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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Was #KeithScott murdered by a white cop for being armed while black?

With the partial release of some police videos and other new facts in police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, NC, troubling new questions have emerged as to why this black man is no longer with us. I have written about the denial of 2nd Amendment rights to black Americans in Murders of Alton Sterling & Philando Castile: No 2nd Amendment rights for blacks, and as the facts are emerging around the tragic death of Keith Scott they strongly support the conclusion that he was murdered by cops for having the audacity to arm himself while being black.

We now know, according to the official police statement, that the two plain clothes cops were on a stakeout for another case when the unfortunate Keith Scott pulled up next to them in the parking lot of his apartment building to await his son's return from school. They say they observed Scott rolling a blunt and also saw that he had a gun. They then left and suited up with body armor and other equipment, but not body cameras, and abandoned their original mission without first contacting their supervisor, to come back and confront the armed black man in the SUV. Of the body cam footage from another cop that was released, the audio in the first 30 seconds is missing.

White cop in red
The official police story is that the black cop, Brentley Vinson, was the shooter, but several eyewitnesses have said that is a police lie, and the shooter was the white cop in red. See video below and hear their testimony for yourself.

What were their intentions, to make an arrest or a killing? On all the videos the cops can be heard yelling loudly "Drop the gun", "Drop the gun" about 15 times! Was that because Scott actually was drawing down on the cops? But why would he do that? If he did, I'm surprised they said it that many times before shooting him. Or were the cops creating a record to cover what they were already in the process of doing? They already knew his fingerprints and DNA would be found on the gun. From the videos, we can see that Scott had his hands besides his side and is walking backwards from the cops when he is shot. It is clear he has nothing in his right hand and Scott was right-handed. He has something in his left hand but no one can say what it is. Most importantly, he never raises it or points it.

According to the police department, race had nothing to do with it. It was the lethal combination of guns and drugs that spurred them into action. Never mind possessing a handgun and marijuana are both legal in many states in the Union. The New York Times reported:
Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said that, since Mr. Scott was in possession of both marijuana and a handgun, it raised a safety issue officers felt compelled to confront.
Based on their earlier observations, these two cops already knew he had a gun. If they were really interested in apprehending a criminal, they had time to call for backup and a senior officer. Instead they settled the matter themselves. They didn't even tell their supervisor they were blowing the stakeout. They already knew there would be a gun and marijuana at the scene. Bonus, they didn't even have to plant the evidence, maybe just move it around a bit, as was proven by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC last night.

Lawrence O'Donnell had the last word last night when he compared the police leaked photo on the left that shows what looks like a gun near Keith Scott's feet, with a similar frame taken from the video shot by his wife that doesn't show a gun near his feet.
I am not saying this is for sure what happened, but I am saying a reasonable case can be made that even if it was illegal for Keith Scott to be in possession of either the gun or the marijuana, he was a victim of premeditated police murder because he was a nigger with a gun.

It will be interesting to see if anyone either in justice or media will investigate this angle.

Keith Scott's Wife's Recording of Charlotte Shooting

2nd Eyewitness To The Keith Scott Execution Says White Cop Did The Shooting Not The Black Cop

New York Times video collection

Charlotte Police Release Video Of Fatal Shooting Of Keith Scott!

It is very convenient that body cameras don't record audio for 30 seconds for "privacy reasons" because if we had audio [probably recoverable] of the shooting, that the audio together with the proximity to the cop in red would reveal that he was the real shooter.

And finally, would you believe there is a white nationalist Alt-Right interpretation of these events that also sees both the police shooting and the protests as part of the Obama-Clinton "Summer of Chaos" plans to cancel the elections and declare "Left" dictatorship. They also believes the gun was planted but see the hands of Clinton and Soros behind these events. "70% of the people arrested during the protest were bused in from other states. They were not from that area and they were there very fast." As if there are teams of transport people and paid demonstrator that could get to Charlotte faster than people genuinely outraged by the shooting and traveling on their own dime. They see the Black Lives Matter protesters the same way my "anti-imperialist" friends see the revolutionaries in Libya and Syria. They'll all pawns or proxies.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Majority of Libyans Supported NATO’s War

This is the reason why I supported NATO's intervention in Libya, while former Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, and many others on the Left, supported the murderous Gaddafi regime. It was the demand of the Libyan masses, just as the demand for military intervention has been the demand of the Syrian people for five years and, half a million lives, a demand refused by the current Green Party candidate Jill Stein. This piece is republished from Alhamra today:

