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This guy wants to be president 2

by Eric Ferguson on February 1, 2015 · 0 comments

clowncarThough there’s “2” in the title, there’s three this time. “2” just means this is a follow up to the first one. And check the hashtag #ThisGuyWantsToBePresident. Feel free to contribute.
Sen. Lindsey Graham think he should be taken seriously as a presidential candidate because he won by 41 points. He’s referring to his party primary. You know, when incumbents normally win by massive margins. By his logic, just about every reelected incumbent qualifies to be president. And he’ll bring that same logic to the White House. Or maybe to the Sunday morning beltway talking head shows, which thinks diversity of opinion means alternating Graham and John McCain each week.
At least he knows his agenda should he win, because there are loads of countries we still haven’t bombed.
Our own Dog Gone noted that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence wanted his own state news agency. The reception has been poor however, and his staff are backing away like none of them actually worked on it. It’s just a “draft”! Yes, a thorough, final, ready to implement next month draft. This is the same guy who walked through a market on Baghdad during the occupation of Iraq to prove Iraq was getting safer — wearing body armor and accompanied by lots of soldiers while attack helicopters hovered overhead — and said it was just like any Indiana open air market.
Ben Carson, whose qualification for president is that he’ll tell conservatives any loopy bit of craziness they want to hear, says he doubts evolution can be real because Charles Darwin guessed it would take 50-100 years after his time to fill out the evolutionary tree. Given Carson’s general alacrity with reality, I’m guessing Darwin never said that. Even if he did, Carson thinks evolution could be all wrong because the scientist who came up with the theory of natural selection 150 years ago guessed wrong at how long it would take to find all human ancestors going to back to amoeba.
Somebody used to let this guy work on brains. Really.


Remember when, or if not from personal memory, from the lessons of history, the bad old days of the propaganda mouthpieces, Izvestia and Pravda?

Pravda was the mouthpiece of the Communist Party in the old Soviet Union; then old drunk Russian president Boris Yeltsin seized it and sold it off to a Greek family after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 1997, the Communist Party in Russia bought it back. The Communist party celebrated the 100th anniversary of Pravda in 2012. They were always more of a propaganda print media organ, than a legitimate new organization.

Izvestia had been the official propaganda newspaper of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1991. After that it was bought up by an oligarch with ‘close ties to the government’. Then in 2005, it changed hands again and has operated to 2008, under the ownership of Gazprom, returning to more direct state ownership again. (Gazprom is state owned, for those who don’t track such things.) In 2008, Gazprom sold off Izvestia, per the BBC report on Russia media in 2013, back into the oligarch orbit/ control of Vlad Putin:

In May 2008, Gazprom sold its majority stake on to the SOGAZ insurance company. SOGAZ is part of a group controlled by the St Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya, whose co-owner, Yuriy Kovalchuk, is widely reported to be a close associate of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.


What happened to Pravda? From the same BBC piece:

Since then, it has built its reputation on a gentle nostalgia for the Soviet period, firm backing for Kremlin policy and a keen interest in celebrity news and scandal from home and abroad. Russian energy group YeSN emerged as the newspaper’s largest shareholder in 2007, buying up stock from the Prof-Media holding company and the Norwegian media group A-Pressen.


Both Pravda and Izvestia are still publishing, pretty much whatever they’re told to publish, with whatever spin the party or government, sometimes the same thing, sometimes less so, direct them to propagandize.

Add to that the government owned Rossiyskaya Gazeta,the ‘new’ officially, openly government owned daily, which started up in 1990 when the Soviet Union dissolved. Again per the BBC:

Rossiyskaya Gazeta is Russia’s main government-owned newspaper. It was set up by the Russian government in 1990, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and remains fully government-owned. The paper is authorised to publish all new laws in full, at which point the legislation enters into force. Despite its affiliation, it has been known to voice criticism of ministerial policy. The paper’s managing director has in the past dismissed the widely-held view that it is the official government organ, instead describing it as an “independent media outlet”. According to surveys quoted on the paper’s internet site, its readers are “well-balanced adults, inclined to adopt conservative views”.


Sound familiar? Conservative AND well balanced, where have we seen that here in the west?


We know from observing right wing media, where they just make up stuff…..that rhymes with rift and miffed, that conservative views seem to go well with propaganda.


So it should come as no surprise in the list of government owned and operated press, that Governor and possible presidential wannabe Mike Pence wanted his own India Izvestia, up until it got too much attention from the real 4th estate. Because hey, the current right wing nuts all love Putin, who has his own tame media outlet, so why not take a page from his play book?


Apparently lovin’ all over Putin is ok, but imitating Stalin  with tax $$$ still gets you the stink-eye.


From the paper that broke the story, the appropriately named IndyStar:

The Indianapolis Star broke the news of plans to begin a state-run news outlet late Monday. Planning documents obtained by The Star spoke of having press secretaries write “stories” and having the “news service” compete with other, independent media outlets on stories.

The plan quickly became the object of ridicule across the nation, drawing comparisons to state-run media in countries such as North Korea and China. Some outlets dubbed the Pence news service “Pravda on the Plains.”

Pence and his staff slowly walked back the idea throughout the week before Pence finally pulled the plug Thursday. Pence went on conservative talk radio Wednesday to attempt to distance himself from the plan but was pressed by host Greg Garrison to say he would reject any state-run news service his staff built.

Meanwhile, Pence’s communications staff, which crafted the plan, attempted to allay concern among Statehouse reporters in an odd, sometimes emotional meeting that worked as one part counseling session and another part press briefing. Toward the end of the session, Pence communications director Christy Denault said that use of terms such as “managing editor” and “news stories” had been poor “shorthand” on their part and promised that they were not creating a state news service.


