Quote of the Day from WhiteManistan, published by SpecialStan

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 1:38 pm by George Smith

Ignoring half the country because they voted for Trump and you feel them to be the wrong sorts of people, a still evolving disaster.

Thomas Frank, in the Guardian:

The wreckage that you see every day as you tour this part of the country is the utterly predictable fruit of the Democratic party’s neoliberal turn. Every time our liberal leaders signed off on some lousy trade deal, figuring that working-class people had “nowhere else to go,??? they were making what happened last November a little more likely.

Every time our liberal leaders deregulated banks and then turned around and told working-class people that their misfortunes were all attributable to their poor education, that the only answer for them was a lot of student loans and the right sort of college degree … every time they did this they made the disaster a little more inevitable.

Pretending to rediscover the exotic, newly red states of the Midwest, in the manner of the New York Times, is not the answer to this problem.

The forty year slump won’t be fixed in a few election cycles. The rage is too great, the cluelessness about this on the coasts — yes, where I’m from — the same.

Realistically, you have to face the ugly news that it quite possibly can’t be fixed. And it marks a historical bend where the United States began leaving the world stage as a place that at least attempted to live up to an idealized reputation.

The New York Times approach has been drive-by heartland tourism. A couple people who wrote books, like J. D. Vance and Arlie Hochschildt, are interviewed or regularly invited to weigh in. The Times and others send a small handful of reporters earning six figures a year to read the tea -leaves at various obvious milestones. With obvious results.

Trump’s first 100 days — blue state voters hate ‘im. The people who elected him feel strongly opposite, are unperturbed. Even still very enthusiastic.

Trump’s popularity: repeat.

Coverage of resistance protests marching before crowds of the likeminded.

It’s an unbridgeable chasm, putting the tribes of America as far apart as the separate nations of the Balkans that formerly made up Yugoslavia.

Of course, the Guardian — where the Franks quote is taken from — does exactly the same kind of nose-dip heartland sampling of the other America. Call it: What’s up in WhiteManistan, mailed in from bordering SpecialStan (or Richistan). [1] Sentiments and observations reported in slightly more than 140 character bursts, compiled and aggregated for review.

Eventually it will occur to all that making sure WhiteManistan had money and a future, rather than throwing it to the wolves for the sake of corporate transnational big business, an astonishing commitment to global militarism and a warped vision of the rewards appropriate for a super-educated, super-talented demographic calling the shots, was the only way to guarantee one.

In SpecialStan (Richistan): Say hey! Barack Obama, 400k.

1. Bruce Haines, a Republican former steel executive who runs the Historic Hotel Bethlehem, praised Trump’s installation of Neil Gorsuch on the supreme court and said support for the president in the business community was robust.

“The divisions are as strong as they were on election night,??? Haines said. “The Trump people are just as supportive of Trump as they were on election night, and the anti-Trump voters are probably stronger against – there isn’t anything that guy’s going to do to get the Hillary voters. They’re just not going to accept anything.???


Explainers at NYTimes Strike Out on Sarin

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:52 pm by George Smith

The explainers at the NYT took to the front page on the web today in an attempt to discredit Syrian and Russian claims about the purported sarin gas attack in Syria. And they turn in an example of flawed product, something for the American establishment which believes the case to be open and shut.

In putting together the video production reporters Malachy Brown, Natalie Renau and Mark Scheffler assiduously ignore the work of emeritus MIT prof Theodore Postol who has spent the last two weeks on the same matter at TruthDig. And this is terribly odd since Postol has been well known in the pages of major newspapers when it comes to big national security issues, like WMDs and missile defense, over the past couple of decades.

The Russian story rests on the idea that conventional strikes may have released a cloud of toxic chemicals or hit a cache of sarin. But “Assad and Russia are distorting the facts …, or similar phrasing, is asserted by the Times explainers’ at a number of points throughout the video presentation. Therefore, Syrian and Russian accounts are not trustworthy.

Initially, Postol focused on debunking a video intelligence report used by the White House to make the case that sarin has been used in Khan Sheikhoun.

Five days ago, at TruthDig, Postol:

The fact that there were numerous television journalists reporting from the alleged sarin release site and there was absolutely no mention of casualties that would have occurred within tens to hundreds of meters of the alleged release site indicates that the [White House Report] was produced without even a cursory low-level review by the U.S. intelligence community of commercial video data from the site. This overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that the [WhiteHouse Report] identification of the crater as a sarin release site should have been accompanied with an equally solid identification of the area where casualties were caused by the alleged aerosol dispersal. The details of the crater itself unambiguously show that it was not created by the alleged airdropped sarin dispersing munition.