                                                                                                                  Clay Claiborne

By Shughl, hurriya, karama wataniyya
16 September 2016
Anti-interventionists often cite the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) 2011 air war in Libya in arguments over the Syrian civil war. What these opinionated partisans never mention is that NATO’s military action against the forces of dictator Moammar Ghadafi’s regime was not only popular with Libyans but overwhelmingly so.
A Gallup poll taken in 2012 found the following:
  • 75% favored NATO’s actions in their country.
  • 54% approved of U.S. leadership, which according to Gallup is the highest approval rating “ever recorded in the Middle East and North Africa region, outside of Israel.”
  • 19% approved of Russia’s leadership (which opposed NATO’s attacks on Ghadafi’s forces).
  • 22% approved of China’s leadership (which opposed NATO’s attacks on Ghadafi’s forces).
  • 61% considered members of Ghadafi’s regime to be a major security threat.
  • 62% considered Al-Qaeda and other Islamic militants to be a major security threat.
  • 48% considered Western military forces to be a major threat.
  • 77% favored Western military aid to their fledgling armed forces.
  • 68% supported Western military trainers being sent to their country.
  • 77% favored Western governance experts being sent to assist their new government.
  • 56% opposed Western aid for Libyan political groups.
Gallup is a reputable polling organization and the sample size of 1,000 is the industry standard because sample sizes that large yield a low margin of error (for the math behind why that is the case, see this).
A second poll done by a similarly reputable British polling organization, Orb International, yielded similar results:
  • 85% strongly supported NATO military action against Ghadafi.
  • 89% expressed a favorable or very favorable view of the United Kingdom.
  • 58% agreed that Libya and Britain should keep strong and close links with one another.
  • 83% viewed then-Prime Minister David Cameron favorably.
  • 76% agreed the country’s government should be chosen by the people in free, competitive elections.
  • 68% considered the post-Ghadafi government — the National Transition Council — effective in helping to improve life Libya.
What becomes clear from these two polls is that not only was NATO’s military assistance in toppling Ghadafi overwhelmingly popular among Libyans, Libyans wanted continued intervention to help restore law and order after the chaos and upheaval brought about by the 2011 revolution. Although a near majority worried about unwanted Western military action in their country, more Libyans wanted closer and more harmonious economic, political, diplomatic, and military relations with Western governments.
This is not to suggest that everyone in Libya supported NATO’s intervention. The Ghadafi regime was opposed and organized rallies denouncing NATO’s interference with their counter-revolution. But after the regime was overthrown in 2011, these anti-NATO protests stopped. No anti-intervention political parties formed after 2011 with enough popular support to win any elections. Pushed to the margins of Libyan politics by their unpopularity, Ghadafi loyalist tribes in Sirte joined Islamic State (ISIS) to continue their struggle against the new government and against Western intervention.

March 2011 protest at Court Square in Benghazi.

Openly acknowledging what Libyans thought about NATO’s intervention would put anti-interventionists in the awkward and arrogant position of asserting that they (non-Libyans) knew better than Libyans what was good for Libya in 2011. Students of history will recognize this contradiction for what it is — the racist, colonialist White Man’s Burden, although couched in fiercely ‘anti-imperialist’ rhetoric. To avoid touching on this contradiction, anti-interventionists are forced to regard Libyans as passive victims to be pitied rather than politically active participants to be supported or engaged. For them, what matters in Libya is the West’s iniquity, not Libyan aspirations.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

Monday, September 12, 2016

Does Donald #Trump's secret plan to defeat #ISIS involve using nukes?

The 1964 presidential contest between Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater saw the first important presidential attack ad of 20th century. It is now universally known as the "Daisy" TV commercial for LBJ. The ad showed a pretty young girl picking pedals off a daisy. This is suddenly interrupted by an atomic blast. It never mentions Barry Goldwater, but the message was clear, the extremist Barry Goldwater might nuke us if he is allowed to become president. The ad built upon a lot of pro-war talk and one pro-nuke comment by Goldwater and the political chatter that followed.

The Daisy ad is generally given a large role in winning the election for the Democrats. After using this nuclear scare tactic to win, LBJ went on to lead a bipartisan campaign that would drop the equivalent of 640 Hiroshima size atomic bombs on Vietnam. The 1964 election and the successful use of the fearmongering tactics employed by the Johnson campaign against Goldwater, as exampled by that ad, to elect the president that would have half a million US soldiers in Vietnam, killing and being killed, before the end of his first term, has been used as a cautionary tale in this election as the Clinton Democrats mount a similar campaign against the Republican Donald Trump. They warn that the Clinton campaign is again employing this tactic to scare voters into voting for her as the lesser of two evils. Many argue a vote for one of the 3rd party candidates, Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, is a good way to break this vicious cycle. Louis Proyect supports Jill Stein, and he thinks this is a repeat performance. He said as much on his Marxmail list:
In fact the dynamics of the 1964 election were JUST like those today. Voting for anybody but LBJ was considered the same thing as voting for Goldwater who everybody thought was ready to blow up the world with hydrogen bombs.
A comparison of the alleged nuclear threat coming from the Republican presidential candidates, then and now, might be useful in determining if the fear that the GOP hawk, if elected, would use nukes, was justified in 1964 or is justified today. The parable about the boy who cried wolf should also be remembered. Just because the fear generated by the Daisy ad was artificial and probably not justified, that doesn't mean this is also true about Donald Trump in 2016. Donald Trump has shown a fascination with nuclear weapons in many statements he has made on the campaign trail. For this reason the question of whether Donald Trump would be inclined to use nuclear weapons should be addressed seriously on its own merits and not blown off with references to the Daisy ad more than a half century ago. However, that is where we will begin.