Of course, the problem with this statement, that Pence et al were NOT attempting to create a state news service is that all the documents show that was EXACTLY what they were doing, AND that despite denials, Pence knew about it and apparently both approved and initiated the concept. You know — lying. Because that is what propaganda is, carefully constructed lies to obscure the truth. It is also consistent with an administration that is NOT transparent, and does NOT allow press access, that they would simply want to create their own in-house propaganda machine so they could exclude other media as much as possible. …READ MORE


This guy wants to be president

by Eric Ferguson on January 29, 2015 · 0 comments

clowncarYou’re right, if you looked at that headline and thought that could apply to maybe anyone in that clown car called the GOP presidential nomination. It’s also that case that like it or not, we’re going to be hearing about this contest everyday starting roughly a month or two ago. So, might as well have some fun with it. So let’s make it a hashtag #ThisGuyWantsToBePresident,make it an ongoing thing, and not just for me. Feel free to join in. After all, we know the Republicans have to pick someone, and we can’t tell yet who, so let’s just enjoy all of them, until such time as they announce they’re not running, dropping out, or it’s pretty clear the nomination will not be theirs. When a nominee is picked, we’ll have a ready answer to the question, “What don’t you like about him?”
So I tweeted a couple links using #ThisGuyWantsToBePresident. Their only particular significance is they happened to be links I saw when I came up with the notion. Whether the hashtag gets used by anyone else or dies quickly like pretty much all of them, I don’t know (though I have a shrewd guess). We’re talking about examples of the crazy, the willfully ignorant, the corrupt, the hypocritical, the empty jackets.
Starting with those two I tweeted:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich had a fake Lincoln quote too good to check out. This sounded like mid-19th century English to Kasich? “You cannot build a little guy up by tearing a big guy down.” Maybe “guy” was used in the slang way we use it now and I just don’t know that, but I do know one thing: one of the signs of a fake quote is the use of anachronistic language. If a quote of a famous person sounds not merely convenient for a speaker’s point, but doesn’t quite sound like something they would have said back then, that doesn’t mean the quote is fake, but it sure screams for verification. Unless, you know, you’re John Kasich. Or as was said by Kasich back when he was just another microphone hog in the US House, “Someone willing to just make up crap is thinking of running for president, really?” Actually, he never said that, I’m reasonably sure, because I just made it up. But wouldn’t it be neat if he did say it? Therefore…
Rick Perry said unemployment statistics are “doctored”. Dave Wiegel didn’t mention the broader context of Perry’s remark, “It’s been massaged, it’s been doctored,” but what context could there be in which that remark doesn’t sound nuts other than “Only a grossly ignorant or delusional person could seriously say…”? Of course, this is hardly the first time Republicans have casually accused the BLS is faking the numbers to help Obama. So I guess Perry is just an echo rather than a full tin foil hat. Funny how they never release great numbers before an election when it might actually do Democrats some good. I’ll just add that if you think the BLS could somehow fake the unemployment numbers, and all of the many people who work on compiling them would go along with this without a slip up, you might just be ready to believe anything, such as “Rick Perry really knows what he’s talking about.”


Dayton proposes buffer zone regulation

by Dan Burns on January 29, 2015 · 0 comments

BACKPACKING5-251006-162122From a fairly recent column:

Then quite to everyone’s surprise, (Minnesota Governor Mark) Dayton said this:
“I will propose that a 50 foot [grass or similar] buffer be placed around all state waters,’’ a requirement that will be “enforced by the DNR through aerial and other inspections.’’
Acknowledging that some farmers and other landowners, and some farm groups, will oppose the plan in the Legislature, Dayton added:
“The land may be yours. But the water belongs to all of us, and to all who will follow all of us.’’
…For now, Dayton’s initiative is reason enough to celebrate, because in the never-ending battle to sustain wild places and wild critters, leadership is everything, as Teddy Roosevelt demonstrated more than a century ago.
And among state conservationists, Dayton has earned that title.
(Star Tribune)

OK, maybe a little over-the-top at the end, there, but to have a governor who is committed to a relatively strong environmental agenda is not a privilege that most states currently have. And though we’re better off than many, Minnesota is in fact far from pristine. And there are all those big plans for more mines and pipelines…
I’ve seen some talk lately about a purported pending coalition of rural GOPers and Iron Range DFLers who will form a bloc powerful enough to weaken environmental protections. I’m waiting on reports that are more specific. Mildly intriguing, how seemingly out of nowhere, like The Thing, the “rural/urban divide” has suddenly become far and away the most important socio-political phenomenon in the history of the state. Or so corporate media would have it, and it would be impolite, I suppose, to suggest that that has much more to do with pandering to its older, conservative-leaning base, than to fact-based analysis. Reality check: Minnesotans everywhere care about conservation and the environment.


MN-07: Peterson will run again in 2016

by Dan Burns on January 29, 2015 · 0 comments

428096_10151596558448826_1358271281_nLike, I’m sure, many people reading this I could go on and on about Collin’s ConservaDem antics for quite a while. But what’s the point? He’s not going to change his ways because of us. And, heck, if he hangs on until 2022, maybe with redistricting we won’t have a net loss of a seat to the GOP in any case.

