Friday, January 23, 2015

Obama's State of the Union: Buy one lie get five free.

One of the things president Obama is actually good at, or let's say succeeds at, is saying things in such a way as to pull the wool over the eyes of people who can't or won't think for themselves. That usually means journalists and people who read so called "progressive" web sites. And that was on display during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

One of the more preposterous lies was that as a result of his healthcare reform law "ten million people now have health insurance who didn't have it before". There could be no more blatant,  intentional lie about  his healthcare reform law than this. It's his way of  continuing to try to continue cover up  his selling out the public healthcare option, the only real meaningful healthcare reform which Democrats had the votes to pass, to the health  insurance companies.

Unfortunately almost everything else in Obama's State of the Union speech that he touted as a success the previous year was a lie. But none more blatant than on healthcare reform, or as it is affectionately known,Obamacare or The Unaffordable Care Act. 

First, he lied about 10 million. That number is based on the White House claim that 7 million enrolled last year and 3 million this year adding up to 10 million. That is the kind of accounting that has sent shady accountants and CFO's to prison.

Of the 7 million applications claimed last year that Obama tries to claim as enrollments,  20% never sent in their first months premium which invalidated their applications. That lowers the number to 5.6 million. According to the health insurance companies about 5% were multiple applications, the result of web site glitches or perceived glitches where people thought their application didn't go through and filled out another one. That brings the number down to about 5.4 million. And the IRS has said a substantial number of applications claimed incomes lower than that filed with their tax returns in order to qualify for subsidies for which they werent entitled which invalidated those applications and the subsidies that went with them. That could bring the total  for last year down to 5 million or even less.  Of the 3 million more Obama is claiming this year,  more than 90% are renewals of policies bought last year not new enrollments.

A more honest figure of the number who purchased polices  since Obamacare was implemented is about 6 million not ten.

The bigger lie is when Obama said "ten million people now have health insurance who didn't have it before". Not only is the number of people buying polices not ten million but closer to 6, but according to the Gallup Well Being Index more than 97% of those who purchased policies through the exchanges already had health insurance before Obamacare  even existed and went shopping for a better deal.

Of the 50 million Americans who were uninsured , those who didn't have health insurance before Obamacare, only 2.2% bought polices. The remaining 97.8% rejected the lower tier policies offered through Obamacare, policies even the White House admitted last year to the New York Times were substandard. Most who did buy those lower end silver or bronze policies reported horror stories about the insurance not being accepted at most hospitals and with most doctors , deductibles as high as $6,000 and high co-pays. 

Obama's other sleight of hand on healthcare reform was when he touted 
" the number of people now without health insurance is the lowest since 2008".

Think about that. The lowest number of uninsured since 2008. This is proof of Obamacare's failure and Democrats and the mass media still doesn't get it.


After all the political bloodletting and everything else associated with healthcare reform and  Obamacare, the number of uninsured the year  after Obamacare was finally implemented  is about the same as it was in 2008, the year before he was even elected.  That is the snake oil Obama is trying to sell as success. And this is what Democrats stood up and loudly applauded. And they wonder why they were wiped out in the last election.

There  were other lies as well.  According to an AP fact check, Obama's claims about "turning the page" and his successes with the economy arent exactly true. The AP wrote " "the U.S. may not have ' risen from recesssion'   quite as rousingly as President Obama suggested in his State of the Union speech.". It pointed out that seven years after the recession, household income still hasnt recovered from its pre-financial crisis levels. It also points out that Obama's touting of job growth isnt what it seems since most of the jobs created have been "poor quality" low paying jobs. His claims of higher wages is also deceptive. Hourly wages rose 1.7 percent last year, half the average growth of a healthy economy.

His lies and deceptions regarding Syria and Isis is for another time. As is his failures with Russia in Crimea and his failure to stand up to Putin in Ukraine and help arm the Ukrainian army against Russian tanks and troops illegally fighting with the rebels.

None of this stopped Democrats from standing and applauding.  And sending out emails the next day saying how Obama " nailed it". Unfortunately for them, most of the country including Democratic voters not only didn't applaud, they sat on their hands over the same news last November.And the only thing Obama nailed was the last nail in the Democrats coffin through 2015. Something Democrats need to admit and do something about if they want to win in 2016.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Obama no show at Paris rally was justified: march was about courage and principle.