The twenty years that followed the near complete destruction of two Japanese cities with only two bombs saw policy discussions in the United States government that would be judged insane by any rational standard today. For example, in 1950, General Douglas MacArthur wanted to use nuclear weapons in the Korean War. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Omar Bradley did propose to the Joint Chiefs that nuclear weapons be placed at MacArthur's disposal in July 1950. This proposal wasn't adopted, however ten B-29 bombers were transferred to Guam, and President Truman also authorized the transfer to Guam of all the bomb components except the fissile core. On 6 April 1951 President Truman arranged for the transfer of nine Mark 4 nuclear bombs to military control for possible use in Korea, but they were put under Strategic Air Command authority because it was feared MacArthur might use them "prematurely." Five days later Truman relieved General MacArthur of command. That's how close the US came to nuking Korea.

In April 1954, when French defeat in Vietnam was looming at Dien Bien Phu, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles asked French Foreign Minister, Georges Bidault, a simple question "Would you like two atomic bombs?" Bidault declined, he says, "because he knew… that if this killed a lot of Viet Minh troops then it would also basically destroy the garrison itself." Ten years later, Barry Goldwater again raised the possibility of using nuclear weapons in Vietnam and it cost him the election. History.com remembers:
Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona), running for the Republican Party nomination in the upcoming presidential election, gives an interview in which he discusses the use of low-yield atomic bombs in North Vietnam to defoliate forests and destroy bridges, roads, and railroad lines bringing supplies from communist China. During the storm of criticism that followed, Goldwater tried to back away from these drastic actions, claiming that he did not mean to advocate the use of atomic bombs but was “repeating a suggestion made by competent military people.” Democrats painted Goldwater as a warmonger who was overly eager to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Though he won his party’s nomination, Goldwater was never able to shake his image as an extremist in Vietnam policies. This image was a key factor in his crushing defeat by opponent Lyndon B. Johnson, who took about 61 percent of the vote to Goldwater’s 39 percent.
This Goldwater proposal wasn't in any way reasonable, even for those times, but then, neither was what was actually done to Vietnam by the "peace" candidate LBJ. See  Vietnam: American Holocaust to hear my opinion of that war. From a political point-of-view, what made Goldwater's proposal toxic and therefore exploitable was the one word "nukes." Because when people think about nukes, size doesn't matter, the Democrats were successful in using a relatively modest proposal to use tactical nukes instead of Agent Orange and thermobaric bombs, to sell Goldwater as the candidate ready to blow up the world with thermonuclear war. The United States did go on to kill about three million Vietnamese with things like napalm and cluster bombs, but hey, no nukes! With that bit of history under our belts, let's look at how matters stand with Donald Trump.

Is Trump being given the "Daisy" treatment?

I hadn't given much thought to Donald Trump's position on nuclear weapons before I went looking for his response to the debate question about the nuclear Triad for this post, Why doesn't "What's the Triad?" trump "What is Aleppo?". I found what I was looking for, proof that Donald Trump didn't know the first thing about how the US nuclear arsenal was organized, but I found something else as well - a troubling fascination with the power of nuclear weapons:

[CNN, 12/15/15]
HEWITT: What’s your priority among our nuclear triad?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I think we need somebody absolutely that we can trust, who is totally responsible; who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important.
Powerful and important are basic Trump themes, but is he talking here about the weapons or the person chosen to control them? Trump certainly thinks he's so powerful and so important.
But we have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ball game. Frankly, I would have said get out of Syria; get out — if we didn’t have the power of weaponry today.
He goes on to say we can't afford to leave because nuclear weapons are so powerful but there is another interpretation to that comment.
The biggest problem we have is nuclear — nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon.

That’s in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now.
Trump speaks a rare truth here. This is a bigger problem even than the Alt-Right white nationalist aspects of his organization. He is absolutely right. Nothing could make things go as bad as quick as some madman and maniac in control of the most powerful nuclear arsenal on Earth. These statements got me started but they hardly justify the Daisy treatment or my headline. There is more.

This week Think Progress reported:
On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough claimed Donald Trump asked a “foreign policy expert” who was advising him numerous times about “why can’t we use nuclear weapons.”

Prefacing his comments by saying he’d “be very careful here,” Scarborough said: “Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times, he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, we can’t we use them?’… Three times, in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’”

That quote comes around the one minute point of this video:

Joe Scarborough is MSNBC's Republican host so that buys him some credibility on this story. Still it is hearsay evidence. On the MSNBC Chris Matthews show, Trump said he might use nuclear weapons and questioned why we would make them if we wouldn’t use them. This we can hear for ourselves.

Donald Trump tells Chris Matthews he would respond to an ISIS attack with a nuclear weapon, MSNBC, 30 March 2016:
MATTHEWS: Where would we drop — where would we drop a nuclear weapon in the Middle East?

TRUMP: Let me explain. Let me explain.
Somebody hits us within ISIS — you wouldn't fight back with a nuke?

MATTHEWS: OK. The trouble is, when you said that, the whole world heard it. David Cameron in Britain heard it. The Japanese, where we bombed them in 45, heard it. They`re hearing a guy running for president of the United States talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. Nobody wants to hear that about an American president.