There’s no waiting game for U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson this year.
Peterson, a Detroit Lakes Democrat who represents Minnesota’s sprawling 7th Congressional District, which stretches along the western edge of Minnesota, said through a spokeswoman Tuesday that he plans to seek his 14th term in Congress in 2016.
“I can confirm that he has said he’s running at this point, and raising money,” Allison Myhre said in an email Tuesday afternoon.
(West Central Tribune/Forum News Service)


Remember when? Right wing Putin Loving

by Dog Gone on January 28, 2015 · 0 comments

Over the past summer and fall months leading up to the 2014 elections there were endless examples of the right wing nuttery carrying on and on and on about how great a leader Russia’s Vlad Putin was.
He made quick decisions, he got things done, blah blah blah.   Why couldn’t No-Drama-Obama be more like Putin, blah blah blah.

We saw the Obama-bashing Putin-praising from the whole range of right wing media and punditry, including the Popsie Palin:

And that ‘the real leaders get it done’ line was then used to prop up the failures of Republicans, like Christie using it to promote Republican governors, who really do NOT have a good track record of accomplishment. It was the 2014 THEME du campaign.
From a CNN interview:

CHAIRMAN OF THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION, GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-New Jersey): You have Bruce Rauner win in Illinois, Charlie Baker win in Massachusetts, and Larry Hogan win in Maryland, that’s a really good night for Republicans to win in those blue states, and as a blue state governor myself, and as a Republican, I was particularly gratified.

CNN: So, to what do you attribute that success particularly in the blue states for governors?

CHRISTIE: Well, I think that they’ve seen Republican leadership in other states, and it’s been enormously effective. We had a lot of folks last night who said a lot of Republican incumbents were going to lose, but Rick Scott won in Florida, Rick Snyder in Michigan, Scott Walker won in Wisconsin. So I think they saw — they like governors who get things done and you saw that across the country. If you’re a governor who gets things done, the voters rewarded you.

But here’s the thing; NONE of those leaders, not Putin, not the Republican governors, are ‘getting things done’, or at least, not getting things done WELL, that benefit their respective jurisdictions.


Not a peep about Putin’s great leadership out of Popsie Palin while she was rambling along incoherently in Iowa, warming up crowds of the indifferent to her intention to run for president in 2016.


Wonder why that was?


Could it be because like the many downgrades of state credit ratings under right wing nut bullying leadership, Russia just had their credit rating reduced to JUNK status? All while Obama is basking in higher approval ratings (double those of Republicans, double those of Congress) and while Obama is getting well deserved credit for GOOD economic outcomes under his less-confrontational more-measured leadership?


Here’s what you WON’T hear from the whole range of right wingers, from Christie and the more serious RWNJs, to the totally foolish Palin. That style of leadership is all macho shine without substance; it’s bluff and bravado. Bottom line hard reality: it’s rubbish, it is ineffective, it produces negative outcomes; it is nothing but bullshit and bullying to look tough and to fake competence they don’t have.
From Bloomberg:

Russia Credit Rating Is Cut to Junk by S&P for the First Time in a Decade
(Bloomberg) — Russia’s foreign-currency credit rating was cut to junk by Standard & Poor’s, putting it below investment grade for the first time in a decade as policy makers struggle to keep economic growth alive amid sanctions and falling oil prices.

S&P, which last downgraded Russia in April, cut the sovereign one step to BB+, according to a statement released on Monday, the same level as countries including Bulgaria and Indonesia. The ratings firm said the outlook is “negative.” Russian stocks declined and bonds fell for a second day following the announcement, which came after the close of equity trading in Moscow.

The world’s biggest energy exporter is on the brink of a recession after oil prices fell to the lowest since 2009 and the U.S. and its allies imposed sanctions over President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine. The penalties have locked Russian corporate borrowers out of international debt markets and curbed investor appetite for the ruble, stocks and bonds.

“Russia’s monetary-policy flexibility has become more limited and its economic growth prospects have weakened,” S&P said in the statement. “We also see a heightened risk that external and fiscal buffers will deteriorate due to rising external pressures and increased government support to the economy.”
Ruble, Stocks

The ruble, which has weakened 19 percent against the dollar since S&P first put Russia’s rating on review on Dec. 23, gained 1.4 percent at 2:18 p.m. in Moscow, after closing Monday at a record 68.799. The dollar-denominated RTS Index of stocks fell 0.8 percent following Monday’s 4.8 percent decline. The yield on five-year government debt climbed 16 basis points to 15.41 percent.

Some investors are prevented from owning debt rated speculative grade. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings still have Russia as investment grade.

“The ruble weakened only modestly as the market anticipated such a decision following an explicit warning from the rating agency at the end of December,” Piotr Matys, an emerging-market strategist at Rabobank International in London, said by e-mail. “The odds that a full-scale financial crisis could unfold in the coming months has increased, given that S&P’s decision will undermine the Bank of Russia’s efforts to stabilize the ruble.”

“We believe that Russia’s financial system is weakening and therefore limiting the central bank of Russia’s ability to transmit monetary policy,” S&P said. “The central bank faces increasingly difficult monetary policy decisions while also trying to support sustainable GDP growth.”

Russia’s wealth funds are “puny” given the challenges the economy is facing, S&P’s head of sovereign ratings Moritz Kraemer told Bloomberg TV Tuesday. Increased interest rates may prevent capital outflow, which reached $151.5 billion in 2014, he said. That compares with $61 billion of outflows a year earlier.

While policy makers spent $88 billion in interventions last year to prop up the currency, President Vladimir Putin last month scolded the regulator for not reacting to the crisis more quickly. The central bank replaced its head of monetary policy in January, selecting Dmitry Tulin to take on Ksenia Yudaeva’s role in the biggest leadership change since Governor Elvira Nabiullina took charge in June 2013.

Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service both downgraded Russia to their lowest investment grades this month.

Investors often disregard ratings companies’ credit grade and outlook changes. France’s 10-year yield, which was 3.08 percent when S&P removed its top rating in January 2012, tumbled to a record-low 1.339 percent on Aug. 15 this year.

