Dept. of Famous Last Words

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 11:09 am by George Smith

Thousands of readers will probably remind the New York Times today that, in spite of this article of mostly wishful thinking, South Carolina has not yet taken down its flag. And that when the local dead-enders were given an out by an African-American woman who climbed up and took it down for them, they declined to take it, arresting her and immediately re-installing a fresh new flag.

The tribe of the old South (which ain’t just confined to the old South) is powerful in its ability to paper over the deepest problems, maintaining the status quo with only the most minor cosmetic changes.

Eliminating our hate flag, if it happens, won’t change a widespread national social and economic system of stealing labor, human rights abuse, marginalization, the maintenance of a labor force kept in poverty, suppression and imprisonment.

And pointing to Dixie’s right-to-work environment and payment of tax abatement bribes to businesses like Google aren’t signs of progress.

“Lured by the South’s call of cheap land and labor and limited regulations, businesses have flocked here from around the world,” reads the Times, hailing rapid change and an allegedly less predatory South. “Small businesses that have exploded into major corporations, most notably Walmart are now throwing their weight around …”

Boy howdy!

Recall, from this blog, the long commemoration of all things Civil War in the national media just a couple months ago, summarized in “Why No Burning of Atlanta Re-enactment?”

Germany was de-Nazified and rebuilt. And Army General Douglas MacArthur reconstructed Japan, removing its worship of [warlords] and instituting land reform to break up a system dependent on rich owners served by tenant farmers. Emperor Hirohito was not tried as a war criminal. But he was made a figurehead, his status as a deity expunged.

The thought experiment is an obvious one: Construct an alternate history in which the states of the Confederacy went through a similar process. Not one in which an entire mythology built on the imaginary nobility of a lost cause took root, slavery was repackaged through re-branding and immoral legal installations with the cooperation of southern money and industry in the need to maintain a labor force in poverty, of no social status, presumed inferiority and living in fear with no recourse.

The Tennesseean grapples with the economic character and heritage of Dixie, and is not entirely successful.

“[What] constitutes preservation versus celebration is murky,” it reads.

It is followed by a clickbait listicle: 5 Things to Know About Nathan Bedford Forrest.


Wind from the South

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 1:19 pm by George Smith

Today’s quote, from Ann Coulter, on what is probably a bog standard belief among the dead-enders:

The Confederate flag we’re talking about never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag. It is to honor Robert E. Lee. And anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.

This is what you might call overcompensation from the tribe which, today, is still very aggrieved over defeat long ago.

Anyway, “Pickett’s Charge,” comes to mind. Against a second string Union commander, that was certainly a brilliant tactical stroke.

Without getting into the weeds on military details, I recommend Shelby Foote’s excellent three volume history of the Civil War. Reading it is a serious investment of time but also something of a thorough education. Foote was born in Mississippi.

As predicted and after all they talk, they still couldn’t bring themselves to do the right thing.

And from Kleagle Ted Nugent, more expertise on the Lost Cause:

One metro Detroit native who’s been known to sport T-shirts featuring the Confederate flag is “Motor City Madman??? musician Ted Nugent.

But, he said, he wouldn’t raise the flag, or wear it, today.

The Confederate flag, Nugent told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell, did not in any way represent hate in his earlier days as a performer.

“Back when I would wear a Confederate flag on stage — along with an American flag and a POW flag and a ‘Don’t tread on me’ flag — I would be on tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and there wasn’t a racist thought to be found,??? Nugent said.

[Colloquially, this is watcha call “a likely story.”]

The issue with the flag, Nugent said, is more about political correctness than anything else.

Nugent said to some the flag is simply about the history of the south, and defended those who defend its continued display.

“I have to acknowledge — I think we all do — there’s an awful lot of information, an awful lot of people out there that believe the stars and bars, the Confederate flag, represents something heroic and something worth standing up for.???

No link.



Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 2:49 pm by George Smith

Haven’t had much to say over the past week or so and it should be obvious why.