These new details are even more problematic because the [White House Report] cited commercial video as providing information that the report used to derive its conclusions that there was a sarin attack from an airdropped munition at this location …

The mainstream media is the engine of democracy. Without an independent media providing accurate and unbiased information to citizens, a government can do pretty much what it chooses without interference from the citizens who elected it. The critical function of the mainstream media in the current situation should be to report the facts that clearly and unambiguously contradict government claims.

This has so far not occurred, and this is perhaps the biggest indicator of how incapacitated the mechanisms for democratic governance of the United States have become.

Again, why is this relevant with regards to the NYT report on the sarin attack?

Because in the latter part of it, Times reporters turn to what looks like the very same crater in the middle of a street in Khan Sheikhoun as the source point for the sarin attack.

Malachy Brown, Natalie Renau and Mark Scheffler are certainly aware of Postol’s reports at the Times. Since this is the case, they appear to have written it off because of its clash with their report, “How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike” and the report from the White House.

Today at TruthDig Postol returns to the case, this time dealing with the same video employed by the Times, pictures of a conventional aerial assault on Khan Sheikhoun the morning of the gas attack. Russia’s story is essentially that a conventional aerial bombardment might have released or led to conditions that resulted in the dispersal of a toxic material.

These explosions are explained away as irrelevant by the Times’ journalists.

Writes Postol in “Russian Explanation of the Mass Poisoning in Syria Could Be True:”

Videos taken on the morning of the attack show explosive debris clouds from four targets that were hit and provide strong circumstantial evidence that this Russian explanation could be true.

One of the clouds is quite distinctly different from all the others. The stem of this debris cloud has a base area that is five or more times larger than the cloud-stem bases of the other bomb debris clouds. The evidence is consistent with the possibility that this debris cloud was created by an initial explosion, followed by a series of secondary explosions. This situation would be expected if the site was, in fact, an ammunition dump.

Postol goes onto posit that secondary explosions from the initial bombing run could have been reponsible, as the Russians said, of a toxic release in the city.

“This evidence is not proof that the Russian explanation for a mass poisoning is correct,” adds Postol. “But given that there is no evidence to support the American alternative explanation—a sarin release from an airdropped munition at a site identified by the White House Intelligence Report—this additional data does provide some information that is relevant to the ongoing discussions on this matter.”

The beginning of the TruthDig piece contains a biographical paragraph describing Postol’s decades long history as an expert analyst and critic on national defense issues.

Overlooking Postol’s work is folly. The current establishment line that whatever is claimed by Russia is to be regarded as nonsense or “distortions” is not conducive to critical thinking. Furthermore, it breaks one of the corrective measures of a sound democracy, as warned by Postol on the very same subject. The Times would do well to look into comparing its work with his.


One year ago…

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 11:34 am by George Smith

First, we were bombing their cash money (videos made available on YouTube). You could see the money flying through the air. (BTW, if you want to make money fly through the air, how ’bout making it fly through Pasadena?!)

Then we sent in the B-52s to bomb ISIS in Syria. Just like in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Then we sent in the the special cyberforce. Over there, over there!

“We are dropping cyberbombs,??? a man named Mr. Work, a deputy secretary of defense at the Pentagon, said. “We have never done that before.???

Actually, we have. We dropped cyberbombs on Iran.

But, anyway, A year or so ago: Cyberbombs! B-52 bombs! Bombs for cash money!

They’d surely need to quit amidst the rubble of Syria! V-ISIS Day was just around the corner.

The stuff really works, don’t it? What tactics and strategy, or lack of any, more likely. And recall the next time Trump orders a publicity stunt bombing, these were all the property of the Obama administration.

Apropos or not, here’s The Cyberwar Boogie which doesn’t sound much like cyberwar. The laughter is just right, though. Hee-hee-hee-h-h-hee-hee-hee-hee, oh yeah!

Would you help finance a custom run CD with this included?


American psychosis & unintentional hilarity

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Shoeshine at 2:43 pm by George Smith

Do New York Times reporters ever look in the mirror? Do they understand how nonsensically bereft of logical thought some of their prose often reads in 2017 America?

Today, in a long piece on why North Korea is so determined to push forward its nuclear weapons projects:

Today, the country and government appear to be stable. But this came at a cost: a permanent state of near-war to stave off the forces of history that would otherwise tear down North Korea. Neither threats nor concessions from outside have proven able to override this calculus.

“A Perpetual State of Almost-War,” reads a sub-heading.

Max Fisher is The Interpreter, or the six-figure explainer, a term I’ve used to refer to ‘Merica’s banner journalists.

