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11.18 How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet

11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]

11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

News Media Matters

11.19 The Biggest Threat to Free Speech No One Is Talking About

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]

11.19 Michael Bloomberg: Why I’m Giving $1.8 Billion for College Financial Aid

11.19 Trump’s Diminishing Power and Rising Rage

11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder

11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]

11.19 SNL explains Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s HQ2 strategy: trolling President Trump [2:55 SNL video]

11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]

11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]

11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]

11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]

11.17 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare

11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 Trump Is Starting to Panic

Justice Matters
High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]

11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]

11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

International & Futurism

11.18 New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit

11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]

11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

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  Hero Blues: Liberals Line Up With Militarism
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A CRIME IS ALWAYS A CRIME, ADMITTED TO OR NOT:

Hero Blues: Liberals Line Up With Militarism

The Iraq war is a crime; stop committing the crime.

by Chris Floyd
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Yes, the gal I got
I swear she's the screaming end
She wants me to be a hero
So she can tell all her friends

-- Bob Dylan, "Hero Blues"
The mainstream liberal acquiescence in Obama's Terror War "continuity" removes one of the few remaining bulwarks to the corrosive, witless and ultimately suicidal militarism that plagues us. It helps smooth the way for more disasters: more war, more hatred, more corruption, more tyranny, more pointless suffering, ruin, poverty and death.
Joan Walsh gives us another bravura performance in a new episode of what will apparently be a very long-running show, "Deep in the Tank for Obama."

In her latest outing, Walsh is transported near to tears by images of the president greeting soldiers during his unannounced visit to Iraq. (Yes, even though the "surge" has been "a success beyond our wildest dreams," as Obama instructed us last year, American leaders still have to creep into the "liberated" land like a thief in the night.) In worshipful tones that one might have heard directed at the president at any point in the previous eight years from, say, National Review Online or Pajamas Media, Walsh gawps in awe at the bonding of the legions with their imperator:

I found it incredibly moving to watch the first grainy video footage of President Obama being mobbed by delirious American soldiers during his surprise visit to Baghdad on Tuesday. They crowded him joyously, some of them jumping up and down, stereotypical gruff-looking gray-haired white guys just beaming at the president, women and men alike leaning in for hugs....

Obama himself looked completely happy, managing to pause and chat with more soldiers in just a few minutes than you would ever imagine possible. The word "poise" seems inadequate to describe his capacity to impart real meaning to fleeting moments.... To see Obama's personal rapport with the men and women who are fighting and dying for our country would almost have to be moving, no matter your ideology.

Of course, we saw these same scenes -- boisterous, happy soldiers greeting the president with hugs and cheers -- played out over and over during Bush's term, on his every visit to Iraq. Even the infamous, much-derided "turkee" trip early in the war was an identically joyous scene for those on the ground in Baghdad. Yet one strains to recall Walsh ever thrilling to the sight of a president's personal rapport with the occupation troops in those days, or hearing her hopes that we could all put aside partisan feelings and simply appreciate these moving, patriotic moments, no matter our ideology.

No, when the troops gave Bush a rousing "hoo-ah" and "leaned in for hugs" and a quick personal word which the president somehow managed to impart to so many so quickly that you could hardly imagine it, Walsh and other lib-progs were rightly unimpressed. Such brief, emotional scenes did not change the fact that the war was a murderous, criminal enterprise, and that the soldiers in Iraq were not (and are not) "fighting and dying for their country" but were (and are) instead being used as cannon fodder in an unprovoked act of aggression that had been deeply harmful to their country, and to the entire world as well. But this sort kind of incisive, cold-eyed analysis is no longer wanted, now that one of "ours" is in the White House.

II.

Of course, this is all just surface chatter -- the peccadilloes of partisanship, the bemusing spectacle of political leopards changing, or at least re-ordering, their spots. It's not really important in itself. But there is a more sinister side to such hero-gazing. In the course of her encomium, Walsh applauds Obama's recourse to one of the most morally hideous tropes of our time:

According to AP's Jennifer Loven, speaking by phone to MSNBC a little while ago, Obama got his biggest applause when he told the crowd, "It's time for Iraq to take responsibility for itself."

This is the line that national Democrats such as Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the gaggle of gormless bagmen, blue dogs and corporate shills in Congress have been pushing for years. The American invasion itself was "an extraordinary achievement," as Obama had the shameless brass to announce in Baghdad this week. "You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country." And now it's up to these ungrateful, lazy, shiftless creatures to take advantage of the magnificent gift America has given them -- or else.

The moral depravity of this stance is breathtaking. Invade a country for no reason, kill a million of its people, drive four million into exile, destroy its infrastructure, plunge it into civil war, abet its "ethnic cleansing," loot its wealth, put it in the hands of religious extremists, unleash disease, poverty and social breakdown: this is an "extraordinary achievement," says the progressive paladin. And now the Iraqis must "take responsibility" for the hell on earth created by their invaders.

I find this wicked arrogance almost beyond description. Fortunately, Arthur Silber has limned it well, with his usual power and eloquence, and I want to quote him at length on this subject, because it bears repeating. But you should go to the original for the many links he provides to buttress and expand the piece. From Silber:

Thus speaks the new Imperial Master:

President Barack Obama said Sunday that the United States is in a position to place more responsibility in the hands of the Iraqis following provincial elections and a reduction in violence there.