WhiteManistan, at its best, again horrifically showing the world racism is still very much part of our DNA, that the South still wages the Civil War, and the taint of it is in virtually every aspect of civil life and the economy.

It really isn’t a surprise, now, is it that the party of hate, and the politicians of South Carolina had to be dragged into voicing that the Confederate flag ought to be taken down in Columbia?

From here we can expect more foot-dragging, fingers crossed behind the back, perhaps much stalling and action taken in bad faith. We expect them to be as bad as they are.

WhiteManistan can’t fix itself. The dead-enders will see to it. They have locked up the American federal government and enervated the spirit and psyche so thoroughly the shooting of African-Americans is a normal day’s experience.

America is a place where the phrase, Southern by the Grace of God, has been polished into a vibrant cultural touchstone, a shibboleth that disinfected the Confederacy into a noble cause, a source of pride. It’s a continuing exclamation that Dixie is special, more special than any place else, so special that to be of it is virtuous in itself. But only if you’re the right kind of person, something that’s not going to change even if they’re forced to give up Confederate flags.

It’s slightly heartening when America’s big business has come to the conclusion it’s not good commerce to sell flags and souvenirs of hate, if only for a moment until the skies clear. But we shouldn’t give it too much credit. It’s done only out of a calculation that, for now, it’s just bad overall business.

What will happen in South Carolina, or the other southern states deeply invested in their blighted romanticism? You’d be a fool to be optimistic.

This is where it didn’t take the New York Times twenty minutes to dig up some run-of-the-mill yahoo to make the broken record assertion, it’s about southern pride (are you not thoroughly sick of that phrase), history and, laughably, that slaves fought alongside his ancestors in the Civil War. (Now you can’t find it. Someone must have pointed out it was so gratuitously offensive, it had to be excluded from later editions.)

All you can find is this, lifted from a Google copy, one you can’t reach through the cache:

Daniel Bledsoe, a construction worker, said the idea [of taking down the flag] was “kind of like treasonry.??? “ I’m proud of my history,??? Mr. Bledsoe, 22 …

Treasonry. Great word.

Hillary Clinton, being herself on the campaign trail, which is to say not particularly good, three days ago:

“You can’t watch massacre after massacre and not come to the conclusion that, as President Obama said, we must tackle this challenge with urgency and conviction,??? she said. “I lived in Arkansas, I lived in upstate New York, I know that gun ownership is part of the fabric of a lot of law-abiding communities, but I also know that we can have common-sense gun reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable while respecting responsible gun owners.???

“Race remains a deep fault line in America,??? she said. “We need to be cities, states and a country that’s too busy to hate.???

You understand where the GOP candidates come from. The bigots are theirs, southern by the grace of God, the most loyal base.

But Hillary Clinton lived here, she lived there, she’s lived everywhere. Just like me.

So make “a country that’s too busy to hate.”

It’s just bizarre. The problem with racism in this country is that people, cities and states aren’t busy enough? We’ll just busy ourselves out of the nation’s original sin. When we are sufficiently industrious, it will all disappear.

Who would think that? Who would even think to say it. Who came up with it? A Clinton, it appears. Hillary Clinton is an aircraft carrier of the finest grade of iron pyrite, a disaster.


Not Stiff Enough: Training to be America’s flunkies not popular

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror at 2:17 pm by George Smith

Great quotes, from our old white guys in charge at the Pentagon:

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey, who also testified Wednesday, said he would not support shifting the strategy from sending U.S. military advisers to sending U.S combat troops [to Iraq]. “I would not recommend that we put U.S. forces in harm’s way simply to stiffen the spine of local forces. If their spine is not stiffened by the threat of ISIL on their way of life, nothing we do is going to stiffen their spine.???

The situation is apparently worse in Syria … [The Pentagon] has begun training just under 100 men at a camp inside Jordan. No Syrian forces have yet to graduate from any training program.

In the Middle East, having created failed states in Iraq, Libya and Yemen, our bolt is shot. Pin-prick raids, assassinations by drone, data collection and random tactical bombings mean nothing when the locals have virtually zero interest in fighting for your side or taking training.