“The trend of deteriorating ratings is more important than the rating cut itself,” Aleksei Belkin, chief investment officer at Kapital Asset Management LLC in Moscow, said by e-mail. “The cut was rather widely expected and for all practical purposes was well telegraphed and discounted. I am afraid we will see more selling, not panic selling, but positions will be trimmed again.”

It’s not just Russia. All those Republican policy states, with Republican policy leadership — they’re in the giant governance toilet just like Russia, going around and round and down.


The recent terror attacks in Paris thrust the issue of terrorism, its relation with Islam, and how to defeat it back into the forefront of national debate. At the same time, it has created a wave of reckless rhetoric on the far right. That rhetoric while not amounting to treason, or approaching sedition, certainly falls within the definition of defamation. Because we are engaged in a global war on terror, should we not challenge such rhetoric and question its intellectual and logical underpinnings or lack thereof? Should not the proponents of such rhetoric be taken to task?


Since the Paris attacks, there has been a near endless procession of articles and commentary that seeks to portray progressives, the mainstream media and the Obama administration as being muddled and confused in their thinking regarding the terror issue. Representative of this effort is Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly. In his nightly diatribe against all things progressive, he has portrayed all of the abovementioned parties as avoiding the central issues of Islamic terror. In his opinion, they collectively act as apologists for radical Islam. O’Reilly justifies his position by way of a simple argument. If you are not talking about Islam in connection with terror, specifically using the phrases “radical Islam” or “Islamic terror”, then you are not on topic. He states it is difficult to “convince left wing zealots” of the gravity of the issue at hand and that, these people put our security at risk. The administration is portrayed as lacking an orchestrated approach and a well-grounded strategy. Simply put, Obama is disengaged from the fight. O’Reilly regularly mocks the fact that most Muslims are not overtly prone to violence in spite of the fact that there have been empirical studies that refute his position. See M. Steven Fish: Are Muslims Distinctive? A Look at the Evidence referenced below. He insists to a fault that the White House and the mainstream media consistently misreport on issues related to terrorism. Moreover, they shy away from a full-throated endorsement of “free speech” by declining to reproduce the controversial cover from the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Also appearing regularly on Fox is Neoconservative Steven Hayes of the Weekly Standard who believes that the Obama administration largely focuses on Al Qaeda because, “They don’t want to admit that they aren’t prosecuting the war on terror”, and that “Day after day the administration dances around the term “Islamic Terror” and it confuses everyone.”


Fox News is not the only national conservative news organ to have so heavily invested in this rhetorical exercise. Even the National Review, once the most prominent conservative periodical in the country, has charted a similar course.  Editor Richard Lowry: “The Obama administration’s mind-bogglingly determined refusal to say that we are at war with “radical Islam,” together with the left’s evasions about Islamic terrorism means that there has been a haze of euphemism and cowardice around what should be a galvanizing event in the West’s fight against terror.” The National Review’s Jonah Goldberg argues that those who avoid using the phrases “radical Islam” or “Islamic terror and instead use words like extremist and terrorist think that we are merely at war with “unspecified extremists.” Even MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough made the outlandish claim that “Christians don’t go out and kill 3000 people in a reference to September 11, 2001. Readers could go “down market” from here and find all manner of such commentary in the tabloids, on the blogosphere, on FaceBook and on Twitter.


At this point, it is imperative to take issue with the multiple misconceptions and misrepresentations outlined above and deal with them each in its turn. In doing so I have spent a good deal of time researching what the administration has said, what the military commanders have said, and what national security scholars have written on the subject. The bottom line is that the obsession with whether or not the President, the administration, the combatant commanders or progressives regularly use the phrases “Islamic terror” or “radical Islam” is a meaningless exercise in word games and is, as such, a contrived issue. If the professionals prosecuting and analyzing the war are not using these phrases are they even important? If they are in fact unimportant why continue to make this an issue?


First, look at how President Obama recently addressed the rise of ISIS in Syria. He spoke directly to the terror threat posed by ISIS on multiple occasions: “Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment. In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back” and “U.S. intelligence officials failed to appreciate the gains made by Islamic State extremists in Syria during the last few years of that country’s civil war.” At the U.N. Security Council Mr. Obama made clear that, we are fighting what he called “the cancer of violent extremism, embodied in groups such as Islamic State.” In a 2013 address at the National Defense University the president clearly outlined his thought process on terror: “Most, though not all, of the terrorism we faced is fueled by a common ideology — a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West, and that violence against Western targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause.  Of course, this ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam.  In addition, the vast majority of Muslims, who are the most frequent victims of terrorist attacks, rejects this ideology. Nevertheless, this ideology persists…”


Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on Meet the Press the weekend after the Paris attacks and was asked: “Would you say the United States is at war with radical Islam? Holder’s answer: “Well, I would say that we are at war with terrorists who commit these heinous acts and who use Islam, they use a corrupted version of Islam to justify their actions.” Later in the week, Martha MacCallum of Fox News interviewed the State Department’s Maria Harf. Harf had no problem saying that we’re at war with Islamic terror but went on to point out that the administration seeks not to overuse phrases like Islamic terror and radical Islam so as not to conflate Islam with terror thereby radicalizing Muslims who might not otherwise be prone join in with terrorists.