It was the greatest demonstration of democracy standing up to fascism since the liberation of Paris when the allies marched down the Champs Elysee in 1944.

 It was a demonstration that  3. 7 million French took part in, 1 1/2 million in Paris alone, more Parisians than those who  lined the streets that day in 1944. And an event at which more than 40 world leaders attended  to show their resolve in standing up for free speech and human values and against terrorist attempts to stifle it. That Obama wasn't there in many ways was understandable. The rally and march was about courage. And resolve. And standing up against adversaries and standing up for something. Obama would not have fit in. Unfortunately he also didn't see fit to send any high ranking American official in his place.  Maybe because he didn't get the point. 

That Obama didn't attend and first had the White House issue excuses that wouldn't have held water for a 10 year old trying to explain why he was absent from school the previous day, is one more example of the shallowness and lack of conviction that has defined Obama and his presidency. 

At first the White House threw out all kinds of silly excuses about how hard it is to schedule a presidential trip and its attendant security concerns. But like most lame excuses, they forgot Woody Allen's  insightful line that when you tell the truth all the time you never have to remember anything. What the White House didn't remember was that less than two weeks ago while still on his vacation in Hawaii, Obama decided to make an impromptu Christmas visit to the troops in Afghanistan.  Afghanistan. It wasn't too hard to arrange the security and logistics for a last minute presidential trip to a war zone but it was  too dangerous or complicated  to go to Paris. Even when he had three days notice. 

Democratic Rep Adama Schiff's hollow attempts at trying to makes excuses for Obama's no show or not sending anyone with rank to the unity march just added to the embarrassment for both Obama and the Democrats.

But aside from an American presence being conspicuous by its absence, it was clear that one minute of watching the demontrations in Paris packed more emotion and commitment to human freedom and instilled more inspiration than every word  of Obama's empty rhetoric over the last 6 years. And he probably knew it. So maybe that was the reason too. 

Or maybe  it was because  Obama remembered that in 2012 when Charlie Hebdo was fire bombed by jidhadists for its cartoon depictions related to radical Islam  Obama said at the time that it was the magazine that  had showed "bad judgement" in publishing the cartoons in the first place.  Which was a little like blaming the rape victim for wearing a skirt that was too short. That might have made him feel out of place too. 

Maybe Obama didn't want to expose himself to the fact that it was his own bad judgement in calling Isis the "junior varsity" and his rejection of the advice of his former secretary of state and three secretaries of defense to arm the moderate Syrian rebels 3 years ago which has not only seen the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, but  saw the rise of Isis and may have even played a part in the killings at Charlie Hebdo since the two terrorists had gone to Syria, were trained in Syria and then returned to France that he wanted to avoid. It would have been hard under the circumstances not to have brought that up. 

And let's not forget  this is the president who, when Iranian citizens took to the streets  in the hundreds of thousands to protest a rigged presidential election and demand  democracy  with many being beaten, shot and even killed, Obama's public repsonse was that he " didn't want to meddle " in Iran's affairs. So you can't blame Obama if he would have felt out of place at the Paris pro democracy rally. And then there was  the "red line" Obama drew threatening retribution against Assad if he used chemical weapons against civilians , then after Assad used them killing more than a thousand including 300 children,  Obama backed down proving his threat was hollow. 

But even without Obama's presence, the public criticism of Obama not deeming it important enough  to have a high ranking American at the rally started almost immediately. Even  David Gergen on CNN  said he was mystified that Obama didn't show or at least send Biden or Kerry.  Jake Tapper said he was "embarrassed as an American" by no American  presence. 

In response,the White House went into damage control the next day as criticism began to pile up from all quarters and finally admitted that they made a mistake. Mostly because they knew they couldn't defend it. But adding to " the dog ate my homework"  absurdity of their admission, was also the way it was reported.

Jim Acosta, the White House correspondent for CNN said, " something truly amazing happened today at the White House". Wolf  Blitzer chimed in, " it was unprecedented". So what was so truly amazing and unprecedented? Reported Acosta, " The White House today admitted it made a mistake". Not exactly a Charlie Hebdo kind of response.

Which could lead the French and others around the world who took a stand that day in Paris  and elsewhere for liberty, freedom, freedom of expression,and courage,and  who expressed their solidarity by holding up signs that read " Je suis Charlie Hebdo",( "I am Charlie Hebdo")  to one day hold up another sign that expresses those same ideals:
"Je suis no Obama."