Hey, want to be another lopped-off head for ISIS? What? No volunteers?! What’s the matter with you people!


WhiteManistan militia: Aiming to dispel stereotypes

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism, WhiteManistan at 3:28 pm by George Smith

No self-recognition. (And couldn’t help taking the, uh, easy shot with the title.)

Excerpts from an Alaska newspaper:

“It’s an effort to show the public that we are different, and that we’re trying to change the public perception of what militia groups and survival groups and prepper groups are,??? Luntz said.

Some of the people at the Talkeetna gathering make no secret of their negative feelings about the current administration on social media. Facebook posts include anti-taxation and Benghazi links, along with a photo of ranks of Chinese United Nations forces, captioned “Bring it.???

“We could wake up one day and have an electromagnetic pulse detonation over our state and lose all power and communications and the next thing we know is we got aircraft overhead,??? he said. “That’s a stretch. But it is a possibility.???

“One [session] scheduled for Sunday provided tips on defending against armored personnel carriers,” it reads.

While there aren’t many in this particular group, 20 – 25 by the newspaper reading, many, it says, are ex-military men.

There are the usual nice pictures of white guys in full combat gear, running across a field, weapons raised, while staging a commando assault or, perhaps, a counter-attack against invaders.

From the famous right wing thinking kook’s rag, National Review and Mark Helprin:

Continual warfare in the Middle East, a nuclear Iran, electromagnetic-pulse weapons, emerging pathogens, and terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction variously threaten the United States, some with catastrophe on a scale we have not experienced since the Civil War. Nevertheless, these are phenomena that bloom and fade, and that, with redirection and augmentation of resources we possess, we are equipped to face, given the wit and will to do so.

From a nobody writing for a Pittsburgh newspaper:

But then the unthinkable happens and a terrorist detonates a smart bomb. You awake to no lights, coffee, computer or refrigeration. Your car will not start and your phone will not call.

This would go on for months.

Today, everything has computer chips and digital makeup that can be destroyed with “smart??? bombs or non-nuclear electromagnetic pulses (NNEMP).

A NNEMP is a device that causes an electronic pulse that can wipe out all digital-based smart technology when activated near a critical digital or electrical device. It can fit in a suitcase or be deployed by a remotely operated drone.

So unthinkable it’s written or talked about in major media a few times each week.

From a small town Texas newspaper, contribution by a high school student in a “young writers mentorship program:”

An even more deadly scenario would be an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. An EMP instantly wipes out all electronics. This means that cars won’t start because of the electronic ignition system; radios, television sets, computers, phones and other communications equipment would be dead; and the rest of the nation’s electrical grid would be down. Imagine that. America would be sent back to the Dark Age, quite literally. All it would take is three to four nuclear detonations in the atmosphere over America.

If you thought the zombie apocalypse was bad, then you should think again. A TV show called “Jericho??? chronicled a devastating nuclear attack on the U.S. and an EMP. This is a possibility if we allow Iran to develop nuclear capabilities.

So why then is our government allowing such a deal to be made?

America needs to wake up before our way of life is gone. An Iran with nuclear capabilities is a threat to the United States and needs to be dealt with before everything we love is destroyed.

From another crappy newspaper of some kind in Boulder, Colorado:

If Obama seriously thinks climate change is a more urgent threat to national security than the Islamic State, al Qaida, al Nusra, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, the Houtis, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Putin in Ukraine or the escalating China-Japan confrontation in the South China Sea, his judgment is so profoundly haywire that Congress should consider invoking the 25th Amendment (that’s the one dealing with presidential disability) and replace him with Joe Biden.

There is a very compelling national security argument for the deployment of solar and wind energy systems and for a much more decentralized electricity production and distribution system without ever uttering the words “climate change.???

Big, centralized power plants and regional scale grids are sitting ducks for enemy attack by terrorism, conventional sabotage, cyber sabotage and attacks with electromagnetic pulse weapons. The last affect whole regions of the country and frog march tens of millions of Americans back into the good old days.