TRUMP: Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?
On Fox News, 31 March 2016, Trump said he was open to nuking Europe because it’s a “big place”

TRUMP: Well, I don’t want to take cards off the table. I would never do that. The last person to press that button would be me. Hey, I’m the one that didn’t want to go into Iraq from the beginning. The last person that wants to play the nuclear card believe me is me. But you can never take cards off the table either from a moral stand — from any standpoint and certainly from a negotiating standpoint.

BOLLING: Donald, I understand they are not taking the cards off the table for ISIS or Islamic terror. But when Chris expanded to Europe, what about that?

TRUMP: Europe is a big place. I’m not going to take cards off the table. We have nuclear capability. Now, our capability is going down rapidly because of what we’re doing. It’s in bad shape. The equipment is not properly maintained. There are all lot of talk about that. And that’s a bad thing not a good thing. The last person to use nuclear would be Donald Trump. That’s the way I feel. I think it is a horrible thing. The thought of it is horrible. But I don’t want to take anything off the table. We have to negotiate. There will be times maybe when we’re going to be in a very deep, very difficult, very horrible negotiation. The last person — I’m not going to take it off the table. And I said it yesterday. And I stay with it.
Perhaps most disturbing is an interview he gave to Bloomberg in which he again said he might use nuclear weapons against Daesh, which he calls ISIS. Is this his secret plan to quickly destroy ISIS? Is this why he says it will be "foolproof" and "absolute" in its effectiveness? In his April foreign policy speech he promised "ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president. And they’ll be gone quickly." How does he plan to accomplish that? What's his secret? Below he says he would use nukes on Iraq/Syria as a "last resort." Is this why he now says he will give his generals 30 days to come up with a plan and then decide whether he likes their plan of his secret plan better? Another very troubling aspect of this interview is his emphasis of making Muslims respect us. Why is he linking the question of respect to nukes?
In the wake of the Brussels terror attacks, Donald Trump fleshed out aspects of his national security strategy that include weighing whether NATO is obsolete, an emphasis on the virtues of unpredictability on the part of an American president, the potential use of nuclear weapons against Islamic State as a last resort and a single-minded focus of earning the respect of Muslims around the world.

“They have to respect us,” Trump said of Muslims in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin and John Heilemann set to air in its entirety on Wednesday’s episode of With All Due Respect. “They do not respect us at all and frankly they don't respect a lot of things that are happening—not only our country, but they don't respect other things.”

“The first thing you have to do is get them to respect the West and respect us. And if they're not going to respect us it's never going to work. This has been going on for a long time,” he said. “I don't think you can do anything and I don't think you're going to be successful unless they respect you. They have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country right now.”

Trump's vision for how he would earn Muslim respect included such controversial proposals as returning to outlawed harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding; monitoring mosques in the U.S.; and leaving open the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons against the Islamic State.

“I'm never going to rule anything out—I wouldn't want to say. Even if I wasn't, I wouldn't want to tell you that because at a minimum, I want them to think maybe we would use them,” he said.

“We need unpredictability,” Trump continued. “We don't know who these people are. The fact is, we need unpredictability and when you ask a question like that, it's a very sad thing to have to answer it because the enemy is watching and I have a very good chance of winning and I frankly don't want the enemy to know how I'm thinking. But with that being said, I don't rule out anything.”
In the past year there has been a lot of speculation about why Donald Trump is running for president. Maybe Marco Rubio nailed it last February when he called Trump “a lunatic trying to get ahold of nuclear weapons.” For a megalomaniac like Trump there could be nothing else so powerful or so important, and in case you were wondering, if President Trump ordered a nuclear strike, no one could stop him. As Derek Johnson wrote in the Huffington Post, 7 Sept 2016:
There are no firewalls — legal, political, operational or otherwise — between a president’s itchy trigger finger and civilization-ending weaponry.
In 1964, the Democrats were able to use one comment by Goldwater about using tactical nukes in Vietnam to paint him as a maniac or madman that would start a thermonuclear war if elected. It was a cynical electoral strategy, but it worked. Although Goldwater was never tested because he didn't get a chance to wage the Vietnam War his way, the Democrats were like the boy who cried wolf to paint him as a madman that couldn't wait to use nukes on somebody.

Barry Goldwater has also been used as an example of an extreme racist running for president in a similar effort to claim there's nothing really new and dangerous about the Trump campaign, but the Goldwater - Trump comparison fails on the question of nukes as it does on race. As I have written before, Goldwater rejected klan support at a time when the RNC leadership sought it, so he wasn't extreme on the question of white supremacy as compared to the mainstream GOP leadership in 1964. In 2016, the GOP leadership considers any klan affiliation toxic, but not their candidate. Similarly, we can see that Goldwater's thoughts on using tactic nukes in Vietnam, as crazy as it sounds to us today, was not far removed from the military thinking of the day, and probably was proposed to Goldwater by someone in the Pentagon, as he claimed. Today, its extremely unlikely that any US general would advocate using nuclear weapons the way Trump has proposed. Its been said that his focus on nukes has lost him military and foreign policy advisers. By the military standards and ethics that have kept the United States from nuking anyone since 1945, with the result that no one has been nuked since then, Trump's views on using nuclear weapons is extreme. If he is elected president of the United States, he will represent a clear and present danger to the world. It doesn't help to complain that the boy is crying wolf again when the wolf is at the door.