Friday, January 9, 2015

Why American journalists have nothing to fear from a Charlie Hebdo style attack.

The journalists, cartoonists and editorial staff at Charlie Hebdo were known for defying convention, unwavering principles, having staunch convictions,  courage, and had a commitment to telling a truth they felt that needed to be told  and did it with unflinching resolve and without fear or concern for who they might offend.  Characteristics that are precisely the opposite of 99% of all mainstream American journalists and has been for almost 20 years .  Which is why American journalists have nothing to fear from the kind of attack that hit the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Because they are and always have been  congenitally too afraid to do anything that might provoke it. Or even provoke criticism. 

Mainstream American journalists back down or water down the truth every day so as not to offend somebody or some group on everything  from Washington politics and policy to the events in Ferguson and protests in New York.  And it's most prevalent everyday on cable news. 

In Washington D.C. for example, the coin of the realm for journalists is "access". Access to higher ups or key people in government who might be willing to give an exclusive. Be too tough on an administration and your access dries up. Which is  why trying to get American journalists to report the unvarnished truth  is like pulling teeth from someone who doesn't have any.   Because American journalists are generally toothless except when they feel it's safe to go on the offensive.

They are notable for caving in whether its to the Bush administration over WMD in Iraq and the non-existant connection between Sadaam and 9/11, the Obama administration and serial lying and ineptitude about policy from health care reform to a  foreign policy that resulted  in the resignations of 3 Secretaries  of Defense and a Secretary of State, and media dishonesty over events in Ferguson and any issues concerning race.

In other controversial issues, such as the release of documents last year  by Roman Catholic dicoceses in Los Angeles and Milwaukee as part of two separate court orders that revealed the sexual abuse of literally tens of thousands of children,(8,000 incidents in Milwaukee alone)  the news media virtually ignored it and its contents.   But Wolf Blitzer had no problem getting tough in attacking Anthony Weiner for not admitting to his  consensual online sex chats.  And it was only because the news media didn't think Anthony Weiner could cause them any damage.

Back in 2012, when the offices of Charlie Hebdo was  bombed for publishing cartoons that poked fun at aspects of Islam, Jay Carney,  Obama's spokesman, criticized the newspaper for what he called "bad judgement" in publishing the cartoons in the first place which is a little like blaming the rape victim for having the "bad judgement" to wear a short skirt.  No one in the White House press corps criticized Carney or Obama for their blaming the victim point of view at the time.

News organizations in Europe have been publishing the cartoon images from Charlie Hebdo that prompted the attack. That has important news value. It points out  and heightens the absurdity that cartoons ignited the killers, motivated their mission, the mission of others like them and  why they were willing to kill and for what. CNN on the other hand made an editorial decision not to publish the images and gave an official "explanation"as having something to do with not wanting to offend people.  Which is exactly what has made them useless as journalists for years.

The New York Times also refused to publish the image of the cartoon that motivated the attack. Their stated reason? The cartoon was "intentionally offensive". The terrorist attackers thought so too. Which means that the New York Times editorial board has more in common with the terrorists than they do with their readers. 

When you live in a democracy you have the right and sometimes the duty to say anything you want even its offensive to some.  You can offend anyone and anything including the president, congress or any other thing you choose without fear of someone killing you for doing it.  And that is what the American news media should be standing up for. It's what the French people have been standing up for. Its what American journalists run and hide from.

CNN had no problem showing 15 seconds of video of the terrorists and their attack including the killing of a helpless French policemen and showing it about 2000 times over the last 24 hours, repeating it constantly over and over practically non stop while others spoke or gave opinions or analysis off camera. They showed that footage  like it was on a loop, their own special brand of journalistic peep show that CNN pioneered. Which in its own way glorified the terrorists by showing their attack repeatedly, something Al-Qaeda must have loved,  but unlike the European press, too cowardly to show  the cartoons that motivated their murders,too afraid to show the cartoons behind the terrorists desire to shut down freedom of expression that they didn't like.

CNN's stated reason for not showing the cartoons because they didn't want to offend sensibilities is true.  But the sensibilities they were most concerned about offending were those of the terrorists. And if CNN can't be honest about itself is no wonder they can't and don't report the truth about other things.

The real reason CNN and other American outlets didn't show the cartoons  was and is their own fear which is the single biggest operating principle in mainstream American journalism.
And when American journalists do that and act like cowards as they so often do, then terrorists win in trying to suppress free expression.  

