I am also reciting the serenity prayer a lot lately, and meant to point that out to Jan as to what is to be done.

Transparency is key as you say. Obama likes to brag about transparency of his regime as it becomes more and more fogged in with secrecy and corruption cover-ups. Twisting the essence of the law and presenting that twisted law as excuses for unethical, grotesquely so, and illegal , also grotesquely so, policies.

best, libby
Snowden, thanks for your comment!

I am so dispirited at times by the corruption of our government and the denial of so many citizens still.

And to see how many lives in our history were dedicated to bringing conditions of justice and equality to the average citizens of America and how evilly all the progress from the sacrifice and dedication and courage is being undone so quickly and cruelly.

I also see the encroaching of our privacy or more like "feel" it and the slow criminalizing of dissent and know that what will protect those brave enough to speak out is numbers. Numbers of citizens joining in courageously to push back. When I hear the popularity of Obama and of the droning program is up I despair.

Wikileaks cables exposed so much but their content goes on unheard since the scope of the criminality of the government is so awesome that it is easier to focus on the messenger and messengers than deal with the reality of their messages.

Thanks for your rich comment! best, libby
it is natural to condemn politicians, but they operate within the parameters of their society. even the shrillest 'progressives' have no plan to change things. it may be that any plan would fail for most of america is content with the rules, unbothered by death so long as the dying is suitably distant.

there are human societies that seem genuinely admirable, compared to the usa. and plenty worse, though america's failings are grossly magnified by its size. humans can do better than the youessofay, much better. but history counts and this ship of state can not be turned. if you want a better nation, leave, because you can't get there from here.
I don't know about anyone else, but the excepts of the SOTU the BBC played, he sounded like a whiny, snot-nosed kid the way he blamed his inaction on old campaign promises on Republican obstructionism. Does he think our memories are so short? He had a Democratic congress during his first two years in office and squandered the opportunity on a corporate welfare boondoggle called Obamacare.

I would caution people about taking opinion polls too seriously. A growing segment of the US population (up to 30%) are cellphone only households - and the companies who do these polls don't like ringing cellphones because the billing is too complex (the US is one of the few countries in which people are charged for incoming cellphone calls and texts).

What this means is that there is low, if any, representation of people under 35, minorities or low income people in these polls.
This comment from barry grey on wsws:

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/02/13/sotu-f13.html

"The US government now claims the type of unchecked powers previously associated with fascist regimes and military juntas. The white paper follows the enactment of military funding bills that sanction indefinite military detention of accused terrorists and their alleged supporters, including US citizens.

"Tuesday’s State of the Union address will soon be followed by Congress’ stamp of approval on this sweeping assault on democratic rights, with the Senate’s confirmation of Obama’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, currently the chief White House counterterrorism adviser and overseer of the administration’s drone assassination program.

"The real question, completely evaded in Obama’s demagogic and dishonest speech, is what in the state of the American union gives rise to the accelerating movement toward police state forms of rule.
The speech itself was an attempt to use left-sounding rhetoric to give a “progressive” gloss to a reactionary, anti-working class program.
Obama began with the lying claim that war is a thing of the past and the economic crisis is over. (“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home… Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis…”).

"Presenting himself as the defender of the great American “middle class”—a complete abstraction designed to conceal the existence of a working class—Obama declared that the task of government is to work “on behalf of the many, and not just the few.” This is a principle that bears no relation either to the conditions that exist in the US or the policies Obama has pursued and will continue to pursue."
al, organization is key and that is a real obstruction when organizing from the bottom, grass root level is required, especially when media and mendacious faux-progressive party keeps coaxing members to stay with them in order to guarantee any kind of WINNING in elections, and the triangulation using the meanie Republicans when both parties pimped out to corporatists. Throwing out values to win in lesser evilism is such colossal bullshit. And when Michael Moore, the Nation, MSNBC and so many others who could be leaders but are sellouts and are apologists for down and dirty monstrous policies from WH and Congress Dems is more obstructionism.

thanks for commenting. best, libby
Stuart, thank you for coming by. I totally agree with your Obama take. He perpetually acts like he is not the incumbent, that it has not been on his watch that horrifying criminality has continued. It's you and me he says into the camera to bobble-headed low information Americans and he goes on he needs support from the Republican meanies!!! The Republican meanies, some, are too stupid it seems to really embrace more of Obama's selling out which is kind of funny if Obama weren't such a traitor to those who got him in office with their hopes for draining the corruption swamp.

Obama now on his "popularity" tour to try to keep more and more of his Stockholm Syndromed victims in their stupor.

The media exploits polls to keep the corrupt status quo. who says the majority is right about what is happening in the country. The media doesn't inform the citizenry and then they poll them in their ignorance for what they think!!! No information or disinformation from media. What a racket. Obama exploits "truthiness" and "media propaganda" to skate on. Statesmanship and diplomacy? Obama doesn't have time for such things or doesn't begin to have the heart, conscience or character.

best, libby
from glen ford of black agenda report on obama's "state of the corporate union" message:

http://blackagendareport.com/content/obama’s-state-corporate-union

"It was an impassioned performance by a cynical politician who offers little but corporate tax incentives and continued austerity. Barack Obama peppered his State of the Union address with up-tempo buzzwords about illusory “progress,” but the president’s substantive message was that he is determined to complete the austerity bargain he struck with the Republicans in 2011. Thus, it is a sign of “progress” that “we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances” – meaning, he will collaborate with the GOP in cutting almost $2 trillion more.

