President Zelensky of Ukraine has stated that he has been informed that a Russian attack will occur on Wednesday. He has not said, as reporters have pointed out, that he believes this information.
Commentators on CNN are talking about reports that the Ukrainians have said that they would be willing to talk about agreeing not to join NATO for the time being in exchange for ending the standoff. Michael Bociurkiw maintains that such a move or agreement would be a death knell for Zelensky and perhaps provoke demonstrations on the streets.
It has also been reported that Ukrainian officials have been talking about giving the Russians access to Crimea and Donbas and ceasing to object to Russian control of the two regions. Should Putin gain such a concession, it would mean that without firing a shot, he has gotten through threat what he couldn’t get at negotiations.
Julia Davis, the Daily Beast, is reporting that the head of RT has gone on Russian television, crying and stating that Russia has no choice but to intervene in Ukraine before they (the Ukrainians) start building concentration camps and gassing people.
It started last night and then in a totally predictable way, Joe Scarborough amplified and continued it this morning. “It” is the newly minted narrative about the difference between Manchin and Sinema. Both are holding up essential legislation to maintain a half-decent society. But, one is doing so as a statesman and the other is a crazy bitch.
The spinning out of this narrative started (for me at least) on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night where there was a general male circle-jerk session including Lawrence, John Heileman, and (surprisingly) Adam Jentleson. There was no end of stereotypical criticism of Sinema.
Now, before I get started on this I want to make perfectly clear, I despise Sinema and everything she stands for. Likewise, I despise Joe Manchin. They are both mercenary, self centered hacks pretending to be public servants (which makes them not much worse than the most of the congress). They are both without conscience, decency or integrity. But, the narrative of Statesman vs. Crazy Bitch is just so infuriating and sexist I cannot even discuss it without having my blood pressure rise.
Just take a wild guess at who was being described in these quotes?
“works 24 hours a day”
Maintains a “constant line of communication” (on his houseboat)
“A pro at the game”
…has “no problem using leverage.”
“a predictable force”
“a predictable actor”
“too cute by half”
“too clever by half”
“Infuriating the white House”
…has “played this game”
“very frustrating to all sides”
“continuing this game”
“mysterious and irrational” (John Heileman)
Mysterious and irrational is my personal favorite.
I might add that none of these “journalists” bothered to point out the vested financial interests both Manchin and Sinema have in holding up a vote for needed programs for the rest of the country. This is why it is not only useless to watch the corporate media (MSNBC and CNN) it is dangerous.
Pundit after pundit in the corporate media has given the U.S. military enormous credit for coming clean and admitting to the world that they made a “mistake” with the drone strike that killed 10 people in Afghanistan, including 7 children.
It seems evident, however, that the military would have never admitted the tragic error had the New York Times not done a documented investigation of the strike that made it impossible for the military leadership to do anything else.
Because we still had reporters in Afghanistan, in Kabul, they were able to visit the site and document the outrageous irresponsible drone strike. But, the U.S. military has been carrying out drone strikes for 20 years in Afghanistan and almost none of them were subjected to the kind of scrutiny this one was.
In the period that led up to the total withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. military carried out two drone strikes in Kabul that we know of. They initially claimed with certainty that the attack on August 29, 2021 was a hit on Isis. It was not. That means that if we believe them, their rate of successful targeting of Isis was 50%. Is that what we are willing to accept?
CNN and MSNBC are no longer worth watching. This podcast episode, put out by the New York Times, should be listened to by every citizen.
The BBC is reporting that women staging a protest in Afghanistan were met with pepper spray by the authorities. They were demanding the right to work. Taliban leaders have said that women will not be given senior roles in the new government (BBC 9/4/1).
Fighting is still going on in the Panjshir Valley (BBC, 9/4/21).
The new caretaker government has been announced in Afghanistan including a new Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior (wanted by the FBI). There were no women or outsiders appointed (BBC, 9/8/21).
Protests of Pakistan’s support of the Taliban. Taliban fired in the air in response to the protests (BBC, 9/8/21).