What happened to Charlie Hebdo is a good time to remember what was courageous about them in the first place and cowardly about mainstream American journalism. There is a reason Edward Snowden turned over all his files and information on the NSA to Glenn Greenwald, a journalist for The Guardian, a news organization in the UK, and not any American media organization.

Journalists who are afraid have no business being journalists. Because they are useless. Maybe the outpouring of solidarity in France by French citizens in support of freedom of expression and the courage of those killed at Charlie Hebdo will give some American journalists a backbone. If not, at least they won't  have to worry that standing up for principles will be put them at risk.  Just like always. 

But they should keep in mind that while CNN, the New York Times and other news outlets make editorial decisions based on what they think might be offensive to some, what people really find most offensive is the way they report the news. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Why Mayor di Blasio and news media really do have blood on their hands for the murder of two NYPD cops.

“We’re not just dealing with a problem in 2014, we're not dealing with years of racism leading up to it, (Garner's death)  or decades of racism – we are dealing with centuries of racism that have brought us to this day.”  Mayor Bill di Blasio, Dec.3,2014.

For six months, from the time the video of what happened to Eric Garner was made public in July, to December 3rd, no one , even for a minute thought it had anything to do with race. There was not a single demonstration in those entire six months protesting  that Garner was the victim of racism or racist police. No one thought that what happened to Garner  was any kind of racial incident.  Until Bill Di Blasio made it one in that single  statement.

 That statement by Di  Blasio at his press conference regarding the Garner grand jury decision, was as patently a dishonest, pandering and reckless statement as he could have made. And was the product of his own bias, dishonesty,  even ignorance, and is the biggest reason,  along with distortions, lies, fabrications and material omissions by the news media out of their own incompetence or cowardice in neglecting to report facts and truth when it flies in the face of what demonstrators believe, that  were the biggest contributing factors in the murder of the two NYPD police officers all of which inflamed  a racist mad man. 

A lot is being made of what di Blasio said he had told his own mixed race son in terms of dealing with the police. But it was  di Blasio in his press conference who claimed the Garner death was the product of "centuries of racism that brought us to this day", that for the first time injected race into the Garner case where it had never before been an issue.  It was a statement, a lie really,  designed to pander to demonstrators. And it had tragic consequences. 

What had happened to Garner happened back in July. The video that everyone saw was shown in July when the incident ocurred.The Mayor said nothing at the time about racism having anything to do with what happened.  No one then, as they are doing now,  cried racism in a crowded movie theater regarding Garner. No one imputed racial motives to the police.  No one thought that if it had a been a 6 '6" 300 lb white man who had resisted arrest the cops would've taken him to McDonalds and tried to reason with him. 

The issue then was whether the cop used an illegal choke hold and what people saw as heavy handed tactics over something as trivial as selling loose cigarettes to avoid taxes for which they have a point, though to be absolutely fair, Garner had 31 previous arrests and if the cops knew that, Garner resisting arrest could have been perceived as a threat. But it is also a fact that the cops were simply carrying out instructions from higher ups as stupid as those instructions may have been, and  who were enforcing laws passed by a city council or state assembly which were also stupid and which no one wants to talk about.  But what was not a factor and never a factor, was race. Until di Blasio made it about race. And what Di Blasio ignored was that the entire take down of Garner was supervised by a black female police sergeant named Kizzy Adoni who was the officer in charge of the four white male cops. 

When the incident happened there were no demonstrations. It was about tactics and a law that required an arrest instead of simply issuing  a summons and a court appearance ticket which would have made more sense.

It was di Blasio who injected race into the mix and it was an absolute misrepresentation of the facts and the truth. That a black female police sergeant was supervising four white male police officers could  have been seen as a  result of 50 years of the civil rights act of 1964, not 400 years of racism. But not to di Blasio.

This is from the New York Daily News:

"But what makes the Garner case so much different than Michael Brown’s is that the Staten Island killing can’t be called a racial incident.Pantaleo who applied the lethal chokehold on Eric Garner was supervised by an African-American female NYPD sergeant.Having that black sergeant in charge of that crime scene takes race out of the equation. As awful as Pantaleo’s actions appear on that video, at no time does that black sergeant order Pantaleo to stop choking Garner."

There are a lot of reasons Garner's death was senseless and not one of them is remotely related to racism. 