From a newspaper in Mesquite, Nevada:

“Climate change is the worst problem facing the world today. We have no more important issue in the world than this issue, period,??? Nevada senior Sen. Harry Reid once said on the floor of the Senate.

At one of Reid’s clean energy confabs, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton opined on climate change, “This is the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.

[But what] if the power grid melted down? The water would stop flowing. Fuel pumps at the corner gas station would not work. Banks would close. Communications would be interrupted. No refrigeration.

If the power remained off for months, it is estimated as much as 90 percent of the population of the U.S. might die from starvation, disease and social tumult.

There are a number of things that could actually cause such a scenario — terrorism, solar flare or an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) caused by the detonation of a relatively small nuclear bomb in the atmosphere.

There’s more. But I think these constitute enough inspirational thinking from the heartlands of freedom for today, no?


Death Raids and Troves of Rubbish

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror at 2:58 pm by George Smith

Part of the fog of lies and military aggrandizement that are the regular dispensations on the forever war is that “troves” of information have been seized. It’s insisted that troves are often everything to the war effort.

It’s the concoction of a fable, one in a series of interlocking fables on American military actions in the failed states of the Middle East. Of course, the failed state of Iraq is so because we made it that way. And so an elaborate narrative of total crap must be created in the mainstream media, something to sell the idea that the military action is actually winning in some way, rather than just spreading ruin and death, making an already tortured place worse.

And the troves of information are a necessary part, feeding a fancy that with more and more and more data, war can be massaged, manipulated and managed to your advantage just like the digital world

The most famous of troves, of course, were the materials allegedly seized in the bin Laden raid.

When Seymour Hersh’s story broke that the raid was an arranged killing and that very little material of value was gained during it, the intelligence services moved quickly to offer the bin Laden trove online.

There was little value in it other than as clickbait for net gawkers. To be honest, I saw nothing worthwhile in it. Boring otiose letters, software manuals, American books of no great interest, public domain US documents and papers culled from the web.

One document, and “document” is a little too fancy a word for it, on the “Terror Franchise,” linked to last week, was merely a collection of wishful thoughts, desires and various rubbishes on killing and projects to make poisons and biological weapons. From 2009.

In reading these alleged scrapings, that part of Hersh’s story, that little information had been gained, was off-handedly confirmed.

Over the weekend, the New York Times published another trove story, this time from materials allegedly seized during a Delta Force raid in Syria.

The raid, aimed at bagging one of ISIS/Daesh’s bureaucrats, Abu Sayyaf, killed him. So, in his place, the wife was kidnapped.

This is described as detention for questioning.

From the New York Times (“A Raid on ISIS Yields a Trove of Intelligence”):

New insights yielded by the seized trove — four to seven terabytes of data, according to one official — include how the organization’s shadowy leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, operates and tries to avoid being tracked by coalition forces …

Wives of the top Islamic State leaders, including Mr. Baghdadi’s, play a more important role than previously known, passing information to one another, and then to their spouses, in an effort to avoid electronic intercepts.

“I’ll just say from that raid we’re learning quite a bit that we did not know before,??? a senior State Department official told reporters in a telephone briefing last week. “Every single day the picture becomes clearer of what this organization is, how sophisticated it is, how global it is and how networked it is.???

Abu Sayyaf’s wife, Umm Sayyaf, who was captured in the operation, has also provided information to investigators, one senior American official said.

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said last month that the killing of Abu Sayyaf dealt a “significant blow??? to the group.

The wives are important claim is central because it lends justification to kidnapping women when everything else has gone to pot.

For the Times, other anonymous officials acknowledged that maybe the intelligence wasn’t really that valuable. ISIS, after all, has not been losing. Quite the contrary.

And the placement of a graphic within the story on the organization’s gains in Libya undercut the entire argument.

Nevertheless, this is what we get from our national security experts.

It’s the equivalent of a designed and purposeful mental illness, in this case, the insistence, in the face of years of evidence to the contrary, that one can find one’s way to some kind of victory against a region spanning foe through pin-prick raids, assassinations of random thugs dressed up as very important and irreplaceable leaders, and the seizure of whatever digital detritus is on hand.