The UN says that basic services are collapsing in Afghanistan (CNN, Podcast, 9/8/21)
9/11 planner, Shalid Sheikh Mohammed, is still awaiting trial. Lawyers for Mohammed are still awaiting documents. They argue that the government is trying to hide evidence of torture before Mohammed was moved to Guantanamo. Had he been tried in a normal court; this would have been over a decade ago. It is possible that there will never be a trial (Apple News, 9/8/21).
CNN is showing video of piles of dead and injured people in the sewage ditch just outside the Kabul airport. They are blurring the image. That seems to me to be highly symbolic. The corporate media has been blurring the images coming from Afghanistan for twenty years.
Also, why should Americans have the reality of what is happening in Afghanistan softened?
The corporate media has become such a vast wasteland it is impossible to watch. If you just lump together the nightly news on MSNBC alone, it is a collection of celebrity worship, quoting of rap lyrics as if they were great literature, political gossip, endless discussions of things that MIGHT happen on Capital Hill. Added to that are long winging narratives designed to demonstrate that the Republicans are hypocrites (we would have never guessed) and (I’m sure that will stop them). There is also the moaning and hand-wringing about how the Repubicans can be the authoritarians they are. In case you haven’t noticed, a great proportion of the nightly news is also composed of “breaking news” about investigations, or potential investigations. Then, after a few days, these investigations are dropped like hot potatoes and we never hear of them again.
I could go on for hundreds of words, but…podcasts are the only answer for those of us who are intensely interested in politics and see the corporate news for what it is – a means of “cooling out the mark.” The mark is us.
Heather Cox Richardson co-hosts a really good podcast covering various interesting subjects. The podcast is called “Now and Then.”
If you would like to listen to a discussion of the history of cults in the U.S. and the implications for the current cult we see developing, this podcast is really good.
On the internet: Video after video of police officers behaving abusively, escalating situations, cursing at people, threatening them, intimidating them, killing them, all over the country. CNN has an expert on to explain that our brains work differently when we’re under stress.
The “stress professor” and the Vanderbilt guy both agreed that we need more training for police.
I’ve been involved in criminology in one way or another for fifty years. I did research on female police partners and male use of deadly force in the 70s. Training is not the problem. Minneapolis, for example, spent a small fortune on training.
Police culture will win out over all the training and policy in the world.
If you look at the Derek Chauvin case as an example, Chauvin didn’t take the stand because basically his defense is that he didn’t do anything wrong and that he would do it again if he had the chance.
It appears that Alexander Navalny is dangerously close to dying. In the past, he told colleagues he couldn’t understand people using hunger strikes to advance their cases. It seemed, to him, merely a way to hand the state a tool. But, evidently the situation for him in prison was so bad, he resorted to using his own body as a tool to try to get help. It’s unlikely to work. The world stands by and watches.
Gary Kasperov, former Russian chess player and current activist, pointed out on Twitter that the West continues to deal with Putin as if he were some quasi-democratic head of state. Kasperov noted that Biden’s decision to turn around a ship to try to appease Putin was the wrong tactic. Autocrats, kleptocrats, authoritarians view offers of compromise as weakness.
Biden deals with Putin the way the Democrats deal with the Republicans. When will they learn that authoritarians cannot be compromised with or appealed to?
Joe Scarborough, who helped elect Trump, is now back to his rabid Republican heckling. It is difficult for me to understand how anybody could think that Scarborough was an ally. He and the dreadful Mika were up Trump’s ass until Trump threatened to reveal their adulterous affair. People need to remember we have Mika on tape asking Trump’s permission to ask him a “hard” question. Morning Joe as outlived its usefulness if it ever had any. It belongs in the Chris Matthews trash bag of programming. MSNBC needs to do better.
While I’m on MSNBC, the nightly news programs continue to use Jason “island of misfit black girls” Johnson as a commentator. He lost his job at the Root for his nasty, racist comment about the women who worked for Bernie Sanders, and MSNBC punished him with a few weeks off air. But, he’s back now with a vengeance. Joy Reid loves him because she actively worked to destroy Sanders’ campaign. The lesson here? You can say anything and get away with it if it’s about Bernie Sanders or his campaign.