Those cops didn't try and arrest Garner because they felt like it. They did it at the direction of Sgt. Kizzy Adoni, the black female sergeant on the scene who in turn was carrying out orders given to her by higher ups to enforce this law which required an arrest instead of issuing a summons and an appearance ticket. And if Garner failed to appear he would have been in hot water. But still alive. 

But is that what demonstrators are protesting against, to change a law and tactics that need changing? No. They are protesting against "racist cops" because Bill di Blasio called them racist and pandered at his press conference to those who wanted to find racism for their own purposes when   the presence of a black female supervising sergeant on the scene proved no racism existed. It was Di Blasio who made it about race when it wasn't. 

Mayor di Blasio's dishonest statements injecting a racial motive where none existed and which pandered to those who want to find racism in a loaf of pumpernickel, fueled the misplaced non-thinking  fact-less motives of demonstrators which were re-enforced by a news media who sees racial tensions as a meal ticket and in their self-interest, fueling those who have no idea what exactly it is they are protesting.  

Instead, unable to think for themselves,  they mindlessly follow protest organizers who have  convinced them  of the rightness of their cause even if their cause has nothing to do with the truth. And then there are the protestors who know they are dishonest using Garner for their own agenda, as hundreds of pre-printed signs some saying " More Jobs Not Racist Cops" proves. It was Di Blasio who unleashed them and a crazy man who decided to be a hero to protestors by killing two NYPD cops. 

At his press conference di Blasio looked and sounded like a man trying to hide from his own complicity and guilt, dodging reporters questions and showing he hasn't learned a thing.

Repeatedly he talked about healing the rift between the police and "the community."

What "community" is he talking about? There certainly is no rift between the police and majority of New Yorkers or Americans regardless of race. But  that statement betrays di Blasio and his thinking. Because to him,  "the community" are the demonstrators. 

But  based on facts and truth which is all that matters the small band of protestors (yes small)  from Ferguson to New York to Oakland and Seattle have no truth or facts on their side. About anything. None. A little fact the news media doesn't want to admit because that would rain on their own parade,or force them to admit that they are the ones responsible, CNN in particular, for helping disseminate lies and fabrications that fuel the demonstrations which protestors and organizers in turn use to justify their  actions,whether its protesting or looting or arson.  Kind of like the way Bush and Dick Cheney played the media on Iraq.  And just as dishonest. The protests and demonstrations from Ferguson to New York are for the most part the product of those wonderful folks in the news media who brought us Iraq. 

Every time he faced reporters questions regarding the two murdered cops , di Blasio said regarding the protests " I believe that in a democracy people have the right to express their views". That is di Blasio trying to legitimize his own lie.  When a politician tries to state the obvious  or defend something no one is attacking as a way to defend himself, you know he is either lying or knows he did something wrong.

He kept repeating that "in a democracy protestors had the right to demonstrate". But what di Blasio clearly didn't say is that they didn't have the right to interfere with the rights of everyone else.  Instead of giving the demonstrators a place to demonstrate,  allowing them to express whatever it is they want to express no matter how fact-less,  but not disrupt the life of the city or the lives of others, di Blasio allowed them to go anywhere and everywhere they pleased, from 5th avenue to Grand Central station, to the city's tunnels and bridges,  interfering with other New Yorkers and their lives, causing traffic jams, and interfering with everyone else's rights, something di Blasio seems to think the demonstrators have a right to do too.  Which they don't. And which makes di Blasio unfit to be mayor.

Di Blasio as well as the news media who  see racial tensions as a cash cow, pandered to protestors who are demonstrating against things that have nothing to do with reality, only the shooting of a triple felon with a propensity for violence who had no respect for the law or other people or their property named Michael Brown who was shot after he robbed a convenience store (always an inconvenient fact for protestors) then attacked and assaulted a police officer, not once but twice, including going for his gun,(which would have led to a charge of attempted murder among other charges had Brown lived)  facts  constantly lied about or ignored by demonstrators and most in the news media, preferring instead the provable lies of Dorian Johnson. 

When a demonstrator in Seattle marching with others who had their hands over their heads was asked by an AP reporter why since the evidence showed Brown was not shot with his hands up trying to surrender, he  said that it didn't matter. That's what he said. No kidding. That the truth that Brown was not shot with his hands up trying to surrender didn't matter.  Hands in the air was a symbol he said.  And members of the Black Congressional Caucus who brought the arms raised symbol into congress said much the same thing. It didn't matter that it was a symbol of an outright lie. That's what these demonstrations are about. Nothing real. Except a lot people playing Simon Says led by Dorian Johnson. 