Here’s a perfect example of the pathology at work:

“In the recent raid on Abu Sayyaf, we collected substantial information on Daesh financial operations,??? John R. Allen, the retired general who now serves as the diplomatic envoy coordinating the coalition against the Islamic State, told a conference in Qatar on Wednesday. “And we’re gaining a much clearer understanding of Daesh’s organization and business enterprise.???

This is a stupid-ass belief, something only an American could come up with, that “analyzing the financial operations” of ISIS (it used to be al Qaeda) gets you anything at all. Although it flies with reporters and meaningless conferences at a posh resort in Qatar well away from the battlefield.

“Lt. Gen. John Hesterman III, the top allied air commander, told reporters by phone from his headquarters in Qatar that ‘there is a whole bunch of targeting that is opening up here, as we gain and learn more about this enemy,’ ” it continues.

All this, particularly the NY Times story, it was said, might begin to “sow fear in their ranks that the United States and its allies were beginning to crack their shield of secrecy.”

Keep in mind there is no evidence that ISIS is becoming afraid of anything as it takes more cities in Libya, Syria, and Iraq. And that the thing called the Iraqi Army, trained by Americans, has broken and run twice in combat, requiring complete reconstruction plus ever more infusions of “advisers.”

What you don’t see in the stories as admissions from anonymous sources is the reason American-trained Iraqi formations run. Logically, they probably don’t want to fight or be seen as a US flunky force. But that they will take a training paycheck up until they have to engage in real action.

Why would this be surprising?

Do American military leaders and intelligence men believe analyzing the alleged finances of ISIS, combined with commando raids, are something winning?

If they do, they’re fools. I don’t believe American generals are fools but I do think that since they have nothing to lose by executing the process, they’ll conduct it. It’s a living, apparently.

ISIS gets its money from its conquered areas, in the form of taxes, levies, theft and the sale of anything valuable, whether it be antiquities, small amounts of fuel or other commodities.

And it is now apparent it has learned that American tactical bombing isn’t effective in close-in fighting. This is the same thing the army of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong worked out. The conclusion is that if you close in and fight the enemy belt to belt, the advantage of American air supremacy and bombs are negated.

Here American technology isn’t the last answer, the final thing that trumps all else. Networked communications, information dominance, the super-machines of US war-power have not worked and won’t.

“ ‘We’ve gotten very good at document exploitation,’ said Matthew Levitt, a former Treasury Department official who is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the [some institute in the nation’s capitol],” reads the Times.

Yes, right. It’s to laugh out loud that someone actually passes it off as wisdom. Document exploitation. Examine the financing. Don’t forget about kidnapping the wife, too.

“Islamic State militants staged attacks near Baghdad and the Libyan city of Surt on Tuesday, underscoring the group’s persistent strength on both fronts despite a months long American-led air campaign against it in Syria and Iraq,” reads another story.

Thought question: Who came up with the theory that point tactical bombing and running what are essentially nothing more than highly trained and supported death squads wins wars or does anything more than make conditions worse in failed states?

If you’re part of the civilian population in such areas, what do Americans think is the current enthusiasm among them for US forces that, whenever they come, assassinate someone, maybe a bad person, while also always destroying a random assortment of the really unlucky in the doing.


Because she’s great

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll at 1:19 pm by George Smith

Shania Twain in Seattle on her “final tour.” Her comeback to the arena stage after a painful split with husband and producer, Mutt Lange, one that left her a shaken recluse for years.

“If You’re Not In It for Love (I’m Outta Here),” one of her most popular and my favorite. An anthemic song, boogie and pop at the same time, in C, with the guitars capoed at the first fret. With a bit of Spinal Tap staging thrown it at the end.

Try it. It makes the riff rock and roll. Take my word for it.

The Umbrella Corporation (still more)

Posted in Bioterrorism, War On Terror at 1:06 pm by George Smith

The New York Times:

The Defense Department said Wednesday that it had mistakenly sent suspected live samples of anthrax to at least 51 laboratories in 17 states and three foreign countries, a higher number than officials had disclosed last week …

Defense Department officials warned that the tally of labs that had received the shipments would probably grow.