There is enough chance that Donald Trump will use nuclear weapons if he is given that power to deny him the White House on that ground alone. The Real Clear Politics pollsters say Trump faces a hard ceiling of 40% and can only win in a four-way race. Last week we saw a concerted effort to take out Gary Johnson, who takes votes equally from Clinton and Trump. Now that Gary "Aleppo" Johnson has been diminished,  his right leaning supporters may return to Trump while his left leaning supports can shift to Stein. It is the Stein campaign that gives the attacks on Johnson the power to alter the election in Trump's favor. This yet another reason Jill Stein must quit her spoiler bid which can only result in President Trump's finger on the nuclear trigger.

Trump can only win if Jill stays in!

My other recent posts relating to this unique election cycle:
Why doesn't "What's the Triad?" trump "What is Aleppo?"
Green Party Jill Stein's campaign in context
What should the Green Party do?
Greens could give White House to Trump as poll numbers even
Why Green Party's Jill Stein should drop her presidential bid
Amy Goodman should address this extremely important statement by her guest
How Jill Stein Tweets for Trump
HuffPost item shows how @JillStein campaign whitewashes @realDonaldTrump
Trump tells his '2nd Amendment people election will be stolen to prepare for insurrection
Trump didn't threaten Hillary, he threatened violent insurrection
Meet Green Party's Jill Stein, Putin sock-puppet & Assad apologist

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why doesn't "What's the Triad?" trump "What is Aleppo?"

University of Aleppo 17-05-2012
In the past couple days, the media has had a lot of fun at Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson's expense, and to be fair, anyone running for president in 2016 ought to know about Aleppo. There's no question about that. Still we have to wonder why a minor candidate is being subjected to this ridicule and "disqualification" talk after a major contender was given a pass when it became clear he didn't know the first thing about the nuclear arsenal he was trying to win control of.

Donald Trump didn't ask "What is the Triad?", but he should have, because his response to Hugh Hewitt's question at the CNN Republican debate 15 December 2015 made it clear that he was clueless as to what the phrase meant. The nuclear Triad refers to the three ways the United States deploys strategic nuclear weapons, land based missiles, submarine based missiles and traditional bombers. The nuclear Triad has been central to the strategic defense of the United States for more than half a century, so understanding it is extremely important for anyone who would be Commander-in-Chief. It is more than embarrassing that Donald Trump clearly didn't know what it was. Trump didn't ask Hewitt what it was because that's not his style, to ask questions when he doesn't know everything, a Trump characteristic that is a poor fit with the president's job. Instead, he blustered along, running his mouth about the importance of the US nuclear arsenal and hoping that no one would notice that he didn't know the first thing about how it is organized.

It wasn't even a trick question because Hewitt told him what the nuclear Triad was in the question:
Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson just reference the single most important job of the president, the command and control in the care of our nuclear forces, and he mentioned the Triad, the B52s are older than I am, the missiles are old, the submarines are aging out, it's an executive order, it's a Commander-in-Chief decision. What's your priority among our nuclear Triad?
These are clear clues as to what the Triad is. If Trump ever knew what the nuclear Triad was, Hewitt's question should have been enough to refresh his memory, and even if the had never heard the phrase before in his life, if he had really listened to the question, he should have been able to fudge a much better answer than he did. This reveals another Trump characteristic that is a poor fit with the president's job, the inability to really listen and comprehend.

Instead of honestly asking Hewitt "What's a Triad?" or perhaps more cunningly, "Could you repeat that question?" he babels on about how:
We need somebody absolutely that we can trust who's totally responsible who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important.
We all know he thinks he's so powerful and so important, but in the first part of his answer he would seem to disqualify himself, so its very good that he allowed we might need a woman. Then he goes on to speak in awe of nuclear weapons, without referring to how they are organized in our strategic forces:
We have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ball game.
That's not exactly rocket science. Then he starts telling lies that are completely unresponsive to the question:
I'm frankly most proud of is that in 2003-2004 I was totally against going into Iraq.
But Trump then balances these lies about his past with a very serious and prophetic warning about his possible future:
The biggest problem we have today is nuclear, nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That's, in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces.
It will be if he is elected, except the maniac won't have to go out and get a nuclear weapon. He will have been handed the greatest nuclear arsenal on Earth by US voters in spite of the fact that a year earlier, he didn't know what the three major components of that arsenal are and how they are referred to in total. He may not know what the nuclear Triad is, but he knows what's important:
I think nuclear, the power, the devastation, is very important to me.
This sounds like a madman that is fascinated with nuclear weapons and will use them just because he can. What else could possibly be so powerful and so important?

If, as so many pundits have opined, Gary Johnson should be disqualified from being president because he didn't know what Aleppo is, Donald Trump most certainly should have been eliminated from serious consideration last December when it became clear he didn't know what the nuclear Triad is. Unfortunately for Gary Johnson, this soundbite driven culture favors a babbling crook over an honest questioner.