The new feral cat we are socializing woke me up at 3:30 in the morning because his food bowls were empty. I’m wide awake, but he’s back asleep, stretched out at the foot of the bed on a quilt. They learn so quickly. Cats are the masters of psychological manipulation. His name is Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Can I just say that Sam Nunberg is an imbecile. He was in an important position in the Trump as a “campaign advisor” because he is an imbecile and now CNN is interviewing him as if he is this expert on anything.
Nunberg at one time faced prosecution because of his role in the Trump campaign and he is saying about Trump: “He is not a perfect man.” Nunberg, says that he has no regrets about working to get Trump elected. This fruitful line of discussion was cut off by the CNN anchor. But, Nunberg continued: “I don’t regret the Supreme Court. I don’t regret …Israel.” “He (Trump) did a service to the forgotten men and women…” “I am happy he beat Hillary Clinton…”
Tony Schwartz, who was also on the CNN panel broke in to confront Nunberg. Schwartz said it was “sad to hear somebody say I don’t take any responsibility.” “Come one Sam.” “It’s time to say the truth about this man.”
But, Nunberg, growing visibly angry, just continued to defend Trump.
While CNN cut this discussion off, it is an important one. What it demonstrates is that these people around Trump (even those who have been left out to dry in terms of prosecution by the Trump administration) have learned nothing. To the extent that Nunberg is willing to criticize Trump and those around him it is because they didn’t step in to legally protect Nunberg.
On to another topic raised by the CNN coverage this morning. Tony Schwartz said that this might be his last public statement about Trump because everything that can be said has been said.
I agree with Schwartz. I am completely disgusted with this continued cheap psychoanalysis of Trump that takes up hours and hours on corporate news. I don’t care what Trump thinks. I don’t care what is “inside Trump’s head” as CNN purported to cover this morning. I care about what Trump does and what he represents and what the complicit group of people around him are fomenting. This is a movement and make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is as much a part of it as is Donald Trump. Getting rid of Trump (if we even can) is not going to solve the problem.
This is one of the reasons why people in my intellectual territory of the Democratic Party shudder every time Biden or his cohorts starts to talk about “healing” or “unity” or (to repeat Obama’s line) “moving on.”
McConnell may have decided that he has gotten as much out of Trump as he can, and is now ready to kick him to the curb. But, moving on means McConnell and the Koch’s will find somebody else, smarter, cleaner, more devious, and more palatable to carry on the fight to establish an authoritarian one-party Christian nationalist state. That’s where they have been going for decades and where they will continue going, with Trump at the head or not.
Mitch McConnell (and McConnell’s wife), Bill Barr and others are making self-serving statements, so that they can live to fight another day. And, the corporate media is already complicit in laundering the reputations of prominent Republicans. Joe Scarborough is a prime example of someone who will happily criticize Trump (who threatened to out his adulterous affair, and who called Scarborough a murderer) and then turn around and laud Republicans who are complicit in advancing Republican goals while making superficial criticisms of Trump.
“I don’t regret the Supreme Court” should be tattooed on the foreheads of Mitch McConnell, Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Elise Jordan, Nicolle Wallace, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, John Bolton, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Jeff Flake, Justic Amash, David Jolly?, John Kasich, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, James Lankford and many others.
Folks, these people are not our friends. They cannot be our allies. They have worked for decades to bring this situation about. They established the groundwork for this situation. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence now.
Biden’s choice of Neera Tanden to head the Department of Management and Budget is yet another slap in the face of progressives and a further indication that progressives need to leave the Democratic Party.
As Briahna Joy Gray, a former press secretary for Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted about the nomination: “Everything toxic about the corporate Democratic Party is embodied in Neera Tanden.”
Since 2003, Tanden has been the head of what some in the media term a “left of center” think tank, the Center for American Progress. This think tank was supposedly established to counter more conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation.
But, according to article in Business Insider, “Tanden has come under scrutiny from some of her own colleagues over allegations that she censored employees who were critical of Israel while the organization attempted to build a stronger bond between the Democratic Party and the right-wing Israeli government. Under Tanden, the think tank shut down its independent journalistic arm, Think Progress…following its unionization.”