Factor in that what happened to Eric Garner had absolutely nothing to do with race and you have protests about nothing,  fueled by ignorance, people who are easily duped, can't or won't think for themselves , have another agenda or who are exploiting the Garner and Brown cases for their own purposes. 

Add to that an inept unethical and incompetent and most of all cowardly news media always looking for the dog and pony show and afraid to stand up for facts when they think it puts them at risk,  and a mayor who dishonestly injected race into an incident where it didn't exist, and you have what led to two NYPD cops getting killed at the hands of a mad man.  Over nothing that was true. 

As for the protests themselves as some kind of national movement as the news media tries to paint them ,  ( again for their own self serving purposes) you could take every demonstration related to Ferguson and Garner, in every city in the country from Boston to Oakland and all the protestors  combined wouldn't  fill the bleachers at Yankee Stadium.  If 30 people show up on a street corner, as happened in Orlando, CNN calls  it another part of a  "nation wide" protest breaking out.

All fueled by Di Blasio's statements and point of view that is so slanted and myopic, so biased and so prejudiced, and is so designed to pander to the protestors,  one wonders  if, since  his wife is African American di Blasio wasn't afraid that if he didn't say the right thing he was going to have to sleep on the couch.

There is also a mountain of proof showing the complicity of the news media adding to the environment that led to the protests and the murder of the two cops. This included outright lying about and distorting facts ( as John Berman, Don Lemon,  Sonny Hostein and others on CNN as well as other news organizations did all the time with Ferguson)  to misrepresenting facts, or allowing others to  present lies without challenge surrounding Brown's shooting  thereby giving the lies validity. This  makes them accomplices. 

Their  responsibility in ignoring facts and truth to support or inflame racial tensions for their own benefit can best be encapsulated by an on air interview Don Lemon of CNN did with a Ferguson protestor who claimed the surveillance video of Michael Brown committing the convenience store robbery was Photoshopped to put Brown in the video to frame him. This is what Don Lemon and his CNN producers and editors thought worthy of putting on the air. If there is ever a Journalistic Stupidity Hall of Fame Don Lemon's interview will be on the ground floor. 

And given that  hardly any news organization made mention of supervising black female police sergeant Kizzy Adoni, what does that say?

At his most recent press conference, di  Blasio constantly tried to dodge responsibility for what he helped create by ignoring the fact that not only was there not a shred of evidence to indicate race was ever a factor in Garners death, but that there was a female black police sergeant on the scene supervising the four while male officers.  Does that make  di Blasio guilty of both racism and sexism? 

He could have talked about a lot of things that went wrong regarding Garner's death, none of which had a thing to do with race but instead ignored Sgt. Kizzy Adoni's grand jury testimony in which she said about Garner: 

"His condition did not seem serious and he did not appear to get worse". 

Which at the very least makes Adoni as complicit (if complicit is the right word)  if not more so than anyone else on the scene because she was in charge,  but whose very presence was ignored by Di Blasio and the news media not to mention the protestors for the sake of promoting and exploting racial tension. 

Which led to Wolf Blitzer when doing a report on the murders of the two  police officers asking  a guest,
" how did this get so out of hand"? He would  have known the answer if he had been watching CNN's coverage from Michael Brown to Garner.

Garner's death was unncessary but had nothing to do with race. And di Blasio knows it. 

And in continuing to try and dodge his own responsibility, di Blasio kept giving the same answer over and over again when confronted  by reporters asking what he thought his own complicity might be in the murders of the two police officers and his answer was telling.  Each time Di Blasio answered : "it's time to move forward."

What its probably time for is Bill di Blasio to resign.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Torture defenders cry wolf again over senate CIA report.

With the report on CIA torture now public those opposed to the report and criticizing it are using the same worn out and discredited lies that government officials and some members of congress have alway used  in trying to defend, cover up or minimize illegal acts and wrong doing by the government that are exposed. And it's been no different this time when illegal acts of torture initiated by the Bush administration and  known for years but largely ignored, have become , with the release of the senate report, an official finding of the U.S. Government .  Which rankles those who stand accused of war crimes and human rights violations.

The  first and most often told  lie,  the same one used every time wrong doing by the government is exposed  is that the release of the information is going to cost American lives . 

This is always  the lie of choice in the hopes of rallying the public and intimidating an already easily intimidated news media in the hopes of tamping down coverage , mute public outrage and  dismiss and diminish criticism to get everyone off the hook. 

They did it  with Edward Snowden in trying to stop the publication of documents he handed over to Glenn Greenwald after they started being published by The Guardian, NY Times and Washington  Post.

John Kerry, on behalf of Obama  who expanded the Bush administration domestic spying to new lows claimed the Snowden revelations would cost American  lives.  

Mike Rogers, chair of the House Intel Committee  said it would cost American lies.  James Clapper and Keith Alexander said it would cost American lives.  Chuck Schumer attacking Snowden and shilling for the president said it would cost American lives. Jeffery Toobin in his mid life crisis melt down article for the New Yorker calling Snowden a traitor said it would cost American lives.

It never did. No one at anytime ever provided an iota of proof that revealing the wrong doing committed by Clapper and the NSA ever cost even one American life. 

It was a lie 40 years ago when the FBI tried to get the then reputable NY Times to stop publication of stolen FBI documents that showed the FBI was illegally spying without warrants, on American anti-war and civil rights activists. Hoover called the Times and claimed publishing the documents would cost American  lives. The Times published anyway. No lives were lost. 

And it was a lie when Nixon tried to use it to prevent publication of the Pentagon Papers. And it's a lie now. 

The second  big lie is that the illegal activity which amounted to war crimes provided valuable information that SAVED lives. 

That has proved to be a lie too. 

Ask anyone in government  to give specifics of what plots were thwarted or how it saved lives or prevented another 911 and they can't do it.  Sometimes, as was the case of General Keith Alexander at the NSA , they try submitting documents in the hopes of pulling off a bluff but when members of congress examined  the supporting documents all it has ever proved was that the assertion was pure fiction. 

Sometimes the excuse they use for not providing proof is they can't give details because it's classified . That's a lie too because every senator  on the senate intelligence committee and especially the chairman and ranking  member has a classified security and intelligence clearance to whom these claims could have been documented . 

The claim that the torture program resulted in valuable intelligence that saved lives was not just refuted by the senate report which concluded there was no actionable or valuable intelligence that resulted from the torture of prisoners, but  even John Brennan admitted in his press conference that whether any intelligence obtained through torture provided any valuable information was "unknowable". 

And now John Yoo, the assistant attorney general whose tortured legal opinions provided the legal basis or excuse for the torture says the incidents described in the report were disgraceful and would have never been approved by the Justice Dept. 

But as usual the most disgraceful conduct isn't being reported by the news media because the disgrace IS the news media themselves. 

Much of what's in the report isn't new. It was reported in 2007 in the report by the International  Red Cross , it was revealed in a documentary called Torturing Democracy which was readily available which documented  with facts and evidence the torture of prisoners , many of them innocent ,along with the tortured  logic of John Yoo that provided  the  false legal basis for the war crimes by the Bush administration. It had all been known for years. But the American news media ignored it  because of their usual rank cowardice and fear of those in power. 

There was  no moral outrage like the media expressed over Anthony Weiner's consensual online sex chats . No questioning of the reports of torture and it's violation of American values. No question of violating American law. No questions about its validity and whether it provided useful information. Just the usual lap dog responses we've come to expect from most in the news media on almost any topic rather than report facts. 

And the few times questions were asked, Cheney and other government officials simply admitted the use of "Enhanced Interrorigation Techniques"  lied about its value , lied about it having prevented attacks , lied about it saving lives, lied about the severity of the torture, and the media just let it go. Just like we've seen them do with Obama's dishonest claims on a variety of policy issues. 

That Obama is retaining John Brennan as CIA director who was part of the Bush  administration and who supported the torture while now condemning it and that Obama has refuses  to hold anyone legally accountable for violating because he is afraid of criticism from Republicans ( as usual)  while having no problem sending fighter jets to intercept Snowden, all  shows again why the ACLU has said Obamas record on civil liberties and human rights is, in their words , "disgusting". And once again how he tries to straddle the fence and support both sides while nothing he says is taken seriously and shows like with almost every other issue he has faced ,he'd rather playboy safe and do nothing . Which makes anything he says now on the subject as empty as the claims by those attacking the release of the report itself . A report Obama himself tried to obstruct. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Right to life conservative calls picture of pregnant woman pornographic.