If Mr. Fisher looked in the mirror and read “But this came at a cost: a permanent state of near-war to stave off the forces of history that would otherwise tear down …” his conscience might force a moment of clarity: “U.S.A!” written as a tattoo across his forehead. The journalists of the NYT have furnished the purest Shoeshine. Exactly what the ruling class and the upper crust want to read about North Korea, how the Hermit Kingdom made itself over into a state of perpetual war-footing and irrationality.

How ever did this small country get into such a pickle that it now constantly threatens the US? How ever, indeed!

What country on the planet has been engaged in continuous war for the last sixteen years? What country’s government and national security apparatus has regularly warned of “existential threats” and the need for forever war all along the 16-year timeline?

“Missile and nuclear tests, along with what appears to have been a cultivated appearance of irrationality … Disarmament, in this view, would invite annihilation,” continues the piece.

It’s almost to fall down laughing. The six-figure explainer, writing for editors and an audience, neither of whom will admit to seeing the carbuncle on the notional image of the piece, that the article also describes the collective psychosis of the United States.

Try some word substitution.

[The United States] North Korea “intentionally employs a posture of seemingly hyper-risk acceptance and willingness to go to war as a means of trying to intimidate its adversaries.???

This puts the world in a quandary: How could any outside threat possibly exceed the risk that [the United States] North Korea already takes on itself? How could any concession remove the [United States] North Korean [mental] weakness that drives its behavior?

[The United States] North Korea also fears that [Russia] the United States might seek to depose its government in rapid strikes against the leadership, a threat it seeks to deter with repeated warnings ….

[Photo heading] The North [The United States] has proved itself capable of withstanding economic devastation [in the heartland]…

The Interpreter.” Oh, Mr. Fisher, surely you must be joking!

American psychosis

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle at 11:52 am by George Smith

Noam Chomsky, this week:

“In our culture and society, it’s considered very courageous to send a huge bomb somewhere … and applaud the great heroic action…That’s a cultural problem here.???

Cultural problem doesn’t quite do it the right amount of justice. American pyschosis — much more accurate.

The only soundtrack you need. Drones, phones, big bombs, terrorization, WMDs, cyberwar.

If you were going to make them into a CD, how many copies would you print at Discmakers?


If you have gold and your ass don’t smell…

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle at 11:42 am by George Smith

If you have gold and your ass don’t smell…we won’t bomb you straight to Hell.

Still perfect for most situations. C’mon, peeps, please push it to 3,000!

The Empire and its Vengeance Weapon

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle at 11:17 am by George Smith

Today Fox News is getting shelled on social media for playing Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue” over footage of the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) in Afghanistan. [1]. This seems unfair to me.

The “we’ll put a boot in your ass” theme of the Keith song is right in line with the glee that made the news of the MOAB go viral yesterday. As in 2003, the mainstream media has not been able to get enough of the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB).

It’s a bit late in the game to try shaming someone else over it now when there was no problem initially. We even liked all the news we could get of sticking it to anybody and everybody in the Middle East.

We wet the bed but good. No second thoughts and finger-pointing allowed now.

Keep in mind that fifteen years in Afghanistan is a solid indication this is a war that’s lost. The US military has no strategy except brute force and terror. Use of the monster bomb, then, is use of a vengeance weapon, something a military that’s desperate for a success, any success, does.

The choice of the term vengeance weapon is deliberate. Vengeance weapons, or the V weapons like the V-1 and V-2, were developed and used when there was no hope of the Third Reich winning the war in Europe.

The vengeance weapons were military insignificant. In the end they accomplished nothing, only further hardening the wills of the civilians in London they were used against.

The Pentagon claimed 36 ISIS fighters were killed. At about 16 million dollars per bomb, that’s about over haf a million dollars a head. It’s in line with the pointlessness outside of symbolic terror of the Third Reich’s vengeance weapons.

[1]. “Given this culture, maybe the U.S. isn’t the best country to bring humanitarianism and freedom to the world by dropping love bombs on them??? tweet from the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald.

Keep in mind that news anchor Brian Williams waxed rhapsodic over Tomahawk missile salvos being launched into Syria just last week. They were said to be “beautiful” by Williams.

While the news over the MOAB has been enthusiastically over-the-top domestically (“It’s the first time this bomb has been used in combat!”), in the end the President and the Department of Defense will find that use of the MOAB has just been seen as a morally bankrupt stunt everywhere else. The world now sees the wealthiest country in the world dropping a ridiculously cruel bomb on one of the poorest places in the world, a country it’s been punishing without much effect except to make more enemies for a decade and a half. And that the originating country thinks this is such a good thing it arranges a publicity party for the coming out.