0:00 would you do if you were elected about Aleppo about Aleppo and what is a lap oh
0:07 you're kidding no letter was in Syria it's the it's the epicenter of the
0:19 refugee crisis okay got it got it
Most YouTube videos now come with a computer generated transcript which you can access through the ...More pull-down tab below the video. Needless to say, this can be a very useful feature for the blog writer. I used it to transcribe the words from the Trump video. Since the computer doesn't always hear too well, I had to clean it up a bit and add punctuation. I've left the Johnson transcript raw because I think it illustrates a point. The computer "hears" speech and tries to find the right words. Sometimes it can't because it doesn't understand the context.

Context is extremely important in correctly hearing speech, that is why I feel Gary Johnson was somewhat set up. Mike Barnicle's question came seemingly out of the blue, there was no context that MSNBC has chosen to reveal to us. It also doesn't help that Aleppo begins with an "a" which can be a word by itself. See above where the computer heard "a lap oh?" and "no letter?"

I know something about Aleppo but I still could probably be made to look like a fool. Imagine I'm working as a Linux SysAdm and not on "vacation" writing this [in case you're wondering why I have been so prolific this week], and I'm on a conference call with an Oracle DBA, a storage technician, a network security specialist, a customer engineer and a DCOPs guy, coordinating a chassis swap on a Dell system in a datacenter in Virginia, and in the middle of all this, someone says "Now, Clay what are we going to do about Aleppo?" I might unwittingly supply the "anti-imperialists" with all the proof they need to say that on Syria, I don't know what I'm talking about.

If Mike Barnicle had asked Gary Johnson instead what he would do about Aleppo, Syria, I don't think they would be laughing at him now. It is considered good journalistic practice to name a city together with its country or state the first time it is referenced to give the reader some context. In many cases it is absolutely necessary for clarity. I don't know if there is more than one Aleppo in the world. I know there are too many Philadelphia's.

Why are they going after Gary?

Why is this concerted take down of Gary Johnson being carried out now? I think it is for the same reason I have been directing my fire at Jill Stein. This election is about Donald Trump and the white nationalist assault he is mounting on our government. Neither third party candidate has a snowball's chance in hell of becoming president but they both may effect the outcome of the election by diverting votes away from the two candidates with a chance of winning.

One reason I direct my fire at Jill Stein, who is polling at about 4% even though Gary Johnson is polling at about 12%, is that Stein's voters come almost exclusively from the pool of voters that would otherwise favor Clinton, so as a practical matter, the Jill Stein campaign increases The Donald's chances of winning. Even though Gary Johnson has three times the number of voters as Jill Stein, most pollsters have them evenly split between would-be Trump and Clinton supporters. If this is true it means Johnson will take vote equally from Trump and Clinton and will therefore be neutral with regards to the final outcome.

As it stands now, right leaning Johnson supporters have nowhere to go except retreat back to Trump, but his left leaning supporters still have Jill Stein. It is the Jill Stein campaign that gives taking down Gary Johnson its strategic importance. Beyond the fact that they'd like to discourage third party challenges in general, this is the main reason we are seeing this concerted effort across all media to discredit Gary Johnson with one gaff while forgetting about Donald Trump's much more serious Commander-in-Chief knowledge gap. Mike Barnicle's question on MSNBC's Morning Joe was another Media promotion of Donald Trump. This take down of Gary Johnson now makes it more important than ever that Jill Stein drop her presidential bid.

My other recent posts relating to this unique election cycle:
Green Party Jill Stein's campaign in context
What should the Green Party do?
Greens could give White House to Trump as poll numbers even
Why Green Party's Jill Stein should drop her presidential bid
Amy Goodman should address this extremely important statement by her guest
How Jill Stein Tweets for Trump
HuffPost item shows how @JillStein campaign whitewashes @realDonaldTrump
Trump tells his '2nd Amendment people election will be stolen to prepare for insurrection
Trump didn't threaten Hillary, he threatened violent insurrection
Meet Green Party's Jill Stein, Putin sock-puppet & Assad apologist

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

With #WhatIsAleppo trending, Syria once again comes to the forefront of Election 2016. I've been writing extensively about Syria for the past 5 years. If you want to know more about Aleppo click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Green Party Jill Stein's campaign in context

The worldwide white nationalist movement had another important election victory Sunday in Germany. The far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), or "Alternative for Germany," beat Angel Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in regional voting in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. When the final vote is tallied the Social Democrats are still expected to have the strongest showing with 30% of the vote, and Merkel's CDU is expected to have 19% which, for the first time ever, was beaten by the white nationalist AfD which is expected to get 21%. This is a very big upset in Europe's most powerful country. T.J. Raphael writing for PIR says "Like Donald Trump here in the United States, Petry’s right-wing stance is attracting a lot of disenfranchised voters."