Former employees of CAP also criticized Tanden for using the think tank as more of a vehicle for her own ambition than an institution based on any left of center policy commitment. Tanden has openly opposed single payer health care, supported cuts in Social Security, and is friendly with Israel’s conservative leadership. That simply cannot be termed “left of center.”
Tanden is being nominated for this important position after having been a close advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns, both failures. And, she was closely involved with engineering the ACA, another notable policy failure.
But, Tanden is part of the entitled professional class surrounding Clinton and Obama who are being put back in government by Biden just as progressives warned. As Biden said in a speech to wealthy donors – “nothing will change.” That’s what progressives who were being badgered to vote for Biden feared, and that is what we are seeing.
The nomination of Tanden is yet another indication that the corporate elite in the Democratic Party have contempt for the progressive vote and are determined to block any meaningful social change.
“There are very few people who have been as aggressively critical — I would say sometimes obsessively critical — of the progressive left, and in particular of Bernie Sanders, than Neera,” a former senior Center for American Progress employee told Business Insider.
Tanden is already cynically using her supposedly deprived family background to try to evoke sympathy. She is saying that her family found it necessary to use the social services she will have an impact on funding. She is evidently using this argument as a way of placating the progressive wing of the party. But, this only means that her opposition to Medicare for All and adequate funding of Social Security is all the more ruthless and contemptuous of working families. She had to rely on these services herself, but that doesn’t mean she believes others are entitled to them.
Neera Tanden is part of a little mafia of women (Zerlina Maxwell, Jennifer Palmieri and others) who felt themselves entitled to win the presidency, entitled to be in the White House and livid that Bernie Sanders had the nerve to run against the Queen.
In addition, these women felt that they had some kind of right to the presidency because of gender. A question asked Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary sums it up. Yamiche Alcindor (who, after confronting Sanders, went from being a low level New York Times reporter to being on television every night and then hosting programs on NPR) asked Sanders if he didn’t think it was sexist to run against Clinton.
This little mafia ring of women never stopped blaming Sanders for all their own failures in the Clinton campaigns. And, they never missed an opportunity to slam and slander Sanders and his campaign in the corporate media.
Neera Tanden, as Gray says, is just the beginning and she illustrates everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party. The leadership in the Democratic Party is smug, entitled, vindictive, ruthless and bought up to the eyeballs by corporate money.
Trump in a news conference (or whatever that things is he does when he comes out and lies for an extended period of time) is preparing the population for a “disaster” on election day. He keeps repeating the scenario and thereby painting the picture for his supporters of total confusion. Today he said that the Republicans are appealing to the courts who he hopes will “see this clearly and stop it.” He called the sending out of ballots to citizens as “the scam of all time.”
The reporter for CNN falls for the head fake and says: Mail in voting is safe. There is no fraud and there are no missing ballots as Trump accused.
So, once again, just as in 2016, the Republicans scream rigging, the Democrats and the media yell, no rigging. The Republicans rig and the Democrats and the media are left stunned.
Election Security: Stealing the Election
Jennifer Cohn is tweeting that the DeVos family company Amway partnered with Russia’s Alfa Bank in 2014. It was Alfa Bank that was pinging both Trump Tower and Spectrum Health thousands of times in the summer of 2016. This has never been explained.
Run, don’t walk to get a copy of Jonathan Simon’s “Code Red” 2020 edition.
Trump is tweeting that the Governor of Virginia (where early voting starts today) “wants to take away your guns,” and “is in favor of executing babies after birth.”
According to Jennifer Cohn, (relying on Woodward), Russians installed malware in the voter registration systems of “at least two” Florida counties. The malware was designed to erase voters. (Twitter)
Precinct ballot scanners in Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida include wireless modems that connect scanners and county central tabulators to the internet. (Twitter, Jennifer Cohn)
Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Rhode Island also have modems that need to be removed before the election. (Cohn, Twitter)
Information on voting of Interest:
Zetter, Kim (8/8/19) “Critical U.S. ElectionSystems…” Vice
Other Information of Interest
Podcast on 9/11 Blindspot.
102 of 140 inmates at a women’s prison in South Dakota have tested positive for Coronavirus. (AP)