The point here is a simple one, if the administration and other concerned parties are talking about Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram or Al-Shabaab what else are they talking about other than radical Islam or Islamic terror? The fact that the administration does not utter the phrases “Islamic terror” or “radical Islam” in every other sentence is immaterial. Does anyone think that when Osama Bin Laden was about to die or that those terrorists dying amidst the rubble of drone-targeted buildings in Yemen are in any way confused as to who is killing them and why? If commentators on the far right and their audience can’t discern the complexities involved in the war on terror or the nuances employed by the administration in its attempt to deter the further recruitment of Muslims radicals into the fight, who then is it that is confused? There is little in the way of logical thinking that would bring any prudent person to doubt that the administration knows who it is currently fighting or why it is carrying out that fight.


I reviewed a good deal of testimony on Capitol Hill, commentary in Department of Defense News and other sources and found that our top military leaders rarely if ever use the phrases “Islamic terror” or “radical Islam”, in fact most never do. Referenced below are numerous citations by General Martin Dempsey U.S. Army, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Campbell U.S. Army, Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps and former Commander, International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. Commander U.S. Marine Corps Central Command and Lt. Gen. Steve Hummer, U.S. Marine Corps from U.S. Africa Command.


In his interview on Fox News Sunday 1/11/2015 General Dempsey never uses “Islamic terror or Islamic extremists” in his conversation with Chris Wallace. In answering Wallace’s questions General Dempsey used the phrases like radical ideology and radical extremism multiple times. With regard to the shortcomings of the Iraqis in combating ISIS General Dempsey said: “Here’s the reality of the campaign in Iraq. It’s the government of Iraqi’s strategy enabled by us. It’s not our strategy.” The General went on to point out the burden imposed on the military by sequestration, something that those on the far right originally championed but a subject on which they are now notoriously silent. To wit: “The Budget Control Act and the sequestration mechanism is imposed on us in 2016 — yes, we will have to change our strategy, become far less able to do the things that we think the country needs us to do.” The head of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) on January 20, 2015, echoed General Dempsey’s concerns: “The problem with sequestration is not primarily about numbers and statistics. It is about whether we have the capability to do what the nation needs and the times demand.” In his analysis of the current conditions in Afghanistan Army General John Campbell never once used the phrases radical Islam or Islamic terror.


General Dunford, Commandant of the USMC, in his comments on Capitol Hill and in the media never once used the words Islamic terror or Islamic radicals but used terrorism, extremism and counter terror quite freely. One can pore over all of the references below where the abovementioned generals have discussed the issues at hand and you will be hard pressed to find them talking about anything other than counter terror, radical ideology, radical extremism or terrorism per se. None of the above referenced generals could ever be referred to as “apologists”, “appeasers” or that their failures to employ stock right-wing talking points undermines our security.  I would challenge anyone who thinks that one must monotonously repeat the phrases “Islamic terror” or “radical Islam” as a way of establishing one’s anti-terror credentials to take issue with these generals and to suggest to them that we do not have a strategy or that they, or their troops, are confused in their execution of it.


I went on to review the writings of The Foundation for Defense of Democracies which touts its role in “Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Freedom” in its byline. The Foundation is an organization that counts the prominent Neoconservative James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA. on its Executive Board. The Foundation publishes the Long War Journal and maintains the Threat Matrix blog. Once again having reviewed numerous publications referenced below I found few if any references to Islamic terror or Islamic radicals. Likewise, I reviewed numerous articles from the Armed Forces Journal and again, found few references to Islamic terror or radical Islam but many that addressed terror, insurgency, global war on terror, etc.


Lastly, in her rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union Speech Iowa Senator Joni Ernst spoke at length about foreign policy issues, from nuclear issues with Iran to terror and never once did she use Islamic terror or radical Islam in her speech. Ms. Ernst is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa National Guard who spent 14 months deployed in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom and 21 years in the service of her country. Are we to believe that she too is disconnected, an appeaser, an apologist? Is she cowardly because she will not frame her thoughts through the lens of far right rhetoric and because of that, her presence in the Senate Armed Services Committee undermines our national security?


When speaking of safeguarding our security many on the far right seemed to have forgotten that during the tenure of the Obama administration we have suffered from one homegrown terror attack, the Boston Marathon bombing. However, during the previous Republican administration we suffered the worst loss of life in American history on 9/11/2001. There is reluctance on the part of many on the right to acknowledge intelligence missteps stemming from failure to act on reports of an Al Qaeda plot to attack the U.S., which surfaced in August 2001. Somehow lost in the discussion, particularly when Neoconservatives are involved, is the fact that Islamic radicals have flourished within the context of failed states. There are too many on the far right who continue to fail to make the connection between the instability in Iraq resulting from an ill-conceived war and the rise of ISIS. Thus, I found it ironic when on 13 January Bill O’Reilly admitted during Talking Points that it was a mistake to undertake two wars in South Asia at the same time and that neither had done anything to impede the rise of Islamic Terror. He then went on to bemoan our continued anti-terror aid to Pakistan because we were not “putting boots on the ground” to successfully assure the outcome. Now again I ask the readers who is it that is muddled and confused in his thought process?


Those same voices on the far right seem to have forgotten the effects of the sequestration that they so vigorously championed in their “starve the beast” approach to managing government spending and how it may be hampering out counter terror efforts now, as pointed out above. One could legitimately ask what they were thinking when they initially chose not to fund the Department of Homeland Security beyond February 2015. How about those on the far right who lionized Edward Snowden and portrayed his leaks as a worthwhile endeavor in fighting government overreach. I ask the readers once more who is it that is undermining national security and may in fact be muddled and confused in their thinking.


On the subject of media misrepresentation, to say that Muslims have cornered the market on violence or are somehow prone to or innovative in using religion as a doctrine to wage holy war I would simply reiterate several established historical facts. The onset of the great era of Christian Crusades in the Middle Ages saw the widespread murder of Jews in Germany and Cathar Christians in Southern France, all amply justified, at the time by current religious thought as detailed in the Malcolm Billings book referenced below.