Here, another excerpt from Weapon of the Week in March of 2003, a column that was totally unique and way ahead of its time.

Entitled “The War Wanker:”

“Operation Iraqi Freedom” would not be complete without the combined power of war wankers. The wanker army, consisting of retired generals, TV reporters, administration fuglemen, and national pundits, stroke and soothe the polity with kriegfreude—war glee.

It conducts this operation by either suppressing pictures of naked horror—war blood and guts—or delivering only the most fleeting images of it. Into this void it jams a wealth of interesting and true stories, the tales that are interesting being not true and the ones that are true being not interesting.

War wankers agonize over American casualties but leave enemy dead invisible. They yak about violations of the Geneva Convention without considering that the dropping of thousands of tons of explosives from on high requires a good deal of cold blood and inevitably inspires awful retaliations.

The war wanker dwells lovingly on wonder weapons from the land of the brave, prattling on from a green television stage or a blacked-out flight deck.

But the best thing about the war wanker is that he or she comes cheap. Statements like “they’ll be feeling pain tonight in Baghdad” are pennies on the word, with salaries almost always less than the cost of machinery of destruction. And some in this army even labor for free—the joy of the work being its own reward.


Mother of All Bombs joy: A pure Culture of Lickpittle moment

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle at 11:47 am by George Smith

It’s been fourteen years since I wrote about the MOAB (the Mother of All Bombs) for my Weapon of the Week column in the Village Voice. And today the MOAB is back in hot, trending viral news as the US employed it in one of our forever wars in Afghanistan. Wars we never win but for which there is a never-ending supply of really big bombs from our weapon shops.

Weapon of the Week was a satirical run on the implements of war and killing then common in US newspapers. As part of the joy over war the US mainstream media loved weapon stories. Much of the time leading up to the invasion of the Iraq was spent devoting column inches to Gobble-Wallah coverage of what the Department of Defense was readying for the citizens of the Middle East.

And no matter how badly the wars have gone this has never changed. In fact, the cheerleading has become worse. Criticisms and derision, no matter how well-reasoned and deserved, have been utterly dismissed from the national conversation. And the web and old media now overflow with cheerleading pieces on the technologies and ways of American war (see The National Interest, Business Insider, War is Boring et al).

So there’s really no point to doing something new on the MOAB. My original was perfect and it’s all you have to know.

Exultation over the new MOAB—perhaps the ugliest and most stupid of new weapons in the U.S. armory—reveals a poverty of intellect and heart in the country. A clumsy multi-ton monster bomb tested in Florida last week has no practical war purpose other than terror, in a military whose signal achievement in the last decade has been to make smaller weapons unerringly accurate.

The MOAB is the natural result of allowing munitions engineers to run amok, a design by the aggressively mediocre who in a better time and place would be sent into early retirement for the good of the taxpayer.

The Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or Mother of All Bombs (quite the rib-tickler), is so big it must be shoved out the tail of a lumbering transport plane on a sled attached to a drag parachute. This means MOAB can only be used against the helpless—an enemy who cannot shoot back because its air force has already been utterly smashed, its anti-aircraft missile network erased from the target area. A very large, undefended mosque would be a good hit for MOAB—meeting the bomb’s criterion of use for “psychological” effect.

An idiot stationed in the Pentagon TV newsroom jabbered about the MOAB’s “guidance” by Global Positioning System—great precision being unnecessary on the 21,000-pound bomb, another clue to its construction by government-sanctioned ninnies.

A small part of the blame for the MOAB must go to Dynetics, one more in a dismaying number of corporations that exist to provide applications in mayhem. The company’s logo on the MOAB’s tail was probably thought of as a coup in corporate advertising, although a bracing “Fuck You!” might have better created the impression that the thing was made by real people rather than a labful of killer androids on Eglin Air Force Base.

The MOAB is said to be a long-awaited improvement on the 15,000-pound Commando Vault (“Daisy Cutter”) bomb, a canister of aluminum powder mixed in a slurry originally made to clear landing spaces of underbrush and demolish minefields. Daisy Cutters were used in Gulf War I and again in Afghanistan, to no obvious effect other than the creation of media and Pentagon erections. These cost $27,000 and change per bang, so even allowing for a three-ton increase in weight, MOAB should be cheap by Defense Department standards.

If the MOAB makes an appearance over Iraq, count on it to be enthusiastically superfluous due to the military axiom: A handful of really big bombs dropped in the open can’t compare to thousands of much smaller ones smashing through windows, doorways, and hidey-holes.

the Village Voice, March 18, 2003

The MOAB was made for Iraq. It has been more of a symbolic, in a real murderous asshole way, thing. It serves no military purpose other than pure spite. Deploying it over Afghanistan after fifteen years of relentless bombing and black-bagging of the populace is nothing more than use of it as a vengeance weapon.