"In conversations that I've had with the joint chiefs, with people, the commanders on the ground, I think that we have a sense now that the Iraqis just had a very significant election, with no significant violence there, that we are in a position to start putting more responsibility on the Iraqis," Obama told NBC television.

At the time of the initial invasion, Iraq posed no threat of any significance whatsoever to the United States. This blindingly obvious conclusion was clear to millions of people throughout the world -- "ordinary" people who examined the publicly available evidence, and who did not rely on "secret" knowledge, which goes by the viciously misnamed designation "intelligence," which "intelligence" is almost always wrong and which is never the basis for major policy decisions in any event.

The U.S. ruling class also knew that Iraq represented no threat of any consequence. They didn't care. They had entirely different objectives and concerns: the expansion and consolidation of American global hegemony. The world is the U.S. ruling class's oyster, and they will devour it. And you, and over a million innocent Iraqis, and whoever else proves troublesome. As a general rule, it is advisable not to place yourself in the path of a dangerously delusional homicidal maniac.

Thus, the United States government and almost all members of the ruling class -- with only two or three honorable exceptions -- embarked on a lengthy series of brutal, horrifying, profoundly immoral war crimes, and on a world historical genocide. Thus, all those members of the ruling class who have voted to continue and fund these crimes are war criminals. Barack Obama is a war criminal. Don't bother to argue with me: argue with the Nuremberg Principles.

How, then, in the name of all that is decent, humane and minimally civilized, does the President of the United States dare to say that "we are in a position to start putting more responsibility on the Iraqis"? "We" -- that is to say, the U.S. government and the ruling class -- are "in a position" to beg for forgiveness, which no decent human being should ever grant. There is nothing these criminals can ever do to earn it. "We are in a position" to make all those reparations possible, in whatever forms and whenever they can be offered. From an essay [I wrote] two and a half years ago:

Given the immense, incalculable destruction we have caused, we are obligated to provide significant financial aid to Iraq for the foreseeable future. In light of the damage this catastrophe has already caused to our economy, that is a formidable prospect -- but it is markedly superior to continuing to pour billions of dollars down the drain of this murderous occupation. And we must be responsible for our actions, and especially for our gravely mistaken and immoral ones. To the extent amends are possible, we must offer them. No amount of money will ever make up for the lives that have been lost and those that have been irrevocably damaged, but we must do whatever is possible. That will still not merit forgiveness for our actions, but at least we will have acted with a minimal sense of honor.

Beyond this, "we" should do nothing but get out.

Get out. Every single goddamned American. Out, within months. To hell with the disgusting lie about "combat troops." All Americans, out....

This has also been my position for years (here, for instance): The Iraq war is a crime; stop committing the crime, get out immediately, pay massive reparations for the evil you have done -- and be prepared to take in the horde of refugees who will flee the harsh and broken regime you have created in the ruins of the country you have destroyed. For you -- you -- are responsible for them now. (For more on what we have created with our "extraordinary achievement" in Iraq, see here, here, here and here.)

Silber goes on:

As I have noted in many essays, the arrogance and condescension of the U.S. government and our ruling class is overwhelming and unassailable. It is so deeply embedded in the world view of most Americans, who unthinkingly absorb it from almost all politicians and all major media voices, that we barely even notice it.

And from this blindness comes a new influx of support for America's murderous, militarist Terror Wars, as Justin Raimondo reports in his aptly-titled "Progressive Warmongers" [see original for links]:

That’s where the pro-war progressive think-tanks come in: their role is to forge a new pro-war consensus, one that commits us to a long-range "nation-building" strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are the Center for a New American Security, explicitly set up as home base for the "national security Democrats" who make up the party’s hawkish faction; Brookings; and, last but not least, the Center for American Progress, which was an oasis of skepticism when Team Bush was "liberating" Iraq, and a major critic of the occupation. Now the leadership of CAP is making joint appearances with the neocons over at the newly christened Foreign Policy Initiative and issuing lengthy white papers outlining their Ten Year Plan for the military occupation of Afghanistan.

Yes, it's somewhat amusing to watch liberal lions and lionesses mirroring the sycophancy that their partisan counterparts once lavished on Bush: an interesting, instructive foible of the political animal when it comes within the proximity of power. But it also has a far more serious, more dangerous side. The mainstream liberal acquiescence in Obama's Terror War "continuity" removes one of the few remaining bulwarks to the corrosive, witless and ultimately suicidal militarism that plagues us. It helps smooth the way for more disasters: more war, more hatred, more corruption, more tyranny, more pointless suffering, ruin, poverty and death.

To paraphrase their own paladin, it's time for liberals and progressives to "start putting more responsibility" on themselves, to see more clearly the reality in front of them -- just as they always urged the blind followers of the last wielder of imperial power to do -- and acknowledge the horrific consequences of the policies they are now so mindlessly and emotionally supporting.

You need a different kind of man, babe
You need Napoleon Bonee-parte

Chris Floyd at his deskChris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column is republished here with the permission of the author.



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This story was published on April 9, 2009.

 



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