It wasn’t all that long ago that Serbian Christians were conducting ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and killing Muslims in Bosnia and in numbers far beyond the aforementioned 3000 lives that were lost on 9/11. In the run up to the American Civil War, passages from the Bible served as justification for maintaining the slave economy. You can verify these facts in the works of James McPherson and Eugene Genovese referenced below. Biblical justification was used in rationalizing the disenfranchisement of the American Indian from his land and with that his societal sustainability. Please see William Cronon’s book Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England cited below.


In concluding the discussion on who is most at fault when it comes to misreporting and misrepresenting the story, here once again, recent facts show it is more likely to be the Fox News Network than the President, his administration or the mainstream media. To date Fox News has had to apologize four times for misreporting on the Muslim communities in Europe, particularly their characterization of large scale “no go” zones in Britain and France. Even the conservative Prime Minister of Britain, Mr. David Cameron, labeled one Fox “terror expert” a “complete idiot.” That is sad commentary coming from on of the most prominent conservative leaders in the West and our closest ally.


To the charge, that declining to reprint the covers of Charlie Hebdo amounts to “media cowardice” I would simply point out that free speech is never an absolute and never was. Free speech has always been conditioned by what is reasonable and restrained by a certain amount of self-censorship, especially in wartime. One thing is certain, you do not win wars by creating more enemies and to the extent that publishing the Charlie Hebdo cover creates more Islamic radicals the fewer reprints the better. We have heard repeatedly since the Paris attacks that French Security Forces cannot keep track of all the potential radicals within France or those who have traveled abroad. Why then would they, we, or anyone else seek to create more adversaries? Richard Engle on Meet the Press recently reported that since the original publication of the Charlie Hebdo cover satirizing the Prophet Mohamed and subsequent reprints there us been a marked up tick in recruitment into radical Islamic organizations. Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, appearing on MSNBC the week before pointed out that if Charlie Hebdo was regularly distributed in this country Evangelical Christians would flood the streets protesting less than flattering depictions of famous Christians, the Virgin Mary foremost among them. I would also point out that there was widespread condemnation on the right when Andres Serrano depicted Christ on the Cross in a glass of urine or when Chris Ofili created an image of the Virgin Mary that utilized elephant dung in its composition. Thus if we consider desecration of our religious symbols unacceptable why should not Muslims have similar feelings? We can go back and forth as to the legal particulars of free speech and as to when it should or should not be abridged, but minimizing inflammatory media during wartime or in crisis is not a hypothetical exercise but a necessity. To the extent that the far right continues to make this an issue one can only ask what their real goal is, is it to protect the First Amendment or undermine the present administration?


With regard to how today’s Muslim communities have reacted to the twin terror attacks in Paris I would point out that within hours of the attack on Charlie Hebdo the Imam of the largest Paris Mosque and many other Muslim clerics were in the street speaking out against the terrorists. Iranian scholar Reza Aslan, appearing on Meet the Press the following weekend pointed out that every legitimate Muslim organization had condemned the attack as they regularly had condemned past attacks and that those who would deny this need to learn how to use Google. Quoting Aslan, “The answer to Islamic violence is Islamic peace. The answer to Islamic bigotry is Islamic pluralism. And so that’s why I put the onus on the Muslim community, but I also recognize that that work is being done, that the voice of condemnation is deafening, and if you don’t hear it, then you’re not listening.” Even a relative of the Muslim police officer who was killed in Paris said, “These killers weren’t Muslims but terrorists.” Again, I ask the question who is doing the misrepresenting.


The fixation on the far right with the particulars of how the war on terror is being executed by the Obama administration covered by the mainstream media and conceptualized by progressives is all part in parcel of a larger socio-political grievance arising out of the profound and rapid changes affecting America today. A discussion of those changes is beyond the scope of this piece but the radicals on the far right believe there is only one version of the true America and it is theirs. Anything other than their cherished views amounts to an attempt to destroy America either overtly or covertly. This constricted approach to history, warfare and the conduct of foreign policy along with the myriad misconceptions upon which so many of their essential arguments are based, is at this time is a major source of embarrassment for both the nation and those within conservatism who hold a more balanced view. If our military commanders, conservative scholars and even a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, not a bleeding heart liberal among them, refrain from using those stock phrases bandied about daily in the far right press what does that tell you? The radicals on the far right would have you believe that we have no strategy with which to fight Islamic terror but when you read, what the generals leading the fight have to say it is apparent that the radical have not done their homework. That is not to say that the strategy is a resounding success, most war planning and execution rarely goes off without a hitch. However, to say that the administration has no strategy is an outright lie. Apparently, those who are at the forefront of our anti-terror effort do not see the import of such commentary or the arguments based thereon. Am I wrong in suggesting that those who matter most in fighting the global war on terror do not take much of the criticism leveled at the administration, the media and progressives seriously, I do not think so.


In our body politic, we can abide dissent and heated discussion. However, it is in the best interest of all that that debate and discussion focus on what is best for the country rather than what is narrowly best for a particular political vision. Look at the profound differences between American politics during the Second World War and today. Roosevelt knew that it was probable that we would one day be at war with Fascism. His best assumption was that it would arise from an incident at sea resulting from the ongoing Battle for the Atlantic. A threat from Japan if it came first would be either an attack on the West Coast or the Panama Canal. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the entire immediate focus of defense and war planning changed. We lost almost the entire U.S. Asiatic Fleet in the waters off the Philippines, Malaya and Indonesia. We lost the Philippines due to serious miscalculations on the part of General Douglas MacArthur. We had widespread technical problems with torpedoes that did not detonate or reach their targets, a major impediment to waging war at sea against the Japanese. Our Army was smaller than that of many lesser European states and was woefully lacking in everything from guns to tanks to transport. Prior to the war FDR was labeled everything from Socialist to Fascist to at the very least “a traitor to his class.” That said when the nation was in danger both Republicans and Democrats rallied to put their full effort behind total victory.


