For many years, the iron-clad American embargo of Cuba was decried by liberals and progressives as counterproductive and inhumane. People who broke the embargo or tried to get around it -- like Ry Cooder with the wonderful Buena Vista Social Club project -- were hailed as heroes by liberals. But now it's being treated by those same liberals (and the media) as some kind of sacred principle that should never have been breached in any way -- because Donald Trump once spent some money there, indirectly exploring business opportunities at a time when there was much talk in Washington (among liberal circles & the Clinton Administration) of normalizing relations. (Of course, Trump, huckstering hypocrite that he is, was also publicly denouncing normalization at the same time he was seeing if he could profit from it.) Now the Clinton camp says Trump was going "against the national interest" by even remotely dealing with Cuba. So the embargo -- long condemned by liberals, and actually lifted by progressive champion Obama -- was in "the national interest" after all, it seems, and anyone who circumvented it in the slightest way is some kind of commie traitor. (Hope Ry is heading for the border; I'll bet he spent a little money while he was in Cuba way back when. Wait till Newsweek gets going on him!)
My quick take on the debate (at 4 o'clock in the morning). 1. Trump was even more of a train wreck than I expected (no doubt in part due to the, uh, sniffle-producing stimulant he apparently took before the show). 2. Clinton performed more nimbly than I expected and will probably win the election. [I'm speaking of performance, not substance.] 3. But in any case, we are in for more war, and much more horror and chaos in the years to come, for there was general agreement between both of them to continue the militaristic insanity that in the last 15 years has only produced more terror, fear and suffering at home and abroad.
Looking forward to ex-Pres Obama's 'controversial' statements supporting Palestinian rights. I know they'll be bold & powerful. * Looking forward to ex-Pres Obama's scathing attacks on Wall Street, once he is no longer in power. Bet he'll make Liz Warren look tame! * Looking forward to ex-Pres Obama taking a knee on the sideline beside Kaepernick, after he's left office. What an impact that will have! * Looking forward to ex-Pres Obama's surprising denunciation of fracking as an "unconscionable assault" on the environment. MSNBC will cheer! * Looking forward to ex-Pres Obama's NYT op-ed decrying New Cold War bellicosity, calling for "reason & respect" in policy toward Russia. * In short, looking forward to all the bold "progressive" stances ex-Pres Obama will take -- once he's unable to do jack shit about any of them. (Today’s twittering @empireburlesque.)
In more news no one gives a damn about, the Saudi-American slaughter in Yemen continues apace: 19 more civilians killed by our bombs, dropped by our freedom-loving allies, the anti-Semitic, woman-hating extremist religious tyrants. That very day, our bold, freedom-loving US Senators voted to approve the Peace Prize president's undeclared war against Yemen by defeating a move to block further arms sales to the Saudis. Meanwhile, "nearly half of Yemen's 22 provinces are on the verge of famine," which is being deliberately fomented by a US-led blockade of the desert nation. But don't worry; when the famine reaches genocidal proportions, you can bet George and Amal Clooney will host a big, glitzy A-list fundraiser, with their good friend, former President Barack Obama, making a special appearance to ask the guests to "dig deep" to support the poor victims in Yemen. Won't be a dry eye in the house!
"They say we need the law to keep us entertained/While their talons rip our precious meat./So dire and so pious as they lay us out,/Good enough for God himself to eat...."
(My latest column for the print version of CounterPunch.) O dark dark dark, they all go into the dark, the vacuous, vacuumous void of the imperial penumbra: the rock-ribbed dissidents, fiery oppositionists, staunch anti-imperialists, eminent afflicters of the unjustly comfortable; the lifelong exposers of ideological bullshittery, distinguished voices decrying repression and hate, chairmen of many activist committees, generous denouncers of profiteering, brave and battered souls who put their bodies upon the gears of the odious Machine again and again -- all go into the dark. They bow their heads and say to the Machine, at last: protect us.
This is my column in the latest edition of CounterPunch print magazine: The title of one of Christopher Logue’s multi-volume reworkings of Homer’s Iliad stands as the perfect encapsulation of our age: All-Day Permanent Red. We live in a time when the collective amygdala has been stoked into overdrive, sending messages of blank, blind fear that overwhelm the centers of reason, empathy and openness in our brains, propelling us into a state of inchoate anxiety that seeks release in tropes of extremist certainty and spasms of violence – active, verbal or vicarious.
William Arkin has long been an outstanding investigator of the “National Security State,” bringing to light many of its sinister operations. But he seems to have looked into the abyss too long, for now, in a recent article in Cryptome, he is offering a counsel of despair that reflects the worst and most extreme stances of the National Security State toward terrorism, while completely overlooking that same State’s role — still continuing today — in fostering, funding and arming Islamic extremism.
Never seen anything like this. And it's no surprise that it would take a Black female cop to take this type of stand pic.twitter.com/7wdPFjPqW4
Surprised -- but glad -- to see how scathing the Chilcot Report turned out to be. It’s not a criminal indictment, but already, just the bullet points from Chilcot's press conference are highly damning of Blair as a leader: rushing headlong into a totally unnecessary war, with very dubious legal backing, ignoring reports on the likely consequences of the invasion, bowing to belligerent US wishes at every turn, showing incredible disregard for the soldiers he was sending in to occupy a country (and for the innocent civilians of that country, who, Chilcot notes, died in vast numbers) and knowingly exaggerating murky intelligence to justify the unnecessary campaign. All of these points are now thoroughly established and can’t be disputed, whatever else one might say about Blair's motives or moral turpitude or criminal responsibility. It has been confirmed -- by the British establishment itself -- that Blair led the country into an unmitigated disaster that has destabilized the world and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. What a nightmare. What an endless nightmare. And as the Chilcot Report is released, let's remember how the Baath Party, and Saddam's particular faction, came to power in Iraq in the first place: with not one but two coups backed by the White House and assisted by the CIA, which provided the plotters with hit lists of "suspected Communists and leftists" for mass execution, as Roger Morris reported long ago, just before the...