So what are the Gobble-wallahs actually saying about the MOAB today?

U.S. forces in Afghanistan dropped a 22,000-pound bomb on Islamic State forces in eastern Afghanistan Thursday, the Pentagon announced in a statement.

Gen. John W. Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the bomb was “the right munition??? to use against the Islamic State because of the group’s use of roadside bombs, bunkers and tunnels. — The WaPost

The right munition.

Donald Trump described the dropping of the GBU-43 bomb as “another successful job??? by the military.

Just minutes after news broke that the U.S. military had dropped the “mother of all bombs??? — the biggest non-nuclear weapon — on an ISIS cave complex in Afghanistan Thursday, the president dismissed the idea that it was meant to influence North Korea.

“Really another successful job,??? Trump said from the White House. “We’re very, very proud of our military. We are so proud of our military and it was another successful event.??? — Daily Caller

Another successful job after 15 years of bombing and assassinations.

“Everybody knows exactly what happened,” Trump said. “We have the greatest military in the world…We have given them total authorization…If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really with what’s happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there’s a tremendous difference. Tremendous difference.” — NBC News

Use of bigger vengeance weapons over a country with no air defense, yes, that’s a difference.

Spicer said all proper precautions were taken before the drop. — the New York Daily News

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the use of this bomb was a sign that the United States was committed to Afghanistan.

But Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a Democrat who was the only “no” vote for authorization for use of military force in Afghanistan in 2001, said the move was unprecedented and asked for an explanation. — Reuters

A sign that the United States was committed to Afghanistan? Yes, how lucky they are to get such big bombs. It’s a particularly hilarious and Orwellian twisting of language.


LOL Quote of the Day, Google/YouTube and the “vile maxim”

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 1:42 pm by George Smith

From Noam Chomsky’s “Who Rules the World?“:

“The United States somehow finds it difficult to appeal to the poor with its doctrine that the rich should plunder the poor.”

“We lock up the poor for all the rich/And we do it right without no hitch.”

And the objection to this song is…?

Unintentionally hilarious proclamation on the Google/YouTube rent-seeking model of economics:

“YouTube wants to make sure its creators are legit before giving them the opportunity to make money off videos.

“The video giant announced a big change to its partner program on Thursday that now requires creators to reach 10,000 lifetime views before it can run ads on channels.”

The “vile maxim” of the masters of the world, as defined by Adam Smith:

All for ourselves, and nothing for other people.


Generation Zero: a brief review

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:03 pm by George Smith

If you’re so inclined, the Steve Bannon movie/documentary focusing in on an unusual theory of cyclical American crisis is “Generation Zero” and it’s on YouTube in its entirety.

A Citizens United production, it features a host of talking heads, most of them from the far right (Newt Gingrich, Dick Morris, etc) while also including the authors of “The Fourth Turning,” “amateur historians” Neil Howe and William Strauss. Outwardly based on the financial crisis of 2008, it starts off by condemning hippies and Woodstock (there’s apparently a Manhattan Institute expert who’s made a career out of this) while mourning how said hippies and Woodstock-goers desecrated the idea of Fifties America, setting the stage for a culture of permissiveness and instant gratification. You’ll recognize it as an old complaint from relatively recent American history. The kids weren’t all right and they grew up to ruin everything.

In some way this is tied to Saul Alinsky and eventually ACORN and how the idea that people who were not solvent, African Americans, were given millions of liar/NINJA home loans by Wall Street, combining some manner of greed with a nefarious plot. In reality it was greed and off-the-scale financial swindling. It’s not logical but for the movie it’s portrayed as something obvious. The big banks compounded things with credit default swaps and so on and so on until the house of cards collapsed and we got the Great Recession — in “Generation Zero,” the CRISIS point.

“Generation Zero” attempts to be very populist in tone in a “we,” the people, versus “them,” the liberals and banksters way. You won’t follow how Woodstock somehow became the banksters but this isn’t important, it’s just a given. When you watch, Steve Bannon has a knack for making everything seamless through the use of stock footage: video of sharks attacking, swimming, eating chunk meat bait; flowers blooming, animals being preyed
upon, a tornado ripping through a Midwest city, the odd thermonuclear fireball or shot of the Crossroads test.

It sounds off when described in this manner but, like other docs in the Bannon catalog like “Clinton Cash”, “Generation Zero” achieves a certain time marches onward flow, like the changing of the seasons.

More on “The Fourth Turning” and the ideology of Steve Bannon at the NY Times, this weekend.

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