The New York Times mentions that the number of labs in America’s so-called bioterrorism defense and research infrastructure has risen to 1,500 from what was already a high number, 400, in 2004. It is an American specialty: an amalgam or public and private sector labs doing what amounts to sometimes dangerous science welfare work, magnificently over-staffed and over-resourced against a national threat, the predicted scope of which never materialized.

It is likely that many will not remember, but those of us who were experts in biological weapons and the alleged use of them by terrorists, warned for years that the expansion would increase the probability of dangerous errors and the potential for another Bruce Ivins.

Again, the number of bioterror attacks since Bruce Ivins (not counting the cracked, troubled and/or misguided people who grind castor seeds) who worked in the heart of the American bioterror research establishment — ZERO.

For comparative purpose, a document from the bookshelf of Osama bin Laden on on building the “terror franchise” and seized as part of the alleged trove of information seized in the killing of the man, is here.

It reads:

TOXICANTS: immediately needed

4. Actual production and testing of biological toxicants. (Anthrax, Botulism, clostridium, endotoxins, Exotoxins etc.)

Believe it or not, this was actually classified. Utter cynicism when faced by an incontrovertibly ossified system is often completely justified.

Chris Hedges on revolt

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:50 pm by George Smith

This is a long talk, in a church, given by Chris Hedges. Hedges is a Pulitzer winner with a long history in investigative and war coverage journalism, much of it done for the New York Times.

For the past few years he’s been a force unto himself, writing books on the most poverty stricken places in America, how the economy has made them so, and the utter moral failure of capitalism.

To say he’s a glum fellow in an understatement. Hedges finds the United States a bleak and unrelenting place. Like me, he considers it a corporate dictatorship, although he uses a more intricate term, inverted totalitarianism.

As mentioned, his talk is long. But the first five minutes frame our life in the corporate dictatorship of America. And skipping ahead to 55 minutes, right before the close, he runs through the well-known history of non-violent revolt in eastern Europe.

Hedges’ message is that it’s impossible to know when it will happen. But when it does, everything falls apart at once and non-violent change sets in.

Revolt was a moral imperative then, he says, as he says it is in America now.

If you don’t have time for the rest of the talk, which is very good, one he has repeated many times this year as he travels around, you’ll miss the line in the middle:

“We have Hillary Clinton, wandering around like Queen Elizabeth …”

Now, about once a week, there’s a story on Clinton stating some populist position at odds with her past. In all cases, so far, they’ve been easy hits, things she doesn’t have to back up with any substantive detail.

Yes, there are too many Americans in prison, particularly African Americans, then [blank]. (Her husband accelerated the building of Prison USA, Inc.)

Yes, I believe we must do something about the scourge of drugs in American communities, then [blank]. (When her husband was in charge, the result of doing something was horrendous, and still is.)

Yes, I think the GOP should stop trying to take away the vote from American citizens it doesn’t like, then ….

And until the time that you must vote for this noxious candidate (not precisely my words) over one of the immediately dangerous authoritarians, it’s still accurate to view her as an example of someone who believes she should be President because she is Hillary Clinton, of our royalty.

But Chris Hedges is right if you listen to the details. The Clinton administration turned the Democratic Party into centrist money-mad, war-loving Republicans. It had no use for populism.


The Umbrella Corporation

Posted in Bioterrorism, War On Terror at 3:24 pm by George Smith

The mailing of live anthrax spores gives everyone an accidental opportunity to see some of the outlines of the unique public sector/private sector infrastructure bought to fight bioterrorism.

For example, see here, here, here, here, here and so on.

We paid for the network. I suppose it’s nice to see what it’s up to every now and then. In this case, sending out samples for testing against a variety of sensor systems and assays developed in the private and public sectors.

Number of bioterror attacks since Bruce Ivins: 0

A variety of quotes from the script of Dr. Strangelove would seem like a fun thing to do here.