I have been a student of history my entire life and I have read more on the Second World War than any other topic. I cannot remember ever seeing anything in the way of political discussion from that time that approaches the vitriol and rancor that we see today. That is particularly true when it comes to debating the war on terror. In the midst of all of this misguided and reckless rhetoric conservatives, and everyone else, should remember the words of that now famous Republican Senator from Michigan, Arthur Vandenberg. As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Vandenberg asserted, “politics stops at the water’s edge.” The entirety of the argument waged by the far right against the Obama administration, the mainstream media and progressives generally is at this point an unwanted distraction in the war on terror. This unwanted distraction does nothing to enrich or enliven the vigorous debate between competing political schools of thought upon which viable democracies thrive. This unwanted distraction does nothing to aid in the fight against terror or in formulating changes in policy related thereto. Regrettably, with regard to the global war on terror the radical right has become part of the problem.



Steven J. Gulitti

21 January 2015






Bill O’Reilly: Honesty and Islamic Terror;


M. Steven Fish: Are Muslims Distinctive? A Look at the Evidence;


Richard Lowry, Of Course It Is Islam;


Jonah Goldberg:  Paris Attack Puts Western World in a Bad Spot;


Katie Pavlich: Does The Obama Administration Have a Strategy to Fight Islamic Terrorism?;


Jack Kerwick: The Charlie Hebdo Attack, “Terrorism,” and American Hypocrisy;


Are Christians and Muslims the Same?;


Brent Budowsky: Terrorism and the Muslim issue;


Statement by the President – August 28, 2014;


U.S. Underestimated Radical Islamists’ Gains in Syria, Obama Says;


Transcript: President Obama’s speech outlining strategy to defeat Islamic State;


Obama Addresses Islamic State Threat in United Nations Speech;


U.S. President Barack Obama at the NationalDefenseUniversity in Washington, D.C., May 23, 2013;


Right-Wing Media Scandalize Obama For Distinguishing Islam From Terrorism;


Meet the Press 1/11/2015;


DOD News: Islamic Terrorists Must Be Defeated, Chairman Says:
Dempsey warns ISIL has raised global terror threat;


Martin Dempsey raises specter of more U.S. troops to help Iraq fight Islamic State;


Fox News Sunday 1/11/2015 – General Dempsey reacts to Paris attacks;


Chairman, House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas): HASC’s Thornberry on Sequestration, Military Budgets and Pentagon Oversight;


Army General John Campbell: US general worried about Afghan terrorists;


Department of Defense Press Briefing by Gen. Dunford on Operations in Afghanistan; General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. (USMC), commander, International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan March 13, 2014;


Fiscal Crisis, Threats Test DOD Strategy, Readiness;


Afghanistan Assessment March 12, 2014;


Outgoing Afghan war commander raises questions about counterterrorism plan;


General Hummer Says More Marines Could Be Based Throughout Africa!;


Comments from Lt. Gen. Steve Hummer, U.S. Marine Corps;


Foundation for Defense of Democracies:


Ex-Gitmo detainee leads contingent of Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan;


Analysis: Reported ban of Haqqani Network unlikely to end Pakistan’s support of group;


Belgian authorities launch counterterrorism raids, killing 2;


Jihadists strike two towns in Mali, killing at least 4;


Afghan Taliban describe attack on Charlie Hebdo office as ‘justice’;


Jihadists praise Paris attacks;


Islamic State overruns town in Anbar, executes Awakening fighters;


Armed Forces Journal:


Army Col. David Lamm Professor of Strategy at the NationalWarCollege. He previously served as chief of staff of the Combined Forces Command, Afghanistan: Success in Afghanistan means fighting several wars at once;


F. G. Hoffman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research at NationalDefenseUniversity: Reassessing the Surge: Bold Shift or Strategic Disconnect?;


Spirit of Zarqawi lives on;


James McPherson: The Battle Cry of Freedom – The Civil War Era – OxfordUniversity Press 1998


Eugene D. Genovese: The Southern Tradition – The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism Harvard University Press 1994


William Cronon: Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England – Hill and Wang 1983


Malcolm Billings: The Cross & The Crescent: A History of the Crusades – Sterling Publishing 1988


Fox News apologizes 4 times for inaccurate comments about Muslims in Europe;

Rupert Murdoch and Fox News draw massive online backlash for Muslim comments;
French TV Show Laughs At The Credibility Of “The Fox News Clowns”;


Britons Mock Fox News ‘Terror Expert’ Over Muslim Claims; …


Fox Misses The Military Leaders Who Recommended Afghanistan Drawdown;


Obama Silent Over Calls to Denounce “Piss Christ” Artwork;


Arthur Vandenberg: A Featured Biography;


You can’t beat the right for hatred, lies, smears and disrespect for legitimate, factual history.  They can’t pass up a chance to vent the hate, and if that means deliberate lying — so what?

The right, worst – the religious right, appears to lack a conscience,  they appear to be deficient in a fundamental (pun intended) grasp of right from wrong.  They just don’t care; nothing is allowed to get in the way of their hatred and bigotry, no matter how false, how horrific.

From Right Wing Watch

Don Feder of the World Congress of Families is pretty sure that “Barack Hussein Obama is perhaps the greatest tragedy to befall the Jews since the destruction of the Second Temple” in 70 AD. This apparently means that, according to Feder, the Obama presidency has been worse for the Jewish people than such atrocities as the Holocaust and the Pogroms.