"The big cuts will come from those programs that enjoy overwhelming support among Americans. He claims to be with them in spirit while opposing them in practice. “Those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms – otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.” His reasoning is identical to the Republicans, who say these programs must be bled, or die.

"Obama created the model to gut entitlements through his Simpson/Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission, appointed well before the GOP took control of the House. Now he pretends that the cuts have been forced upon him, but that he will acquiesce in the spirit of compromise. “On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.”

"“He pretends that the cuts have been forced upon him, but that he will acquiesce in the spirit of compromise.”

"He constructs a phony trade-off for children, the poor and the elderly. “Why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special interest tax breaks? How is that fair?” he asks, rhetorically. The cuts must come, but in return Obama will revise the tax code “that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas, and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that create jobs right here in America.”

"This is the double-whammy. Austerity in people’s programs is traded for tax breaks for corporations that will, in totally discredited theory, bring back the jobs they had outsourced overseas. But don’t complain, says Obama. “None of us will get 100 percent of what we want.” And most of us will get the shaft.

"Obama’s jobs program is almost entirely a corporate tax incentive scheme, to bribe corporations to send home the jobs they sent offshore, where they have also hidden tens of trillions from taxation – a subject not deemed worthy of mention in a national discussion of shared sacrifice and patriotic obligations.

"The military-industrial complex will make “America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing,” says the president. Fifteen manufacturing “hubs” will be built around businesses that “partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.” You can bet there are huge corporate subsidies involved, through negative taxation.

"Obama will repair America’s infrastructure through a “Fix-It-First” program that nobody has ever heard of before, and has no price tag – which means it doesn’t exist in anything more than rhetorical form. And his “Partnership to Rebuild America” proposal to upgrade private infrastructure – oil and gas pipelines, ports and the power grid – almost certainly involves corporate subsidies, or else why wouldn’t the private sector be repairing its own properties, already?

"“Obama’s jobs program is almost entirely a corporate tax incentive scheme, to bribe corporations to send home the jobs they sent offshore.”

"Those business incentives just keep on coming. All one need to qualify is say the word “jobs” – but don’t you dare say “public works.” The Corporate-Subsidizer-In-Chief says: “Let’s offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance. Let’s put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods.” Obama says he will “partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet.” How will that get done? By offering “new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest.” Obama can do a passable Al Green, but when it comes to public policy in 2013, he sings only one song: tax schemes for business. And he stole that tune from the GOP."
@ Libby: Have you seen this yet?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/pentagon-drone-medal_n_2678810.html

They just announced today a fucking medal for killing children!

It literally made me vomit!
amy, unbelievable. Thanks for the head's up!!! Dear God!!! best, libby

from your link:

"The new blue, red and white-ribboned Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to individuals for "extraordinary achievement" related to a military operation that occurred after Sept. 11, 2001. But unlike other combat medals, it does not require the recipient risk his or her life to get it.

[Dear God, but we have a Murderer in Chief with the Nobel Peace Prize so what do you expect, eh? libby]

Officials said the new medal will be the first combat-related award to be created since the Bronze Star in 1944.

[why not call it the armchair warrior from 8000 miles? libby]

"A recognition of the evolving 21st century warfare, the medal will be considered a bit higher in ranking than the Bronze Star, but is lower than the Silver Star, defense officials said.

"The Bronze Star is the fourth highest combat decoration and rewards meritorious service in battle, while the Silver Star is the third highest combat award given for bravery. Several other awards, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, are also ranked higher, but are not awarded for combat.

"Response in the cybersphere was immediate and divided, and more often biting. While some acknowledged the contributions of cyber and drone warriors and said the award was the right thing to do, others dubbed the medal the "Geek Cross" and speculated that young video-gamers may soon get Purple Hearts for their animated wounds."

[adeptness in accumulating bugsplats, especially of rescuers and funeral processions or weddings of relatives of already incinerated victims-WTG! libby]

"Over the last decade of war, remotely piloted Predators and Reapers have become a critical weapon to gather intelligence and conduct airstrikes against terrorists or insurgents around the world. They have been used extensively on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and northern Africa."

[bleeeeccccchhhhhh! libby]
.
snip

"According to the Pentagon criteria, the medal gives the military a way to recognize a single act that directly affects a combat operation, doesn't involve an act of valor, and warrants an award higher than the Bronze Star.

[and why does it need to be awarded? libby]

snip

"The medal is a brass pendant, nearly two inches tall, with a laurel wreath that circles a globe. There is an eagle in the center."

[circles the globe, that is telling -- no respect for sovereign boundaries. eagle in center or vulture? libby]