The AfD was found only four years ago in opposition to the euro. Initially it was for the reintroduction of traditional gender roles in the family, reintroducing the conscription of 18 year old males, and stopping the "uncontrolled expansion of wind energy," before the influx of Syrian refugees that resulted from Assad's barrel bombing and Angela Merkel's "open-door" policy made immigration a hot topic. Although its been "very loosely and thinly organized," its been able to develop quickly using strategies "copy-pasted from the more experienced and professional extreme-right wing parties of Austria and France," said an EU electoral strategist.

This German version of the US Alt-Right movement behind the Trump campaign was getting about 5.5%-6.1% of the vote before it came out with a strong anti-immigrant stand in May. It adopted a new manifesto calling for a ban on minarets, veils for women and the Muslim call to prayer. “Islam is not part of Germany,” the party manifesto declares.

If you're only now hearing about this party, you may be wondering just how far right it is:
This party is so far right AfD leader Dr. Frauke Petry advocated having border police shoot migrants, including refugees, attempting to illegally cross into Germany and AfD board member Beatrix von Storch added that, if necessary, even women and children should be fired at. Prominent party member, Björn Höcke, speaks about supposed genetic differences between Europeans and Africans that make the latter reproduce more. Members described Islam as “sharia, suicide bombings and forced marriages.” The left-wing ANTIFA calls them Nazis. The leading national news outlet, Spiegel, called it "a dangerous party," saying "the party's existence, and growing popularity, is raising questions as to whether Germany has truly learned the lessons of World War II and the Nazi dictatorship."
With the encouragement of racist forces like the AfD, the attitude towards Syrian refugees has turned ugly. Last month, a bus full of refugees in the Saxon town of Clausnitz was met by angry protesters shouting "Go home!" Days later a hotel being converted into a shelter for refugees was destroyed by arson as onlookers cheered and celebrated. Arson attacks on asylum hostels are on the rise.

Arsonists in Weissach im Tal in the western state of Baden-Württemberg burned down a building that was to be used to accommodate asylum-seekers. 24/8/15

White Internationalism

Jill Stein and the Green Party are in denial about what is going on in the world all around them with their fantasy that this is just another Dems vs Repubs POSTUS election like all the others. They refuse to see this election in the context of this worldwide resurgence of white nationalism, even as France's National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen endorses Donald Trump and Brexit leader Nigel Farage comes to the US to campaign with him.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is also an authoritarian and sees himself as the international leader of this white nationalist movement [ which BTW included Muammar Gaddafi and still includes Bashar al-Assad ] so it isn't surprising that Putin's mouthpiece RT likes and defends AfD, claiming it isn't "xenophobic." RT German, in particular appears to cover AfD favorably and often. RT plays an important role in binding the various national nationalist movements together as for example this piece in which Dr. Hugh Bronson, deputy speaker of AfD Landesverband Berlin, talks about how they are using the successful Brexit vote in their organizing.

It also isn't exactly breaking news that the Kremlin wants to see Trump in the White House. Michael Crowley has written about it in Politico. Newsmax has noted RT's biased coverage. Quora posted these telling results from their Google searches in April:
Google: "Bernie Sanders" RT (Russia Today) = all positive press
Google: "Hillary Clinton" RT (Russia Today) = all negative press
Google: "Donald Trump" RT (Russia Today) = 95% very positive press (plus an actual Putin endorsement)
Google: "Marco Rubio" RT (Russia Today) = mostly negative press
It would appear they were only considering candidates that still had a viable path to the White House in April. Had they included Jill Stein, it would have looked like this:
Google: "Jill Stein" RT (Russia Today) = all positive press
Louis Proyect says RT has run 105 articles "in praise of" Jill Stein. A Google search turns up 302 references. RT isn't giving this frequent and positive coverage to the Green Party ticket because they actually think she can win. Putin is a hard-nosed political realist, and, sorry Jill, its not because he has fallen in love with your feel-good ideas.  Apart from buying goodwill, RT is promoting Jill Stein in the hopes that she will be the flanking attack that allows Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton. That is the real reason that Jill Stein was invited to RT's 10th anniversary expo and and had dinner with Putin.
Just as the AfD looks favorably upon the British extreme-right's success with the Brexit, they are looking forward to seeing Donald Trump elected president of the United States.

What follows is what appears to be a Twitter discussion between anti-AfD activists about the upcoming US election. All the way from Germany, John sees what Jill doesn't. Her only major impact in this election may be to allow Donald Trump to win. Translation follows each tweet:
#Trump- candidate is @GOP. So have @TheDemocrats #election2016 in fact already won? Only @JohnKasich would have been dangerous.

@Nein_zur_AFD @GOP @TheDemocrats @JohnKasich I even wonder whether Hillary remains strong enough to win against Trump.

@Johnny379847 Very likely. Trump has serious problem among women and ethnic minorities. @GOP @TheDemocrats @JohnKasich

@Nein_zur_AFD Especially since you don't know exactly how many Democrats will ultimately change their vote to Jill Stein if Hillary is the candidate.

So even in Germany, they see that, as a practical matter, the role of the Jill Stein campaign will be to help Trump win. You can bet that the AfD in Germany, along with Putin, Breitbart, and Trump are desperately hoping that Jill Stein can pull enough progressive votes away from Hillary Clinton to really make a difference.