The president of the city council of Jacksonville Florida, Clay Yarborough, a right to life family values conservative "furiously" demanded that a photograph by artist Angela Strassheim of a nude pregnant woman be removed from the museum immediately and  threatened to revoke the museum's $230,000 city funding if it didn't.

Obviously deeply offended by a picture showing part of the process by which life is created and families are produced, the right to life family values conservative said "as City Council President I take great offense that the city would accept this. Unless Mayor Brown supports this inappropriate pornographic display I insist that you cause (sic) to be pulled the museum's funding". Which makes one wonder what else the City Council president has been pulling lately unless it's been someone's leg,  if he is aroused by the photograph of a pregnant woman and assumes others are too. 

But  if Yarborough was grandstanding he found the ground he was grandstanding on giving way beneath his feet when Mayor Brown and the museum stood their ground and Brown refused  to order the museum to remove the photograph which Yarborough continued to call indecent and an assault on children. The museum also refused to remove it voluntarily .

The  city attorney stated that first amendment rights protected the artist and museum. 

So  Yarborough, perhaps thinking his knee jerk ( or is it just jerk? ) reaction would make him a hero with many supporting his efforts to spare the citizens of Jacksonville the pornographic sight of pregnancy,  instead  found himself largely ignored with nothing else to say, stuck in what can only be called a pregnant pause .

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hagel resignation yet another policy slap in the face as Obama tries to save face.

Chuck Hagel has become the third Secretary of Defense during Obama's presidency to quit. And the political spin machine inside a White House that has lied about so much, most notably about healthcare,  in trying to save Obama's face,  put out from the shadows and not for attribution, the  preposterous story that Hagel was forced out. 

Just about everyone knows that Hagel quit because he, like former  Defense Secretaries  Gates and Panetta before him and like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were fed up with Obama's incompetence and lack of leadership in dealing with Syria, Isis ( whom Obama had scoffed at a year ago by calling them "the junior varsity"), Ukraine in selling out their sovereignty because he couldn't stand up to Putin and allowing Crimea to be annexed, and Assad with his phony red line over chemical weapons not to mention the going nowhere nuclear talks with Iran which has passed the predetermined deadline with no agreement and are now trying to be extended.

No one with two functioning brain cells (which seems to eliminate everyone at CNN who, like trained seals swallows the fish thrown at them by the White House - not just this White House, any White House - and just reports it)  believes that Hagel wasn't leaving because he had reached the end of his rope with Obama, his inability to formulate or approve a strategy on anything, and his failed way of doing things. That became obvious when a few weeks ago, memos Hagel had written to the White House which were blunt and said as much, criticizing Obama for his lack of a coherent policy and strategy became public. These things never become public by accident. And they laid the groundwork for Hagel quitting.

Hagel follows in the footsteps of Robert Gates, and Leon Panetta as Obama's third secretary of defense who has resigned because they clearly had enough and wanted no more  of the incompetence in the White House or to carry out Obama policies or non policies which they had no confidence in and which  in the past resulted in predictable failure.

 Hillary Clinton did the same after 4 years as Secretary of State, tired of Obama's foreign policy bungling and his refusal to take the recommendations of people far smarter than he is.

It was three years ago when both Clinton and Panetta recommended that the U.S. arm the moderate Syrian rebels both in their fight against Assad but also because of what they warned would be the rise of Isis. Obama dismissed their concerns and their recommendation and joked about Isis as being "the junior varsity".

Everyone who works for any president whether Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State or any cabinet official,  does so at the president's pleasure and has only one job function -- to carry out and execute the policies of the president. When you can no longer in good conscience do that, you resign.  Which is why Clinton, Gates, Panetta and now Hagel have all left.

If you don't believe in the policies, or  worse, if you are convinced they will fail and the president even after his own repeated failures refuses to take your recommendations, then quitting is the only honorable thing to do.

And that's  what Hagel did. And to try to avoid another embarrassment and save face, Obama had his cronies in the White House put out the story attributed to "sources" , that it was Obama who forced Hagel out and not the other way around. Which  is like the loser boyfriend claiming he  broke off  the relationship, not her.When everyone knows she was the one who packed her bags and said good riddance. Which shows that Obama, even now,  is still more concerned about saving his face than the things that are really worth saving.