“Our president is a world-class crescent-kisser,” Feder writes. “In his State of the Union address – between striking Mussolini-like poses and lying about employment – the president disclosed that as part of the ‘partnership’ between America and Islam (we buy their oil, they kill us), ‘I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.’ Is it a stereotype if it’s true?” (The remark was actually delivered in a 2009 speech in Cairo.)

After falsely claiming that Obama “studied in a madrassa,” Feder writes that “the president is anti-Americanism incarnate.”

Barack Hussein Obama is perhaps the greatest tragedy to befall the Jews since the destruction of the Second Temple. He’s trying to force Israel into a suicidal pact with the gentle folk of Hamas and Fatah. Every time Palestinian terrorists (Hamas and Fatah) kill more Jews, he calls for calm on both sides – as if Israel was doing anything but defending itself.

His hatred of Netanyahu borders on the pathological. When Boehner recently invited the Israeli Prime Minister to address the House of Representatives, Obama threw one of his hissy fits, letting it be known that Bibi would not be asked to stop at the White House. That must be a terrible blow for the Prime Minister. Now, the administration is threatening to retaliate against Bibi. Where Churchill was defiant, Obama is petulant.

Our president is a world-class crescent-kisser. He’ll periodically tell us how it’s his duty to defend Islam from scurrilous attacks. I must have missed that in Constitutional Law class.

In his State of the Union address – between striking Mussolini-like poses and lying about employment – the president disclosed that as part of the “partnership” between America and Islam (we buy their oil, they kill us), “I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” Is it a stereotype if it’s true?

Barack may have studied in a madrassa, but Winston experienced the business end of the scimitar. In “The River War,” the future Prime Minister wrote: “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries. Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous as hydrophobia in a dog,” its effects include “improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce” and a “degraded sensualism that deprives this life of grace and refinement.”

Churchill lived in the real world. Obama runs the religion-of-peace ride in Multicultural Land.

Churchill loved America. Obama loathes the nation he was twice elected to lead. From his rejection of American exceptionalism to equating the police shooting in Ferguson to ISIL’s murder of captives (when speaking at the UN), the president is anti-Americanism incarnate.

Let’s also point out at this juncture that anti-Islam sentiments and anti-ethnic sentiments to people from Muslim countries in the Middle East are equally included under the umbrella of Anti-Semitism.

from the Wikipedia entry on Semitic People (aka the People of Shem):

As language studies are interwoven with cultural studies, the term also came to describe the extended cultures and ethnicities, as well as the history of these varied peoples as associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution. Today, the word “Semite” may be used to refer to any member of any of a number of peoples of ancient Middle East including the Akkadians, Assyrians, Arameans, Phoenicians, Hebrews (Jews), Arabs, and their descendants.

Yup, those conservatives, especially the radical rekuguiys righties, return to their Anti-Semitism like the Biblical phrase, “dogs to their vomit”. (2 Peter, 2:22).  They’re swine all right, or like swine — or should I say, schwein?

You cannot love god and also love lies; apparently the religious right loves lies more than God. And apparently the radical right is pushing hard for another Holocaust, since they’ve turned their back on factually remembering the last one.

That is, those on the right who don’t deny the Holocaust entirely have revised history. It’s not only President Obama that is the target of this kind of Holocaust lie; so has President Clinton, and no doubt if she becomes a presidential candidate, we’ll see the same for Hillary Clinton. The radical ridiculous righties can’t get enough of the lies lies lies and more lies lies lies.


MN-02: Big news about DFL candidacies

by Dan Burns on January 27, 2015 · 0 comments

craigAngela Craig will run for the seat held by the odious Rep. John Kline (R-MN).

St. Jude Medical Inc. executive Angela Craig will step down from her post ahead of a run for Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, the medical-device maker said Monday.
Craig, a Democrat, serves as vice president of global human resources for the Little Canada-based company.
(Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

Here’s a profile, from womenwinning, which is where I got the photo.

Mike Obermueller will not run again.

Mike’s efforts are tremendously appreciated. He’s known as an otherworldly worker on the campaign trail, and it’s unfortunate that things didn’t break right for him and for every resident of MN-02 except, of course, John Kline.
At least on paper, with the probability of a very strong Democratic year behind Hillary (there it is, like it or not), Kline faces a much tougher reelection race in 2016 than those to which he’s been accustomed. I won’t be shocked if he retires from Congress between now and then, though I’m not expecting it.


Rep. Ellison punks far-right fanatic

by Dan Burns on January 26, 2015 · 0 comments

ellisonWhether or not evangelical conservatives are fading as a political force remains an open question on a number of fronts (that’s my take, anyway). They’re losing on gay marriage, for example, but their attacks on reproductive choice have worked in some places, and plenty more efforts are locked and loaded for 2015. But certainly some of the rhetoric reeks of desperation. Or maybe it’s just that the right wing has become so crazed that you have to say things like Perkins said, just to get noticed, any more. Remember the guy who said that any woman who has had an abortion should be executed by hanging? He got attention, and plenty of it was not negative.


Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is pretty sure that several neighborhoods in Minneapolis, along with the entire city of Dearborn, Michigan, have become “no-go zones” where Sharia law has effectively replaced the authority of the U.S. government…
In reaction to Perkins’ remarks, which were first reported by Right Wing Watch, Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, has invited Perkins to tour Minneapolis and meet with the Muslim residents of the city, reassuring him that the city is “completely under the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal authorities.”
(Right Wing Watch)

My search just before posting this provided no indication that Perkins will take Ellison up on his offer.