How Jill Stein was for Brexit before her Orwellian attempt to say otherwise

When the Brexit passed in June, Jill Stein called it a victory against neoliberalism on her website:
The vote in Britain to exit the European Union (EU) is a victory for those who believe in the right of self-determination and who reject the pro-corporate, austerity policies of the political elites in EU. … The Brexit vote is one more sign that voters are in revolt against the rigged economy and the rigged political system that created it… Britain has spoken for much of humanity as it rejects the failed vision of a world that prioritizes profit for the few amidst hardship for the many. Now we must build on this momentum.
She was able to accept the obvious right-wing leadership of the Brexit, and ignore the anti-immigrant and Islamaphobic motivation behind the break with the EU so that she could embrace it as a people's victory. This changed quickly after she was called on her position, as by Duncan Hosie in the Huffington Post:
Her belief that Brexit was a “victory” should sound familiar. It mirrors the rhetoric of Donald Trump, who asserted that Brexit as “great” and “beautiful” victory of ordinary people over the corrupt political elites.

After Brexit, Stein said Brexit re-affirmed the “right of self-determination.” After Brexit, Trump said, “self-determination is the sacred right of all free people’s and the people of the UK have exercised that right for all the world to see.”

To Stein and Trump, Brexit symbolized “self-determination,” not the corrosion of democracy by bigotry and fear-mongering.

“[Brexit supporters] took their country back, just like we will take America back,” Trump said. Perhaps Stein could add that line to her stump speech.
Upon hearing such criticisms, Jill Stein revised her statement so that she spoke less favorably about it. This was a very good thing. This new version was certainly much better. It didn't call Brexit a "victory" and it did call out the "deplorable and dangerous anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee anger that neoliberalism generates."  Problems arose because she tried to pretend that she hadn't revised the statement at all, and things very quickly moved into Orwellian territory.

For example, you might click on the link in a Rolling Stone article that quoted from the original and be taken to a page on www.jill2016.com with very different wording. Allen Clifton wrote in Forward Progressives:
Not only did she completely change her official statement on her website, but she removed the original and didn’t indicate anywhere that she had made these changes. In other words, Stein changed her official statement on Brexit hoping nobody would notice, while also ridding any trace of her original comments where she called the vote a “victory” and encouraged people to “build on the momentum.”
In one particularly bizarre exchange on facebook, Steve Ambrusko, looking at the original statement, writes "Sorry Jill, you now just lost my vote." Jill Stein doesn't explain that she has changed her statement. She plays it off, telling him to try clearing his cache and refreshing the page to see the "actual text" - as opposed to the text on his screen already.

The pandering to white supremacy is one thing. Obviously, I have to hold that against her. But this, a willingness to create and promote historical lies is something else entirely.

If you follow this blog regularly, you know I love computers. For one thing, that's the way I make my living, besides, without computers and the Internet, bringing you all this useful information in a timely manner would be impossible. Believe me I know because when I started doing political agitation, the mimeograph and MultiLith were our main distribution platforms, and searches began at the local library. All that is so much easier now. That's why I love computers.

But there is one thing I really hate about computers and that is the power they give to someone who misuses them. Take this present question. In the old days, once you took a position on this or that, committed it to hardcopy and distributed it, there was no pretending you never wrote that. Words on hardcopy may fade with time, but they don't change.

This is not the case with characters in RAM that are then displayed on the screen. They can be changed, as you like, and leave no trace of their former selves. This now allows the "Photoshopping" of history to a degree that totalitarian regimes of the 20th century could only dream about. That is why I always recommend readers take screenshots, print out, or otherwise commit to hardcopy anything important they see on the web where they don't entirely trust the "stability" of the source.

It is dishonest to change content without acknowledging that the content has been changed. It creates a scar through reality that can not be repaired until the deception is acknowledged. The one major news outlet that seems to regularly practise such "creative" rewriting is Putin's propaganda outlet RT, so it would appear that she shares more than Putin's outlook on world affairs. It would also appear that she shares his attitude towards truth.

The Green Party needs to distinguish itself from the two major capitalist parties on questions of integrity and in this case it probably has because neither the DNC or the RNC have been caught so blatantly revising their website without acknowledgement. Its as though Hillary Clinton, instead of deleting emails, offered forged ones in their place, or Donald Trump, instead of refusing to release his tax returns, released doctored ones. So, leaving aside all these other questions and considering just the different candidate's Orwellian approaches to hiding the truth in this post-1984 world, Jill Stein isn't even the least of three evils.

For all of the above reasons, she should quit her campaign.

My other recent posts relating to this unique election cycle:
What should the Green Party do?
Greens could give White House to Trump as poll numbers even
Why Green Party's Jill Stein should drop her presidential bid
Amy Goodman should address this extremely important statement by her guest
How Jill Stein Tweets for Trump
HuffPost item shows how @JillStein campaign whitewashes @realDonaldTrump
Trump tells his '2nd Amendment people election will be stolen to prepare for insurrection
Trump didn't threaten Hillary, he threatened violent insurrection
Meet Green Party's Jill Stein, Putin sock-puppet & Assad apologist

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria